Featured Speakers 2023

Democracy Renewed and Reimagined

The 2023 Denver Democracy Summit will feature a variety of speakers from various sectors including government, nonprofit, business, and academia, all committed to protecting and promoting democratic ideals.

Stay tuned for more additions to our speaker page!

Elmira Bayrasli
  • Elmira Bayrasli, Future Security Fellow, New America & Director, Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program

    Elmira Bayrasli is a fellow in New America's Future Security program. She is the author of From the Other Side of the World: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs, Unlikely Places, a book that looks at the rise of entrepreneurship globally. She is founder and editor of Interruptrr and the Director of Bard College's Global and International Affairs program. She has lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina where she was the chief spokesperson for the OSCE Mission. From 1994-2000, she was presidential appointee at the U.S. State Department, working for Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke, respectively. Bayrasli is a regular commentator on entrepreneurship and foreign policy. Her work has appeared in ReutersForeign AffairsWashington PostQuartzFortuneForbes, CNN, NPR, BBC, Al Jazeera, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Bayrasli sits on several boards, including Invest2Innovate and Turkish Women's International Network.

  • Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator, Colorado

    Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since
    2009. Recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by an
    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. Before serving in the Senate, Michael worked to restructure failing
    businesses and helped create the world’s largest movie theater chain. As
    superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, he led one of the most
    extensive reform efforts in the country, resulting in substantial, sustained
    academic improvement for Denver’s children. He lives in Denver with his
    wife and three daughters.

Enrique Berruga
  • Ambassador Enrique Berruga, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Mexico

    Enrique Berruga is a Mexican diplomat and author that currently serves as CEO of The Aspen Institute Mexico. Career diplomat, Ambassador of Mexico to Ireland, Costa Rica and the United Nations. Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs and Director of the Mexican International Cooperation Agency. President of the Mexican Council on Foreign Affairs and Fulbright Scholar, graduated at the Johns Hopkins University, SAIS, in Washington, DC. He has published six novels; one was adapted to a film. His latest novel "El Cazador de Secretos" deals with Lee Harvey Oswald's mysterious trip to Mexico, two months before JFK's assassination. It will become a series for a streaming network. Enrique lives in Mexico City with his son and an English Sheepdog.

Jamelle Bouie
  • Jamelle Bouie, New York Times Columnist and CBS News Political Analyst

    Jamelle Bouie is a columnist for the New York Times and a political analyst for CBS News, covering history, politics, public policy, elections, and race. Jamelle’s political instincts provide audiences with unique insight on the past, present, and future of our national politics, policy, and the state of race relations. As he did while writing for Slate and the Daily Beast, Jamelle shares eye-opening perspectives on issues concerning the issues at play in America today.

Ethan Chumley
  • Ethan Chumley, Director of Critical Institution Security, Microsoft Democracy Forward Initiative

    Ethan Chumley is the Director of Critical Institution Security for Microsoft’s Democracy Forward Initiative, leading the team’s global cybersecurity offerings, elections preparedness programs, and media authenticity initiatives. He creates technical offerings and strategic solutions to increase the security and resiliency of the organizations that support a healthy democracy. Ethan works with high-risk political campaigns, elections administrators, thinktanks, NGOs, and journalists on cyber strategies to defend against foreign malign cyber actors, and across the tech industry at the intersection of security, policy, AI, and democracy. Recently, this work has included working directly with organizations to consider ways in which AI be used to support and improve democratic processes while reducing risks of harm by protecting & advancing fundamental rights. Formerly, Ethan worked on the “Microsoft Disaster Response” team using technology to help communities recover from natural disasters, and as a cloud technology consultant to enterprises & government customers. Prior to Microsoft, he worked as an engineer at an energy consultancy and at a US defense contractor. Ethan received a degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University and currently resides in the Washington DC area.

