Board of Directors

Chairman

Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion…

President

Heidi Heitkamp is the founder and Chair of the One Country Project, an organization focused on addressing the needs…

Board Member

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman (Retired) was most recently the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus…

Board Member

Annie Duke is an author, corporate speaker, and consultant in the decision-making space

Board Member

Bob Kerrey is Executive Chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, where he advocates for broad reform in…

Board Member

Igor Kirman is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he focuses primarily on mergers and…

 

Board Member

Linda Chavez is a Senior Fellow at the National Immigration Forum. Chavez authored…

Board Member

Michael Steele is a political analyst for MSNBC and a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Institute…

Board Member

Mickey Edwards is a former eight-term member of Congress, having been a member of his party’s leadership, a senior member of…

Advisory Board

Advisor

Anne Applebaum is a columnist for the Washington Post and a Pulitzer-prize winning historian

Advisor

William “Bill” Kristol is a political analyst and media commentator regular panelist on…

 

Advisor

Bret Stephens currently works at the New York Times and is a journalist, editor…

Advisor

Dan Benton founded the technology hedge fund Andor Capital Management…

Advisor

Daniel B. Hurwitz is Founder & CEO of Raider Hill Advisors LLC. He is a graduate of Colgate…

Advisor

Eric Wolf served as an Investigations Officer in the National Unit for Serious…

 

Advisor

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is Chairman of Spitzberg Partners LLC. He served as German Minister…

Advisor

Lisa is a senior level advisor, strategist and leader with extensive experience supporting…

Advisor

In a career that has spanned the private & public sectors, Lucy has worked in political advocacy and tech….

Advisor

Max Boot is a historian, best-selling author, and foreign policy analyst who has been called one of the “world’s…

Advisor

Mark Lasswell is an op-ed editor at the Washington Post. He is the former editorial features editor…

Advisor

Rina Shah is a DC-based political advisor, commentator, and social entrepreneur…

 

Advisor

Whitney Haring-Smith is a former Rhodes Scholar, entrepreneur, and investor focused primarily…

 

Staff

Executive Director

Director of Education

Manager,
Content & Strategy

Program Associate

Senior Fellow

General Counsel

Director of Strategy & Operations

Operations Associate

Research & Writing

Research & Writing

Research & Writing

Research & Writing

Graphic & Web Design

Video Associate

Garry Kasparov
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17. He came to international fame at the age of 22 as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985. His famous matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.
Heidi Heitkamp is the founder and Chair of the One Country Project, an organization focused on addressing the needs and concerns of rural America. Prior to founding One Country, Heitkamp served as the first female senator (2013-2019) from North Dakota.
Alexander Vindman

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman (Retired) was most recently the director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia on the White House’s National Security Council. Prior to retiring from the U.S. Army, he served as a Foreign Area Officer with assignments in Moscow, Russia and for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a Political-Military Affairs Officer. While on the Joint Staff, he co-authored the National Military Strategy Russia Annex and was the principal author for the Global Campaign for Russia. He is currently a doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His book “Here, Right Matters” (HarperCollins) was published in 2021.

Annie Duke
Annie Duke is an author, corporate speaker, and consultant in the decision-making space. Her most recent book, “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts” is a national bestseller. A world-champion poker player, Annie retired from the game in 2012. She is the co-founder of The Alliance for Decision Education, a non-profit whose mission is to empower students through decision skills education, and serves on the board of After-School All-Stars.
Senator Bob Kerrey
Bob Kerrey is the Executive Chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, where he advocates for broad reform in higher education. From 1983 to 1987 Kerrey served as Nebraska’s 35th Governor, and then as Senator from 1989 to 2001.
Igor Kirman
Igor Kirman is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he focuses primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and general corporate and securities law matters. He teaches as an adjunct at Columbia Law School, is the author of a book on M&A confidentiality agreements, and was named one of American Lawyer’s “Dealmakers of the Year” for 2006 and 2015.
Linda-Chavez
Linda Chavez is a senior fellow at the National Immigration Forum. Chavez authored Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation (Basic Books 1991), which the Denver Post described as a book that “should explode the stereotypes about Hispanics that have clouded the minds of patronizing liberals and xenophobic conservatives alike.” National Review described Chavez’s memoir, An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal (Basic Books 2002), as a “brilliant, provocative, and moving book.” In 2000, Chavez was honored by the Library of Congress as a “Living Legend” for her contributions to America’s cultural and historical legacy. In January 2001, Chavez was President George W. Bush’s nominee for Secretary of Labor until she withdrew her name from consideration.

