Councils

Human Trafficking Advisory Council

Ernie Allen
Ernie Allen

Combatting Human Trafficking

Ernie Allen
Ernie Allen

Combatting Human Trafficking

Ernie Allen is a global expert on the digital economy; the dark side of the internet; public-private partnerships and child protection including the issues of child abduction, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, human trafficking and modern slavery. He frequently speaks to global audiences on these issues and serves as an advisor to governments, law enforcement, technology companies and nonprofit organizations.

In 2015 he was appointed by then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron to serve as chairman of a global initiative to combat online child abuse and exploitation. He is also an advisor to the Ethisphere Institute, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, the End Modern Slavery Initiative Foundation, Shared Hope, and Thorn in the United States, Il Telefono Azzurro in Italy, ECPAT International in Thailand, and others

Thirty years ago the problem of child abduction and victimization was unrecognized and unreported. Allen led the effort to create a comprehensive response to address the problem. He was the architect and a founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, served as first Chairman and then as President and CEO for more than 28 years. During his tenure, more than 180,000 missing children were recovered and the recovery rate increased from 62% to 97%.

He created the national 24-hour missing children hotline; brought age progression, facial reconstruction and other forensic resources to law enforcement; and provided training for more than 300,000 police officers. He established the national CyberTipline for reporting child sexual exploitation; the Child Victim Identification Program to analyze millions of child pornography images to rescue child victims; and helped U.S. Marshals track 100,000 fugitive sex offenders.

To extend the effort globally he founded the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and served simultaneously as its President and CEO. He built a global missing children’s network that included 23 nations, trained law enforcement in 121 countries and worked with parliaments in 100 countries to enact new laws.

He brought global attention to the risks of unregulated virtual currencies and the anonymous “Dark Web” and created a task force whose policy recommendations are being implemented worldwide. He also created a coalition involving the world’s leading financial institutions which reduced commercial child pornography from a $30 billion industry to virtually zero; created a coalition with leading technology companies to address child victimization; and formed a global health coalition with major pharmaceutical companies to address child sexual exploitation as a public health crisis.

His work has been widely recognized and he is the recipient of numerous awards. He was called “one of America’s foremost social entrepreneurs” by President George W. Bush, named “Executive of the Year” by NonProfit Times and named one of the “Most Influential People in Security” by Security Magazine. During his tenure NCMEC was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth Magazine.

Letty Ashworth
Letty Ashworth

Combatting Human Trafficking

Letty Ashworth
Letty Ashworth

Combatting Human Trafficking

Letty Ashworth is the director of global community affairs for Delta Air Lines.

In this role, she is a key leader in Delta’s global strategy to develop an efficient, effective, and diverse workforce that reflects the rapidly changing demographics of an increasingly interconnected world.

She works closely with various Delta business units on recruiting efforts to ensure Delta is an employer of choice for diverse talent, including the company’s efforts in recruiting and supporting veterans. Those recruiting efforts include the company’s major commitment to support veterans and advocate on behalf of issues that are important to Delta employees and their families living with disabilities.

Under her leadership, Delta’s seven Employee Network Groups have continued to grow and are a vibrant part of Delta’s culture. Along with other leaders, Ashworth has been instrumental in the growth of the RISE mentoring program, including its expansion to Asia and other regions. Responding to employee input, Ashworth has also helped facilitate the recent expansion of the Delta Wrenched Hearts support group from its roots in Tech Ops into a company-wide network.

Delta’s Speaker’s Series events have reached thousands of employees, provoking thought and discussion on topics important to Delta associates. Ashworth’s reputation and constant work on behalf of Delta have helped her attract stellar speakers for this important program. She has also led Delta’s efforts to implement a strong commitment in the area of combatting human trafficking, becoming a nationally sought after speaker on this topic and has given testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in support of Delta Air Lines commitment to address the issue.

She is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

As part of Delta’s Force for Global Good, Ashworth has worked on Habitat for Humanity builds in Leogane, Haiti (a special mission with the Carter Foundation), El Monte, Chile and Shanghai, China. She also works with numerous Civil Rights Organizations throughout the Delta hubs.

