Future Leaders Program 2011-2012
The Foreign Policy Initiative Future Leaders Program class of 2011 – 2012 consisted of twenty-one young professionals who were chosen to participate in monthly dinners and discussions aimed at preparing them to become the next generation of leaders in foreign policy. The group included members with an array of backgrounds and experience in government, the private sector, media, academia, non-profits, and the U.S. military.
The Future Leaders Program was developed to create an opportunity for young professionals in Washington to engage in thoughtful and educational conversations on foreign policy and hear from thinkers and practitioners in international affairs. It provided an atmosphere for these emerging leaders to share their own insights as well as career and travel experiences. The Future Leaders participated in dinners on U.S. diplomatic relationships, the war in Afghanistan, and critical national security threats, among other topics. Leading policy experts drove the monthly discussions and provided career guidance and advice to the group.
What Future Leaders had to say about the program:
"The dinners were excellent events. I thoroughly enjoyed the guest speakers and thought they provided fascinating insight into a vast array of foreign policy related matters."
"Overall, great experience! I really enjoyed being part of FPI over this past year."
- Lazar Berman, Research Program Manager for Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
- Ben Birnbaum, Foreign Affairs Reporter, The Washington Times
- Cole Bockenfeld, Director of Advocacy, Project on Middle East Democracy
- Patrick Costello, Associate Director of Congress & U.S. Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations
- Jay Daniel, Senior Consultant-Defense, Booz Allen Hamilton
- J.P. Freire, Senior Communications Strategist, New Media Strategies
- Ari Fridman, Counsel for Oversight and Investigations, U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Sergio Gor, Communications Director, U.S. Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA)
- Jennifer Hinkle, Strategic Analyst of Office of Asia-Pacific Analysis, Defense Intelligence Agency
- Allison Jacobs Anderson, Analyst, Department of Homeland Security
- Matthew Jones, Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense / Pilot, U.S. Air Force
- Jeffrey Kausek, Senior Consultant-Military, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Christopher Malagisi, CPAC Director, American Conservative Union
- Paul Miller, Assistant Professor of International Security Studies, National Defense University / Intelligence Officer, U.S. Army Reserves
- Eric Sayers, Military Legislative Assistant, U.S. Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA)
- Nicholas Schroback, Infantry Officer, U.S. Marine Corps
- Jennafer Spealman, Budget Analyst, U.S. House Committee on the Budget
- Anna Stumpf, Congressional Liaison, Embassy of Hungary
- Joshua Walker, Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund
- Melissa Wisner, Policy Advisor to the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury
- Maseh Zarif, Research Manager for the Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute
Lazar is the research program manager in the foreign policy department at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He writes on issues pertaining to Israel, the Middle East, and military affairs, and has published in Small Wars Journal, The Weekly Standard, Commentary Magazine, and The Journal of Strategic Studies.
Before joining AEI, Lazar worked at the trade and investment section of the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Lazar studied at Boston University for his undergraduate degree, majoring in European History and playing second base for the B.U. Terriers. Lazar studied abroad in Glasgow, Scotland. He then moved to Israel and served as an infantry officer in the Israel Defense Force, including eight months in a Bedouin scout battalion. Lazar received his M.A. in Security Studies with a concentration in military operations from Georgetown University. He is also a chaplain-in-residence at Georgetown University.
In his spare time, Lazar paints, hikes, fishes, and tries to learn the bagpipes. He speaks Hebrew fluently, is studying Arabic and Kurdish, and took Scottish Gaelic in Scotland.
Ben Birnbaum is a foreign affairs reporter for The Washington Times. He has covered more than 40 countries on all six continents and has reported on location from Israel, Turkey, Hungary, South Korea, and Bahrain.
His work has been referenced by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, POLITICO, The Associated Press, TIME, CBS, NPR, Voice of America, The Economist, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, Reason, The Weekly Standard, and local news outlets around the world.