Chavez has held a number of appointed positions, among them Chairman, National Commission on Migrant Education (1988-1992); White House Director of Public Liaison (1985); Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1983-1985); and she was a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States (1984-1986). Chavez was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland in 1986. In 1992, she was elected by the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission to serve a four-year term as U.S. Expert to the U.N. Sub-commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

Chavez was also editor of the prize-winning quarterly journal American Educator (1977-1983), published by the American Federation of Teachers, where she also served as assistant to AFT president Al Shanker (1982-1983) and assistant director of legislation (1975-1977).

Chavez serves on the Board of Directors of ABM Industries, Inc. a Fortune 500 company, as well as on boards of several non-profit organizations.

Chavez was born in Albuquerque, NM, on June 17, 1947, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado in 1970 and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from George Mason University in 2012. She currently resides in Silver Spring, MD.

Michael Steele
Michael Steele is a political analyst for MSNBC and a Senior Fellow at Brown University’s Institute for International and Public Affairs. When he was elected Lt. Governor of Maryland in 2003, Michael Steele made history as the first African American elected to statewide office; and again with his subsequent chairmanship of the Republican National Committee in 2009.
Mickey Edwards
Mickey Edwards is a former eight-term member of Congress, having been a member of his party’s leadership, a senior member of both the Appropriations and Budget Committees, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, and an advisor to the State Department. He is Vice President of the Aspen Institute, a visiting professor of public and international affairs at Princeton University, a political columnist, a published author, and an inducted fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Agora Institute, where she co-directs Arena, a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda.
William “Bill” Kristol is a political analyst and media commentator regular panelist on ABC and MSNBC. Mr. Kristol served as Chief of Staff for Vice President Dan Quayle, and led the Project for the Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. In 1997, he co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) with Robert Kagan and he is the founder and director of Defending Democracy Together.
Bret Stephens currently works at the New York Times and is a journalist, editor, and political commentator. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including two honorary doctorates and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Dan Benton founded the technology hedge fund Andor Capital Management and served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman until 2008, when he then established the Andor Opportunity Fund, LP and the Andor Opportunity Offshore Fund, Ltd. He graduated from Colgate University in 1980, and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1984.
Daniel B. Hurwitz is Founder & CEO of Raider Hill Advisors LLC. He is a graduate of Colgate University and the Wharton School of Business Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
Eric Wolf served as an Investigations Officer in the National Unit for Serious and International Crimes Investigations with the Israeli Police, where he conducted several international investigations on crimes including homicide, fraud, and kidnapping. He later worked as the head of the Ambassador’s Office at the Embassy of Israel in Moscow. He is a founder of Paragon Outcomes Management, a New York private equity fund. He earned a BA from Jerusalem Hebrew University, an MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and an Executive MBA from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is Chairman of Spitzberg Partners LLC. He served as German Minister of Economics and Technology and then as Minister of Defense in the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. zu Guttenberg was a Member of the German Parliament, a Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Secretary General of Germany’s CSU party.

Lisa Berg is a senior level advisor, strategist and leader with extensive experience supporting C-suite executives transform business vision into actionable solutions for financial services and non-profit organizations. Lisa is a graduate of Cornell University and has served in a number of non-profit leadership and board roles for organizations including: Cornell University, the GO Project, the Dalton School, her Co-op Board and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

In a career that has spanned the private & public sectors, Lucy has worked in political advocacy and tech. She served as Joe Walsh’s campaign manager during his insurgent run against Trump and formed Mockingbird Lab to get issue-advocacy orgs to shift towards data-driven tactics. Until 2019, Caldwell served as the Chief Strategy Officer & EVP at Crowdskout, ultimately helping to shepherd the company through a successful acquisition. Under her tenure, Crowdskout was named the Best Advocacy Technology Platform by Campaigns & Elections Magazine. Caldwell has appeared on & written in numerous outlets including CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. She frequently speaks and writes on the collision of technology and issue-moving.

