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The Changing Face of Conflict

Foreign Affairs

58 East 68th Street 
New York, NY 10065

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This invitation-only forum focusing on the status and future of geopolitical conflict and diplomacy will take place at the Harold Pratt House, home of Foreign Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations.

**The Changing Face of Conflict** The framework of international relations of the last twenty years is unraveling on a global scale. Foreign policy analysts are seeing waves of transformation unleashed by the financial crisis, the Arab Spring, and the evolution of regional hegemons into true global actors in a multipolar environment. Foreign Affairs and the International Crisis Group are partnering to host a day-long conference to discuss the crucial geopolitical hotspots of today, and to look toward the future of conflict and peace. Experts from major NGOs, government offices, and the private sector will convene to determine the best way to move forward in a volatile global order.


VIDEO | Plenary Session

Presiding: Gideon RoseEditor, Foreign Affairs

Carl Bildtformer Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sweden  
Ghassan Salamé, International Crisis Group Co-Chair; Dean, Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po  
Jean-Marie GuéhennoPresident & CEO, International Crisis Group
Michael MoranManaging Director, Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks 

Armed conflict is again on the rise. In a new era of geopolitical tension, wars in areas of high geostrategic value have difficult regional, international and economic dimensions. Some parts of the world appear chronically unstable, as armed groups that espouse radical ideologies or have criminal motives proliferate. Meanwhile, our increased interconnectivity means that instability in one part of the world can resonate elsewhere, the product of easier physical connections, faster communications, and the transnational dimensions of licit and illicit economic activity. As international law and institutions are contested, norms – of state sovereignty, of democracy, of the credibility of multilateralism or the desirability of liberal market capitalism – that once appeared heading for broad acceptance are seeing fundamental challenges. 

In this difficult environment, this introductory plenary will ask: What are the factors that are redefining conflict and security today? What are their economic consequences? What should be the elements of an effective international response?

Two Concurrent Breakout Sessions

(AUDIO) Breakout Session A |  IRAN'S NUCLEAR TALKS

Presiding: Suzanne DiMaggioSenior Fellow, New America Foundation

Ali VaezSenior Analyst for Iran, International Crisis Group  
Tom PickeringFormer U.S. Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to the UN, Russia, India, Israel, Jordan, El Salvador, and Nigeria  
Nahum BarneaPolitical Columnist, Yedioth Ahronoth

With the 30 June deadline looming, negotiators from Iran and the P5+1 are racing to conclude a comprehensive, long-term nuclear accord. In addition to the talks’ technical, legal and political complexities, the parties face skeptical domestic constituencies and outright opposition from regional countries. As such, even if the negotiators succeed in sealing the deal, selling it both at home and abroad will be an entirely different challenge. The session will explore the current state of play in the negotiations, the odds of success, and the consequences of either success or failure for Iran’s relations with the West and the regional balance of power.



Presiding: Cheryl CarolusFormer South African High Commissioner to the UK and Secretary General of the African National Congress (ANC)

Mo IbrahimFounder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Founder, Celtel International  
Comfort EroAfrica Program Director, International Crisis Group

Africa is on the rise, to borrow the popular phrase used to describe progress on the continent. There is much optimism about the continent’s future, but is it overstated? Old problems and new threats continue to jeopardize growth and development. In the last three years, crises have exploded in Mali, the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Nigeria. Regional or international solutions to some older conflicts, such as Sudan, Somalia and Eastern Congo, appear in short supply. Growing threats from religious radicalization, transnational crime and extremism, not to mention the effects of climate change, present complex new dynamics. Conflicts and fighters are increasingly connected and in some instances, closely tied to (e.g. AQIM in the Sahel, Al-Shabaab in Somalia) or seek association with (e.g. Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin) global jihadist groups. They are exploiting huge ungoverned spaces, particularly in the Sahel and Savannah Belt. State repression, criminality and low-intensity insurgencies remain constants. Non-traditional powers, such as Turkey, the Gulf States and even India, are growing increasingly assertive. This session will assess these trends and ask: Do Western powers, as well as the African Union and United Nations, remain influential and able to find solutions? Are there other important players that should be more involved in the effort to resolve the continent’s conflicts?

VIDEO | Networking Lunch & Plenary Session


Presiding: Jean-Marie GuéhennoPresident & CEO, International Crisis Group

George SorosFounder and Chairman, Open Society 
Paul Quinn-JudgeProgram Director, Europe and Central Asia, International Crisis Group  
Steven EkeSenior Analyst, Russia and Former Soviet Union at Control Risks  
Wolfgang IschingerChairman, Munich Security Conference; former German Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the UK and U.S. 

