Eisenhower Fellowships

2024 Annual Meeting

PHILADELPHIA | MAY 14-15, 2024


Steven Spielberg

Celebrated American film director,
producer and screenwriter

Steven Spielberg is one of the world’s most successful and influential filmmakers. He is currently chairman of Amblin Partners, a corporate descendent of DreamWorks, SKG, which he co-founded in 1994. Among a host of career accolades, he is a three-time Academy Award® winner, a Kennedy Center Honoree, a recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 from President Barack Obama.

Spielberg is the top-grossing director of all time, having helmed such blockbusters as “Jaws,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” the “Indiana Jones” franchise and “Jurassic Park.” He took home his first two Oscars® – Best Director and Best Picture – for the internationally lauded “Schindler’s List,” which received a total of seven Oscars®. The film was also named the Best Picture of 1993 by many of the major critics’ organizations, in addition to winning seven BAFTA Awards and three Golden Globe® Awards, both including Best Picture and Director. Spielberg also won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for his work on the film.

Spielberg won his third Academy Award® – Best Director – for the World War II drama “Saving Private Ryan,” which was the highest-grossing release (domestically) of 1998. It was also one of the year’s most honored films, earning four additional Oscars®, as well as two Golden Globe® Awards, for Best Picture – Drama and Best Director, and numerous critics’ groups awards in the same categories. Spielberg also won another DGA Award and shared a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award with the film’s other producers. That same year, the PGA also presented Spielberg with the prestigious Milestone Award for his historic contribution to the motion picture industry.

He has also earned Academy Award® nominations for Best Director for “The Fabelmans,” “West Side Story,” “Lincoln,” “Munich,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Additionally, he earned DGA Award nominations for those films, as well as “Amistad,” “Empire of the Sun,” “The Color Purple” and “Jaws.” With 13 to date, Spielberg has been honored by his peers with more DGA Award nominations than any other director. In 2000, he received the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the recipient of the Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hollywood Foreign Press’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Kennedy Center Honor and numerous other career tributes.

In 2012, Spielberg directed “Lincoln,” based in part on author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. The film garnered 12 Academy Award® nominations, winning two Oscars®, for Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of the iconic 16th President and for Best Production Design.

Spielberg’s 2015 dramatic thriller “Bridge of Spies,” starring Tom Hanks, received six Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture, with Mark Rylance winning the Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor. That same year, he was also an executive producer on “Jurassic World,” which earned over $1.6 billion worldwide. Directed by Colin Trevorrow and starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, it was the fourth film in the “Jurassic” series. A follow-up to the blockbuster, directed by J.A. Bayona, was released in 2018, with a sixth film, “Jurassic World Dominion,” released in 2022.

Spielberg directed and produced the 2017 drama “The Post,” starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The film earned two Academy Award® nominations, one for Best Picture, as well as Meryl Streep’s 21st nod for Best Actress. He also directed the 2018 film “Ready Player One,” based the science fiction novel by Ernest Cline, which became an instant blockbuster and would go on to earn over $580m worldwide.

His 2021 film “West Side Story” – a reimagining of the classic Broadway show from Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, earned seven Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, and won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar® for Ariana DeBose.

In 2022, Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the coveted People’s Choice audience award. The film, a deeply personal portrait of a 20th century American childhood, and a cinematic memory of the forces, and family, that shaped the filmmaker’s life and career, would go on to win the Golden Globe awards for Best Director and Best Picture, Drama. “The Fabelmans” was nominated by the Producers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild of America for Best Ensemble and by the Writers Guild of America for Spielberg’s original screenplay with Tony Kushner. In early 2023, “The Fablemans” received seven Academy Awards®, including for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Picture.

Spielberg’s career began with the 1968 short film, “Amblin,” which led to him becoming the youngest director ever signed to a long-term studio deal. He directed episodes of such TV shows as “Night Gallery,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” and “Columbo,” and gained special attention for his 1971 telefilm, “Duel.” Three years later, he made his feature film directorial debut on “The Sugarland Express,” from a screenplay he co-wrote. His next film was “Jaws,” which was the first film to break the $100 million mark at the box office.

In 1984, Spielberg formed his own production company, Amblin Entertainment. Under the Amblin Entertainment banner, he served as producer or executive producer on such hits as “Gremlins,” “Goonies,” the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “An American Tail,” “Twister,” “The Mask of Zorro” and the “Men in Black” films.

