EXPERT GUESTS - Summer 2019

Abdulwahab Alkebsi – Managing Director for Programs, Center for International Private Enterprise

Abdulwahab Alkebsi is the Managing Director for Programs at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Alkebsi oversees more than 120 programs in over 55 countries and supervises a staff across nine countries, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Ukraine, and at CIPE’s head office in Washington, DC. In his role at CIPE, Alkebsi oversees democracy and market-reform initiatives that combat corruption, build the capacity of business associations to represent private sector voices, strengthen entrepreneurship skills and ecosystems, empower women, organize the informal sector and strengthen property rights, enable access to information, and improve corporate and democratic governance. Prior to joining CIPE, Alkebsi served as the Director of the Middle East and North Africa division at the NED, and prior to that, Alkebsi served as Executive Director at the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID), a non-profit think tank, based in Washington, DC, dedicated to studying Islamic and democratic political thought and merging them into a modern Islamic democratic discourse. A renowned expert on democracy and market reforms as well as on Middle East politics, Alkebsi has been interviewed or quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, U.S. News & World Report, United Press International, PBS, CNN, CNBC, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabia, Al-Hurra, MBC, Abu Dhabi TV, ANA, Nile TV, and many others. 

Dr. Rick Barnes - Supervisor for Radio and Multimedia Operations, Voice of America

Dr. Barnes has been a Supervisor for Radio and Multimedia Operations at VoA for nearly two decades, managing studio engineers and Central Recording technicians for the Radio and Multimedia Operations. He has also been a Public Affairs Officer in the Maryland Defense Force since 2012. He plays the trumpet, string bass, electric bass guitar and valve trombone player with the MDDF Band, representing the militia of the state of Maryland under the command and control of the governor. He has served as a PIO (Public Information Officer) with MEMA (the Maryland Emergency Management Agency) during disaster relief exercises, was a Commander at the Armed Forces School of Music, and a member of the U.S. Army Field Band for twelve years.

Ilan Berman – Senior Vice President, American Foreign Policy Council

lan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for both the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense, and provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices. He has been called one of America's "leading experts on the Middle East and Iran" by CNN. Mr. Berman is a member of the Associated Faculty at Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, and serves as the Editor of The Journal of International Security Affairs. A frequent writer and commentator, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post and USA Today, among many other publications. Mr. Berman is the editor of three books - Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning Beyond Totalitarian Regimes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), co-edited with J. Michael Waller, Taking on Tehran: Strategies for Confronting the Islamic Republic (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), and Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America (Lexington Books, 2015), co-edited with Joseph Humire - and the author of four others: Tehran Rising: Iran's Challenge to the United States (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for America (Regnery Publishing, 2013), and most recently, Iran's Deadly Ambition: The Islamic Republic's Quest for Global Power (Encounter Books, 2015).

Dr. Stephen E. Bryen – former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Trade Security Policy

Dr. Bryen has 40 years of experience in government and industry, having served as a senior staff director of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Trade Security Policy, as the founder and first Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, as the President of Finmeccanica North America, and as a Commissioner of the U.S. China Security Review Commission.  Prior to his government career, Dr. Bryen was Assistant Professor of Government at Lehigh University. Dr. Bryen is the author of three books, numerous articles, and chapters in compendiums on technology and strategy.  His books include: The Application of Cybernetic Analysis to the Study of International Politics; Essays on Technology, Security and Strategy and Technology Security and National Power: Winners and Losers. Dr. Bryen serves on the editorial advisory board of Common Defense Quarterly, and on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the U.S.-Israel Bi-national Science Foundation, which promotes bi-national research in basic science. For his work at the Defense Department, Dr. Bryen was twice awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal.

Josh Carter - Military Legislative Assistant, Sen. John Hoeven

Josh Carter has been a military and homeland security staff member for the United States Senate, and served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Presently he is the Military Legislative Assistant to Senator John Hoeven. Previously he was the Minority Staff Director, Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Josh first came to Washington from his native Kansas to serve on Senator Sam Brownback’s staff from 2003 to 2004, then returned from 2006 to 2011, first as National Security Advisor/Legislative Assistant and later as Legislative Director. In the interim two years, from 2005-2006, he was a Foreign Affairs Specialist in Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he developed and coordinated briefings on Iraq policy for the Secretary of Defense and senior DoD leaders. The previous year, from 2004 – 2005, as Legislative Affairs Coordinator Iraq Project and Contracting Office, he briefed Congressional offices on Iraq reconstruction strategy and contracting process. He holds an MA in International Affairs from American University.

