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CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access

In the last decade, protracted conflicts have become the primary driver of humanitarian needs and donor funding, changing and complicating policy demands required to address evolving crises. The Humanitarian Agenda is an initiative that examines opportunities for improving the delivery of humanitarian assistance and coordination between relevant actors and generate fresh, concrete policy solutions.

The CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access brings top experts to the table to discuss critical humanitarian access issues. Two Senate co-chairs, Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Todd Young (R-IN), are leading this initiative, which includes 22 members ranging from former government and UN officials to on-the-ground humanitarian implementers to academics. A final report, to be released in the fall of 2019, will provide concrete policy recommendations to enhance access and improve the fundamental outcomes of U.S. foreign assistance.

Co-chairs:


Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Senator Cory Booker was raised in Harrington Park, living his life as a proud New Jerseyan. After graduating from Northern Valley Regional High School, Senator Booker received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. While at Stanford, he also was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and went on to study at the University of Oxford where he received an honors degree in history. Senator Booker then completed his education at Yale Law School, receiving his law degree in 1997.

At the age of 29, Senator Booker was elected to the Newark City Council from the city’s Central Ward. In the 17 years since, he has worked tirelessly at the local and national levels to improve the lives of New Jerseyans and Americans. Starting in 2006, Senator Booker proudly served as Newark’s mayor for more than seven years.

On October 16, 2013, Senator Booker won a special election to represent New Jersey in the United States Senate. On November 4, 2014, Senator Booker was re-elected to a full six-year term. As New Jersey’s junior Senator, he has brought an innovative and bipartisan approach to tackling some of the most difficult problems facing New Jersey and our country. He currently sits on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; Environmental and Public Works; the Judiciary; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.


Senator Todd Young (R-IN)

Senator Todd Young has represented the state of Indiana in the U.S. Senate since January 2017. He sits on the Senate Committee on Finance; Foreign Relations; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and serves as the chair of the Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy.

After serving a decade in the military, Senator Young was honorably discharged as a captain in 2000. He then spent a year in England, where he wrote his thesis on the economic history of Midwestern agriculture and earned a master’s degree from the School of Advanced Study in London. Upon returning to the United States, he accepted a position at The Heritage Foundation and later worked as a legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate. In 2003, Senator Young returned home to Indiana, where he worked for several years as a management consultant before earning his law degree from Indiana University in 2006. In 2011, he was elected U.S. Representative for Indiana's 9th congressional district and served in this role until 2017.

Director:


Kimberly Flowers

Director, Humanitarian Agenda and Global Food Security Project, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Kimberly Flowers is director of the Global Food Security Project and the Humanitarian Agenda at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). The Global Food Security Project examines and highlights the impact of food security on U.S. strategic global interests and provides long-term, strategic guidance to policymakers to ensure that U.S. foreign assistance programs are efficient, effective, and sustainable. The Humanitarian Agenda is an initiative launched in 2017 to leverage the expertise of CSIS programs to explore the most complex humanitarian challenges of the twenty-first century.

Prior to joining CSIS in 2015, Flowers was the communications director for Fintrac, an international development company focusing on hunger eradication and poverty alleviation through agricultural solutions. From 2005 to 2011, she worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, serving overseas as a development, outreach, and communications officer in Ethiopia and Jamaica, supporting public affairs in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and leading strategic communications for the U.S. government’s global hunger and nutrition initiative, Feed the Future. Flowers began her international development career in 1999 as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria, where she founded a young women’s leadership camp that continues today. She also served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in Jamaica in 2004. She is a magna cum laude graduate of William Jewell College, studied at Oxford University, and is an alumna of the Pryor Center for Leadership Development.

Members:


Baroness Valerie Amos

Director, SOAS University of London

Baroness Valerie Amos has been the director of SOAS University of London since September 2015. From 2010, she worked as under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the United Nations. Baroness Amos served in a number of roles in the public sector including in local government and as chief executive of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Between 1994 and 1998, she was an adviser on leadership, change, management, and strategy issues to the government of South Africa during the presidency of Nelson Mandela. She was appointed a Labour life peer in 1997 and became a member of the government in 1998. She was a foreign office minister, secretary of state for international development, leader of the House of Lords, and lord president of the council. Baroness Amos also served as U.K. high commissioner to Australia before joining the United Nations. In June 2016, she was made a companion of honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.