Ashworth serves on the following Boards: gBCAT-(Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Wings Financial CU-Corporate Advisory Board, Asia Society New York-Corporate Diversity Advisory Board, Atlanta YWCA-Board of Directors and the Consortium for Graduate Studies-Corporate Advisory Board and the Captain Planet Foundation Board of Directors and the McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Board.

Ashworth has been recognized by numerous organizations for her commitment to Global Diversity. She was awarded the American Legion Award and the 2012 Catalyst Award from Uptown Magazine and was honored by the White House for Promising Practices work in diversity.

Charlie Black
Charlie Black

Combatting Human Trafficking

Charlie Black
Charlie Black

Combatting Human Trafficking

Charles R. Black is Chairman of Prime Policy Group, and was the founder of the firm’s predecessor, BKSH & Associates Worldwide. Charlie is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading public affairs professionals. Serving as a principal legislative and public affairs advisor to several Fortune 500 companies and trade associations, he also leads Prime Policy Group client teams in several public policy disciplines.

Charlie is best known as one of America’s leading Republican political strategists. He served as senior advisor to both President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. In 1990, Charlie served as chief spokesman for the Republican National Committee and served as a principal public spokesman for President Bush in the 1992 presidential campaign. He served on President George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns as a volunteer political advisor and surrogate spokesman. During the 2008 election cycle, Charlie served as the senior political advisor to Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign.

An attorney with more than 40 years of experience in government, public affairs and politics, Charlie has managed the successful elections of several U.S. Senators and Members of Congress. He served as political director of the Republican National Committee under Chairman Bill Brock.

Currently, Charlie serves on the boards of directors of the U.S. Air Force Academy Foundation and the Fund for American Studies; he received the Fund’s Lifetime Service Awards in 2007. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Association of Political Consultants in 2010. In 2013, Charlie received the Bryce Harlow Foundation Business-Government Relations Award, the most prestigious honor given to government relations professionals.

A native of North Carolina, Charlie is a member of the North Carolina Bar. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Florida and a Juris Doctorate from The American University. Charlie resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Judy.

Catherine Chen
Catherine Chen

CEO of Polaris

Catherine Chen
Catherine Chen

CEO of Polaris

Catherine Chen is the CEO of Polaris, a leading anti-trafficking organization in the United States. She is a veteran anti-trafficking strategist who has spent nearly two decades building innovative social justice programs to address the systemic failures and inequities that are at the root of sex and labor trafficking. As a first generation Chinese-American, Catherine brings a deep commitment to racial and gender justice and economic equity and has a long track record of building up leaders who have lived experience.

Catherine was previously Polaris’s chief program officer, where she spearheaded the organization’s 10-year vision for reducing and preventing trafficking at the magnitude of the problem. Prior to joining Polaris, Catherine spent seven years at Humanity United, where she led the foundation’s Human Trafficking and Labor Migration team as Director of Investments, building an extensive program to address trafficking and labor exploitation of South Asian migrant workers. Earlier in her career, she served as the inaugural global Anti-Trafficking and Child Protection Advisor for Save the Children, working across 17 countries to address child exploitation and led a nationwide training and technical assistance program for U.S. Department of Justice anti-trafficking task forces.

Catherine has a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University, and a Masters degree in public health from Columbia University.

Holly Austin Gibbs
Holly Austin Gibbs

Combatting Human Trafficking

Holly Austin Gibbs
Holly Austin Gibbs

Combatting Human Trafficking

Holly is a survivor of child sex trafficking and an activist against all forms of human trafficking and exploitation. Holly has testified before Congress and consulted for numerous organizations, including the Office for Victims of Crime, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and the AMBER Alert program. She is requested on a regular basis to provide testimony and input to law enforcement officials, legislators, social service providers, human trafficking task forces, and journalists. In 2014, Holly published an academic book titled Walking Prey: How America’s Youth are Vulnerable to Sex Slavery. This year, Holly joined Dignity Health, the fifth largest healthcare system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California. As Patient Care Services Program Director, Holly is overseeing a new program to recognize and respond to at-risk and actual victims of human trafficking in the healthcare setting.

