Featured Speakers - 2022
Confronting Democracy's Dilemmas
The 2022 Denver Democracy Summit featured a variety of speakers from various sectors including government, nonprofit, business, and academia, all committed to protecting and promoting democratic ideals.
Ravi Agrawal, Editor in Chief, Foreign Policy Magazine
Ravi Agrawal is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy, a role he assumed in November 2020 after two years as the magazine's managing editor. Before joining FP, Agrawal worked at CNN for more than a decade in full-time roles spanning three continents, including as the network’s New Delhi bureau chief and correspondent. Agrawal has shared a Peabody Award and three Emmy nominations for his work as a TV producer, and his writing for FP was part of a series nominated for a 2020 National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. Agrawal is the author of India Connected: How the Smartphone Is Transforming the World’s Largest Democracy. He is a graduate of Harvard University.
Social Profile: @RaviReports
Nancy Ancrum, Editorial Page Editor, Miami Herald
As the Miami Herald’s editorial page editor since 2013, Nancy Ancrum has worked to increase the opinion pages’ digital visibility and accessibility, using Facebook Live interviews, for instance, to ensure readers can participate in candidate interviews and to give issues a wider airing through conversations with newsmakers. A native New Yorker, Nancy is a graduate of New York University. She began her career at the Baltimore Evening Sun before moving to USA Today, where she worked in the Features section editing way too many stories about Michael Jackson. She has worked at the Miami Herald since 1983. Before becoming a member of the Editorial Board in 1990, she was an assistant city editor in the Herald newsroom.
Social Profile: @NancyAncrum
Lori Augino, Executive Director, Vote at Home
Lori Augino serves as the Executive Director for the National Vote at Home Institute (NVAHI). Founded in 2018, NVAHI is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the use of mailed-out ballots in local, state, and federal elections. Through its education, research, and advocacy efforts with state and local election officials and policymakers, NVAHI has played a key role in the expansion of this secure, convenient, and voter-supported method of voting at home. Previously, Ms. Augino served as the Director of Elections for the Washington Office of the Secretary of State. Ms. Augino was appointed by Secretary of State Kim Wyman in January 2013, where she was responsible for the oversight of all federal, state, and local elections. She led the division's efforts in voter registration, voter education and outreach, and was responsible for the statewide voter registration system. She certified voting equipment and software for Washington elections and managed the certification and training program for county and state election administrators. Additionally, she developed election-related legislation and provided leadership over all aspects of Washington’s vote-at-home election system. Under Lori’s leadership, Washington implemented many election reforms including Same-Day Voter Registration, Automatic Voter Registration at the Department of Licensing and the Department of Social and Health Services, Automated Voter Registration at the Health Benefit Exchange, the Future Voter program, Universal Registration, and College Voting HUBs. Lori served as the President of the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) from 2020 - 2021, served as a member of the Election Assistance Commission’s Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC), a member of the Council of State Government’s Overseas Voting Initiative, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Elections Critical Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council. She was a founding member of the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing & Analysis Center and served on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Elections. Prior to serving as Director of Elections, Lori worked for the Pierce County Auditor’s Office for nearly 18 years, serving the citizens of Pierce County as the Chief Deputy Auditor from 2010 to 2013, overseeing the county’s elections, licensing, recording, and animal control divisions. Lori served as Pierce County Elections Manager from 2000 to 2010, where she managed the closest election in Washington’s history and implemented a Ranked Choice Voting system. In 2009, Lori was named County Election Employee of the Year by former Secretary of State Sam Reed. She’s a graduate of the University of Washington, holding a BA in politics, philosophy, and economics.
Social Profile: @LoriAugino
Donnel Baird, Founder and CEO, BlocPower
Donnel Baird is the founder of BlocPower, a clean tech startup based in New York City. BlocPower develops portfolios of clean energy retrofit opportunities in underserved communities and connects those opportunities to investors seeking social, environmental, and financial returns. BlocPower creates jobs for qualified local low-income workers, energy savings for community institutions, reduces carbon emissions, and provides returns to investors. In 2021, the company announced a historic partnership with Ithaca, New York to decarbonize all of the city’s buildings—the first such project in the United States. BlocPower is backed by Kapor Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Eric and Wendy Schmidt, the American Family Institute for social and environmental impact, and Salesforce. Baird is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Business School, where he was a recipient of the Board of Overseers Fellowship and a recipient of investment from the Lang Fund for Entrepreneurial Initiatives. He spent four years as a political and community organizer, and more than two years managing a national initiative to leverage American Reinvestment and Recovery Act energy efficiency investments in underserved communities. He sits on various boards including the New York Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Board. Baird lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.
Zack Beauchamp, Senior Correspondent, Vox
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers global politics and ideology, and a host of Worldly, Vox's podcast on foreign policy and international relations. His work focuses on the rise of the populist right across the West, the role of identity in American politics, and how fringe ideologies shape the mainstream. Before coming to Vox, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world. He has an MSc from the London School of Economics in International Relations and grew up in Washington, DC, where he currently lives with his wife, daughter, and two (rescue) dogs.
Social Profile: @zackbeauchamp
Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator, Colorado
Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since 2009. Widely recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by a deep-seated obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. Michael has built a reputation of taking on Washington dysfunction and working with Republicans and Democrats to address our nation’s greatest challenges – including education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security.
Social Profile: @SenatorBennet
LaTosha Brown, Co-founder, Black Voters Matter
At the intersection of social justice, political empowerment, human development and the cultural arts one will find LaTosha Brown. As a catalyst for change, thought leader and social strategist, her national and global efforts have been known to organize, inspire and catapult people into action—not just lip service—enabling them to build power and wealth for themselves and their community. Honored to receive the 2010 White House Champion of Change Award, the 2006 Spirit of Democracy Award and the Louis Burnham Award for Human Rights, it is more than evident that LaTosha is passionate about leading social change for the purpose of advancing humanity, creating a more equitable redistribution of wealth and power around the globe.
