2018 Speakers

In a world beset by violent conflict, contributions for a safer and more peaceful world are made through innovative thinking, shared insights, and effective policies. The Pearson Global Forum convenes the world’s foremost thinkers and influencers each year for the purpose of informing and developing new strategies to prevent, resolve, and recover from conflict. By promoting dialogue between diverse academics, policymakers, and other stakeholders, we elevate research findings and help scholars secure the exposure and cooperation necessary to advance their research. And for policymakers, we provide access to expert direction and insights they can use to create effective public policy. By bridging this critical gap between research and policy, The Pearson Global Forum can directly impact people and societies around the world.

The 2018 Pearson Global Forum
Friday, October 5, 2018

Marianne Akumu

Obama Foundation Scholar and Harris Public Policy Student


Marianne works for the Uganda Agency of Co-operation and Research in Development (ACORD) as a Transitional Justice Coordinator on issues of transitional justice, humanitarian response, and gender. In the past, she has worked in post-conflict rehabilitation in Northern Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the government of Uganda. She helped implement a “social contract” between the two groups that acknowledged the history of the conflict, the resolution, and the promise to ensure it did not occur again. Marianne is interested in studying the roots of conflicts, and alternative methods of conflict prevention and resolution. She holds a BL in Law from the University of Reading and an ML in Governance from the University of Warwick.

Jeannie Annan

Senior Director of Research & Evaluation, International Rescue Committee; Senior Research Associate, The Pearson Institute


Jeannie Annan’s work aims to improve humanitarian policy and programs through rigorous research. Specifically, she focuses on the long-term effects of war and sexual violence, the causes and consequences of gender-based violence, and the effectiveness and impacts of humanitarian aid and programs developed to prevent and respond to violence.

Annan is also affiliated with the International Rescue Committee, where she contributes as a senior director for research and evaluation. Previously, she was a visiting scientist in the Department of Global Health and Population of the Harvard School of Public Health and a visiting scholar in the Human Rights Center at the University of California at Berkeley. She has also worked with humanitarian organizations in Southern Sudan, Northern Uganda, and Kosovo. She received her PhD in counseling psychology at Indiana University at Bloomington and completed postdoctoral fellowships at New York University and Yale University.

Hazim Avdal

University of Chicago College Student and Iraqi Refugee


Hazim Avdal, 23, is an Iraqi refugee living in the United States and studying computer science at the University of Chicago.

Hazim grew up as a member of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq, which has suffered persecution at the hands of ISIS. At a young age, Hazim displayed a yearning for knowledge. He learned English around age 10 through reading an English-Arabic dictionary and taught himself computer programming between the ages of 16 and 20, even though he did not have regular access to the internet until age 20. Upon graduating from high school, Hazim was the seventh highest-scoring student in all of Iraq on the country’s standardized test for seniors. 

In 2013, Hazim graduated high school with honors and was accepted into the University of Mosul. But before he could attend, Yazidi students were purged from the college by ISIS, forcing around 2,000 students to drop out under threat of death. Shortly after, Hazim’s family narrowly escaped an ISIS attack on their village in which 530 of the population of 2,000 were killed, captured or enslaved.

Upon returning from Turkey where his family found refuge in temporary camps, Hazim became involved in the non-profit organization Yazda, using his IT knowledge in service of other genocide survivors. Through his work with Yazda, Hazim became acquainted with the Clooney family.

In January 2017, Hazim came to the United States as a refugee with the support and sponsorship of George and Amal Clooney and the Clooney Foundation for Justice, an organization dedicated to advancing justice is courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world. After arriving in the US, Hazim applied and was accepted into the University of Chicago. In July of 2018, he was placed on the Dean’s List due to his superior academic performance during his freshman year.

Katherine Baicker

Dean and Emmett Dedmon Professor, Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago


Baicker’s research focuses primarily on the factors that drive the distribution, generosity, and effectiveness of public and private health insurance, with a particular focus on health insurance finance and the effect of reforms on the distribution and quality of care.  She is currently one of the leaders of a research program investigating the many effects of expanding health insurance coverage in the context of a randomized Medicaid expansion in Oregon. Her research has been published in journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Health Affairs, and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, Baicker was the C. Boyden Gray Professor of Health Economics in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She holds appointments as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research; as an affiliate of the Abdul Latif Poverty Action Lab; and serves on the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Health Advisers; on the Board of Directors of Eli Lilly; and on the editorial boards of Health Affairs and the Journal of Health Economics. Baicker is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (IOM), the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Baicker has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Economics Department at Dartmouth College; and the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences and the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. She has served as Chair of the Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission; Chair of the Board of Directors of AcademyHealth; Commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and a nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. From 2005-2007, she served as a Senate-confirmed Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, where she played a leading role in the development of health policy. Baicker earned her BA in economics from Yale and her PhD in economics from Harvard.

Rick Barton

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations; Lecturer and Co-Director, Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University


In more than 40 war-torn countries over the past two decades, Rick Barton has advanced peaceful, democratic change. Under his leadership, a series of innovative and values-centered organizations have produced rigorous analysis, new pools of funding and talent, and global coalitions. In his distinguished tenure at USAID, the United Nations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, he has advanced civil society, human rights and effective solutions. Among other roles, Rick was the first Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations; he served as the U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), and he was Director of the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives. Rick is the Co-Director of Princeton University’s Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI) and teaches at Woodrow Wilson School. In the summer of 2015, he joined the Boards of the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and he continues to advise private companies in the technology and data sectors.

