The Institute of Current World Affairs increases American understanding of foreign affairs by sending outstanding young professionals abroad to study countries, regions and globally important issues.
They have become some of America’s leading experts in foreign cultures and international affairs.
We search for critical thinkers who use their fellowships to develop insight, vision and new ways of perceiving, navigating and improving our highly globalized world. The institute frees them from the routine of their professional lives through a unique two-year cultural immersion program crafted over 90 years.
Fellows are given the time and resources to explore the world through a self-designed program of study, thought and writing. They undertake research and analysis, producing monthly dispatches, after which they join a growing community of distinguished professionals and leaders making vital contributions to their fields.
The institute’s fellowship program has given rise to some of the world’s foremost foreign affairs experts, including leading journalists, scholars, diplomats, policy advisers and lawyers. ICWA nurtures the kind of deep understanding of international affairs future generations will need to ensure America’s role in the world is informed by wisdom, foresight and compassion.
PAUL RAHE (Chair) holds The Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College, where he is professor of history. He is the author of Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution; Against Throne and Altar: Machiavelli and Political Theory under the English Republic; Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty: War, Religion, Commerce, Climate, Terrain, Technology, Uneasiness of Mind, the Spirit of Political Vigilance, and the Foundations of the Modern Republic; Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect; The Spartan Regime: Its Character, Origins, and Grand Strategy; and The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge. His new books Sparta’s First Attic War and Sparta’s Second Attic War will be released, respectively, in the Fall of 2019 and the Fall of 2020. He writes frequently on contemporary politics and culture for the website Ricochet. He was an ICWA fellow in Turkey (1984-1986).
GREGORY FEIFER (Executive Director) has observed Russia for many years, including as an ICWA fellow in 2000 – 2002. A former institute board member, he was also NPR’s Moscow correspondent who reported on Russia’s resurgence under Vladimir Putin, observing the effects of the country’s vast new oil wealth on an increasingly nationalistic society as well as the Kremlin’s rekindling of a new Cold War-style opposition to the West. He has also reported from Ukraine and many other former Soviet republics. Later, as senior correspondent at Radio Free Europe in Prague, Feifer investigated Russian influence in Europe, including the Kremlin’s use of energy as an instrument of foreign policy.
Feifer’s book Russians: The Power behind the People (Twelve, 2014) explores the seeming paradoxes of life in Russia by unraveling the nature of its people and what it is in their history, desires and conception of themselves that makes them baffling to the West. His other books include The Great Gamble (HarperCollins, 2009), a history of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and Spy Handler (Basic Books, 2005) co-written with former KGB colonel Victor Cherkashin. He has written for numerous other outlets, including The New York Times, Foreign Affairs and The Washington Post.
Educated at Harvard University and currently an associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies, he lives in Washington with his wife Elizabeth, son Sebastian and daughter Vanessa. Follow him on Twitter at @gfeifer.
JOSEPH BATTAT (Vice chair) is a senior lecturer at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He works with graduate students—Masters, Sloan Fellows and Executive MBAs, in subject areas covering international business and management, doing business in/with China, and operations management. For twenty six years, Joe worked for the World Bank Group as a staff member [1989-2008] or as a Senior Consultant [2008-2015]. He held a number of positions, including the head of the Foreign Investment Advisory Services (FIAS) and its program manager for the Middle East, North Africa, Central/East Europe, the Former Soviet Union, China and Mongolia. FIAS advises governments of developing and emerging economies on ways to improve their investment climate to stimulate domestic and foreign investment conducive to their economic and social development. In the course of this work, he had the opportunity to work or supervise work in over 95 countries. Mr. Battat received a Master of Science in Electronics Physics from Université de Grenoble [France] in 1968, a Diploma in Political Philosophy from Beijing University [China] in 1978, and Doctorate of Philosophy in International Business and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1984.
MARY LYNNE BIRD served as the executive director of the American Geographical Society from 1983 to October 2010, when she retired from active duty. She came to the position from having served on research staffs at the Center for Research in Personality at Harvard University, the Center for International Studies at Princeton University, the School of International Affairs at Columbia University, the Twentieth Century Fund, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a Program Officer for the Executive Council on Foreign Diplomats and then Development Director for the Institute for World Order, Development Director for the Fund for Peace-which at the time included the Center for Defense Information-and Development Director for Engender Health (an international family planning agency). Along the way she has done fundraising consulting for the Federation of American Scientists and reviewed books for the New York Times. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Syracuse University, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a professional singer (opera and other classical repertoire.).