Ten years later, Spielberg partnered with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to form the original DreamWorks Studios. The studio enjoyed both critical and commercial successes, including three consecutive Best Picture Academy Award® winners: “American Beauty,” “Gladiator” and “A Beautiful Mind.” In its history, DreamWorks also produced or co-produced a wide range of features, including the “Transformers” blockbusters; Clint Eastwood’s World War II dramas “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” the latter earning a Best Picture Oscar® nomination; “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers” and “The Ring,” to name only a few. Under the DreamWorks banner, Spielberg also directed such films as “War of the Worlds,” “Minority Report,” “Catch Me If You Can” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.”

Spielberg founded Amblin Partners in 2015 with investment partners Reliance Entertainment, Entertainment One, Alibaba Pictures, Participant Media and Universal Pictures. The company’s recent theatrical releases include 1917, which won three Academy Awards® and grossed $385m at the global box office, and Green Book, which won three Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, and grossed more than $320m worldwide.

Spielberg has not limited his success to the big screen. He was an executive producer on the long-running Emmy-winning NBC TV drama “E.R.” On the heels of their experience on “Saving Private Ryan,” he and Tom Hanks teamed to executive produce the 2001 HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” based on Stephen Ambrose’s book about a U.S. Army unit in Europe in World War II. Among its many awards, the project won both Emmy® and Golden Globe® Awards for Outstanding Miniseries. He and Hanks then reunited to executive produce the acclaimed 2010 HBO miniseries “The Pacific,” this time focusing on the Marines in WWII’s Pacific theatre. “The Pacific” won eight Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Miniseries. A third series, “Masters of the Air,” is currently in post-production for Apple TV+.

Among the shows Spielberg also executive produced were the Emmy®-winning Syfy Channel miniseries “Taken,” the TNT miniseries “Into the West,” the Showtime series “The United States of Tara,” NBC’s “Smash,” TNT’s “Falling Skies,” as well as CBS’ “Under the Dome” and “Extant.” He was also an executive producer on the HBO Films’ movie “All the Way,” starring Emmy® winner Bryan Cranston, and the Netflix docuseries “Five Came Back.” Amblin Television was a producer of FX’s “The Americans,” which earned four Emmy® wins, including two wins for Margo Martindale for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. The series also won Peabody Awards in 2015 and 2019, and was a perennial recipient of the AFI Award for TV Program of the Year.

Spielberg also executive produced the 2021 film “Oslo” for HBO, which received two Emmy® nominations, including Outstanding Television Movie, for its recounting of the previously secret true story of the back-channel negotiations in the development of the pivotal Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Spielberg has devoted much of his time and resources to many philanthropic causes. He formed The Righteous Persons Foundation by using all his profits from the release of Schindler’s List, and soon thereafter founded the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which in 2006 became the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. The Institute has recorded more than 55,000 video testimonies with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, and is dedicated to making the testimonies a compelling voice for education and action.

In 2021, Spielberg and Kate Capshaw formally launched The Hearthland Foundation, a philanthropic fund to help build a more just, equitable, and connected America. Inspired by the words of the poet Langston Hughes, “O, let America be America again—The land that never has been yet—And yet must be,” Hearthland is founded on the belief that creating a better shared future for our country calls for relationships that cross divides and the moral imagination for what is possible. To that end, the foundation has three overlapping areas of focus: building a shared democracy; telling an honest and generative narrative about this country; and fostering a culture of accompaniment.

David Rubenstein

Business leader and philanthropist
Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Carlyle Group

David M. Rubenstein is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful private investment firms. Established in 1987, Carlyle now manages $426 billion from 28 offices around the world.

Mr. Rubenstein is Chairman of the Boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Gallery of Art, the Economic Club of Washington, and the University of Chicago; a Trustee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Constitution Center, the Brookings Institution, and the World Economic Forum; and a Director of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mr. Rubenstein is a member of the American Philosophical Society, Business Council, Harvard Global Advisory Council (Chairman), Madison Council of the Library of Congress (Chairman), Board of Dean’s Advisors of the Business School at Harvard, Advisory Board of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University (former Chairman), and Board of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community.

Mr. Rubenstein has served as Chairman of the Boards of Duke University and the Smithsonian Institution, Co-Chairman of the Board of the Brookings Institution, and as a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation.

Mr. Rubenstein is an original signer of The Giving Pledge, a significant donor to all of the above-mentioned non-profit organizations, and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, and the MoMA’s David Rockefeller Award, among other philanthropic awards.

