Senior Vice President, American Foreign Policy Council
Ilan Berman is Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC. An expert on regional security in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation, he has consulted for both the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Department of Defense, and provided assistance on foreign policy and national security issues to a range of governmental agencies and congressional offices. He has been called one of America's "leading experts on the Middle East and Iran" by CNN.
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Mr. Berman is a member of the Associated Faculty at Missouri State University's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies. A frequent writer and commentator, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post and USA Today, among many other publications.
Mr. Berman is the editor of three books - Dismantling Tyranny: Transitioning Beyond Totalitarian Regimes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), co-edited with J. Michael Waller Taking on Tehran: Strategies for Confronting the Islamic Republic (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007), and Iran's Strategic Penetration of Latin America (Lexington Books, 2015), co-edited with Joseph Humire - and the author of four others: Tehran Rising: Iran's Challenge to the United States (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), Implosion: The End of Russia and What It Means for America (Regnery Publishing, 2013), and most recently, Iran's Deadly Ambition: The Islamic Republic's Quest for Global Power (Encounter Books, 2015).
Congresswoman Maria Fernanda Cabal
Representative in the Colombian National Congress
Maria Fernanda Cabal is a leader who graduated as a Political Scientist from the Andes University in Bogota, and a Colombian congresswoman who has represented Bogotá since 2014. Before graduating, she worked as coordinator of the "Program on Democracy", financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
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During her University experience, she was selected to be the first international fellow to travel and leave in Dayton Ohio and learn the methodology of the National Issues Forums (NIF), developed by the Kettering Foundation -a nonprofit entity chaired by Dr. David Mathews, who served as Secretary of Health and Welfare during President Gerald Ford administration. Afterwards NIF program was implemented in Colombia throughout the Political Science Department from the University of los Andes, thanks to a grant given by the Tinker Foundation based in NY.
Maria Fernanda has also traveled throughout Colombia working with local leaders and communities, to help strengthen democracy and democratic practices in rural areas. She pushed the importance of voting and empowering citizens to be able to make a right election of their officials, by efforts leaded with the Civil National Registrar Office and the Mayor of Bogota city.
Her interest in the community lead her to work with the Police National Commissioner, to help in strengthening links between police and the community in the location of San Cristobal, in Bogota, and later with the Ministry of the Interior in the State of Amazon, by developing NIF programs with indigenous people, women and public employees.
She has also worked independently to help the communities in need and created the Colombian Cattle Foundation, FEDEGAN, helping more than 3000 poor peasants throughout the country.
In 2006-2007, she was appointed by former Attorney General, Mario Iguarán, as Director of International Affairs of the Attorney General's Office. The US Department of Justice emphasized its work in that office.
In 2014 she was elected for the Colombian Congress. She has been a strong advocate for peace, but not the impunity shadowing the Colombian government current peace process with the FARC (Held in Havana Cuba).
Rebecca Bill Chavez
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2013-2016)
Dr. Rebecca Bill Chavez served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs from November 2013 through December 2016. In this position, she oversaw security strategy and policy issues involving the countries of the hemisphere as well as U.S. government funding of hemispheric defense cooperation programs and the integration of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command.
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Prior to joining OSD Policy, Dr. Chavez was Professor of Political Science with tenure at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Chavez served as advisor to the Commander of U.S. Southern Command from 2007 through 2012 during which time she traveled extensively across Latin America with the Combatant Commander to strengthen U.S. defense relations in the region. Raised in Austin, Texas, Dr. Chavez received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University and her A.B. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University. She is the author of The Rule of Law in Nascent Democracies: Judicial Politics in Argentina (Stanford University Press). Her work has appeared in edited volumes and scholarly journals, including Courts in Latin America (Cambridge University Press), The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics, Comparative Politics, Joint Forces Quarterly, The Journal of Latin American Studies, and Latin American Politics and Society. Dr. Chavez is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the recipient of multiple grants to conduct research in Latin America, including a Fulbright Scholarship.
Editor in Chief, The Foreign Desk
Lisa Daftari is an award-winning investigative journalist and commentator focusing on foreign affairs with expertise in the Middle East and counterterrorism, frequently appearing on Fox News, CBS, NBC, PBS, Voice of America and SiriusXM. She has been interviewed in Spanish, English and Persian (Farsi).
