FPI Future Leaders Program Class of 2012-2013

The Foreign Policy Initaitive Future Leaders Program class of 2012-2013 consisted of twenty-five young professionals who were chosen to participate in monthly dinners and discussions aimed at peparing 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, academica, 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 particpated 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:

“Gaining an intimate glimpse into the personalities and thinking of individuals who have held some of the country's highest offices or are among its leading foreign policy thinkers has markedly improved my professional self- confidence. By humanizing these giants of American foreign policy, the Future Leaders Program has given me a sense of possibility that I too may someday walk in their shoes.”

“The FPI Future Leaders Program provides unparalleled access to some of the most recognizable names in foreign policy… The ability to engage with these big thinkers--and practitioners--and ask them hard questions about the issues that influence our foreign policy is a truly unique opportunity.”

 The 2012-2013 Future Leaders Program class:

Ryan Anderson, Director of Business Development, Manas Development Group

RAndersonRyan Anderson serves as director of Business Development at Manas Development Group, a boutique consultancy dedicated to building businesses that accelerate economic growth in challenging emerging markets.

Previously Ryan was director of Global Product Deployment at Assurant Solutions where he led product development initiatives for the company in Brazil, guided a multinational sales and marketing task force in Italy, and supported business development and strategic partnerships across Latin America and Europe. Prior to Assurant, he carried regional development responsibility for Colite Outdoor, Central America’s largest outdoor media provider. Ryan led Colite’s market-expansion effort in Honduras, managed two regional partnerships with an international petroleum conglomerate, and drove the growth of the firm’s billboard network across a six-country territory. Ryan has also executed short-term consulting projects for the U.S. Southern Command and for Opportunity International’s microfinance operation in Mozambique.

Ryan earned an M.A. in International Affairs and Economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. in International Management from Florida Southern College where he captained the NCAA championship baseball team. He lives with his wife, Allison, in Washington, DC.

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Brien Beattie, Professional Staff Member, House Oversight & Government Reform Committee

BBeattieBrien Beattie works for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Majority Staff, with over seven years of experience on Capitol Hill.  He has conducted oversight and investigations on a wide range of topics, including U.S. foreign policy, economics, and finance.  He has a master’s degree in Pacific and International Affairs from the University of California, San Diego, with a concentration in Chinese Politics, and a bachelor’s degree in History from Wheaton College in Illinois.  He has studied Mandarin at Beijing Normal University. Brien is particularly interested in international security policy and the role of political institutions in shaping both domestic and foreign policy choices.  He is also currently very interested in East African politics and the growing role of both China and Islamic extremism in Africa. 

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Anna Borshchevskaya, Assistant Director of the Patriciu Eurasia Center, The Atlantic Council

ABorshchevskayaAnna Borshchevskaya is an assistant director of the Atlantic Council’s Patriciu Eurasia Center. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council in 2011, she served as a qualitative research analyst for Glevum Associates, a U.S. military contractor, conducting public opinion research in Afghanistan. She also has worked as a research analyst for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, focusing upon the economies and politics of Russia and Eastern Europe; as the program coordinator of the American foreign policy program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); and at the Swiss Foundation for World Affairs and the International Organization for Migration.

She has interned at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva and was an elections observer for the International Republican Institute in Bangladesh during the 2008 parliamentary elections. She has published articles on Russia and the Middle East in publications such as Washington Post.com, Forbes.com, Nationalreview.com and, FoxNew.com, CNN, and the Middle East Quarterly. She is also provides monthly analysis for the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth’s Operational Environment Watch.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, she holds a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science, with a minor in economics from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo, and an M.A. from SAIS, with concentrations in Middle East Studies, International Law, and International Economics. She is fluent in Russian, and speaks Arabic and Spanish.

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Liron Bruck, Congressional Liaison, Embassy of Israel

LBruckLiron Bruck has served as a congressional liaison at the Embassy of Israel since May 2011. Her portfolio includes national security and defense issues. Prior to this position, she worked as an executive assistant to David Frum at the American Enterprise Institute and as a staff assistant at the Republican Study Committee.  

