Past Guests

POFA has interviewed leading experts on subject matters from North Korea and international trade policy to American grand strategy and Antarctica. Past guests have included professors, think tankers, practitioners, journalists, an ambassador, and a Vice President. We’ve interviewed experts at think tanks including Brookings, CSIS, CFR, AEI, Heritage, and CNAS, leading universities including JHU, SAIS, University of London at Royal Holloway, and GWU, international organizations including USAID, International Rescue Committee, and UNICEF. We thank all of our guests for joining us on our podcast!

Dr. Steven Cook

Steven A. Cook is Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S.-Middle East policy. Cook is the author of False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East; The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square, which won the 2012 gold medal from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and Ruling but Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey.

Dr. Sherin Varkey

Dr Sherin Varkey assumed the role of UNICEF Yemen Representative a.i in July 2020. Dr. Sherin is a medical doctor, specialized with an MD degree in Public Health and Nutrition and DNB degree in Preventive and Social Medicine. Dr. Sherin brings more than 16 years of experience of leading emergency and development programmes at national and international levels in a variety of settings in India, Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, Uganda, Iraq and DPR Korea and Yemen.

Dr. Klaus dodds

Klaus Dodds is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. He is the author and editor of many books including The Scramble for the Poles (2016, Polity) and Pink Ice: Britain and the South Atlantic Empire (2002, I B Tauris). He is an Honorary Fellow of British Antarctic Survey and Editor in Chief of Territory, Politics and Governance. He has served as a specialist adviser to the UK Parliament on polar matters, worked with the Parliamentary Office on Science and Technology (POST) on polar science diplomacy, and visited the Antarctic on four separate occasions. In December 2019, he spoke at the inaugural Antarctic Parliamentarians Assembly in London.

Luke Coffey

Luke Coffey is the director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Coffey, named to the post in December 2015, oversees foreign policy and international affairs issues. Coffey previously was Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher fellow, focusing on relations between the United States and the United Kingdom and on the role of NATO and the European Union in transatlantic and Eurasian security. Before joining the think tank’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in 2012, Coffey had served at the UK Ministry of Defence since 2010 as senior special adviser to then-British Defence Secretary Liam Fox.Coffey, a U.S. Army veteran, was the first non-UK citizen appointed by the Prime Minister to provide advice to senior British ministers. Among his duties was helping shape British defense policy in relation to transatlantic security, NATO, the European Union, and Afghanistan.

Farhana Qazi

Farhana Qazi is an award-winning author, instructor and scholar. Qazi is also a certified world affairs lecturer on cruises. Her focus is global conflicts, terrorism & violent extremism, as well as women in war and peacekeeping. For nearly twenty years, she has traveled throughout the Muslim world to understand political Islam, local drivers of extremism and the roots of conflict. She offers a variety of training courses to the U.S. military and addresses the worldwide threat. For her service to the U.S. military, she received the 21 st Century Leader Award, presented by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in New York; and the Distinguished Humanitarian Award for her research on women in war from Southwestern University, her alma mater. She is the author of Secrets of the Kashmir Valley, a human-interest story focused on the protracted conflict between India and Pakistan (2016). Her second book titled Invisible Martyrs: Inside the Secret World of Islamic Female Radicals explores the reasons why Muslim women and girls turn to violent extremism (2018).

Dr. Ho-fung Hung

Ho-fung Hung is the Henry M. & Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Professor in Political Economy at the Sociology Department and School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the award-winning book The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World and Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty, both published by Columbia University Press. His articles have appeared in American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, Development and Change, the New Left Review, the Review of International Political Economy, Asian Survey, and elsewhere. His analyses of the Chinese and global political economy and Hong Kong politics have been featured or cited in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, BBC News, The Guardian, Folha de S. Paulo (Brazil), The Straits Times (Singapore),  Xinhua Monthly, People’s Daily, among other publications.