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In over a decade of coverage, Lisa’s areas of expertise include the Middle East and North Africa, terrorism, national security, the Arab Spring, global Christian persecution, human rights, monitoring jihadis on the Web, the Iran nuclear deal and more.
Lisa also serves as director and founding editor of The Foreign Desk, a news platform launched in 2015 covering stories from around the globe with an emphasis on their impact on U.S. foreign policy. She publishes a daily email bulletin “The Daily Dispatch” putting out the top-10 foreign policy news stories every morning. A “must-read,” according to one CBS news radio host.
Her articles have frequently appeared on The Drudge Report, Fox News, The Telegraph, Newsweek, Townhall, The Jerusalem Post, Breitbart, The Daily Mail and in several languages by news outlets around the world.
Lisa is frequently called upon to give briefings and expert testimony to government and private entities and has worked for a number of think tanks in Washington, where she has written exclusive reports for the Pentagon and other government groups.
Lisa has been recognized for her outstanding coverage of the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran, the Arab Spring and more recently, ISIS on the internet, reporting on and monitoring jihadis in the social media sphere, the deep web and the dark web, instances of ISIS trading bitcoins, ISIS antique pillaging and even exposing a Facebook page where CIA weapons meant for Syrian “moderate” rebels were being bought and sold by Jihadis online. Facebook subsequently removed the page following her investigative report.
Lisa gained vital newsroom experience working as a producer in the investigative unit at NBC in Los Angeles, where she helped break the story of the 2005 Jamiyaat Ul-Islam Is-Saheed (JIS) terror group’s plot to bomb prominent sites in Los Angeles, including several military bases, a number of synagogues and the Federal Building.
In 2006, Lisa was invited to show her documentary film about an Iranian underground political movement in Congress, calling for global attention on human rights abuses and regime change in Iran.
Lisa holds a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism and completed her undergraduate degree in Middle East studies, Spanish and vocal performance at Rutgers University, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average.
After graduate school, Lisa received a Carnegie-Knight fellowship, focusing her research on ‘A post-9/11 America.’
In 2013, the Washington Times named Lisa one of the 30 Hottest Women in Politics.
She is an avid opera singer, pianist and has perfect pitch.
Lisa grew up in a suburb of New York City and currently travels back and forth between New York and Los Angeles.
Mario A. Duarte
Secretary of Strategic Intelligence, Republic of Guatemala
Mario A. Duarte was sworn in as Secretary of Strategic Intelligence by President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, on January 20th of 2016. As Secretary of Intelligence, Mr. Duarte is responsible for providing strategic intelligence to the President of Guatemala and the National Security Council. He is also in charge of coordinating the National Intelligence System, (Guatemala’s Intelligence Community).
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Mr. Duarte is one of the youngest Secretaries of Intelligence to hold office in Guatemala, and his professional credentials include more than 15 years of experience in the fields of intelligence, national security, and crisis management in Guatemala and other countries.
Mr. Duarte graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in industrial engineering. At University of Houston he did specialized academic research for several US federal agencies and the Houston airport authority.
In early 2006, Mr. Duarte received the Young Industrial Engineer award from the Engineers Week Foundation and the International Institute of Industrial Engineers. He also was a member of the Rice-Chertoff Initiative for Secure Borders and Open Doors.
Mr. Duarte then received a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) with emphasis on strategy development and corporate crisis management from Rice University. He also holds a postgraduate degree in Intelligence, National Security and Crisis Management for senior managers from the Ortega & Gasset Institute.
From 2012 to 2015, Mr. Duarte was the director of monitoring, communications and intelligence fusion for the Guatemalan National Security Council.
He is author and co-author of several articles related to intelligence, national security and risk analysis.
Col. Bill Edwards, USA, Ret.
Vice President, Thornton-Tomasetti Group Inc. and former Director of Intelligence J2 for U.S. Special Operations Command, North
Col. William “Bill” Edwards is the current Vice President of Security Services for Thornton Tomasetti. Prior to this position he was the Director of Intelligence -J2 for Special Operations Command, North (SOCNORTH) in United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). His most recent military assignments included TRADOC Capability Manager-Sensor Processing (DCGS-A) DOD ACAT 1 Program and TRADOC Capability Manager Biometrics, Forensics and Machine Foreign Language Translation DOD ACAT 3 Program.