JEFFREY GEDMIN is editor-in-chief of The American Interest, print and online, a publication of politics, public policy, and international affairs. From 2015 to 2018, he was senior adviser at Blue Star Strategies. From 2011 to 2014, Gedmin was President and CEO of the London-based Legatum Institute. Prior to joining the Legatum Institute in early 2011, Gedmin served for four years as President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) headquartered in Prague. Before RFE/RL, Gedmin served as President and CEO of the Aspen Institute in Berlin. Before that, he was Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C and Executive Director of the New Atlantic Initiative. He is the author/editor of several books, including The Hidden Hand: Gorbachev and the Collapse of East Germany (1992). Gedmin also served as co-executive producer for two major PBS documentaries: “The Germans, Portrait of a New Nation” (1995), and “Spain’s 9/11 and the Challenge of Radical Islam in Europe” (2007). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on several advisory boards, including: Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service Masters Program, the Institute for State Effectiveness, the Kleptocracy Initiative, the International Republican Institute’s Beacon Project, the Justice for Journalists Foundation, and the Tocqueville Conversations. Together with former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Norm Eisen, Gedmin is co-chair of the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group.
CAMILA GONZALEZ is an energy consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank where she works on energy infrastructure projects in Central America and the Caribbean. She holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Los Andes in Colombia and a Masters in International Development with concentrations in Energy Policy and Economic Development from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where she was a Board of Overseers Scholar. Prior to joining the IDB, she served for two years as the New Infrastructure Investment Leader for Colombia’s integrated national oil and gas company, Ecopetrol, where she worked on the growth of Ecopetrol’s downstream business including refining, biofuels, and pipeline operations. She was the General Manager for a startup oil services company, SAR Energy, and worked for six years for Invercolsa, a natural gas holding company. While there, she served on the board of directors of three of Invercolsa’s related companies. In various leadership roles at Invercolsa, first as a Financial Analyst, then as the Operations and Logistics Director, and finally as the Director for New Investment Projects, she worked towards the consolidation of a successful business model to provide energy services to low income and rural populations. With a decade of experience in the energy sector in Latin America, in roles ranging from finance and strategy to operations and project development, Camila is committed to helping develop sustainable business models, policies, and projects that promote economic and social development.
FABRICE HOUDART is a human rights officer at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in New York. Fabrice works on the UN Free & Equal campaign, an unprecedented United Nations global public education campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality. In addition, he leads a project on global corporate standards for tackling LGBTI discrimination and data collection tools for Human Rights violations against LGBTI people. Previously, Fabrice was Senior Country Officer for the Maghreb at the World Bank where he worked from 2001 to 2016 and was President [2011 – 2015] of its LGBT Employee Resource Group, GLOBE. At the World Bank, Fabrice managed a “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Development” grant that initiated the sexual minorities in development agenda. The grant, launched in 2012, provided a first estimate of the economic cost of homophobia using India as a case study, carried out a socio-economic survey of LGBTI populations in India and funded a short film on the interconnection between discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and poverty. During his career at the World Bank, Fabrice worked in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, first as a human development specialist and later as a strategy officer. He has authored analyses on Yemen, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Tunisia and provided contributions to the 2012 Gender World Development Report (WDR) and the 2011 Conflict, Security, and Development WDR. He holds a B.A. in economics and management from Dauphine University in Paris and an MBA from American University in Washington, D.C. Fabrice is on the Board of Alturi, a non-profit organization devoted to elevating the LGBTI community globally. He lives in New York City with his twin sons Maxime and Eitan. Twitter: HoudartUN, Instagram: fhoudart
PEGGY KNUDSON is chief development officer at the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, DC, a nonprofit created in 2001 by Senator Sam Nunn and philanthropist Ted Turner that works to prevent catastrophic attacks and accidents with weapons of mass destruction and disruption – nuclear, biological, radiological, chemical, and cyber. From September 2014 until April 2018, Peggy was Vice President of Development at ecoAmerica, a nonprofit that works to get everyday Americans on board with climate-change solutions. And from 2004 until 2012, Peggy was Director of Development in the Foreign Policy Program of the Brookings Institution. She has also served as Senior Vice President for Development at the Center for American Progress and Vice President for Development at the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Early in her career, Peggy was an Associate Senior Editor at The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Executive Director of Women in International Security, a Marketing Manager at the Treuhandanstalt in Berlin, Germany, and Acting Director of the Berlin Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Peggy holds an M.A. in International Relations and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and a B.A. (summa cum laude) in English and Journalism from the University of North Dakota. Peggy is a member of the Board of Directors of ecoAmerica and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
