Spring 2019 AILA International FellowshipDr. Mario Aigner Torres is a consulting executive with more than 25 years of experience across technology sales and services, with a blended background in the energy-related (mostly oil & gas, mining) and financial services industries. Along with his academic and scientific research training in geology, he is particularly interested in contributing to the international conversation on topics related to the future of exploration and supply of minerals and raw materials, especially those related to the oceans, their economic sustainability, and geopolitical implications.
Aigner Torres is looking to transition his career from a “thought leader”-style advisor in companies such as SAP, Deloitte, IBM, EMC, and Accenture towards an approach looking at examples of the best problem solvers in history whose knowledge should be packaged and imported into the different domains of corporate life as well as governments and NGOs. His goal is to found his own consulting company in 2019 with a focus on helping decision-makers get better business technological insights for their challenges.
Aigner Torres is a husband and father, and likes the ocean where he grew up, along with history and statistics. His undergraduate and M.Sc. (Vienna University, Austria) and Ph.D. (ETH Zurich, Switzerland) degrees are all in geology/geochemistry. He has spent most of his time in Europe and Latin America.
Wes Andrews is a former military officer, China foreign area officer (FAO), diplomat, and Afghanistan war vet. Since 2015 he has been orchestrating international monitoring operations in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Andrews served as a military attaché in China, prepared OPS plans for future wars in Asia, observed Chinese political transitions and military modernizations, and predicted nuclear program outcomes in South Asia. He led a threat finance task force in Afghanistan, advanced measures for the defense of Taiwan while in the Pentagon, and provided start-up businesses with crucial insights that led to them reaching multimillion dollar growth targets. Additionally, Andrews has facilitated security of the president, vice president, secretary of state, secretary of defense, Congressional delegations and a variety of other senior U.S. leaders.
Andrews' experiences range from supporting humanitarian relief efforts to authoring strategic policy assessments on crucial national issues, providing him with practical insight into the many challenges we face as a global community in today’s uncertain world. His areas of interest include China, threat finance, frontier and emerging markets, systems of governance, international institutions, corruption and transnational crime, negotiations & conflict resolution, and medical epidemics/pandemics. Andrews speaks fluent Chinese and German and elementary Russian. He is a GSIPM graduate of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in NYC, and holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the LC Smith College of Engineering at Syracuse University.
Chloe Arensberg is the Washington-based senior producer for CBS News’ CBS This Morning, overseeing coverage of The White House, Congress, and all government agencies. Previously, Arensberg served as CBS News’ Asia bureau chief. Based in China, she traveled on stories throughout the region, while managing the network’s operations in Beijing and Tokyo.
Arensberg oversaw CBS News' on-the-ground coverage of the Helsinki and Singapore Summits of 2018. She has produced interviews with Vice President Mike Pence, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The recipient of two Emmy nominations, Arensberg’s contribution to CBS News' team coverage of the 2012 Newtown tragedy earned her a 2012-2013 Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award.
Since joining CBS News in 2002, Arensberg has covered such major international and national news events such as the 2015 earthquake in Nepal; the Hong Kong protests in 2014; the regional disputes in the South China Sea; the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Presidential campaigns; the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Arensberg covered the White House for three years, traveling with President Obama to twenty-four countries across six continents. During her time in Asia, she represented CBS News on two trips to North Korea.
Arensberg earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College and a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and has enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends after long stints on the road.
Marija Bateman currently serves as the partnerships advisor for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) operational hub in Amman. Based between Amman and Washington, D.C., she manages UNOPS partnerships in Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen, as well as supporting UNOPS global engagements with the World Bank and the U.S. government. Prior to her work with UNOPS, she served as the special assistant to the UN deputy special representative of the secretary-general for Iraq, covering political affairs, and prior to that she served in the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office in Iraq, working on development and humanitarian coordination. She has over 12 years of experience within the UN system with posts in UNDP, UN Secretariat, Resident Coordinator’s Offices, and UNOPS, supporting UN’s work in the Balkans and the Middle East, as well as global initiatives. Bateman has worked both at the Headquarters level in New York, as well in field-based assignments and positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Yemen, Iraq, and Jordan. Prior to the UN, she managed the office of Her Royal Highness Princess Katherine of Serbia in New York City and supported different projects aimed at strengthening the health sector in Serbia.