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Col. Edwards attended Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Executive Leadership Course, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Negotiations Course, and the United States Naval War College, graduating in July 2013 with a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. Additionally, he had successful Command of the 3rd Brigade Troops Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn 2009 – 2011. During this Command he had responsibility for operations and security of two large Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and 700 + people in Dhi Qar and Basra Provinces.
Col. Edwards enlisted on 14 September 1988 and received his commission 20 July 1990 through the U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps at San Diego State University where he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Personnel Management/Administration from Central Michigan University. His military education includes the completion of the Armor Officer Basic Course, Military Intelligence Transition and Advance Courses, Military Counterintelligence Course, Military Intelligence Combating Terrorism Course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the United States Naval War College.
In over 27 years Col. Edwards has served as armor Platoon Leader for Task Force 6-40th Armor (Berlin, Germany), Company Executive Officer and Assistant S3 Operations for V Corps Special Troops Battalion (Frankfurt, Germany). Col. Edwards has also served as the Assistant S-3 Operations, 2-34 Armor; 1st Infantry Division G2 Plans Officer, Fort Riley, Kansas; 1-68 Armor Battalion S-2 Intelligence; 3rd Brigade Combat Team S-2 Intelligence; HHC 1-68 Armor Company Commander, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado; University of Tennessee Army ROTC Training Instructor; Battalion Executive Officer, 165th Military Intelligence Battalion/Long Range Surveillance-Corps (Darmstadt, Germany/Iraq Theater of Operations); U.S. Army Europe Intelligence G2 Plans Officer, as well as U.S. Army Europe Intelligence G2 Executive Officer (Heidelberg, Germany); USNORTHCOM Intelligence J2 Plans Officer, Deputy Division Chief, Intelligence and Operations Division, Commander 3rd Brigade Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division (Fort Carson, Colorado/Iraq Theater of Operations) and Deputy Division Chief Mission Integration and Architecture Division USNORTHCOM Intelligence J2, Peterson AFB, Colorado, TRADOC Capability Manager Biometrics and TRADOC Capability Manager-Sensor Processing (DCGS-A), Fort Huachuca, AZ, Theater Special Operations Command Director of Intelligence J2, Peterson AFB, Colorado.
Col. Edwards’ decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Meritorious Service Medal (5 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Achievement Medal (4 Oak Leaf Clusters), The Iraq Campaign Medal (3 Campaign Stars), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation (1 Oak Leaf Cluster/Combat Award/Iraq 2003-2004 and 2010 - 2011), National Defense Service Medal (2 Bronze Stars), the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Army Service Ribbon. He has earned the following Badges: the Combat Action Badge (Al Anbar Province, Iraq, 2003-2004) and the Parachutist Badge.
Senior Fellow, Center for Complex Operations, National Defense University
Douglas Farah is president of IBI Consultants, LLC and senior visiting fellow at the Center for Complex Operations at National Defense University. Farah, who specializes in field research, works as a consultant and subject matter expert on security challenges, terrorism and transnational organized crime in Latin America, both for the U.S. government and the private sector.
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Farah frequently guest lectures on his research at universities and military and government audiences on the crime-terror nexus, and has testified before Congress more than a dozen times. He has published studies of transnational gangs in Central America, criminalized states in Latin America and the convergence of criminal and terrorist activities.
For the two decades before consulting, Farah worked as a foreign correspondent and investigative reporter for The Washington Post covering the civil wars in Central America, the drug wars in the Andean region, conflicts and the illicit diamond trade in West Africa led by Charles Taylor, radical Islam and terrorism financing. He won numerous awards for his international reporting.
Farah left the Post in 2004 and has continues to research the convergence of transnational organized crime and terrorism; transnational gangs; changing methodologies and structures in drug trafficking, and the presence of extra regional actors in Latin America.
Farah is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Blood From Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (Doubleday 2004) and Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes and the Man Who Makes War Possible (with Stephen Braun, J. Wiley, 2007). He has also written dozens of articles and monographs in peer reviewed journals and the media.
CEO, Gato Communications
Pablo Gato, CEO of Gato Communications, has a 30-year long career as a journalist, 22 of those years on television as a national and international correspondent, producer and news director.