From 2000 to 2006, Liron served in the Israel Defense Force rising to the rank of Captain. There, she commanded the adjutant general branch of the paratroopers.

Before coming to the U.S., Liron worked with wounded soldiers during their rehabilitation process and volunteered at a center for Holocaust survivors. Prior to joining the military, she was a part of the Israeli national swimming team.

Born and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, Liron graduated from American University’s School of Public Affairs with a B.A. in Political Science and Political Communication. In 2010, she also graduated from the Hertog political leadership fellowship.

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Zack Christenson, Director of Media & Digital Strategy, Javelin Public Affairs

ZChristensonZack Christenson is the director of media and digital strategy at Javelin Public Affairs. At Javelin, he handles clients ranging from authors to think tanks. He is also a writer and research fellow at The American Consumer Institute, where he writes on technology policy and economic issues.

He is a former radio producer and journalist, having spent time with shows and media organizations such as Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg, The Don and Roma Show, CBS Radio and The Laura Ingraham Show. During his time in media, Zack interviewed and produced interviews with hundreds of politicians, authors, and scholars. In between his various media stints, Zack was the associate director of digital strategy at The Heartland Institute where he managed Heartland’s digital products and strategy. Prior to that, Zack spent three years working for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox in various communications and grassroots capacities.

Zack is originally from the Detroit area of Michigan, but spent the last four years in Chicago. He is a newly relocated resident of Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.

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Morgan Courtney, Stability Operations Officer, Department of State

MCourtneyMorgan Courtney is the special assistant to the Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma at the U.S. Department of State, on detail from the State Department’s Conflict and Stabilization Operations Bureau. Prior to that, she served as a special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Chairman’s Action Group, where she helped to provide guidance on a range of issues, including Syria, the Asia-Pacific rebalance, international partnerships, and security assistance reform. A conflict specialist with strong experience in development, she has worked on Darfur policy at the State Department for the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at a Congolese refugee camp near the Rwanda/DRC border, as an Afghanistan research analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and as the special assistant to the Deputy Director of the Peace Corps. She also helped to re-establish Peace Corps operations in Rwanda. In addition, Morgan has worked on health at USAID in Indonesia, on health and environmental issues at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia, on reconstruction priorities in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake for the United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, and on HIV/AIDS for an NGO in Burundi.  Her work has taken her to six continents. She speaks French fluently and is conversant in Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Bahasa Indonesia. Morgan received her B.A. in International Relations and French from Wellesley College and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

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Duncan Currie, Speechwriter & Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)

DCurrieDuncan Currie is chief speechwriter and senior policy advisor in the office of Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Since graduating from Harvard in 2004, Duncan has worked as a writer and editor at The Weekly Standard, the American Enterprise Institute, National Review, and the Bush Institute (the new think tank affiliated with the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas). He has also been a Claremont Institute “Publius” fellow, a Phillips Foundation journalism fellow, and a Hoover Institution media fellow.

Much of his writing has analyzed U.S. foreign policy and international affairs, with a heavy focus on Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. For example, he has written extensively on human rights in Cuba, drug-related violence in Mexico, the transformation of Colombia, the U.S.-Japan alliance, and America’s Asia strategy under Presidents Bush and Obama.

His articles and essays have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), the Claremont Review of Books, the American Spectator, Philanthropy, and the Washington Examiner. He has also provided commentary for a wide range of broadcast outlets, such as the BBC, C-SPAN, and the Fox News Channel.

Duncan lives with his wife and daughter in Arlington, Virginia.

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Harun Dogo, Doctoral Fellow, RAND Corporation

HDogoHarun Dogo is currently a doctoral fellow at the RAND Corporation where he is completing his dissertation on national security policy of great powers in fiscal distress. Previously, he served on the Majority staff of the United States Senate's Committee on Finance and has worked as a policy analyst for the RAND Corporation at their offices in Santa Monica, Washington, and Brussels. Prior to arriving at RAND, he spent time working as a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and as an aviation officer with the Bosnian Army. In addition to pursuing his doctorate in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, Harun also holds master’s degrees in applied physics and defense analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, as well as an undergraduate degree in physics from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Emily Domenech, Federal Liaison, Texas Office of State-Federal Relations

EDomenechEmily Domenech is the federal liaison for the State of Texas, managing congressional and federal outreach on behalf of the state and the Office of the Governor on a number of key issues, conducting briefings on pending legislation and analysis of current events in Washington for the Governor and senior staff.

