Guest Contributors

Gary Goldman

Gary Goldman is a Programme Advisor at Community Systems Foundation, which provides data management services to United Nations agencies and to foreign governments. He is a graduate of the Executive Master of Public Administration program at Columbia University. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California where he studied International Relations with a focus in Global Business.

Louis Ritzinger

Louis Ritzinger is a graduate with an MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University, where he focused on Pakistani domestic politics and South Asian regional issues. He was a 2012-2013 Boren Fellow, studying intensive Urdu in Lucknow and New Delhi, India. Louis has conducted research on Pakistan and South Asia at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs in Washington, DC, and the Observer Research Foundation, in New Delhi, India.

Victoria Heckenlaible

Victoria Heckenlaible is a recent graduate of the MA in Conflict Resolution program from Georgetown University, where she focused on the narratives surrounding radicalization. She has worked in Monrovia, Liberia, on media capacity building through a grant from Georgetown University. She received her BA in Rhetoric and Writing from the University of Texas in Austin.

Kaitlin Conklin

Kaitlin Conklin is the former Executive Director of the New Story Leadership for the Middle East (NSL).  Kaitlin has also worked at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) as a Research Assistant with the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. Ms. Conklin’s academic and professional expertise is in Middle Eastern affairs, civil society, multiculturalism, and conflict resolution. She received her BA in Political Science from Yale University, and her MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University.

Thomas Lamoureux

Thomas Lamoureux is a graduate of the MA in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University with a research focus on the intersection of capital markets and post-conflict reconstruction. Although Canadian born, he grew up in Hong Kong and has a law degree from the University of Warwick.

Dylan Forrester

Dylan Forrester is from Los Angeles, California. He attended the University of California, San Diego, where he received a B.A. in public policy. After his undergraduate degree, he completed an MA in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University. He currently lives in Bogotá, Colombia.

Berenike Schott

Berenike Schott studied International Relations, Conflict Resolution, and Arabic at University College Maastricht, University of California at Berkeley, and Georgetown University. She has worked in Tunisia, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania with Oxfam, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) among others. Berenike is currently a Mercator fellow on international affairs, interested in the nexus between civil society, democracy and peace building in countries that experience political transitions.

Giorgia Nicatore

Giorgia Nicatore previously worked in Bamako, Mali where she managed a program of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) prevention and social and economic reintegration for survivors of sexual violence from the 2012 conflict. She holds a MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and a BA in War Studies from King’s College London. Her Twitter is @gnicatore

Vieshnavi Rattehalli

Vieshnavi Rattehalli is currently a senior international development associate at Chemonics International, where she specializes in governance projects, with a focus on conflict and crisis management and humanitarian interventions. Ms. Rattehalli’s academic and professional expertise is in MENA politics, humanitarian crises/refugee assistance, and conflict resolution. She received a dual degree (BA/BS) magna cum laude in International Relations and Public Relations from Boston University, and her MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University.

Sayuri Takagawa

Sayuri Takagawa is a California native and received her BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. After graduation, Sayuri has been working on anti-human trafficking efforts through the nonprofit sector as a service provider, advocate and trainer. Her current work has been focused on addressing CSEC (Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children) in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Monika Roy

Monika Roy is a Masters of Science in Public Health (MSPH) candidate at Tulane’s School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. Before this degree program, she served 2 years as the Project Coordinator for SOIL in Cap Haitian, Haiti. She received her Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley, double majoring in Conservation & Resource Studies and Environmental Economics & Policy. After graduating, Monika intends to continue her involvement in the advancement of best practices for ecological waste treatment options.

Christina Avalos

Christina Avalos is currently working with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), a non-profit organization aiding unaccompanied minors fleeing from Central America. She has worked the International Organization (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) both domestically and internationally. She holds a bachelors degree in Peace & Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley and is an avid traveler.

Kristin Pettersen

Kristin Pettersen (MA – Georgetown Security Studies Program) currently works for the office of the Special Inspector General for the Afghanistan Reconstruction Lessons Learned Program, looking at security sector reform conducted by the United States in Afghanistan. Originally from Wisconsin, she studied Comparative Politics and Spanish for her undergraduate degree in Washington State. Kristin served in the Marine Corps Reserves for 6 years, with the Peace Corps in southern Africa for 2.5 years, and has held a variety of other positions with internationally focused NGOs – such as Mercy Corps – and academic institutions, including Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.

Audrey Hsieh

Audrey Hsieh served in the US Army as a PSYOP Officer until 2012. She received her BA in International Studies at the College of New Jersey and her MA from Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. She is now starting her second career of public service as a Presidential Management Fellow in the State Department. For information on how veterans are helping other veterans find job opportunities in the federal sector, contact her here.

James Hopkins

James Hopkins is a research assistant at the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) at the University of St Andrews. He is currently working on a major research project analysing extremist media content, as well as researching the relationship between democracy and torture. His work has appeared in the journals Terrorism and Political Violence and Critical Studies on Terrorism.

Brendan Sozer

Brendan Sozer is a recent graduate from Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Foreign Service, where he received his M.A. in Security Studies. For nearly a decade, he has been studying the Middle East; he specializes in terrorism, intrastate warfare, and proxy wars in the region. As a Turkish-American, he has also a passion for Turkish political and security issues.