Dr. Seth Cropsey - Director, Center for American Seapower at the Hudson Institute

Dr. Seth Cropsey is the Director of the Center for American Seapower at the Hudson Institute. He began his career in government at the Defense Department as Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and subsequently served as Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and Bush administrations, where he was responsible for the Navy's position on efforts to reorganize DoD, development of the maritime strategy, the Navy's academic institutions, naval special operations, and burden-sharing with NATO allies. In the Bush administration, Dr. Cropsey moved to OSD to become acting assistant secretary, and then principal deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. Dr. Cropsey served as a naval officer from 1985-2004. During the period that preceded the collapse of the USSR, from 1982 to 1984, Dr. Cropsey directed the editorial policy of the Voice of America on the Solidarity movement in Poland, Soviet treatment of dissidents, and other issues. Returning to public diplomacy in 2002 as director of the US government's International Broadcasting Bureau, Dr. Cropsey supervised the agency as successful efforts were undertaken to increase radio and television broadcasting to the Muslim world. Dr. Cropsey's work in the private sector includes reporting for Fortune magazine and as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, as well as as director of the Heritage Foundation's Asia Studies Center from 1991 to 1994. The author of the highly acclaimed book Mayday: The Decline of American Naval Supremacy (2013), Dr. Cropsey's articles on national security and foreign policy have been published in Commentary, Foreign Affairs, The Public Interest, The National Interest, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, and other national journals.

Dr. Alex Glenn Crowther - Senior Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Research, National Defense University

Dr. Crowther grew up in Ethiopia, Brasil, Bolivia and Indonesia where his father worked as a civil engineer. He has extensive government service, including a decade each in the Cold War, the post-Cold War era and the post 9/11 era. He has worked as a Western Hemisphere specialist, a strategist and a political advisor. He served overseas eight times: three times in Latin America, twice in Korea, twice in Iraq and once in Belgium. He has a variety of awards from the Departments of Defense and State as well as the Canadian government. His work at the strategic level includes tours at the Army Staff, the Joint Staff J5 (Strategic Plans & Policies), and as a Research Professor at Strategic Studies Institute (the US Army's think tank). He was personally selected to be a Counterterrorism Advisor for the US Ambassador to Iraq, a Political Advisor for the MNC-I Commander and a Special Assistant for the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe where his responsibilities included Cyber Policy. He is currently the Senior Research Fellow for NATO/Europe and Cyber Policy at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR). He is also an Adjunct Research Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute and a Distinguished Research Associate at the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University. Alex has a BA in International Relations from Tufts University, an MS in International Relations from Troy University, and a Ph.D. in International Development from Tulane University. He was also an International Security Studies Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy.

Dr. John J. Dziak - President of Dziak Group, Inc.

Dr. John J. Dziak is co-founder and President of Dziak Group, Inc., a consulting firm in the fields of intelligence, counterintelligence, counter-deception, national security affairs, and technology transfer. He has served almost five decades as a senior intelligence officer and Senior Executive (SES-4) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and in private consulting, with long experience in counter proliferation, counterintelligence, counter deception, strategic intelligence, and intelligence education. Dr. Dziak has worked in cabinet and sub-cabinet groups on a wide range of intelligence and counterintelligence assignments. He has served as DIA representative to DCI-led major espionage damage assessments, with special emphasis on U.S. critical technologies, and was U.S. representative to senior-level allied intelligence groups concerned with espionage penetrations and hostile special operations. Dr. Dziak received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University, is a graduate of the National War College, and is the recipient of numerous defense and intelligence awards and citations from DoD, DIA, CIA and the Director of National Intelligence, including the Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service. He lectures at the National Intelligence University, has taught at the National War College, Georgetown and George Washington Universities, the Institute of World Politics, and lectures on intelligence, counterintelligence, and foreign affairs throughout the US and abroad. He is the author of the award-winning, Chekisty: A History of the KGB (1988), numerous other books, articles, and monographs, including The Military Relationship Between China and Russia, 1995 – 2002 (2002) prepared for the American Foreign Policy Council, and is currently researching a book on foreign counterintelligence systems. Dr. Dziak is co-founder and President of Dziak Group, Inc., a consulting firm in the fields of technology transfer, intelligence, counterintelligence, and counter deception, with clients in the defense research world and the Intelligence Community.

Mackenzie Eaglen - Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute 

Ms. Eaglen’s research areas at AEI are defense strategy, defense budgets, and military readiness. At AEI, she has also served as a staff member on the National Defense Strategy Commission, a congressionally mandated bipartisan review group whose final report in November 2018, “Providing for the Common Defense,” included assessments and recommendations for the administration’s defense strategy. Earlier, Ms. Eaglen was a member of the National Defense Panel, a blue-ribbon commission established in 2014 to assess US defense interests and strategic objectives, which followed her work on the bipartisan Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel established in 2010 to assess the Pentagon’s major defense strategy. Before joining AEI, Ms. Eaglen worked on defense issues in the House, Senate, and in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. Her many writings have appeared in Breaking Defense, The Hill, RealClearDefense, The Wall Street Journal, and War on the Rocks. She has also testified before Congress. Ms. Eaglen has an M.A. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Mercer University.

