Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA)

Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008, and serves on the Senate Banking, Budget, Commerce and Intelligence committees. Halfway through his first term, Senator Warner has established himself as a national leader in efforts to find bipartisan consensus to create balanced solutions to reduce the federal debt. He also has been a champion for military men and women, their families, and our military veterans. Senator Warner also is a leader in Congress in efforts to promote private-sector innovation and to help our nation's small businesses and start-up companies succeed.
Senator Warner organized the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six, which has worked since 2011 to produce a comprehensive plan to gradually cut at least $4 trillion from the $16 trillion national debt. The Gang ultimately expanded to include 45 Senators and 100 members of the House, and Senator Warner continues to lead this important bipartisan push for responsible deficit and debt reduction.

Senator Warner was chosen by his colleagues on the Budget Committee to lead a bipartisan task force that has successfully worked to eliminate unnecessary program overlap and wasteful duplication within the federal bureaucracy. Senator Warner has also intervened on behalf of military families to improve older, dilapidated military housing in Hampton Roads, and his efforts prompted the Veterans Administration to significantly improve its services to female military veterans. Senator Warner enlisted the help of several of Virginia's leading technology companies to produce a comprehensive blueprint, at no cost to the taxpayers, to correct  mistakes and mismanagement discovered at the Army's Arlington National Cemetery. After two Virginia Air National Guard pilots blew-the-whistle on chronic safety concerns with the new F-22 stealth fighter jet, Senator Warner intervened to protect the pilots from reprisals and prompted the Air Force to step-up its investigation into the cause of the F-22 safety issues.

Senator Warner also serves as co-chair of the Senate's bipartisan India Caucus, which works to increase economic and cultural ties with the world's fastest-growing democracy. He also is the honorary chairman of A Billion+Change, a philanthropic effort that has enlisted 200 U.S. companies to donate almost two billion dollars in volunteer service by willing employees in support of community and nonprofit organizations.

From 2002 to 2006, Senator Warner served as Governor of Virginia, where he worked in a bipartisan way to turn record budget deficits into a surplus. Governor Warner also focused on improving public education and expanding economic opportunity in every region of the state. He recruited 135,000 new jobs to Virginia during his four-year term. When Governor Warner left office in 2006, Virginia was consistently recognized as the nation’s “best-managed state," the “best state for business” and the state offering the best educational opportunities to its young people. Before entering public office, Senator Warner was an early investor in the cellular telephone business. He co-founded the company that became Nextel, and ultimately made early investments in hundreds of start-up technology companies that have created tens-of-thousands of private sector jobs.

Get to Know a Speaker: Danielle Pletka

As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011). Her most recent study, “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan,” was published in May 2012. She is currently working on a follow-up report on U.S.–Iranian competitive strategies in the Middle East, to be published in the fall of 2012.

Pletka was the Senior Professional Staff Member for Near East and South Asia, Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 1992-2002. She was also a staff writer for Insight Magazine from 1987-92 and an editorial assistant for the Los Angeles Times and Reuters, Jerusalem from 1984-85.

Pletka received an M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. from Smith College.

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassdor Ashok Kumar Mirpuri

Mr. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri took up his appointment as Singapore's Ambassador to the United States in July 2012.  Before that, he was Singapore's Ambassador to Indonesia from 2006 to 2012, High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2002 to 2006 and High Commissioner to Australia from 2000 to 2002.

Mr. Mirpuri joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1984. From 1987 to 1991, he was First Secretary (Political) at the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta. In 1994, he was appointed Director of MFA's Policy Planning & Analysis Directorate I (Southeast Asia). In 1997, Mr. Mirpuri was seconded to Shell International Ltd in the United Kingdom as Corporate Advisor (Asia Pacific). He returned to the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta in 1998 as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission.

Mr. Mirpuri graduated with an honours degree in Political Science from the National University of Singapore. He received his MA at the University of London's School of Oriental & African Studies under a Raffles Scholarship. He did the Programme for Executive Development at the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, USA.

Mr. Mirpuri was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by the Singapore Government in 2010.