Where other leaders see nothing but poverty, despair and destitution, this 2018 Bridge Jubilee Award and Liberty Bell Award recipient sees great opportunity. To her, there is more than enough resources on the planet to comfortably sustain every human being. Affectionately known by many as a “Black Renaissance” woman, her southern roots, coupled with her global thoughts toward people, ideas and money, have opened doors for her to maximize her voice in the U.S., as well as over 30 countries abroad. In addition to being recognized as a well-respected leader in the South who has led numerous initiatives, campaigns and special projects to empower marginalized communities, LaTosha is leading several international efforts to provide training, support and funding for women-led institutions based in Guyana, Senegal, Belize and Tanzania.
Having raised millions of dollars for a variety of causes throughout the U.S., she is most known for her philanthropic efforts as an effective fundraiser and resource person. From creating community-led funds to establishing donor networks, LaTosha has raised millions of dollars to support social justice causes and created projects that bring more investments into marginalized communities.
As the co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund and the BVM Capacity Building Institute, LaTosha is adamant about ensuring that all human beings have access to quality education, safety, security, peace, love and happiness. Striving daily to hear the voices of women in leadership amplified and supported, she is also working to eliminate human suffering through her vision of the Southern Black Girls & Women’s Consortium. Recognizing that her work is not rooted in strengthening political systems, governments or institutions—but in the advancement of people—LaTosha serves as an authoritative figure in the lives of thousands, if not millions. More than ever, she’s crystal clear that she is called to remind people of the power they hold within, pushing them through the birthing process of vision to manifestation.
Transforming culture through her singing and songwriting, this innovative storyteller is shifting the narrative of African-Americans through media, campaigns and nonprofit projects. Featured on CNN, HBO, MSNBC and Fox, to name a few, Latosha also proudly serves as the founder of Saving OurSelves Coalition, a community-led disaster relief organization that helped hundreds of families in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Currently, she serves on the board of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the Southern Documentary Fund, the U.S. Human Rights Network and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. After having worked with her, clients, colleagues and friends alike gain more clarity about their vision and life’s work, connection to quality resources, and a deeper sense of their own humanity after having encountered the incomparable LaTosha Brown.
Alan Chen, Thompson G. Marsh Law Alumni Professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Alan Chen is a leading national expert in free speech doctrine and theory, the law of federal courts, and public interest law. He is the co-author of two books, PUBLIC INTEREST LAWYERING: A CONTEMPORARY PERSPECTIVE (Wolters Kluwer Law & Business 2013) and FREE SPEECH BEYOND WORDS: THE SURPRISING REACH OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT (NYU Press 2017). He has also written numerous scholarly articles, and his work has been published in many of the leading national law journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Iowa Law Review. Since joining the Sturm College of Law faculty in 1992, Chen has received several awards for his teaching, contributions to the law review, and pro bono legal work. Although he is a full-time academic, Professor Chen continues to carry an active litigation docket and represents the plaintiffs in many high-profile civil rights cases in federal courts around the country, including constitutional challenges to police use of pepper spray on peaceful protestors in California, the State of Oklahoma's botched lethal injection execution of Clayton Lockett, 'Ag-Gag' laws in Idaho and Utah that punish undercover investigators and journalists, and Colorado's mandatory Pledge of Allegiance law. Before entering teaching, Chen was a staff attorney with the ACLU's Chicago office, where he was a civil liberties litigator focusing primarily on cases concerning the First Amendment, police misconduct, and privacy rights. Before that, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Marvin E. Aspen, U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
Social Profile: @profalankchen
Liz Cheney, U.S. Congressional Representative, Wyoming
Liz Cheney serves as Wyoming’s lone member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was first elected in 2016 on a platform of pursuing conservative solutions to help create jobs, cut taxes and regulation, expand America’s energy, mining and ag industries and restoring America’s strength and power in the world. Cheney sits on the House Armed Services Committee and also serves as the Vice Chair for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
Social Profile: @RepLizCheney
Jason Crow, U.S. Congressional Representative, Colorado
A former Army Ranger and lawyer, Congressman Jason Crow represents Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, encompassing Aurora and parts of Adams and Douglas Counties. Jason worked his way through college before enlisting in the Army and serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon returning home, Jason struggled to get his veterans benefits so he went to work helping veterans across Colorado. As an attorney, Jason was named Denver’s Pro-bono Lawyer of the Year for work helping service members transition from military to civilian life. A proven reformer, Jason is working to strengthen our democracy and fight the influence of money in politics through ethics and campaign finance reform. The House passed his first bill, the End Dark Money Act, which would close a loophole that allows mega-donors to hide their political contributions, in HR 1: For the People Act. Beyond increasing government transparency, Jason is focused on preventing gun violence, protecting DREAMers and passing comprehensive immigration reform, and combating the effects of climate change.
Social Profile: @RepJasonCrow
Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
Aniruddha (Ani) Dasgupta is President and CEO of WRI, where he works to advance the institute’s global vision to improve the lives of all people and ensure that nature can thrive.
Dasgupta is a widely-recognized leader in the areas of sustainable cities, urban design and poverty alleviation. He developed his expertise in positions ranging from nonprofits in India to the World Bank, where he developed the Bank’s first Knowledge strategy.
He took the helm at WRI after seven years as Global Director of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, which is dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for all people. Under his leadership, the Cities program grew to 400 staff members working in 150 cities, with a reach to more than 400 cities in total. He has established large, multi-stakeholder partnerships with city, national and corporate leaders around the world. Ani has helped create and lead innovative initiatives, including the New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO) and the Coalition for Urban Transitions, as well as a new line of work around urban air quality. He also brought an increased focus on people and equity to the program.
Prior to joining WRI in 2014, Dasgupta served as Director of Knowledge and Learning at the World Bank, where he provided leadership in the Bank’s knowledge services for development. He also worked extensively in the World Bank’s Jakarta office as head of infrastructure, where he was deeply engaged in post-2004 tsunami reconstruction in Aceh, as an advisor to the government on housing and infrastructure reconstruction and as the head of the Bank’s housing and infrastructure team. His work at the Bank took him throughout Asia and Eastern Europe as a technical expert centered on community-based development, urban environment, disaster management, solid waste management, water supply and sanitation.