Naheed Farid
  • Naheed A. Farid, Human Rights Defender & Senior Fellow at Princeton SPIA-APL

    Naheed Farid is an Afghanistan Parliamentarian in-exile, Chairperson of the House Standing Committee for Women Affairs, a Professional Specialist at Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs-APL, and Advisory Board Member of US-Afghanistan Democratic Peace and Prosperity Council (DPPC). Elected to Parliament in 2010 as the youngest-ever elected politician and lawmaker in Afghanistan, Naheed has worked tirelessly to engage Afghan youth and women in the nation's political process. She is a George Washington University Alumni, Forbes Magazine Awardee, a Model Citizen of Grassroot-Diplomat Magazine, and an Italian Distinctive Brave-Knight Medalist. Since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, Naheed has spoken on various platforms such as the U.N., U.K. Parliament, E.U. Parliament, U.S. Congress, and media to advocate human rights in Afghanistan.

Ann Florini
  • Ann Florini, Fellow for New America's Political Reform Program

    Ann Florini is a Fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America, working on how innovative governance tools can help to address the intertwined challenges of climate change and democratic decay. She is also Senior Advisor to NatureFinance and the Task Force on Nature Markets;  a Senior Global Futures Scientist at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Lab, Arizona State University; a Professor of Practice at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University; a founding Board Member of the Economics of Mutuality Foundation; and a Founding Member of the Council on Economic Policies. Her work focuses on governance of complex systems, energy policy, and cross-sector collaborations involving business, government, and civil society. Throughout her career, Dr. Florini has spearheaded major international projects focused on innovative approaches to global problem-solving for such organizations as the Initiative for Policy Dialogue and the World Economic Forum. Her numerous books and articles have addressed innovations in governance, China’s governance, transparency and information flows in governance, the roles of civil society and the private sector in addressing public problems, and climate and energy policy. Dr. Florini received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

  • 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

Melissa Hart
  • Melissa Hart, Colorado Supreme Court Justice

    Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Justice Melissa Hart to serve on the Colorado Supreme Court in 2017.  An active member of the Colorado legal community, she is the court’s liaison to the Colorado Access to Justice Commission, the Pathways to Access Standing Committee, the Standing Committee on Family Issues, the Court Services Division of the State Court Administrator’s Office, and the Ralph Carr Judicial Learning Center. Justice Hart also serves as a member of the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar and the Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation Board.  She was a founding Board member of Legal Entrepreneurs for Justice (Colorado’s affordable law practice incubator) and of the Sonia Sotomayor Inn of Court.  In addition to her role at the court, Justice Hart is an adjunct professor at both the University of Colorado Law School and the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

    Prior to joining the Court, Justice Hart was a professor at the University of Colorado Law School, where she directed the Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law.  Throughout her years as a professor, Justice Hart maintained an active pro bono practice, writing amicus briefs in appellate courts and representing clients through Metro Volunteer Lawyers.  Her teaching and scholarship focused on access to justice, constitutional law, judicial decision making, legal ethics, employment discrimination, and civil procedure. 

    Justice Hart grew up in Denver, graduating from East High School.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College, spent a year teaching at a high school in Athens, Greece, then returned to Harvard for law school.  At Harvard Law, she was the Articles Editor for the Harvard Law Review and Book Review Editor for the Harvard Women’s Law Journal.  After graduating in 1995, she clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Justice John Paul Stevens of the United States Supreme Court. Following her clerkships, she practiced law for several years in Washington, D.C., including as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Justice Hart and her husband, Kevin Traskos, have two children and two dogs.

Corey Hutchins
  • Corey Hutchins, Colorado Media Project/Inside the News

    Corey Hutchins is a journalism instructor and a contributor to Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Post, and other news outlets. He writes case studies for CMP, and receives underwriting support for his column on media literacy and Colorado journalism runs bi-weekly in the Colorado Sun and is distributed statewide by the Colorado News Collaborative to its partners. He also writes a popular industry newsletter on the news behind the news in Colorado. He is a former alt-weekly reporter, was twice named South Carolina's journalist of the year by the S.C. Press Association, was a stringer for CBS news covering the GOP presidential primary, and was South Carolina's lead researcher and reporter on the State Integrity Investigation, a risk analysis for corruption in all 50 state governments published by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. His graphic novel about Alvin Greene, The Accidental Candidate, was published by McFarland.