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His work on national networks such as Telemundo, Univision, NBC, CBS, CNN and Telenoticias has made Gato one of the most well-known and respected journalists in Hispanic households throughout the United States and Latin America. He has covered wars, natural disasters, and a myriad of newsworthy events in over 90 countries. His reports have been watched daily by millions of viewers and earned him many awards, including two Emmy® Awards (four nominations) and two Mentions of Honor from the US National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Pablo Gato has covered more international conflicts than any other Spanish-speaking journalist in the US Hispanic television market: Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Balkans, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru-Ecuador, and the US invasions of Haiti and Panama. Throughout his career, Gato has interviewed countless presidents and world-renowned international political, entertainment, sports and cultural newsmakers.
In addition to wars, he has covered a long list of national and international crises, such as the Washington, DC area sniper shootings; the impeachment of former President Clinton; the September 11 attack on the Pentagon and the terrorist bombings in Madrid and London; hurricanes such as Andrew in South Florida, Mitch in Central America and Katrina on the Gulf Coast; as well as the Anthrax attacks in Washington, DC.
On the other hand, as CEO of Gato Communications, he has worked closely as an advisor to organizations in the financial, multilateral, NGO, development, educational and governmental fields, as well as small, medium and large corporations about how to communicate effectively and generate positive coverage from the media. For them, this has meant a greater profile, better reputation and more supporters or, in the case of corporations, more business and clients. His experience as a journalist, coupled to his work as a communications advisor in the public and private arena, position Gato Communications as a leader when it comes to communicate clearly, effectively and successfully.
Pablo Gato has the equivalent of a Master’s degree in Journalism from the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona in Spain.
He has published two novels, El Plan Hatuey and Unidad 120500, Objetivo: independencia.
General Director, RCTV
Marcel Granier is a Venezuelan journalist, media entrepreneur, and advocate of press freedom. He is the president and CEO of Empresas 1BC and the former general director of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), which was the oldest and most-watched television channel in Venezuela until it was forced to close by the Venezuelan government in 2007.
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For decades, Granier was host of “Primer Plano,” a political talk show with millions of viewers. When Hugo Chávez came to power in Venezuela, Granier and his television network were frequently attacked and challenged by the president, who described the station and its employees as “fascists” and “coup-plotters” for their criticism of the government. Without a legal proceeding, RCTV’s frequency was cancelled by the government in 2007.
In 2014, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) submitted an amicus brief with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of Granier and RCTV. In 2015, the IACHR decided in favor of Granier and RCTV and ordered the Venezuelan state to restore the RCTV broadcast license and return all assets. “Thanks to this ruling, high ranking officials who stigmatize their opponents in the court of public opinion, while also using subservient courts to give the appearance of legality to their overt abuses, will no longer be able to escape international justice,” said Javier El-Hage, chief legal officer of HRF. Through Empresas IBC, RCTV continues to broadcast via cable and the Internet. The Council on Foreign Relations identified RCTV as “the most important independent television station in Venezuela”. Through interviews, public speaking and his work as a journalist, Granier continues to expose what he calls a “humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2007-2009)
Stephen Johnson is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2007 to 2009 and currently serves as the Regional Director for the Latin America and the Caribbean Division at the Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI), a non-partisan non-governmental organization responsible for developing and managing programs to strengthen democratic institutions; promote best practices in governance; develop substantive, issue-based public policies; and increase the participation of marginalized groups in politics in more than 60 countries worldwide. He currently oversees staff and programs in 15 countries in the Americas.
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Johnson has more than 30 years of experience in Western Hemisphere affairs policymaking, policy advocacy and public affairs with the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, and the Washington think tank community. Most recently, Johnson was a senior fellow and director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and has served as an adjunct professor of Latin American studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
From 2007 to 2009, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, overseeing the development of policies, strategies and programs governing U.S.-hemispheric defense and security ties. Johnson has lived in El Salvador, Honduras, and Uruguay.”