Bateman holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in political science from New York University. Her professional interests focus on conflict resolution and post-conflict recovery. In her free time, she enjoys travel, dance, and reading.
Chris Benscher grew up in Australia, where he developed strong interests in science and international relations. He brought these passions to Washington, where he interned with CSIS and then-Senator Chuck Hagel, who chaired the East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Benscher then represented Australia before the U.S. Congress at the Australian Embassy between 2001 and 2011. During this time, Benscher helped navigate the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement through Congress and expanded energy and scientific collaboration between Australia and the United States.
Benscher continued to promote scientific and technological solutions while managing global government affairs for Halliburton energy services from 2011 through 2015. In 2016, Benscher started a consultancy business to help companies navigate Washington. For one client, Bloomberg Intelligence, Benscher has advised companies how U.S. and U.K. trade, sanctions, and immigration policy impacted business practices in the retail, auto, energy, and semiconductor sectors. Benscher continues to pursue a passion in science and geopolitics, exploring market-driven energy solutions that will mitigate environmental damage from climate change.
Benscher graduated with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Macquarie University and a master's degree in international affairs from Sydney University. Benscher enjoys travel, dinner parties, and tennis. He is married with twin girls.
Caroline Berson is the director for stakeholder engagement and external affairs within PepsiCo’s Public Policy and Government Affairs (PPGA) office. Based in Washington, D.C., she leads the development of PPGA briefers and Board materials, helping shape and inform senior PepsiCo executives’ engagement on key policy issues and with global stakeholders. Prior to joining PepsiCo, she was at the White House National Security Council and National Economic Council as senior advisor to the deputy national security advisor for international economics. In that role, she helped coordinate U.S. policy related to international finance, trade, investment, energy and environmental issues, and advised the president’s representative to the G-7 and G-20. She previously served as the intelligence briefer to the office of the vice president, where she was responsible for providing daily updates on a wide range of global issues impacting national security. Prior to that, Berson served as an intelligence analyst at the Treasury Department, where she was a subject matter expert on Iran and several other countries across the Middle East and Africa, writing frequently on sanctions, banking, energy, and transportation issues for the president and senior U.S. policymakers. Berson began her career in journalism and has had her work appear in Slate, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New Haven Independent. Berson earned her M.A. in government from Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in English from Yale University.
Robert Blair is a consultant and a fourth-generation farmer from Kendrick, Idaho. His journey with precision agriculture started in 2003 using a PDA (personal digital assistant). That evolved into many different types of equipment, including unmanned air systems (UAS) in 2006. Blair is the first U.S. farmer to own and use a UAS. His vision and advocacy of these technologies helped him become the Precision Agriculture Institute’s 2009 International Farmer of the Year. Blair has been on the leading edge of precision agriculture utilization in the Pacific Northwest and U.S.
Blair received an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2011, taking him to South America for six weeks to study these technologies. During the fall of 2012, he spent three weeks in Germany on a McCloy Fellowship for agriculture. In Idaho, he was recognized as one of the most influential University of Idaho College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) alumni and received the 2013 Governor’s Award for Agriculture Technology and Innovation.
Blair has served as president of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, chairman of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Research & Tech Committee, chairman of the U.S. Wheat/NAWG Joint Biotech Committee, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation county president, an initial member of Idaho’s UAS steering committee, an initial advisory board member of the Drone World Expo, and a member of the AGree Conservation and Crop Insurance Task Force.
Tanya N. Blocker recently accepted an offer to join the firm Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP (GRSM) as senior counsel, where her practice will concentrate on employment law. Prior to joining GRMS, Blocker served as a senior counsel and consultant in the area of employment law and commercial litigation for a firm on Wall Street and as a senior counsel in the Labor & Employment Law Division of the New York City Law Department, Office of Corporation Counsel. She also has extensive experience in all facets of the litigation process, both in federal and state court, from the pleadings stages through to trial. Prior to serving as senior counsel, Blocker worked at the law firm Kaye Scholer LLP as an associate in the Complex Commercial Group of the firm’s New York office.