The Ukraine crisis has challenged the assumptions upon which post-Cold War collective security have been based. The realization is growing among some but not all nations that the EU and US are faced again with a form of international confrontation that carries with it the implicit risk of violent conflict.  Russia’s annexation of Crimea, increasingly blatant military and political involvement in the Donbas, and the first signs of subversion in other parts of the country have exposed the shortcomings of the responses available to the international community. Sanctions are working better than expected, aided by Russia’s own deep economic problems. But new institutions and strategies will be needed to face a long term challenge from an adversary that, if not checked in Ukraine, will metamorphose into new threats to other countries. A new international consensus will also be needed, and the international community will need to decide whether large alliances like the EU are capable of leading the response to the new geostrategic climate.

Two Concurrent Breakout Sessions

(AUDIO) Breakout Session A |  MYANMAR

Presiding: Sheila CoronelDirector, Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Columbia University 

Priscilla Clapp, former Minister-Counselor, U.S. Foreign Service; Senior Advisor, Asia Society
Richard HorseyConsultant, International Crisis Group

Myanmar is going through a much-heralded transition, with a political and economic opening of the country together with concerted efforts to bring an end to debilitating armed conflict. This has been one of the success stories in crisis resolution in recent years. Yet, moving away from many decades of authoritarianism, isolation and civil war is a generational project that has only just begun. Many old problems persist and new challenges have arisen. With increasingly virulent and sometimes violent Buddhist nationalism, an apparent deadlock in the peace process and signs of increasing political polarization as the country moves towards elections at the end of the year, those wishing to support positive change must find the right balance between high aspirations and realistic expectations. This session will discuss the progress to date and the many serious challenges still remaining and ask what it will take to keep the transition firmly on track.


(AUDIO PT. 1 | PT. 2) Breakout Session B |  VENEZUELA

Presiding: Christopher A. Sabatini, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University 

Javier CiurlizzaProgram Director, Latin America, International Crisis Group  
Mark Schneider, Senior Vice President/Special Advisor on Latin America, International Crisis Group  
Oliver WackSenior Analyst, Control Risks

Pervasive polarization, economic imbalances and a weak rule of law have dominated the recent history of Venezuela. What is different about the current crisis is the explosive intensity of the mix and the lack of national or even international mechanisms to avoid violent confrontation and a consequent humanitarian crisis. The government seems committed to maintaining its collision course, harassing the opposition and directing an anti-imperialist discourse against the United States. Unilateral U.S. sanctions do not help outsiders see the crisis for what it is: an imminent threat to Venezuelans and the region. Regional mechanisms have been so far unable, or unwilling, to cope with the conflict. Elections due later this year are the only possible means to defuse the situation, but the conditions in place are highly unequal and raise questions about the opposition’s ability to accept the outcome. This session will explore the roots of the crisis in Venezuela, and ask what can be done to avoid the breakdown of a nation.


Presiding: Richard AtwoodDirector of Multilateral Affairs & Head, New York Office, International Crisis Group

Wadah Khanfar, Co-founder, Al Sharq Forum and Former Director General of Al Jazeera  
Joost Hiltermann, Middle East and North Africa Program Director, International Crisis Group  
Samuel R. Berger, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group LLC; Former U.S. National Security Adviser

Conflicts in Syria and Iraq have been profoundly reshaped by the rise of the Islamic State (IS). In Syria, jihadi fortunes will rise as long as current dynamics prevail, first at the expense of mainstream opposition groups and eventually at that of the regime, while Iraq has become the main battleground in the latest iteration of the international struggle with militant jihadism.  A U.S.-led coalition of over 60 states has been carrying out airstrikes against IS in both countries; Iran is openly providing military support to its allies; and Turkey and the Gulf states are also active, if in less visible ways. Iraq and Syria thus have become the common arena in which regional and international powers are competing for advantage and where they will determine the region’s future balance of forces. The international community is confronted with a series of unpalatable choices: fight IS in Syria but at the expense of strengthening the Assad regime, while in Iraq giving free rein to Shia and Kurdish militias at the expense of the state; support what is left of a moderate opposition in Syria but see rebels radicalize and join jihadi groups as the struggle with the regime remains stalemated; and attempt to bolster an Iraqi government as a more effective counterforce against the IS threat when that government increasingly is beholden to Iran.

