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Protecting American Democracy: Working Together to Counter Hate & Extremism

Please join the ADL and the McCain Institute in a series of panels about American democracy and countering hate & extremism.

ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and the McCain Institute at Arizona State University will jointly host an event to discuss the growing threats of democratic backsliding and rise in violent extremism that pose a risk to the democratic systems and processes at the core of our nation’s values.

For this virtual event, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and the McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas will be joined by, Jocelyn Benson, Secretary of State of Michigan, Eric Ward, Senior Advisor at the Western States Center and Chair of the Proteus Fund, Shannon Hiller, Executive Director, Bridging Divides Initiative at Princeton University, Chriaag Bains, Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Racial Justice & Equity, Congressman Jamie Raskin, MD-8th District, and Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Executive Vice President of Freedom House. They will discuss ways government and civil society can work together to protect our democracy.



Jocelyn Benson is Michigan’s 43rd Secretary of State. In this role, she has ensured elections are secure and accessible, and dramatically improved Secretary of State driver and customer experiences for all Michiganders. Benson oversaw Michigan’s 2020 presidential election, which drew record-breaking turnout – 5.5 million voters – and was the most secure election in state history. She implemented new voting rights for all eligible Michiganders prior to the election, including the right to vote absentee, and oversaw more than 250 audits after the election, all of which affirmed its integrity and accuracy.

Dr. Evelyn Farkas has three decades of experience working on national security and foreign policy in the U.S. executive, legislative branch, private sector and for international organizations overseas. In 2019-2020 she ran to represent New York’s 17th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. She is currently the executive director of the McCain Institute at Arizona State University. Prior to that, she was president of Farkas Global Strategies and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United State and the Atlantic Council and national security contributor for NBC/MSNBC.

Jonathan Greenblatt is the CEO of ADL (Anti-Defamation League) and its sixth National Director. As chief executive of ADL, Jonathan leads all aspects of the world’s leading anti-hate organization. He is an accomplished entrepreneur and innovative leader with deep experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. Before ADL, Greenblatt served in the White House as Special Assistant to President Obama and Director of the Office of Social Innovation. He came to that role after a long career in business. In 2002, he co-founded Ethos Brands, the business that launched Ethos Water, a premium bottled water that helps children around the world access clean water. Ethos was acquired by Starbucks Coffee Company in 2005. Following the acquisition, Jonathan was named VP of Global Consumer Products at Starbucks and joined the board of the Starbucks Foundation.

Shannon Hiller is Executive Director of the Bridging Divides Initiative. She most recently served for two years as Co-Director of BDI, following nearly a decade of work in international development and foreign policy. Shannon previously served as Assistant Director for International Affairs and Operations at Princeton University and as an advisor at USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). At OTI, she supported country programs around the world responding to political crisis or transition, as well as a $30M peace and conflict prevention program in Burma. Prior to joining government, Shannon led the creation of an intensive leadership, education, and soccer program for girls at-risk of human trafficking in Northwest Cambodia. She has also worked with women’s rights NGO WomenWin, USAID Uganda, the National Democratic Institute, The Carter Center, Aspen Strategy Group, the Center for International Trade and Security, and as a lead researcher for Pact Cambodia.

Chiraag Bains is Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States for Racial Justice & Equity. Previously, he was the Director of Legal Strategies at Demos, a think tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy, where he managed a national docket of voting rights litigation and worked to advance transformative democracy policy. He was previously a senior fellow at Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program and a Leadership in Government fellow with the Open Society Foundations. He served as a federal prosecutor and then senior leadership official at the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from 2010 to 2017.

Chiraag was born in Ottawa, Canada, to parents of Indian descent; he became a naturalized citizen in 2000. His mother currently resides in Massachusetts.

At the Civil Rights Division, Chiraag served in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. As Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, he supervised matters from the Special Litigation, Voting, Housing, and Appellate Sections, and helped lead DOJ’s work on criminal justice reform. He co-wrote the Ferguson Report and sued Ferguson, Missouri, over unconstitutional policing and court practices; served on the senior DOJ team that worked to end abusive solitary confinement practices; and led the Division’s strategy on bail and court fines and fees reform. Chiraag was previously a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, where he prosecuted officer misconduct, hate crimes, arson against reproductive health clinics, and human trafficking around the country. He also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the sex offense and domestic violence unit in Washington, D.C.