Blocker’s pro bono practice is extensive, including successfully second-chairing a trial with the New York City Law Department involving civil rights claims brought against city police officers and coaching high school and middle school mock trial students. She has spent a significant portion of her time in West Africa engaging in diversity, governance, and emerging market work as well as presenting on international employment law in Lagos, Nigeria, and pay parity law in Accra, Ghana. Blocker has held many professional leadership roles, most notably as the twenty-second President of the Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA). The New York Law Journal recognized Blocker as a distinguished leader in its 2018 Professional Excellence Awards for her exemplary leadership of the organization.
Phil Brest is a senior counsel to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), ranking member of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. In that capacity, Brest serves as the lead staffer on judicial and Justice Department nominations and is the point person on the election rules and administration and civil rights portfolios, among others. Since joining Senator Feinstein’s staff in January of 2017, Brest has worked on two Supreme Court nominations, two Attorney General nominations, and the nominations of dozens of circuit court and district court judges and Justice Department officials.
Prior to joining the Judiciary Committee staff, Brest spent several years as an attorney specializing in white collar criminal investigations. Working for two different large law firms, Brest focused on representing American and international clients in cases brought under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and in various banking, antitrust, accounting, and pharmaceutical investigations. He also clerked for Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar on the California Supreme Court, where he advised the Justice on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional legal matters. Brest received his A.B. magna cum laude from Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences, where his undergraduate thesis focused on the domestic political calculations behind the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he served on the Stanford Law Review.
A native New Yorker, Brest lives in Washington, D.C. When not working, he enjoys traveling and is learning to play the guitar.
Dr. David Callaway is a professor of emergency medicine at Atrium Health’s flagship hospital Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte, NC. At CMC, he serves as the chief of the Division of Operational and Disaster Medicine, medical director for emergency management and the medical director of the advanced mobile hospital, Carolinas MED-1. He also co-directs the Emergency Medicine Prioritization and Innovation team.
Callaway served three years as an expeditionary physician supporting the United States Marine Corps before returning to his training at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, Boston, where he served as chief resident. In 2008, Callaway was awarded a Zuckerman Fellowship from the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government to study leadership, national security, and disaster response. In 2012, The World Economic Forum selected him as a Young Global Leader based upon his innovative work in disaster, humanitarian, and crisis medical response. After work in South Sudan (2011-13), Callaway was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship to pursue work on health and security related to the impact of the Syrian crisis on neighboring Jordan.
Callaway also serves as the chief medical officer and Medical Director for Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon unites the skills and experience of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy multi-functional teams to crisis zones. In concert with academic, NGO, and government partners, Callaway mobilizes diverse networks to facilitate civil-military coordination, support disaster technology innovation, and promote high reliability operations during humanitarian and disaster response.
Vivian Chakarian is program manager for the Voice of America’s Eurasia Division, serving as principal advisor to VOA’s Eurasia Division director on programming and managerial issues affecting the Division’s eight language services – Russian, Ukrainian, Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Georgian, Macedonian, and Serbian. She has worked as an international broadcaster for VOA since 1993, beginning as a freelancer in VOA’s Special English branch targeting non-native English speakers. In 1997, she joined VOA’s News Center and has served in progressively more responsible positions, as copy editor then as head of the Eurasia Desk. She has written, edited, and produced radio, TV and web reports, and played a key role in the reorganization of the News Center as VOA transitioned from a radio to a multimedia broadcaster. Upon joining the Eurasia Division in January 2013, Chakarian worked with the division director and service chiefs during a period of significant transformation and political upheaval in the target area, improving existing programs and developing new programming strategies.
Chakarian represented VOA as a Nathanson Public Diplomacy Scholar at the Aspen Institute’s 2017 Socrates Program in Aspen, Colorado. Her professional career also includes research positions at The Brookings Institution and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She holds an M.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University and a B.A. in international relations and French from Mount Holyoke College. She is a member of The City Choir of Washington and also enjoys reading, cooking, and hiking.
Lieutenant Colonel Joel L. Garrison serves on active duty as the incoming chief, Joint Exercises Branch at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, VA. His military qualifications and primary areas of assignment include artillery and intelligence (serving in both areas in Iraq) as well as strategist. Other areas of assignment include education, budget, protocol, inspector general, and legislative liaison (installations, environment, and energy).