Ben has interviewed Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge, Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, Hungarian Foreign Janos Martonyi, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, former Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and the opposition leaders of India, Afghanistan, and Bahrain.
A native of Boston, Ben graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a dual degree in government and psychology; after high school, he studied for a year at the Jerusalem College of Technology. Prior to joining The Washington Times, he was a reporter-researcher at The New Republic. He speaks Hebrew and has a special interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Cole Bockenfeld works for the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) as the director of advocacy and editor of the POMED Wire blog and the Weekly Wire digest. He has studied U.S. and Middle Eastern politics, history, and Arabic language at the University of Arkansas, Georgetown University, and Al al-Bayt University in Jordan. Prior to joining POMED, Cole worked for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) on electoral assistance programs in Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, and the West Bank and Gaza, including fieldwork in Beirut and Baghdad. He also conducted research with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) in Amman.
In 2010, Cole was selected as a member of The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) Fellows program, which develops young leaders that share a commitment to helping improve public policy. He recently worked with the Society for International Development – Washington to re-launch the Middle East Workgroup, and is an active mentor to interns working in the field of foreign policy through TFAS. His advocacy work with POMED over the past several months has played an invaluable role in the foreign policy debate since the beginning of the “Arab Spring.” Representing POMED, Cole has been at the forefront of discussions with Congress, the State Department, and the White House as an important contributor to policymakers as they adjust to new realities in the region.
Patrick Costello is the associate director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy program. In this capacity, Patrick runs CFR’s congressional outreach program and positions the Council as a resource to members of Congress and their staff.
Patrick was an aide to former U. S. Representative Jon Porter. His legislative portfolio included trade, foreign affairs, small business, agriculture, and financial services issues. Patrick also served as a government relations counsellor with International Business-Government Counsellors where he directed congressional relations and managed a coalition advocating the passage of various trade related legislation. Prior to joining CFR’s Washington office, he was a senior associate at The Whitaker Group.
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Patrick earned bachelor’s degrees in History, International Relations, and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. Patrick also earned a post-graduate certificate from Exeter College, University of Oxford, and a master’s degree from King’s College London. He has also done graduate study at the National Defense University. His topical foreign policy interests include international law, international peace and security, terrorism and counter-radicalization; his regional interests include Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
Jay Daniel is a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton. In this capacity, he provides clients management and technology consulting services. Past clients include the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Defense. Jay is pursuing a Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy at George Mason University, School of Public Policy. Jay is an Arabic speaker. Prior to joining Booz Allen, Jay served five years in the U.S. Army, deploying several times to the Middle East.
Jay was born in raised in Richmond, Virginia. He attended Hampden-Sydney College where he received a liberal arts education and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. At Hampden-Sydney, Jay played NCAA Division III football and studied leadership and public service under the mentorship of Lieutenant General Samuel V. Wilson (U.S Army, Ret.). Jay’s primary policy interest is national security with particular interest in the intersection of politics, security, and economics.
J.P. Freire is a senior communications strategist at New Media Strategies.
As a journalist for nearly a decade, J.P. has covered politics, finance, national security, higher education, and government corruption. His investigative work has been cited by Congress and he regularly appears on Fox News and MSNBC, and has also appeared on CNN International and various radio shows. In 2009, J.P. was named CPAC Journalist of the Year.
Previously, J.P. served as deputy editorial page editor at the Washington Examiner and managing editor of the American Spectator. He worked at The New York Times as a research assistant to columnist John Tierney while also writing on politics for the Times's political blog, "The Caucus." His work has also appeared in National Review Online, The Washington Times, Reason, and the Providence Journal.
J.P. graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in English (focusing on renaissance literature) and minored in government (focusing on political theory and comparative politics). He is from Stamford, Connecticut.
Ari Fridman has been counsel for oversight and investigations on the House Foreign Affairs Committee since January 2011. His portfolio involves the Committee’s oversight of the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, and the Peace Corps. Ari has worked on multiple committee investigations, hearings, and follow-on legislation. He is particularly interested in the rise of China and counterinsurgency doctrine.