4:30 - 6:00pm | Networking Cocktail Reception

Graciously made possible by Western Union Business Solutions

Richard Atwood joined Crisis Group in 2009 and is Director of Multilateral Affairs and head of its New York office. Formerly, as research director, he oversaw Crisis Group's thematic research and best practices. He also worked with the president and program staff to develop policy. He has expertise in democratic transitions, political institutions, peace processes and operations and early warning and is especially involved in Crisis Group's work on elections. Prior to Crisis Group, he worked for about a decade in the field--with the UN in Afghanistan (2008-2009 and 2004-5), with the International Foundation for Election Systems, or IFES, in the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon and Pakistan (2006-7), and in Nigeria, Iraq, Kenya, Guatemala, Kosovo, Cambodia and Timor Leste, amongst others. He has a master in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University and a BA in modern history and Russian with a first class honours from the University of London.


Nahum Barnea is the chief columnist for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest daily. He won the Israel Prize for communication in 2007. Born in Israel in 1944, Barnea served as a paratrooper in the IDF and continued to serve on reserve duty as a paratrooper until 1992. He earned a bachelor's degree in history and political science from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he is now a member of the board. Since 1989, Barnea has been the chief columnist of Yedioth Ahronoth, covering every step in the peaceprocess, interviewing all the players, including three American Presidents (Clinton, Bush and Obama), two Palestinian Presidents (Arafat and Abass), and every Israeli leader, covering international conferences and world events. Barnea reported from New York on 9/11 and from Port-Au-Prince on the Haiti earthquake. In 2006 he was one of the few reporters who went into Lebanon during the second Lebanon war. His call to the government of Israel to accept the ceasefire, based on what he has seen on the ground had a tremendous influence. Barnea was awarded the Sokolov Prize for journalism in 1981, and in 2008 the Maria Grazia Cutuli International Prize for Journalism, a prize which was founded by the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera. According to a survey in 1998, he was considered the most influential journalist of the first 50 years of the State of Israel. Barnea has published three books, all collections of his columns. In 2006, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution published his essay, Backchannel: Bush, Sharon and The Uses of Unilateralism.


Samuel R. Berger is chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm that works with clients to seize opportunities, assess and manage risk and solve problems worldwide. Mr. Berger works across nearly all of the firm's engagements and regions, with a strong focus on Asia, Russia and Central Asia, and the Middle East. Mr. Berger is also a principal of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. Mr. Berger served as national security advisor to President Clinton from 1997–2001. In that capacity, he drove policy across a range of issues--from the fight against terrorism to dealing with Iraq, from advancing the peace process in the Middle East to building U.S. relations with India and China. Mr. Berger served as deputy national security advisor during President Clinton's first term, as senior foreign policy advisor to Governor Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign, and as director of national security for the 1992 Clinton-Gore Transition. Mr. Berger has had a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors. Prior to his service in the Clinton Administration, Mr. Berger spent 16 years at the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where he headed the firm's international group. Earlier, Mr. Berger served as special assistant to former New York City Mayor John Lindsay and legislative assistant to former United States Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa and to then-Congressman Joseph Resnick of New York. Mr. Berger also served as deputy director of the policy planning staff, United States Department of State under Secretary Cyrus Vance from 1977 to 1980. Mr. Berger currently co-chairs the U.S. Institute of Peace's Senior Working Group on Middle East Peace and the Council on Foreign Relations' Task Force on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mr. Berger is an active participant in the Aspen Institute's U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue and he also serves on the International Advisory Council of the BrookingsDohaCenter. Mr. Berger received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Carl Bildt is former Prime Minister (1991/1994) and Foreign Minister of Sweden (2006/2014) and also served in his country as Member of Parliament (1979/2001) and leader of the Moderate Party (1986/1999). As Prime Minister he negotiated and signed Sweden's accession to the European Union, was heavily involved in securing the re-establishment of the independence of the Baltic states, and introduced far-reaching liberal reforms in the Swedish economy. Subsequently, he served as EU Special Representative to former Yugoslavia and, in that capacity, Co-Chairman of the Dayton Peace Conference. He was then appointed as the first international High Representative in Bosnia (1995/19979) and later served as UN Special Envoy to the Balkans (1999/2003). Returning as Foreign Minister between 2006 and 2014 he was, among other things, instrumental in initiating the Eastern Partnership of the EU. Today, he chairs the Commission on Global Internet Governance and serves on the board of a number of organizations, including the RAND Corporation in the United States and the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Bildt Net AB is an international affairs consultancy.


Cheryl Carolus is Executive Chairperson of Peotona Group Holdings. Ms. Carolus played a prominent role in the South African liberation movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and has held senior leadership positions in the African National Congress (ANC) since its legalization in 1990, serving as deputy secretary general under Nelson Mandela. She was part of the ANC's team that negotiated the 1996 South African Constitution and she coordinated the drafting of ANC policy for post-apartheid South Africa. She served as South Africa's high commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1998–2001 and as the CEO of SA Tourism from 2001-2004. Ms. Carolus was chair of the board of South African National Parks for six years and currently serves on the boards of WWF SA and WWF International. She holds bachelor's degrees in law and education.