Nick Grono
Nick Grono
Nick Grono
Nick Grono

Nick Grono was appointed as the inaugural CEO of the Freedom Fund in January 2014. The Fund is an ambitious effort to mobilize the knowledge, capital and will needed to end modern slavery.

In its first four years of operation the Freedom Fund has worked with some 100 frontline partners around the world to directly liberate 16,047 people from slavery and return over 36,231 at risk children back to school. Overall, its programs have positively impacted the lives of over 390,000 of those most vulnerable to exploitation. And it is changing the systems that place many millions more at risk of slavery.

Grono is also co-chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, and a board member of Girls Not Brides and the Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

Prior to the Freedom Fund, Grono was the inaugural CEO of the Walk Free Foundation, a leading international actor in the fight against modern slavery. And before Walk Free, he was the Deputy President and Chief Operating Officer of the International Crisis Group (ICG), the world’s leading conflict prevention NGO, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, with offices in over 20 countries.

Grono is a lawyer by background and, prior to ICG, he was Chief of Staff and National Security Adviser to the Australian Attorney-General. He has a law degree with first class honours from the University of Sydney and a Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University.

Caroline Haughey
Caroline Haughey

Combatting Human Trafficking

Caroline Haughey
Caroline Haughey

Combatting Human Trafficking

Caroline Haughey is a Criminal Barrister in independent practice in England and Wales. She both prosecutes and defends the most serious criminal offending and has earned a reputation for dealing with cases concerning novel areas of law and large criminal networks. Having prosecuted the first cases of modern slavery in Britain, she was invited to assist the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery in proposing a Modern Slavery Act. She was subsequently involved in drafting the criminal justice provisions of the proposed Act and gave evidence before the All Party Parliamentary Group. The Modern Slavery Act came into force in 2015, and Haughey was responsible for successfully prosecuting the first cases under the Act in labor exploitation, sex exploitation and child sex trafficking.

In May 2016, she was tasked by then Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Theresa May to independently review the criminal justice provisions of the Modern Slavery Act and consider whether it was fit for purpose. The “Modern Slavery Act 2015 Review: One Year On” was published on July 31, 2016. The review was the subject of the first article by May as Prime Minister and has resulted in £33 million being redirected from the UK foreign aid budget to targeting trafficking at source. It has also resulted in a successful granting of £8.5 million to the UK police force to enable implementation of the policing recommendations contained within the Haughey Review.

Haughey sits on the Modern Slavery Task Force, founded and chaired by Prime Minister May, along with senior members of the UK government, heads of intelligence agencies and police. The review has resulted in a training of all Crown Court judges in the area of human trafficking, as well as nationwide training for prosecutors in this field. Haughey lectures both nationally and internationally to governments, law enforcement agencies and other participants in the criminal justice process on human trafficking and modern slavery, providing the benefit of her practical experience in successfully prosecuting organized criminal networks and advising on drafting, practical implementation and policing of trafficking and modern slavery.

Haughey has duel British and Irish nationality and attended Trinity College, Dublin where she graduated with an LLB. She was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1999 and is a member of Middle Temple, having been an external examiner in criminal law for the Bar Standards Board; she is also a professional member of the Bar Disciplinary Panel. She lectured in crime, criminology and legal systems and methods at the University of East London. Haughey sits on the Provost Council of Trinity College, Dublin, is a trustee of the Kalisher Trust and board member of the Concord Prison Trust. She lives in England with her husband, four young daughters and four demanding dogs.

Swanee Hunt
Swanee Hunt

Combatting Human Trafficking

Swanee Hunt
Swanee Hunt

Combatting Human Trafficking

Swanee Hunt’s mission is to achieve gender parity, especially as a means to end war and rebuild societies, as well as to alleviate poverty and other human suffering. At Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Hunt is the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy. In 1997, she founded the Women and Public Policy Program, a research center concerned with domestic and foreign policy, which she directed for more than a decade. At the Kennedy School, she is also core faculty at the Center for Public Leadership and senior advisor to The Initiative to Stop Human Trafficking in the Carr Center for Human Rights. An expert on domestic policy and foreign affairs, Hunt also chairs the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security, conducting research, training, and advocacy to integrate women into peace processes. Her seminal work in this area began when, as the US Ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997.