Originally from Delhi, India, Dasgupta developed an interest early in life in buildings and design. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture, with an emphasis on low-income housing, at the School of Planning and Architecture in India. Later, he was accepted at a special program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) focused on affordable housing. Dasgupta holds master's degrees from MIT in city planning and architecture.
He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and has two sons.
Social Profile: @AniDasguptaWRI
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Deputy Special Representative for Iraq for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir of Iceland assumed her responsibilities as Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs and Electoral Assistance of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on 2 March 2021.
Ms. Gísladóttir brings a wealth of diplomatic and political experience to the position, including from her recent role as Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and most recently as the Head of its Election Observation Mission in Ukraine. She also served as UN Women’s Regional Director in Europe and Central Asia and its Country Representative in Turkey and Afghanistan. She was Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Minister from 2007 to 2009, member of Parliament for seven years, and Mayor of Reykjavík for nine years. She is a member of the Nordic Women’s Mediators Network.
Ms. Gísladóttir holds a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from the University of Iceland and did post-graduate studies in history at the University of Copenhagen.
Jonah Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief, The Dispatch; Columnist, Los Angeles Times
Jonah Goldberg is the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and a Fellow at the National Review Institute. In 2019, he left a role as Senior Editor of National Review magazine after a 21-year stint with the publication to start a new venture. He has been a weekly columnist for the Los Angeles Times since 2005 and a nationally syndicated columnist since 2000. He hosts the popular podcast The Remnant with Jonah Goldberg.
His syndicated column appears regularly in the Chicago Tribune, New York Post, Dallas Morning News and scores of other papers. His first book, Liberal Fascism, was a #1 New York Times and Amazon bestseller and was selected as the #1 history book of 2008 by Amazon readers. His second book, The Tyranny of Clichés, was also an instant bestseller and hailed as perhaps “the best and most fun-to-read primer on the tenets of conservative politics since P. J. O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores.”
His most recent book, Suicide of the West: How the Rebirth of Tribalism, Populism, Nationalism, and Identity Politics Is Destroying American Democracy, was also a New York Times bestseller in 2018.
Goldberg previously served as a columnist for the Times of London, Brill’s Content, and The American Enterprise. His writings have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Commentary, The New Yorker, Food and Wine, and numerous other publications. He is currently a Fox News Contributor and a regular panelist on Special Report with Bret Baier. He was previously a CNN contributor and he has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Face the Nation and This Week. The Atlantic magazine has named him one of the top fifty political commentators in America.
He lives in Washington D.C. with his wife, Jessica Gavora, daughter (Lucy), dogs (Zoë and Pippa), a good cat (Gracie), and his wife’s cat (Ralph).
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Representative to the United Nations
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was nominated by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations as well as the Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations on January 20, 2021. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 23, 2021, and sworn in on February 24, 2021 by the Vice President of the United States of America.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat, returned to public service after retiring from a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service in 2017. From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012-2013), leading a team in charge of the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s distinguished Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and postings in Switzerland (at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Geneva), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In Washington, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (2004-2006).
After retiring from the U.S. State Department in 2017, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield led the Africa Practice at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic commercial diplomacy firm chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She was also the inaugural Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University from fall 2017 to spring 2019.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was the 2017 recipient of University of Minnesota Hubert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the 2015 recipient of the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the 2000 recipient of the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she also did work towards a doctorate. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wisconsin in May 2018 and an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Liberia in May 2012.
Social Profile: @USAmbUN
Jena Griswold, Secretary of State, Colorado
In 2018, Jena Griswold was elected as the first Democratic Secretary of State in Colorado in 60 years. She became the first Democratic woman Secretary of State in Colorado’s history. At 35, Jena is a rising star in Colorado politics, serving as the youngest statewide elected official in Colorado. Having received her JD from Penn, she started her legal career practicing international anti-corruption law, and then began working on our elections as a voter protection attorney for President Obama. Jena also served as the Director of the Governor's DC Office, where she fought for Colorado’s interests. One of the things she's most proud of is helping bring back hundreds of millions of dollars of relief when the 2013 flood hit northern Colorado. After her tenure in Washington, Jena moved back to Colorado, and opened her own small business--a legal practice--in Louisville.
Social Profile: @JenaGriswold
Gulalai Ismail, Human Rights Activist, Graduate Student and Sié Fellow at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Gulalai Ismail is pursuing an M.A. in International Human Rights. Gulalai Ismail is an award-winning, exiled human rights activist from Pakistan. She is the Co-Founder and Chairperson of Aware Girls, a young women-led organisation working towards gender equality and peace. Gulalai Ismail’s work focuses on young women’s political and economic empowerment, human rights education and leadership, addressing gender-based violence, legal advocacy, setting up women support helplines across the region, and countering violent extremism. She has advocated at the U.N. in support of peace and security resolutions, and has set up women support networks across Pakistan and Afghanistan to counter violent extremism among young people and to bridge women peace activists. For her extraordinary work in building peace, gender equality, and development, Gulalai Ismail is the recipient of multiple international honors, including Humanist of the Year Award (2014), Commonwealth Youth Award (2015), Chirac Prize for Conflict Prevention (2016), Anna Politkovskaya Award (2017), and Women’s Rights Award (2021) by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. In 2013, Gulalai Ismail was named among the “100 Leading Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy, and among the “30 Under 30” youth activists by National Endowment for Democracy.