A graduate of Harvard College, he earned his MBA from Boston University. Rick received an honorary doctorate from Wheaton College of Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of State’s Distinguished Honor Award and the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service, the
World Affairs Council of Maine’s International Leadership Award, and Deerfield Academy’s Heritage Award.

Rick Barton is the author of Peace Works: America's Unifying Role in a Turbulent World, where he uses a mix of stories, history, and analysis for a transformative approach to foreign affairs and offers concrete and attainable solutions for the future. Praise for Peace Works: "Immersed in more than 40 global conflicts over the past 25 years, Ambassador Rick Barton is among the world's most skilled and experienced diplomats and peace-builders. His honest reflections and deep understanding of the lessons he learned challenges traditional approaches and defines smart new global options." — Senator George J. Mitchell

Tim Besley

W. Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science


Sir Tim Besley is Professor of Economics and Political Science at the London School of Economics and a member of the Steering Group of the International Growth Centre (IGC). He has served on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee since September 2006. He is also an Associate of STICERD’s Economic Organisation and Public Polocy programme.

He previously taught at Princeton University, and is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and the Centre for Economic Policy Research.

His work focuses mainly on issues in development economics, public economics and political economy. He has published widely on a variety of topics, mainly with a policy focus. He has been a Co-Editor of the American Economic Review, and Editor of the Economic Journal. He currently serves on the editorial boards of numerous other professional journals. His professional honours include being a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Econometric Society and a British Academy Research Reader.

In 2005, he won the prestigious biannual Yrjö Jahnsson Award for his research. He was educated at Oxford University (BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 1st, M.Phil and a D.Phil in Economics) where he became a Prize Fellow of All Souls College.

Chris Blattman

The Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago


Chris Blattman is helping The Pearson Institute pursue its global mission by focusing on some of the biggest social challenges in Africa and Latin America: conflict, crime, and state-building. Blattman is passionately engaged with such questions as “Why are some societies poor, violent, and unequal?” and “What leads people into poverty, violence, and crime and what events and interventions lead them out?”

As an economist and political scientist, Blattman uses field study, surveys, natural experiments, and field experiments to study the dynamics of poverty and participation, and to consider which development programs work and why. A number of studies are presently underway in Uganda and Liberia, where he is exploring new strategies to alleviate poverty and is exploring how these strategies impact violence, unrest, and other social and political behavior. He has published articles in American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, American Political Science Review, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Economic Perspectives, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Review of Economics and Statistics.

Blattman holds many affiliations that extend The Pearson Institute’s reach and impact. In addition to being a non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development, he co-chairs the crime and violence initiative at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and is the lead academic in the peace and recovery program at Innovations for Poverty Action. He is a fellow with the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), an affiliate of the Centre for Economic Policy Research, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a member of the International Growth Center. He has acted as a consultant and advisor to the World Bank, UNICEF, the UN Peacebuilding Fund, Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, and Liberia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Previously, Blattman was a business consultant and an accountant at Deloitte & Touche. He then served as an assistant professor of political science and economics at Yale University and most recently as an associate professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Department of Political Science. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree in public administration and international development from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Federico Borello

Executive Director, Center for Civilians in Conflict


Federico Borello is the Executive Director at Center for Civilians in Conflict as of July 2014. He brings to the team more than fifteen years of experience working on human rights and international justice issues. Federico previously served as Director of Investments at Humanity United where he managed the International Justice and the Democratic Republic of Congo portfolios.  Prior to this, he worked with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).

With the United Nations, Federico was the coordinator of the Transitional Justice and Anti-Impunity Unit at MONUC, the UN mission in Congo. He later joined the UN Mapping Team in Congo as investigations coordinator and legal advisor, the UN Commission of Experts in Guinea as legal advisor, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Burundi to finalize a report on transitional justice. With ICTJ, he worked on several transitional justice situations, including supporting the Moroccan Truth Commission from 2003-2005.

Federico holds a law degree from the University of Milan, where he graduated magna cum laude. He also earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University in New York.

Ethan Bueno de Mesquita

Sydney Stein Professor and Deputy Dean for Promotions & Recruitments, Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago; Faculty Affiliate, The Pearson Institute


Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, AB’96, is an applied game theorist whose research focuses on political violence—especially terrorism, insurgency, and rebellion—and on democratic accountability. He is widely recognized for his work on the organizational operations and institutional design of rebel and terrorist groups, with papers ranging from an investigation of the conditions under which rebel organizations can successfully recruit volunteers to analyses of the effects of offering concessions to terrorists.

Before joining Harris in 2007, Bueno de Mesquita taught in the department of political science at Washington University in St. Louis and was a Lady Davis Fellow in political science and visiting fellow in the Center for the Study of Rationality at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is an elected member of the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the United States Institute of Peace.

Bueno de Mesquita received an AB in political science from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in political science from Harvard.

Steve Clemons

Washington Editor-at-Large, The Atlantic


Steve Clemons is Washington Editor-at-Large of The Atlantic and Editor-in-Chief of AtlanticLIVE. He also founded and serves as Senior Fellow of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist policy think tank in Washington, DC. In addition, he regularly contributes to MSNBC and other outlets on foreign policy and politics. Previously, Clemons served as Executive Vice President of the Economic Strategy Institute, was Senior Economic & International Affairs Advisor to Senator Jeff Bingaman, and was the founding Executive Director of the Nixon Center, now re-named the Center for National Interest. He also serves on the International Advisory Board of GLOBSEC, a global think tank for security issues. Clemons writes and speaks frequently about national security, politics, and economic policy.