Priscilla Clapp is a retired Minister-Counselor in the U.S. Foreign Service and a Senior Advisor to Asia Society. During her 30-year career with the U.S. government, Ms. Clapp served as Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar (1999–2002), Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy in South Africa (1993–96), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Refugee Programs (1989–93), Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow (1986–88), and Chief of Political-Military Affairs in the U.S. Embassy in Japan (1981–85). She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Her books include: with Morton Halperin, Bureaucratic Politics and Foreign Policy (Brookings, 2006), with I.M.Destler et al., Managing an Alliance: the Politics of U.S.-Japanese Relations (Brookings, 1976), and with Morton Halperin, U.S.-Japanese Relations in the 1970's (Harvard, 1974).  She has also written extensively on Burma in recent years.


Javier Ciurlizza is the Bogotá-based Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Program since January 2011. As Program Director, Javier oversees projects covering Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Haiti and Guatemala. He has a master’s degree from the University of Warwick, England. Prior to Crisis Group, he was the Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s Colombia and Americas Program (2007-2010). He also served as Special Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru (2004-2007), was the Executive Director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru (2001-2003), and served as Chief of Cabinet of the Ministry of Peru (2000-2001). Earlier, he worked as Secretary General of the Andean Commission of Jurists (1995-2000).


Sheila Coronel is director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism and Toni Stabile Professor of Professional Practice in Investigative Journalism, Columbia University, New York. The Stabile Center directs an investigative reporting program for graduate students and works with news organizations to get student work published. Sheila began her reporting career in 1982 on the Philippine Panorama and later joined the Manila Times; she also wrote for the Manila Chronicle. In 1989, Coronel co-founded the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism to promote investigative reporting and ground-breaking reporting on major social issues, including the military, poverty, and corruption. She is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including Coups, Cults & CannibalsThe Rule-makers: How the Wealthy and Well-Born Dominate Congress, and Pork and other Perks: Corruption and Governance in the Philippines. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism in 2003. 


Suzanne DiMaggio is a Director and Senior Fellow at New America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new ideas, breakthrough research and policy innovation to tackle the most pressing challenges facing the United States and the world. She focuses on New America’s growing body of international security projects related to the Middle East and Asia, and she directs The Iran Initiative at New America NYC. The Initiative’s centerpiece is a US-Iran dialogue that brings together influential and knowledgeable Americans and Iranians to discuss a range of political, security, and economic issues. An expert dialogue practitioner, Suzanne has been directing Track 1.5 and Track 2 diplomatic initiatives with partners in the Middle East and Asia on regional security, terrorism, nonproliferation, and governance for over 15 years.  Since 2002, she has been a leader in facilitating US-Iran policy dialogues, which have served as one of the few bridges for sustained, face-to-face discussions between Americans and Iranians. She has authored a chapter on US-Iran track II diplomacy in The Iran Primer: Power, Politics and US Policy, a publication from the US Institute of Peace. She is one of 35 experts who signed the influential report, Strategic Options for Iran: Balancing Pressure with Diplomacy, which was released by The Iran Project in April 2013. In 2009, she launched and directed a Task Force aimed at generating policy options to advance the normalization of US-Myanmar relations and catalyze collaboration in support Myanmar’s transition. In June 2013, she co-authored the report, Sustaining Myanmar’s Transition: Ten Critical Challenges Before joining New America, Suzanne served as the Vice President of Global Policy Programs at the Asia Society (2007-2014), where she set the strategic direction for moving the Society’s work in the policy arena from a public program-focused forum to a global think tank aimed at addressing the most critical challenges facing the United States and Asia. Prior to joining Asia Society, she was the Vice President of Policy Programs at the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA; 1998-2007), where she directed programs that advanced multilateral approaches to global problem solving and advocated in support of constructive US international engagement. Before joining UNA-USA, she was a Program Officer at the United Nations University (UNU; 1993-1998). She holds a B.A. from New York University and an M.A. from The City College of New York (CUNY). She is a frequent commentator in the news media and her op-eds have appeared in national and international press outlets. Suzanne resides in NYC’s Greenwich Village with her husband, jazz bassist and composer Ben Allison, and daughter.