Col. Tim Kiely
Vice President of Business Development, Exostrategies Inc,
Colonel (Retired) Tim Kiely is the Vice President of Business Development for Exostrategies Inc, a small, elite Enterprise Architecture company with offices in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Alexandria, Virginia. He has over thirty years as a proven leader with diverse intelligence, operations, program management, business development, government, and interagency experience. He has over twenty-seven years in Department of Defense large-scale security and intelligence operations. His key military assignments include Director of Intelligence Operations for NORAD/ USNORTHCOM, Executive Officer to the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Warfighting Support, Battalion Commander, and Senior Intelligence Officer (G2) 82nd Airborne Division. He has thirty plus years’ experience in the practical application of advanced technologies and architectures into operational organizations. Colonel (R) Kiely has extensive interagency and government experience, senior level decision-making, policy direction, and strategic planning.
Roger Pardo Maurer
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2001 - 2006)
Roger Pardo-Maurer, a regular commentator on U.S. and international media, is a development economist, author, and Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. Army Special Forces veteran who served from 2001 to 2006 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, the senior civilian official at the Defense Department with responsibility for Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. In 2006 he was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal of the U.S. Department of Defense, the department’s highest civilian honor.
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His tenure at the Defense Department was also marked by the joint military intervention in 2004 of the United States, France, Chile, and Brazil to restore order in Haiti under a United Nations mandate, which he helped craft. He also helped orchestrate US Department of Defense support to integrate and sustain the military forces of four Latin American nations that provided troops to the Multi-National Coalition in Iraq.
Mr. Pardo-Maurer was in the Pentagon during the attack of September 11, 2001. As a reservist in the U.S. Army’s 20th Special Forces Group, he took leave of absence in 2002 to serve in Afghanistan, and in 2006 he resigned his position for a second combat tour with his unit in Iraq. His duties in Iraq included strategic activities and direct action against terrorist cells and insurgent leaders, including al-Qaeda, Jaysh al-Mahdi, and the Islamic State of Iraq. In 2006-2007, while serving in Diyala Province, Iraq, he also helped conceive and execute a comprehensive political/military strategy to organize the tribal revolt against al-Qaeda and Iranian influence in the area ranging from Baghdad to the Iraq-Iran border.
Mr. Pardo-Maurer is a graduate of Yale and King’s College, Cambridge (with distinction), specializing in history and development economics. He has taught at Yale, the National Defense University, and New York University. He is the author of books and articles on Latin America, including Access Mexico, a 650-page manual on business, trade and investment in Mexico, and “The Contras”, a history based on his service in the Southern Front of the Nicaraguan Resistance, from 1986 to 1988, which served as the basis for the popular video arcade game of the same name, and in which he is a character. He has testified on national security issues before the United States Congress, the Parliament of Canada, and the Legislative Assembly of Mexico, and is a regular commentator on Spanish-language media, such as the Voice of America, Univision, Telemundo, CNN en Español and NTN24
He has also served on advisory panels for the former combatant commanders of US Southern Command (ADM James Stavridis) and US Central Command (GEN David Petraeus), in the latter capacity as a reviewer of U.S. Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy (under then-BG H.R. McMaster).
Prior to serving in the Defense Department he was managing partner of a trade and investment consulting firm. He is currently publisher of Pardonet.com, a Spanish-language news website.
Co-Secretary General, Transatlantic Legislative Group on Counterterrorism
Professor Walid Phares served as a Foreign Policy Advisor to Presidential candidate Donald Trump in 2016. He has served as a national security advisor to Presidential Advisor Mitt Romney in 2011-2012; has been an advisor to the U.S. House of Representatives Caucus on Counter Terrorism since 2007; and is the Co-Secretary General of the Trans Atlantic Legislative Group on Counter Terrorism since 2008. He is Fox News Terrorism and Middle East Expert since 2007 and has been MSNBC-NBC Terrorism Analyst from 2003 to the end of 2006.
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He taught Global Strategies at the National Defense University in Washington DC since 2006, lectured at the National Intelligence University since 2008 and he has been a Professor of Middle East Studies, Ethnic and Religious Conflict at the Department of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) from 1993 to 2006. Professor Phares has also been a senior lecturer on the War on Terror and Global Conflicts at the LLS Program of FAU and the IRP Program at the University of Miami. Previously he taught at Florida International University in 1991 and 1992 and at Saint Joseph University in Beirut in the 1980s. Currently he is a visiting Professor at Washington DC based private universities. He was appointed as director for international relations and Political Sciences at BAUI University in Washington DC since 2013 and was appointed as a Provost of BAUI in 2014. He is now on leave.