Emily previously worked as a policy advisor on Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign, managing defense, energy, and environmental policy, and directing extensive research for the Governor’s domestic and foreign policy agenda. 

Prior to this position, Emily served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2007 to 2011. As a member of the Secretary’s personal staff, Emily represented Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary Leon Panetta around the world, with extensive experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the conclusion of her time at DoD, Emily received the "Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service." Emily previously served at the Department of Energy, working in the Office of the Secretary of Energy from 2006 to 2007.

Emily holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College, a Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs from Texas A&M University, and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

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Andrew Hargrave, Senior Research Officer, Embassy of Australia

AHargraveAndrew has served as a defense policy analyst at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC since January 2012.  His work focuses on defense policy issues impacting the Australia-U.S. alliance including Afghanistan, defense budgets, and U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Andrew began his career in the Australian Government as a legal officer with the Department of Health, prior to transferring to the Department of Defense in 2008.  As an international policy officer, He provided advice and crafted policy positions on all aspects of Australia’s defense engagement with the United States.

Prior to arriving in Washington, DC, Andrew was an adviser to the Minister for Defense Material, the Honorable Jason Clare MP, at Parliament House in Canberra.  In this role, Andrew advised the Minister on the international and strategic aspects of Australia’s major defense capability projects, as well as budget, governance, and reform issues. 

Andrew holds degrees in both international relations and law from the Australian National University, including time as an exchange student at the University of Alabama.  He is admitted to practice law in the Australian state of Victoria and is currently completing a Master of Laws specializing in International Law.  He is originally from Melbourne, Australia.

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Charles Hebner, Legislative Counsel & Major, United States Air Force

CHebnerMajor Charles “Joey” Hebner is a legislative counsel serving on the staff of the Secretary of the Air Force.  He was previously a legislative fellow, assigned to the office of Senator James E. Risch (R-ID). As a fellow, he also served for five months with the State Department’s Legislative Affairs Bureau (H), assigned to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (S/SRAP) portfolio.  He deployed to Kabul in 2012 to serve as a legal advisor (LEGAD) on the Headquarters Staff of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and United States Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A).

He was previously assigned to the Staff Judge Advocate’s Office, Headquarters, United States Air Forces in Europe (HQ USAFE), at Ramstein AB, Germany, after deploying for a year as the Expeditionary Area Defense Counsel in support of OIF, OEF, and CJTF-HOA.  This mission forward-deployed Maj Hebner extensively throughout the AFCENT AOR, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, U.A.E., and Afghanistan.  Maj Hebner has served as trial or defense counsel in over fifty-five Courts Martial.  His previous assignments include serving as the Area Defense Counsel at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, Edwards AFB, California, and Lackland AFB, Texas.

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Eric Hopin, Vice President for Communications & Organizational Strategy, The Financial Services Roundtable

EHoplinEric Hoplin is a lead associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, a top strategy consulting firm in Washington, DC.  Eric has more than ten years of experience leading teams to impact organizations and improve public policy by leveraging his expertise in the areas of wargaming, program management, strategic communication, change management, and international policy & politics.  Eric has managed engagements for the Joint Staff, OSD, DIA, USAID, and the Department of State.

Prior to joining Booz Allen, Eric worked in politics as the deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota.  He has appeared on Fox News, CNN, CNBC, C-SPAN, and NPR.  He is a frequent speaker, having delivered dozens of presentations across the country, including a speech the New York Times previewed as “one to watch.”

Eric volunteers his time as a foreign policy advisor to Romney for President campaign Co-Chair Tim Pawlenty and as a fundraiser for Romney Victory.  Additionally, he works to advance the legacy of President Reagan as a member of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors.  The Baltimore Sun called Eric a “bona fide rising star” and the St. Paul Pioneer Press profiled him as “one of tomorrow’s leaders.”  