Social Profile: @Gulalai_Ismail
Adam Jentleson, Executive Director, Battle Born Collective
Adam Jentleson is a veteran of presidential campaigns and served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Senator Harry Reid until Reid retired in 2017. In his capacity with Reid, he was a senior advisor on political, legislative and communications strategy through the fights of the Obama years. He is a go-to source for reporters, activists and Congressional staff, along with members of Congress, for creative approaches to legislative strategy. He has been cited as an authority by every major national American news outlet and several international ones. Described as a “rules whiz” by Huffington Post, his strategies receive extensive public attention and become topics of discussion for senators, and his recommendations are often adopted. A recent plan devised by Jentleson was published by the New York Times and described by CNN on-air as “the Jentleson Plan”; Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked about it in a television interview, while George Stephanopoulos asked Senator Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democratic Leader, to respond to it on ABC’s “This Week.” In addition to the New York Times, Jentleson’s writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Politico, and GQ. Jentleson is the author of Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy, which was released in January to rave reviews from the New York Times and the Washington Post and others, and selected as an Editor’s Pick by the New York Times. Jentleson’s work has been cited as influencing the debate over reforming the filibuster in the Senate and motivating Democrats to be aggressive.
David Kaye, Clinical Professor of Law, UC Irvine
David Kaye is a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, director of its International Justice Clinic, and co-director of the Center on Fair Elections and Free Speech. From 2014 – 2020 he served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. He is also the author of Speech Police: The Global Struggle to Govern the Internet (2019), Independent Chair of the Board of the Global Network Initiative, and a Trustee of ARTICLE 19. He has written for international and American law journals and numerous media outlets. David began his legal career with the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a former member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law.
Social Profile: @davidakaye
Sophia Kianni, Founder and Executive Director, Climate Cardinals; US Representative to United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
Sophia Kianni Sophia Kianni is an Iranian-American environmentalist studying climate science and public policy at Stanford University. She is the founder and executive director of Climate Cardinals, an international nonprofit with 8,000 volunteers in 40+ countries working to translate climate information into over 100 languages. She represents the U.S as the youngest member of the inaugural United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.
Sophia’s work has been featured in news outlets including Forbes, CNN, Business Insider, BBC, NPR, ELLE, TIME Magazine, The Guardian, NBC, and even on the front page of The Washington Post. She was previously a fellow with PBS NewsHour and has written for news outlets such as MTV News, Cosmopolitan, Refinery 29, and Teen Vogue. She is a prolific public speaker and has spoken at universities across the country including Columbia University, UC Berkeley, Emory University, and Harvard University. She gave her debut TED Talk as the closing speaker at the inaugural TED Countdown Conference.
She has been named VICE Media’s youngest Human of the Year, a National Geographic Young Explorer, and BuzzFeed’s youngest Woman to Watch.
Social Profile: @SophiaKianni
Rachel Kyte, Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Rachel Kyte is the 14th dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University. A 2002 graduate of Fletcher’s Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) and a professor of practice at the school since 2012, Kyte is the first woman to lead the nation’s oldest graduate-only school of international affairs, which attracts students from all corners of the globe and at all stages of their careers.
Prior to joining Fletcher, Kyte served as special representative of the UN secretary-general and chief executive officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). She previously was the World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, leading the run-up to the Paris Agreement. She was also vice president at the International Finance Corporation responsible for ESG risk and business advisory services.
In her U.N. role and as CEO of SEforAll, a public-private platform created by the U.N. and World Bank, Kyte led efforts to promote and finance clean, reliable and affordable energy as part of the U.N .Sustainable Development Goals. She served as co-chair of U.N. Energy.
In the 2020 UK New Year Honours, Rachel was appointed as CMG for her services to sustainable energy and combating climate change.
Kyte is a member of the U.N. secretary-general’s high-level advisory group on climate action and an advisor to the UK government for the U.N. climate talks, COP26. Kyte is co-chair of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), chair of the FONERWA, the Rwanda Green Fund, and chair of the ESG committee of the Private Infrastructure Development Group. She advises not-for-profits, governments, and the private sector in climate, energy, and finance for sustainable development.
A British citizen, Kyte earned her undergraduate degree in history and politics from the University of London. She is a regular contributor on global media. Kyte has received numerous awards for leadership in climate and sustainable development and was named by Time magazine as one of the 15 women that were leading climate action.
Social Profile: @rkyte365
Erica Teasley Linnick, Senior Program Officer, Democracy Fund, Open Society Foundations
Erica Teasley Linnick is a senior program officer with the Democracy Fund of Open Society-U.S., working on voting rights and fair courts.
Prior to joining Open Society, she served as coordinator of the African American Redistricting Collaborative, working to maximize the African American community’s participation in California’s political process. As western regional counsel in the Los Angeles office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Linnick conducted civil rights litigation and worked on advocacy projects in areas including voting rights, transportation equity, education, and police reform. She served on the board of directors of both the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and the ACLU of Northern California, and was Northern California coordinator of the “No on 209” campaign, battling the statewide anti-affirmative action initiative. She has received numerous honors including Super Lawyers’ Southern California Rising Star, the Minority Bar Coalition of San Francisco Award for Excellence and Service to the Community, and the key to the City of El Paso, Texas.
A former aide to the late U.S. Rep. Julian C. Dixon of California, Linnick is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law.
Greisa Martinez, Executive Director, United We Dream
Greisa Martinez serves as the Executive Director of United We Dream Action and United We Dream Network, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country with over 1 million members and over 112 local groups. Originally from Hidalgo, Mexico, Greisa and her parents and sisters crossed the Rio Grande river when she was a child to settle in Dallas, Texas. Greisa began organizing as an undocumented high school student and has been helping young people find and express their true voice ever since. As an undocumented woman, Greisa is a national leader in the fight for immigrant rights and in building a powerful and inclusive racial justice movement capable of delivering victories for all people.
Social Profile: @GreisaMartinez
Mary B. McCord, Executive Director, ICAP, Georgetown Law
Mary McCord is Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) and a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. At ICAP, McCord leads a team that brings constitutional impact litigation at all levels of the federal and state courts across a wide variety of areas including First Amendment rights, immigration, criminal justice reform, and combating the rise of private paramilitaries.
McCord was the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2016 to 2017 and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Security from 2014 to 2016.
Previously, McCord was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for nearly 20 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Among other positions, she served as a Deputy Chief in the Appellate Division, overseeing and arguing hundreds of cases in the U.S. and District of Columbia Courts of Appeals, and Chief of the Criminal Division, where she oversaw all criminal prosecutions in federal district court.
