On April 29 & 30, the Council will host over forty speakers for the “Toward a Europe Whole and Free” conference. Read their bios below.

H.E. Irakli Alasania
Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense of Georgia

Irakli Alasania previously served as Georgia’s permanent representative to the United Nations from June 2006 to December 2008. Before becoming Georgia’s UN envoy, Alasania had served as the adviser to the Georgian president on the Abkhaz conflict. He also worked as the president’s special representative to Georgian-Abkhaz talks. Alasania was appointed as the president’s special representative for Abkhazia. At that time, performed the duties of the head of the government of Abkhazia from exile. In 2004 Mr. Alasania was named deputy secretary of the National Security Council. Prior to that, he served as first deputy minister of defense. Before joining the ministry, Alasania was first deputy minister of state security. From October 2001– January 2002, Alasania worked at the National Security Council as the head of the directorate for security issues. From 1998 through September 2001, he was at the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s CIS and Russian affairs directorate. He also worked at the Georgian embassies to the United States, Canada and Mexico. Alasania received a degree in international law from Tbilisi State University in 1995.

The Hon. Madeleine K. Albright
Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group; Board Director, Atlantic Council; Former United States Secretary of State

Madeleine K. Albright is chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, and chair of Albright Capital Management, an affiliated investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She was the sixty-fourth secretary of state of the United States. In 1997, Albright was named the first female secretary of state and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the US government. From 1993 to 1997, Albright served as the US permanent representative to the United Nations and was a member of the president’s cabinet. Prior to her service in the Clinton Administration, she served as president of the Center for National Policy; was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff; and served as chief legislative assistant to US Senator Edmund Muskie. She serves on the US Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the secretary of defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. Albright received a Bachelor’s with Honors from Wellesley College, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a certificate from its Russian Institute.

H.E. José Manuel Barroso
President, European Commission

José ManuelBarroso’s political career began in 1980 when he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD). He was named president of the party in 1999 and re-elected three times. During the same period, he served as vice president of the European People’s Party. As state secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, he played a key role as mediator in the signing of the peace accords for Angola in Bicesse in 1991, and as minister for foreign affairs he was a driving force in the self-determination process in East Timor between 1992 and 1995. Under his leadership, the PSD won the general election in 2002 and he became prime minister of Portugal in April of that year. He remained in office until July 2004 when he was nominated by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament to the post of president of the European Commission. In June 2009, the European Council unanimously nominated him for a second term as president of the European Commission, and he was re-elected to the post by an absolute majority in the European Parliament in September 2009. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Military Order of Christ in 1996 and the Great Collar of the Order of East Timor in 2010. In 2011, he received the Grand Cross of the Royal and Distinguished Spanish Order of Charles III. He has degrees from the University of Lisbon and the University of Geneva.

The Hon. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Vice President of the United States

Joseph Biden, at the age of twenty-nine, became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was a United States Senator from Delaware from January 3, 1973, until his resignation on January 15, 2009, following his election as vice president. In 2012, Biden was elected to a second term alongside President Obama. Biden served as both chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was re-elected to the Senate six times, and was the fourth most senior senator at the time of his resignation. Then-Senator Biden played a pivotal role in shaping US foreign policy. He has been at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council.

The Hon. Zbigniew Brzezinski
Counselor and Trustee, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Former National Security Advisor

Zbigniew Brzezinski is Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) counselor and trustee and co-chairs the CSIS Advisory Board. He was a member of the Policy Planning Council of the US Department of State from 1966 to 1968; chairman of the Humphrey Foreign Policy Task Force in the 1968 presidential campaign; director of the Trilateral Commission from 1973 to 1976; and principal foreign policy adviser to President James Carter in the 1976 presidential campaign. From 1977 to 1981, Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. He is a senior research professor of international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council. He is a former chairman of the American-Ukrainian Advisory Committee. Brzezinski received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from McGill University and a PhD from Harvard University.