Bg Gen Michael R. Eastman –  Director of the National Military Command Center

In his capacity as Deputy Director for Operations, Joint Staff J-33, Brigadier General Eastman is the Director of the National Military Command Center. In 2017, General Eastman was the Executive Officer to the Commanding Officer of the Army Cyber Command during 2015-2016. Having served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the Army from 2012-2013, he assumed command of the 75th Field Artillery Brigade in June 2013, and deployed to the United Arab Emirates in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. His distinguished career includes: serving simultaneously as Deputy Brigade Commander for Civil Capacity, coordinating all military participation in economic, political, and civil reconstruction operations across 4 southern Iraqi provinces; as Commander of an 1800-Soldier Field Artillery Brigade deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield, being responsible for all aspects of training, operations, logistics, and leader development while providing command and control over multiple elements deployed across the Middle East; and in Afghanistan, serving as Special Assistant to the Commanding General of the Office of Military Cooperation. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in International Relations from West Point, a Masters of Military Art and Science from the Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Science and PhD (ABD) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Political Science and Security Studies. His awards include two Bronze Stars and seven Meritorious Service Medals.

Dr. Lee Edwards – Distinguished Fellow in conservative thought at The Heritage Foundation

Dr. Edwards, is a leading historian of American conservatism and the author or editor of 25 books; he is also is adjunct professor of politics at the Catholic University of America and chairman of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. His books include biographies of Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Edwin Meese III as well as histories of The Heritage Foundation and the American conservative movement. His latest book, written with Elizabeth Edwards Spalding, is “A Brief History of the Cold War,” appeared in 2016.  His works have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, Hungarian and Swedish. Edwards was the founding director of the Institute of Political Journalism at Georgetown University and a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a past president of the Philadelphia Society and a media fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has appeared frequently on broadcast and cable outlets such as Fox News Channel, CNN, Bloomberg, NBC, PBS, C-SPAN and NPR. His work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, National Review, Human Events, Claremont Review of Books and The American Spectator, among others.  His awards and honors include the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the Millennium Star of Lithuania, the Cross of Terra Mariana of Estonia, the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy from the Republic of China (Taiwan), the John Ashbrook Award, the Reed Irvine Media in Accuracy Award, Legend of YAF from Young America’s Foundation, and the Walter Judd Freedom Award. Edwards received a doctorate in world politics from Catholic University as well as a doctor of humane letters degree from Grove City College. He did graduate work at the Sorbonne in Paris. He also holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Duke University. 

Michael Toby Estes - Program Financial Manager, Transportation Security Administration

Toby Estes is a Level III Program Financial Manager with the Secure Flight program.  Has served as a Senior Financial Manager with TSA for four years in Program Management Division supporting multiple fee programs including multiple DHS Level I programs on the DHS Major Acquisition Oversight List.  He has seven years experience as a Program Financial Manager with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security supporting ACAT I, ACAT II, and ACAT III programs.  Toby is a Human Resources Warrant Officer in the 29th Infantry Division.  He served on Active Duty in the Navy and has deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Inherent Resolve. 

Fawzia Etemadi Founder and Executive Director, Windows of Peace

Ms. Etemadi is a Founder and Executive Director of Windows of Peace, a televised program in Dari and Pashtu languages, designed to help Afghans achieve peace and reconciliation. She has also been the Vice President of the Muslim Women’s Association (MWA) in Washington DC, an organization whose main goal is to work and assist MWA’s scholarship committee members to advertise, solicit, search and select scholarship for Muslim women. From 2012-2013, she worked for the High Peace Council, HPC, Kabul, Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Program, Afghanistan, where she was appointed as the head of Gender Unit. From 2009-2011, she was Senior Cultural Advisor, International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), employed by McNeil Technology/AECOM-Kabul to provide cultural insights and analysis in pursuit of peace and security in Afghanistan.  As Executive Director of International Relations for Afghanistan National Institute for Peace and Justice from 2007-2009, she promoted conflict-resolution projects among the Afghan tribes and ethnic peoples in Kabul and other provinces of Afghanistan and also served as a liaison between key governors of Afghanistan (Mazari Sharif, Paktia, Baghlan, Jalalabad) and the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Agriculture and USAID, to establish a set of strategic development plans designed to strengthen economic growth in these provinces.  She was an Honorary Cultural Advisor to the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington from 2001-2008, and from 1996-2000 was Founder and Executive Director of the Afghanistan Foundation, Washington D.C.  From 1989-1999, she was the founding member and Executive Director of International Federation of Afghan Women (IFAW)          

Daniel W. Fisk -  Chief Operations Officer of the International Republican Institute (IRI)


Mr. Fisk has served as IRI’s COO since January 2015. He first joined IRI in September 2009 to coordinate its governance programs and from 2010-2014 served as vice president for policy and strategic planning.  Fisk previously served in a number of positions in the U.S. Government, including as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs on the National Security Council; as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs; on the professional staffs of the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees; and as the Deputy Director for International Counternarcotics Matters in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. He is a Senior Advisor to the George W. Bush Institute initiative on North America. Earlier, Fisk was on the staff of The Heritage Foundation as the deputy director of the Davis Institute for International Studies He holds a juris doctor and master’s degree in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa.  He is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, as well as the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dr. John Fonte – Director, Center for American Common Culture, Hudson Institute