Staffan Lindberg
  • Staffan I Lindberg, Director, V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg

    Professor of political science and Director of the university-wide research infrastructure V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg, founding Principal Investigator of Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), founding Director of the national research infrastructure DEMSCORE, ERC Consolidator, Wallenberg Academy Fellow, co-author of Varieties of Democracy (CUP 2020), Why Democracies Develop and Decline (CUP 2022) as well asother books, and over 60 articles on issues such as democracy, elections, democratization, autocratization, accountability, clientelism, sequence analysis methods, women’s representation, and voting behavior. Lindberg is currently leading several large research projects, including “Failing and Successful Sequences of Democratization”, “Varieties of Autocratization”, and “The Case for Democracy”, and also has extensive experience as consultant on development and democracy, and as advisor to international organizations, ministries, and state authorities.

    Social Profile: @vdeminstitute

Daniel Lindvall
  • Daniel Lindvall, Senior Researcher, Climate Change Leadership Initiative, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University

    Daniel Lindvall is Senior Researcher at the Climate Change Leadership Initiative at the Department of Earth Sciences in Uppsala University. He has a PhD in sociology and his research mostly focuses on the interrelation between democracy and climate governance, climate policy acceptance and the relevance of fairness in the climate and energy transition. He has 10 years of experience in Swedish Government Offices, as a Deputy Director at Democracy unit and as the Principle secretary of the Swedish Democracy Commission. He has also worked in international organizations, such as the EU.


    Social Profile: @LindvallDaniel

Mari Manoogian
  • Mari Manoogian, Political Director at The Next 50 & former State Representative, Michigan

    Hon. Mari Manoogian is the Political Director at The Next 50, an organization dedicated to identifying the next generation of political leadership and political philanthropy. She served two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives, and held multiple leadership posts including Deputy Whip, Vice Chair of the Committee on Energy and treasurer of the Progressive Women’s Caucus. She is the first Armenian-American woman to serve in the statehouse, and was the youngest woman elected to the 100th and 101st legislatures. Manoogian got her start in public service in Congressman John D. Dingell’s office and on Ambassador Samantha Power’s communications team at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Manoogian also worked in the Office of English Language Programs and eDiplomacy office at the U.S. Department of State. She is a third-generation Armenian-American whose great-grandparents escaped the Armenian Genocide and settled in Detroit. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. Mari serves on the board of the Armenian Genocide Education Council, as well as the advisory committee of Figure Skating in Detroit. She loves to spend time with family, read, watch the NBA, and ride her Peloton.

  • Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA

    Oksana Markarova was appointed the Ukraine’s Ambassador to the USA and arrived in DC on Apr 20, 2021. She served in Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance in 2015-2020 as First deputy Minister and Government commissioner on investments and then since 2018 as a Minister of Finance. During her time at the Ministry she was a co-author of Ukraine’s macroeconomic revival program, has conducted unprecedented fiscal consolidation leading to deficit to GDP of 2% and debt to GDP reduction to below 50%, introduced midterm budgeting, gender oriented budgeting as well as negotiated, structured and coordinated successfully two IMF programs and other IFI cooperation programs. During her tenure she and her team has also created UkraineInvest government promotion agency, Ukrainian Startup fund and an eData ecosystem of government public finance portals including spending.gov.ua, openbudget.gov.ua and analytical instrument BOOST, which opened the majority of the public finance data to the public and increased Ukraine in all major international data transparency ratings.

    Prior to career in public service Mrs. Markarova spent 17 years working in private equity and financial advisory having leadership roles in ITT investment group, Western NIS Enterprise Fund, Chemonics and and World bank, as well as founded Archidata startup electronic archive company in between service positions in 2020. 

    Oksana Markarova serves at the Boards of UkraineHouse DC foundation in Washington DC, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukrainian Development Foundation and supports Ukrainian Catholic University and Ukrainian Press Museum-Archive.

    She holds BS and MS degrees in Environmental Science from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine and MPA in public finance from Indiana University with academic excellency and best international student awards.