Mr. Ian Brzezinski
Senior Fellow, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council

Ian Brzezinski served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe and NATO, where his lead responsibilities including NATO expansion, Alliance force planning and transformation, and NATO operations in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Brzezinski served for seven years on Capitol Hill, first as a legislative assistant for national security affairs to the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Bill Roth, and then as a senior professional staff member on the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. As the staff coordinator of the Senate NATO Observer Group, he facilitated coordination and communication between the US Senate and the executive branch on NATO enlargement, NATO operations in the Balkans, and Alliance force modernization, among other issues. For his public service, Mr. Brzezinski has been awarded the US Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service; the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gedimas; the Latvian Ministry of Defense Award; the Romanian Medal for National Service, Order of Commander; and the Order of Merit, Republic of Poland, Officer Class.

The Hon. R. Nicholas Burns
Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Nicholas Burns is Sultan of Oman professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and faculty chair for the programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. Burns served in the US government for twenty-seven years.  As a career foreign service officer, he was undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2005 to 2008. He was US ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), ambassador to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department spokesman (1995-1997).  He worked for five years (1990-1995) on the National Security Council at the White House where he was senior director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia affairs and special assistant to President William Clinton and director for Soviet affairs in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985-1987) and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt (1983-1985). He has a Bachelor’s degree in history from Boston College, a Master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and earned the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise at the University of Paris-Sorbonne.

H.E. Ditmir Bushati
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania

Ditmir Bushati was first elected as a member of parliament from the Socialist Party for the Tirana District in 2009, and re-elected in the June 23, 2013 parliamentary elections for the same district. As MP, he chaired the Parliamentary Committee for European Integration (2011-2013) and was a member of the Joint EU-Albania Parliamentary Committee (2009-2013). In November 2011, Bushati was elected member of the Steering Committee of the Socialist Party of Albania. Prior to his political career, Bushati was a civil society leader and a founding director of the European Movement in Albania. He then served as director of legal approximation at the Albanian Ministry of European Integration. Bushati has worked as adviser on European Affairs to the deputy prime minister, as legal adviser to the Constitutional Court, the Office of the President of the Republic of Albania and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He has also served as analyst for Freedom House (2007-2008) for the Nations in Transition Report, National Reporter for the European Society of International Law (ESIL), and National Coordinator of the Open Society Foundation’s project monitoring Albania’s progress in the European integration process (2006-2008). Bushati graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Tirana in 1999 with the highest honors, and holds a Master’s degree in public international law from Leiden University in The Netherlands.

H.E. Titus Corlățean
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania

Titus Corlățean has served as minister of foreign affairs of Romania since August of 2012. Previously, he was minister of justice from May 2012 to August 2012, senator and chairman of the Foreign Policy Committee in the Romanian Senate from December 2008 to May 2012, and a member of the European Parliament from December 2007 to December 2008. Corlățean holds a PhD in law from the University of Bucharest.

The Hon. Bob Corker
Senator (R-TN), US Senate

Robert Corker currently serves as senator from Tennessee. He graduated with a BA degree in industrial management from the University of Tennessee in 1974. He previously worked as a commercial real estate developer, construction company owner, and commissioner of the Tennessee Finance and Administration Department from 1995-1996. Senator Corker was mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee from 2001-2005. He was elected as a Republican to the US Senate in 2006.

Dr. Karen Donfried
President, German Marshall Fund

Karen Donfried serves as the president of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States.  Prior to her appointment, Donfried served as the special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House.  She was the principal adviser on Europe and led the interagency process on the development and implementation of the president’s European policies. Prior to the White House, Donfried served as the national intelligence officer (NIO) for Europe on the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community’s center for strategic thinking. As NIO, she directed and drafted strategic analysis to advance senior policymakers’ understanding of Europe. From 2003 to 2005, Donfried worked for the US Department of State’s policy planning staff, handling the Europe portfolio. Donfried joined the German Marshall Fund in 2001 after having served at the Congressional Research Service. Her second term of service at GMF was 2005 to 2010, first as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president. She has a BA in government and German from Wesleyan University, a Magister from the University of Munich, and a PhD and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. 