Lieutenant Colonel Garrison’s volunteer activities include service as treasurer on the Army Strategist Association’s National Board of Directors and as an ambassador to the Academy of United States Veterans’ (AUSV) Annual Veterans Awards Program.
The 1997 Outstanding Graduate of Arkansas State University (ASU) earning a B.A. degree in political science, Lieutenant Colonel Garrison holds graduate degrees from ASU (communications and community college teaching), National Intelligence University (strategic intelligence), Marine Corps University (military studies), The George Washington University (legislative affairs), and he is all-but-dissertation complete toward an Ed.D. at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (policy and administration - emerging dissertation on leadership).
Dena Gudaitis is a seasoned communications strategist with over 15 years of experience at multiple news outlets and several nonprofit, government, and international development organizations. Currently, she supports the strategic engagement efforts as a member of the outreach team at USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI), the civilian rapid response arm of the U.S. government which responds to complex political crises.
Before starting her role at OTI, Gudaitis helped manage and contribute to the knowledge management and communications activities for USAID’s largest global health procurement contract, the USAID Global Health Supply Chain – Procurement and Supply Management Project. Gudaitis began her international development career as a public information officer at the UN World Food Program in their New York liaison office. Following three years in that position, she moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where her primary work focused on teaching journalism at a local, globally-accredited college, United States International University. Upon returning to the U.S., she was a senior communications specialist for Family Health International, where she supported digital finance and technology activities within USAID’s Global Development Lab. Later, Gudaitis also oversaw various media, partner outreach, and advocacy plans for Malaria No More as their global communications manager.
Prior to working in international development, she worked in various journalism-related roles at NPR, C-SPAN, and WAMU 88.5 FM, as well as serving as a digital producer for ABC News. Gudaitis has an M.A. in journalism and public affairs and a B.S in multimedia design & development, both from American University.
Dr. Havva Kök Arslan is dean of the Faculty of Political Science at Social Sciences University of Ankara in Turkey, having joined the university in 2017. She also chairs the Department of International Relations and founded the MA in Peace and Conflict Studies. From 2004 to 2017, she worked at Hacettepe University in Ankara, where she created the first master’s program in Peace and Conflict Studies in Turkey, aiming to bridge the divide between theory and practice. From 2000 to 2003 she served as an advisor to the state minister of Turkey responsible for Eurasian affairs at the Prime Ministry in Ankara. Kök Arslan is the author of several publications touching on Eurasian politics, Turkish foreign policy, nonviolent communication, the Kurdish peace process, peace studies, and ethics in international relations. Her dream is to create a Global Peace Institute that will provide master’s and doctoral programs for government leaders, civil society, and local, national, and international organizations working in the field of peace studies to transform how the world deals with conflict. Kök Arslan received her Ph.D. in politics from Leeds University, UK, and her master’s from the Institut Européen des Hautes Etudes Internationales, Centre International de la Formation Européenne, Nice, France. She also studied peace and conflict studies at European Peace University, Stadshclaining, Austria.
Rachel Mbaria has worked in the field of portfolio management for multi-lateral developmental projects and programs driving inter-and-intra national and regional initiatives on peace and security, economic prosperity and resilience for over 10 years. She has been a lead expert and practitioner, in providing technical assistance for public and development agencies in designing and operationalization of strategic institutional and programmatic processes to promote efficient paths to policy strengthening and results oriented management. Her work includes working with the public sector (local and national levels) in various countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa, inter-governmental bodies such as the African Union Commission and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, UN agencies such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as non-governmental organizations. Currently she is the planning and programming expert, working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Secretariat, a Regional Economic Agency in the Horn of Africa. Her role in IGAD entails designing and managing strategic instruments, tools and teams to shape the delivery of policy actions and project initiatives. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and an MBA in strategic management from the University of Nairobi. She also has a post-graduate diploma in project planning and management and skills in quantitative and qualitative data analysis, performance budgeting, international co-operation and change management. She has a passion for adventure and love for the nature especially wildlife and marine, where she has been involved in supporting local eco-conservation.