Amber Faye McReynolds
  • Amber Faye McReynolds, Governor for the United States Postal Service

    Amber McReynolds is one of the country’s leading experts on election administration, policy, and innovation. In 2021, Amber was appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as a Governor for the United States Postal Service. Amber is focused on strengthening and modernizing democracy and improving the civic health of our nation. She is co-author of the book ‘When Women Vote’, and is currently serving as a senior strategic advisor to various national organizations including Issue One, Election Reformers Network, and others.  Amber has dedicated her career to improving the voting process for all:  first as an election official, serving as the Director of Elections for the City and County of Denver, Colorado and leading efforts to improve and modernize the voting experience in Colorado; then as a thought leader and founding CEO for the National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition; and now collaborating and supporting various organizations across the US. Amber has proven that designing pro-voter policies, voter-centric processes, and modernizing technology will improve the voting experience for all.  Amber also served on the Colorado Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission in 2021. Amber currently serves on the National Task Force on Election Crises, the National Council on Election Integrity, Advisory Board for the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, as an advisor to Vot-ER, Civic Resolve Advisor, and Represent Women Board of Directors.
    Amber holds a Masters of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Amber enjoys spending time with her two children - Klara (12) and Kenton (10). Their family motto is to have courage and be kind!

Nassif Philippe
  • Philippe Nassif, Associate Vice President, The Cohen Group

    Mr. Philippe Nassif joined The Cohen Group after over a decade of humanitarian and foreign policy work across the advocacy, non-profit, and think tank communities. Prior to joining The Cohen Group, Mr. Nassif served as a Program Director on the Middle East and North Africa team at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) where he supported civil society, governance programs, and electoral observation missions across the region. Before that, Mr. Nassif worked at Amnesty International USA as the US Government Relations Director for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Americas region. At Amnesty, Mr. Nassif worked with US government representatives in Congress and the executive branch to elevate various humanitarian and geopolitical challenges facing the world, often testifying before Congress and handling crisis communications and response for the organization and its coalition partners. Prior to that, Mr. Nassif served as Executive Director of In Defense of Christians in the Middle East where he advocated for the ethnic and religious minorities in the region that suffered at the hands of ISIS. Previously, he worked at CARE USA advocating for humanitarian assistance across the Americas and the Southeast and South Asia regions. Before his work at CARE USA, Mr. Nassif worked at The US Global Leadership Coalition, at the White House on President Obama’s advance team, and for the Mayor of Houston, Texas. Mr. Nassif also ran for Houston City Council in 2015. Mr. Nassif was named a Next Generation Latino Foreign Policy and National Security Leader by the New America Foundation, a Penn Kemble Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a 2021 US National Security & Foreign Affairs Leader at The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a fellow at the Aspen Strategy Group. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Mr. Nassif received his BA in International Relations from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, and his MA in International Conflict Resolution from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Anand Raghuraman
  • Anand Raghuraman, Director, Global Public Policy, MasterCard

    Anand Raghuraman is a Director of Global Public Policy at Mastercard. In this role, he shapes the company’s strategic engagement and thought leadership on cutting-edge topics at the intersection of geopolitics, digital governance, and trade. He also coordinates Mastercard's engagement in key geopolitical forums, such as APEC, IPEF, and the G20, and helps drive the research agenda at the Mastercard Policy Center for the Digital Economy.

    Alongside his work at Mastercard, Anand is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, where he leads research initiatives on U.S.-India digital cooperation. In 2022, Anand spearheaded the Atlantic Council’s flagship U.S.-India Digital Economy Task Force and led the drafting of its landmark report, “The Case for a U.S.-India Digital Handshake.”

    Anand has also had a dynamic global career in the private sector and think tank space, most recently as a Vice President at The Asia Group, a leading strategic advisory firm. In this role, Anand helped lead the firm’s client servicing and market expansion in India and managed multi-year research partnerships with Bloomberg Asia and the Observer Research Foundation. He also served as Special Assistant to Ambassador Richard R. Verma. Prior to this, Anand was a Scowcroft Fellow with the Aspen Strategy Group and a Fulbright grantee based in Afyon, Türkiye. 

    Anand is committed to engaging across disciplines to shape the next generation of U.S. national security and technology policy. In 2023, he was selected as an International Strategy Forum Fellow by Schmidt Futures and named a Corporate Leader with the Council on Foreign Relations. He was previously a Rising Leader with the Aspen Strategy Group and a member of the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign’s South Asia Policy Working Group. 

    Anand holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke University, where he graduated summa cum laude. A Seattle native, he is an amateur backgammon player and an avid fan of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s legendary qawwali music.