McCord is a statutorily designated amicus curiae for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. McCord served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force 1-6 Capitol Security Review appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCord also served on the Columbus Police After Action Review Team tasked with evaluating how the Columbus, Ohio, Police Department responded to the 2020 summer protests.
McCord has written about domestic terrorism, unlawful militia activity, public safety, and the rule of law for publications including the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Lawfare, and Just Security. She has appeared on NPR, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and other media outlets.
McCord received the Oliver White Hill Courageous Advocate Award from the Virginia Trial Lawyers’ Association in 2018, based on her work with ICAP litigating against white supremacist and private militias that attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
McCord graduated from Georgetown University Law School and served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Bill McKibben, Third Act Founder
Bill McKibben is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, and a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He's also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989, and the forthcoming The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened.
Tawanda Mutasah, Vice President of Global Partnerships and Impact, Oxfam America
Dr. Tawanda Mutasah is Vice President of Global Partnerships and Impact (GPI), with responsibility for overall strategic and operational leadership of Oxfam America’s GPI division, and for identifying, nurturing, and. maintaining a wide range of strategic partnerships within and outside the Oxfam International confederation on all matters related to programmatic impact and global networks. Mutasah joined Oxfam America in 2021, bringing over 25 years of international nonprofit management and program leadership and innovation in a vast range of areas from humanitarian response to advocacy and long-term development. He was the Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International where, among other things, he established and operationalized the global human rights movement’s Sustainable Development Goals engagement and partnerships.
Before that, Mutasah served as the Global Director of Programs at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), where he stewarded a $400M budget. He had previously held a variety of other positions in the global OSF complex, including Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa. Mutasah also previously worked for Oxfam Great Britain. And he has served on governing and advisory boards for global institutions that include the Center for Civilians in Conflict, Open Society Justice Initiative, and Rutgers University’s Center for Women’s Global Leadership; as well as African entities that include Trust Africa, and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa. Among other initiatives credited to his leadership over the years, Mutasah founded the Southern Africa Resource Watch, which researches and advocates on extractive industries.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, New York University Law School, the Graduate School of Public & Development Management at the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Zimbabwe, Mutasah has taught at the Paris School of International Affairs on international humanitarian law and human rights laws.
Social Profile: @DrMutasah
Anna Nicolaou, U.S. Media Correspondent, Financial Times
Anna Nicolaou is US Media Correspondent for the Financial Times, where she covers the business of mass media and entertainment. Before joining the FT in 2014, Ms Nicolaou worked for Reuters in Brussels, where she reported on the European elections. She won the Standard & Poor's award for Economic & Business Reporting in 2014, earning an Overseas Press Club Foundation fellowship. She previously covered banking for the Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper. Ms Nicolaou is a graduate of the University of Toronto, earning a Fellowship in Global Journalism, and McGill University, earning a bachelor's degree in economics.
Social Profile: @annaknicolaou
Joe Neguse, U.S. Congressional Representative, Colorado
Congressman Joe Neguse represents Colorado’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected to his first term in November 2018, becoming the first African-American member of Congress in Colorado history. He serves as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Additionally, he serves as Chair of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands and Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.
Rep. Neguse was elected by his colleagues to serve as a member of House Democratic Leadership in the 117th Congress, as Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC). In his first term, Rep. Neguse served as Co-Freshman Representative to Leadership, representing first term members at the leadership table. He also serves as one of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chairs. In 2020, he was recognized as the most bipartisan member of Colorado’s congressional delegation by the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and received the “Spirit of Service” award from the Town Hall Project for his successful Service Town Hall initiative. During his first term in Congress, he introduced more legislation than any freshman lawmaker in the country, and has had more legislation signed into law by the President than any member of Colorado’s congressional delegation. The Center for Effective Lawmaking recently ranked Congressman Neguse among the top 10 most effective lawmakers in Congress, including as the most effective for legislation on public lands.
Before his election, Rep. Neguse served in the Governor of Colorado's Cabinet as the Executive Director of Colorado's consumer protection agency. As one of the youngest people to serve as a state-Cabinet secretary at age 31, he achieved key victories, including the recovery of millions of dollars for consumers, investigations culminating in significant financial-fraud cases, the championing of legislation to combat financial fraud against seniors, and the launch of the state’s first online filing system for civil rights discrimination complaints.
Previously Rep. Neguse was elected to represent Colorado’s 2nd District on the University of Colorado Board of Regents, where he served a six-year term fighting to make higher education more affordable and accessible and building consensus on tough issues, including efforts to lower student health insurance costs, increase wages for the University’s lowest paid workers and make voter registration more accessible to students. He also worked in the Colorado House of Representatives, as a Commissioner at Boulder Housing Partners and co-founded New Era Colorado, the state’s largest youth voter registration and mobilization non-profit. He received his B.S. in Political Science and Economics from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he graduated summa cum laude, and received his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law.
Over 40 years ago, Rep. Neguse’s parents immigrated to the United States from Eritrea. As hardworking immigrants and naturalized citizens, they never forgot nor took for granted the freedom and opportunities the United States gave them and their children. Their experience motivated Rep. Neguse to be an active participant in our democracy at an early age, and to give back through public service. Rep. Neguse's public service is rooted in his firm belief that we should be expanding—not restricting—opportunities for all Americans, and he has spent his career doing the same. His priorities in Congress include lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices, raising workers’ wages, ensuring greater accountability in government, protecting our treasured public lands, and fighting the existential threat of climate change.
Rep. Neguse and his wife Andrea live in Lafayette, where they are raising their young daughter, Natalie.
Social Profile: @RepJoeNeguse
Birgitta Ohlsson, Director of Political Parties, National Democratic Institute
Birgitta Ohlsson serves as the National Democratic Institute’s director of political parties. Born in 1975, she has over twenty years of experience as a leader at the national level in political parties, leadership, feminism, civil society and foreign policy She entered politics formally in 1999 when was elected president of Liberal Youth of Sweden. In 2002, she was elected for as a member of the Swedish Parliament, where she served until 2018, serving in numerous leadership roles, including in the Committee on Foreign Affairs and as her party´s spokesperson. Between 2010 and 2014, she was the Swedish Minister for European Affairs and Democracy issues, serving as a strong international voice on gender equality, democracy and LGBTI-rights. She has also been the President of the women´s wing of the Liberal Party (2007-2010) and founded an independent Feminist Network, Felira, in 2003.