Steven Eke provides political and security risk analysis on the territory of the former Soviet Union, with a focus on Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and the Baltic states. He provides analysis for Control Risks’ Country Risk Forecast online service and its PRIME in-depth political risk service, tracking political and security developments across the region and updating clients on their implications for commercial activities. Steven has written numerous tailored reports on political, security and operational risks for businesses in a range of sectors. He travels regularly to countries in the region to meet businesspeople, as well as major stakeholders from government and civil society. Prior to joining Control Risks Steven held a number of senior analytical and reporting posts in the BBC’s World Service. He worked for more than a decade as the broadcaster’s lead in-house reporter (radio and online) on the countries of the former Soviet Union, covering many of the key events and upheavals of the 2000s, including Ukraine’s ‘Orange Revolution’, Vladimir Putin’s re-election and the conflicts in the North Caucasus. Having travelled extensively in many remote parts of Russia, in his final post as Editor of the BBC’s Russian Service, he carried overall responsibility for the service’s radio transmissions and the content of its website. Prior to the BBC, Steven worked for the Britain-Russia Centre, an organisation funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, pursuing projects aimed at democratisation, free media, election monitoring and minority rights in the region. Steven has an Honours degree in Modern Languages from the University of Bristol, and an MSocSc in Political Science from the University of Birmingham. Over the past twenty years, he has lived and worked extensively in the countries of the former Soviet Union, particularly Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and speaks fluent Russian.


Comfort Ero oversees Crisis Group's work in West, Central, Southern and Horn of Africa as the organization's Africa program director. She first joined the organisation in 2001 as West Africa project director, before serving for three years as the political affairs officer and policy advisor to the special representative of the secretary general in Liberia. Prior to Crisis Group, she was deputy director of the Africa Program at the International Centre for Transitional Justice, a research fellow at the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College, and a research associate for the International Institute for Strategic Studies. She holds a PhD from the London School of Economics.


Jean-Marie Guéhenno was until his appointment as president of the International Crisis Group the Arnold Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University and the director of its centre for international conflict resolution (School of International and Public Affairs). He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. In 2012, he was appointed deputy joint special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria. He left that position to chair the commission appointed by President François Hollande to review the French Defense and national security posture. Between 2000 and 2008, he served as the United Nations’ Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. A former French diplomat, he held the position of Chairman of the Institut des Hautes Études de Défense Nationale between 1998 and 2000, and served as director of the French policy planning staff and as ambassador to the Western European Union. Mr. Guéhenno has been active on several boards, including the board of the International Crisis Group and the board of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, of which he became the chairman at the end of 2010. Mr Guéhenno is an Officer of the ‘Légion d’honneur’ and a Commander of the ‘Bundesverdienstkreuz’ of Germany. He is married and has one daughter.


Christina Hamilton is the Vice President, Chief of Staff, Office of the CEO, of Western Union BUsiness Solutions. As Chief of Staff, Office of the CEO, Ms. Hamilton is an active participant in accelerating the goals and accomplishments of both business and strategic objectives. In close collaboration with the CEO, she provides executive-level support ensuring that the CEO is kept up to date on the status of projects and initiatives. She is responsible for reviewing a high volume of detailed information in order to formulate required and objective issue analyses and providing regular CEO briefings. She is based in Denver. Previously, Hamilton acted as Regional Divisional Director for Western Union Business Solutions – UK and Ireland, where she led a cross-functional organization of more than 400 staff and was responsible for the P&L of the region.  Hamilton has been with Western Union since 2012, and has held roles of increasing responsibility during that time, including CRM Director and Corporate Divisional Director. Prior to joining Western Union, Hamilton was the Head of Relationship Management at Capita Asset Services in London, where she led a team of over 100 sales professionals and was responsible for the WUBS partnership.  She started her career as an Operations and Technology professional at Citigroup Global Transaction Services in New York, and moved into Sales and Account Management roles when she was relocated to London in 2003.  She later joined UBS as CRM Director for Corporate Employee Financial Services, a part of the UK Wealth Management business, and moved to Capita following the set-up of a strategic partnership between the two organizations. Hamilton holds an International MBA summa cum laude from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.  She is a Dutch and US national, and speaks fluent Danish, Dutch, and French. 


Joost Hilterman leads the organisation’s research, analysis, policy prescription and advocacy in the Middle East and North Africa as the MENA Program Director. Previously, he was Crisis Group's Chief Operating Officer (2013-2014), in which capacity he was responsible for the oversight and management of the organisation’s programs and operations around the world. Prior to that, he was Crisis Group's Deputy Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa (2007-2012) and Project Director for the Middle East (2002-2007), helping to manage a team of analysts deployed throughout the region.


