Mandela Barnes serves as Wisconsin’s 45th Lieutenant Governor. He was elected on November 8, 2018. He is the first African-American to serve as a Lieutenant Governor in Wisconsin, and the second African-American to ever hold statewide office.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Lt. Gov. Barnes is the son of a public-school teacher and a United Auto Workers member, to whom he credits much of his success. He grew up attending Milwaukee Public Schools and graduated from John Marshall High School in 2003.
Lt. Gov. Barnes is an alumnus of Alabama A&M University. After his time there, he worked for various political campaigns and in the city of Milwaukee mayor’s office, eventually becoming an organizer for Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope, a Milwaukee-based interfaith coalition that advocates social justice. He also worked for the State Innovation Exchange, a national progressive public policy organization.
In 2012, at the age of 25, Lt. Gov. Barnes was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, where he served two terms. His tenure in the State Assembly included serving as Chair of the Legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus and becoming a recognized leader on progressive economic policies and gun violence prevention legislation.
Within his current role, Lt. Gov. Barnes uses a platform of sustainability and equity to fight for solutions that invest in opportunities and fairness for every child, person, and family in Wisconsin, regardless of ZIP code
Jenna Ben-Yehuda is President and CEO of the Truman National Security Project a national grasstops membership organization comprised of diverse leaders inspired to serve in the aftermath of 9/11 and committed to shaping and advocating for tough, smart national security solutions. She is also the founder of the Women’s Foreign Policy Network, a global membership organization of 3,500 national security professionals in 100 countries.
Previously, she served as CEO and Founder of JBY Global, LLC, a strategic advisory consultancy and as Vice President of Foreign Affairs at WWC. She served for 12 years at the State Department in a range of policy, intelligence, and programmatic roles in the Western Hemisphere. A fluent Spanish speaker, she holds bachelors degrees in International Affairs and Spanish from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University (GW), an MS in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University, and an MS in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. In 2017, Ms. Ben-Yehuda co-authored #metoonatsec, an open letter on sexual harassment and assault in the national security community and since then has led advocacy efforts to make workplaces safer for women through government oversight and reform. She teaches a graduate seminar on Security in the Americas at GW and is a frequent media contributor on women’s leadership and national security. Her writings and interviews have been featured in Foreign Policy magazine, Time Magazine, Slate, CBS This Morning, and FedNews Radio.
Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) represents Texas’ 20th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Serving his fourth term, Rep. Castro sits on the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, serves as Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Rep. Castro is also Chair of the Texas Democratic Caucus, and founded the Congressional Pre-K Caucus, the U.S.-Japan Caucus, and the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN. Before Congress, Rep. Castro graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, and served five terms in the Texas Legislature.
Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors, and former Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where she currently serves on the board.
Michèle served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of the Department of Defense’s 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress.
Prior to confirmation, Michèle co-led President Obama’s transition team at the Defense Department.
In January 2007, Michèle co-founded CNAS, a bipartisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009, and returned as CEO in 2014. In 2017, she co-founded WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm.
Previously, she was senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).
In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.
Michèle is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including: the American Red Cross Exceptional Service Award in 2016; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, 2011, and 2012; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000 and 2012; the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996; and CARE’s Global Peace, Development and Security Award in 2019. She has edited several books and authored dozens of reports and articles on a broad range of defense and national security issues. Michèle appears frequently in national and international media, including CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, BBC News, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and PBS’ News Hour, and is frequently quoted in top tier newspapers.
Michèle serves on the boards of Booz Allen Hamilton, Amida Technology Solutions, The Mission Continues, Spirit of America, The U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, and CARE. She serves on the advisory boards of SINE, Equal AI, and The War Horse and on the honorary advisory committee of The Leadership Council for Women in National Security. Michèle is also a former member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the CIA Director’s External Advisory Board, and the Defense Policy Board, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group, and is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Michèle earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.
Senior Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Polar Institute, is credited with educating a generation of U.S. military and government officials about the nexus between climate change and national security, using her famous coinage, “threat multiplier,” to fundamentally reshape the national discourse on the topic. A former first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) and staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Goodman has founded, led, or advised nearly a dozen research organizations on environmental and energy matters, national security and public policy.
Adam Hunter is Executive Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), an organization working to protect and welcome refugees, asylum seekers, and other forcibly displaced populations. With an engaged coalition of diverse members, he guides policy advocacy and promotes dialogue and cross-sector collaboration to advance excellence in resettlement and integration programs. Adam has more than 15 years’ experience on migration, national security, and international affairs issues through positions in government, foundations, think tanks, and fellowships.
Before RCUSA he was a Consultant advising philanthropic and non-profit leaders on policy and strategy. He was also Director of a Pew Charitable Trusts’ research project exploring immigration federalism. In government, Adam served as Acting Chief of Staff at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security, and held prior agency leadership and program management roles. Earlier in his career, he worked with policymakers in Europe and at Washington think tanks, including the German Marshall Fund of the United States. A recipient of several transatlantic and global fellowships, Adam is a member of the Truman National Security Project and serves on the Board of Directors of Cultural Vistas, an international exchange organization. He holds a BA from Vanderbilt University, MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and D&I certificate from Cornell University. He is an avid language learner and lives with his husband in Washington, DC.