Professor Walid Phares was a Senior Fellow and the director for Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington (2001-2010). He was also a Visiting Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracies in Brussels (2006-2010).
As an international expert on conflicts and Terrorism, Professor Phares lectures on US campuses, nationwide, and internationally including in London, Stockholm, Brussels, Strasbourg, Mexico, Amsterdam, Geneva, Paris, Prague, Budapest, Mexico, Lisbon, Sao Paolo, Montreal, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, Sao Paolo, Montevideo, Cairo, Nicosia and Beirut.
He published several books and articles including in the Middle East Quarterly, Global Affairs, Journal of Middle East and South Asian Studies, Journal of International Security Affairs, Journal of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence, Homeland Security Today, and other specialized journals. He has been interviewed by national and international networks including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, C-Span, BBC TV (English-Arabic), Sky News, France 24 (English, Arabic, French), CTV, CBC, Canada Global TV, al Jazeera, al Hurra, Abu Dhabi TV, Dubai TV, al Arabiya, LBCI, Russia Today TV, Voice of America TV, as well as local ABC, CBS, PBS, NBC and others. He appears on European, Arab, South Asian and Latin American outlets and is a frequent contributor to many US and international radio programs including BBC English and Arabic and French Canadian Radio.
Dr Phares Op. Eds. have been published in the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Le Devoir (Montreal), Le Figaro (France), as well as many dailies weeklies in the US and around the world including in Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Lebanon, etc. He has been interviewed and quoted in printed media around the world including in Brazil, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, etc.
He has served as a strategic analyst and briefer to Governments, International Organizations, NGOs and media of the ongoing world conflicts, including on Terrorism and the War of Ideas particularly since 2001. His research includes geopolitics of the Middle East and North Africa, ideologies and strategies of international regional and local Jihadist groups, radical groups strategies in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and within the West. His scholarship covers democracy and human rights in the third world
He testifies to and conducts briefings at the US Congress, the European Parliament and Commission, and the UN Security Council, as well as to US State Department and other foreign ministries worldwide and to officials on Counter Terrorism in Europe and the United States. Dr Phares was an advisory board member of the Task Force on Future Terrorism of the US Department of Homeland Security (2005-2007) and a member of the NSC advisory task force on Nuclear Terrorism (2006-2007)
Dr Phares has also lectured to and advised the US Departments of Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security, as well as regional commands such as CENTCOM, SOUTHCOM, AFRICOM, on academic research on Terrorism. He has served as an expert on Terrorism with the US and European Governments and briefed law enforcement agencies, including INTERPOL since 2003. Dr Phares serves as an academic advisor to several Human Rights and Middle East and Africa communities groups.
Dr Phares academic field covers comparative politics and conflict and strategic studies. His current research interest focuses on the Jihadist movements and strategies worldwide, Human Rights in North Africa and the Middle East, the Arab Spring, ethnic minorities, women, and democratic movement and processes within the Greater Middle East and the Muslim world, Terrorism, as well as the international relations of Civilizations.
Since 1979, Dr Phares has published thirteen books on Middle East Conflicts and International Terrorism. His first post 9/11 book with Palgrave St Martin, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America, published in November 2005 was a Foreign Affairs best seller in 2006. The paperback Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West was published in November 2006. A Spanish version was published in 2008. The War of Ideas: Jihadism against Democracy was published in March 2007. The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad was published in March 2008. Dr Phares books were featured on summer reading lists in the US Congress and the UK House of Commons in 2007.
His most publicized book (December 2010) was The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East, which predicted the Arab Spring and projected the ongoing revolts in the Greater Middle East. A Russian version was published in 2011. Dr Phares has published a French book "Du Printemps Arabe a l'Automne Islamiste" at Hugo in Paris in November 2013. His most recent book "The Lost Spring" was published in 2014
Born and raised in Beirut, Dr Walid Phares was educated at St Joseph and the Lebanese Universities of Beirut where he obtained degrees in Law and Political Science as well as a certificate in Sociology. He obtained a Masters in International Law from the Universite de Lyons in France and a Ph.D. in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the University of Miami.
He practiced as a Lawyer in Beirut, served as an analyst editorialist and was the publisher of several weeklies and monthlies in Arabic, French and English (1982-1987).