Richard Horsey spent 10 years working for the ILO on forced labor in Myanmar, including 5 years as the organisation’s representative in Yangon (a book drawing lessons from these experiences was published in 2011 by Routledge). He later worked for UNOCHA, leading a year-long study on how to improve delivery of humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected parts of Myanmar. Subsequently, he was appointed senior adviser and spokesperson for the UN relief effort in Myanmar following cyclone Nargis. He is a widely-published political analyst, focussing on isolated authoritarian regimes. He is consultant Myanmar Adviser for the International Crisis Group, and has also written for Chatham House, the World Bank, the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum and the Transnational Institute. He is a fluent Burmese speaker, and holds a PhD in psychology.


Dr. Mo Ibrahim is a global expert in mobile communications with a distinguished academic and business career. In 2006 he set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to support great African leadership. The Foundation focuses on two major new initiatives to stimulate debate around, and improve the quality of, governance in Africa. The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership recognizes and celebrates excellence; and the Ibrahim Index of African Governance provides citizens, civil society, parliaments and governments with a comprehensive and quantifiable tool to assess progress. Dr Ibrahim is also founding chairman of Satya Capital, an investment company focused on opportunities in Africa. Sudanese by birth, Dr Ibrahim is the founder and former chairman of Celtel International, one of Africa's most successful companies. The company now operates in 15 African countries, covering more than a third of the continent's population. The company has invested more than U.S.$750 million in Africa, helping to bring the benefits of mobile communications to millions of people across the continent. In 2005, Celtel International was sold to MTC Kuwait for $3.4 billion, making it one of Africa's most successful commercial ventures. In 2007, Dr Ibrahim was awarded the GSM Association Chairman's Award, the telecommunication industry's highest accolade, for "helping the world to hear Africa's voice". In 2008, Dr Ibrahim was presented with the BNP Paribas Prize for Philanthropy and listed by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He has also been awarded The Economist's Innovation award for Social and Economic Innovation, and been presented with a number of honorary doctorates. 


Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger is a German career diplomat. He is Chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) and also serves as Global Head of Public Policy and Economic Research, Allianz SE, Munich. He is a member of the Supervisory Board of Allianz Deutschland AG, and of the European Advisory Board of Investcorp, London. Ambassador Ischinger served as State Secretary (Deputy Foreign Minister) in Berlin from 1998 to 2001, and as German Ambassador to the United States of America from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2008, he was the Federal Republic of Germany's Ambassador to London. He recently represented the OSCE in the Ukrainian crisis, and he was the EU chief negotiator in the Troika talks in 2007, which led to the declaration of independence of Kosovo. Wolfgang Ischinger studied law at the universities of Bonn and Geneva and obtained his law degree in 1972.  He did graduate and postgraduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and at Harvard Law School, Cambridge/USA (M. A., Fletcher School, 1973). Ambassador Ischinger has advised governments and international organizations. He has published widely on foreign policy, security, and arms control policy as well as on European and transatlantic issues. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission, the International Crisis Group, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and of the Governing Board of SIPRI, Stockholm. He was Co-Chair of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (Carnegie Endowment), and he is a member of the Global Zero Commission. He also serves on the Boards of the Atlantic Council of the U. S., of the American Institute of Contemporary German Studies (AICGS), of the American Academy, Berlin and of SWP, Berlin. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Tübingen. 


Wadah Khanfar is the president of the Sharq Forum, an independent think tank dedicated to developing long-term strategies for political development, social justice and economic prosperity of the people of the Middle East. He is a Board member of the Global Editors Network. He previously served as the director general of the Al Jazeera Network. He has been ranked by Foreign Policy Magazine in 2011 as the first in ‘The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers’, and in Fast Company as the first in the ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ (2011) and as one of the most ‘Powerful People in the World’ by Forbes Magazine (2009). During his tenure with Al Jazeera, the outlet went from a single channel to a media network with multiple properties including the Al Jazeera Arabic channel, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Sport, Al Jazeera’s news websites, the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Center, the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al Jazeera Mobile. On 20 Sep 2011, he stepped down as the head of Al Jazeera Network. Mr. Khanfar was born in the Palestinian town of Jenin in 1968. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering between 1985 and 1990 at the University of Jordan and went on to complete a post-graduate degree in Philosophy, a Diploma in African Studies from Sudan International University and an Honors Degree in International Politics. During this time, Khanfar started a student’s union that soon spread to several other universities and started an inter-university dialogue group amongst students constituted from a range of political backgrounds. By 1989 the student’s union was playing an active role in debating the future of the democratic process.