Mr. David Ensor
Director, Voice of America

David Ensor was sworn in as the twenty-eighth director of the Voice of America (VOA) on June 16, 2011. He joined VOA after an extensive career in journalism and communications. Most recently he served as director of communications and public diplomacy at the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. From 1975 to 1980 Ensor reported for National Public Radio, where he covered the White House, foreign policy, and defense issues. From 1980 to 1998, he was a television correspondent for ABC News, and from 1998 to 2006 he was CNN’s national security correspondent. From 2006 through 2009, Ensor was executive vice president for communications and strategy at the Mercuria Energy Group, an international energy trading and investment group. He is a member of the US Council on Foreign Relations and is fluent in French, with a basic knowledge of Polish, Russian and Italian. Ensor received a Bachelor’s degree with honors in European history from the University of California, Berkeley.

H.E. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović
NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović took up her position as NATO’s assistant secretary general for public diplomacy in July of 2011. She previously served as Croatia’s minister of foreign affairs and European integration and, more recently, as ambassador of Croatia to the United States (2008-2011). She began her career in 1992 as an adviser to the International Cooperation Department of Croatia’s Ministry of Science and Technology, moving on to become an adviser in the foreign ministry. In 1995, Grabar-Kitarović became director of the foreign ministry’s North American department, and from 1997 to 2000, she worked as a diplomatic counsellor and deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Croatia in Canada. She then returned to the foreign ministry as minister-counsellor. In November 2003, Grabar-Kitarović was elected to the Croatian Parliament and in December 2003, she became the minister of European Integration. She was sworn in as Croatia’s foreign minister in February 2005, her central task being to guide the country into the European Union and NATO. Grabar-Kitarović holds a Master’s degree in international relations from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb.

The Hon. Stephen J. Hadley
Chairman, Board of Directors, United States Institute of Peace; Former National Security Advisor

Stephen Hadley completed four years as national security advisor on January 20, 2009. From January 20, 2001, to January 20, 2005, Hadley was the assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor, serving under then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. From 1993 to 2001, Hadley was both a partner in the Washington DC law firm of Shea & Gardner (now part of Goodwin Proctor) and a principal in The Scowcroft Group. From 1989 to 1993, Hadley served as assistant secretary of defense for International Security Policy under former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Prior to this position, Hadley alternated between government service and law practice with Shea & Gardner. He was counsel to the Tower Commission in 1987, as it investigated US arms sales to Iran, and served on the National Security Council under President Ford from 1974 to 1977. During his professional career, Hadley graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He received his Juris doctor degree from Yale Law School, where he was Note and Comment editor of the Yale Law Journal.

The Hon. Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Chairman, Atlantic Council

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. is chairman of the Atlantic Council. He began his career in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He has served each of the four US presidents since then in critical roles around the world, including as ambassador to Singapore, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Asia, US trade ambassador, and most recently, US ambassador to China. Twice elected governor of Utah, Huntsman brought about strong economic reforms, tripled the state’s rainy day fund, and helped bring unemployment rates to historic lows. Recognized by others for his service, Governor Huntsman was elected as chairman of the Western Governors Association, serving nineteen states throughout the region. Governor Huntsman ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. He serves as a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institute, a trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a trustee of the Reagan Presidential Foundation, and chairman of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. He has served as a visiting fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as well as a distinguished lecturer at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Huntsman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has seven honorary doctoral degrees.

General James L. Jones, Jr. USMC (Ret.)

Chairman, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council
James Jones served as the national security advisor to President Barack Obama from January 2009 to October 2010. Prior to that, Jones was president and chief executive officer of the US Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy. From July 1999 to January 2003, Jones was the 32nd commandant of the Marine Corps. After relinquishing command as Commandant, he assumed the positions of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of the US European Command (USEUCOM), positions he held until December 2006. Jones retired from active duty in the US Marine Corps on February 1, 2007, after more than 40 years of uniformed service to the nation. On November 28, 2007, he was appointed as the US Department of State’s Special Envoy for Middle East Security. Jones earned a BS degree from Georgetown University. He also graduated from the National War College in Washington, DC. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in January 1967 and later that year was ordered to the Republic of Vietnam, where he served as a platoon and company commander. Over the next four decades, Jones served in a variety of command and staff positions while stationed in the United States, Europe, and Okinawa, Japan.