Mr. Rubenstein is a leader in the area of Patriotic Philanthropy, having made transformative gifts for the restoration or repair of the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Monticello, Montpelier, Mount Vernon, Arlington House, Iwo Jima Memorial, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the National Zoo, the Library of Congress, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Mr. Rubenstein has also provided to the U.S. government long-term loans of his rare copies of the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment, the first map of the U.S. (Abel Buell map), and the first book printed in the U.S. (Bay Psalm Book).

Mr. Rubenstein is the host of The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations on Bloomberg TV and PBS, Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein on Bloomberg TV, and Iconic America: Our Symbols and Stories with David Rubenstein on PBS; and the author of The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians, a book published by Simon & Schuster in October 2019, How to Lead: Wisdom from the World’s Greatest CEOs, Founders, and Game Changers, a book published by Simon & Schuster in September 2020, The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream, a book published by Simon & Schuster in September 2021, and How to Invest: Masters on the Craft, a book published by Simon & Schuster in September 2022.

Mr. Rubenstein, a native of Baltimore, is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Rubenstein graduated in 1973 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review.

From 1973-1975, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in New York with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. From 1975-1976, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments. From 1977-1981, during the Carter Administration, Mr. Rubenstein was Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. After his White House service and before co-founding Carlyle, Mr. Rubenstein practiced law in Washington with Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman).

Dr. Robert M. Gates

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense
Chairman, Eisenhower Fellowships

Robert Gates served as the 22nd secretary of defense (2006-2011). He is the only secretary of defense in U.S. history to be asked to remain in office by a newly elected President. Dr. Gates served eight U.S. presidents across both parties.

On Gates’s last day in office, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

Before becoming secretary of defense in 2006, Gates was the president of Texas A&M University, one of the nation’s largest universities. Prior to assuming the Texas A&M presidency on August 1, 2002, he served as interim dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M from 1999 to 2001.

Gates joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1966 and spent nearly 27 years as an intelligence professional. During that period, he spent nearly nine years on the National Security Council at the White House, serving four presidents of both political parties.

Gates served as director of Central Intelligence from 1991 until 1993. He is the only career officer in CIA’s history to rise from entry-level employee to director. He served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 until 1989 and as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser at the White House from January 20, 1989 until November 6, 1991, for President George H.W. Bush.

Gates has been awarded the National Security Medal, the Presidential Citizens Medal, has three times received the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and has three times received CIA’s highest award, the Distinguished Intelligence Medal.

Cherelle Parker

Mayor of Philadelphia
(USA 2010)

Cherelle L. Parker was elected Mayor of Philadelphia in November 2023, the first woman to hold the highest office in America’s fifth-largest city. Parker plans to focus on public safety, education, cleaning the streets and creating more economic opportunity for Philadelphians. From 2015 through 2022, Parker was Majority Leader of the Philadelphia City Council, representing the 9th District and serving as chair of the Labor and Civil Service Committee. Prior to her election to Council, Parker served for ten years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives after becoming the youngest African-American woman ever elected to the legislative body. In the House, she earned a reputation for being one of the state’s most effective, politically savvy and proactive legislators. She was twice elected by her Philadelphia colleagues to serve as chair of the Philadelphia Delegation to the House, and in 2013, she was appointed vice chair/Democratic chair of the House Committee on School Safety.

Christine Todd Whitman

Former Governor of New Jersey
Vice-Chair, Eisenhower Fellowships

Christine Todd Whitman is the President of The Whitman Strategy Group (WSG), a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues. WSG offers a comprehensive set of solutions to problems facing businesses, organizations, and governments; they have been at the forefront of helping leading companies find innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

Governor Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January of 2001 until June of 2003. She was the 50th Governor of the State of New Jersey, serving as its first woman governor from 1994 until 2001.

As Governor, Christie Whitman earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. She was also recognized by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having instituted the most comprehensive beach monitoring system in the nation. As EPA Administrator, she promoted common- sense environmental improvements such as watershed-based water protection policies. She championed regulations requiring non-road diesel engines to reduce sulfur emissions by more than 95 percent. During her tenure, the Agency was successful in passing and implementing landmark brownfields legislation to promote the redevelopment and reuse of “brownfields”, previously contaminated industrial sites.

She is the author of a New York Times best seller called “It’s My Party Too”, which was published in January of 2005 and released in paperback in March 2006.

Governor Whitman formerly served on the Boards of United Technologies Corporation, Texas Instruments Inc. and S.C. Johnson and Son, Inc. She is on the Advisory Boards of the Corporate Eco Forum and The Northeast Maglev (TNEM).