Christina Bennett

Head of Program, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute

Christina Bennett is the head of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute based in London. She has 20 years of experience in humanitarian policy and practice and has lived and worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Sudan. Bennett is currently leading a two-year research program on local humanitarian action, as well as policy initiatives related to counterterrorism, humanitarian reform, refugee livelihoods, and private finance. Previously, Bennett was the chief of policy analysis and innovation at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) where she led OCHA’s work on aid effectiveness, cash assistance, humanitarian reform, and the protection of civilians. While at the United Nations, she also led the Secretary-General’s Task Force on the Global Food Crisis of 2008 and worked as a spokesperson for the emergency relief coordinator and for the deputy resident/humanitarian coordinator in South Sudan. Bennett is an adviser to the H2H emergency response services platform and is a frequent writer and speaker on conflict and humanitarian aid. Her work has appeared in TheNew York Times, Reuters, BBC World Service, TIME, The Economist Intelligence Unit, The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN), Devex, and several international academic journals.


Alexandra Boivin

Head of Regional Delegation – U.S. and Canada, International Committee of the Red Cross

As head of Regional Delegation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Washington D.C., Alexandra Boivin manages the ICRC's relationship with the governments of the United States and Canada, covering international humanitarian law, humanitarian policy, and operational matters linked to U.S. and Canadian military action. This includes the ICRC’s regular visits to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Regional Delegation also steers the ICRC’s work with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the World Bank, and interfaces with the National Societies of both the United States and Canada.

From 2006 to 2016, Boivin worked at ICRC headquarters in Geneva. She was chief of staff to President Peter Maurer for close to five years, serving simultaneously as secretary to the Governing Board. Prior to joining the President’s Office, Boivin supported ICRC delegations worldwide in the promotion of international humanitarian law, with a focus on youth and academic circles.

Before joining the ICRC, Boivin carried out research on international legal issues. She wrote on the legal regime applicable to military targeting, the transfer of small arms and light weapons, and the importance of engaging armed groups in a humanitarian dialogue. Boivin holds degrees in political science, Middle East studies, and law (McGill University, Montréal), as well as a master’s degree in international relations, specialization in international law (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva).


Joel R. Charny

Executive Director, Norwegian Refugee Council USA

Joel R. Charny is the executive director of Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) USA. He is responsible for providing overall leadership to the organization, which focuses on humanitarian advocacy and fundraising in the United States on behalf of Oslo-based NRC.

Prior to joining NRC USA in March 2016, Charny was the vice president for humanitarian policy and practice at InterAction, the alliance of U.S.-based relief and development organizations for five years. He was responsible for leading InterAction’s work on humanitarian response, which involved engaging with the U.S. government, the United Nations, and member non-governmental organizations on both practical and policy matters, including funding availability, impact and effectiveness, and reform efforts in the sector.

Prior to joining InterAction in October 2010, Charny was the vice president for policy with Refugees International, a Washington-based humanitarian advocacy organization. He joined Refugees International in July 2000 after working for four years in Cambodia as deputy program manager with the CARERE project of the United Nations Development Program.

He began his career with Oxfam America, a relief and development organization based in Boston. He first worked inside Cambodia during the famine emergency in 1980 and went on to manage the agency’s work in Southeast Asia and the wider Asia region. In 1989 he became overseas director and in 1994 policy director.

He has a bachelor’s degree in European history from Brown University and a master’s degree in international education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Ambassador Ertharin Cousin

Payne Distinguished Lecturer, Stanford University Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Distinguished Fellow, Stanford University Center on Food Security and the Environment and Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

Ambassador Ertharin Cousin served as executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme from 2012 to 2017. She previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome.

Prior to her global work on food security, Ambassador Cousin was executive vice president and chief operating officer of America’s Second Harvest, which is now known as Feeding America, a confederation of more than 200 U.S. foodbanks that serve more than 50 million meals annually.