Birgitta has a strong passion for democracy support, human rights and multilateralism, evident in her service on the board of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) from 2002 to 2010. Between 2001 and 2010 she also served on the board of Swedish International Liberal Center (SILC), a foundation that works to strengthen political parties and activists in totalitarian states to build democracy. In 2012, she was appointed as one of the Young Global Leaders (YGL) via the World Economic Forum.
After leaving politics in 2018, Birgitta served as acommissioner in the Independent Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change for Oxfam International that presented recommendations on creating a culture of zero tolerance for any kind of sexual harassment, abuse or exploitation in the aid culture. Since 2019 she serves as the chairperson for the foundation Culture Without Borders which promotes cultural exchanges across national, religious, language and ethnicity boundaries. She also worked as a senior advisor at Prime Weber Shandwick. She published the feminist bestseller Good Girls Revolt in 2017 and the children´s book Live As You Like in 2020 about ten famous Swedish Women like Astrid Lindgren, Ingrid Bergman and Greta Thunberg.
In 2017 Birgitta was awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légio 'honneur) by the French President Hollande, the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits due to her longtime leadership and commitment to human rights issues and democracy in Europe.
Birgitta Ohlsson earned her bachelor´s degree in political science at Stockholm University, and worked as a political editorial writer at Sweden´s leading daily morning paper Dagens Nyheter. She is married to Mark Klamberg, a professor in International Law, and has two daughters. She enjoys reading and writing.
Social Profile: @birgittaohlsson
David Orr, Professor of Practice, Arizona State University; Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Oberlin College
Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics emeritus (1990-2017), Counselor to the President, Oberlin College 2007-2017, and presently a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of eight books, including Dangerous Years: Climate Change, the Long Emergency, and the Way Forward (Yale University Press, 2017), Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009), Design with Nature (Oxford, 2002), Earth in Mind (Island, 2004) and co-editor of four others including Democracy Unchained (The New Press, 2020). He was a regular columnist for Conservation biology for twenty years. He has also written over 250 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications. He has served as a board member or adviser to eight foundations and on the Boards of many organizations including the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, and the Bioneers. Currently, he is a Trustee of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and Children and Nature Network. He has been awarded nine honorary degrees and a dozen other awards including a Lyndhurst Prize, a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, a “Visionary Leadership Award” from Second Nature, a National Leadership award from the U.S. Green Building Council, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Association for Environmental Education, the 2018 Leadership Award from the American Renewable Energy Institute, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Green Energy Ohio, He has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. He is a founder of: the Atlanta Environmental Symposium (1972-1974), the Meadowcreek Project (1979-1990), the Oberlin Project (2007-2017), the journal Solutions, and of the State of American Democracy Project 2017-present). He headed the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past thirty years;” . . . “one of thirty milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy, and selected as one of “52 game changing buildings of the past 170 years” by the editors of Building Design + Construction Magazine (2016). He was instrumental in the design and funding for the Platinum-rated Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center (hotel + conference center). His current work at Arizona State University is on the repair and strengthening American democracy.
Social Profile: @democracy_state
Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado
Governor Polis is a hard-working Coloradan who has run successful businesses, delivered better education opportunities for our kids and is now serving as Colorado’s 43rd Governor. Under his leadership, Colorado is working to become one of the most family-friendly states while topping the list of strongest state economies in the country.
Since taking office in 2019, Governor Polis has delivered on the top priorities he committed to tackle for Colordans – lowering the cost of childcare and getting more kids in free, full-day kindergarten, reducing the cost of healthcare, accelerating our fight against climate change and lowering taxes for hard-working families.
As an entrepreneur and businessman, Governor Polis knows what it takes to create jobs and make payroll. By the time he was 30, he’d launched three successful companies, including ProFlowers, one of the world’s leading online flower retailers.
Following the Governor’s business successes, he worked to make sure other Coloradans had the opportunity to pursue their dreams. He co-founded Techstars, a startup accelerator that mentors entrepreneurs, and Patriot Boot Camp, which helps veterans start their own small businesses.
Governor Polis has spent his career fighting for higher-quality schools and education for our kids. He served six years on the Colorado Board of Education, where he worked to raise pay for teachers and reduce class size for students. He also opened schools to support at-risk kids in Colorado.
He has continued that work as Governor, setting Colorado on a path to make the biggest investment in K-12 education in Colorado’s history and making good on his commitment to giving every single one of our youngest students a great start. Today, because of Governor Polis, Colorado offers free universal, full-day kindergarten and, beginning next year, free preschool for every child — saving families thousands of dollars per year.
Governor Polis also served as the U.S. representative for Colorado’s Second Congressional District for a decade. The Center for Effective Lawmaking ranked Polis the most effective member of Colorado’s House delegation due to his success working across the aisle to improve Colorado’s schools, protect public lands, and support startups and small businesses.
As our Governor, Polis has kept Colorado moving forward — delivering on his commitments while leading our communities through challenges and tragedies our state has never seen before. He knows it’s more important than ever to save people money and help all families share in the amazing Colorado way of life. And he knows that Colorado’s best days are still ahead.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chairman, Alliance of Democracies; Former Prime Minister of Denmark; Former Secretary General of NATO
Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been at the centre of European and global politics for three decades as Secretary General of NATO, Prime Minister of Denmark, Danish Minister of Economic Affairs, Danish Minister for Taxation and a leading Danish parliamentarian.
During the Danish Presidency of the European Union in 2002, he played a key role in concluding accession negotiations with 10 candidates for EU- membership. In 2009 Anders Fogh Rasmussen was appointed NATO’s 12th Secretary General between 1 August 2009 and 30 September 2014.