Ryan Pereira

Ryan Pereira is a Master’s Student in Security Studies and Arabic at Georgetown University.  He focuses primarily on Sunni jihadist groups and the Islamic State. Ryan has worked as an analyst for START and a translator for

Nino Lortkipanidze

Nino Lortkipanidze is the Vice President for Administration, Finance and Development at the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia. She graduated with a BBA in Business Administration from Caucasus University. She served as CFO and a Board Member at Georgia TV Channel GDS, and as a Problem Assets’ Portfolio Manager at TBC Bank. She also volunteers on several initiatives for at risk populations in Georgia.

Evan Thompson

Evan Thompson is a Research Associate with Octant Associates where he supports the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Cooperative Threat Reduction program. He has also supported the Department of State’s Chemical Security Program through CRDF Global and worked in the Department of State’s Office of Export Control Cooperation. Prior to his work at State, Evan conducted research in export controls as a Security Leadership Fellow with the Center for International Trade and Security and later as a Leonard M. Rieser Fellow with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He graduated with a B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Georgia and an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University.

Ryan Blum

Ryan Blum is an American freelance journalist based in Paris. He holds a B.A. in International and Comparative Politics from the American University of Paris. His writings have appeared in The New York Times and Foreign Policy.

Mike Burnham

Mike Burnham is currently a researcher on the Terrorist Ideology Project at START. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics and international relations from Utah State University, and his M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown. His work focuses primarily on substate violence, ideology, and behavioral biology.

Julio Bustamante

Julio Bustamante is from Hermosillo, Mexico. He received his M.A. in Security Studies at Georgetown University and his B.A. in International Relations from the Instituto Teconologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. His research interests have focused on Mexico, organized crime, and intelligence. Currently, he works as a consultant in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

Nicholas Iorio

Nicholas Iorio is a private-sector international security affairs consultant specializing in the Asia-Pacific. He has previously been published in The National Interest.

Benjamin Schwartz

Benjamin Schwartz graduated UC Berkeley with a major in political science. He has interned in U.S. Embassies in Greece and Myanmar as well as the Scottish and Greek Parliaments. He hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer. He is now traveling to Japan to teach English there.

David Aptaker

David Aptaker is currently a graduate student in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. He grew up in the Bay Area, California and attended UC Berkeley where he obtained his BA in Peace and Conflict Studies. He is deeply interested in Middle Eastern politics–particularly Israel and its relationship with its neighbors. David is also a foodie and a lifelong Warriors fan. His Twitter is @DTAptaker

Cameron Hobbs

Cameron Hobbs conducts research and analysis of defense technologies, export control regimes, and the international defense market. He has experience inside the defense industry assessing aerospace and defense markets globally, but with particular focus on the Asia-Pacific. He holds an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. from the University of South Carolina Honors College.

Ebi Spahiu

Ebi Spahiu is an independent analyst of Central Asian and Western Balkan Affairs, focusing on gender and religious extremism, currently based in Albania. She has worked in a number of capacities for UN agencies, including UNICEF and UN Women in Kyrgyzstan, the OSCE Presence in Albania, and other nonprofit organizations in the Western Balkans and Central Asia. Her writing work and reports produced have covered a wide range of issues including countering violent extremism, foreign fighters, human rights in both Central Asia and the Western Balkans, and institutional corruption in Albania. She is originally from Albania, but has lived and worked in China, the United States, and Kyrgyzstan.

Petra Gabrielle Kubalkova

Petra Gabrielle Kubalkova is the Editor of International Association of Political Science Students (IAPSS) and Regional Security Studies Intern at the Daniel K. Inouye | Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS). Previously, she was the Young Leaders Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS. She is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Her area of focus is East Asia security studies, coercive diplomacy, foreign policy decision making, economic prospects in the EA region, globalization, and neorealist theory.

Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers is a UK-based writer completing his MA in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently studying abroad at the American University’s School of International Service, Washington D.C., focusing on security studies and counterterrorism.

Ashley Rhoades

Ashley Rhoades is an M.A. candidate in her final semester of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, concentrating in International Security. She graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a B.A. Honors in Political Science and a minor in Art History. Her prior professional roles include working as a Research Assistant at Stanford focusing on the Arab-Israeli conflict, as a Litigation Paralegal for a firm in DC, and as a Media Associate for a United Nations-affiliated start-up. Most recently, Ashley completed an internship at the National Defense University with the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Operation Iraqi Freedom Study Group. She is currently serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Security Studies Review.

Darya Dolzikova

Darya Dolzikova is an MA candidate in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and has a BSc in International Studies and Modern Languages from the University of Ottawa. She is a graduate research assistant at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, working on issues related to U.S. counterterrorism policy, and Iranian national security – including Iran’s nuclear program and the Iran-Russia relationship. She previously worked as a legislative aide in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. Her research interests include Russian foreign and defense policy, WMD proliferation, and terrorism. Her Twitter is: @ddolzikova

Myrthe Doedens

Myrthe Doedens is a graduate student at Georgetown University pursuing a Master’s in Conflict Resolution and holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Miami. Her research centers on the motivations of terrorist groups and how counter violent extremism strategies can best be applied to mitigate them. Her regional focus is North and West Africa, but her research has also included the Middle East.

Marika Van Laan

Marika Van Laan is a Research Analyst for an Arlington based cybersecurity education startup and a master’s student in Georgetown’s Security Studies Program. Her interests include cybersecurity topics as well as the broader nexus between emerging technologies and global security.

Nicolò Branchesi

Nicolò Branchesi was most recently a visiting fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR), at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public International Law at Åbo Akademi University (Turku, Finland), with a dissertation on the compliance of the principle of non-refoulement with the Common European Asylum System, with special regard to the Dublin III regulation. Since 2015, he has been a member of the international committee of the Swedish People’s Party in Finland’s youth organization.


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