Dr. Fonte is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for American Common Culture at Hudson Institute. He is the author of a bestselling book about international law, Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? (Encounter Books, September 2011), for which he won the 2012 ISI Henry Paolucci/Walter Bagehot Book Award. Fonte is also co-editor of Education for America's Role in World Affairs, a textbook on civil and world affairs education widely used in college-level and graduate school teacher-training programs. He has also been a frequent guest and interview subject on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, France 24, Voice of America, Bloomberg TV, NPR, and other broadcast outlets. Fonte previously served as visiting scholar and director of the Committee to Review National Standards at the American Enterprise Institute; senior researcher at the U.S. Department of Education; program administrator at the National Endowment for the Humanities; National Assessment for Educational Progress steering committee member; principal advisor for the Pew Charitable Trusts' CIVITAS curricular project; and consultant to the Lithuanian Ministry for Education and Science, the American Federation of Teachers, the California Academic Standards Commission, and the Texas and Virginia state education departments. Dr. Fonte holds a Ph.D. in World History from the University of Chicago.

Michael Frank -  Research Fellow and Director of DC programs, The Hoover Institution.

As director of Hoover’s DC program, Mr. Franc oversees research and outreach initiatives to promote ideas and scholarship in our nation’s capital. He holds a dual appointment as a research fellow. Prior to joining Hoover, Franc served as policy director and counsel for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He also served as the Vice President of government relations for the Heritage Foundation from 1997-2013; there, he managed all the think tank’s outreach with Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch.  He also completed a tour of duty as communications director for former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) and worked for the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Franc has a BA from Yale University and a JD from Georgetown University.

Eric Hannis - Senior Manager, Raytheon


Hannis is Senior Manager for International and Civil Programs and Policy at the Raytheon Company, a Senior Fellow in Defense Studies at the American Foreign Policy Council, and Senior Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute. Previously he served on Capitol Hill, where he was the principal defense advisor and Military Legislative Assistant to Rep. Randy Forbes (VA-4), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and current Chairman of the HASC Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. Harris was also the Senior Military Legislative Assistant to Rep. Dave Weldon (FL-15), a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, focusing on military and civil space issues.  In the private sector, Hannis was Vice President and head of the defense practice at The Russ Reid Company, a government relations firm, as well as Executive Director at Etherton and Associates, a defense consulting firm. While at both firms, he represented both small and large defense companies on Capitol Hill, in the Pentagon, as well as in other government agencies.  Hannis also currently serves as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force Reserve and is certified as an International Affairs specialist by the Department of Defense.  He has served over nineteen years in the military, including over nine years on active duty, which included assignments in international political-military affairs, operations planning, fighter aircraft maintenance and munitions operations, logistics, and Congressional affairs.  His last active assignment was as the Country Director for Afghanistan and Central Asia for the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs (SAF/IA). Hannis’ military awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, as well as the German Armed Forces Military Proficiency Badge, gold level.  He is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) and is currently a student in Air War College.  Hannis earned a B.A. with honors from Hamilton College (NY) and holds a J.D. from Catholic University School of Law (DC) with a certificate of specialization in international law.Mr. 

Juan Carlos Hidalgo – Policy Analyst on Latin America, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute.


Juan Carlos Hidalgo is a policy analyst on Latin America at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. Previously he was Latin America director of the International Policy Network. He writes frequently on Latin American affairs and his articles have been published in the International New York Times, Miami Herald, Forbes, Huffington Post, New York Post, and leading Spanish-language newspapers such as El País (Spain), La Nación (Argentina), El Tiempo (Colombia), El Universal (Mexico), and El Mercurio(Chile), among others. He’s a weekly columnist in La Nación, Costa Rica’s most influential daily. He appears regularly on CNN en Español, NTN24, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, and a variety of other international TV and radio outlets. Hidalgo received his BA in international relations from the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica and holds a master’s degree in international commerce and policy from George Mason University. He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Dr. Radu Ioanid –  Director, International Archival Program, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Dr. Ioanid, who directs the Holocaust Museum's International Archival Program, was vice-president of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania headed by Elie Wiesel in 2003/2004. His book The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944 (2000), shows the stages of Romanian massacres of Jews: the retreat from Bukovina and Bessarabia in June 1940, the massacres of summer 1941 including the Iaşi pogrom, as well as mass murder in the killing fields of Transnistria. Further publications include The Sword of the Archangel: Fascist Ideology in Romania (1990) and Le Pogrom de Jassy (2015).

Agota Kuperman - Senior Foreign Service Officer (Ret.), Department of State

Ms. Kuperman has served as Senior Foreign Service Officer in more than ten posts abroad for the U. S. Information Agency (USIA) and the State Department, including Tehran, Iran; Islamabad, Pakistan; Tunis, Tunisia; and elsewhere. In Bucharest, Romania, she was spokesperson during the 1989 revolution; in Bonn, Germany, she served as cultural attaché; in Sarajevo, Bosnia, she was a White House spokesperson. She also served at the Department of State as senior inspector; a press officer for the Macedonian peace process; and a public affairs officer in Kabul, Afghanistan. After retiring from public service, she participated in evaluations and programs on strategic communications for Booz Allen and Allied Technology Group. She is currently a Contractor for Department of State.