Dr. Robert Kagan
Senior Fellow, Project on International Order and Strategy, Brookings Institution

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow with the Project on International Order and Strategy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. Kagan also serves as a member of the secretary of state’s foreign affairs policy board and is co-chairman of the bipartisan working group on Egypt. Kagan’s book, Dangerous Nation: America’s Place in the World from its Earliest Days to the Dawn of the 20th Century, was the winner of the 2008 Lepgold Prize and a 2007 finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize. His acclaimed book, Of Paradise and Power, was on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks and the Washington Post bestseller list for fourteen weeks. Kagan is also the author of The Return of History and The End of Dreams. He served in the US Department of State from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the policy planning staff, as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs. Kagan is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and holds a PhD in American history from American University.

Mr. Frederick Kempe
President and CEO, Atlantic Council 

Frederick Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. Under his leadership since 2009, the Atlantic Council has achieved significant growth while considerably expanding its staff, work, and influence in areas that include international security, business and economics, energy and environment, and global issues of transatlantic interest ranging from Asia to Africa. Mr. Kempe is the author of four books, and a regular commentator on television and radio both in Europe and the United States. His latest book, BERLIN 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth was published after a long and prominent career at the Wall Street Journal. His last position with the paper was in New York, where he served as assistant managing editor, international, and “Thinking Global” columnist. Prior to that, he was the editor and associate publisher of the Wall Street Journal Europe, simultaneously functioning as European editor for the Global Wall Street Journal from 2002 to 2005. Mr. Kempe is a graduate of the University of Utah and has a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he was a member of the International Fellows Program in the School of International Affairs.

The Hon. John Kerry
Secretary of State, US Department of State

John Kerry joined the US Department of State after twenty-eight years in the United States Senate, the last four as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His service as Chairman built on his previous Senate work that included helping to expose the Iran-Contra scandal and leadership on global AIDS. As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, he worked to learn the truth about American soldiers missing in Vietnam and to normalize relations with that country. In 2010, Kerry was instrumental in the ratification of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) Treaty. In his twenty-eight years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry chaired the Asia and Middle East subcommittees where he authored and passed major legislation on international drug trafficking, international money laundering, humanitarian aid, and climate change, and he helped negotiate the UN’s genocide tribunal to prosecute war crimes in Cambodia. Kerry was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 2004.

H.E. Linas Linkevičius
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania 

Linas Linkevičius currently serves as minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Lithuania. Previously, he held the positions of ambassador to Belarus in 2012, ambassador-at-large for transatlantic cooperation and security policy from 2011-2012, and permanent representative of Lithuania to the North Atlantic Council from 2005-2011. Minister Linkevičius’s career in public service also included tenure as minister of national defense, ambassador to NATO, adviser to the minister of foreign affairs, and deputy chairman of the Seimas (Parliament) Committee on Foreign Affairs. Minister Linkevičius is a graduate of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute.

H.E. Igor Lukšić
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integrations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro

Igor Lukšić, from 1998 to 2000, worked as an associate in implementing the European Commission’s assistance program “Obnova” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Montenegro. From February 2000 to January 2001, he worked as international relations adviser at the Democratic Party of Socialists. From January to May 2001, he served as secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From March 2003 to June 2006, he was a member of parliament of Serbia and Montenegro. He was elected MP at the parliament of Montenegro six times. From January to April 2003, he was public relations adviser to the prime minister. He later served as deputy minister of foreign affairs of Serbia and Montenegro. Since February 2004, he has served five terms as finance minister and two terms as deputy prime minister. In 2010, he was elected prime minister of Montenegro. In December 2012, he was elected deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and European integration. From 2006 to January 2011, he served as governor on behalf of Montenegro at the World Bank and at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is a member of the Council for Economic Sciences of the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, and vice president of the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists.