His tenure in NATO marked a fundamental transformation of the Alliance. He oversaw the Alliance’s operational peak with six operations on three continents including Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya, as well as counter-piracy along the Somali coast, a training mission in Iraq and a counter-terrorism operation in the Mediterranean. He developed a new Strategic Concept, which sets the Alliance’s core future priorities and he launched “Smart Defence” to help nations make more efficient use of their resources through more multinational cooperation. In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, he initiated a “Readiness Action Plan” to strengthen the collective defence to an unprecedented level since the end of the Cold War.
On 1 October 2014, Anders Fogh Rasmussen established Rasmussen Global. The firm advises clients on a wide range of issues such as international security, transatlantic relations, the European Union, and emerging markets. Rasmussen Global draws on an extensive network of leading policy experts, former officials, business executives and consulting firms across the globe. On 1 June 2016, Mr. Rasmussen was appointed advisor to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen has advocated stronger ties between the world’s democracies, including a truly “Integrated Transatlantic Community”, a Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement between the EU and North America, and a global community of democracies. In 2017, Mr. Rasmussen founded the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of democracy and free markets across the globe. In this role, he hosts the annual Copenhagen Democracy Summit, and chairs the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, which, among others, include Joe Biden, Michael Chertoff, and Felipe Calderon.
Mr. Rasmussen holds a Master’s degree in Economics from Aarhus University, and speaks English and French besides his native Danish.
Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
A journalist in Asia for more than 35 years, Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, the top digital only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. As Rappler's CEO and president, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail ten times to stay free. Rappler's battle for truth and democracy is the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand Cuts.
In October 2021, Maria was one of two journalists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."
For her courage and work on disinformation and 'fake news,' Maria was named one of Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time's Most Influential Women of the Century. She was also part of the BBC's 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine's world's top 50 thinkers. In 2020, she received the Journalist of the Year award, the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, the Most Resilient Journalist Award, the Tucholsky Prize, the Truth to Power Award, and the Four Freedoms Award. In 2021, UNESCO awarded her the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Among many awards for her principled stance, she received the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford University, the Columbia Journalism Award, the Free Media Pioneer Award from the International Press Institute, and the Sergei Magnitsky Award for Investigative Journalism.
Maria was born in the Philippines but grew up in the United States after her family migrated to Toms River, New Jersey in 1973. She took up premed at Princeton University, where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in English and certificates in theater and dance in 1986. She returned to Manila on a Fulbright fellowship in 1986 and worked for the newly liberated government station, People's Television 4, as director of newscasts then as head of its special projects team. In 1987, she began reporting for CNN and joined ABS-CBN as the director and producer of Probe, the first and longest running investigative news magazine in the Philippines, before helping set it up as a separate company, Probe Productions, Inc., in 1988.
Before co-founding Rappler, Maria focused on investigating terrorism in Southeast Asia. She opened and ran CNN's Manila Bureau for nearly a decade before moving to Indonesia and opening the network's Jakarta bureau, which she ran from 1995 to 2005. That was when she returned to Manila as the senior vice president in charge of ABS-CBN's multimedia news operations, managing about a thousand journalists for the largest news organization in the country.
Maria wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism. She is writing her third book, How to Stand up to a Dictator, for publication in 2022.
Social Profile: @mariaressa
Vivian Schiller, Executive Director, Aspen Digital
Vivian Schiller joined the Aspen Institute in January 2020 as Executive Director of Aspen Digital, which empowers policymakers, civic organizations, companies, and the public to be responsible stewards of technology and media in the service of an informed, just, and equitable world.
A longtime executive at the intersection of journalism, media and technology, Schiller has held executive roles at some of the most respected media organizations in the world. Those include: President and CEO of NPR; Global Chair of News at Twitter; General Manager of NYTimes.com; Chief Digital Officer of NBC News; Chief of the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications; and Head of CNN documentary and long form divisions. Documentaries and series produced under her auspices earned multiple honors, including three Peabody Awards, four Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Awards, and dozens of Emmys.
Schiller is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and a Director of the Scott Trust, which owns The Guardian.
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Executive Vice President, Freedom House
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 de 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.
Social Profile: @NicBibSed
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of democratic Belarus
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the leader of Belarusian democratic forces who beat the autocratic president Aliaksandr Lukashenka in a presidential election on August 9th, 2020, according to independent observers. She stepped into the race after her husband was arrested for his presidential aspirations. Lukashenka publically dismissed her as a “housewife,” сlaiming that a woman can't become president. Tsikhanouskaya united Belarusian democratic forces together with two other leaders – Maria Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsapkala.
After her forced exile, Tsikhanouskaya inspired unprecedented peaceful protests around Belarus, some of which numbered hundreds of thousands of people. She visited more than 20 countries gathering support for free Belarus. She advocates for the release of 500+ political prisoners and peaceful changes through a free and fair election. In her meetings with Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, President von der Leyen, President Charles Michel, and other world leaders, she emphasized the need for a braver response to the actions of the Belarusian dictatorship.
Tsikhanouskaya became a symbol of peaceful struggle for democracy and female leadership. Among dozens of other distinctions, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a recipient of the Sakharov Prize awarded by the European Parliament. In 2020, Lithuanian President Nauseda and Norwegian MPs nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is included in Bloomberg's TOP-50 Most Influential People, Financial Times' Top 12 Most Influential Women, and POLITICO's Top 28 Most Influential Europeans.
Social Profile: @Tsihanouskaya
Damon Wilson, President and CEO, National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
Damon Wilson is President and CEO of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation supporting freedom around the world.
Prior to joining the Endowment, he helped transform the Atlantic Council into a leading global think tank as its executive vice president. Previously, Wilson served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council helping to enlarge a Europe whole, free, and at peace; to secure freedom through NATO enlargement; to deter and counter Russian aggression; and to work with a united Europe as a leading US partner to support democracy in the world.