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher

Combatting Human Trafficking

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher

Combatting Human Trafficking

Co-Founder of Thorn, Ashton Kutcher is an actor, entrepreneur, tech investor and philanthropist – focused on using technology to affect positive changes in the world. The goal of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, is to drive technology innovation to fight the sexual exploitation of children (www.wearethorn.org).In 2010 Time Magazine named Kutcher among their Top 100 Most Influential People; the following year, Vanity Fair honored him in their 2011 New Establishment List, which identifies the top 50 of an innovative new breed of buccaneering visionaries, engineering prodigies and entrepreneurs.

Cindy McCain
Cindy McCain

Chair of the Board Of Trustees

Cindy McCain
Cindy McCain

Chair of the Board Of Trustees

Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world. As the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University, she oversees the organization’s focus on advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity.

Cindy also chairs the Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council.  This is an issue she cares deeply about and is committed to ending human trafficking and supporting victims in Arizona, the United States and around the world. Through her work with the McCain Institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem.  She also serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on human trafficking.

In addition to her work at the McCain Institute, she serves on the Board of Directors of Project C.U.R.E and the Advisory Boards of Too Small To Fail and Warriors and Quiet Waters. Cindy holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master’s in Special Education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors.

Cindy is the Chairman of her family’s business, Hensley Beverage Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation.  Cindy is the wife of the late U.S. Senator John McCain.  Together, they have four children.

Jane Mosbacher Morris
Jane Mosbacher Morris

Combatting Human Trafficking

Jane Mosbacher Morris
Jane Mosbacher Morris

Combatting Human Trafficking

Jane Mosbacher Morris is the Founder and CEO of TO THE MARKET, a company that connects businesses and consumers to ethically made products from around the world.

She previously served as the Director of Humanitarian Action for the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. Morris is a member of VF Corporation’s Advisory Council on Responsible Sourcing. She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

She is the also the author of Penguin Random House book, Buy the Change You Want to See: Use Your Purchasing Power to Make the World a Better Place (January 29, 2019).

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a MBA from Columbia Business School. She is proud to be married to fellow entrepreneur, Nate Morris of Kentucky.
Marilyn Carlson Nelson
Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Combatting Human Trafficking

Marilyn Carlson Nelson
Marilyn Carlson Nelson

Combatting Human Trafficking

Marilyn Carlson Nelson is former chairman and CEO of Carlson, a global travel and hospitality company headquartered in Minneapolis, which includes Radisson Blu, Radisson Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Country Inns & Suites and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

Nelson has appeared on the Forbes magazine list as one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” and was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News and World Report. Under Marilyn’s leadership, Carlson became the first global travel and hospitality company based in the U.S. to sign the industry’s international “Code of Conduct” to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. In 2013, Carlson was the first business to receive the Presidential Award for “Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking.” Nelson is an inductee in the French Legion d’Honneur for her exemplary leadership and service to humanity and is also the recipient of the Oslo Business for Peace Award.

Nelson serves on the boards of the United Nations Global Compact, The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and The National Endowment for Democracy. She is the past board chair of the Mayo Clinic and is a former board member of ExxonMobil and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Nelson graduated from Smith College with a degree in international economics and is the best-selling author of “How We Lead Matters: Reflections on a Life of Leadership.”

Randy Newcomb
Randy Newcomb

Combatting Human Trafficking

Randy Newcomb
Randy Newcomb

Combatting Human Trafficking

As President and CEO, Randy Newcomb leads all aspects of Humanity United’s strategic planning, development, and operations. He works closely with the organization’s founders and Board of Trustees to ensure that HU achieves its long-term mission and strategic objectives.

Prior to joining HU, Randy was a Vice President of Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm, where he focused on developing global partnerships and investments across a variety of sectors. Prior to Omidyar Network, Randy served for 14 years as Executive Director of Golden Gate Community Inc., a community based organization in San Francisco. Randy was a Fellow at the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University and an International Development Fellow at the University of Bath, England. He holds a doctor of education from the University of San Francisco and a master’s degree in development economics from the University of Bath.