The Hon. John McCain
United States Senator (R-AZ), US Senate

John McCain serves as senator and former representative from Arizona. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and the National War College in 1973. His twenty-two year military career included work as a pilot in the United States Navy from 1958-1981. He received numerous awards, including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and Distinguished Flying Cross. Senator McCain was elected as a Republican in 1982 to the ninety-eighth Congress, reelected to the ninety-ninth Congress in 1984 and served from January 3, 1983, to January 3, 1987. He was then elected to the United States Senate in 1986, reelected in 1992, 1998, 2004, and again in 2010 for the term ending January 3, 2017. Senator McCain was chair of the Committee on Indian Affairs, and served on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

The Hon. Robert Menendez
Senator (D-NJ), US Senate

Robert Menendez currently serves as one of New Jersey’s US Senators after he was sworn into office in 2006. He also serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serves on the Senate Committees on Finance and Banking, Housing and Urban affairs. Menendez is the Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development.  He has previously served as a school board member, a mayor, and a state legislator. Since 1993 Menendez rose to become the third highest ranking Democrat in the US House of Representatives. After being elected to the US Senate, Menendez was appointed to be a member of the Senate leadership during his first term, serving as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.  He received his BA from St. Peter’s College and his JD from Rutgers University.

H.E. Sven Mikser
Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense of Estonia

Sven Mikser became minister of defense of the Republic of Estonia on March 26, 2014. He has been the leader of the Social Democratic Party since 2010. He has been a member of the Social Democratic Party since 2005. From 1999 to 2014, Mikser was a member of the ninth, tenth, elevenths, and twelfth Riigikogu. From 2011 to 2014, Mikser performed the duties of the chairman of the Social Democratic Party’s fraction and served as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. From 2007 to 2011, Mikser was the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu and from 2003 to 2005, the chairman of the National Defense Committee of the Riigikogu. From 2003 to 2014, Mikser belonged to the Estonian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. From 2008 to 2010, he served as the vice president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. From 2002-2003, Mikser was the minister of defense of the Republic of Estonia.

The Hon. Christopher Murphy
United States Senator (D-CT), US Senate

Christopher S. Murphy is the junior United States senator for Connecticut. Elected in 2012, Murphy serves on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. Prior to his election to the US Senate, Murphy served Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District for three terms in the US House of Representatives. During his three terms, Murphy served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Committee on Financial Services. Before his service in the US Congress, Murphy served for eight years in the Connecticut General Assembly. While in the Senate, he served as the Chairman of the Public Health Committee. Senator Murphy grew up in Wethersfield, Connecticut, and attended Williams College in Massachusetts, graduating with honors and a double major in history and political science. In 2002, he graduated from UConn Law School in Hartford, Connecticut.

Gen. Jean-Paul Paloméros
Supreme Allied Comander Transformation, NATO

Jean-Paul Paloméros currently serves as the supreme allied commander transformation of NATO.  Previously, Paloméros was Chief of Staff of the French Air Force from 2009 to 2012.  He joined the French Air Force Academy in 1973 and qualified as a fighter pilot in 1976. Paloméros commanded 2/12 Picardy Squadron in Cambrai, which he led for the Epervier operational deployment in Chad in 1987, and then the 30th Fighter Wing in Reims in 1990. He was then appointed as commander of Cazaux Air Force Base from 1996 to 1998. He became the head of the Studies and Strategic Plans Department of the French Air Force staff in1998, and promoted to brigadier general in 2001.  In 2005 he was appointed vice-chief of staff of the French Air Force.  Paloméros graduated from the Royal Air Force Staff College in 1993, and was awarded the rank of grand officer of the French Legion of Honor in 2009.

Mr. Barry Pavel
Vice President and Director, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council

Barry Pavel is vice president and director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, focusing on emerging security challenges, defense strategies and capabilities, and key European and global defense issues. Mr. Pavel was a career member of the Senior Executive Service in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for almost eighteen years. From 2008 to 2010, he served as the special assistant to the president and senior director for defense policy and strategy on the National Security Council staff, serving both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Mr. Pavel holds an MA in security studies and an MPA in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and a BA in applied mathematics and economics from Brown University.

H.E. Nikola Poposki
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia

Nikola Poposki was appointed minister of foreign affairs in July of 2011. Before that he served as ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to the European Union from 2010 to 2011. Between 2006 and 2009 Poposki served as team leader of the Joint Research Center of the European Commission. Previously he was a client relationship manager at DEPFA Bank (2005-2006) and secretary of the Embassy of the French Republic to the Republic of Macedonia from 2001 to 2004. Poposki holds a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Skopje, a Master’s degree in languages and international trade in the EU from the University of Rennes and the University of Skopje, and a Master of Arts degree in European economic studies from the College of Europe in Bruges. Poposki is the recipient of an Excellence Award for contribution to the EU’s Western Balkan Policy from the European Commission.