Liam Collins

Colonel, U.S. Special Forces; Director, Modern War Institute, U.S. Military Academy West Point


Colonel Liam Collins is a career Special Forces officer, who has served in a variety of special operations assignments and conducted multiple combat operations to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as operational deployments to Bosnia, Africa, and South America. He has graduated from several military courses including Ranger School and has earned numerous military awards and decorations including two valorous awards for his actions in combat. Prior to assuming his current position as the director of MWI, Liam served as the director of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. He has taught courses in Military Innovation, Insurgency and Counterinsurgency, Comparative Defense Politics, Research Methods in Strategic Studies, Homeland Security and Defense, Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Internal Conflict, International Relations, American Politics, and Officership.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and a Master in Public Affairs and PhD from Princeton University, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Daniel Diermeier

Provost, University of Chicago


Daniel Diermeier serves as the thirteenth Provost of the University of Chicago. As Provost, Diermeier has responsibility for academic and research programs across the University and oversees the University’s budget. Prior to his appointment as Provost, Diermeier was Dean of the Harris School of Public Policy from 2014-2016. He is the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor at the Harris School and the College and a member of the Board of the University of Chicago Medical Center, the Board of Governors for Argonne National Laboratory, and the Board of Trustees of NORC.

Daniel Diermeier is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research (CIFAR). His teaching and research focuses on formal political theory, political institutions, the interaction of business and politics, text analytics, public perception, as well as crisis and reputation management. He has published two books and over 90 research articles in academic journals, mostly in the fields of political science, economics, and management, but also in other areas ranging from linguistics, sociology and psychology to computer science and applied mathematics.

Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Professor Diermeier taught at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University and the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, most recently as IBM Professor of Regulation and Practice in the Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS), and Director of the Ford Motor Company Center of Global Citizenship. He also held appointments in Economics, Political Science, Linguistics, and the School of Law at Northwestern University.

During his time at Northwestern, he won multiple teaching awards including Kellogg’s Professor of the Year Award and Alumni Professor of the Year Award. He was named among the World’s 50 Best Business School Professors and was the 2007 recipient of the Faculty Pioneer Award from the Aspen Institute. Professor Diermeier has been an advisor to governments, non-profit organizations and leading corporations. He is a member of the Board of Directors of CityBase, an urban technology company.

Ciarán Donnelly

Senior Vice President, International Programs, International Rescue Committee


Ciarán Donnelly is the Senior Vice President of International Programs at the International Rescue Committee. He oversees the IRC’s humanitarian programs in 35 countries worldwide, which reached more than 23 million displaced and conflict-affected people last year. Having joined the IRC’s response to the civil war in Burundi in 2001, he went on to lead the agency’s field operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Uganda, and has also served as Vice President of Program Quality. Previously, Donnelly worked with Concern Worldwide in East Timor and with the International Security Information Service in Brussels. An Irish national residing in New York, he holds degrees from Trinity College Dublin, the College of Europe, and the University of Cambridge.

Kimberly Dozier

Global Affairs Analyst, CNN


Kimberly Dozier is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst. She most recently served as the Executive Editor of The Cipher Brief, and covered intelligence and national security for The Associated Press and The Daily Beast from 2010 to 2017, after 17 years as an award-winning CBS News foreign and national security correspondent.

She held the 2014-2015 Bradley Chair at the U.S. Army War College, Penn State Law and Dickinson College—the first journalist and first woman in the post.

Dozier covered the war in Iraq for CBS News from 2003, until she was wounded in a car bombing in 2006. That bombing killed the U.S. Army officer her team was filming–Capt. James Alex Funkhouser, along with his Iraqi translator “Sam,” and Dozier’s colleagues CBS cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan.

In her best-selling memoir, Breathing the Fire: Fighting to Survive and Get Back to the Fight, Dozier recounts the attack and journey to recovery, thanks to the troops on the ground and an army of medical professionals who took her from learning to walk again to running road races—pain- and post-traumatic-stress free.

The author’s proceeds from the paperback and e-book go to charities for the combat-injured like Fisher House. Dozier has also used fees from speaking to national security forums to donate the paperback to patients and families going through the same medical crisis.

Dozier speaks on issues ranging from U.S. counterterrorism and national security policy to her own story of survival and recovery.

Oeindrila Dube

The Philip K. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago


Oeindrila Dube’s research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of conflict and crime in the developing world.

Dube’s current research interests include studying the role of employment opportunities in engaging at-risk Muslim youth, understanding the role of trauma in post-conflict recovery, and analyzing the role of gender in conflict. Through this research agenda, she aims to help advance The Pearson Institute’s goal of incubating new strategies for curbing violence worldwide.

In past work, Dube has examined how commodity price shocks influence civil war in Colombia, documented how the availability of guns from the US promotes violent crime in Mexico, and experimentally evaluated the effects of post-conflict reconciliation in Sierra Leone.

Dube’s research affiliations include the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD), the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the International Growth Center, and the University of Chicago Crime Lab. She co-chairs the crime and violence initiative at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and serves as an associate editor at the Review of Economics and Statistics.

Before joining The Pearson Institute, Dube was an assistant professor of politics and economics at New York University and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Global Development. She holds a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, an MPhil in economics from the University of Oxford, and a BA in public policy from Stanford University. She also received a Rhodes Scholarship in 2002.