Get to Know a Speaker: Brian Latell

Brian Latell began tracking Cuba for the CIA in the early 1960s. Today, as Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies at the University of Miami, he continues as one of the most distinguished and frequently quoted experts. For a quarter century he taught Cuba and Latin America as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. A former National Intelligence Officer for Latin America and Director of the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence, he has written for the Washington Post, Miami Herald, Wall Street Journal, Time, and many other American and international publications. His After Fidel has been published in eight languages.

Get to Know a Speaker: Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a resident fellow and senior director for strategy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He leads GMF’s EuroFuture Project which explores the economic, the governance and the geostrategic dimensions of the Eurocrisis from a transatlantic perspective. Formerly, Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff was senior director for policy programs. In this capacity, he oversaw all GMF programs and projects that deal with the cross-border challenges which globalization presents to the transatlantic community: Trade, Foreign Aid, and Food Security, Climate Diplomacy and Energy Policy, Immigration and Integration as well as the Global Economic Governance (G-20) initiative.

Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff has been an expert on transatlantic relations for more than a decade. Before arriving at GMF, he served as the Washington bureau chief of DIE ZEIT, Germany's intellectual weekly. Educated at Freiburg University in Germany with additional schooling at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, Kleine-Brockhoff was a fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He was a witness to the U.S. Congress, has published widely in Europe and the United States and appears frequently as a commentator on radio and TV. He is a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

Get to Know a Speaker: Stephen J. Hadley

Stephen Hadley completed four years as the assistant to the president for National Security Affairs on January 20, 2009. In that capacity he was the principal White House foreign policy advisor to then President George W. Bush, directed the National Security Council staff, and ran the interagency national security policy development and execution process.

From January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2005, Steve was the assistant to the president and Deputy National Security adviser, serving under then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. In addition to covering the full range of national security issues, Steve had special responsibilities in several specific areas including U.S. relations with Russia, the Israeli disengagement from Gaza, developing a strategic relationship with India and ballistic missile defense.From 1989 to 1993, Steve served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security policy under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Steve represented the Defense Department on arms control matters, including negotiations with the Soviet Union and then Russia, on matters involving NATO and Western Europe, on ballistic missile defense, and on export and technology control matters.

He was counsel to the Tower Commission in 1987, as it investigated U.S. arms sales to Iran, and served on the National Security Council under President Ford from 1974 to 1977.

During his professional career, Steve has served on a number of corporate and advisory boards, most recently as co-chair of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel. Other positions include service on the National Security Advisory Panel to the Director of Central Intelligence, the Department of Defense Policy Board, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace, as a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and as a trustee of ANSER (Analytical Services, Inc.), a public service research corporation.

Get to Know a Speaker: P.J. Crowley

Philip J. (PJ) Crowley is the 2011-2012 Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership. The chair is a joint effort among the United States Army War College, Dickinson College, and Penn State Law to advance the study of strategic leadership and enhance civilian-military dialogue by offering distinguished individuals the opportunity to contribute to the educational and research activities of the three institutions. 

President Barack Obama nominated Crowley to be Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State in 2009. Previously, he served as Special Assistant to the President for national security affairs and Senior Director of Public Affairs for the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration. Before joining the Department of State, Crowley was a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress, with a particular policy focus on homeland security and combating terrorism. Crowley’s research and teaching interests focus on national security policy, public diplomacy, and the impact of the global media environment on conflict, policy, and politics. His appointment also enables him to teach at Penn State's School of International Affairs as well as Dickinson College and the U.S. Army War College.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy is Director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center. He retired from the Foreign Services in January 2001 after a 45-year career with the U.S department of State. A fluent Chinese Speaker, Mr. Stapleton spent much of his Foreign Service Career in East Asia, where his assignment included Bangkok (twice), Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing (Twice), Singapore and Jakarta. He also specialized in Soviet Affairs and served in Moscow during the height of the Cold War. Before taking up Russian studies, he was one of the first two Foreign Service Officers to study Mongolian. 

Mr. Roy rose to become a three time Ambassador, serving as the top U.S envoy in Singapore (1984-1986), the People’s Republic of China (1991-1995), and Indonesia (1996-1999). In 1996, he was promoted to the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the Foreign Service. Ambassador Roy’s final post with the State Department was as the Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Research. Ambassador Roy was born in Nanjing, China, of American missionary Parents. In 1956, he graduated Magna Cum laude from Princeton University, where he majored in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. 