Prior to joining the DOJ, Chiraag clerked for Judge Karen Nelson Moore on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Nancy Gertner on the federal district court in Boston. He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an Articles Editor on the Harvard Law Review; his M.Phil. in Criminology from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Cambridge Scholarship; and his B.A. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College, where he was a Harry S. Truman Scholar. Chiraag also completed the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in New York City. His writing has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, and Slate, and he has appeared on RadioLab, NPR, PBS NewsHour, and other programs.

Eric K. Ward, a nationally-recognized expert on the relationship between authoritarian movements, hate violence, and preserving inclusive democracy, is the recipient of the 2021 Civil Courage Prize – the first time in the award’s history that an American has won the prize, revealing the dangerous proliferation of hate crimes and political violence by authoritarian and extremist movements in the United States. Eric brings over three decades of leadership in community organizing and philanthropy to his roles as Western States Center’s outgoing Executive Director and Senior Advisor, and member of the President’s Leadership Council for the Search for Common Good. Since Eric took the helm in 2017, Western States Center has become a national hub for innovative responses to white nationalism, antisemitism, and structural inequality, towards a world where everyone can live, love, work, and worship free from bigotry and fear. In his 30+ year civil rights career, Eric has worked with community groups, government and business leaders, human rights advocates, and philanthropy as an organizer, director, program officer, consultant, and board member. Currently Chair of The Proteus Fund, Eric is Advisor to the Bridge Entertainment Labs, a member of the Pop Culture Collaborative’s Pluralist Visionaries Program, and the recipient of the Peabody-Facebook Futures Media Award. Eric is in high demand as a speaker and media source, and is the author of multiple written works credited with key narrative shifts, including “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism.” He has been quoted in The New Yorker, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, ESPN, Black News Channel, NPR, BBC, Rolling Stone and numerous other media outlets, and regularly publishes on Medium. Eric has a special interest in the use of music to advance inclusive democracy. In 2020 he helped to launch the Western States Center Inclusive Democracy Culture Lab which works with musicians to create new narratives that puncture the myths driving our political and social divisions, and invite people who don’t always trust politicians and movement leaders into the safe and trusting conversational space that exists between a performer and their audience.

Congressman Jamie Raskin proudly represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes Montgomery, Carroll, and Frederick Counties. Congressman Raskin was sworn into his third Term at the start of the 117th Congress on January 3, 2021.

This is Rep. Raskin’s third term serving on the House Judiciary Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the Committee on House Administration. This is his second term serving on the Rules Committee and the Coronavirus Select Subcommittee. He was also renamed Chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Chair of the Rules Subcommittee on Expedited Procedures for the 117th Congress. Rep. Raskin also serves on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

Prior to his time in Congress, Raskin was a three-term State Senator in Maryland, where he also served as the Senate Majority Whip. He earned a reputation for building coalitions in Annapolis to deliver a series of landmark legislative accomplishments. He was also a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years. He authored several books, including the Washington Post best-seller Overruling Democracy: The Supreme Court versus the American People and the highly-acclaimed We the Students: Supreme Court Cases For and About America’s Students, which has sold more than 50,000 copies.

Congressman Raskin is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Nicole Bibbins Sedaca serves as the Executive Vice President of Freedom House, where she oversees the organization’s strategy and programs.

Prior to joining Freedom House, Ms. Bibbins Sedaca served as the Deputy Director of Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program, the Co-Chair for the Global Politics and Security Concentration, and a Professor in the Practice of International Affairs in MSFS. She is also the Kelly and David Pfeil Fellow at the George W. Bush Institute.

Ms. Bibbins Sedaca has held numerous positions in the public and non-governmental sectors in the United States and Ecuador. She served for ten years in the United States Department of State, working on democracy promotion, human rights, human trafficking, religious freedom, refugees, and counterterrorism. Following her governmental service, she opened and directed the International Republican Institute’s local governance program in Ecuador. She also taught at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) on democratization and conflict resolution. She served as the Director of the Washington Office for the advisory group Independent Diplomat.

Ms. Bibbins Sedaca holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from The College of William and Mary and a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She also studied at Humboldt Universitӓt in Berlin, Germany, while on a Rotary International Scholarship. She has served on the Board of non-governmental organizations working on human trafficking, violence against the poor, and religious freedom, as well as on the Board of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, the William and Mary Fund, and the William and Mary Washington Office.


For further information, please contact ADL Communications at [email protected] or [email protected].

Event Gallery
Oct 3, 2022
9:30am ET