Blanca Berthier

Forum Executive Director

Blanca Berthier joined The Pearson Institute in 2018 as executive director of The Pearson Global Forum.

Previously, Berthier was the director of international programs at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, leading the organization’s efforts to help Chicago’s corporate community in their international strategies and initiatives. In this role, she was responsible for managing and expanding partnerships and strengthening relations with Chicago’s diplomatic corps, the international business community, nonprofits, and governments.

Prior to this role, Berthier was executive director of the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce Midwest Chapter, where she was responsible for implementing the strategy, design and execution of Chamber events. Berthier previously worked for the private sector in marketing and community events, as well as for the Mexican government first in Mexico City and later as Mexico’s deputy trade commissioner for the Midwestern United States. Berthier holds a BA in international relations from the United States International University, Mexico City campus, and an MA in philosophy from De Paul University.

As director of The Pearson Global Forum, Berthier is responsible for designing, planning, and executing The Global Forum to highlight the Institute’s mission to convene the world's foremost thinkers and influencers to inform and develop new strategies to prevent, resolve, and recover from conflict.

Alex Carr

Assistant Director

Alex Carr joined The Pearson Institute in 2017.

Carr previously worked in Washington, DC, at the US Department of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, where she interned on the Colombia desk during the final stages of the peace negotiations. She also worked at the nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, where she focused on federal criminal justice reform advocacy, as well as at the government and public affairs firm Cornerstone Government Affairs. Carr received an MA in Latin American studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2017, with a certificate in refugees and humanitarian emergencies.

Prior to her time in Washington, she worked in education, teaching English in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and Madrid, Spain, and teaching Spanish in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Carr received a BA in history from the University of Michigan in 2011.

As assistant director, Carr is responsible for managing the Institute's operations, communications, and programming and is a key administrative liaison for Pearson faculty, PhD candidates and MPP students.


Kellee Dawkins

Events Specialist

Kellee Dawkins joined The Pearson Institute in 2018 as events specialist. 

Dawkins previously worked in Dallas, TX as the Director of Communications and Events for a nonprofit ministry in an underserved area of the city. In this role, Dawkins was responsible for leading an organization-wide rebrand, implementing communications strategies, and producing large-scale community events. Dawkins also owned and operated a niche wedding and event planning business serving the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. Her event work has been featured in national magazines and online publications. Kellee received a BA in Sociology with a focus on Women’s Studies from the University of North Texas and an MPA in Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

As events specialist, Dawkins is responsible for designing, planning, and executing student facing events for Pearson Fellows and Scholars and other University of Chicago students interested in the study and resolution of global conflict.

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Sheila Kohanteb

Director of Global Partnerships

Sheila Kohanteb joined The Pearson Institute in 2017 as director of global partnerships.

Kohanteb previously managed international, corporate, and foundation philanthropy at Northeastern University and Babson College, engaging with donors and facilitating the receipt and strategic allocation of gifts. Prior to these roles, she led efforts to design and implement international study abroad opportunities at Northeastern University. Kohanteb developed and led numerous undergraduate and graduate students in summer study abroad programs and global internship opportunities to the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the Balkans, while teaching conflict and negotiation respective to each region.

As a political scientist, Kohanteb’s research focuses primarily on global conflict and negotiation, with regional foci on the Middle East and Northern Ireland. Kohanteb received a BA in political science from UCLA, and an MA and PhD from Northeastern University.

As director of global partnerships, Kohanteb is the key liaison between The Pearson Institute, Harris Public Policy, and international partners, enhancing and expanding formal partnerships, with a particular interest in experiential opportunities.