2014-2015 Penn Kemble Fellows

Rebecca Aaberg is program officer for the Council for a Community of Democracies (CCD). She has played a lead role in organizing democracy education programs in Colombia, Kosovo, and Tunisia and is currently working on a series of democracy education workshops that are expected to take place this fall in Mongolia and Nepal as part of a UN-funded project. Recently, she served as CCD’s contact point for the Mark Palmer Forum on Advancing Democracy (co-hosted with Freedom House). In 2013, Rebecca coordinated the publication of CCD’s Military Engagement: Influencing Armed Forces Worldwide to Support Democratic Transitions with Brookings Institution Press and over 20 co-authors. She is the editor of CCD’s Best Practices Manual on Democracy Education and of the quarterly CCD Advocate. Outside of work, Rebecca is a vice president of the Penn Alumni Club of Washington, DC. She has a BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Hengameh Ahmadi was born and raised in Iran. She has a BA in computer engineering from Tehran Polytechnic, and a MA in international relations from Queen Mary, University of London. She was a senior in college when she started working part-time for an English language newspaper in Tehran as a reporter, and became full time staff after graduation. Later, Ahmadi joined a consultancy group and worked on political risk analysis projects. During these years, she was involved with multiple civil society groups and NGOs primarily working on women’s rights and gender equality. Ahmadi was in Iran when the Green Movement started and she considers that a turning point in her activism towards building a more democratic society. She later left Iran to pursue a graduate degree in the United Kingdom, and came to Washington, DC, after completing her MA to follow her dreams of promoting democracy and gender equality in the MENA region and around the world. Ahmadi currently work on a civil society empowerment project at Eurasia Foundation.

Sara Birkenthal is Special Assistant to the Managing Director at Perseus Strategies, a law and consulting firm that focuses on human rights, humanitarian, and corporate social responsibility projects. She has previously worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, Human Rights Watch, American Civil Liberties Union, and The Jordan Times. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Claremont McKenna College, with a B.A., cum laude, and with dual departmental honors in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. Sara is the recipient of the Camp Award for International Relations, Marc Wesley Hardy Human Rights Award, Center for Human Rights Fellowship, and Jack Stark Fellowship in Security Studies. She has published op-eds and articles in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law, The Jordan Times, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and Olive Roots, a research journal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of which she is co-founder. She is conversant in Arabic.

Emily Boitel directs the International Labor Rights Forum’s rule of law programs across China and Southeast Asia. She collaborates directly with local stakeholders including labor rights activists, union officials, and academics to educate labor law students, increase access to the justice system for migrant workers, build local NGO capacity, and otherwise improve the legal and policy environment for labor law reform.  Emily holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University in International Studies and East Asian Studies, a graduate certificate from the SAIS Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and is fluent in French and Standard Mandarin Chinese.

Anna Borshchevskaya is a fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD). She specializes in the politics of the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. Until January 2014 she also worked as Communications Director at the American Islamic Congress. Prior to that, she was Assistant Director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. Earlier, in 2011, she served as a qualitative research analyst for Glevum Associates, a U.S. military contractor, conducting public opinion research in Afghanistan. Prior to that, she worked as a research analyst at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, focusing on the economies and politics of Russia and Eastern Europe. Her earlier positions were, among others, at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the Swiss Foundation for World Affairs, and the International Organization for Migration. Borshchevskaya has published widely in publications such as CNN.com, as well as in journals such as The New Criterion, Turkish Policy Quarterly, and the Middle East Quarterly, and is a columnist for Forbes. She also conducts translation and analysis for the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office and its flagship publication,Operational Environment Watch. She holds a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo, and an MA in International Relations from SAIS, where she focused on Middle East studies, international law, and international economics. She is fluent in Russian and speaks Arabic and Spanish.

Enrique Bravo-Escobar is a PhD candidate at Georgetown University (expected May 2015), where he is writing a dissertation on “Post-electoral Protests: Context and Incentives for Actors Challenging Results in Latin America.” Prior to that, Bravo-Escobar served as Senior Advisor for Policy Planning at the Embassy of Mexico in the United States, and as an analyst at the Eurasia Group. He has a Licentiate in International Relations from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo De México (ITAM).