Steve Edwards

Vice President, Chief Content Officer, WBEZ


Steve Edwards is vice president and chief content officer at WBEZ Chicago Public Media, Chicago’s NPR News station and the birthplace of such celebrated programs as This American Life, Serial and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Previously, he spent nearly 20 years as an award-winning journalist, producer and program host. His work has appeared on the BBC, Bloomberg News, PBS and numerous public radio stations around the United States. 

During his tenure at WBEZ, he served as the host of two acclaimed daily news and culture programs, “The Afternoon Shift” and “Eight Forty-Eight.” He also led the station’s digital and multimedia content efforts, hosted a weekly political show and was the correspondent for a BBC World Service documentary on the culture of political corruption in Chicago.

From 2012 to 2017, Edwards served as Executive Director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, where he oversaw all programming and operational duties, including its acclaimed public event series, professional fellowships, career and civic engagement programs, and the “The Axe Files” podcast in partnership with former presidential advisor David Axelrod and CNN.

Edwards earned his B.A. in political science from Amherst College and was a Knight-Wallace
Fellow at the University of Michigan.

Richard English

Distinguished Professorial Fellow, Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, Queen's University Belfast


Richard English is Professor of Politics at Queen's University Belfast, where he is also Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, and the University's Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalization and Engagement.

Between 2011 and 2016 he was Wardlaw Professor of Politics in the School of International Relations, and Director of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of eight books, including the award-winning studies Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (2003) and Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006). His most recent book, Does Terrorism Work? A History, was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. He is also the co-editor/editor of a further six books and has published more than fifty journal articles and book chapters. He is a frequent media commentator on terrorism and political violence, and on Irish politics and history, including work for the BBC, CNN, ITN, SKY NEWS, NPR, RTE, the Irish Times, the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, the Guardian, and the Financial Times. He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews. In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern-day terrorism and political history. He has delivered invited Lectures about his research in more than twenty countries.

Rahmatullah Hamraz

Obama Foundation Scholar and Harris Public Policy Student


Working through the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program Rahmatullah has made significant improvement to reduce armed conflict and violence in the country since 2013. The program is a project of the Government of Afghanistan and seeks to provide a means for Taliban and other anti-government persons to renounce violence and re-enter society. Rahmatullah’s work is based on local interviews, interactions and intergroup dialogues in more than 100 districts to identify the underlying causes of intergroup hostility. His works reveals the causes of armed conflicts in the country, which are severe, multigenerational, impoverished, and lack employment (30%) or income generating opportunities. As a victim of poverty and war, he knows the suffering of his people and this is main driver to scale the work in his community. Looking for solutions, Rahmatullah led the initiative, BackYard Chickens. The project distributes laying hens to local families in order to sell eggs for revenue. The 5,000-plus jobs generated from the program has been profound to the peace-building efforts the community. Rahmatullah plans to continue his work and expand peace building efforts in his country after the Obama Foundation Scholars Program. He holds a BA in economics from Punjab University and an MBA from the American University of Afghanistan.

Grant T. Harris

CEO, Harris Africa Partners LLC


Grant Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC and advises companies on doing business in Africa.  From 2011 to 2015, Harris served as the principal advisor to President Barack Obama on sub-Saharan Africa, serving as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House.  In this role, Harris conceived of the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which generated $37 billion in new commitments to support trade, investment, and development across Africa.  Harris also initiated President Obama’s Doing Business in Africa Campaign; launched the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative; and was the primary architect of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa.  Prior to this position, Harris was Deputy Chief of Staff and Counselor to Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Previously, Harris was an associate at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. 
Prior to that, Harris served in the African Affairs Directorate at the White House under President Bill Clinton and, before that, in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.  Harris holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

John Hewko

General Secretary, Rotary International


John Hewko is the general secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation, leading a staff of 800 at Rotary’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and seven international offices. Before joining Rotary in 2011, he was vice president of operations and compact development at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 to deliver foreign assistance in a new and innovative manner.

An attorney, John was an international partner with the law firm Baker McKenzie, specializing in international corporate transactions in emerging markets and resident in the firm’s Moscow, Kyiv and Prague offices. While working in Ukraine in the early 1990s, Hewko assisted the working group that prepared the initial draft of the new Ukrainian post-Soviet constitution.

Hewko holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York. John is a trustee of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. He and his wife, Margarita, live in Evanston, IL.

Vuk Jeremić

President, 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly; President, Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development


Vuk Jeremić is the President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), a public policy think-tank based in Belgrade, and Editor-in-Chief of Horizons – Journal of International Relations and Sustainable Development.

In June 2012, Mr. Jeremić was directly elected by the majority of world’s nations to be the President of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly in the first contested vote since the end of the Cold War. During his term in office he launched the negotiations that led to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As President of the General Assembly, he also facilitated the adoption of the breakthrough Arms Trade Treaty, the first legally-binding instrument in UN history to establish common standards for the international transfer of conventional armaments. Mr. Jeremić initiated several high-level thematic debates in the UN on critical issues such as climate change, education, social inequality, credit rating agencies, international criminal justice, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa. A record number of world leaders participated in them, helping the UN General Assembly assume a more pronounced role in world affairs.

Mr. Jeremić served as Serbia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2007 to 2012. During his tenure, he paid official visits to over 100 countries, and addressed numerous international summits and conferences. In 2007, he chaired the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. In 2011 and 2012, Mr. Jeremić led Serbia’s successful campaign for the Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for the year 2015.

Prior to becoming Foreign Minister, Mr. Jeremić served as an advisor to the President of Serbia and various government ministries. Before entering public service, Mr. Jeremić worked in London for Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Jeremić holds a bachelor’s degree in Theoretical and Experimental Physics from Cambridge University and a master’s degree in Public Administration/International Development from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013 and appointed to the Leadership Council of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) in 2014.