Max Boot
Max Boot is a historian, best-selling author, and foreign policy analyst who has been called one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a Global Affairs Analyst for CNN.
Mark Lasswel
Mark Lasswell is an op-ed editor at the Washington Post. He is the former editorial features editor, overseeing op-eds, at the Wall Street Journal, where he also served as deputy books editor.
Rina Shah is a DC-based political advisor, commentator, and social entrepreneur. She is currently the Senior Fellow for Inclusive Governance at the Rainey Center for Public Policy and a Contributing Writer for The Week. She is a proud daughter of West Virginia and of immigrants from Uganda and India. In 2016, she led the #NeverTrump movement, becoming the first RNC delegate to speak out against candidate Donald Trump––for which she was canceled by the RNC, only to be reinstated after a lengthy legal battle. She later worked as Chief Spokesperson for Evan McMullin’s presidential campaign, just one of nearly 40 political campaigns on which she has worked. In 2020, she founded Republican Women for Biden. In addition to her political work, she is co-founder of the Women’s Public Leadership Network and sits on the board of many women-focused nonprofits.
Whitney Haring-Smith is a former Rhodes Scholar, entrepreneur, and investor focused primarily on industrial and technology businesses. As a Managing Partner at Anzu Partners, Dr. Haring-Smith leads the portfolio support functions and has led most of Anzu’s acquisitions and software companies.

Prior to joining RDI as its Executive Director, Uriel worked in the private sector – first as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and then in strategy at start-ups in the mobility space including DoorDash and Uber. As a student at Yale University, he founded and to this day, continues to chair the Peace & Dialogue Leadership Initiative (PDLI), an organization dedicated to bridging the civil-military divide and creating a space on campuses for a nuanced discussion of the US role in the Middle East.

Evan Mawarire is a Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a former fellow at Stanford University’s Centre for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law, and a 2020 Yale University World Fellow. Named as the 2016 African of the year by the Daily Maverick Newspaper of South Africa and one of 100 top global thinkers of 2016 by Foreign Policy magazine, Evan continues to advocate, speak, and train others on nonviolent citizen-driven change, democracy development and human rights. Evan is the founder of the #ThisFlag Citizen Movement in Zimbabwe, which sought to confront corruption, injustice, and poverty, and was instrumental in unseating Robert Mugabe.

James Lewis joined RDI from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where he worked as a Research Assistant for Senior Fellow Anne Applebaum. There he helped create an interdisciplinary course entitled “Democracy,” taught for the first time in the Spring of 2021. His academic background is in American political history and international relations. James is a graduate of Yale University.

Julie Millsap joined RDI in 2022. She has a background in Political Science and Education. Before joining RDI, Julie worked in advocacy to stop the Uyghur Genocide, and to highlight China’s growing authoritarian influence. She returned to the United States in 2020 after spending a decade studying and living in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous region of China and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. She has traveled extensively, and has an avid interest in history and archeology. In her free time enjoys reading and Pilates. She resides in the D.C. area.

Aiyaz Husain joined RDI from the U.S. Department of State, where he was a historian specializing in U.S. policy in the Middle East and South Asia. He holds Master’s and PhD degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Bachelor’s degree from Yale University. His book Mapping the End of Empire: American and British Strategic Visions in the Postwar World was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press.

James M. Black II is a partner at Silverman Acampora. As Chairman of the firm’s Government Contracts & Compliance Group, he specializes in corporate and government compliance, government contracts, trade regulation, and information technology. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the Maurice Deane School of Law and as a visiting professor at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Noor’s career has been informed by her experience growing up in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, living in a war zone under threat from militias, and then living as a refugee in the United States. Before joining RDI as Director of Strategy & Operations, she was a producer at Reason Magazine, where her work focused on human rights, including interviews with NBA player turned advocate Enes Kanter Freedom, Iraqi dissident Ahmed Albasheer, and Tursunay Ziyawudun, a Uyghur survivor of Chinese concentration camps.

Noor has worked for the Moral Compass Foundation, an organization that unites and coordinates efforts to aid and evacuate America’s partners in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and around the world. Previously, she produced documentaries and videos for Channel 4, More4 News, and the Associated Press Television News in Iraq and Jordan.

At CrossFit, Inc., Noor worked on internal and external media to launch a strategic marketing campaign for a new competitive event structure that required coordination with a variety of external entities, such as CNN Sports and WME-IMG. The coverage included press releases, videos and films that are available on Netflix. She also has worked for the US Department of Defense as an Iraqi language instructor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.