In September 2010, he began working on the Committee as a legal fellow after completing the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Previously, Ari served as a senior policy adviser to the congressional campaign of Randy Altschuler in New York’s First Congressional District. He has also interned at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and for the Honorable Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York.
From 2006-2007, Ari received the Legacy Heritage Fellowship, working at the American Jewish Committee for Executive Director David Harris on public policy issues. Ari graduated magna cum laude from Yeshiva University, where he edited the school newspaper, The Commentator. Ari has interned on Capitol Hill for Congressman Eric Cantor and at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Ari is a resident of Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood.
Sergio Gor is the communications director in the office of U.S. Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA). Previously, he worked at Fox Business Network in New York City assisting in the production of various editorial programs. Prior to that, Sergio worked as a press secretary for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Congressman Steve King of Iowa. In the 2008 Presidential election, he worked for the Republican National Committee communications team in D.C. and various battleground states. Sergio also worked at various internships in the George W. Bush administration including the White House and the Department of Justice. Sergio is a double major graduate of the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. During his time at the George Washington University, he was involved in various on campus and off campus activities, including GW Young America’s Foundation, College Republicans, and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.
Major Jennnifer Hinkle serves U.S. Army and as a strategic intelligence analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in the Office of Asia Pacific Analysis. In this capacity, Jenn evaluates and writes extensively on Southeast Asian defense and security affairs, with a special focus on the Philippines and South China Sea issues.
Prior to working at DIA, Jenn served as a strategic planner for the Joint Interagency Task Force–Iraq, where she worked at U.S. Embassy Baghdad and synchronized the whole-of-government approach to defeat al Qaida in Iraq.
She has lived extensively oversees, to include six months in London while studying at the London School of Economics and interning in Parliament, and in a military capacity has served two years in Seoul, two and a half years in Beijing, and two years in Baghdad.
Jenn holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in International Affairs and Economics with a focus on Chinese studies, a Master of Business Administration jointly from Peking and Fordham Universities, and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Defense Intelligence College.
Allison Jacobs Anderson is an analyst at the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, she was a Middle East media analyst at Strategic Social, a strategic communications firm located in Arlington, VA.
Before moving to D.C., Allison served two years in the U.S. Peace Corps in Jordan, where she worked with the Higher Council for Youth promoting youth participation. Her previous experiences include working at the Carnegie Endowment’s Middle East Center in Beirut where she investigated the effects of privatization and market reforms in the region, interning at the State Department’s MEPI program in Washington, D.C., as well as working in government affairs at Daimler-Chrysler in her native Michigan.
Allison is a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where she concentrated in Strategic Studies and International Economics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Arabic & Islamic Studies from the University of Michigan and studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. She lives on Capitol Hill with her husband Ryan.
Major Matthew Jones is currently serving as a personnel recovery policy advisor under the deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs. His responsibilities include Department of Defense personnel recovery policy, strategy, and oversight. Prior to this joint assignment, he was an Air Force fellow and chief of staff of the Air Force Scholar at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Matt was commissioned in 1999 as a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he commanded 4,000 cadets as the Cadet Wing Commander. He is a senior C-5 pilot experienced in operational combat and humanitarian deployments including missions in Haiti, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Diego Garcia. In 2007, Matt was selected amongst 3,000 peers as the top junior officer in Air Mobility Command as their Company Grade Officer of the Year. He is interested in national security strategy and policy, cyber security, and leadership.
Matt holds master’s degrees in Public Administration and Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science degree in Management, and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force’s Squadron Officer School and Air Command and Staff College.
Jeffrey Kausek is a senior consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton supporting the United States Marine Corps, Capabilities Development Directorate.