He published his first book, al Taadudiya fi Lubnan (Pluralism in Lebanon in Arabic) on the Multi-ethnic identity of Lebanon and the Middle East as well as on the relationship between Civilizations in 1979, followed by a number of books and articles in the Arab and international press since 1980 including Hiwar Dimucrati (Democratic Dialogue, 1981) and al Thawra al Islamiya al Khumaynia (The Islamic Khomeinist Revolution, 1986). As a lawyer and a writer in his native Lebanon, he launched a social democratic Party, formed a coalition of Middle East minorities NGOs and served in a national coalition of political parties that called for the withdrawal of the Syrian occupation and the disarming of Iranian-backed Terror organizations in the 1980s. He lectured in a number of countries in the Middle East and worldwide (France, Belgium, UK, Switzerland, Brazil, Uruguay, Cyprus and Canada).
Relocated to the United States in 1990, he taught at various universities in the 1990s, appeared as a Middle East expert with media and served as an expert on country conditions at US Immigration Courts as of 1994.
Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC)
Vice Chairman, House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance
Col. Joshua Potter, USA
U.S. Special Operations Command, J36 Transnational Threats Division
Colonel Joshua Potter is a US Army Officer who has served in several operational assignments in the United States, Europe, and South Western Asia. Upon graduating from West Point in 1993, with a Bachelor’s degree in International History, he served in a variety of Air Defense Artillery, Special Forces, and Civil Affairs assignments. A decorated officer, COL Potter earned four Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, a Joint Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Combat Action Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal with five campaign stars and the Afghanistan Campaign medal with one campaign star for his multiple tours of service in combat in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
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Currently, COL Potter is the Chief of the J36 (Transnational Threats Division), United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). As such, his Division is responsible for Counter Threat Finance (CTF), Counter Narco-terrorism (CNT), and Counter Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC) programs for USSOCOM. The J36 is designed to detect, disrupt, and defeat the threat networks who transcend traditional geographic and regional boundaries, primarily through attacking their financial structure. His team synchronizes intelligence activities, law enforcement and military action, to illuminate and reduce global terror groups, drug trafficking cartels and organized crime syndicates.
Through his military career, COL Potter has visited and worked in 41 countries, lived in 16 homes, deployed 10 times, wrote three books, earned three degrees, missed 45% of his children’s birthdays and at one point had an $8,000 price on his head (wife disputes this number as “too much”). For more than 24 years, COL Potter has been married to Tracey, a woman of singular grace, patience, and charm who raises their blessed three children – Damon, Peyton, and Bradyn while he is away.
The Hon. Jorge Quiroga
76th President of Bolivia
Jorge Quiroga is a former President of Bolivia. His public sector experience includes: Leader of Opposition 2006-10 and 2017-today, Woodrow Wilson Scholar 2002-03, President of Bolivia 2001-02, Vice-President and President of Congress 1997-01, Minister of Finance 1992, Vice-minister of Planning for Public Investment and International Cooperation 1990-92, several consulting jobs and others. In the private sector he has worked as Vice-President, board member and shareholder of a large private bank in La Paz (1993-97); with Mintec in the mining sector in Bolivia (1989-90); as a Systems Engineer with IBM in Texas (1981-88); as a university Calculus Teaching Assistant (1980-81); and several others.
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He is currently active in the private sector and many international organizations, among them: as Vice-President of “Club de Madrid” with almost 100 former heads of state and government; on the boards of the “Interamerican Dialogue” and “Results for Development-R4D” in Washington D.C.; as a member of the International Advisory Council of the China Economic Club; and in different capacities on the “Global Adaptation Institute”, the “Foro Iberoamericano” and many others. He has presided FUNDEMOS since 2002, a Bolivian public policy foundation.
His areas of expertise are: management of international aid and cooperation for developing countries; macroeconomic policy; constitutional, legal and institutional reforms; private and official external debt restructuring and relief; programs to reduce drug trafficking and cocaine production; and broadly in Latin American public policy, trade, economics, finance and banking, integration, politics and development issues.
Jorge Quiroga holds a Summa Cum Laude B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from St. Edwards’s University, Texas. He has 4 children. He is fluent in Spanish and English, and has some basic Portuguese.