Savannah Herms joined RDI in 2022 for database and administration support. She is a graduate of Millikin University with a background in Musical Theatre. While at MU Savannah participated in organizations promoting conversations on Race and Inclusion in conjunction with the Illinois community. Before RDI, Savannah worked with the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts partnering with the Jurkowitz Family Foundation to connect youth and senior citizens to international symphonies and Opera performances. Savannah writes and produces content for Hidden Hollywood, a YouTube project highlighting film and Hollywood history through a modern, and often political, lens. Outside of RDI Savannah can be found exploring National Parks and Monuments across the USA.

Julian Anderson is a rising senior majoring in International Affairs and Economics at the George Washington University. He is passionate about monetary policy, US-China relations, and human rights. As a Lead Research Analyst for the GWU Undergraduate Economic Society’s Federal Reserve Program, Julian contributed to the publication of an 85-page report on the state of the macroeconomy. Additionally, Julian currently serves as the Director of Research at the US-China Strategic Studies Organization. In his free time, he enjoys designing board games and teaching debate.

Sohan is a recent Graduate from Connecticut College, where I studied International Relations and worked in journalism in tandem. My focus was on examining political violence, conflict, extremism, and the problems and crises facing democracy, both old and emerging.

Before RDI, he produced work with several organizations, including The College Voice, Connecticut College’s entirely student-run news publication and Rio Bravo Investments in São Paulo, Brazil, as well as The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Boston working on Applied History and Intelligence Projects. Most recently, he worked with the Gramsci Foundation in Italy, where he conducted archival research as part of a three-year, Integrative Project surrounding extremism and the value historical cases provide in informing current challenges.

He enjoys reading, watching movies, collecting records, staying active, and learning languages.

Taylor is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he finished with a degree in International Affairs along with a minor in Spanish. During the past year, Taylor successfully completed an undergraduate thesis where he researched governmental decision-making theory and its role in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Taylor enjoys staying up-to-date on foreign affairs, appreciates travel, and loves to exercise. Taylor also served as the University of Colorado’s Student Body President during the 2021-2022 school year. He is excited to contribute to RDI and is currently planning his next career steps this Summer.

Teddy Foley is a rising sophomore majoring in Computational and Applied Mathematics at the University of Chicago. He is involved on campus in the Institute of Politics where he is the editor of the Opinion section of their political review, and he has a strong interest in international affairs. During the past year, he performed research for the Parrhesia Program for Public Discourse on historical issues of free expression on college campuses, resulting in a case study that will be used for future coursework. In his free time, Teddy enjoys hiking and playing chess.

Gabriel Strobel is a Graphic & Web Designer at RDI and a recent graduate from Catalyst Berlin, where he studied electronic music production. He is a multimedia artist in Berlin exploring his creativity under the alias ‘OIIA’, and often works as media producer, audio technician, and photographer on a freelance basis. During his free time he can be spotted enjoying long walks at the riverside.

Michael Kern is a fourth-year student at the University of Texas at Austin studying Film Production and Conflict Resolution. Being born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Michael always took a special interest in both politics and film. With this in mind, he has had a myriad of experiences in both fiction and non-fiction filmmaking, including shooting a documentary in rural Kenya. He is interested in understanding how storytelling can be used as a tool to decrease domestic polarization. In his free time, Michael loves reading good sci-fi novels, watching movies, and cooking.

Amy McDonald is a rising senior at DePaul University majoring in animation with a concentration in storyboarding and character design. Amy works to use her skills as an artist to reach as many people as possible, seeking to help the world understand what it means to be human. When she’s not animating, Amy can most likely be found watching Disney movies or cartoons.

Sasha Shin is a rising senior at Rhode Island School of Design who studies in the Film Animation Video Department. As an animator and filmmaker, she makes experimental narratives and character animations that explore topics of identity, womanhood and how they are affected by the medium in which these films are
produced.

Because animation is an art form with social and political repercussions, Sasha often takes interest in current events. At RDI, she hopes to further understand her responsibilities as an animator while also supporting important causes.

Nick Asprea is a rising senior at Elon University majoring in Music Production & Recording Arts and Cinema & Television Arts. He is also a member of Elon’s honors program and is the founder and president of the Elon University Composers’ Collective. He has a passion for multimedia storytelling, specifically focusing on the way that sound and music can drive a narrative. In his free time, he enjoys playing piano, writing music, and watching the New York Yankees.

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