Jeffrey is a former Marine officer with two tours in Iraq (2006 and 2007) and one tour in Afghanistan (2009). While overseas he served a logistician and as an embedded military advisor with the Iraqi Army. He completed his active service in July, 2011 as a company commander with 3D Battalion, 4TH Marines in 29 Palms, California.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2005 with a B.S. in history and is currently pursuing a Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University. He grew up in Boston and lives in Arlington.
Christopher Malagisi presently serves as CPAC director for The American Conservative Union (ACU) – the nation’s oldest conservative movement organization that organizes the largest gathering of conservatives each year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Chris also serves as an adjunct professor at American University teaching History of the Conservative Movement: 1945-Present and Campaigns & Political Activism and is the founder & chairman of the Young Conservatives Coalition – a D.C.-based, young professional leadership and networking organization.
He most recently was the director of political & new media training at The Leadership Institute – a national conservative political training organization, has formally worked on three U.S. presidential campaigns, a high-profile U.S. Senate campaign, the International Republican Institute (travelling to Afghanistan), Capitol Hill, and the College Republican National Committee.
Chris was awarded the “2009 Rising Star Award” from Campaigns & Elections Magazine for significant achievements in national politics. He has appeared on FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, FoxBusiness and CSPAN as a political analyst, is frequently published, and recently completed a fellowship with the National Review Institute.
He received a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and graduated from American University with a B.A. in Political Science. He is an alum of Semester at Sea (sailing around the world), is originally from Buffalo, NY and has recorded two piano albums.
Dr. Paul D. Miller is an assistant professor of international security studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. He previously served as director for Afghanistan on the National Security Council staff from September 2007 to September 2009. He supported the 2008 and 2009 Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy reviews for the Bush and Obama Administrations. Paul served as a political analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency specializing in South Asia prior to his work in the White House. He also serves as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002.
Paul holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in International Relations and a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University. His dissertation was on the cause of success and failure in armed international statebuilding operations. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Weekly Standard, Studies in Intelligence, The City, and elsewhere, and he has forthcoming articles in First Things, Books and Culture, Small Wars and Insurgencies, and PRISM. His research interests include state failure and statebuilding, reconstruction and stabilization operations, South Asia, intelligence and foreign policy, and U.S. national security process.
Paul lives in Cheverly, MD, with his wife and two children.
Eric Sayers is the military legislative assistant to Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R-VA). He was previously a resident SPF Fellow and WSD-Handa Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in Honolulu, Hawaii. He holds an M.Sc. in Strategic Studies from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) and an M.A. in Political Science with a focus on international relations theory from The University of Western Ontario.
He worked as a research assistant for national security policy in the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. and as a research assistant with the U.S. Research Program at RSIS. His research focuses on U.S. defense policy in the Asia-Pacific, including force posture and alliance management. He has published in numerous outlets, including Joint Forces Quarterly, Defense News, The Diplomat, Armed Forces Journal, The Weekly Standard, and the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine. He was chosen by the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy to be featured in the Fall 2011 edition of the Diplomatic Courier as one of the "Top 99 Most Influential International Professionals Under 33."
Captain Nick Schroback is an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps currently serving in a ceremonial capacity at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. In addition to duties as a ceremonial platoon commander, Nick also serves as a White House Social Aide.
Previously, Nick served as an infantry platoon commander at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In 2010, he deployed with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. During the seven month deployment, Nick and his platoon provided humanitarian assistance in response to the earthquake in Haiti and participated in theater-security cooperation operations in Africa and the Middle East.
Nick graduated cum laude in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in History from Tufts University. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in International Security at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In his free time, Nick is an avid cyclist, runner, skier, snowboarder, and golfer.
Jennafer Spealman is a budget analyst on the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee, Majority Staff. She is responsible for all strategic and budgetary recommendations regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs (Function 700) and International Affairs (Function 150). Combined, these accounts include many vital programs such as the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
Jenna graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia in 2008 with a double major in Foreign Affairs and Religious Studies and went directly to graduate school to receive her Master’s in Public Policy at George Mason University in 2010 as a Seymour Martin Lipset scholar.