H.E. Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko
Member of Parliament, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Petro Poroshenko is a current member of the Ukrainian parliament and a current candidate for the Ukrainian presidency. Previously Poroshenko served as minister of foreign affairs, from 2009 to 2010, and minister of trade and economic development in 2012. From 2007 to 2012, Poroshenko headed the Council of Ukraine’s National Bank and served as the fourth Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council in 2005. Prior to joining the Ukrainian government, Poroshenko built what would become the largest confectionery manufacturer in Ukraine, the Roshen group. He is a graduate of the National University of Kiev.

H.E. Vesna Pusić
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the Republic of Croatia

Vesna Pusić is first deputy prime minister and minister of foreign and European affairs for the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs to the Republic of Croatia. Previously she served as Vice-president of the European Liberal Democratic and Reform party from 2006 to 2012. From 2008 to 2011 she was chairperson of the National Committee for Monitoring the Accession Negotiations between Croatia and the EU. Prior to that Pusić served as deputy speaker of the Croatian Parliament from 2003 to 2007. She was elected to the Croatian parliament in 2000 and has been a member of the Croatian People’s Party – Liberal Democrats (HNS) parliamentary group since its establishment in 1990. She is a graduate of the University of Zagreb.
Mr. Jim Sciutto
Chief National Security Correspondent, CNN

Jim Sciutto is chief national security correspondent for CNN, based in Washington, DC. Previously, he served as chief of staff and senior adviser to US ambassador to China Gary Locke from 2011-2013. Prior to accepting this appointment, Sciutto was ABC News’ senior foreign correspondent. He contributed to all ABC News broadcasts and platforms, including “World News,” “Nightline,” and “Good Morning America,” and also anchored “World News” and “Good Morning America.” In September 2008, Sciutto published a book based on his reporting experiences in the Middle East, entitled Against Us: The New Face of America’s Enemies in the Muslim World. Prior to joining ABC News in 1998, Sciutto was Hong Kong-based correspondent for Asia Business News. Sciutto earned a BA cum laude in Chinese history from Yale University in 1992. He was a Fulbright fellow in Hong Kong from 1993 to 1994. In 2008, he was selected as a lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations. In 2002, he was appointed associate fellow of Pierson College at Yale.

The Hon. Brent Scowcroft
Chairman, International Advisory Board, Atlantic Council; Former National Security Advisor

Brent Scowcroft served as the national security advisor to both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, the only individual in US history appointed to the position under two different presidents. His extraordinary twenty-nine-year military career began with graduation from West Point and concluded at the rank of lieutenant general following service as the deputy national security advisor. His Air Force service included professor of Russian history at West Point; assistant air attaché in Belgrade, Yugoslavia; head of the political science department at the Air Force Academy; Air Force Long Range Plans; Office of the Secretary of Defense, International Security Assistance; special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and military assistant to President Richard Nixon. In recent years, he has served as a co-chair for both the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future and the National Academies of Science’s Committee on Science, Security, and Prosperity. General Scowcroft currently serves on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. At present, he is a member of the US Secretary of State’s Advisory Board, the US Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board, and the US Secretary of Defense’s Policy Board. He has been recognized as a distinguished graduate of West Point, and earned his Master’s and PhD in international relations from Columbia University.

H.E. Laimdota Straujuma
Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia

Laimdota Straujuma assumed her position on January 22, 2014. Previously she served as minister of agriculture of the Republic of Latvia from 2011-2014, deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development from 2010-2011, state secretary of the Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government from 2007-2010, state secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture from 2000-2006, and deputy state secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture from 1999-2000.  Prime Minister Straujuma holds degrees in agricultural economics, mathematics, and a PhD in economics from the University of Latvia.