Michael Moran is Managing Director, Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks, and is based in the New York office. A foreign policy analyst, author and geo-strategist for investment banks and other institutions, he concentrates on macro risk and US energy, foreign policy and global economic matters. He is author of The Reckoning: Debt, Democracy and the Future of American Power, and co-author of the The Fastest Billion: The Story Behind Africa's Economic Revolution. Before joining Control Risks, Michael served as head of thought leadership at the investment bank Renaissance Capital, focused primarily on global energy issues and oil and gas opportunities in frontier markets, particularly sub-Saharan Africa. Before that, as a collaborator of Dr. Nouriel Roubini, Michael served as chief geo-strategist for Roubini Global Economics and helped launch the company’s product offering and digital strategy. Before moving to financial services, Michael spent four years running digital strategy and editorial at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he launched CFR’s Crisis Guides series, which garnered three Emmy awards and numerous other honors. He was also a senior correspondent and ran international coverage for; a London-based US affairs analyst for the BBC World Service; a Munich-based senior editor for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; and, in his early career, a reporter for the Associated Press and several newspapers. Michael is an adjunct professor of journalism at Bard College, and was the Hearst New Media Teaching Fellow at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2003. He spent over a decade as a board member of the Overseas Press Club, as well as a judge of its annual awards, and as a member of Human Rights Watch communications advisory board. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Economist, Slate, The Spectator (UK), The Guardian, and other journals, has been a guest expert on CNBC, Bloomberg, NBC News and the BBC. Michael has lectured at dozens of universities and think tanks around the world and just published a novel about the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Thomas R. Pickering, currently Vice Chairman at Hills and Company, which provides advice and counsel to a number of major U.S. enterprises, retired as Senior Vice President International Relations and as a member of the Executive Council of The Boeing Company on July 1, 2006. He served in that position for 5 and one half years. He was responsible for The Boeing Company’s relations with foreign governments and the company’s globalisation. Pickering joined Boeing in January 2001, upon his retirement as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs where he had served since May 1997. Prior to that, he was briefly the president of the Eurasia Foundation, a Washington-based organisation that makes small grants and loans in the states of the former Soviet Union. Pickering holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Pickering also served on assignments in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. From 1989 to 1992, he was U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Department of State and Special Assistant to Secretaries William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger from 1973 to 1974. In 1983 and in 1986, Pickering won the Distinguished Presidential Award and, in 1996, the Department of State’s highest award – the Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and the Council on Foreign Relations. He speaks French, Spanish and Swahili and has some fluency in Arabic, Hebrew and Russian. 


Paul Quinn-Judge spent 16 years in Moscow, latterly (1996-2006) as Time Magazine’s bureau chief, during which time he also acted on occasions as Kabul and Baghdad bureau chief. After a Knight Fellowship in South Caucasus and Central Asia, he was Crisis Group’s Central Asia project director for 5 years, based in Bishkek. After several years as director of the Asia and then the Europe and Central Asia program, he is now based in Kyiv, covering Ukrainian and Russian issues, and in the past year has overseen three reports on the Ukrainian crisis. He has an M.A. in Slavonic studies from Trinity College, Cambridge.


Gideon Rose is the Editor of Foreign Affairs. He served as Managing Editor of the magazine from December 2000 to September 2010. From 1995-2000 he was Olin Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and from 1994-95 he served as Associate Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 1986-87 he was Assistant Editor at The National Interest, and in 1985-86 held the same position at The Public Interest. He has taught American foreign policy at Columbia and Princeton universities. Mr. Rose received a B.A. in Classics from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University. His book How Wars End was published by Simon & Schuster in October 2010. Other publications include Understanding the War on Terror (edited with James F. Hoge, Jr.; Council on Foreign Relations, 2005); America and the World: Debating the New Shape of International Politics (edited with James F. Hoge, Jr.; Council on Foreign Relations, 2002); How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War (edited with James F. Hoge, Jr.; PublicAffairs, 2001); “Democracy Promotion and American Foreign Policy,” International Security (Winter 2000/2001); “Conservatism and American Foreign Policy: Present Laughter vs. Utopian Bliss,” The National Interest (Fall 1999); “It Can Happen Here: Facing the New Terrorism,” Foreign Affairs (March/April 1999); “The Rollback Fantasy,” Foreign Affairs (January/February 1999); and “Neoclassical Realism and Theories of Foreign Policy,” World Politics (October 1998).