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli

Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli was appointed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to serve as her Senior Adviser for women's empowerment. In this capacity, she will focus especially on multifaceted outreach to the women of the Muslim world. The empowerment of women is vital to the President's agenda for promoting democracy and freedom. Strengthening the role of women and providing opportunities for them are important elements in economic development as well as social and political progress.

Ambassador Tahir-Kheli most recently served as the Secretary's Senior Adviser on United Nations reform. She engaged the UN Secretary General and Secretariat as well as other UN member states on UN reform efforts. From 2003 to 2005 Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations at the National Security Council. Prior to that she was a Research Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where she was the founding Director of the South Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Institute. From 1993 to 1995 she was a senior fellow at the Center of International Studies at Princeton University. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was appointed Alternate United States Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs serving from 1990 to 1993. Ambassador Tahir-Kheli also served as Director of Political Military Affairs and then as Director of Near East and South Asian Affairs from 1984 to 1989 with the National Security Council staff. From 1982 to 1984, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State.

During her career of service, Ambassador Tahir-Kheli was Head of the United States Delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2001; she was appointed by President Bush to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; and she served on the Presidential Commission on Public Service from 1992 to 1993.

Ambassador Tahir-Kheli has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida

Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida is the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. In this capacity, he represents European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, under the authority of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.

Mr. Vale de Almeida presented his credentials to US President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on August 10, 2010. Prior to his appointment in Washington, he served as the Director General for External Relations at the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body. As the most senior official under the authority of the High Representative/European Commission Vice-President Baroness Ashton, he helped formulate and execute the EU's foreign policy and played a key role in preparing for the new European External Action Service (EEAS) introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon.

From 2004 to 2009 Mr. Vale de Almeida was the Head of Cabinet (Chief of staff and main adviser) for European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. He accompanied President Barroso in all European Council (EU Summit) meetings and ensured coordination with the private offices of Heads of State and Governments in all 27 Member States of the EU. He also acted as President Barroso's permanent Personal Representative ("Sherpa") for G8 and G20 Summits and as his Personal Representative for the negotiations on the Treaty of Lisbon.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Vale de Almeida held several senior positions in the European Commission and worked closely, in different capacities, with former Commission Presidents Jacques Delors, Jacques Santer and Romano Prodi.

Before joining President Barroso's team in 2004, Mr. Vale de Almeida held a senior position in the Directorate General for Education and Culture and served as Deputy Chief Spokesman of the European Commission.

Mr. Vale de Almeida joined the European Commission in 1982 at the European Commission Delegation in Lisbon, after spending seven years as a journalist. He holds a degree in history from the University of Lisbon and has studied journalism and management in the United States, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Brandon Busteed

Brandon Busteed leads Gallup’s education work cross K12 and higher education. His career spans a wide range of important work in education, including as an educational entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and university trustee. He was the founder and former CEO of Outside The Classroom (acquired by EverFi), a company that pioneered adaptive online education with the unique distinction of creating the only course proven to change behaviors.

A three-year, 30-school, national study funded by the federal government showed that AlcoholEdu – the organization’s flagship alcohol-abuse prevention program – was effective in reducing binge drinking, drunk driving and sexual assaults. The program has now been taken by more than 4 million students. Busteed is a graduate of Duke University where he studied public policy; he is a trustee-emeritus of Duke and also served on the Board of Visitors for the Sanford School of Public Policy. He is a nationally-known speaker and author on education policy and public health.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Daniel Markey

Daniel Markey is senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he specializes in security and governance issues in South Asia. He is currently writing a book on the future of U.S.-Pakistan relations. From 2003 to 2007, Dr. Markey held the South Asia portfolio on the Secretary's Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State. Prior to government service, he taught in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, where he served as executive director of Princeton's Research Program in International Security. Earlier, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard's Olin Institute for Strategic Studies. 

Dr. Markey recently served as project director of the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which was co-chaired by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and former National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger. 

