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Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and current Senior Fellow at the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University’s Green School of International and Public Affairs
Hon. David J. Kramer joined Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs as a Senior Fellow in the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy in May 2017. Before moving to Miami, Kramer worked in Washington, DC for 24 years, most recently with the McCain Institute for International Leadership as Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy; he remains an Affiliated Senior Fellow with the McCain Institute. Previously, he served for four years as President of Freedom House. Prior to that, he was a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Kramer served eight years in the U.S. Department of State during the administration of President George W. Bush, including as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (responsible for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus affairs as well as regional non-proliferation issues); Professional Staff Member in the Secretary’s Office of Policy Planning; and Senior Adviser to the Undersecretary for Global Affairs. He also was Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy in Washington. He is author of the recent book, Back to Containment: Dealing with Putin’s Regime.
Board Vice Chair
Executive Director for European Cooperative for Rural Development, former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia and former USAID Assistant Administrator for the Middle East
Hon. Paige Alexander is Executive Director (Amsterdam and Brussels) for European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD), a non-profit organization that strives to increase farmers’ capacity to sustainably grow quality crops matched to the commercial needs of the food and feed industry. Ms. Alexander has served in numerous senior positions in the US government, including USAID Assistant Administrator for two Regional Bureaus covering 25 USAID missions and development programs from Europe and Eurasia through the Middle East and North Africa. She draws upon 25 years of experience working in international development, both in the field and in Washington, DC. Paige’s other notable positions include senior vice president at IREX, associate director of Project Liberty at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and as a consultant to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Open Society Institute in Prague. She currently sits on the Global Advisory Board for World Learning and the Global Advisory Council for IREX, is on the board of trustees for the Romanian American Foundation and holds volunteer positions with War Child Holland and Free Press Unlimited.
Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, former Russian Deputy Minister of Finance and First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia
Dr. Sergey Aleksashenko is currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a position he’s held since 2015. Mr. Aleksashenko is a member of the Board of Directors of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom.
From 2008 – 2014, Mr. Aleksashenko was a Director of macroeconomic research at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and served as a member of the boards for Aeroflot-Russian Airlines, United Grain Company and United Aircraft Corporation.
From 2010 to 2013, Mr. Aleksashenko was a member of the PARNAS party’s Political Council. He was the President of the investment boutique Antanta Capital from 2004-2006, and from 2006-2008 he acted as the President and CEO of Merrill Lynch Russia.
During the 1990s, Mr. Aleksashenko served as a Senior Expert in the Commission on Economic Reform in the Government of the USSR, Deputy Minister of Finance in charge of budgetary planning and tax policy, and First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia in charge of monetary and foreign exchange policy and settlement system. While at the Central bank, he served as a member of the Board of Directors for Sberbank, VTB Bank, Mosnarbank (London) and BCEN-Eurobank(Paris).
After public service in Russia, Mr. Aleksashenko spent ten years in private business as a Managing director of Interros Holding, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Power Machines and Open Investment and and as a member of the Board for Norilsk Nickel and Rosbank.
Mr. Aleksashenko graduated from Moscow Lomonosov State University in 1986 and spent four years in the Central Economic-Mathematical Institute, USSR Academy of Sciences where he earned his Ph.D.
The Director of the Human Rights and Civil Society program at Human Rights First
Ms. Melissa Hooper is a lawyer, a rule of law expert, and the Director of Human Rights and Civil Society program at Human Rights First.
Ms. Hooper was the Regional Director for Russia and Azerbaijan at ABA from 2011-2014, living in Moscow. She was the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Working Group of what was once the Bilateral Presidential Commission with Russian lawyer Natalia Taubina from 2011 to 2014. It later became the Rule of Law Working Group.
Ms. Hooper’s research focuses on Russia’s foreign policy strategies influencing and undermining democratic institutions, and the intersection between these strategies and anti-democratic trends in neighboring countries, most recently in Central Europe. She recently investigated Russia’s use of non-governmental organizations to spread anti-democratic ideas and disinformation in Europe; explored the link between Russian disinformation and hate speech in the European Union and the United States; and analyzed the proliferation of Russian-style laws and policies targeting independent institutions such as civil society, media, and the judiciary in Hungary and Poland.