Michael Chen is a recent graduate of Stanford University, where he majored in Political Science and focused on comparative politics and East Asia. He currently works at an international development company where he assists with recruitment for USAID projects; he also serves as a volunteer at Initiatives for China, a non-profit promoting democratic transition in China. His past experience includes work at the Uyghur Human Rights Project, Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law, the World Bank, the Project 2049 Institute, and the International Committee for Fair Elections in Taiwan. While at Stanford, he led Stanford Friends of Tibet in an effort to promote Tibetan culture and raise awareness about human rights violations in Tibet. He was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, and resides in Washington, DC.

Dylan Clement works in the MENA division at the International Republican Institute, where he assists in the management of several grants from the US government. Before joining IRI, Dylan worked at a non-profit start-up researching Arabic social media from the Syrian revolution. An Austin native, Dylan graduated with honors from the University of Texas with a double major in political science and history with a minor in journalism. He also studied Arabic, and finally gained professional fluency after spending a year in Alexandria, Egypt, through the NSEP-funded Language Flagship program.  After Egypt, Dylan returned to his hometown for a summer to enjoy the bountiful sunshine, music, and Texas BBQ before relocating to Washington, DC.

Rachel DeLevie-Orey is a program assistant with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center where her work focuses on US-Cuban relations, Mexican reform, and energy policy. After graduating from American University with a degree in International Studies, DeLevie-Orey worked for Grunwald Communications creating TV and radio ads for Democratic candidates including Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin. Her interests include democratic transitions, the role of technology in the developing world, and salsa dancing. She is fluent in Spanish.

Stacy Edgar is a director at Chemonics International, a Washington, DC, based international development consulting firm. She currently supports programming in Afghanistan and focuses on program design. She has also worked extensively throughout Asia, including assignments in Burma, China, India, the Philippines, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. Prior to joining Chemonics, Edgar worked served as a research assistant at the Overseas Development Institute, volunteered with Médecins Sans Frontières UK, and interned with the American Bar Association–United Nations Development Programme International Legal Resource Center. In 2008, she completed a master’s degree in global politics and civil society from the London School of Economics where she focused on the role of civil society in democratic and post-conflict transitions. Edgar completed her bachelors at the University of California, Los Angeles, in political science and international development.

Ana Luiza Farias has a long career in journalism and communications, with experience in daily newspaper, press and public relations in the public sector, and corporate communications in the private sector. Farias is also an experienced policymaker, with a focus on health systems. A former Fulbright fellow, she recently completed her MA in International Relations and International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University.

Aleksandr Fisher graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University with degrees in Political Science and History. He has worked on the Project on Democratic Transitions at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Fisher is currently pursuing a PhD at George Washington University studying comparative politics with an emphasis on democratization in Eurasia and political behavior in Post-Soviet states.

Nury Gambarrotti serves as Legislative and Research Assistant on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Chairman Robert Menendez. As a Legislative Assistant, she handles a broad range of issues including economic development, counter-narcotics, and human rights as they relate to Latin America and the Caribbean. She was raised in East Brunswick, NJ, and received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University. She is also a Citizenship Education Teacher at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) and a member of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association.

Brittany Grabel is a Program Officer at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), where she supports the organization’s global programs and policy research to promote and protect civil society around the world. Prior to joining ICNL, she worked for the National Democratic Institute in Washington, DC, where she supported programs in Burkina Faso to strengthen the political participation of women and youth. She has also worked for the World Food Programme in Lilongwe, Malawi, as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. Grabel holds a BA in International Studies from Kenyon College. While at Kenyon, she spent a semester studying abroad in Dakar, Senegal, conducted research on the repatriation of Mauritanian refugees, and helped refugees become self-sufficient as an intern at the International Institute of Boston.

Axel Halvorssen works with former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and former US Ambassador to Venezuela Otto J. Reich as an analyst at his consultancy, Otto Reich Associates, based in Washington, DC.  Halvorssen’s passion for politics started at a young age with the exile of his family and the nationalization of all their possessions, from Venezuela, by the Chavez regime. He believes social networking has played a critical role in the struggle for democracy around the world by allowing the circulation of information and facts that are forbidden, hidden, or downplayed by certain regimes, and have made it possible for the masses to come together and address these institutions. Axel has worked at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, where he served as a translator in the Bureau for the Americas. He worked for The Human Rights Foundation in Norway as part of the management team for the Oslo Freedom Forum. He worked in finance for UBS in the private banking division out of their offices in Miami. Halvorssen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Arts and Sciences with a major in Political Science and a concentration in US foreign policy.