Mr. Wilson also served at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq as the Executive Secretary and Chief of Staff, where he helped manage one of the largest US embassies during a time of conflict. Prior to this posting, he worked at the National Security Council as the Director for Central, Eastern, and Northern European Affairs from 2004 to 2006, helping to enlarge NATO, to partner with Germany, and to support a democratic Ukraine. From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Wilson served as Deputy Director in the Private Office of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson, playing a lead role on the Alliance’s response to 9/11 and its operations in Afghanistan and the Western Balkans.
Prior to serving in Brussels, Mr. Wilson worked in the Department of State’s Office of European Security and Political Affairs, on the State Department’s “China desk,” and at the US Embassy in Beijing. Mr. Wilson began his service at the State Department as a Presidential Management Fellow helping to plan the Alliance’s 50th anniversary summit, first post-Cold War enlargement, and efforts to prevent genocide in Kosovo.
Mr. Wilson completed his master’s degree at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs during which he interned in the African Affairs Directorate of the National Security Council. From 1995-1996, he served as the first Hart Leadership Fellow, working in Rwanda for Save the Children’s Children and War Program. Mr. Wilson graduated summa cum laude from Duke University as a Benjamin N. Duke Leadership Scholar. He also studied at the University of Grenoble, France; conducted independent research on democracy in Estonia; and worked for the Unaccompanied Children in Exile refugee program in Croatia and Turkey.
Mr. Wilson has been decorated by leaders of Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland and the Slovak Republic for his efforts to advance transatlantic relations, and by the living governors of South Carolina for his contribution to the state. He is from Charleston, South Carolina; is married to David Van Lear; lives in Washington, DC; and helps maintain his family’s farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Zaid A. Zaid, Head of U.S. Public Policy, Cloudflare
Zaid A. Zaid is the Head of U.S. Public Policy at Cloudflare. He has nearly 20 years experience in tech, policy, law, foreign affairs, national security, and international development. Previously, Zaid was the Head of North America for Strategic Response Policy at Meta. He also served in the Obama Administration as Special Assistant to the President and Associate White House Counsel where he advised the President and his Administration on crisis response, congressional investigations, risk management, strategy, communications, and federal inter-agency coordination. Before the White House, he was the Senior Attorney-Advisor to the General Counsel at USAID, which he joined from private practice at WilmerHale after three federal clerkships.
Zaid graduated from Columbia Law School as an Editorial Board member of the Columbia Law Review and a Richard Paul Richman Fellow. Prior to law school, he was a political officer in the Foreign Service. He served at the United Nations, in Baghdad, Cairo, and Tunis. Zaid received his MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a BSFS from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he was a Pickering Fellow.
Zaid is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Truman National Security Project fellow, and an ICAP Fellow. He serves on the Board of Directors of iMMAP, the Advisory Committee for the Council for Global Equality, the Board of Governors at Georgetown University, and the Board of Advisors of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown.
Rachel Epstein, Senior Associate Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Rachel Epstein is Senior Associate Dean and Professor of International Relations and European Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. She earned her MA and PhD from Cornell University's Department of Government and AB from Stanford University in International Relations. Rachel's research and teaching have focused on international political economy, international security, and the role of international organizations in eliciting compliance from target states and states-in-transition. She has published widely on subjects concerning European Union enlargement, the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the developmental prospects of post-communist countries and the politics of finance, financial crisis and foreign bank ownership. Rachel has held two post-doctoral fellowships at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy and was also an Advanced Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin in 2016. Currently she is a co-editor at the Review of International Political Economy and an executive member of the European Union Studies Association.
Social Profile: @repstein_du
Ryan Heath, Senior Editor, Politico
Ryan Heath is the author of Global Insider, POLITICO’s global newsletter and podcast, and previously authored POLITICO’s U.N. Playbook, Brussels Playbook, and Davos Playbook. Ryan moderated the first presidential debate of the 2019 EU election, as part of a five year stint in the POLITICO’s European leadership team. He appears on CNN, NBC and BBC and is the author of two books on politics. Prior to POLITICO, Ryan wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, and worked for the European Commission in Brussels as a presidential speechwriter and later as the Commission’s spokesperson for digital issues.
Social Profile: @PoliticoRyan
Fritz Mayer, Dean, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
Frederick ‘Fritz’ Mayer, Ph.D., is the dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Dean Mayer's research interests include international trade and economic globalization and the role of storytelling in politics and collective action. He has published two single-author books, four educational publications, and numerous articles and chapters. He is affiliated with the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, and the Association of Public Policy and Management. Prior to DU, Dean Mayer served as professor of public policy, political science and environment; associate dean; director of the Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service; and director of the Program on Global Policy and Governance at the Terry Sandford School of Public Policy at Duke University.
Social Profile: @fwmayer
Jeanne Meserve, member of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity and Co-Host of the "SpyTalk" podcast
Jeanne Meserve has been an anchor and correspondent for CNN and ABC News, winning two Emmy Awards, and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards for coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill, and anchored CNN’s award-winning coverage of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination and the death of Princess Diana.
Meserve moderates on a wide array of subjects for groups including the Halifax International Security Forum, the International Women’s Forum, the Munich Security Conference, and the American Red Cross. In 2016 she conducted town hall meetings with six Republican presidential contenders on national security issues for Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security.
Meserve received a B.A. in English Literature from Middlebury College, and is a recipient of the college’s Alumni Achievement Award.
Social Profile: @JeanneMeserve
Artist in Residence
Kevin Kallaugher (KAL), Cartoonist at The Economist and artist in residence for the Denver Democracy Summit
Kevin Kallaugher (KAL) is the international award-winning editorial cartoonist for The Economist magazine of London, The Baltimore Sun and Counterpoint. In a distinguished career than spans 43 years, Kal has created over 10000 cartoons and 150 magazine covers. His resumé includes six collections of his published work including his celebrated 35th year anthology of Economist cartoons titled Daggers Drawn. Kal’s work has been exhibited in a dozen countries receiving awards and honors in seven. These awards include Feature Cartoonist of the Year (UK), The Thomas Nast Prize (Germany) Cartoon of the Year (Europe), and The Berryman award (US), Herblock Prize (US) and twice finalist for the Pulitzer Prize (US).
Social Profile: @kaltoons