Anna Stumpf Smith Lacey - Executive Director, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation


Mrs. Lacey joined the HIF in July 2016. As executive director, she is responsible for overall management of HIF and for providing strategic advice to the Board on its grants policy and cultural and educational initiatives. Before that, she served in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry as U.S. Desk officer and subsequently as political attaché at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington. She then worked as an external relations advisor at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. She is currently also Vice President of Common Sense Society of Budapest. She authored, translated and edited numerous English and Hungarian language publications on U.S. and Hungarian democracy issues and constitutionalism, she was a frequent contributor to the Hungarian Weekly Magazine, Heti Válasz covering American politics. As a Kellner Scholar, Anna spent one year at Bard College, NY. An alumna of The Fund for American Studies’ Prague and D.C. summer institutes, as well as the Hungarian American Coalition’s Internship Program, she was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, earned her Master’s degree in International Relations at Corvinus University focusing on American foreign policy and pursued graduate studies at ELTE School of English and American Studies. Besides Hungarian and English, she speaks German, French and Italian.

Todd Leventhal - Senior Counter-Disinformation Advisor,  Global Engagement Center, U.S. Department of State

Todd Leventhal is a retired Senior Counter-Disinformation Officer, now a consultant at the Global Engagement Center at the U.S. Department of State.  He has 20 years of experience in analyzing and countering Soviet, Russian, Iraqi and other disinformation, conspiracy theories and urban legends at the State Department, the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), and the Department of Defense. Mr. Leventhal wrote the 1992 USIA report to Congress Soviet Active Measures in the “Post-Cold War” Era, which analyzed the conciliatory influence techniques of Gorbachev’s “new political thinking,” and the 1988 USIA report Soviet Active Measures in the Era of Glasnost. He led the U.S. government effort to counter Iraqi propaganda and disinformation during the 1991 Gulf War, later writing Iraqi Propaganda and Disinformation during the Gulf War: Lessons for the Future. He wrote the 1994 USIA report to the United Nations, The Child Organ Trafficking Rumor: a Modern “Urban Legend.” Mr. Leventhal has given interviews on disinformation to CNN, Good Morning America, ABC's 20/20, The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Sunday Times of London, Le Point, and many other television, radio, and print outlets. Mr. Leventhal also worked at Voice of America, writing radio documentaries on Soviet and national security affairs.  He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MA in Russian area studies from Georgetown University.

Scott Mastic - Vice President for Programs, International Republican Institute

Mr. Mastic joined IRI in 1998 and previously served as IRI’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa region where he led political party building, elections support, civil society strengthening and democratic governance programs. He has been an election observer on missions to Afghanistan, Egypt, Honduras, Jordan, Macedonia, Pakistan, Timor-Leste, Ukraine and the West Bank/Gaza. In addition to testifying before Congress, he has participated in transatlantic dialogues with the European People’s Party Center for European Studies and the European Ideas Network.  He has spoken at the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the Arab Spring, and has appeared on PBS’ Newshour, CNN, Fox News, National Public Radio and has written on the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Fikra Forum. Prior to joining IRI, Mastic worked in the State Legislature of Ohio first as an aide to State Representative Pat Tiberi and later serving the chairs of the Ohio Senate Finance and Economic Development committees. Mastic holds a master’s degree from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. 

COL David S. Maxwell - Senior Fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracy

COL  Maxwell, currently a Senior Fellow with FDD, is a 30-year veteran of the US Army retiring as a Special Forces Colonel with his final assignment serving on the military faculty teaching national security at the National War College. He spent the majority of his military service overseas with over 20 years in Asia, primarily in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines leading organizations from the A-Team to the Joint Special Operations Task Force level. He hails from Madison, Connecticut and is a 1980 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a BA in Political Science and has Masters Degrees in Military Arts and Science and National Security Studies from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College of the National Defense University. He received his commission from the Officer Candidate School in 1981. In addition, he is a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies (ICAS) and on the Board of Directors of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Council of Korean Studies, the Special Operations Research Association, and the Small Wars Journal. He is a Life Member of the Special Forces Association and the National War College Alumni Association. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (1 OLC), the Legion of Merit, (1 OLC) the Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (4 OLC), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), The Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Korean Defense Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon (numeral 5), the Joint Meritorious Unit Citation, the Army Meritorious Unit Citation, the Philippine Legion of Honor, the Philippine Humanitarian Service Medal, the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Korean, Philippines, and Australian Parachute Badges and the Special Forces and Ranger Tabs.

Dr.  Jacquie Pfeffer Merrill - Director, Campus Free Expression Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. 


Prior to joining BPC, Dr. Merrill was the executive director of the Fund for Academic Renewal (FAR), a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, where she worked closely with donors to design, monitor and evaluate transformative gifts to higher education that meet their philanthropic objectives. Prior to that, Merrill was vice president of development at ACTA. Before joining ACTA, Merrill taught at St. John's College, the college of William & Mary, Duke University, the University of Calgary, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, and in the college program at Maryland's only prison for women. Her essays on philanthropy and higher education appeared in Philanthropy, Philanthropy Daily, and other forums. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University and her B.A. from the University of Calgary. 