Nicholas Hamisevicz is the Director of Research and Academic Affairs at the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI), where he focuses on issues affecting the U.S.-South Korea alliance, especially those related to North Korea. In addition, he leads KEI’s efforts to connect the policy and academic communities. A frequent visitor to Asia, including a trip to North Korea in August 2011, Hamisevicz has written extensively on matters facing the region. Prior to joining KEI, Mr. Hamisevicz was the Research Associate in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, where he provided research analysis on political and security affairs on China, Korea, and South Asia. He was also a co-author for Heritage’s publication of the Key Asian Indicators: A Book of Charts. Hamisevicz traveled twice to Taiwan as the lead liaison for The Heritage Foundation’s democracy building in Asia conferences. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Communication Studies from West Virginia Wesleyan College, and has a MA in International Communication from American University and a MA degree in International Studies from Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. Hamisevicz enjoys playing soccer and ping-pong as well as stand-up paddle boarding on the Potomac River with his wife.

Melinda Haring is an associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. A longtime observer of political developments in the Eurasia region, Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia. She has served as an international election observer in Kazakhstan and Ukraine. A graduate of Georgetown University’s Democracy and Governance Program, she holds an MA in Government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is a regular contributor to Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab and is currently writing a book on the Cold War.

Anne Henochowicz is the translations editor at China Digital Times. She has contributed to Foreign Policy, The China Beat, and the Cairo Review of Global Affairs. She earned Masters degrees in Chinese literature and folklore from The Ohio State University and in ethnomusicology from the University of Cambridge.

Brianna Hiser currently works as a Program and Development Officer for Eurasia at the Eurasia Foundation. Hiser previously worked as the Georgia desk officer at the National Democratic Institute as well as on the Iraq program at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. She has done field work in Georgia, the Balkans and Iraq and recently completed an Embassy Policy Specialist fellowship for the US Embassy in Tbilisi, where she conducted research on the Georgian media sector following the 2012 parliamentary elections. Hiser specializes in post-Soviet political transition and political decision-making. She earned an MA in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies in addition to an MA in Public Administration from the University of Washington. She has lived and traveled in Russia, studying and volunteering in Izhevsk and Nizhnii Novgorod. In addition to speaking fluent Russian, Hiser speaks Persian and is an avid reader about all things Iranian.

Rachel Hoff serves as Director of External Affairs at the Foreign Policy Initiative, an organization she helped found in 2009. She has ten years of experience working in Washington at think tanks, on Capitol Hill, and for political campaigns and recently finished her Master of Global Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Hoff served as Director of Government Relations & Outreach at FPI from its founding in 2009 until 2012. From 2006 to 2008, she worked as a Legislative Assistant and Research Analyst for Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), focusing specifically on foreign affairs and national security issues. From 2004 to 2006, Hoff conducted research at the American Enterprise Institute with several prominent foreign policy scholars. She holds a BA in Political Science from Tufts University.

Jamie Kirchick is a Fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative. A widely-traveled foreign correspondent, he has reported from across Europe, the Caucuses, Central Asia, Northern and Southern Africa and the Middle East. He is a correspondent for The Daily Beast, a columnist for Tablet and writes frequently for publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, Commentary and Foreign Policy among many others, and appears often as a commentator on television and radio. Kirchick previously worked for The New Republic, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty based in Prague, and was a 2012-2013 Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Berlin.

Ravi Kumar is an entrepreneur, strategic communicator and digital governance advocate. He serves as a Digital Strategist with the Governance Global Practice at the World Bank Group in Washington, DC. At night, he works on his latest start up, Code for Nepal, to increase access to open practical data and increase digital literacy in Nepal. In November 2013, he was a visiting Digital Media lecturer, and Academic and Cultural Series Speaker at Buena Vista University, his alma mater, where he earned a BA. In 2013, he also served as a Public Policy Fellow at The Fund for American Studies. He co-founded Grassroot Movement in Nepal, a non-profit in 2009. It has rebuilt more than 25 schools so far in villages of Nepal. Kumar has an MSc from Columbia University, where he specialized in digital media and was a fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. Connect with him on Twitter: @RaviNepal