He is the author of numerous publications, including a chapter of the Random House e-book Beyond bin Laden: America and the Future of Terror; the September 2011 CFR Asia Security Memorandum Pakistan Contingencies; the May 2011 CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum, Next Steps for Pakistan Strategy; the January 2010 CFR Contigency Planning Memorandum, Terrorism and Indo-Pakistani Escalation; the June 2009 Asia Policy article, "Developing India's Foreign Policy Software;" and the August 2008 Council Special Report, Securing Pakistan's Tribal Belt

Dr. Markey's commentary has been featured in many newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on PBS, CNN, BBC, NPR, CBS, ABC, and C-SPAN. Dr. Markey earned a bachelor's degree in international studies from The Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in politics from Princeton University.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Jen’nan Read

Jen’nan Read, Duke University, received her PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Rice University and the University of Texas School of Public Health.  She joined Duke University in 2008 as an associate professor of sociology and global health (with tenure) and is currently the Associate Director for Special Initiatives at the Duke Islamic Studies Center.

Read is a Carnegie Scholar whose research focuses how culture and religion shape the assimilation experiences of Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, including issues of women’s employment, immigrant health, and political integration.  She has built on this expertise to include examinations of inequality among other U.S. racial and ethnic groups and among Arabs and Muslims elsewhere in the world.  Read is author of Culture, Class and Work among Arab-American Women (LFB Scholarly Publishing, 2004) and has published numerous scholarly articles on how race, ethnicity and gender interact to affect immigrant integration across domains of social life.  Her work has been cited by The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as numerous regional and local media outlets.  She has appeared as an expert on numerous national and international shows, such as the Charlie Rose Show, National Public Radio, Al-Jazeera English, and Al-Hurra.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Peter Bergen

Peter Bergen, New America Foundation, is a print and television journalist and the author of four books, three of which were New York Times bestsellers and have been translated into twenty languages. Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (2001) and The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of Al Qaeda's Leader (2006) were named among the best non-fiction books of the year by The Washington Post,  and documentaries based on the books were nominated for Emmys. In 2011 he published The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda. Newsweek  and The Guardian named The Longest War as one of the key books about terrorism of the past decade and Amazon, Kirkus and Foreign Policy named it as one of the best books of 2011. His most recent book is Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad. Reviewing the book in The Washington Post, NPR correspondent Dina Temple-Raston described it as “a real-life thriller that will be a must-read for years to come.”

Mr. Bergen is CNN's National Security Analyst and a fellow at Fordham University's Center on National Security. He has written for many publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Rolling Stone, The National Interest, TIME, Newsweek, Washington Monthly, The Nation, Mother Jones, Washington Times, The Times (UK), The Daily Telegraph (UK), and The Guardian (UK). He is a contributing editor at The New Republic and has worked as a correspondent for National Geographic television, Discovery and CNN. In 2008, he was an adjunct lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and he worked as an adjunct professor at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University for several years. He has testified on Capitol Hill on a number of occasions. Mr. Bergen holds a M.A. in modern history from New College, Oxford University.

As director of New America's National Security Studies Program, Mr. Bergen leads the Foundation's analysis of terrorism, counterinsurgency, South Asia’s geopolitics and other national security concerns. Mr. Bergen's personal Web site can be accessed at: www.peterbergen.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Chrystia Freeland

Chrystia Freeland is the editor of Thomson Reuters Digital. Prior, she was U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times. Before that, Freeland was deputy editor, Financial Times, in London, editor of the FT’s Weekend edition, editor of FT.com, U.K. News editor, Moscow bureau chief and Eastern Europe correspondent. From 1999 to 2001, Freeland served for two years as deputy editor of The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. Freeland began her career working as a stringer in Ukraine, writing for the Foreign Times, The Washington Post and The Economist.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson is a higher education writer for the Washington Post. Previously, he was education editor, supervising coverage of regional and national education news. In other stints, he was national education writer and deputy education editor, and an assistant editor on the Virginia desk, participating in team coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings that won the newspaper’s staff a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. Before joining the Washington Post in 2005, he was a congressional correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador Dennis Ross

Ambassador Dennis Ross, the Washington Institute for Near Middle East Policy’s Ziegler Distinguished fellow and counselor from 2001-2009, rejoined the Institute as counselor in December 2011 after serving two years as special assistant to President Obama as well as National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, focusing on Iran.

For more than twelve years, Ambassador Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and dealing directly with the parties in negotiations. A highly skilled diplomat, Ambassador Ross was U.S. point man on the peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to reach the 1995 Interim Agreement; he also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.