Mr. Jeremić served as the President of the Serbian Tennis Federation from 2011 to 2015. He is married to Nataša Jeremić. 

Adnan Khan

Research and Policy Director, International Growth Center and Lecturer, London School of Economics and Political Science; Visiting Lecturer, Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School


Dr. Adnan Khan is currently a Visiting Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. He has been working since 2009 as Research and Policy Director of the International Growth Centre (IGC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He leads the research program of the IGC and connects researchers with policy makers in Africa and Asia. He lectures at the LSE and is a Co-chair of the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development. His research interests lie in the areas of development economics, public finance and political economy. In the past, he has served in various positions in the civil service of Pakistan.

Mariana Laverde

Pearson Scholar and Harris Public Policy PhD Student


Mariana Laverde is a PhD Candidate in Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She is exploring the consequences of segregation - by race, skill and religious affiliation - on the choices and outcomes of minorities and disadvantaged populations. She is interested in understanding how a society can overcome the barriers to residential and economic integration across the mentioned dimensions, and in doing so, alleviate frictions that lead to confrontation, inequality, and in some cases, conflict within nations. 

Laverde is also working on understanding how civilian and insurgent strategies vary as economic conditions change during a civil conflict, and how these strategies ultimately shape the types of violence used by insurgents. She is studying this question using data on the description of millions of violent attacks carried out in Colombia, that are analyzed and classified using machine learning techniques.

In her native Colombia, she worked as a Research Assistant at the Centro de Estudios sobre Desarrollo Economico (CEDE), a center affiliated with the Universidad de los Andes, where she earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in economics. Mariana has taught microeconomics, game theory, and mathematical economics both at Universidad de los Andes and at the University of Chicago. Before coming to Chicago, she also worked as an economist at Colombia’s Central Bank.

Elaine Li

Pearson Fellow and Harris Public Policy Student


Elaine Li graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in international politics and a certificate in Asian studies.

Through a Critical Language Scholarship, Li studied in Qingdao, China, and later continued her language studies at Peking University in Beijing. Following her time at Georgetown, she worked in Shenzhen, China as a consultant with EIC Education, mentoring youths and leading bilingual training for local staff.

Li has worked for two bureaus of the U.S. Department of State—the Office of Foreign Assistance Resources and the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Her contributions included researching and analyzing trends in Southeast Asia and developing a policy database intended to inform multiyear strategic plans.

At The Pearson Institute, Li is focused on understanding how to adapt multiple frameworks and methodologies for conflict prevention to specific societies. While at Harris Public Policy, Li has worked as a Research Assistant with the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab and is a contributor to The Economist, where she helped to develop the framework for the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index. The index is focused on gauging how well countries are prepared to educate their children on skills of the future.

During the summer of 2018, Li worked in the USAID Ethiopia Mission, Office of Education and Youth as a Donald M. Payne International Development Fellow and will join the USAID Foreign Service upon graduation in June 2019.

Nancy Lindborg

President, U.S. Institute of Peace


Nancy Lindborg has served since February, 2015, as President of the United States Institute of Peace, an independent institution founded by Congress to provide practical solutions for preventing and resolving violent conflict around the world.

Ms. Lindborg has spent most of her career working in fragile and conflict affected regions around the world. Prior to joining USIP, she served as the assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at USAID. From 2010 through early 2015, Ms. Lindborg led USAID teams focused on building resilience and democracy, managing and mitigating conflict and providing urgent humanitarian assistance. Ms. Lindborg led DCHA teams in response to the ongoing Syria Crisis, the droughts in Sahel and Horn of Africa, the Arab Spring, the Ebola response and numerous other global crises.

Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Lindborg was president of Mercy Corps, where she spent 14 years helping to grow the organization into a globally respected organization known for innovative programs in the most challenging environments. She started her international career working overseas in Kazakhstan and Nepal.

Ms. Lindborg has held a number of leadership and board positions including serving as co-president of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition; co-founder and board member of the National Committee on North Korea; and chair of the Sphere Management Committee. She is a member of Council on Foreign Relations.

She holds a B.A and M.A. in English Literature from Stanford University and an M.A. in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Peter Luskin

Managing Director and Co-Founder, Center for Operational Analysis and Research


Peter Luskin is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Operational Analysis and Research (COAR).  The COAR is an independent social enterprise that directly supports practitioners, policy-makers, and donors by facilitating humanitarian and development interventions in complex and high-risk environments. In 2015, Peter established and subsequently led the Mercy Corps Humanitarian
Access Team, an analytical unit supporting humanitarian programming in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Previously, Peter managed security and conflict analysis at the International Monetary Fund, focusing on its high-risk portfolio in north and east Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia. From 2010 to 2013, Peter served in Afghanistan as a Human Terrain Analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense, deploying to outposts in rural Kandahar and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  Peter holds an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, Bachelors in both French Literature and Classics, and speaks fluent French and proficient Arabic and Pashtu.

Carter Malkasian

Special Assistant for Strategy, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Department of Defense


Dr. Carter Malkasian is the special assistant for strategy to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. He has extensive experience working in conflict zones and has published several books.

The highlight of his work in conflict zones was nearly two years in Garmser district, Helmand province, Afghanistan, as a State Department political officer. Before that, Dr Malkasian deployed as a civilian advisor with the Marines twice to Iraq, for a total of 18 months, mostly in Al Anbar in 2004 and 2006. Other field assignments have been to Honduras, Kuwait (OIF-1), Kunar (2007–2008), and Kabul as the political advisor to General Dunford (2013–2014). 