Gilbert Orrantia
Gilbert Orrantia

Combatting Human Trafficking

Gilbert Orrantia
Gilbert Orrantia

Combatting Human Trafficking

Gilbert Orrantia became the Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security in June, 2009. Prior to heading Arizona’s Homeland Security efforts at the State, he served in the FBI for 26 years.

Mr. Orrantia brings a national and global perspective on counterterrorism that is gained from vast counterterrorism experience including the supervision of an FBI counterterrorism squad in Phoenix and serving eight years as a Supervisory Special Agent. For four years he helped lead the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Phoenix, Arizona located at Arizona’s fusion center, known as the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC).

Recognized as an expert in investigations of terrorism, drugs and violent crimes, Mr. Orrantia’s successful FBI law enforcement career is reflected in the numerous awards and commendations he received. Among them are two of the FBI’s highest commendations: the Medal of Valor and the FBI Star. These awards were made to Mr. Orrantia for his role in the deadliest firefight in FBI history;- a gun battle known as the “Miami Shootout” in which two fellow FBI agents were killed.

Mr. Orrantia has lectured to members of the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia on officer safety and survival and continues to share his expertise in surviving a deadly encounter with numerous law enforcement agencies.

Director Orrantia currently serves on the Executive Committee of the National Governors Association Homeland Security Advisors Council and also serves as a Tri-Chair of the National Homeland Security Consortium.

In April of 2013, he was appointed by Governor Jan Brewer to serve as Co-Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking.

Mr. Orrantia, a native Arizonan who is fluent in Spanish, was raised in Mesa, Arizona. He is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.

McCain Global Leaders Council

H.R. McMaster

Former National Security Advisor

H.R. McMaster

Former National Security Advisor

  1. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.  He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  He was the 26th assistant to the president for National Security Affairs. Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984, McMaster served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for thirty-four years before retiring as a Lieutenant General in June 2018.

From 2014 to 2017 McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. His has extensive experience leading soldiers and organizations in wartime including Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012; Commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Commander, Eagle Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

McMaster holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy from 1994 to 1996.  He is author of Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and the award-winning Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam.  He was a contributing editor for Survival: Global Politics and Strategy from 2010 to 2017.  His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The AtlanticForeign AffairsSurvival, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

David Axelrod

Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics
USA

David Axelrod

Director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics
USA

David Axelrod is a preeminent American political strategist and commentator and the former chief strategist and senior advisor to President Barack Obama.  Axelrod currently serves as the founding director of the University of Chicago's non-partisan Institute of Politics and as a senior political commentator for CNN.  He is the host of The Axe Files, a top-rated podcast featuring in depth conversations with public figures across the political spectrum.  A former political writer for the Chicago Tribune, Axelrod produced media strategy and advertising for 150 campaigns across the U.S., culminating in President Obama’s historic elections.  Axelrod is also the author of The New York Times best-selling memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics.

Michelle Bekkering

Director of National Engagement, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
USA

Michelle Bekkering

Director of National Engagement, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
USA

Bekkering currently serves as Director of National Engagement at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). USGLC represents more than 500 businesses and non-profits across the country who support America’s global leadership; advocating for smart and effective investments in development and diplomacy to advance our interests at home and abroad.

Prior to joining USGLC, Bekkering served in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2017-2021, where she nominated by the President and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and the Environment (E3). A policy expert, Bekkering led USAID’s efforts to address some of the most complex, wide-raging development challenges around the world; leading inter-Agency policy processes resulting in the U.S. Government Strategy on International Basic Education, the U.S. Strategy on Women, Peace and Security, and the United States Federal Strategy for Addressing the Global Issue of Marine Litter. Bekkering also provided the U.S. Congress with technical expertise on wide-ranging bipartisan legislation including the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018 and the Save our Seas Act 2.0 of 2020.  During her service, Bekkering represented the U.S. Government in multiple high level bilateral and multi-lateral policy fora, including the 2017 G7 Development Ministerial, the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, the 2017 and 2018 UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, and head of the USG delegation for APEC’s Women and the Economy Forum in 2018.

A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives, Bekkering was a leading architect of the White House led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP); the first whole of U.S. Government initiative designed to economically empower 50 million women by 2025. Bekkering also oversaw the $200 million W-GPD Fund at USAID which in two years catalyzed partnerships with more than 450 partners to reach its goals.