Governor Whitman also serves a number of non-profit organizations including as Chairman of the American Security Project and Vice-Chairman of the Trustees of the Eisenhower Fellowships. She is co- chair of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council, the Aspen Institute K12 Climate Action Task Force, and the National Institute for Civil Discourse. She is a member of the National Advisory Committees for the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense and the Presidential Climate Action Project. She is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, a member of the Advisory Committee for Two Paths America, and she serves on the Meridian Institute Board. She is a member of the advisory boards of the Rick Herema Foundation, World War Zero, the Earth Day Network, and the ERA Coalition. She was co-chair of the Commission on the Rule of Law and Democracy at the Brennan Center at New York University. During the 2020 election cycle, she served as Chair of Republicans and Independents for Biden, and as one of the Advisory Board members for the Voter Protection Project.

In 2018, Governor Whitman was the recipient of the Panetta Institute’s Jefferson-Lincoln Award for her dedication to the key principles of the American democracy and the ideals of the nation. Governor Whitman was awarded The Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service in 2017.

Prior to becoming Governor, she was the President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and served on the Somerset County board of Chosen Freeholders.

Governor Whitman holds a BA from Wheaton College in Norton, MA, and was married for 41 years to the late John R. Whitman. She has two children and seven grandchildren.

Jane Harman

Nine-term U.S. Representative
Co-Chair, Freedom House
Trustee, Eisenhower Fellowships

During her public career, Jane Harman served nine terms in Congress, including four years after 9/11 as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. She recently completed a decade at the nonpartisan Wilson Center as its first female president and CEO, where she is now President Emerita and Distinguished Fellow.

Harman is recognized as a national expert at the nexus of security and public policy issues, and has received numerous awards for distinguished service. She has served on advisory boards for the CIA, Director of National Intelligence, and the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State. Harman is currently a member of the NASA Advisory Council, the Homeland Security Advisory Council, the Aspen Strategy Group, the advisory board of the Munich Security Conference, the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission and co-chairs the Homeland Security Experts Group with former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Earlier this year, she was named the newest Presidential Scholar-in-Residence at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

Her book “Insanity Defense: Why our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Makes us Less Safe” was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2021.

Tin Huu Mai

(Vietnam 2013)
Chairman and CEO
U&I Investment Corporation

U&I Investment Corporation is one of Vietnam’s leading investment companies, with significant investments in logistics, construction and property development, organic farming, household appliance manufacturing, financial services, retail, hospitality and media. In addition to his role as chairman and CEO of the company, Tin Huu Mai is a non-party member of the National Assembly and is passionate about ensuring that public policy supports business development. He used his fellowship to explore the American political system. He studied American think tanks – how they are created, sustained and influential in public policy development, as well as the role of the private sector in formulating public policy. In addition, he looked at aspects of the American agriculture industry that may be transferable to Vietnam to improve the incomes of small farmers.

Thao Nguyen Griffiths

(Vietnam 2013)
Head, Public Policy
(Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar)
Meta Platforms, Inc.

Thao Griffiths joined Meta in 2021 as public policy head for Vietnam. Prior to joining Meta, Griffiths worked at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, where she played a key role in connecting the organization with the private sector and key international partners. Griffiths previously served for nine years as country director for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, an American non-governmental organization. During her tenure with the organization, she worked in both the Hanoi and Washington offices, focusing on development issues and people-to-people diplomacy between the U.S. and Vietnam. She has nearly two decades of experience in management, public health, development, climate change, security policy and IT-related business. She has worked with Boeing, Bombardier Inc., Planned Systems International PSI, VOXIVA Inc. and Microsoft Asia Pacific. She studied at the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Academy of Diplomacy and holds a master’s in systems engineering from RMIT University in Melbourne and a master’s degree in international relations from American University in Washington, D.C.

Christina Snider-Ashtari

Tribal Affairs Secretary
Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom
(USA 2023)

Christina Snider-Ashtari is a lawyer who serves as California’s most senior official in Native American affairs. Home to the largest population of Native Americans in the U.S., California is a laboratory for restorative justice and tribal-state relations. Snider, a member of the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, is the author of California’s executive orders apologizing to Native peoples for the state’s role in their genocide and establishing a Truth and Healing Council to examine the destruction of ancestral lands. The Council is expected to make recommendations regarding reparations in a report scheduled for public release in 2025. On fellowship in New Zealand and Australia, she studied those nations’ respective reconciliation efforts with their Māori and aboriginal populations.