Eric holds a Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University, where he was conferred membership in the prestigious International Fellows Program.  He was the recipient of the George C. Marshall Prize for his paper titled “The Future of Trans-Atlantic Relations.”  Eric also holds an M.B.A. from Augsburg College and a Certificate in Change Management from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

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Omeed Jafari, President & CEO, Piruze Analytics, Inc.

OJafariOmeed is president and CEO of Piruze Analytics, Inc. Prior to founding Piruze Analytics, Inc., Omeed was an associate at Bluestone Capital Partners, a boutique investment banking firm that provides advisory services to middle-market companies on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and other corporate finance transactions.

From 2008 to 2011, he was a senior analyst with Renaissance Strategic Advisors, where he supported companies in the aerospace, defense, and government services sectors with strategic support and M&A/Due Diligence support.  From 2006 to 2007, he was an associate at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a leading public policy institute where he specialized in U.S. foreign policy on the Middle East. There, he also supported the initiative on private equity and provided consultations to middle market and mega-private equity firms interested in private investment in public equity (“PIPE”) transactions, as well as to firms interested in acquisitions in the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries. Before joining AEI, he served in the Armaments Cooperation Atlantic Directorate in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and also in the Armaments Cooperation Directorate in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army.

Omeed has published articles on U.S. foreign policy, finance, and private equity. He holds a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from The George Washington School of Business.

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Oriana Skylar Mastro, Fellow, Center for a New American Security

OSMastroOriana Skylar Mastro is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Oriana Skylar is also a doctoral candidate in the Politics department at Princeton University, where she focuses on military operations and strategy, war termination, and Northeast Asia, China in particular.

She is the author of several publications including “Signaling and Military Provocation in Chinese National Security Strategy: A Closer Look at the Impeccable Incident,” published in the Journal of Strategic Studies.  A Center for Strategic and International Studies Pacific Forum Sasakawa Peace fellow, she is also a 2012-2013 University of Virginia Miller Center National fellow.  Oriana Skylar was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at the Elliott School at The George Washington University and a CNAS Next Generation National Security leader from 2010-2011. She has worked on China policy issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, RAND, U.S. Pacific Command, Project 2049, and the U.S. Department of Defense and has testified for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Highly proficient in Mandarin, Oriana Skylar also worked at a Chinese valve-manufacturing firm in Beijing as a translator and makes frequent appearances on a Chinese-language debate show.  As a United States Air Force Reserve Officer, Oriana Skylar provides analysis to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force on Asia. She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. in Politics from Princeton University.

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Kristina Mikulová, Transatlantic Post-Doctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies


Kristina Mikulová is a transatlantic post-doctoral fellow for International Relations and Security at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She is also an adjunct fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis and a freelance correspondent at The Economist.  Kristina has just completed a doctorate (D.Phil.) in Politics and International Relations at Nuffield College, Oxford University. She holds a master's (M.Phil.) degree in Russian and East European studies from St. Antony's College, Oxford University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Charles University, Prague. Her research interests include the dynamics of norm diffusion in a globalized world, the changing nature of the transatlantic order, the EU's common foreign policy, especially vis-à-vis the Eastern and Southern neighborhood and the role of new actors, such as Turkey, in democracy promotion. Kristina previously worked as a reporter at various media outlets, including The Financial Times' editorial office in Prague and The Moscow Times, as well as a consultant for the World Bank. She has been a visiting lecturer at Charles University in Prague and Comenius University in Bratislava. Kristina also volunteers with HIPS, an HIV-prevention organization working with drug users and sex workers in Washington, DC, as a member of its night outreach team.

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Nicholas Mumm, Infantry Officer, United States Army

NMummMajor Nicholas Mumm is an infantry officer in the United States Army currently serving as a strategist on the Army’s Staff in the Pentagon.  As a member of the Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate, Nick is responsible for the oversight, development, and integration of policy related to security cooperation including:  stability operations, irregular warfare, security force assistance and building partner capacities. Nick has four combat deployments to Iraq including two where he served as a ground force commander of a special operations task force, leading over 200 highly-sensitive, joint operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Nick holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Nick is an avid runner and fitness enthusiast and lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife and son.