Nina Jankowicz studies the intersection of democracy and technology in Central and Eastern Europe. She is the author of How To Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict (Bloomsbury/IBTauris).
Ms. Jankowicz has advised the Ukrainian government on strategic communications under the auspices of a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. Her writing has been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and others. She is a frequent television and radio commentator on disinformation and Russian and Eastern European affairs. Prior to her Fulbright grant in Ukraine, Ms. Jankowicz managed democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. She received her MA in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her BA from Bryn Mawr College.
Josephine (“Jo”) Lukito is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Journalism and Media (in the Moody College of Communication). Jo’s research specializes in linguistic communication in the public sphere over time, focusing on the framing of glocal economic and political issues like state-sponsored disinformation and trade relationships. Methodologically, Jo uses computational and quantitative methods analyzing mass communicated text, including corpus and computational linguistics, natural language processing, human and automated content analysis, and text-as-data strategies. She holds Ph.D minors in English Language & Linguistics and Political Science (methodology & IR).
Jo’s past studies analyze the linguistic intergroup bias as applied to countries at various levels of development, differences in news language about 20th century and 21st century social movements, and social media language use about the 2016 U.S. Presidential election over time. Her ongoing work looks at how Russian disinformation crosses platforms (e.g., between social media platforms, or between social media and traditional news media).She has discussed these results in Columbia Journalism Review and on CNN; this work was also referenced in Robert Mueller’s 2018 report (p. 27). Jo’s dissertation focused on news coverage and public opinion about U.S.-China trade relations over the past decade, with a particular focus on how news media framed the China Shock.
A first-generation undergraduate and graduate student, Jo earned her B.A. in Political Science and Communication at the State University of New York, Geneseo, where she published her first paper. She earned her M.A. in Media Studies at the Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse University. A version of her thesis, “Linguistic Abstractness as a Discursive Microframe: LCM Framing in International Reporting by American News Media,” received the second top student paper award at the 2015 Association in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference.
Jo earned her Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in the Summer of 2020. As a graduate student, Jo led several research groups, including the disinformation research team, the MCRC research group (2018-2019), and the Computational Methods research group (2016-2019) in the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is the Student and Early Scholar Representative for the Computational Methods Interest Group of International Communication Association.
When she is not working, Jo enjoys reading fiction books, creating memes, watching The Expanse, and baking. Her hometown is New York City (Queens).
Katherine Maher is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation and oversees the operations of the organization and its professional staff.
Originally from Connecticut, USA, Katherine has spent her career at the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy and international development. Before joining the Foundation, she was Advocacy Director for the international digital rights organization Access in Washington, D.C., where she worked on global policy issues related to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy.
Prior to Access, Katherine was an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Innovations Specialist at the World Bank; ICT Program Officer at the National Democratic Institute; and Innovation and Communication Officer at UNICEF, where she was a founding member of the UNICEF Innovation team. She joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2014 as the organization’s first Chief Communications Officer.
Katherine received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in 2005 from New York University’s College of Arts and Science, after studying at the Arabic Language Institute of the American University in Cairo, Egypt, and Institut français d’études arabes de Damas (L’IFEAD) in Damascus, Syria.
Katherine is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, and her writings on human rights, technology and foreign policy have appeared in various publications, including the book “State Power 2.0” and periodicals Foreign Policy, the Atlantic and the Guardian. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Open Technology Fund and the board of the Sunlight Foundation. Katherine is based in San Francisco, though it may be more accurate to say she lives in a metal tube in the sky.
Chris Murphy is a United States Senator for Connecticut. Senator Murphy has been a strong voice in the Senate fighting for affordable health care, sensible gun laws and a forward-looking foreign policy. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, he has been an outspoken proponent of diplomacy, international human rights and the need for clear-eyed American leadership abroad. Murphy currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.
Ali Noorani is President & Chief Executive Officer of the National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan advocacy organization working with faith, law enforcement and business leaders to promote the value of immigrants and immigration. Growing up in California as the son of Pakistani immigrants, Ali quickly learned how to forge alliances among people of wide-ranging backgrounds, a skill that has served him extraordinarily well as one of the nation’s most innovative coalition builders.
Ali provides a principled and reasoned voice on immigration policy and politics, and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, NBC News, ABC News, PBS NewsHour and various radio and local news programs. He has been quoted on the pages of most of the nation’s major dailies and is a regular speaker at conferences and campuses across the country.
Ali is an Emerson Dial Fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, holds a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University and is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Ali lives in Washington, D.C., and is the author of “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration,” (Prometheus, April 2017) and host of the “Only in America” podcast.
Krish is the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. She previously served in the Obama White House as Policy Director for First Lady Michelle Obama and at the State Department as Senior Advisor under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Krish has committed her career to public service because she knows how differently life could have turned out. Krish was 9-months old when she and her family escaped a country on the brink of civil war and built a life in Maryland. Her parents came to this country with no jobs and $200 in their pockets.