Dr. Michael Rubin

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he specializes in Iran, Turkey, and the broader Middle East. He also regularly teaches classes at sea about Middle East conflicts, culture, terrorism, and the Horn of Africa to deployed US Navy and Marine units. A former Pentagon official, Dr. Rubin has lived in post-revolution Iran, Yemen, and both pre- and postwar Iraq, and he spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. He is the author, coauthor, and coeditor of several books exploring diplomacy, Iranian history, Arab culture, Kurdish studies, and Shi’ite politics, including “Seven Pillars: What Really Causes Instability in the Middle East?” (AEI Press, 2019); “Kurdistan Rising” (AEI Press, 2016); “Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes” (Encounter Books, 2014); and “Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos” (Palgrave, 2005).

Amb. Gina Winstanely

Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, was the longest-serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the Commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and coordinating the the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WW ll, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media.

Dr. Filipe Campntate

Filipe Campante is the Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of International Economics at the Department of Economics at the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He is interested in political economy, development economics, and urban/regional issues. His research looks at what constrains politicians and policy makers beyond formal checks and balances: cultural norms, institutions, media, political protest. In particular, his research has focused on how these informal constraints are affected by the spatial distribution of people and economic activity, by access to information, by the evolution of cultural norms, and by the structure of the economy.

Vice President Chen Chien-Jen

Dr. Chen Chien Jen is the former Vice President of Taiwan and a veteran epidemiologist. Dr. Chen served as Vice President of Taiwan from May 2016 to May 2020. Dr. Chen was also the Minister of Health for Taiwan in 2003, where he oversaw the government response to the SARS epidemic. Dr. Chen received his Doctor of Science Degree in epidemiology and human genetics from Johns Hopkins University and has returned to research at Academia Sinica.

Dr. Joshua White

Dr. Joshua T. White is Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies and Fellow at the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS. He is also a Nonresident Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at The Brookings Institution. He previously served at the White House as Senior Advisor & Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, where he staffed the President and National Security Advisor on the full range of South Asia policy issues pertaining to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Indian subcontinent.

Dr. Jung Pak

Jung H. Pak is a senior fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies at the Brookings Institution. At Brookings, Pak focuses on the national security challenges facing the United States and East Asia, including North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities, the regime’s domestic and foreign policy calculus, internal stability, and inter-Korean ties. Dr. Pak has held senior positions at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Dr. Pak is the author of the newly released book “Becoming Kim Jong Un: A Former CIA Officer’s Insights into North Korea’s Enigmatic Young Dictator” available in stores and online today.

Dr. Erik jones

Erik Jones is Director of European and Eurasian Studies and Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. Professor Jones is a frequent commentator on European politics and political economy whose contributions have been published in, among others, Financial Times, New York Times, USA Today, and newspapers and magazines across Europe. He has written extensively on European monetary integration and macroeconomic governance and has been active in public debates about the European response to the global economic and financial crisis. Professor Jones is co-editor of Government and Opposition and he is a contributing editor to the Institute for International and Strategic Studies journal Survival.

Dr. Ryan Berg

Ryan C. Berg is a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he focuses on transnational organized crime, narco trafficking, and illicit networks. He also studies Latin American foreign policy and development issues. Before joining AEI, Dr. Berg served as a research consultant at the World Bank, a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil, and a visiting doctoral fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. He has also worked in Peru and São Paulo, Brazil. Dr. Berg has been published in a variety of policy journals, including St. Anthony’s International Review, The Tufts Historical Review, and Utraque Unum. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Dr. Berg obtained a PhD and an MPhil in political science and an MSc in global governance and diplomacy from the University of Oxford. Earlier, he obtained a BA in government and theology from Georgetown University.

Dr. Scott Jasper

Scott Jasper, CAPT, USN (ret) is a Lecturer at the National Security Affairs Department and the Institute for Security Government at the Naval Postgraduate School, specializing in defense strategy, hybrid warfare, and cyber policy. Scott has published chapters in various handbooks related to cybersecurity and articles in Strategic Studies Quarterly, the International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, United States Cybersecurity Magazine,The National Interest, Small Wars Journal, and The Diplomat. He is the author of Russian Cyber Operations: Coding the Boundaries of Conflict, Strategic Cyber Deterrence: The Active Cyber Defense Option and editor of Conflict and Cooperation in the Global Commons, Security Freedom in the Global Commons, and Transforming Defense Capabilities: New Approaches for International Security. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Reading, U.K.