A scholar and diplomat with more than two decades of experience in Soviet and Middle East policy, Ambassador Ross worked closely with Secretaries of State James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Madeleine Albright. Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations, and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.

During the Reagan administration, he served as director of Near East and South Asian affairs on the National Security Council staff and deputy director of the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment. Ambassador Ross was awarded the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President Clinton, and Secretaries Baker and Albright presented him with the State Department's highest award.

A 1970 graduate of UCLA, Ambassador Ross wrote his doctoral dissertation on Soviet decisionmaking, and from 1984 to 1986 served as executive director of the Berkeley-Stanford program on Soviet International Behavior. He received UCLA's highest medal and has been named UCLA alumnus of the year. He has also received honorary doctorates from Brandeis, Amherst, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Syracuse University.

Ambassador Ross has published extensively on the former Soviet Union, arms control, and the greater Middle East, contributing numerous chapters to anthologies. In the 1970s and 1980s, his articles appeared in World Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Orbis, International Security, Survival, and Journal of Strategic Studies. Since leaving government at the end of 2011, he has authored many op-eds in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

Ross is the author of several influential books on the peace process, most recently Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East, coauthored with Institute peace process expert David Makovsky. An earlier study, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2004), offers comprehensive analytical and personal insight into the Middle East peace process. The New York Times praised his 2007 publication, Statecraft, And How to Restore America's Standing in the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), as "important and illuminating."

Monday, October 8, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador Cameron Munter

Ambassador Cameron Munter  was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan on October 6, 2010. Prior to his nomination, Ambassador Munter completed his tour of duty at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He served there first as Political-Military Minister-Counselor in 2009, then as Deputy Chief of Mission for the first half of 2010. He served as Ambassador in Belgrade from 2007 to 2009. In 2006, he led the first Provincial Reconstruction Team in Mosul, Iraq. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in Prague from 2005 to 2007 and in Warsaw from 2002 to 2005.

Before these assignments, in Washington, he was Director for Central Europe at the National Security Council (1999-2001), Executive Assistant to the Counselor of the Department of State (1998-1999), Director of the Northern European Initiative (1998), and Chief of Staff in the NATO Enlargement Ratification Office (1997-1998). He has also served overseas in Bonn (1995-1997), Prague (1992-1995), and Warsaw (1986-1988). His other domestic assignments include: Country Director for Czechoslovakia at the Department of State (1989-1991), and Dean Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (1991).

Ambassador Munter attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and universities in Freiburg and Marburg in Germany. He received a doctoral degree in modern European history in 1983 from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He taught European history at the University of California, Los Angeles (1982-1984) and directed European studies at the Twentieth Century Fund in New York (1984-1985) before joining the Foreign Service.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: David Abney

David Abney, COO, UPS, leads all operations for UPS, which is a global leader of logistics and the world's largest package delivery company. As chief operating officer, he has responsibility for UPS logistics, sustainability, and engineering. 

In these roles, David directs all facets of the UPS transportation network serving more than 220 countries and territories. UPS's global transportation network includes a ground fleet of more than 90,000 vehicles, an air fleet of more than 500 aircraft, and Worldport, UPS's main air hub in Louisville, Kentucky. UPS Airlines also has major hubs in Cologne, Germany, and Shenzhen, China.

Prior to his current position, Abney served as president of UPS International, and he led UPS's strategic imperative to build global logistics capabilities. During his tenure, Abney oversaw many global acquisitions including those of the Fritz Companies, Stolica, Lynxs, and Sino-Trans in China.

He began his UPS career in 1974 as a part-time package loader. Over the years, he held various operational positions. He also served as president of SonicAir, a same-day delivery service that signaled UPS's move into the service parts logistics sector. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, David is a Trustee of The UPS Foundation, UPS's charitable arm. He is also a member of the Air Transport Association, the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, and the Coalition of Service Industries, which represents service businesses and seeks to lower barriers to world trade. Abney is a member of the board of directors of Johnson Controls, Inc.