Krish is a graduate from Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County and then attended Yale College, where she earned a Master’s degree in Political Science and a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University, where she received an M.Phil. in International Relations, before returning to Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal.
Krish’s interest in public service and grassroots politics began at an early age. In elementary school, Krish went knocking door to door with her mother in support of Senator Barbara Mikulski when she won her historic first race for the Senate. In college, Krish worked for another great public servant when she spent her summer back from college working for Senator Paul Sarbanes.
At the White House, Krish served as Policy Director for Michelle Obama and led the First Lady’s signature Let Girls Learn initiative. At the State Department, she coordinated development and implementation of multiple programs including those concerning refugees and migration, engagement with religious communities, the legal dimensions of U.S. foreign policy, and regional issues relating to Africa and the Middle East. She worked closely with PRM, Consular Affairs, Health & Human Services and the Department of Defense.
Before joining the White House, Krish worked at McKinsey & Company, where she consulted for Fortune 100 companies, practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, DC, clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and taught at Georgetown University as an adjunct.
Krish and her husband, Collin O’Mara are the parents of a young daughter, Alana.
Cindy L. Otis is the Vice President of Analysis for Alethea Group, a
disinformation investigations and remediation firm, and is an expert
on disinformation threat analysis and counter messaging. She is also a
Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic
Research Lab and an Associate at Argonne National Lab.
Prior to joining the private sector in 2017, she served in the CIA as a military analyst, intelligence briefer, and a manager in the Directorate of Intelligence. While at the CIA, she specialized in security issues in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. She is a frequent media commentator and is regularly cited in publications such as The Washington Post, New York Times, Politico, and NPR; she is a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Cindy is also the author of the newly released, True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Identifying and Fighting Fake News, out now with Macmillan.
Congressman Scott Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego. First elected in 2012, Scott has worked across the aisle to fix a broken Congress and stand up for San Diego’s military and veterans community. Scott Peters currently serves on the House Committee on the Budget and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he advocates for investment in basic scientific research, supports the military’s goals to enhance their energy security, and fights for commonsense healthcare reforms that work for families and small business owners.
Scott Peters is a civic leader who has made improving the quality of life in San Diego his life’s work. After a 15-year career as an environmental lawyer, Scott was elected to the San Diego City Council, where he later became the City’s first City Council President. On the Council, Scott helped lead the $2 billion redevelopment of downtown San Diego, the cleanup of the city’s beaches and bays, and the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects. He also pursued greater accountability and efficiency in government through the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government with an independent budget review function.
In 2001, the governor appointed Scott to the Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, and in 2002, the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Scott to the California Coastal Commission.
Scott also later served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District – a major economic engine that supports over 40,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs for San Diegans, with $3.3 billion in direct regional economic impact.
Scott earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and worked as an economist for the United States Environmental Protection Agency before attending New York University School of Law. He and his wife of 33 years reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, where they raised their son and daughter.
During his time in Congress, Scott has passed legislation to give the military the advanced technology it needs to fight terrorism, to level the playing field for small businesses competing for government contracts, and has succeeded in getting the federal government to make changes to the homelessness funding formula that disadvantages San Diego. Ranked the 4th most independent Democrat in Congress by the National Journal, Scott Peters understands that business problems have bipartisan solutions, and is never afraid to work across party lines to build consensus and get things done.
Coda Rayo-Garza is a policy advocate, researcher, and scholar activist of political science. She has worked in the non-profit and government sectors in various roles, including Director of Policy, Advocacy and Strategic Communications. She is a Lecturer of Political Science and has been teaching for nearly a decade. Her academic areas of expertise include issues in immigration, applied demography and the development and degradation of democratic institutions. Her current work focuses on border communities, specifically Texas’s colonias. She is concurrently also working for the YWCA on issues of wage equity and racial justice.
Coda has been appointed to various boards and commissions including the City of San Antonio’s Ethics Committee, Bexar County/San Antonio Complete Count Committee, and others. Coda currently serves on the Board of Directors for Communicare Health Centers. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Fiesta Wishes.
She is a graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute and a New Leaders Council fellow. Coda is a Political Partner with the Truman National Security Project and a Term Member with the Council for Foreign Relations.
Coda is a first generation college graduate and second generation immigrant.
Jake Sullivan is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a Senior Policy Adviser on Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Jake served in the Obama administration as national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden and Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, as well as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was the Senior Policy Adviser on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. He helped lead the secret diplomacy that paved the way for the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. Sullivan has written commentary on U.S. foreign and domestic policy in a range of publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, and Democracy Journal.
Karen Tumlin is a nationally recognized impact litigator focusing on immigrants’ rights. She successfully litigated numerous cases of national significance, including a challenge to the Trump Administration’s effort to end the DACA program and the Muslim Ban, as well as the constitutional challenge to Arizona’s notorious anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. She formerly served as the Director of Legal Strategy and Legal Director for the National Immigration Law Center, where she built a legal department of over 15 staff who developed and led cases of national impact.
Justin Worland is a Washington D.C.-based correspondent for TIME covering energy and the environment.