Dalibor Rohac
  • Dalibor Rohac, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

    Dalibor Rohac is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies Europe's political economy. He is also a Research Associate at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies in Brussels and a Senior Research Fellow in Politics and International Relations at the University of Buckingham in the UK. He is the author of three books including, most recently, Governing the EU in an Age of Division (Edward Elgar Publishing, November 2022). His first book, Towards an Imperfect Union: A Conservative Case for the EU (Rowman and Littlefield), was included on Foreign Affairs magazine’s list of best books of 2016.

    Rohac has written about European affairs for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and many other outlets. He has testified in Congress, published in peer-reviewed journals, and appeared on news outlets including the BBC, Bloomberg Television, Fox News, and Fox Business. He holds a Ph.D. in political economy from King’s College London.

Seema Shah
  • Seema Shah, Head of International IDEA's Democracy Assessment Unit

    Dr Seema Shah is the Head of International IDEA's Democracy Assessment (DA) Unit , which produces a biennial 'Global State of Democracy' report, an annually updated Global State of Democracy Indices and a EU-co-funded Democracy Tracker, which provides updates and analysis on democracy at the country level on a monthly basis. She previously served as the research and strategy lead for the International Rescue Committee's humanitarian innovation department in the Middle East region. Prior experience also includes leading electoral integrity-related research and advocacy for a coalition of Kenyan civil society organizations in Nairobi. As the Director of Research, she managed a team of data analysts in the development of evidence-based advocacy reports for national election reform campaigns and for Supreme Court cases challenging the credibility of the 2013 and 2017 Kenyan elections. Seema has also worked on election violence, media development, campaign finance reform, human rights research and advocacy, and standard-setting for electoral integrity with civil society organizations in DRC, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and the United States as well as with International IDEA in a previous capacity. She holds a PhD in Political Science from UCLA and a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford.

    Social Profile: @skshah23

Adrian Shahbaz
  • Adrian Shahbaz, Vice President, Research and Analysis, Freedom House

    As Vice President of Research and Analysis, Adrian Shahbaz oversees the organization’s portfolio of annual publications and special reports. These include Freedom House’s flagship study, Freedom in the World, the widely consulted annual reports Freedom on the Net and Nations in Transit, and new streams of work on transnational repression, China’s global influence, election integrity, and media freedom. Adrian previously served as Freedom House’s director for technology and democracy, leading the creation and expansion of a multidimensional program dedicated to monitoring the global state of human rights online, analyzing digital threats to election integrity, and advocating for a free and open internet. He has authored or coauthored internet freedom analyses, including The Global Drive to Control Big Tech (2021), The Pandemic’s Digital Shadow (2020), The Crisis of Social Media (2019), and The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism (2018). Adrian has appeared on news outlets such as the BBC, CNN, and NPR, and his commentary has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and WIRED. Prior to joining Freedom House, he worked as a researcher at the UN Department of Political Affairs, the European Parliament, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). He holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

Elizabeth Shapiro
  • Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro, CEO, National Trust for Local News

    Elizabeth Hansen Shapiro is the CEO and co-founder of the National Trust for Local News, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving, transforming, and sustaining community news organizations. We build stronger communities by keeping local news in local hands. As the only organization dedicated to strengthening existing sources of local news, we pair national expertise with local knowledge and commitment to ensure long-term, sustainable local news. From 2020 - 2022, Dr. Hansen Shapiro was a Senior Research Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School. At the Tow Center, Dr. Hansen Shapiro’s work focused on the future of journalism in public media and public policies to support local news. She has published research on the impact of local media collaboratives; combining audience revenue and engagement strategies; the relationship between news publishers, social scientists, and social platforms; and the opportunities and challenges of funding local and single-subject news. From 2017 - 2020, Dr. Hansen Shapiro led the news sustainability research at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She also served as the Research Director for the Membership Puzzle Project’s Guide to Membership in News. From 2016 - 2017 she was a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She received her PhD in Organizational Behavior and Sociology from Harvard Business School.

Timothy Sisk
  • Timothy Sisk, Professor of International and Comparative Politics, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Timothy D. Sisk is Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver and Director of the Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies at the School. At the University of Denver, he also chairs the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research.