Dr. Yolanda Ogbolu, Ph.D., CRNP, FNAP, FAAN, is assistant professor and director of the Office of Global Health at University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) School of Nursing and faculty in UMB School of Medicine’s Master of Public Health program. Responsible for overseeing and integrating all global health research, education, and programmatic activities of the School of Nursing, Ogbolu works with partners from Brazil, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Lebanon, and Oman. A native of West Baltimore, Ogbolu’s research, teaching, and community practice focuses on improving health equity for vulnerable populations in local and global communities. She brings to academia over 20 years of experience as a neonatal nurse practitioner working with a multidisciplinary team to improve outcomes of critically ill children and newborns and their families. She regularly collaborates with local community partners, key stakeholders, and international partners and organizations to support the bi-directional translation of knowledge, policy, and research. Ogbolu has served on multiple statewide and national taskforces and committees, including as chair of the State of Maryland’s Social Determinants of Health Taskforce and the National Quality Forum Health Disparities Standing Committee. She is a graduate of University of Maryland Baltimore (B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.) and Georgetown University (Neonatal NP), a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Faculty Scholar alum, and a fellow of both the American Academy of Nursing and National Academies of Practice. She enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and four children.
Oge Onubogu is senior program officer for Africa Programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where she leads programming in Nigeria. In this position, she provides leadership, strategic management, and oversees the design and implementation of projects to promote inclusion and community security by partnering with policymakers, civic leaders, and organizations in Nigeria and the broader Lake Chad Basin area. Onubogu’s thematic focus is on governance and civil society development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Prior to joining USIP, she managed governance, citizen engagement, and election observation programs in Nigeria and across Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and South Africa) with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Before that, she worked as program officer for West Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) where for several years, she oversaw democratic governance projects and managed a multi-million dollar grants portfolio to civil society organizations in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Cameroon. Onubogu has consulted for the World Bank, observed elections with the Carter Center, and coordinated refugee resettlement programs with the International Rescue Committee. She earned her MA in International Development from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and BA in International and Area Studies from the University of Oklahoma.
Rhoda Robinson is the cofounder and director of Gender Development Programs at HACEY Health Initiative with over 10 years of experience in developing and implementing programs that empower women and girls and advocating for the inclusion of women and young people in development policies and action. She is the coordinator of the Hands Up For HER Initiative, promoting access to sexual and reproductive health services and information and the education, empowerment, and protection of the rights of girls. She coordinates the Salvus project for supporting survivors of sexual violence. She has served as a contributing member of the UK Department for International Development Expert Advisory Group on Women and Girls and worked on promoting the recognition and inclusion of the distinct needs and gendered experiences of women and young people in policies. She is a Global Change Leader, an experienced facilitator on leveraging partnerships and technology in amplifying development impact, and holds an M.A. in gender and development from the Institute of Development Studies, UK.
Gul Maqsood Sabit has over 17 years of public and private sector experience including working as an accountant at Citibank in San Francisco. He also served two terms as deputy minister of finance in the government of Afghanistan where he managed the collection of revenues and was a key member of the government’s financial management, trade, and economic policymaking team. Sabit led the delegation to negotiate Afghanistan’s annual economic program with the IMF and represented the country in international conferences and meetings, including World Bank/IMF annual meetings. He was a member of the Afghan team that negotiated a Bilateral Security Agreement with the U.S.. With the help of a World Bank-funded project, he reformed internal audit and accounting in Afghanistan and trained hundreds of young accounting and auditing professionals. As president and CEO of Pashtany Bank, one of Afghanistan’s oldest state-owned banks, he led a modernization project that transformed bank operations from an outdated paper-based to a computer-based system. He co-founded Afghan Payment System, a centralized transaction processing system that made it possible for Afghan banks to issue major credit cards. Sabit currently teaches business at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA, and writes opinion pieces about Afghanistan. He keeps abreast of Afghan and international affairs and studies economic development through better governance.