She currently serves as the Payne Distinguished Lecturer and visiting fellow at the Center on Food Security and Environment and the Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She is also a Distinguished Fellow of Global Agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Ambassador Cousin is a Chicago native and holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Georgia School of Law. She was named one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People,” and Foreign Policy magazine’s “500 Most Powerful People on the Planet.” She has also been named to the Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” list and as the Fortune “Most Powerful Woman in Food and Drink.”


Sheba Crocker

Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice, CARE

Sheba Crocker is CARE USA’s vice president for humanitarian policy and practice. Crocker provides overall leadership and strategic guidance for CARE USA’s emergency and humanitarian operations, programs, and policy. She is responsible for overseeing humanitarian technical and operational support to CARE country offices and CARE International members and leads, which includes emergency food aid programs.

Crocker came to CARE after serving at the State Department as assistant secretary of state for International Organization Affairs, principal deputy director in the Office of Policy Planning and chief of staff to the deputy secretary of state. Her prior government service includes additional roles at the State Department and in the National Security Council. Crocker has extensive inter-governmental and non-governmental organization experience including at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She has taught at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, George Washington University, and American University.

Crocker received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a law degree from Harvard Law School.


Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman

John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy - Foreign Policy, Brookings Institute

Senior Fellow, United Nations Foundation

Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman is a visiting fellow with the John C. Whitehead in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow at the United Nations Foundation, both based in Washington, D.C. He is also a senior adviser to Kissinger Associates and a member of the Board of Advisers to the Dialogue Advisory Group, an Amsterdam-based mediation NGO.

From July 2012 until his April 2018 retirement, Ambassador Feltman served as United Nations under-secretary general for Political Affairs. Prior to this, Ambassador Feltman was a U.S. foreign service officer, focusing largely on the Middle East and North Africa. From 2009 until 2012, Ambassador Feltman was the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs. Before his 2004-2008 tenure as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, he served in Erbil, Baghdad, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tunis, Amman, Budapest, and Port-au-Prince.

A native of Greenville, Ohio, Ambassador Feltman has a master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree with dual majors in history and art from Ball State University. His wife, Mary Draper, is a retired U.S. foreign service officer.


Ambassador William J. Garvelink

Senior Advisor for Global Strategy, International Medical Corps

Senior Adviser for U.S. Leadership in Development and Global Food Security Project, Center for Strategic & International Studies

Ambassador William J. Garvelink serves as a senior adviser to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as well as a senior adviser for global strategy at the International Medical Corps. Ambassador Garvelink had a career with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he most recently served as a senior adviser to Administrator Rajiv Shah until November 2012. During his tenure at USAID, he served as deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative. From 2007 to 2010, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to his appointment as the ambassador, he served as principal deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance.

From 1999 to 2001, Ambassador Garvelink served as USAID mission director in Eritrea. From 1988 to 1999, he served in the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), first as the assistant director for response and then as deputy director. Prior to his work in OFDA, he served for two years in the Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration. He was posted for four years in Bolivia for USAID and served for three years as a staff member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ambassador Garvelink is a retired member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of minister counselor. He has received numerous Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor Awards from the State Department and USAID and two Senior Foreign Service Presidential Meritorious Awards. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.


Greg Gottlieb

Director, The Feinstein International Center

Irwin H. Rosenberg Professor in Nutrition and Human Security, Friedman School of Nutrition

Greg Gottlieb is the director of The Feinstein International Center and the Irwin H. Rosenberg Professor in Nutrition and Human Security at the Friedman School of Nutrition. He has more than 30 years of experience in international humanitarian assistance and development. Before retiring from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2017 and joining Tufts University, he served as assistant administrator for humanitarian assistance and political transitions, working on the “four famines,” as well as the conflict in Syria. He served as senior deputy assistant administrator for food security, helping start President Obama’s Feed the Future Initiative. He was USAID Mission Director in Pakistan, where he worked on, among other things, political transition programs in Taliban-contested areas. While leading the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, he had oversight of such emergencies as the Asian tsunami, Pakistan earthquake, Darfur conflict, and several droughts in East Africa. As deputy of the Office of Transition Initiatives he oversaw major programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served as a legal officer for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Southeast Asia, Chief of Party of the Famine Early Warning System, and at one time was a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles.