Ghassan Salamé is professor of International Relations at Sciences-Po (Paris) and the founding Dean of its Paris School of International Affairs - PSIA. Born in 1951 in Lebanon, he studied Law, Humanities (PhD) and Political Science (PhD). He taught international relations at the American and Saint-Joseph universities in Beirut and at Paris I University. In 2000-2003 he was Lebanon's Minister of Culture, in charge of national heritage and the arts, Chairman of the Committee and Spokesman for the Arab Summit (March 2002) and for the Francophone Summit (October 2002) in Beirut. Ghassan Salamé was Political Advisor to the UN Mission in Iraq (2003) and Senior Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General (2003-2005 and again since August 2012). He is presently Vice-Chairman of the Board of the International Crisis Group (Brussels) and sits on the board of the Open Society Institute (New York), the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a few other not-for-profit organisations. He is the founding chairman of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut). He is the author of (inter alia) Quand l’Amérique refait le monde; Appels d'empire : ingérences et résistances à l'âge de la mondialisation; State and Society in the Arab Levant and editor (inter alia) of Democracy Without Democrats: Politics of Liberalization in the Arab and Muslim World; The Politics of Arab Integration and The Foundations of the Arab State. His essays have been published in Foreign Policy, Revue française de science politique, European Journal of International Affairs, The Middle East Journal and others. He was given the Phenix (Beirut), ADELFI (Paris) and Al-Idrissi (Rome, 2012) awards, and the Medaille of the Academie Francaise (2003), made Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur (France, 2004) and named 'The Arab Cultural Personality of the Year' (UAE, 2004).  


Mark L. Schneider joined the International Crisis Group in spring 2001 as Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America. He directs the Washington advocacy office, conveying Crisis Group analyses and recommendations to the White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and Congress, as well as the World Bank and other international organisations. Prior to Crisis Group, he served as the Director of the Peace Corps from 1999 until 2001. He holds a B.A in journalism from the University of California-Berkeley, a M.A. in Political Science from San Jose State University, and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from American University, Washington College of Law. 


George Soros is founder and chair of Soros Fund Management LLC and the Open Society Foundations. Born in Budapest in 1930, he survived the Nazi occupation during World War II and fled communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. He then settled in the United States, where he accumulated a large fortune through the international investment fund he founded and managed. Soros has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began providing funds to help black students attend Cape Town University in apartheid South Africa. The Open Society Foundations today operate in more than 100 countries, with annual expenditures that reached $835 million in 2011, working to promote the values of open society, human rights, and transparency. Soros is the author of over a dozen books, including The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival? (2014). His articles and essays on politics, society, and economics regularly appear in major newspapers and magazines around the world.


Ali Vaez is the International Crisis Group's Senior Analyst on Iran. Before joining Crisis Group, he headed the Iran project at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC, focusing on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Trained as a scientist, Vaez has more than a decade of experience in journalism, including as a foreign correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Switzerland. He has written widely on Iranian affairs and is a regular contributor to media outlets such as BBC TV and Radio, CNN, National Public Radio, and Reuters. His work has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, and The National, among others. Vaez was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University from 2008 to 2010 and holds a PhD from the University of Geneva and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Oliver Wack provides political, operational and security risk analysis on Colombia for Control Risks’ subscription services, Country Risk Forecast and PRIME, as well as undertaking bespoke services for clients operating in the region. Prior to joining Control Risks, Oliver worked as an Investment Analyst with Atheneum Partners in Berlin, where he was responsible for conducting commercial investment due diligence for clients through a network of industry experts. Since 2006, Oliver also worked for the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington DC, Apartadó and Bogotá. In his role as a Verification Officer with the Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP/OAS), Oliver participated in the verification of the peace process between the Colombian Government and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) paramilitary umbrella group. Oliver has also held Consultant positions in the Department for the Promotion of Democracy (DPD), and in the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO), and participated in electoral observation missions to Colombia (three times), El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. Oliver holds a First Class BA (Hons) in development studies and international relations from London Metropolitan University and graduated summa cum laude from his Masters of International Affairs in International Security at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). Oliver is a native German speaker and is also fluent in English, Spanish and French.





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About Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group is widely recognised as the world’s leading independent, non-partisan source of analysis and advice on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. Crisis Group was established in 1995 by a group of prominent foreign policy specialists who were deeply concerned about the international community’s failure to respond effectively to the tragedies of Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. Since then, it has expanded globally, continuously working to find peace and just solutions. Today, Crisis Group's expert analysts are based around the world, conducting in-depth, on-the-ground research from the Middle East and Southeast Asia to Latin America and Africa. Using this rigorous and actionable reporting, Crisis Group's senior management team and Board of Trustees, highly experienced in government and international affairs, work to persuade policymakers to take action in pursuit of peace. Visit for insights and analysis on international conflict.

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