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Blake Peterson, Special Advisor, Department of State

BPetersonBlake Peterson works in the Department of State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice, which addresses policy solutions for responding to serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.  In this capacity, she works to formulate strategic policy approaches to Arab Spring transitions through accountability and transitional justice tools, often in collaboration with a range of actors and agencies across government.

Previously, Blake worked at the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, where she represented human rights equities in coordination within government and with NGOs to negotiate collaboration for promoting democratic reform via bilateral, multilateral, and government-civil society partnerships, particularly in light of a new post-Arab Spring policy paradigm.  She also has experience at the Project on Middle East Democracy in Washington and the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence in the UK.

Originally from New Mexico, Blake completed an undergraduate degree in Arabic and international relations at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and later a Masters degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  As a policy practitioner focused primarily on the Middle East and West Africa, her topical foreign policy interests include international law and the intersection of security and human rights policy.

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Oubai Shahbandar, Foreign Affairs Specialist, Department of Defense

OShahbandarWith over seven years of experience working for the Department of Defense as a strategic analyst and foreign affairs specialist, Oubai has an extensive and diverse background advancing U.S. national security policy throughout the Middle East and South Asia. He served a one year tour in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 during General Petraeus's Surge as a strategic analyst supporting counterinsurgency operations and the U.S. military's outreach to the Sons of Iraq program.  From 2010 to 2011, Oubai served as a senior civilian advisor to the Combined Forces Special Operations Command-Afghanistan, working on the critical Village Stability Operations program.  He is currently a Middle East foreign affairs specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  

Throughout his experience working alongside the U.S. military in the field and his involvement in policy formulation in the Pentagon, Oubai has focused on civilian-military relations, strategic defense planning, and the intersection of foreign policy and counterinsurgency.      

As a naturalized citizen who immigrated from Syria as a child, he strongly believes in the confluence of American values and the promotion of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and wider Islamic world. Oubai is a graduate of Georgetown University's Security Studies Program and an avid soccer fan. 

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Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute

IShapiroIlya Shapiro is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute where his interests include the intersection of constitutional and international law. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Before joining Cato, he was a special assistant/advisor to the Multi-National Force in Iraq on rule of law issues and practiced international, political, commercial, and antitrust litigation at Patton Boggs and Cleary Gottlieb. Ilya has contributed to a variety of academic, popular, and professional publications, including the The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, L.A. Times, USA Today, National Law Journal, The Weekly Standard, New York Times Online, and National Review Online. He also regularly provides commentary for various media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision and Telemundo, The Colbert Report, NPR, and American Public Media's Marketplace.  He lectures regularly on behalf of the Federalist Society and other groups, is a member of the Legal Studies Institute's board of visitors at The Fund for American Studies, was an inaugural Washington fellow at the National Review Institute, and has been an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Law School.  Before entering private practice, Ilya clerked for Judge E. Grady Jolly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, while living in Mississippi and traveling around the Deep South. He holds degrees from Princeton University, the London School of Economics, and the University of Chicago Law School. Ilya is a member of the bars of New York, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a native speaker of English and Russian, is fluent in Spanish and French, and is proficient in Italian and Portuguese.

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Matthew J. Smith, Captain, United States Marine Corps

MSmithMatthew J. Smith is a captain in the United States Marine Corps stationed at Marine Barracks Washington. He currently serves as the platoon commander of 33 Infantry Marines as part of a ceremonial marching company. He was previously stationed in Camp Pendleton, California where he served as a scout sniper platoon commander in an Infantry Battalion. Matthew has deployed twice and has conducted operations in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, the U.A.E., and Australia.

He is most interested in the Middle East as that is where he has spent the most amount of time abroad and has gained the most experience.

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Hannah Thoburn, Senior Research Assistant, The Brookings Institution

HThoburnHannah Thoburn is the research assistant at the Center on the United States and Europe at The Brookings Institution where she focuses on the policy and leadership questions that face Russia, Ukraine, and the countries of the former Soviet Union.  

Before joining Brookings, Hannah worked at the U.S.-Russia Business Council, American Councils for International Education, and served as a Teaching Fellow at Yale University. She also served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in southern Ukraine where she taught high school English and civics, directed an HIV-AIDS prevention project, and led leadership and grant-writing classes at local universities.