Chad Hayward

Executive Director, Accord Network

Since 2007, Chad Hayward has served as executive director for Accord Network, a nonprofit consisting of over 70 Christian organizations working toward a shared vision of eliminating world poverty. Prior to this, Hayward served in the federal Faith-Based Initiative as the senior adviser for the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Prior to joining USAID, Hayward spent several years on Capitol Hill where he served as communications director for Representative Jim Ryun of Kansas and policy aide to Representative John Thune of South Dakota. Before his time in Washington, he worked as director of operations for Prayer for the Persecuted Church, where he worked to bring awareness of Christian persecution worldwide and to establish a development and consulting firm that specialized in helping non-profit organizations.

Hayward holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and resides in Michigan.


Neal Keny-Guyer

CEO, Mercy Corps

Since 1994, Neal Keny-Guyer has served as chief executive officer of the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. Under his leadership, Mercy Corps has grown into one of the most respected international relief and development agencies in the world, with ongoing operations in more than 40 countries, a staff of 5,000, and global revenue of over $450 million.

A native of Tennessee, Keny-Guyer started his career working with at-risk youth in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. After attending business school, he moved to Thailand to aid Cambodian refugees with CARE and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. In 1982, Keny-Guyer began his tenure with Save the Children, rising to become Director of Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.

Keny-Guyer holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy and religion from Duke University, a master’s degree in public and private management from Yale University, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Portland State University. A former trustee of the Yale Corporation, Keny-Guyer remains very involved with the university, serving on the Yale President’s Council on International Affairs and the Board of Advisers of the Yale School of Management. Keny-Guyer is as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System.


James Kunder

Principal, Kunder/Reali Associates

James Kunder is principal at Kunder/Reali Associates, a consulting firm based in Virginia that specialized in international development, post-conflict reconstruction, and civil-military relations. Concurrently, he serves as an affiliated expert at The Lugar Center in Washington, D.C. and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. In 2014-15, working with Palladium, Kunder led a major evaluation project for the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. From 2006 to 2009, he served as acting deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Previously at USAID, he served as assistant administrator for Asia and the Near East, director for relief and reconstruction in Afghanistan, deputy assistant administrator for external affairs, and director of the Agency's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

In the private sector, Kunder was vice president for program development at Save the Children Federation. Previously, he served as director of marketing for Widmer Engineering, a Pennsylvania-based engineering firm. He has also served as a legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Fourth Congressional District. Prior to his service on Capitol Hill, he was on active military duty as an infantry platoon commander in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Kunder has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University in American government and a master's degree in international relations from Georgetown University. He pursued doctoral studies in international relations at The George Washington University. He currently teaches at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute and at the Marine Corps University. He has authored numerous publications on international humanitarian issues, reconstruction, peacekeeping, and crisis management.


Nancy Lindborg

President, United States Institute of Peace

Nancy Lindborg is the president of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent institution founded by Congress to provide practical solutions for preventing, mitigating, and resolving violent conflict around the world.

Prior to joining USIP, she served as the assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). From 2010 through early 2015, Lindborg led USAID teams focused on building resilience and democracy, managing and mitigating conflict, and providing urgent humanitarian assistance. Prior to joining USAID, Lindborg was president of Mercy Corps, where she spent 14 years helping to grow the organization into a globally respected organization known for innovative programs in the most challenging environments. She started her international career working overseas in Kazakhstan and Nepal; she has spent most of her career working in fragile and conflict affected regions around the world. 


Patricia McIlreavy

Vice President, Humanitarian Policy and Practice, InterAction

Patricia McIlreavy is the vice president of the Humanitarian Policy and Practice team at InterAction, an alliance of U.S.-based relief and development organizations. She leads InterAction’s efforts to assist the humanitarian community, including InterAction members, United Nations agencies, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

McIlreavy’s experience in the humanitarian field began in 1993, when she joined U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. After serving on USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team to Rwanda in 1994, McIlreavy took on a position with the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Rwanda program. Her subsequent career with the IRC in Africa spanned 14 years. As Regional Director, she oversaw IRC’s relief, rehabilitation, and post-conflict development programming totaling over $134 million across East Africa and the Great Lakes region. Directly before joining InterAction, McIlreavy was based out of Amman, Jordan, where she worked with a diverse group of organizations, including humanitarian NGOs, the Red Cross movement, United Nations agencies and NATO as an international management and training consultant.