Oscar Fernández Estrada

Chief Executive Officer
Deshidratados Habana
(Cuba 2024)

Seizing the opportunity presented by Cuban government reforms that expanded the allowed limited private ownership of businesses, Fernández Estrada in 2021 launched Deshidratados Habana (Dehydrated Havana). The 21-employee company produces dehydrated foods and healthy snacks for the country’s stores and restaurant industry, with the goal of export sales in the United States. Given historic tensions in U.S.-Cuba relations, on fellowship he wants to learn what it will take for a private Cuban company to successfully sell its products in the United States. His goal is to expand his business and serve as a model for other Cuban entrepreneurs to strengthen and eventually grow the nascent private sector on the island. He is the first Eisenhower Fellow from Cuba.

Richard Jlah Doe

Ministry of Health, Liberia
(Liberia 2024)

After graduating from medical school in 2017, Doe worked in various capacities for Liberia’s Ministry of Health, primarily as a general practitioner in outpatient clinics and emergency rooms. When Liberia recorded its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020, he and seven colleagues volunteered to be the frontline doctors in the country’s fight against the virus despite the uncertainty and danger surrounding the disease at the time. On fellowship he aims to develop an electronic recordkeeping system to enhance the efficiency of healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes in public hospitals across Liberia’s four most populous counties.

George de Lama

Eisenhower Fellowships

George de Lama is president of the Eisenhower Fellowships. A nationally prominent journalist, former international development official and entrepreneur, de Lama became EF’s 10th president in August, 2014.

In a distinguished career at the Chicago Tribune, he rose through the newsroom ranks from summer reporting intern to metropolitan reporter, national and foreign correspondent, chief of correspondents, associate managing editor, deputy managing editor and ultimately, managing editor for news.

At the Tribune, de Lama worked as a correspondent in nearly 60 countries and covered the White House and American diplomacy in Washington. As an editor he helped oversee foreign and national reporting that won journalism’s top honors, including two Pulitzer Prizes. A three-time winner of the Tribune’s Edward Scott Beck Award for foreign and national reporting, he received the National Education Writers Award for crisis coverage of the Chicago public schools.

De Lama played a leading role in discussions that led to the Tribune Company opening a news bureau in Havana in 2001, the first American newspaper office in Cuba in 35 years. He served as a two-time Pulitzer Prize juror, including chair of the International Reporting Jury in 2008, and was the first Latino to appear on the masthead of the Chicago Tribune.

After leaving the Tribune, de Lama headed the Office of External Relations at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, leading the multilateral organization’s strategic communications in support of development operations and strategic initiatives across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Later he became president of Global Development for Answers Media LLC in Chicago and launched a startup firm, Answers Learning LLC, to produce education solutions for parents, students, educators and public and private organizations.

De Lama is a member of the Advisory Board of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and was twice elected to the Board of Governors of the Overseas Press Club of America.

The son of Cuban immigrants, de Lama was born in Chicago. He and his wife Carrie, an accomplished independent film maker, live in Philadelphia.

Ray Suarez

Author, former NPR and PBS broadcast journalist
Host of “On Shifting Ground”

Ray Suarez is a visiting professor of Political Science at New York University in Shanghai and the co-host of the podcast and public radio program WorldAffairs, and covers Washington for Euronews. Over the course of a long career in journalism, he has been the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program Inside Story, Chief National Correspondent for The PBS NewsHour, and host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He has been a John McCloy visiting professor of American Studies at Amherst College.

Mohamed Amersi

Chairman, The Amersi Foundation
Trustee, Eisenhower Fellowships

Mohamed Amersi is the Chairman of the Amersi Foundation which supports initiatives in education, building cohesive societies, inclusive capitalism, governance and the futures agenda. The Foundation has also launched the Inclusive Ventures Group, a responsible profits, social impact investing platform that has invested in education, livelihood, health and waste management in Africa and Asia. Mohamed Amersi is a Fellow of Brasenose College, University of Oxford, Chairman of the Islamic Reporting Initiative, member of the Boards of COJIT, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council and Chairman of the Conservative Friends of the Middle East & North Africa.

For his transformational work in disseminating knowledge, Mohamed Amersi was awarded a prize by the Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. Mohamed Amersi is also extensively engaged in bringing peace, prosperity and unity to the MENA region through diplomacy and dialogue by advising key stakeholders on foreign policy issues, conflict resolution, inclusion and tolerance. He is the author of several articles on key current geopolitical issues involving the MENA region. Historically, Mohamed Amersi has served on the Boards of several UK Royal charities, Academia, Think Tanks and Business Enterprises, public and private.