    His research, teaching and policy-oriented work focuses on democratization and electoral processes in fragile and post-war contexts. Professor Sisk also researches the role of international and regional organizations, particularly the United Nations, in peace operations, peacemaking, and peacebuilding.

    Prior to joining the University of Denver in 1998, Sisk was a Program Officer and Research Scholar in the Grant Program of the United States Institute of Peace in Washington. Sisk earned a Ph.D. “with distinction” in political science from The George Washington University, in 1992, and an MA in International Journalism (1984) and a BA in Foreign Service and German (1982) from Baylor University.

Swati Srivastava
  • Swati Srivastava, Associate Professor of Political Science at Purdue University

    Swati Srivastava is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Purdue University. In 2023-24, she will be on fellowship as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Institute for Rebooting Social Media in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of Global Politics at Humboldt State University and Andrew Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies doctoral fellow. Swati broadly researches private actors in global governance. Her work has been published in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Perspectives on Politics, and International Studies Review, among other outlets. Her book, Hybrid Sovereignty in World Politics (Cambridge Studies in International Relations, 2022), explores how sovereign power is expressed through nonstate actors such as security contractors, business associations, and NGOs. Swati's current project explores the global politics of Big Tech. She received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University, where she was also affiliated as a graduate fellow in the Center for Legal Studies and the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs. 

Arun Venkataraman
  • Arun Venkataraman, Global Strategy Lead, Google News Initiative

    Arun Venkataraman is a Global Strategy Lead, Google News Initiative, focused on the initiative's industry research partnerships. Previously, he launched and co-led the GNI Digital Growth Program to help publishers strengthen their business models across the world; oversaw the initiative's commitment in Latin America; and led strategy for the Google News Labs. Across that work, he's been especially focused on emerging business models, digital media literacy, and support for the digital native news organizations.

Phil Weiser
  • Phil Weiser, Colorado Attorney General

    Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser was sworn in as the State’s 39th Attorney General on January 8, 2019. As the state’s chief legal officer, Attorney General Weiser is committed to protecting the people of Colorado and building an innovative and collaborative organization that will address a range of statewide challenges, from addressing the opioid epidemic to improving our criminal justice system to protecting consumers to protecting our land, air, and water. Attorney General Weiser has dedicated his life to the law, justice, and public service. Before running for office, Weiser served as the Hatfield Professor of Law and Dean of the University of Colorado Law School, where he founded the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship and co-chaired the Colorado Innovation Council. Weiser served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation in the Obama Administration’s National Economic Council. He served on President Obama’s Transition Team, overseeing the Federal Trade Commission and previously served in President Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice as senior counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, advising on telecommunications matters. Before his appointment at the Justice Department, Weiser served as a law clerk to Justices Byron R. White and Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court and to Judge David Ebel at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.The son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, Weiser is deeply committed to the American Dream and ensuring opportunity for all Coloradans. Weiser lives in Denver with his wife, Dr. Heidi Wald, and their two children.


Deborah Avant
  • Deborah Avant, Distinguished University Professor; Sié Chéou-Kang Chair for International Security and Diplomacy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Deborah Avant is the Sié Chéou-Kang Chair for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Her research (funded by the Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation, among others) has focused on civil-military relations, and the roles of non-state actors in controlling violence and generating governance. She is author/editor of Civil Action and the Dynamics of Violence in Conflicts (with Marie Berry, Erica Chenoweth, Rachel Epstein, Cullen Hendrix, Oliver Kaplan, and Timothy Sisk), The New Power Politics: Networks and Transnational Security Governance (with Oliver Westerwinter); Who Governs the Globe? (with Martha Finnemore and Susan Sell); The Market for Force: the Consequences of Privatizing Security; and Political Institutions and Military Change: Lessons From Peripheral Wars, along with articles in such journals as International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Security Studies, Perspectives on Politics, and Foreign Policy. She was the inaugural director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy. Under her leadership the Sié Chéou-Kang Center became a model for promoting engaged scholarship on the many different policy consequential organizations that affect peace, security, and governance, grew from one to nineteen affiliated faculty members, and became the first home to the International Studies Association’s: Journal of Global Security Studies, for which she served as editor in chief. She is an observer member of the ICoCA and, in 2013, was awarded an honorary doctorate from University of St.Gallen for her research and contribution toward regulating private military and security companies, and is the president of the International Studies Association. Professor Avant regularly advises governments, companies, NGOs, and others on the roles that many play in contemporary global governance and serves on numerous governing and editorial boards.