McIlreavy holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the American University School of International Service and was a 2014-2015 fellow of MIT’s Seminar XXI program. In 2014, she was selected for inclusion into the United Nation’s Humanitarian Coordinator pool.


John Mitchell

Director, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance

John Mitchell is a committed humanitarian leader with over three decades of experience in both humanitarian practice and policy. He has worked for several major humanitarian organizations including the International Federation of the Red Cross/Crescent Societies, United Nations World Food Programme, the U.K. Overseas Development Administration, and Oxfam. He is an established key-note presenter and has published widely.

Since 2002, Mitchell has successfully led the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP) network in its mission to improve learning and humanitarian performance. During this time, he established ALNAP as an integral part of the humanitarian architecture by growing the network from 30 to over 100 international organizations from across the humanitarian system.

Mitchell has a first-class degree in social anthropology and a master’s degree in human nutrition. He began his career working in Ethiopia 1984-86, where he was part of a front-line team set up to deliver first hand reports to the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General’s Emergency Office for Ethiopia. In the decade that followed, Mitchell successfully set up and led a company that specialized in participatory evaluations. He also spent six years in the British Red Cross where he established advisory functions in emergency operations, disaster preparedness, and humanitarian policy. Mitchell is an advisor to the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute.


J. Stephen Morrison

Senior Vice President, Director, Global Health Policy Center, Center for Strategic & International Studies

J. Stephen Morrison, Ph.D., is a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he directs the work of the Global Health Policy Center. Much of his current focus is leading the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security, a two-year enterprise that encompasses six members of Congress and another 17 diverse U.S. leaders from security, public health, industry, foundations, and think tanks. The commission is committed to devising a long-term U.S. investment strategy for health security, at home and abroad that can draw enduring bipartisan support from the American people and that can tackle the demands of widening disordered world, amid a rapidly changing technological environment. He has led CSIS’s extensive work on HIV, TB, and malaria, women’s and family health, and directed and produced films on Ebola in America in 2014, the surge of violence against the health sector in Syria, Yemen, and many other conflicts, and the fragile health security situation inside North Korea. Over the course of his career, Morrison has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Africa Subcommittee and the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff and directed the CSIS Africa Program. He received his doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a graduate, magna cum laude, from Yale College. 


Liz Schrayer

President, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Liz Schrayer serves as president and CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a broad-based coalition of over 500 businesses and NGOs that advocates for strong U.S. global leadership through development and diplomacy. Under her leadership, the USGLC has grown to a nationwide network of advocates in all 50 states and boasts a bipartisan Advisory Council, chaired by General Colin Powell, which includes every living former secretary of state, and a National Security Advisory Council consisting of nearly 200 retired three and four-star generals and admirals. In addition to running the USGLC, Schrayer serves as president of Schrayer & Associates, Inc., a nationwide political consulting firm founded in 1994, which works on a wide range of domestic and international issues.

Schrayer currently serves on U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, as well as several advisory boards and committees for the University of Michigan, including the Ford School of Public Policy. Prior to starting her own firm, Schrayer served as the national political director of American Israel Public Affairs Committee for more than a decade. She worked on Capitol Hill, founding the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, and in state government. She has traveled across the country organizing citizen advocates in every state. Schrayer has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and resides in Maryland with her husband Jeff Schwaber, an attorney who helped launch the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.


Ambassador John Simon

Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Total Impact Capital

Ambassador John A. Simon is co-founder and managing partner of Total Impact Capital (TOTAL), an impact investing firm that works with partners to structure, market, and manage financing vehicles focused on scaling high impact interventions. He is also vice chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

Prior to starting TOTAL, Ambassador Simon was a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he co-authored More than Money, a report on impact investing as a development tool. Previously, Ambassador Simon held a variety of posts in the U.S. government, including serving as the ambassador to the African Union, the executive vice president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and special assistant to the president and senior director for relief, stabilization, and development at the White House.