From May 2012 to May 2013, Dr Malkasian directed the office of overseas operations within the US State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. From October 2006 to July 2009, he directed the Stability and Development Program at CNA, the think tank for the US Navy and Marine Corps.

His 2013 book, War Comes to Garmser (Oxford University Press), a micro-historical examination of thirty years of conflict in an Afghan community, won the silver medal for the Council on Foreign Relations’ Arthur Ross Book Award.

His newest book—Illusions of Victory: The Anbar Awakening and the Islamic State (Oxford University Press, 2017)—covers the successes and eventual failure of the famous Anbar awakening tribal movement and the corresponding US military effort.

Other publications include A History of Modern Wars of Attrition (2002), The Korean War, 1950-1953 (2001), and "War Downsized: How to Accomplish More with Less" in Foreign Affairs (2012).

Dr. Malkasian completed his doctorate in history at Oxford University. He speaks Pashto.

Aila M. Matanock

Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California Berkeley


Aila M. Matanock is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research addresses the ways in which international and other outside actors engage in fragile states. She uses case studies, survey experiments, and cross-national data in this work. She has conducted fieldwork in Colombia, Central America, Melanesia, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere. She has received funding for these projects from many sources, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Minerva Research Initiative, the National Center for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism (START), and the Center for Global
Development (CGD).

Her 2017 book, Electing Peace: From Civil Conflict to Political Participation, was published by Cambridge University Press. It won the 2018 Charles H. Levine Memorial Book Prize and was a runner up for the 2018 Conflict Research Society Book of the Year Prize. It is based on her dissertation research at Stanford University, which won the 2013 Helen Dwight Reid award from the American Political Science Association. Her work has also
been published by the Annual Review of Political Science, Governance, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, and elsewhere. She worked at the RAND Corporation before graduate school, and she has held fellowships at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at UCSD since. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University and her A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard University. 

John McArthur

Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, The Brookings Institution; Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development, United Nations Foundation


John W. McArthur is a Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution. He is also a Senior Advisor to the UN Foundation and a Board Governor of the International Development Research Centre. He has previously served as CEO of Millennium Promise, the international non-governmental organization; a Senior Fellow at the Hong Kong-based Fung Global Institute; a faculty member at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs; and Policy Director at the Earth Institute. From 2002 to 2006 John served as Manager and then Deputy Director of the UN Millennium Project, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s independent advisory body mandated to recommend an action plan for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Prior to that he was a Research Fellow at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, where he supported the World Health Organization’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health and co-authored the Global Competitiveness Report. John co-chaired the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice and co-founded the global network of Masters in Development Practice degree programs. He has chaired two Global Agenda Councils for the World Economic Forum and has been recognized as a Young Global Leader.

George J. Mitchell

Inaugural U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland (1995 – 1998); Independent Chairman, Northern Ireland Peace Talks; U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009-2011); former U.S. Senator


Senator George J. Mitchell is a former Chancellor of Queen’s University (1999-2009) and was appointed as the inaugural United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland by President Bill Clinton in 1995. Senator Mitchell was Chair of the NI All Party Talks that led to led to the signing of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

For his work in Northern Ireland, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Truman Institute Peace Prize and the United Nations (UNESCO) Peace Prize. In 2016, Queen’s University officially launched The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

Jennifer Murtazashvili

Associate Professor and Director of the International Development Program, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh


Jennifer Murtazashvili is Associate Professor and Director of the International Development Program at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of Informal Order and the State in Afghanistan (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Her research focuses on  informal institutions, local governance, public administration, property rights, and political reform in both conflict-affected and authoritarian environments and relies on multiple types of data she has collected during almost a decade of field research across Central Eurasia, including ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, public opinion surveys, field experiments, focus group discussions, and archival work. In addition to her academic work, she has extensive experience in the policy world having served as a Democracy and Governance Specialist for the United States Agency for International Development in Uzbekistan, a US Peace Corps Volunteer, and an advisor to The World Bank, US Department of Defense,  United Nations Development Program, and several non-profit groups.

Roger Myerson

Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago; Nobel Laureate; Faculty Affiliate, The Pearson Institute


Myerson has made seminal contributions to the fields of economics and political science. In game theory, he introduced refinements of Nash's equilibrium concept, and he developed techniques to characterize the effects of communication among rational agents who have different information. His analysis of incentive constraints in economic communication introduced several fundamental concepts that are now widely used in economic analysis, including the revelation principle and the revenue-equivalence theorem in auctions and bargaining. Myerson has also applied game-theoretic tools to political science, analyzing how political incentives can be affected by different electoral systems and constitutional structures.

Myerson is the author of Game Theory: Analysis of Conflict (1991) and Probability Models for Economic Decisions (2005). He also has published numerous articles in professional journals, including Econometrica, Journal of Economic Theory, Games and Decisions, American Political Science Review, Mathematics of Operations Research, and International Journal of Game Theory. He has served as president of the Game Theory Society (2012-2014), president of the Econometric Society (2009), and vice president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1999-2002).

Myerson has a PhD from Harvard University and taught for 25 years in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University before coming to the University of Chicago in 2001. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has received several honorary degrees, and he received the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize in 2009. He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in recognition of his contributions to mechanism design theory, which analyzes rules for coordinating economic agents efficiently when they have different information and difficulty trusting each other.