Dr. Thomas Merrill – Associate Director, Political Theory Institute, and Interim Chairman, Department of Government, American University

Dr. Thomas W. Merrill is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Government and Associate Director of the Political Theory Institute, all in the School of Public Affairs at American University  He is the author of Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment (Cambridge, 2015), which won the Delba Winthrop Prize for Best Recent Work in Political Philosophy, and articles in The Review of Politics, Polity, and Perspectives on Political Science. He is also a co-editor of Apples of Gold in Pictures in Silver: Honoring the Work of Leon R. Kass (Lexington, 2010) and Human Dignity and Bioethics (Notre Dame, 2009). He was a research analyst with the President’s Council on Bioethics from 2007 to 2009.

Dr. Hamid Naweed - Afghan-American writer and art historian.

An Afghan-American writer and art historian, Dr. Naweed received his MFA from State University of New York at Buffalo after which he thought Art History and Aesthetics at Kabul University. As a Fulbright scholarship, he authored a number of articles on Afghan art. He serves on the advisory board of The Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage, and a correspondent for C-SPAN, as well as a contributor for NPR. Naweed is the author of several books, including one on Rumi and another on Afghan art history,for which he was recognized by the Afghan Embassy in Washington DC. His screenplay for Loori won the Best Screenplay Award at New York Film Festival. Currently he hosts a regular TV show exploring art on Zarin TV.

Rosa Park - Director of Programs and Editor, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea


Rosa Park is the Director of Programs and Editor at the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) and has been working for the organization since 2011. She has conducted numerous interviews with experts and North Korean escapees published on HRNK Insider, and also directs conference planning and execution. She has worked on major conferences and information outreach in Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles. Ms. Park received an M.A. in International Politics from American University's School of International Service, an M.A. in Korean Studies from Korea University, and a B.A. in International Relations from American University’s School of International Service with a minor in Graphic Design.

Dr. Roger Pilon – Vice President for Legal Studies Emeritus, Founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies, and B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

Dr. Roger Pilon is the founding director of Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies, which has become an important force in the national debate over constitutional interpretation and judicial philosophy. He is also the founding publisher of the Cato Supreme Court Review and he is the inaugural holder of Cato’s B. Kenneth Simon Chair in Constitutional Studies. Prior to joining Cato, Pilon held five senior posts in the Reagan administration, including at State and Justice, and was a national fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. In 1989 the Bicentennial Commission presented him with its Benjamin Franklin Award for excellence in writing on the U.S. Constitution. In 2001 Columbia University’s School of General Studies awarded him its Alumni Medal of Distinction. Pilon lectures and debates at universities and law schools across the country and testifies often before Congress. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Legal Times, National Law Journal, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Stanford Law and Policy Review, and elsewhere. He has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, CBS’s 60 Minutes II, Fox News Channel, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN, and other media.  Dr, Pilon holds a BA from Columbia University, an MA and a PhD from the University of Chicago, and a JD from the George Washington University School of Law.

Eric Rozenman – Communications Consultant for inFOCUS Magazine.

From 2002 to 2016 Mr. Rozenman served as Washington director for CAMERA, the Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. Rozenman worked as deputy and acting communications director for B’nai B’rith International from 1997 to 2002, edited the Washington Jewish Week from 1992 to 1997, prior to which he was publications editor for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, editor of Near East Report (published in association with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee); press secretary for U.S. Rep. Robert N. Shamansky and reporter for the Ohio Scripps-Howard Newspapers state bureau, among other posts. His work-related and freelance commentaries and analyses have appeared in daily newspapers including The Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times and Jerusalem Post, and in periodicals including Policy Review, Journal for the Study of Antisemitism and Journal of International Security Affairs. 

Dr. Julie S. Ryan – CEO, Wyndrose Technical Group

Julie J.C.H. Ryan, D.Sc., is the CEO of Wyndrose Technical Group, having retired from academia in 2017.  Her last position in academia was Professor of Cybersecurity and Information Assurance from the U.S. National Defense University.  Prior to that, she was tenured faculty at the George Washington University and a visiting scholar at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).  Dr. Ryan came to academia from a career in industry that began when she completed military service.  Upon graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Dr. Ryan served as a Signals Intelligence Officer in the Air Force, and then as a Military Intelligence Officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency.  Upon leaving government service, she worked in a variety of positions, including systems engineer, consultant, and senior staff scientist with companies including Sterling Software, Booz Allen & Hamilton, Welkin Associates, and TRW/ESL supporting a variety of projects and clients.  She is the author of several books, including Defending Your Digital Assets Against Hackers, Crackers, Spies, and Thieves (McGraw Hill 2000), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS).  At Wyndrose Technical Group, she focuses on futures forecasting and strategic planning with an eye on technology surprise and disruption.

Omran Salman - News Producer, Alhurra TV, Middle East Broadcasting Networks. 