Prior to joining USAID, Bekkering spent most of her career in the international development field. Bekkering joined the International Republican Institute in 2005; a non-partisan, non-governmental organization dedicated to advancing democracy, rights, and governance worldwide. During her twelve years at IRI, Bekkering provided leadership to Institute initiatives in Washington, D.C. and abroad, including by serving as residential country director for the Institute based in Indonesia. Bekkering oversaw the Institute’s Women’s Democracy Network from 2010-2013; a global initiative designed to increase women’s political participation and leadership. Under Bekkering’s leadership, WDN expanded to more than 70 countries worldwide.

Prior to joining IRI, Bekkering served in numerous positions in the U.S. Government. She worked in the European and Eurasian Affairs Directorate of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, and on Capitol Hill as an aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46).

Bekkering has served as a trainer, speaker, and accredited election observer on five continents. A committed supporter of character-driven leadership, she is an alumna of the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL), a past mentor for the Women’s Initiative fellowship program at the George W. Bush Institute and a member of the McCain Institute’s Global Leaders Advisory Council.

Joe Harper

COO, REB Capital Management
USA

Hannah Vaughan Jones

Broadcaster and Journalist
United Kingdom

Hannah Vaughan Jones

Broadcaster and Journalist
United Kingdom

Hannah Vaughan Jones is an Emmy-nominated journalist and broadcaster. She has anchored live television news programmes for CNN International and Sky News.

 

Hannah is a sought-after public speaker and event host with a particular interest in international development and global health. She has hosted summits and fora for multilaterals, the public and private sectors, including a WTO-WHO high level vaccine dialogue, the launch of a global Covid-19 taskforce, a Concordia Annual Summit interview with Facebook’s Sir Nick Clegg, and Alibaba Group’s Gateway to China conference. Hannah moderated at Women Deliver 2019 in Vancouver, and in 2018 she single-handedly hosted the London CHOGM Malaria Summit featuring Bill Gates, fifteen Heads of State and HRH The Prince of Wales.

 

Hannah runs her own production company, Lewnah Ltd, which is currently developing a video news service for young children. She is also a senior advisor to BB Partners - a Communications Advisory for Changemakers.

 

Hannah remains a vocal advocate for access to fertility treatment and global SRHR, given her own long journey to motherhood

 

She lives in London, UK, with her son, Sonny, and BBC News anchor husband, Lewis.

Elisa Massimino
Elisa Massimino

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
USA

Elisa Massimino
Elisa Massimino

Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
USA

Elisa Massimino is the Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Chair in Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, focusing on human rights. She also recently served as a Senior Fellow with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as a Practitioner-in-Residence at Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. Previously, Massimino spent 27 years—the last decade as President and CEO—at Human Rights First, one of the nation’s leading human rights advocacy organizations.

Massimino has a distinguished record of human rights advocacy in Washington. She has testified before Congress dozens of times, writes frequently for mainstream publications and specialized journals, appears regularly in major media outlets, and speaks to audiences around the country. During her leadership at Human Rights First, the influential Washington newspaper The Hill consistently named her one of the most effective public advocates in the country.

The daughter of a nuclear submarine commander, Massimino was instrumental in Human Rights First’s effort to assemble a group of retired generals and admirals to speak publicly against policies authorizing the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. This coalition of military leaders played a pivotal role in restoring compliance with the Geneva Conventions.

Massimino is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. She holds a law degree from the University of Michigan, a Master’s in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity University.

James McCain

McCain Family
USA

Nate Mook

CEO, World Central Kitchen
USA

Dikembe Mutombo

Humanitarian, Founder of NBA Africa
Congo

Wai Wai Nu

Founder and Executive Director, Women Peace Network
Myanmar

Kristina Reinsalu

Programme Director, e-Democracy, e-Governance Academy
Estonia

Kristina Reinsalu

Programme Director, e-Democracy, e-Governance Academy
Estonia

Kristina Reinsalu helps central and local governments and civil society organizations to understand:

  • How ICT influences the everyday political and societal practices of citizens and society as a whole?
  • How governments should respond to expectations and demands of citizens to act not as clients but as partners?
  • How to make decision-making processes transparent and participative and what is the added value it brings?