Samira Safarova has ten years of front-line diplomatic practice, serving at the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Washington, D.C. (May 2015-January 2018) and the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to the United Nations Office in Geneva (2008-2012). In Geneva, she was responsible for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Universal Periodic Review mechanism, and UN treaty bodies. In Washington, D.C., she was a political and Congressional liaison officer covering the State Department with the human rights portfolio and the Senate. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2007, Safarova has actively participated in bilateral and multilateral negotiations within and presentation of government reports to the UNHRC, UN treaty bodies, Council of Europe, etc. She has expertise in international human rights and humanitarian law and the U.S. political and legislative system. She had the invaluable experience of being an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe short-term observer of the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
Safarova has three years of teaching experience at the law faculty of Baku State University on private international law, international human rights law and international organizations law theory. She earned her bachelor's and master's degree in international relations and international law from Baku State University, as well as a second MA from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Ronnie Saha is a management consultant in Deloitte’s Strategic Risk practice, where he helps CXO-level executives interpret, assess, and manage the impacts of changing macroeconomic trends, geopolitical shifts, and business model innovation on their corporate strategies. In this role, he has advised executives in the financial services, health care, pharmaceuticals, and public sectors. Saha's consulting experience also includes advising ministries of finance and central banks in emerging markets on a range of public finance matters and advising global banks on regulatory issues (stress testing, capital, and liquidity management).
Previously, Saha spent several years in the international economic development sector with NGOs and think tanks, including serving as special assistant to the president of the International Rescue Committee and as a researcher at Harvard University's Hauser Institute for Civil Society. He holds a B.A. from Kenyon College and an M.P.P. in international trade and finance from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Dr. Izukanji Sikazwe earned her medical degree from the University of Zambia School of Medicine in 2002. She completed internal medicine specialty training at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and infectious disease specialty training at the University of Maryland. She also has a masters’ degree in public health from Michigan State University.
Sikazwe has worked for several years providing direct clinical patient care to people living with HIV and other infectious diseases in both urban and rural communities in Zambia. She continues to practice clinical medicine at the Adult Infectious Disease Centre of Excellence at University Teaching Hospital.
She served as the technical advisor to the Zambian Ministry of Health National ART program starting in 2010 for two years. In addition to her executive management role as the CEO of the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia, Sikazwe is the principal investigator of a PEPFAR/CDC-funded HIV care and treatment cooperative agreement focused on transitioning HIV programs to the Ministry of Health. She has special research interests in HIV implementation focused on improving access and outcomes of patients in ART care and treatment programs.
Adam Sparre Spliid has been with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2013. As a career diplomat, he has served in broad range of different positions from working on Denmark’s national security and stabilization policy working on NATO and the Global Coalition against ISIL, to multilateral trade policy and the World Trade Organization. Currently, Spliid serves as first secretary for political affairs at the Danish embassy in Nairobi. He leads the team that implements Denmark’s regional Peace and Stabilisation Programme for the Horn of Africa and was in charge of the formulation of the Danish government’s Somalia policy recently presented to the Danish parliament.
Before he joined the Danish Foreign Service, Spliid worked for the World Bank’s Centre for Conflict, Security, and Development in Nairobi. He holds a master’s in political science focusing on international relations, European affairs, and market integration from University of Copenhagen (graduated 2012). His academic background and career reflect a broad interest in international politics and economy, in particular the impact and political economy of globalization. Spliid represented Denmark in several European and World Championships as an athlete with the Danish national kayak team between 1999 and 2009.
Will Staton is a career educator who began his career as a high school history teacher with Teach For America and has subsequently served as a school parent coordinator, talent recruiter, and most recently as dean of students. Over the course of his career, Staton has worked with educational stakeholders from students and parents to district and elected officials. Staton has also built and delivered professional development for adult learners, including at SXSW Education Exposition in 2015.
Staton is an avid writer, and has authored his own book, Through Fire and Flame based on a modernization of Dante’s Inferno. He has a large portfolio of essays and op-eds on numerous topics printed in a variety of publications. Among other topics, Staton has written about race and racial reconciliation, education and mentoring, education and international relations, and even DNA and personal data; he has published multiple pieces on foreign policy for the Strategy Bridge.
Staton currently works for the Literacy Lab, an organization focused on improving early childhood literacy. He is pursuing his master’s in international relations at the new joint degree program of CSIS and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Staton received his bachelor’s from Washington University in St. Louis with a dual degree in religion and history.