ROBERT A. LEVINSON is chief executive officer, president and executive chairman of Levcor International Inc. He served as president, chief executive officer and Chairman of Carlyle Industries Inc., (formerly Belding Hemingway Inc.) from May 1998 to January 2003. From November 1979 to July 1986, he served as President of Dillon Yarn Corporation. From 1977 to December 1987, Mr. Levinson served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Sheldon Petroleum. Mr. Levinson was a Member of the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Museum from 1968 to 1994, where he served as Chairman from 1972 to 1984. From 1979 to May 1, 1995, Mr. Levinson served as Chairman of the Board of Andrex Industries Corp. Mr. Levinson served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of The National Committee of U.S.- China Relations Inc. Mr. Levinson served as Chairman and Member of the Advisory Board of The National Dance Institute. He serves as Chairman Emeritus and Member of the Board of The Harlem School of the Arts. Mr. Levinson was on the Board of Overseers of the Hood Museum and Hopkins Performing Arts Center at Dartmouth for 12 years, and a Member of the New York-Beijing Sister City Advisory Committee. He is on the Advisory Committee of the Center for U.S.-China Arts Exchange at Columbia University. Mr. Levinson graduated from Dartmouth with an A.B. degree in February of 1946 and received an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth in September of the same year. He attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he did additional graduate work.
MICHAEL MATHISON (Treasurer) is an independent asset management consultant, after a 30 year career in the financial services industry. Michael specializes in asset management for institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and non-profits, and worked for firms such as Fidelity Investments and Chase Manhattan Bank. Michael has a BA in applied mathematics from Northwestern University, and did graduate work in neuroscience at MIT.
JOEL MILLMAN is a press officer at the International Organization for Migration based in Geneva, Switzerland. Formerly, he was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal based in Portland, Oregon, covering global issues, immigration and the Pacific Northwest. In the spring of 2000, he opened the bureau’s satellite office on the U.S. – Mexico border in San Diego County, Calif., and also has worked through the Mexico City bureau. Mr. Millman began his journalism career in 1972 as a high school news stringer for the South Middlesex (Mass.) News. In 1981, he was a news producer with WNEW-TV News in New York. From 1987 to 1989, he was an Institute of Current World Affairs Fellow studying the impact of arms aid on recipient nations in Central America. He joined Forbes magazine as an associate editor in 1989. In 1990, Mr. Millman won a first-place award from the Overseas Press Club for magazine journalism and received the Inter American Press Association’s (IAPA’s) interpretive commentary award. In 1997, he was a member of a Journal team awarded the IAPA award for in-depth reporting for their coverage of political corruption and the drug-running crisis in Latin America. In 2004, Mr. Millman received Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting on Latin America. Mr. Millman is the author of the 1997 book, “The Other Americans, How Immigrants Renew Our Country, Our Economy and Our Values,” published by Viking. Mr. Millman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in international relations.
JEFFREY RACE is a US Army veteran and author of War Comes to Long An, the canonical analysis of why the US effort in Vietnam turned out so badly. He attended Harvard University before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army’s Signal Corps. He returned to Southeast Asia as an independent researcher in South Vietnam and Thailand before returning to Harvard to complete his PhD. Race was an ICWA fellow in Southeast Asia from 1973-1976, and spent most of his life outside the US working as a management consultant, professor and research scholar.
MARY RUSINOW has been connected in one way or another for most of her life with Eastern Europe, particularly the countries of former Yugoslavia. Her first job was secretary to F.W (later Sir William) Deakin, the first British liaison officer sent to Tito in 1943 and Warden of St. Antony’s College Oxford. After a year as au pair in the house of Paul Reynaud, former Prime Minister of France, she returned to the College until she married Dennison Rusinow, Rhodes Scholar, former Fellow, and briefly Executive Director of ICWA. They lived in Zagreb, Belgrade and then Vienna where she became a Social Affairs Officer in the Branch for the Advancement of Women at the United Nations until Denny’s job took him back to Pittsburgh. Mary was able to attend the UN World Conference on Women in 1995, travelling there on the Peace Train which took 23 days from Helsinki to Beijing.