Fernando del Rincón
Host of Conclusiones on CNN en Español
Fernando del Rincón is the anchor for Conclusiones, the primetime show that monitors the key happenings of the day, and Fuentes Confiables where it analyzes the most relevant news of the international event, from the perspective of the most outstanding professionals journalist.
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Del Rincón has covered a broad range of series of international news events such as, the outcomes of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan; Pope John Paul II’s visit to Mexico and his death and funeral in the Vatican; the death of music icon Celia Cruz; the forest fires in California; the Iraq war; the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, among many others.
In January of 2006 he received one of the highest honors known in the country for his 20 uninterrupted years of work, making his mark in the hall of fame. In 2011 he was chosen as the best news anchor on TV as a popular vote by People en Español magazine.
Before joining CNN en Español, Del Rincón was the entertainment and news anchor for the daily and primetime newscast “Mega News” of Mega TV.
Del Rincón was an anchor and reporter for the daily investigative show “Primer Impacto” and “Ver Para Creer,” both on Univision. In Mexico, he was at the helm of Televisa Monterrey’s newscast, and was a contributor to Reforma newspaper.
Born in Morelos, Mexico, he began his career in radio and television in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Rocio San Miguel
President, Asociación Civil Control Ciudadano
Rocio San Miguel is the president of Control Ciudadano, a Caracas-based NGO that protects the rights of Venezuelan citizens on security, defense, and the National Armed Forces. She holds a law degree in international law and policy from the Central University of Venezuela and a master’s degree in National Security and Defense from the Institute of Advanced National Defense Studies (IAEDEN).
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Ms. San Miguel worked as a civil servant from 1991 to 2004. During that time she served as an analyst at the National Security Council of Venezuela, legal advisor for the National Border Council, General Director at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Associate Advisor for the Center of Advanced Military Studies, and a profesor at the Naval War College, Air War College, and the Army War College of the National Guard.
She is currently a Professor of Security Studies at the Metropolitan University of Caracas and is a member of the Latin America Network of Security and Defense (RESDAL). She regularly writes articles and other publications on the subjects of security, defense, and the National Armed Forces of Venezuela.
Ms. San Miguel and her youngest daughter are currently living under precautionary protective measures established by the Inter-American Court of Human Right for her work in defense of human rights in Venezuela.
CEO, Metis Solutions & Fox News Contributor
Mike Waltz brings 20 years of White House and corporate expertise as a Special Forces officer, a policy advisor in the Bush White House and Pentagon, a CEO, an author, and a media commentator. Prior to joining the private sector, Mike served as Vice President Cheney’s Special Advisor for South Asia and Counterterrorism. His work in OVP culminated with Mike representing that office during President Bush’s Strategic Review of U.S. policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan where he advocated realigning command and control, increasing resources, and modifying our counterterrorism posture in the region. In that key role, he led and attended interagency meetings, including Deputies and Principal Committees on behalf of the Vice President.
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Prior to his time in the White House, Mike was the Director for Afghanistan policy responsible for shaping policy and providing recommendations to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and the Secretary of Defense. In the Pentagon, Mike also served in the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics where he led the establishment of DoD’s funding, programs, and strategy for counter-narcotics activities in Afghanistan and South Asia.
Mike currently serves as CEO of Metis Solutions, a growing defense firm that provides strategic analysis, intelligence support, and training to U.S. Government and corporate customers worldwide. Metis has been named to the INC 500 list of the fastest growing companies in America for three years in a row. Mike is also a Co-Founder and Partner in an international consulting firm, Askari Associates that provides strategic advisory services to foreign governments and commercial entities in the Middle East and North Africa.
In parallel with his civilian policy work, Mike commanded a U.S. Army Special Forces unit in the reserve component with multiple combat deployments to Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa. There, Mike commanded a number of SOF teams in four provinces along the border region with Pakistan. In previous deployments, Mike worked closely with UAE, Czech, French, Kuwaiti and Australian Special Forces units in southern Afghanistan, in the Gulf region and other locales.
Mike is the author of the book Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret’s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan. Warrior Diplomat was endorsed by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and was named to the U.S. Special Operations Command Commander’s 2016 reading list. Net proceeds from book sales are donated to the Green Beret Foundation.
Mike is a FOX News Contributor and has provided expert commentary on military and foreign policy issues for CNN, BBC World News, PBS Frontline, and the Voice of America. He is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and is a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.