Alison Young

Managing Partner
RWB Strategies
(USA 2017)

Hon. Alison Young is managing partner at Red, White and Blue Strategies (RWB), a management consulting firm bridging the gap between the public and private sectors. Young founded RWB’s leadership training practice group and serves as an executive performance coach specializing in emotional intelligence. A former senior White House Official, Young served in the Bush Administration as Special Assistant to the President for service and civic engagement. Previously, Young was executive director of the Institute for Strategic Leadership at Drexel University and vice president for external affairs at the National Constitution Center. In 2017, she was named an Eisenhower Fellow and in 2020, was named a regional fellow for the National Review Institute. Young is currently a doctoral candidate at NYU with a research focus on the emotional intelligence of public sector leaders. A nationally recognized speaker and facilitator, Young regularly appears on TV nationally on Dan Abrams Live (NewsNation), and locally on Inside Story (6ABC).

Young was recently recognized by City and State PA for extensive philanthropy and volunteer work across the Commonwealth. She serves on the boards of the PA Conference for Women, America 250PA (America’s Semiquincentennial celebration in 2026), the Philadelphia Orchestra and Kimmel Center, Inc., and volunteers serving foster youth with CASA Philly. Young resides in Center City Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, Reagan.

Erin Hillman

Vice President, Programs & Operations
Eisenhower Fellowships

A long-time resident of the Philadelphia area, Erin Hillman came to Eisenhower Fellowships in 2000 after living for two years in Sichuan, China. The first foreigners to represent the U.S. Peace Corps in this remote rural area, Hillman and her husband piloted a college teacher-training program. Prior to living in China, she wrote and conducted research for an educational research center in Philadelphia, earned a Master’s degree in education at Temple University and taught for several years at the secondary high-school level. She worked her way up the ranks at Eisenhower Fellowships over the last two decades, serving as a Program Officer for International Programs, Director of the EF USA Program and then Senior Director of Fellowship Programs, where she oversaw the recruitment and selection of Fellows, shaped fellowship seminars across the United States and led the programmatic development of approximately 70 Eisenhower Fellowships annually. Named EF Vice President in 2015, Hillman oversees all programs and operations for the organization.

Under her tenure, EF has hosted a number of special fellowship programs and record annual numbers of Eisenhower Fellows in 2018 and again in 2019. She played an instrumental role in the planning of EF’s global conference on the Future of Work in Malaga, Spain in September 2017, the organization’s first worldwide congress in more than an nine years, and in the Future of Education global conference in Cartagena, Colombia in February 2020. During her eight years overseeing EF programs and operations, the organization has earned Charity Navigator’s highest four-star rating each year for meeting or exceeding the highest transparency and accounting standards for nonprofits while delivering exceptional quality programs.

Diane Melley

Senior Advisor
Eisenhower Fellowships
(USA 2001)

Diane Melley is a part-time Senior Advisor for Fellows Network Engagement at Eisenhower Fellowships. An Eisenhower USA Fellow in 2001, she also serves as executive director and senior advisor for the Philadelphia Foundation. In that role, she leads planning, execution and partnership-building, in support of a series of initiatives implementing Philadelphia Foundation’s second century of civic and philanthropic leadership in the community. She also leads the building of new strategic relationships with the corporate sector and corporate volunteering, including the Greater Philadelphia Corporate Volunteer Council, the Arts and Business Council and the Key Skills Hub. Previously Melley worked for 36 years at IBM, where she was vice president of the IBM Foundation and vice president for Global Citizenship Initiatives. That role included IBM’s global Impact Grants program, which brought technology solutions to communities around the world, its humanitarian responses to disasters and its IBM Global Volunteers program. A systems engineer and technologist by training, she led IBM’s systems integration practice prior to leading the global citizenship team. She also led IBM’s Centennial Celebration of Service in 2011. 

A long-time Philadelphian with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from LaSalle University, Melley holds an MBA from Drexel University, and is a graduate of executive leadership programs at Harvard and Stanford Universities. Melley serves on the boards of Independent Sector, the Points of Light Institute and the International Association of Volunteer Effort. She formerly served on the board of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and as a two-term chair of the Philadelphia Education Fund, as well as two-term chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Corporate Citizenship. She is a founding faculty member of the Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility at Johns Hopkins University and is certified by IBM and the Project Management Institute as a Project Executive. She is passionate about mentoring and providing opportunities for girls and the underserved in the STEM fields. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two daughters.

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