Dr. Yascha Mounk

Yascha Mounk is a political scientist known for his work on the rise of populism and the crisis of liberal democracy. His third and most recent book, “The People vs Democracy: Why Our Freedom is In Danger and How to Save It,” has been translated into 10 languages and recognized as a “Best Book of 2018” by the Financial Times and other publications. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Harvard University, Mounk is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and host of The Good Fight podcast. He is also a frequent contributor to international newspapers and magazines including The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong is a Rhodes Scholar-Elect from Hong Kong (2020), and a current MPhil in Politics Candidate at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Brian previously graduated with a First Class Honours BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, from Pembroke College, Oxford as a Kwok Scholar. Brian frequent contributor to TIME, South China Morning Post, Fortune, and the Hong Kong Economic Journal,.

Dr. Steven David

Steven R. David is a professor of international relations whose work focuses on security studies, the politics of the developing world, American foreign policy, and turmoil in the Middle East. David’s scholarship emphasizes the impact of internal politics on foreign policy, particularly among developing countries. His earlier work argued for the importance of the developing world to American interests and global stability. In opposition to the “hyper-realists,” David argued that the instability of the developing world combined with their ability to wreak havoc, made these countries of central concern to American policy. David introduced the theory of “omnibalancing,” which asserted that to understand the foreign policies of developing countries it was necessary not only to consider external threats to the state, but also internal challenges to regime survival. David has also focused on the causes and consequences of internal war. His latest book, Catastrophic Consequences, argued that inadvertent harm caused by states torn apart by internal conflict is a greater threat than deliberate decisions of leaders to make war.

Ana Quintana

Ana Rosa Quintana leads The Heritage Foundation’s efforts on U.S. policy toward Latin America. She has authored numerous policy studies included but not limited to Cuba, Venezuela, and Central America. In addition to writing policy papers, Quintana’s articles have appeared in Real Clear World, The National Interest, The Federalist, among others. Her work has been cited in media venues such as The Washington Post, Bloomberg Business, The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal and has been a commentator on media outlets like Fox News, MSNBC, and Al Jazeera. She has also testified before the U.S. Congress.

Dr. James Carafano

James Jay Carafano is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges and is the vice president of the Heritage Foundation’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and the E. W. Richardson Fellow. Carafano is an accomplished historian and teacher as well as a prolific writer and researcher. His most recent publication is an e-book, “Surviving the End”, which addresses emergency preparedness. He also authored “Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World”, a survey of the revolutionary impact of the Internet age on national security. He was selected from thousands to speak on cyber warfare at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas, the nation’s premier tech and social media conference.

Olivia Enos

Olivia Enos is a senior policy analyst in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. She focuses on human rights and national security challenges in Asia. Her research spans a wide range of subjects, including democracy and governance challenges, human trafficking and human smuggling, religious freedom, refugee issues, and other social challenges in the region. Enos, who joined Heritage in 2013, has published numerous papers on human rights in North Korea and China, threats to democracy in Southeast Asia, human trafficking in Asia, and reforming the U.S. refugee program, among other subjects

Dr. James Lewis

James Andrew Lewis is a senior vice president and director of the Technology Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He has authored numerous publications on the relationship between technology, innovation, and national power. His current research examines international security and governance in cyberspace, the geopolitics of innovation, the future of warfare, and the effect of the internet on politics. Lewis is an internationally recognized expert on cybersecurity and technology and was one of the first to approach cybersecurity as a policy and strategic problem. His writings include the best-selling Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, the national cybersecurity strategy cited by President Obama in the first speech by a U.S. president on cybersecurity and that became a template for cyber strategy in other countries. Lewis was the rapporteur for the United Nations’ successful 2010, 2013, and 2015 Group of Government Experts on Information Security, whose reports set out the global agenda for cybersecurity by emphasizing norms for responsible state behavior, confidence building, and capacity-building measures.

Dr. Katie Hindmarch Watson

Dr. Katie Hindmarch Watson is a Cultural Historian of Modern Britain and the British Empire. Her work is broadly engaged in two major, interrelated questions: how to do histories of gender and sexualities in ways that move beyond identities while keeping networks of power and agency into sharp focus; and how to re-engage British labor history with processes of class formation that address continuities alongside (and in some ways independent of) the rise and fall of an industrial proletariat.