H.E. Martin Stropnicky
Minister of Defense, Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic

Martin Stropnicky is the minister of defense of the Czech Republic. He previously served as deputy of the Czech Parliament. From 2003 to 2012 he was artistic director of the Vinohrady Theater and in 1998 he was a member of the caretaker government as minister of culture. From 1990 he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1993-1994 he served as Czech ambassador to Portugal, from 1994-1997 he was ambassador to Italy, and from 1999-2002 he was ambassador to the Holy See. Stropnicky completed his studies from the Theater department of AMU in 1980 and the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna in 1991.

Dr. Horst Teltschik
Former German National Security Adviser, Federal Republic of Germany

Horst Teltschik previously served as national security adviser to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He worked as ministerial director at the German Federal Chancellery and head of the Directorate General for Foreign and Intra-German Relations, Development Policy, and External Security. Teltschik is former president of Boeing Germany in Berlin. Prior to serving in this position, he was a member of the board of management of the BMW Group specializing in economic and governmental affairs, and was chairman of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt in Munich. Teltschik also served as chief executive officer of the Bertelsmann Foundation in Gütersloh. Teltschik is a member of the University Council of the Munich Academy of Arts, and also of the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations. A lecturer at the faculty of economics and social sciences at Technical University Munich, Teltschik has received honorary professorships and doctorates from the Technical University Munich; the University of Budapest, Hungary; and Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

H.E. Frans Timmermans
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Frans Timmermans is the minister of foreign affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He began his career in 1987 as an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, where he participated in the induction course for diplomats. He subsequently worked as a policy officer in that ministry’s European Integration Department from 1988 to 1990. That year, he was appointed second embassy secretary at the Dutch embassy in Moscow. After a brief period back in The Hague, Timmermans became a member of the staff of European commissioner Hans van de Broek. He later became adviser and private secretary to Max van der Stoel, the high commissioner on National Minorities for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. From 1998, he was a member of the House of Representatives for the Labour Party (PvdA). In that capacity, he dealt principally with foreign affairs. He was chair of the Permanent Committee on Economic Affairs and represented the House of Representatives in the European Convention. In the fourth Balkenende government, from February 2007 to February 2010, Timmermans was minister for European affairs. After the fall of that government he returned to the House as the PvdA’s spokesperson on foreign policy. On November, 5 2012 Timmermans was appointed minister of foreign affairs in the Rutte-Asscher government.

H.E. Tomáš Valášek
Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic, NATO

Tomáš Valášek has been appointed a permanent representative of the Slovak Republic to NATO as of April 15, 2013. Until recently, he worked as president of the Central European Policy Institute; an independent regional think tank in Bratislava, Slovakia. From 2006 to 2012 he worked as director of foreign policy and defense at the Centre for European Reform in London. Previously, he served as policy director and head of the security and defense policy division at the Slovak Ministry of Defense. Before joining the Ministry, Valášek founded and directed the Brussels office of the World Security Institute, a Washington, DC-based independent defense and security think tank (2002-2006). From 1996 to 2002 he worked as senior European analyst in CDI’s Washington, DC office. Mr. Valášek holds a Master’s degree in international affairs from the George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.

H.E. João Vale de Almeida
Ambassador, Embassy of the European Union to the United States

João Vale de Almeida, prior to his appointment in Washington as the European Union’s ambassador, served as the director general for external relations at the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body. From 2004 to 2009 Almeida was the head of cabinet (chief of staff and main adviser) for European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Earlier in his career in the European institutions, Almeida held several senior positions in the European Commission and the Economic and Social Committee and worked closely in different capacities with and under the authority of former Commission Presidents Jacques Delors, Jacques Santer, and Romano Prodi. Immediately before joining Barroso’s team in 2004, Almeida held a senior position in the Directorate General for Education and Culture after serving as deputy chief spokesman of the European Commission. Almeida joined the European Commission in 1982 at its Delegation in Lisbon, after spending seven years as a journalist. He holds a degree in history from the University of Lisbon.

The Hon. Alexander Vershbow
Deputy Secretary General, NATO

Alexander Vershbow assumed his position in February 2012 after serving for three years as the US assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs. From 1977 to 2008, Vershbow was a career member of the United States Foreign Service.  He served as US ambassador to NATO (1998-2001); to the Russian Federation (2001-2005); and to the Republic of Korea (2005-2008). He held numerous senior positions in Washington, including special assistant to the president and senior director for European Affairs at the National Security Council (1994-1997) and State Department director for Soviet Union affairs (1988-1991). He received a BA in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University and a Master’s Degree in International Relations and a Certificate of the Russian Institute from Columbia University.