Throughout her graduate work, Jenna held two internships. In the spring of 2010, she interned at America Abroad Media, a non-profit that focuses on utilizing the media to educate American and world citizens on pressing international issues such as women’s rights in the third world, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, and religious freedom. In the summer of 2010, she interned at the Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor where she tracked, documented, and analyzed human rights violations in the Horn of Africa.
Jenna is from Clifton, Virginia and enjoys tutoring in her free time. She has tutored students of all ages in a variety of subjects including high school chemistry, advanced statistics, and microeconomics.
Anna received her M.A. in International Relations and Political Science at Corvinus University, Budapest in 2009. She is currently finishing her second M.A. thesis in American Studies at ELTE University, where her major focus was U.S. politics and foreign policy. She has spent an exchange year at Bard College and participated in their Manhattan Globalization and International Affairs Program.
After interning at CNN International, the Council for Foreign Relations in NYC, CSIS, and the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. she returned to Hungary and joined the Foreign Ministry’s Americas Department where she served as U.S. desk officer. She was recently posted to Washington, D.C. as a congressional liaison and political attache.
Anna is an alumna of The Fund for American Studies’ Prague and D.C. institutes and is active in the Hungarian-American Coalition’s alumni. She has been translator and editor of several English language publications on U.S. and Hungarian democracy and constitutionalism.
She is co-founder of Common Sense Society in Budapest, a civil society initiative that aims to promote civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and the principles of responsible liberty among students and young professionals.
Anna is a native of Budapest and an eager guide of the city’s beauty to foreigners. She is a fan of Balanchine’s ballets and Art Nouveau.
Joshua W. Walker is a transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund based in Washington, D.C. He is also a visiting scholar at George Mason University and a non-resident fellow at the Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Brandeis University.
Joshua’s forthcoming book focuses on the role of historical memories in post-imperial successor states, with a particular focus on Japan and Turkey's domestic and foreign policies.
In addition to his current affiliations, Joshua has most recently been a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Tokyo University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Transatlantic Academy and taught at Istanbul Sehir Merkez, Middle East Technical University, George Mason, Princeton, University of Richmond, and Yale.
At Princeton University Joshua received his Ph.D. is in Politics and Public Policy with a specialization on international relations and security studies. He holds a master's degree in International Relations from Yale University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Ankara, Turkey and has worked for the U.S. Embassy and State Department on Turkey and grew up in Sapporo, Japan where he lived for 15 years and his family still resides. Active in bridging the academic and policy worlds, Joshua co-founded the Yale Journal of International Affairs, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in New York, and the Project on Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations at Princeton.
Melissa A. Wisner is a policy advisor in the Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In this capacity, Melissa supports the U.S. Government’s efforts to combat terrorism and proliferation finance.
Previously, Melissa held a variety of positions at The Cohen Group, a Washington consultancy, where she supported a wide range of defense clients and served as a press secretary to the firm’s president, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen. Prior to The Cohen Group, Melissa was at Penn Schoen and Berland, where she was responsible for developing communications strategies for Fortune 500 companies. She also worked as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, where she covered defense and military issues.
Melissa received a M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a B.A. in History from Yale University, where she was the recipient of the Charles Garside, Jr. Award for distinctive scholarship in history. Melissa is an avid sailor and a competitive runner who completed the Boston Marathon in 2010 and 2011.
Maseh Zarif is research manager for the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project, which researches and analyzes key and emerging U.S. national security issues.
The project primarily examines militant Islamism and covers Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. His research focus is on the threat posed by Iran and on the internal dynamics in that country. His general research interests include foreign policy and security issues in the broader Middle East and South Asia.
Previously, Maseh worked as a financial analyst and consultant in the private sector, including in the information technology industry. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from James Madison University and a Master of Arts degree in liberal studies with a concentration in international affairs from Georgetown University. He grew up in northern Virginia and now lives in Washington, D.C.
The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.