Naazneen Barma
  • Naazneen Barma, Associate Professor; Director, Scrivner Institute of Public Policy, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Naazneen H. Barma is the founding Director of the Doug and Mary Scrivner Institute of Public Policy, Scrivner Chair of Public Policy, and Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is also one of the founders and a co-director of Bridging the Gap, an initiative devoted to enhancing the policy impact of contemporary international affairs scholarship. Barma's research has been supported by the United States Institute of Peace, the Minerva Research Initiative, and the Berggruen Institute among others, and has been published in several refereed journals and edited volumes. She is, most recently, author of The Peacebuilding Puzzle: Political Order in Post-Conflict States (Cambridge University Press 2017) and co-editor of The Political Economy Reader: Contending Perspectives and Contemporary Debates (Taylor & Francis, 2022). She is also co-author of Rents to Riches? The Political Economy of Natural Resource-Led Development (World Bank, 2011), and co-editor of Institutions Taking Root: Building State Capacity in Challenging Contexts (World Bank, 2014) and The Political Economy Reader: Markets as Institutions (Routledge, 2008). Barma has co-authored policy-oriented pieces on global political economic order that have appeared in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest. Prior to joining the Korbel School faculty, Barma was a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School from 2000–2010 and previously worked from 1998–2001 and 2007–2010 as a development practitioner at the World Bank.

Jim Brady
  • Jim Brady, Vice President/Journalism for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

    Jim Brady, who joined Knight Foundation in 2021, is a digital media innovator whose experience ranges from leading major brands such as washingtonpost.com and Digital First Media to starting a company that built local news sites in three cities. As CEO of Spirited Media, which developed local news sites Billy Penn in Philadelphia, The Incline in Pittsburgh and Denverite in Denver, Brady differentiated the organizations with a mobile-first approach and a business focus on events and membership — rather than advertising — as core revenue lines. In 2019, Spirited Media sold Denverite to Colorado Public Radio, The Incline to digital startup Whereby.us and Billy Penn to WHYY, Philadelphia’s iconic public radio station. Previously, as editor-in-chief of Digital First Media, Brady was responsible for the strategy and management of the 75 daily newspapers, 292 non-daily publications and 341 online sites owned by Journal Register Company and MediaNews Group. He also built and managed the company’s Thunderdome unit, which comprised more than 50 digitally focused journalists charged with providing cutting-edge national content for DFM’s local properties. During Brady’s tenure as executive editor of washingtonpost.com, the site won a national Emmy award for its Hurricane Katrina coverage, a Peabody Award for its “Being a Black Man” series, and numerous other journalism awards. He also ran AOL’s news coverage of the 9/11 attacks and 2000 presidential election, and served as ESPN’s public editor from 2015-18. Brady is a past president of the Online News Association, a two-time judge of the Pulitzer Prizes, and currently serves on the boards of the American Press Institute, NewsMedia Alliance, and the National Press Foundation. He is a graduate of American University.

Rachel Epstein
  • Rachel Epstein, Professor of International Relations and European Politics and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Rachel earned her MA and PhD from Cornell University's Department of Government and AB from Stanford University in International Relations. Her 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. She 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 charged with planning the Association's 2019 biennial meeting.

  • Ryan Heath, Global Technology Correspondent, Axios

    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

Micheline Ishay
  • Micheline Ishay, Professor of International Studies and Human Rights and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Micheline Ishay is Professor of International Studies and Human Rights at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and University of Denver. She was awarded the 2022 a the Human Rights in Higher Education for her outstanding contribution to Human Rights Education (The University and College Consortium for Human Rights Education). She was recognized as University of Denver Distinguished Scholar. She was the Founding Director of the International Human Rights Degree and managed the program for over two decades; she is Co-Director of the Political Theory Program. She is an affiliate fellow of the Center for Middle East Studies. She is a Vice-Director of the International Council for Diplomacy and Dialogue, Paris.