Tristan-Aurel Mouline is an analyst at the Embassy of France in the U.S., as well as a consultant for the Bertelsmann Foundation. His areas of expertise include political economy, international diplomacy, and European affairs. He has worked globally in Azerbaijan, Slovenia, Jamaica, France, Belgium and the US, in both the private and public sectors. His work experience includes interviewing government officials and executive members of large corporations for special country reports published in Time and Fortune; co-organizing the 22nd Franco-German Evian Meeting, an exclusive gathering of leading French and German CEOs; representing global corporations vis-à-vis European institutions, and authoring legislative amendments; elaborating official reports on foreign policy issues with a focus on democratic transitions and transatlantic relations. Mouline also co-founded and contributed articles to the Revue APE at Sciences Po, a journal dedicated to the study of public policy and European affairs. Mouline holds a Master of Science in Global Governance and Diplomacy from the University of Oxford, a Master’s degree in European Affairs from Sciences Po in Paris, and a Master of Science in Political Economy of Europe from the London School of Economics. Mouline, who completed his BA in International Politics at the American University of Paris, is fluent in French and English, and proficient in Spanish. He is married and currently lives in Washington, DC.

Félix A. Quintero-Vollmer has been providing legal services since August 2012 to the Inter-American Development Bank as a consultant for the Legal Department and for the Corporate Legal Affairs Division. He advises on intellectual property and labor matters, conflict resolution, privileges and immunities, procurement and ethics issues. Before moving to Washington DC, Quintero-Vollmer worked as an attorney for Shell Venezuela, S.A. in Caracas, advising on both upstream and downstream operations, as well as corporate, labor and industrial security matters. During law school, Quintero-Vollmer interned for both Shell Venezuela, S.A. and Baker & McKenzie’s Caracas office. Quintero-Vollmer holds an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from the Georgetown University Law Center, as well as a Bachelor of Laws (Abogado) and a BA in Liberal Arts (Licenciado en Estudios Liberales), both from the Universidad Metropolitana (Caracas, Venezuela).

Yulia Savchenko is an international journalist and broadcaster currently serving at the Russian service of the Voice of America (International Broadcasting Bureau) in Washington, DC.  At the Voice of America she covers congressional affairs and international relations. She also anchors TV shows and conducts high profile interviews. Savchenko holds two Excellence Awards from the International Broadcasting Bureau, and has reported and anchored various TV and radio shows internationally. She worked as a BBC World Service reporter in London prior to joining her current job. In London she served as both a radio host for popular shows and as a reporter covering international politics. Her reporting assignments included reporting on the G20 summit in Pittsburgh and covering presidential elections in Armenia. Her list of international assignments also includes coverage of NATO summit in Lisbon, coverage of parliamentary elections in Ukraine and Finland. In 2009, Savchenko served as a BBC World Service correspondent in Washington.

Mariam Tarasashvili is with the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, where she focuses on freedom of religion, other human rights issues and democratic governance in Europe and Central Asia. Prior to this, she served as Head of Labor Relations and Social Partnership Division in the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, focusing on the labor policy development, international cooperation and donor relations and elaborating country labor and employment strategy. In 2007-2010, Tarasashvili worked with the Young Socialists of Georgia (YSG) on the issues of developing democratic values and principles among Georgian society, and on active youth engagement in civil society and the development of youth policy. In 2009-2010, she held internships in Ministry of Defense of Georgia and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, and in 2008 she participated in NATO Bucharest Summi as a volunteer of Information Center on NATO. In 2008 she also joined the World Bank Youth Voices of Georgia for two years, implementing youth activities in the frame of World Bank policy priorities. Tarasashvili earned a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from Tallinn University (Estonia) with a focus on Democracy and Security. She speaks four languages: English, Russian, German and Georgian.

Honore Tchou focuses on international development in Africa, and recently returned from a one-year fellowship in Liberia where he worked with President Ellen Sirleaf on Public Sector reform. He received his MA in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and prior to that served as a Peace Corps health volunteer in Madagascar. Tchou is focused on better understanding how democracy can support development, how democratic governments can more effectively use foreign aid in promoting the private sector and reducing poverty, and how new actors with non-democratic models will or are changing the playing field. Tchou speaks French, Chinese, and Malagasy.