Omran Salman has been a news producer for Alhurra TV at Middle East Broadcasing Networks, since 2009.  From 2006-9 he was the founder and director of the Arab Reform Project AAFAQ (Horizons), which linked pro-democracy activists throughout the Middle East.  From 2003-6 he was a journalist for Radio Sawa where he created and ran a news program broadcasting to the Middle East, featuring political, economic, and cultural news to the Middle East. From 2004-5, he was Senior Editor of the “Iraq Democracy Papers” for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy in Washington DC, which entailed supervising the production of a 6-part study of key ideas and pillars of liberal democracy from different areas and cultures (Arabic, Islamic, Western and Asian).  From 2002-3 he was a journalist for Al-Jazeera Channel in Doha, Qatar. He received his B.Sc. in Telecommunication Engineering at the College of Telecommunication in Sofia, Bulgaria, and studied journalism at the University of Bahrain.  He is fluent in Arabic, English, and Bulgarian.

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer – Senior Vice President, Foundation for Defense of Democracy

Prior to joining FDD, Dr. Schanzer was a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers.  A former research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Dr. Schanzer has studied Middle East history in four countries. He earned his Ph.D. from King's College London, where he wrote his dissertation on the U.S. Congress and its efforts to combat terrorism in the 20th century. His publications include: State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State (Palgrave Macmillan), which argues the main roadblock to Palestinian statehood is not necessarily Israel's intransigence, but the Palestinian Authority's political dysfunction and mismanagement. His 2008 book, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (2013), Al-Qaeda's Armies: Middle East Affiliate Groups and the Next Generation of Terror (2004), Palestinian Pulse: What Policymakers Can Learn From Palestinian Social Media (2010), Facebook Fatwa: Saudi Clerics, Wahhabi Islam and Social Media (2012). Dr. Schanzer has testified before Congress and publishes widely in the American and international media.  He has appeared on American television channels such as Fox News and CNN, and Arabic language television channels such as al-Arabiyya and al-Jazeera.

John Simmons - Senior Intelligence Analyst, within the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security.

Prior to his current position, John Simmons served as a Senior Intelligence Analysis and Operations officer in several joint defense organizations and retired as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the J2 at Special Operations Command-Central in Tampa, FL. He also served as a Senior Intelligence Analyst at the Joint Special Operations Command at Ft. Bragg, NC and the Deputy Director of Intelligence at the Asymmetric Warfare Group at Ft. Meade, MD. 

Marion Smith - Executive Director, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Marion Smith is a civil-society leader, expert in international affairs and has been Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation since March 2014. As Executive Director, he provides strategic leadership for VOC and spearheads its educational initiatives. In addition to his work at VOC, Smith is also founding president of the Common Sense Society, an international foundation that promotes civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and leadership virtues among young professionals in the United States and Europe. Smith is a native of South Carolina, where his ancestors fought as both Patriots and Tories during the American War of Independence. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wofford College with a bachelor of arts degree in Government & History. He has studied in England, France, The Netherlands, and Hungary, where he received a masters’ degree in International Relations from Central European University. He is chairman of the National Civic Art Society and was previously a visiting fellow at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation. Smith’s research focuses on the role of ideas in American foreign policy, U.S. diplomatic and military history, and on the future of transatlantic security cooperation. His articles have appeared in various publications, including USA Today,, The Hill, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, National Review, and The Weekly Standard

Dr. Matthew Spalding - Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs, Hillsdale College, Washington, D.C. Kirby Center.

Dr. Spalding is Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs for Hillsdale College in Washington, D.C. As such he oversees the operations of the Kirby Center and the various academic and educational programs of Hillsdale in the nation’s capital. He is the best-selling author of We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future, which details America’s core principles, shows how they have come under assault by modern progressive-liberalism and lays out a strategy to recover them. Spalding also is executive editor of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, a line-by-line analysis of each clause of the U.S. Constitution. His other books include A Sacred Union of Citizens: Washington’s Farewell Address and the American Character; Patriot Sage: George Washington and the American Political Tradition; and The Founders’ Almanac: A Practical Guide to the Notable Events, Greatest Leaders & Most Eloquent Words of the American Founding. Prior to joining Hillsdale, Dr. Spalding was Vice President of American Studies at The Heritage Foundation and founding director of its B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics. He continues at Heritage as the Henry Salvatori Visiting Fellow, and is also a Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. In addition to teaching at Hillsdale, he has taught at George Mason University, the Catholic University of America and Claremont McKenna College.

Charles “Cully” Stimson– Manager, National Security Law Program, and Senior Fellow, Davis Institute for International Studies, The Heritage Foundation