Ambassador Simon received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University.


Dr. Paul Spiegel

Director, Center for Humanitarian Health, Johns Hopkins University

Professor of the Practice, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Paul Spiegel is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health and professor of the practice in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He received his medical degree at the University of Toronto and his master’s degree in Public Health with a specialty in Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Previously, Dr. Spiegel was the deputy director of the Division of Programme Support and Management at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he supervised and managed four technical sections: Public Health, Cash-based Initiatives, Shelter and Settlement, and Operations Solutions and Transitions. He was chief of the Public Health and HIV Section (2002-2012) and the Refugee Agency’s global HIV coordinator for UNAIDS (2004-2016).

Before UNHCR, he worked as a medical epidemiologist in the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Previously he worked as a medical coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontiéres and Médecins du Monde as well as for numerous organizations including the Canadian Red Cross, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Centre for Victims of Torture in Toronto, Canada. He has won numerous awards including CDC's Charles C. Shepard award for outstanding research in assessment and epidemiology.

Dr. Spiegel is chair of the Funding Committee for the Department for International Development and Wellcome Trust-funded Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises or R2HC. He is on the editorial board of the journal entitled Conflict and Health.


Ben Taub

Staff Writer, The New Yorker

Ben Taub joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2017. He has written for the magazine about a range of subjects related to jihadism, crime, conflict, and human rights, mostly in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2017, his work on Syria, which was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, was short-listed for a National Magazine Award and won the Livingston Award for international reporting, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for international print reporting, and the Overseas Press Club Award for investigative reporting. Taub also received the American Society of Magazine Editors Next Award for journalists under 30, and was named one of Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in media. In 2018, his work on a convergence of crises in the Sahel won the George Polk Award for magazine reporting and the Prince Albert II of Monaco and United Nations Correspondents Association Global Prize for coverage of climate change.


Dr. Michael VanRooyen

Director, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH, is the director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) at Harvard University and the Lavine Family Professor of Humanitarian Studies at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also the chairman of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and a professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. VanRooyen is the founding director of the HHI, an interfaculty initiative at Harvard University. He has worked as an emergency physician with numerous relief organizations in over 30 countries affected by war and disaster. He has also worked in the field as a relief expert with several NGOs, including CARE, Save the Children, and Oxfam. He has been a policy adviser to the World Health Organization and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and a member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Health Cluster.

Domestically, Dr. VanRooyen worked with the American Red Cross to provide relief assistance at the site of the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11. He also helped to coordinate the American Red Cross public health response to Hurricane Katrina. He worked as a physician with the U.S. Secret Service, NASA, and with the U.S. Public Health Service with the Navajo and Apache tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.

Dr. VanRooyen teaches courses at Harvard University and the Harvard School of Public Health on humanitarian operations in war and disaster. In 2012, he founded the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard, an educational program designed to advance humanitarian professionalism.


Anne Witkowsky

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability and Humanitarian Affairs, Department of Defense

Anne A. Witkowsky served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability and humanitarian affairs from 2014 to 2016 where she had policy responsibility for humanitarian assistance and disaster response; defense support to the security of U.S. embassies; peacekeeping and stability operations; and international humanitarian law, rule of law and protection of human rights.

From 2009-2013 she served in leadership positions in the Bureau of Counterterrorism at the State Department, as the principal deputy coordinator (Acting) for more than a year, helping to run the Bureau, and as the deputy coordinator for homeland security and multilateral affairs. As the deputy coordinator she oversaw State’s terrorist designations and sanctions, terrorist screening and interdiction arrangements, and homeland security matters that affect foreign partners, such as transportation and cargo security.

Witkowsky has held other high-level positions with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the National Security Council, focusing on homeland security and arms control, respectively. She has received Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Witkowsky earned her bachelor’s degree in Russian and East European studies from Yale University. She received her master’s degree in public administration, with a concentration in international security, from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of the Marshall Legacy Institute.