PASCAL SAURA is a senior knowledge and learning officer at The World Bank and a former cultural and education adviser with the Embassy of France in the United States. Having earned an Agrégation de Lettres modernes in 1993, Pascal Saura taught literature at the university level in France and at the Washington International School. From 2002 to 2010, he led educational initiatives throughout the English-speaking network of the Alliance Française, and created a program that, still today, connects millions of students with French schools around the world. In 2010, he joined the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), serving as project manager for the World Bank Group expertise network, SkillFinder, and developing the knowledge management strategy for the world’s largest multilateral source of financing for water in developing countries.
DIRK VANDEWALLE has been a member of the Dartmouth faculty since 1991. He teaches courses in comparative international development in Dartmouth’s Government Department and a course on the Arab Gulf at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is the author of two internationally acclaimed books on Libya: Libya Since Independence (Cornell University Press, 1998) and A History of Modern Libya (Cambridge University Press, 2006; second edition 2012) and several edited volumes and several dozen academic articles on North Africa. A History of Modern Libya was selected as one of the highlight titles in The New York Times travel section. Vandewalle has been one of only a handful of scholars who have made frequent visits to Libya over the last four decades, and he was the only western researcher who lived and worked there during a period of almost 15 years when the country was under United States and United Nations sanctions. In addition to his academic work on the politics of economic development in the Middle East and the developing world, he has written extensively for policy journals and magazines of general interest, including Newsweek, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Foreign Affairs. When the ongoing crisis in Libya began in 2011-12, he also became the most sought-after expert on the situation by virtually all media outlets in the United States and across the world. He has appeared many times since on Al Jazeera, CNN, the Charlie Rose Show, the PBS Newshour, ABC, CBS and BBC as well as Australian and European television and radio outlets. He has repeatedly been interviewed by all major global newspapers, and is considered one of the world’s leading Western experts on Libya, North Africa, and Middle Eastern oil economies. Vandewalle has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Libya, and before numerous State Department committees, international agencies involved in the reconstruction of Libya, and in front of several parliamentary commissions in Europe. He served as Political Advisor to Ian Martin, the United National Special Envoy in Libya, in Summer 2011, and then became the Senior Political Advisor to the Carter Center’s electoral mission to Libya. He was appointed Senior Advisor on Democratic Transitions for the Carter Center’s mission in Libya in 2013-14 until the mission closed due to security issues. In addition to his academic work, Dirk consults extensively for regional and international development banks and institutions and, most recently, for a number of Gulf State ministries on educational projects. He was an ICWA Fellow in Egypt and North Africa (1986-1989).
CHI-CHI ZHANG (Secretary) is the product experience lead at Google News, one of the world’s most popular news apps with over 100 million monthly active users in 127 countries. At Google, she founded the Google News Speaker Series in an effort to educate the tech community about the news industry and the work of journalists. Prior to Google, Chi-Chi was a Strategic Partnership Manager for edX.org, a Harvard-MIT founded educational technology platform. As a passionate educator, she developed edX’s go-to market strategy in China and led strategic partnership development with leading universities across China. In 2017, Chi-Chi received the President’s Volunteer Service for her teaching work with Citizen Schools in Boston. As a journalist, Chi-Chi spent seven years as a producer for CNN, reporter for the Associated Press and fellow for ICWA across four cities in China and Greater China. She is frequent speaker on technology and news including events hosted by the Asian American Journalists Association, Pulitzer Center, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Chi-Chi was an institute fellow in China in 2013 – 2015.
PETER BIRD MARTIN is executive director of the John Hazard Institute, a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides international comparative law fellowships to study the law, law language, and law culture of countries crucial to U.S understanding of international affairs. Peter Martin was an ICWA fellow in sub-Saharan Africa (1953 to 1955). He then spent 23 years as a writer, senior editor and magazine inventor at Time Incorporated. He was the Executive Director of the Institute of Current World Affairs from 1978-2006.
EDMUND SUTTON is retired from JP Morgan & Co. From 1985 to 1999 he was president of JP Morgan Overseas Capital Corp. He is also a trustee of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the New York Council for the Humanities.
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