Hannah holds a B.A. in International Affairs from Florida State University and both an M.A. in International Relations and a Certificate in International Security Studies from Yale University where she was a Peace Corps fellow. Originally from Louisiana, she speaks Russian, Ukrainian, and Spanish and has studied Polish and Turkish.

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Ryan Tully, Professional Staff Member, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Ryan Tully is currently a professional staff member (PSM) working for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).  In his capacity with the SSCI, Ryan is the designee and principal advisor to Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) on all matters relating to the USIC.  Additionally, Ryan is responsible for the DOE-IN budget, national laboratories, energy security, and monitors counter-proliferation and Asia issues for the SSCI.  Prior to joining the SSCI, Ryan was a PSM for the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and was the military legislative assistant for Senator John Ensign (R-NV).  His Executive Branch experience was as a legislative fellow in the office of the Secretary of the Navy assisting on manpower and force shaping issues from 2005 to 2006.  Finally, for the last four years Ryan has served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve supporting both the Defense Intelligence Agency and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.  His education includes an M.A. from the Naval War College in National Security Studies, an M.A. in Legislative Affairs/Political Management from The George Washington University, and a B.A. from Syracuse University.  He is married to Crystal Tully and lives on Capitol Hill with both his wife and their extremely large Bullmastiff named Norman.

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Daniel Vajdic, Research Assistant, American Enterprise Institute

DVajdicDaniel Vajdic is a research assistant in foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). In this capacity, Daniel explores both Russian and Iranian domestic politics and each country’s external relations, especially vis-à-vis the United States. His regional interests span Russia and the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the Persian Gulf. Equally diverse, Daniel’s functional interests include weapons proliferation, nuclear issues, democratization, and human rights. He has published on these and other subjects with National Review Online, WeeklyStandard.com, The Diplomat, Center for Defense Studies, AEIdeas, and The Daily Caller.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School. In 2009, Daniel was a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, Russia. He has spent time at the U.S. Department of State, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Institute of European Studies, and The German Marshall Fund of the United States. Daniel is a 2009-2010 National Security Education Program (NSEP) Boren Fellow. He speaks Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and is studying Farsi.

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Matthew Vanderschuere, Research Assistant & Ph.D. Student, American University

MVMatt is currently a doctoral student at American University where he studies public administration and public policy. His research interests include the effects of budget cuts on organizational management and public service motivation within the Department of Defense.

Prior to beginning his Ph.D., Matt served six years on active duty in the United States Air Force working predominately with the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system with over 175 nuclear alert tours. He served as a flight commander for the 320th Missile Squadron and completed his active duty as the chief of operations evaluator training for 20th Air Force. He continues to serve in the United States Air Force Reserves for the Secretary of the Air Force’s public affairs office.

Matt received his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver and earned his B.S. in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy. His M.P.A. focused on organizational change within the U.S. nuclear enterprise. Additionally, he is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force’s Squadron Officer School and received two advanced certificates from the Defense Nuclear Weapon School on nuclear weapon operations and nuclear surety. Matt is interested in the possible impact of U.S. nuclear weapon reductions on regional politics and if these reductions result in WMD proliferation. He lives in Arlington, VA with his wife, Kate.

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Caroline Vik, Professional Staff Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

CVikCaroline Vik is the foreign & legal policy analyst on the Romney for President campaign, where she works on foreign policy and immigration. Previously, Caroline worked as a political analyst at the EU Delegation to Cairo where she researched, analyzed and reported on Egypt’s political transition. While there, she focused on Egypt’s electoral system and burgeoning political parties, as well as the evolving role of the military and its relationship with the political process. Before that, she worked as an investment banking analyst in Morgan Stanley’s industrials group, assisting companies such as Danaher, Deere, and Tyco with acquisitions and capital raises.

Caroline is a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Harvard University where she concentrated in social studies with an emphasis on political theory, religion, and politics. She has spent extensive time abroad traveling in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the MENA region, and living in Egypt, France, and India.

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Mission Statement

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.
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