 

As a Programme Director of e-Democracy at the e-Governance Academy, she leads the ideation, planning, implementation, and monitoring of several local, national, and international projects on digital engagement and open governance and how ICT support these processes. Her passion is local democracy, as she sees it as a testbed for democracy innovations. Her most recent projects focus on how to measure the impact of e-participation initiatives and how cities, when engaging citizens become more resilient in facing green deal challenges.   Kristina holds an MA in Public Relations and a PhD in Media and Communications. She is an internationally acknowledged public speaker on digital engagement and her articles have been published in various international scientific journals and newspapers.  Kristina speaks Estonian, English, Spanish, Russian and some German.

Katya Rimkunas

Regional Deputy Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, International Republican Institute
USA

Katya Rimkunas

Regional Deputy Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, International Republican Institute
USA

Katya Rimkunas currently serves as the Regional Deputy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the International Republican Institute (IRI). She brings more than 15 years’ experience in international development and democratic governance. In her current capacity she leads and manages programs that strengthen democratic institutions and processes in 20 countries and oversees the Institute’s Washington-based and regional staff.  She was appointed to this role in April 2014.  An expert on issue-based policy development, civil society strengthening and government accountability, Rimkunas has provided consultations and trainings to local Institute partners and beneficiaries on a variety of issues ranging from organizational-capacity building to long-term sustainability to grassroots outreach. She has also observed elections in Nigeria, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In 2018, Rimkunas testified before the U.S. House of Representative’s Foreign Affairs Committee on the 2018 elections in the Western Hemisphere and the implications for U.S. policy.  Rimkunas joined IRI in 2005 managing programs in Cuba, Mexico and Brazil. She has covered almost every country in which IRI works in Latin America including Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia and oversaw the opening and expansion of offices in El Salvador and Nicaragua.  She has led successful assessment missions to Panama and St. Lucia, establishing IRI’s program in Panama and became the division’s senior advisor on innovative programming, strategy and working in closed societies.  Prior to joining IRI, Rimkunas worked in the office of Senator John McCain. She was born in Peru and grew up in Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Political Science and Latin American studies. She is also a graduate of the Campaign School at Yale.

Josette Sheeran
Josette Sheeran

Executive Chair, McCain Institute for International Leadership
USA

Josette Sheeran
Josette Sheeran

Executive Chair, McCain Institute for International Leadership
USA

Ambassador Josette Sheeran, a founding trustee of the McCain Institute, currently serves as Executive Chairman. In this role, Sheeran is overseeing a strategic evaluation of the Institute’s mission and programs with a goal of ensuring transformational impact in the U.S. and the global community through the vision of its namesake, Sen. John S. McCain.

Sheeran previously served as the seventh president and CEO of Asia Society. In the position, which she assumed in June 2013, she was responsible for leading and advancing the organization’s work throughout the United States and Asia, and across its disciplines of arts and culture, policy and business, and education.

Sheeran is former vice chair of the World Economic Forum, which hosts the annual Davos and Davos in China gathering of world leaders. In this position, she helped advance global initiatives and global, regional and industry agendas such as Grow Africa, which has attracted $4 billion in investment commitments to end hunger and malnutrition in Africa. She recently served at the Harvard Kennedy School as a Fisher Fellow in the Future of Diplomacy.

Prior to her tenure at the World Economic Forum, Sheeran was executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006. There she was responsible for managing the world’s largest humanitarian organization, leading a team of 13,000 people in more than 70 countries and managing an annual budget of more than $3 billion — including $1 billion in Asia.

Under Sheeran’s leadership, the WFP increased its donor base to more than 100 nations, and became the first global institution to include the so-called BRIC countries and the Gulf States among its top 10 donors. She put in place historic reforms of food aid, helping cut the cycle of hunger and malnutrition by purchasing nutritious food directly from developing world farmers. She also instituted emergency protocols that helped the WFP improve its ability to save lives and livelihoods in disasters and emergencies, most notably in Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Haiti and in the Horn of Africa.