Ms. Hooper is the author of Poland’s New Front: A Government’s War Against Civil Society (Aug 2017 report), The non-governmental sector: pro-Russia tools masquerading as independent voices (Foreign Policy Centre; Apr 2017), the issue brief Russian Influence in Europe: Six Ways (Other Than Hacking) Russia is Exploiting Divisions and the Rise of Xenophobia in Europe (Jan 2017), and Russia’s Bad Example, a description of Russian-style anti-free expression and anti-NGO laws (2016). She has undertaken extensive research and work experience in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. She has led a policy working group on combating Russian disinformation for the last couple of years.
David M. Rubenstein Fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution
Dr. Alina Polyakova is the David M. Rubenstein Fellow for foreign policy at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe and Adjunct Professor of European studies at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Polyakova is a recognized expert on Russian foreign policy, US-Russia-Europe relations, and Russian political warfare. She is also the author of the 2015 book, The Dark Side of European Integration, which examines the rise of far-right political parties in Europe. Polyakova has written extensively on Russia in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The Wall Street Journal and is a frequent commentator on Fox News, CNN, BBC and elsewhere.
A former Fulbright scholar, Polyakova previously served as Director of Research and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and as a Senior Research Fellow and Professor at the University of Bern in Switzerland, in addition to holding fellowships from the National Science Foundation among others.
Polyakova earned her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.
Professor of political science at theand a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research
A graduate of Oxford University (B.A. Hons.) and Harvard University (Ph.D. 1995), he has published four books and numerous articles in leading political science and economics journals including the American Political Science Review and The American Economic Review, as well as in public affairs journals such as Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy.
His research focuses on Russian politics and economics as well as comparative political economy, including in particular the analysis of democratization, the politics of authoritarian states, political decentralization, and corruption.
A former lead editor of the American Political Science Review, he has served as associate editor or on the editorial boards of the journals Post-Soviet Affairs, Comparative Political Studies, Economics and Politics, Politeia, and the Russian Journal of Economics.
He has served as a consultant for the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and USAID. In Russia, he is a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Higher School of Economics and a member of the Jury of the National Prize in Applied Economics.
He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution (Stanford) and the Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna), and has received fellowships from the German Marshall Fund of the US and the Smith Richardson Foundation. At UCLA, he has served as acting director of the Center for European and Russian Studies.
His latest book, The Return: Russia’s Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev (The Free Press, 2011) was one of the Financial Times’ “Best Political Books of 2011”. Since 2014, he has been the director of the Russia Political Insight Project, an international collaboration funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, to investigate political decisionmaking in Putin’s Russia. He is the editor of The New Autocracy: Information, Politics, and Policy in Putin’s Russia (Brookings Institution Press 2018).
A Visiting Fellow at the Project 2049 Institute
Ms. Ellen Bork writes about American foreign policy with an emphasis on democracy and human rights.
She is a visiting fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, and previously held positions on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Department of State, Freedom House and the Foreign Policy Initiative.
Ms. Bork has published opinion and other articles in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The American Interest, the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, the New Republic, and World Affairs Journal.
Ms. Bork has testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
She is a member of the District of Columbia bar and holds degrees from Yale University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Ambassador (ret.) in Residence at Northwestern University, former U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and former U.S. Ambassador to Georgia
Amb. Ian Kelly is Ambassador (ret.) in Residence at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He is a retired senior foreign service officer who last served as the United States Ambassador to Georgia, from 2015 to 2018. He previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from 2010 to 2013. Prior to his ambassadorships, Kelly held a variety of high-level roles at the U.S. State Department, including serving as the Department spokesman under Secretary Hillary Clinton and as Director of the Office Russian Affairs. Prior to joining the State Department, he earned a PhD in Russian Language and Literature from Columbia University.
Washington Director at PEN America, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and former USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia
Hon. Thomas O. Melia is Washington Director at PEN America. Prior to joining PEN America, he served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, responsible for Europe and Eurasia, south and central Asia, and the Middle East, and as Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) until January 2017.
Mr. Melia has also served as Deputy Executive Director of Freedom House, Vice President for Programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and Associate Director of the Solidarity Center. Mr. Melia is a monthly columnist for The American Interest and chair of the board of the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). Recently, Melia was a Fellow with the Human Freedom Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, helping to lead a bipartisan initiative to reinvigorate American leadership in defense of human rights and democracy at home and abroad.
He has taught at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Service, Georgetown University, and his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he received his MA and BA.
Board member (ex officio)
President, and Founder of the Free Russia Foundation