Charles “Cully” Stimson is a widely recognized expert in national security, homeland security, crime control, drug policy and immigration. A senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation since 2007, Stimson became Manager of the National Security Law Program in Heritage’s Davis Institute for International Studies in April 2013 after serving as Heritage’s chief of staff for a year.  S Before 2007, Stimson served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs. He advised then-Secretaries of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates and coordinated the Pentagon’s global detention policy and operations, including at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was chairman of detainee-related panels such as the Defense Senior Leadership Oversight Committee, and the Special Detainee Follow Up Group.  An accomplished trial lawyer, Stimson worked as a prosecutor at the local, state and federal levels, where he concentrated on violent crimes such as homicide, sexual assault and domestic violence.  A third-generation naval officer, Cully also served as a military prosecutor, defense counsel, and recently served as Deputy Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary. He continues to serve, with the rank of Captain, as the Commanding Officer of the Appellate Government Division of NR Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity. Stimson’s thousands of media interviews and appearances include Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, NPR and C-SPAN. A businessman and educator by training, Stimson is Vice Chairman of his family’s commercial real estate company in Seattle. Before 9/11, he was a Vice President at a New York-based global financial services and insurance brokerage firm where ran the private equity mergers and acquisitions D.C. operation. Stimson holds a law degree from the George Mason University, where he later taught, and is a graduate of Kenyon College, where he was Captain of the men’s varsity soccer team and an All-Conference player. He also studied at Harvard and Exeter universities. An avid soccer player and triathlete, he serves as Chairman of the Board of the United States Soccer Foundation, the charitable giving arm of U.S. Soccer.

Dorothy Taft – Executive Director, The Market Project

Dorothy has more than three decades of experience in US and international policy to advance human rights protection, democratic governance and civil society program development, as well as issues related to trauma healing. Before that, she was Director of USAID’s Office of Democracy and Governance; Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff for the US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe; Professional Staff for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere; and Foreign Policy Legislative Assistant for a Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

J Randall Tift - Senior Adviser, Office of Acquisition and Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development

J Randall Tift is currently Senior Adviser for the USAID Office of Acquisition and Assistance and co-Senior Leader Champion for Effective Partnering and Procurement Reform (EPPR) under the USAID Redesign. EPPR seeks to elevate excellence in program design, partnering approaches, and aid delivery mechanisms to enable more effective locally-led development, flexibility, innovation, and diversification of the USAID partner base.  From 2006-2017, Randy was Senior Adviser and Senior Director for Policy at World Vision in Washington, DC. In this role, Randy managed WV policy engagement in crisis response, operational risk, program effectiveness in fragile states, civil society strengthening, human rights, counter-terrorism, and other issues affecting WV brand, mission, and message. He coordinated US donor support for field programs promoting local advocacy and policy change as a critical driver of development outcomes in over 40 countries. From 1995-2005, Randy managed international development programs in the Balkans. As Chief of Party in Serbia, Randy managed the $50 million USAID Community Revitalization through Democratic Action (CRDA) program, supporting post-conflict civic participation, income generation, and reconstruction assistance to Serbia. He earlier served as USAID Senior Adviser for Democracy and Governance in Romania, managing a portfolio of a dozen US and local implementing partners building new coalitions for reform, promoting programs to remove barriers to free enterprise and economic growth, and strengthening Romanian democratic institutions. Prior to this, Randy served as coordinator of a US Congressional assistance program in the Romanian Parliament.

Piotr Trabinski – Advisor to the Executive Director, IMF

Piotr Trabinski is an Advisor to the Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund for the Swiss-Polish Constituency. He holds an M.A. in Law, and earned an Executive MA in National Security from The Institute of World Politics in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the IMS, he worked in the telecommunication and banking industry, achieving a managerial position in the global financial institution Banco Santander (Bank Zachodni WBK). His principal focus is on the strategic significance of cyberspace domain and its impact on international and domestic policies.


Dr. Juliana Geran Pilon - WAPONS Director; Senior Fellow, Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization

The WAPONS Director, Dr. Pilon also teaches at American University and serves as faculty advisor for AU’s Alexander Hamilton Society chapter. In 2014, she helped found the Daniel Morgan Academy in Washington, DC. Her latest book is The Utopian Conceit and the War on Freedom, to be released in August 2019. Others include: The Art of Peace: Engaging a Complex World (2016); Soulmates: Resurrecting Eve (2012); the anthology Cultural Intelligence for Winning the Peace (2009); Why America is Such a Hard Sell: Beyond Pride and Prejudice (2007), the anthology Every Vote Counts: The Role of Elections in Building Democracy, which she co-edited with Richard Soudriette (2007); The Bloody Flag: Post-Communist Nationalism in Eastern Europe -- Spotlight on Romania (1991); and Notes From the Other Side of Night (1979, 1994, 2014). Her anthology on civic education, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Ironic Points of Light, was published in Estonian and Russian in 1998. She has also written and edited a textbook on civic education, which is being used, in country-specific versions, throughout Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, endorsed by the Departments of Education in these countries.  She has published over two hundred articles and reviews on international affairs, human rights, literature, and philosophy, and has made frequent appearances on radio and television. During the 1990s, she was first the Director and later the Vice President for Programs at IFES, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, where she designed, conducted, and managed projects related to a wide variety of democratization projects. Born in Romania, she emigrated with her family and arrived in the U.S. as a teenager. After receiving her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, she held post-doctoral fellowships in international relations at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and at the Institute of Humane Studies. She has also taught at Emory University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, American University, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Institute of World Politics where she was Director of the Center for Culture and Security. Selected to membership in the Council on Foreign Affairs, she has also served on the board of advisors of the Auschwitz-based human rights organization Oswiencim Institute for Human Rights and the International Advisory Board of B‘nai Brith. She speaks Romanian, English, French, and some Hungarian.