A native of Greenwood, Miss., David received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Delta State University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Delta State University Alumni Foundation, and he and his wife, Sherry, sponsor an annual symposium on international business at Delta State.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Joseph Cirincione

Joseph Cirincione is the President of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. He is the author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats. He is a member of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s International Security Advisory Board and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Cirincione worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. He is the author of hundreds of articles on nuclear weapons issues, the producer of two DVDs, a frequent commentator in the media, and has appeared in the films, Countdown to Zero and Why We Fight. He previously served as Vice President for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress and Director for Nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the U.S. Information Agency and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He teaches at the graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Shibley Telhami

Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. Before coming to the University of Maryland, he taught at several universities, including Cornell University, the Ohio State University, the University of Southern California, Princeton University, Columbia University, Swarthmore College, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his doctorate in political science.

Professor Telhami has also been active in the foreign policy arena. He has served as Advisor to the US Mission to the UN (1990-91), as advisor to former Congressman Lee Hamilton, and as a member of the US delegation to the Trilateral US-Israeli-Palestinian Anti-Incitement Committee, which was mandated by the Wye River Agreements and has served as an advisor to the United States Department of State. He also served on the Iraq Study Group as a member of the Strategic Environment Working Group.  He has contributed to The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times and regularly appears on national and international radio and television. He has served on the US Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World, which was appointed by the Department of State at the request of Congress, and he co-drafted the report of their findings, Changing Minds, Winning Peace. He has also co-drafted several Council on Foreign Relations reports on US public diplomacy, the Arab-Israeli peace process, and on Persian Gulf security.

His best-selling book, The Stakes: America and the Middle East (Westview Press, 2003; updated version, 2004) was selected by Foreign Affairs as one of the top five books on the Middle East in 2003. His other publications include Power and Leadership in International Bargaining: The Path to the Camp David Accords (1990); International Organizations and Ethnic Conflict, ed. with Milton Esman (1995); Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East, ed. with Michael Barnett (2002), The Sadat Lectures: Words and Images on Peace, 1997-2008, ed. (2010), US Diplomacy in the Middle East 1989-2009, co-authored with Dan Kurtzer et al. (forthcoming) and numerous articles on international politics and Middle Eastern affairs. He has been a principal investigator in the annual Arab Public Opinion Survey, conducted since 2002 in six Arab countries.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the Education for Employment Foundation, several academic advisory boards, and has served on the board of Human Rights Watch ( and as Chair of Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch/Middle East). He has also served on the board of the United States Institute of Peace.  Professor Telhami was given the Distinguished International Service Award by the University of Maryland in 2002 and the Excellence in Public Service Award by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents in 2006.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Marcus Brauchli

Marcus Brauchli became executive editor of The Washington Post on September 8, 2008. He oversees the Post’s print and digital news operations.

Previously, Brauchli had served as managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, overseeing the Journal news operations, both in the U.S. and internationally, in print and online.

Brauchli joined Dow Jones in 1984 as a national copyreader for AP-Dow Jones News Services. Later that year, he became the agency’s Hong Kong correspondent, covering Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. He moved to Stockholm in 1987 as Scandinavia correspondent for The Wall Street Journal Europe. He became the Journal’s finance and economics reporter in Tokyo in 1988. In late 1992, Brauchli returned to Hong Kong as Asia correspondent. He reported extensively from India, Pakistan, China and Southeast Asia, before moving in 1995 to Shanghai as the China bureau chief. He returned to New York and was named national editor in 1999, before becoming global news editor, deputy managing editor and then managing editor.

Brauchli is a native of Boulder, CO, and a graduate of Columbia University. He was a 1991-92 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. He is on the board of the International Center for Journalists and is an advisor to the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship program at Columbia. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the New York Economic Club.

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky is Chairman of the WACA National Board. Ambassador Dobriansky is currently Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters, an adjunct senior fellow at Harvard University's JFK Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and holds the distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy. From 2001-2009, Ambassador Dobriansky served as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, during which time she was appointed the President's Special Envoy on Northern Ireland. She received the Secretary of State's Distinguished Service Medal for her work. Ambassador Dobriansky also served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations and was the Council's first George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies.

Get to Know a Speaker: Gerald F. Seib

Gerald F. Seib is assistant managing editor and executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal, and a regular commentator on Washington news for Fox Business News and other television and radio outlets. In his current role, he writes the paper’s weekly Capital Journal column, helps oversee the Journal’s political content online, and oversees a group of investigative reporters. At other points in his Journal career, he has served as the Journal’s Washington bureau chief and deputy bureau chief, its political editor, and its White House reporter and diplomatic correspondent. He also served in the Middle East for the Journal, based in Cairo and traveling across the region. With John Harwood of CNBC, he has written Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power, being published by Random House this spring.