Dr. GIovanna Dora Dore

Giovanna Maria Dora Dore is a Political Economist with nearly 20 years of experience in international developmentand comparative politics, with a focus on public policy and institutions in East Asian emerging markets. Between 1998 and 2008, Dr. Dore worked at the World Bank in various capacities, including Special Assistant to the President. Her work focused on the East Asia and Pacific Region and a broad range of topics related to growth and sustainable development, public expenditure and revenue management, and decentralization. Dr. Dore designed and managed analytical research programs, technical assistance initiatives, development policy lending, and traditional investment lending for China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Earlier on, between 1990 and 1995, she worked on migration and refugees’ issues with a focus on Pakistan, Middle Eastern, and European countries thanks to her association with the United Nations.

Dr. Hal BRands

Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He is also a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the author or editor of several books, including American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump (2018), Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (2016), What Good is Grand Strategy? His newest book is The Lessons of Tragedy: Statecraft and World Order, co-authored with Charles Edel. Hal served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Planning from 2015 to 2016, and has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. He has also consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities and served as lead writer for the Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the United States.

Dr. Francis Gavin

Francis J. Gavin is the Giovanni Agnelli Distinguished Professor and the inaugural director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS. In 2013, Gavin was appointed the first Frank Stanton Chair in Nuclear Security Policy Studies and Professor of Political Science at MIT. Before joining MIT, he was the Tom Slick Professor of International Affairs and the Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas. From 2005 until 2010, he directed The American Assembly’s multiyear, national initiative, The Next Generation Project: U.S. Global Policy and the Future of International Institutions. Gavin’s writings include Gold, Dollars, and Power: The Politics of International Monetary Relations, 1958-1971 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) and Nuclear Statecraft: History and Strategy in America’s Atomic Age (Cornell University Press, 2012).

Dr. Bentley ALlan

Bentley B. Allan is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and an affiliate of the Environment, Energy, Sustainability, and Health Institute at Johns Hopkins University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Ohio State University in 2012. He has research interests in the history and theory of international order, global environmental politics, the role of science and expertise in global politics, and qualitative methods. His book, Scientific Cosmology and International Orders (Cambridge University Press, 2018), is the winner of the American Political Science Association’s Don K. Price Award for the best book in Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics.

Dr. Soma Dasgupta

Dr. Soma Dasgupta grew up in India in the 1980s and the 1990s, and India’s economic transition during this period had a profound impact on me and shaped the economist that she is today. She has always been fascinated by the question why some countries are rich while some others are poor. Growing up in India as it was liberalizing its economy, she personally witnessed the transformation that it went through by integrating with the rest of the world to become an emerging economy from a very poor country. She is interested in the role that trade and improved integration play in determining a country’s income levels, and outward oriented policy measures that can shape a country’s economic development.

Dr. Sebastian Schmidt

Sebastian Schmidt is interested in the sociological foundations of security strategies and in particular the conditions under which novel strategies emerge. His research is closely tied to understanding how norms change in international politics and the role of tacit knowledge. He also has a long-standing interest in the historical development of sovereignty. His work, which has appeared in the American Political Science Review and International Studies Quarterly, has investigated the origin of foreign basing practices and has sought to shed light on how concepts used by international relations scholars influence assessments of historical change. His current and future work is focused on the elaboration of a pragmatist theoretical perspective on international politics with attendant empirical applications as well as on exploring the development of security strategies through history.

Dr. Christy Thornton

Dr. Christy Thornton joined the Hopkins faculty in 2017, and spent a year as a fellow at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University. At Hopkins, she serves as a core faculty member for the Latin America in a Globalizing World Initiative, and is affiliated with the Program in Latin American Studies. She was previously an assistant professor of history and international studies at Rowan University, having received her PhD from New York University in 2015. She also holds a BA from Barnard College and Master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University. Before graduate school, she was for five years the Executive Director of the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), a 50-year-old research and advocacy organization. Her research interests include comparative-historical sociology, global inequality and development, labor and social movements, Latin American political economy, and Mexican state formation.