H.E. Kristian Vigenin
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria

Kristian Vigenin was elected minister of foreign affairs in May 2013 as a member of the Plamen Oresharski Government. From September 2005, Vigenin was an observer in the European Parliament and leader of the six-member delegation of the Coalition for Bulgaria. He was a member of the European Parliament, seventh and sixth parliamentary term. In the European Parliament elections in 2009, Vigenin was reelected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). He was elected co-chair of the Parliamentary Assembly Euronest platform for inter-parliamentary cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries. In 2000, Vigenin was elected to the National Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and at the end of 2001 as a member of the Executive Bureau of the party responsible for international relations. At the 45th, 46th and 47th Congresses of the Bulgarian Socialist Party he was reelected as a member of the National Council, and later as a member of the Executive Bureau and secretary of the Supreme Council for Foreign Affairs and International Relations. From 2006, he took part in the PES Presidium and coordinated the work of the PES network for Southeastern Europe. In 1998, Vigenin graduated from the University of National and World Economy, specializing in International Relations and in Macroeconomics.

H.E. Alexandr Vondra
Former Minister of Defense of the Czech Republic, Co-founder of the Civic Forum

Alexandr Vondra is the minister of defense of the Czech Republic. Prior to 1989, Vondra lectured at Charles University, subsequently serving as curator for the Asian Collection of the Naprstek Museum in Libechov. From 1990 to 1992, he served as a foreign political adviser to President Vaclav Havel, followed by an appointment as first deputy minister of foreign affairs until 1997. From 1997 to 2001, he served as Czech ambassador to the United States. Between 2004 and 2006, he was managing director and consultant to the transnational DutkoWorldwide Corporation, lectured on European-American relations at New York University in Prague, and was president of the Czech Euroatlantic Council. In 2006, he was named minister of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic. In January 2007, he became deputy prime minister for European Affairs, during which time he oversaw the Czech Presidency of the European Union in 2009. In 1989, he assumed the position of spokesman for the Charter 77 Movement, and was one of the authors of the petition entitled A Few Sentences. He was imprisoned for his activities. Vondra studied at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Charles University.

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO
Ambassador, Embassy of the United Kingdom to the United States

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO became British Ambassador to the United States in January 2012. This is his second posting in Washington, having previously served as the British Embassy’s Counsellor for Political and Public Affairs in the mid-1990s. Prior to his service as Ambassador to the United States, Westmacott served as the British Ambassador to France from 2007 to 2011 and as Ambassador to Turkey starting in 2002. Westmacott’s forty-year career in the British Diplomatic Service has included postings in Tehran and Brussels, time as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Director for the Americas, and a seat on the board of the Foreign Office as Deputy Undersecretary. In addition, he served as Deputy Private Secretary to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales from 1990 to 1993. He was educated at New College Oxford and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972.

Mr. Damon Wilson
Executive Vice President, Atlantic Council

Damon Wilson is executive vice president of the Atlantic Council. His areas of expertise include NATO, transatlantic relations, Central and Eastern Europe, and national security issues. From 2007 to 2009, Wilson served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council. Previously, Wilson served at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq as the executive secretary and chief of staff. Prior to this posting, he worked at the National Security Council as the director for Central, Eastern, and Northern European affairs from 2004 to 2006. From 2001 to 2004, Wilson served as deputy director of the Private Office of the NATO Secretary General, assisting Lord Robertson in his drive to transform the Alliance by enlarging NATO membership, conducting operations beyond Europe particularly in Afghanistan, and adapting Allied capabilities to face modern threats. Wilson also supported the secretary general’s role in the successful effort to avert civil war in Macedonia. Prior to serving in Brussels, Wilson worked in the US Department of State’s Office of European Security and Political Affairs, on the State Department’s China desk, and at the US Embassy in Beijing. Wilson began his service at the State Department by helping coordinate policy to adapt NATO to modern security challenges and planning for the Alliance’s 50th anniversary summit in Washington during the Kosovo conflict.