Sheeran has held senior positions in the U.S. government, and in those positions she conducted high-level diplomacy with virtually every nation in Asia. As U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, she led new State Department initiatives which supported economic transformation and reconstruction in Afghanistan and Central Asia and with APEC and ASEAN. Earlier she served for five years as deputy U.S. trade representative, conducting negotiations across Asia, including with China, Australia, Singapore, India, Korea, and Japan.

In 2011, Forbes named Sheeran the world’s 30th most powerful woman; Foreign Policy has listed her among its top 100 women on Twitter; and Sheeran’s TED Talk on ending world hunger has been viewed more than one million times.

Sheeran is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on its Washington Advisory Board. She has received several honors for her leadership in the fight against hunger and malnutrition: she was awarded Japan’s Niigata International Food Award; named Commandeur de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the government of France; and received Brazil’s highest civilian award, the Grand Official Order of the ‘Rio Branco,’ from President Lula Da Silva. Sheeran was also honored by the Huffington Post with its “Game Changer” award in 2011, along with Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson and economist Esther Duflo.

Ali Soufan

Founder, The Soufan Center
USA

Ali Soufan

Founder, The Soufan Center
USA

Ali Soufan is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group and Founder of The Soufan Center. A leading national security and counterterrorism expert, he plays a significant advisory role in global intelligence issues. As an FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Ali investigated and supervised complex international terrorism cases, including the East Africa embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the events surrounding 9/11. Ali had a distinguished career in the FBI, including serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, New York Office, where he coordinated both domestic and international counterterrorism operations. He often operated out of hostile environments and carried out sensitive extraterritorial missions and high-level negotiations, and he has received numerous awards and commendations for his work. These include the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence, the Respect for Law Enforcement Award for “relentless pursuit of truth and bringing terrorist subjects before the bar of justice,” and a commendation from the U.S. Department of Defense that labeled him “an important weapon in the ongoing war on terrorism.”

 

Ali is also a respected author and has written the Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic Stateand the New York Times top-10 bestseller The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda, winner of the 2012 Ridenhour Book Prize. On its original release in 2011, many of the most significant passages in The Black Banners were redacted; after a decade of legal wrangling, the full story is now told in The Black Banners (Declassified): How Torture Derailed the War on Terror after 9/11 (2020). In addition to his writing, Ali has testified before the U.S. Congress, presidential commissions, and the British Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, and he has appeared as an expert panelist and guest speaker at international security forums, both in the United States and abroad. He has contributed to and been profiled and interviewed by 60 Minutes, Frontline, The New Yorker, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Straits Times, Der Spiegel, and Asharq al-Awsat, and he has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the BBC. His work has also been detailed in several nonfiction books, including The Looming Tower, by Lawrence Wright, which was adapted into a 10-part Hulu series in 2018. Ali is an honors graduate of Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, where he received his undergraduate double degree in International Studies and Political Science, minoring in Cultural Studies and Anthropology. He received a Master of Arts in International Relations from Villanova University, graduating magna cum laude.

Jean Sung

Executive Director and Head of the Philanthropy Centre, J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Asia Pacific
Hong Kong

Djordje Todorovic

Senior Program Manager, National Endowment for Democracy
Serbia

Justin Wein

Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative David Price (D-NC)
USA

Victoria Welborn

Senior Program Manager, National Democratic Institute
USA

Victoria Welborn

Senior Program Manager, National Democratic Institute
USA

Victoria Welborn is a Senior Program Manager at the National Democratic Institute where she works on global topics that land at the intersection of open government and civic technology in over 50 countries. Victoria spends most of her days trying to find creative ways to help civic activists and government officials leverage technology and policy solutions to create more transparent and trustworthy governments. Specifically, Victoria’s portfolio evaluates how parliament can utilize good governance policies to counter authoritarian influence operations. She’s particularly interested in analyzing how malign actors utilize tactics of disinformation, opaque contracting and government lending, as well as foreign political financing to erode democracy and public trust in institutions. Prior to joining NDI, she worked in a US Congressional leadership office as Creative Director creating digital communications strategies for House lawmakers. She has also worked as a digital media producer at a political advertising firm, as well as Director of Operations in the House of Representatives. Victoria received a BA in Psychology at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas and is currently pursuing a MA in Media, Technology, and Democracy at American University.