Get to Know a Speaker: Ambassador Marc Grossman

Ambassador Marc Grossman is the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, appointed on February 22, 2011.  Previously, during a temporary retirement from the Department of State starting in 2005, he was a Vice Chairman of the Cohen Group and served as Chair of the Board of the World Affairs Councils of America.  Prior to that, Ambassador Grossman served for nearly thirty years as a Foreign Service Officer, beginning with his first assignment as a Junior Officer in Pakistan, where he served from 1977 to 1979, and ending as the Department’s third ranking official, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, a position he held from 2001 to 2005.  Ambassador Grossman served as the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources from 2000 to 2001 and as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 1997 to 2000.  He was U.S. Ambassador to Turkey from 1994 to 1997.  He had previously served as the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission from 1989 to 1992.  Grossman was the Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State from 1993 to 1994.  He also served as the Deputy Director of the Private Office of Lord Carrington, the NATO Secretary-General, from 1983 to 1986.  As a result of his outstanding service to his country, he is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.  He attained the Foreign Service’s highest rank in 2004, when the President appointed him to the rank of Career Ambassador; he received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award the following year.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Get to Know a Speaker: Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Congressman Chris Van Hollen was elected to Congress in 2002 in a high-profile election that received national attention. He quickly earned a reputation as an active, engaged, and effective member of Congress, rising to become one of the youngest members of the Democratic leadership in 2008. In addition to representing the Eighth District of Maryland and serving in House leadership, Congressman Van Hollen was elected by his colleagues in 2010 to serve as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. In this position, he is working to advance policies that support job creation and economic growth, reduce the deficit, and put America on a path to long-term fiscal sustainability.

The Washington Post named Chris Van Hollen one of “10 members to watch in the 112th Congress.” Roll Call has noted that “Van Hollen gets near-universal respect from his colleagues for his intellectual firepower and combination of policy and political chops.” 

Congressman Van Hollen is a tireless advocate for Maryland in Congress, and his leadership has helped to obtain funding for a wide range of critical investments in our community, including infrastructure, biotechnology and education; public transportation in the Washington National Capital area; and anti-gang initiatives. Congressman Van Hollen was recognized byWashingtonian Magazine as the ‘Best Metro Area Member of Congress’ in 2010 and as the ‘Best Local Elected Official’ by Bethesda Magazine in 2008. 

Throughout his career, Congressman Van Hollen has been a champion of education, energy, the environment, health care, and civil rights. He is a leader on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, and fought successfully to obtain a historic boost in federal funds for the Bay as part of the Farm Bill and to secure provisions in the Recovery Act that provided loan guarantees for renewable energy projects. He also played an integral role in the effort to pass comprehensive health care reform and fought to ensure that young adults receive expanded access to health insurance. He has been a staunch advocate for critical government reforms. He led the fight to pass far-reaching lobbying disclosure reform and has been a key supporter of whistleblower protections. A former professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Congressman Van Hollen has a strong background in national security policy. He lived and studied abroad in South Asia and has remained active in issues related to U.S. foreign policy in that region and around the world. 

Congressman Van Hollen has received numerous leadership awards for his legislative activities, including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network's "Climate Champion of the Year" award for his contribution to clean-energy policies; the "Community Health Superhero Award" from the National Association of Community Health Centers for his efforts on behalf of the uninsured and medically underserved Americans; the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s “Legislator of the Year” award; Progressive Maryland’s “Champion of Working Families” award; the Maryland Executive Council for Educational Opportunities’ “Excellence in Educational Advocacy” award; and the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Representative of the Year” award. 

Before his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Van Hollen served 4 years in the Maryland House of Delegates and 8 years in the Maryland Senate. His legislative record in Annapolis earned him the praise of The Washington Post, which called him “one of the most effective members of the Maryland legislature.” He is a graduate of Swarthmore College, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Georgetown University Law Center. He lives in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Katherine, and their three children, Anna, Nicholas, and Alexander. 

Taken from Congressman Van Hollen's website.