Anne C. Richard

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration


Anne C. Richard is affiliated with the Institute for the Study of International Migration and teaches at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service.

She served as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration (2012-2017). Previously, she was Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee (2004-12). Earlier in her career, she served in other senior positions at the State Department, at Peace Corps Headquarters and at the US Office of Management and Budget. She has lived overseas in Austria, Germany and France, enjoyed fellowships from Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Robert Bosch Foundation and was a Presidential Management Intern. Ms. Richard is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.

Michelle Rempel

Canadian Member of Parliament


Michelle is a Canadian Member of Parliament. She has served in cabinet as the Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment. She presently serves as the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Michelle has a professional background in intellectual property management and technology transfer. Prior to her election, Michelle directed the sponsored research portfolio of a top Canadian university, and was a senior consultant with a Canadian management consulting firm. Michelle holds a degree in economics. She has been named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women's Executive Network, one of Calgary's “Top 40 under 40,” one of Alberta's "50 Most Influential People," and twice named a Canadian "Parliamentarian of the Year." Michelle is also a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

James Robinson

Institute Director, The Pearson Institute; The Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies and University Professor, Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago


As institute director, James Robinson is guiding The Pearson Institute’s research agenda, engaging the international academic and practitioner community through The Pearson Global Forum, and setting the curriculum for the next generation of leaders and scholars.

A prominent political scientist and economist, Robinson has conducted influential research in the field of political and economic development and the factors that are the root causes of conflict. His work explores the underlying relationship between poverty and the institutions of a society and how institutions emerge out of political conflicts.

Drawing insights from game theory and global history, he employs rigorous statistical analysis and case studies to identify the political foundations of economic development and growth. His work has deepened the understanding of political institutions throughout the world.

Robinson has a particular interest in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. He is widely recognized as the co-author of Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, with Daron Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT. Translated into 32 languages since its publication in 2012, the book offers a unique historic exploration of why some countries have flourished economically while others have fallen into poverty. He has also written and coauthored numerous books and articles, including the acclaimed Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (also with Acemoglu).

Robinson served as an academic advisor to the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Report on Governance, on the board of the Global Development Network from January 2009 to December 2011, and on the Swedish Development Policy Council, a committee advising the Swedish Foreign Minister on Sweden’s international development policy, from 2007 to 2010.

Liz Schrayer

President and CEO, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition


Liz Schrayer serves as President & CEO of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), a broad based coalition of over 500 businesses and NGOs that advocates for strong U.S. global leadership through development and diplomacy. Under her leadership, the USGLC has grown to a nationwide network of advocates in all 50 states and boasts a bipartisan Advisory Council, chaired by General Colin Powell which includes every living former Secretary of State, and a National Security Advisory Council consisting of nearly 200 retired three and four-star generals and admirals. In addition to running the USGLC, Ms. Schrayer serves as President of Schrayer & Associates, Inc., a nationwide political consulting firm founded in 1994, which works on a wide range of domestic and international issues.

Ms. Schrayer currently serves on USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACFVA), as well as several advisory boards and committees for the University of Michigan, including the Ford School of Public Policy. Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. Schrayer served as the national Political Director of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) for more than a decade. She worked on Capitol Hill, founding the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and in state government. She has traveled across the country organizing citizen advocates in every state. Ms. Schrayer has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and resides in Maryland with her husband Jeff Schwaber, an attorney who helped launch the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.

Paul B. Stares

General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director of the Center for Preventive Action, Council on Foreign Relations


Paul B. Stares is the General John W. Vessey senior fellow for conflict prevention and director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An expert on conflict prevention and a regular commentator on current affairs, he is the author or editor of nine books on U.S. security policy and international relations. His latest book, Preventive Engagement: How America Can Avoid War, Stay Strong, and Keep the Peace, provides a comprehensive blueprint for how the United States can manage a more turbulent and dangerous world.

Prior to joining CFR, Stares was vice president and director of the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the United States Institute of Peace. He worked as associate director and senior research scholar at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from 2000 to 2002 and was senior research fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs and then director of studies at the Japan Center for International Exchange from 1996 to 2000.

Stares has participated in various high-level studies, including the Genocide Prevention Task Force co-chaired by Madeleine Albright and William Cohen, as well as the expert working group on the strategic environment for the Iraq Study Group co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. He has also been a NATO fellow and a scholar in residence at the MacArthur Foundation’s Moscow office. Stares has a BA from North Staffordshire Polytechnic and received both his MA and PhD from Lancaster University.

Hal Weitzman

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science and Executive Director for Intellectual Capital, University of Chicago Booth School of Business


Hal Weitzman is executive director for intellectual capital at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He is editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Review and host of The Big Question, Booth's monthly video panel discussion series. He was a reporter and editor at the Financial Times from 2000 to 2012, the last seven years as a foreign correspondent in South America and Chicago. As well as the FT, his reporting has appeared in The Economist, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, New Statesman, The Irish Times, Slate and Politico.

Hal's experience in South America formed the basis for his 2012 book, Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering. His time as a reporter in Chicago led him to write 'Chicago's Decade of Innovation, 1972-1982', a chapter covering the development of financial derivatives, which was published in the 2010 book Regulated Exchanges: Dynamic Agents of Economic Growth.

Hal grew up in Wales. He was an undergraduate at Leeds, gained a master's at Oriel College, Oxford, and was a Frank Knox Memorial Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

His interests include rugby, tea, and gardening.