    Ishay received a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Studies from Rutgers University. She was a fellow at the Center for Critical Culture and Contemporary Analysis, Rutgers University; Assistant Professor at Hobart and William Smith College; Senior Fellow at the Center for Democracy Collaborative, University of Maryland (2004); Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Hebrew University (2006); and Visiting Professor, Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2010-2013). She was Resident Fellow at the Bellagio Center, Rockefeller Foundation, Italy, Fall 2015. She was Visiting Fellow at the Institute of (IWM), Vienna, Fall 2021; She was a visiting Professor at the University of Tel Aviv (Spring 2022). Often interviewed in the international press, Ishay frequently contributes to international forums in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and lectures on international issues in the U.S.

Matthew Kaminski
  • Matthew Kaminski, Editor at Large, POLITICO

    Matthew Kaminski is Editor at Large of POLITICO. He was the cofounder and first Editor in Chief of POLITICO Europe, a Brussels-based publication created in 2014 as a joint venture between POLITICO and Germany’s Axel Springer. In his four years at the helm there, POLITICO Europe grew into the most influential publication on European affairs, according to a ComRes poll. He moved to Washington in 2018 to take over as Editor in Chief of POLITICO. During his five years overseeing all editorial operations, POLITICO nearly doubled in size and reach and in particular expanded coverage of the states, technology, energy and national security. The publication’s reporting on the Supreme Court, the Covid pandemic and national politics won, among other prizes, three George Polk awards and was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He took on his current role in September 2023.

    Starting as a freelancer from Eastern Europe before his senior year in college, Matt has reported on international affairs, politics and business on and off for the past three decades. He covered the former Soviet Union for the Financial Times and Economist from 1994 to 1997, and in 1997 joined the Wall Street Journal in Brussels as a correspondent. He subsequently held various writing and editing roles with the Journal in Paris and New York. In 2004, Matt was awarded the Peter Weitz Prize by the German Marshall Fund for a series of stories on the European Union. His coverage of the Ukrainian crisis won an Overseas Press Club prize in 2015. He was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary that year.

    Born in Poland, Matt immigrated to the United States as a child and grew up in Washington. He holds degrees from Yale College and the University of Paris and lives in Washington.


Seth Masket
  • Seth Masket, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver

    Seth Masket is a professor of political science and the director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. He is the author of Learning from Loss: The Democrats 2016-2020 (Cambridge, 2020), The Inevitable Party: Why Attempts to Kill the Party System Fail and How they Weaken Democracy (Oxford, 2016), and No Middle Ground: How Informal Party Organizations Control Nominations and Polarize Legislatures (Michigan, 2009), as well as a co-author of a recent textbook on political parties. He studies political parties, campaigns and elections, and state legislatures. He contributes regularly at Politico, Mischiefs of Faction, and the Denver Post. He is currently working on a book project examining the Republican Party’s interpretations of the 2020 election and its preparations for 2024.

Jonathan Moyer
  • Jonathan Moyer, Assistant Professor; Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Jonathan D. Moyer is Assistant Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures. He works across various research areas, extending and using the International Futures (IFs) integrated assessment platform. Jonathan studies patterns of human development through funded research for organizations like the African Union Development Agency and the United Nations. He leads the creation of new data and tools to better understand and analyze international relations contributing to reports such as the U.S. National Intelligence Council Global Trends 2030. Jonathan also researches patterns and drivers of state fragility and failure most notably as Lead Co-PI on a five-year Minerva grant.

Rachel Sigman
  • Rachel Sigman, Assistant Professor of Democratic Governance, Josef Korbel School of International Studies

    Rachel Sigman is Assistant Professor of Democratic Governance at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and a project manager with the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project based at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. Her research focuses broadly on the politics of government performance in Africa and beyond. Her forthcoming book, Parties, Political Finance, and Governance in Africa (Cambridge University Press), explains how political party institutions shape politicians' strategies to extract money from the state to finance their political operations; and how different extraction strategies, in turn, generate divergent patterns of politicization in the state's executive and bureaucratic institutions. She has also worked on projects related to the measurement of state capacity, democracy, and exclusion; the effects of oil revenue on bureaucratic institutions; the relationship between distributional inequality and autocratization; and how international actors exert influence on regime trajectories and government decision-making in African countries.

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