Rebecca J. Wolfe

Director of Evidence and Influence, Mercy Corps


Dr. Rebecca J. Wolfe is a leading expert on political violence, conflict and violent extremism. Currently, she is the Director of Mercy Corps’ Peace and Conflict team, where she has developed and supported programs in various countries across Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Dr. Wolfe is able to draw on her practitioner and academic backgrounds to effectively research important development issues and communicate to multiple audiences. Dr. Wolfe has taught at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs and at the Wagner School for Public Service at New York University. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University.

Graeme Wood

National Correspondent, The Atlantic


Graeme Wood is a correspondent for The Atlantic. He was the 2015-2016 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and is a lecturer in political science at Yale University. He was formerly a contributing editor to The New Republic and books editor of Pacific Standard.

He was a reporter at The Cambodia Daily in Phnom Penh in 1999, then lived and wrote in the Middle East from 2002 to 2006.  He has received fellowships from the Social Sciences Research Council (2002-2003), the South Asian Journalists Association (2009), the East-West Center (2009-2010), and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide (2013-2014).  He has appeared many times on television and radio (CNN, ABC, BBC, MSNBC, et al.), was the screenwriter of a Sundance Official Selection (2010, short film), and led a Nazi-hunting expedition to Paraguay for a History Channel special in 2009.

Graeme attended Deep Springs College, Harvard, Indiana University, and the American University in Cairo.

Austin L. Wright

Assistant Professor, Harris Public Policy at the University of Chicago; Faculty Affiliate, The Pearson Institute


Austin L. Wright leverages micro-level data to study the political economy of conflict and crime in Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, and Thailand. His research on substate conflict largely focuses on rebel strategy, examining how rebel groups adopt new technologies of war in a dynamic environment. Wright’s research also unpacks how individuals respond to unexpected economic and climatic conditions, including projects on opium diseases and intelligence sharing, weather shocks and crime, and wildfires and interpersonal violence. His work is supported by the National Science Foundation, Niehaus Center for Global Governance, The Asia Foundation, and World Bank.

Wright is a faculty affiliate of The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, and a non-resident fellow of the Liechtenstein Institute. He is also a non-resident research associate of the Deep South Watch program in Thailand.

He received a BA and BS from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA and PhD from Princeton University.

Haz Yano

Pearson Fellow and Harris Public Policy Student


Hazumu Yano is currently a Captain serving in the Civil Affairs Branch of the United States Army. He grew up in New York City and following the attacks on September 11, 2001, felt a strong conviction to serve in the nation’s defense. This led him to earn an undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy with a double major in comparative politics and foreign area studies focused on Latin America. During his studies, Yano spent a semester at the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras in Resende, Brazil, studying and training with officer cadets of the Brazilian Army. He speaks Japanese, Portuguese, and Korean. 

As part of his service, Yano spent six months working at the US Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh, facilitating the Department of Defense’s development of Coastal Crisis Management Centers for the Bangladesh Coast Guard. During this time, he planned and conducted Medical First Responder Seminars through various areas of Bangladesh, helping impart medical first aid skills to the Bangladesh Police.

Yano most recently spent ten months working at the US Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. Working with a variety of interagency partners, he facilitated numerous joint exercises between the US military and the Nepali Army while also overseeing a team of Civil Affairs Soldiers conducting developmental projects throughout Nepal. He also planned and coordinated various US-Nepali Security Cooperation activities to enhance the Government of Nepal’s ability to react to disasters and crises.

Upon completing the Harris Public Policy MPP Program, Yano will be assigned for two years as an instructor of American politics in the Social Sciences Department at the United States Military Academy.

At The Pearson Institute, Yano hopes to more deeply understand how political instability informs the root causes of conflict. Through his experience with the military designing and implementing solutions to address gaps in local governance, he has seen how valuable evidence-based decision-making can be in reducing the risk of conflict in unstable regions. He hopes to use his Harris education to better incorporate data analytics into project planning and assessment with the military.

Robert J. Zimmer

President, University of Chicago 


On July 1, 2006, Robert J. Zimmer became the 13th President of the University of Chicago.

Prior to his appointment as President, Zimmer was a University of Chicago faculty member and administrator for more than two decades specializing in the mathematical fields of geometry, particularly ergodic theory, Lie groups, and differential geometry. As a University of Chicago administrator, Zimmer served as Chairman of the Mathematics Department, Deputy Provost, and Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory. He also served as Provost at Brown University from 2002-2006, returning to Chicago in 2006 to become President of the University.

As President of the University, he serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory; Chair of the Board of Directors of Fermi Research Alliance LLC, the operator of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Marine Biological Laboratory. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a member of the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation, from 2011 to 2016 and also served on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science from 2008 to 2010.  

President Zimmer is the author of two books, Ergodic Theory and Semisimple Groups (1984) and Essential Results of Functional Analysis (1990), and more than 80 mathematical research articles. He served on the Board of Mathematical Sciences of the National Research Council from 1992 to 1995, and was on the executive committee from 1993 to 1995. Zimmer held the title of Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics at Chicago before leaving for Brown, where he was the Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematics in addition to being Provost.

He earned his A.B., summa cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1968 and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University in 1975, and joined the Chicago faculty as an L.E. Dickson Instructor of Mathematics in 1977. He was also on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1975 to 1977 and has held visiting positions at Harvard University and at institutions in Israel, France, Australia, Switzerland, and Italy.

President Zimmer has honorary degrees from Tsinghua University and Colby College. In 2017 he was given the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). He is a frequent  commentator on free expression and academic freedom.

The 2018 Pearson Global Forum
Friday, October 5, 2018


Performance Hall

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts

University of Chicago