Middle East Strategy Task Force: Senior Advisers
Asfari                                    Mr. Ayman Asfari
Group Chief Executive, Petrofac Limited

Ayman Asfari is Group Chief Executive of Petrofac Limited, a leading international service provider to the oil and gas industry. His early career was in civil construction, initially as resident engineer for the Conser Consulting Group in Muscat, Oman and then as Managing Director for a major construction group in Oman. In 1991, Asfari became CEO of Petrofac International, a joint venture he co-founded with US-based Petrofac. Having started with just an engineering office in Sharjah, UAE, and a small corporate office in London, Petrofac now has 31 offices worldwide and more than 18,000 employees.

Asfari has a passion for training and education that reflects a conviction that his privileged education was crucial to his own success. Consequently, Petrofac has a core training business, which enables it to help customers develop their own national workforces, an extensive graduate recruitment and development programme, strong links with leading universities around the world and is an active supporter of the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering. He is also on the Board of Trustees for the American University of Beirut. In 2006 Ayman established The Asfari Foundation, a UK-registered charity that funds education to young people so they can, in turn, contribute to their societies. The Foundation also supports initiatives that promote civil society and provides humanitarian relief aid. Asfari is the son of a Syrian diplomat and was born in Syria, though his later childhood was spent in Turkey and what is now the Czech Republic. Asfari graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1979 from Villanova University (Pennsylvania) and a master’s degree in Civil and Urban Enigneering in 1980 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Barroso                                    H.E. Dr. José Manuel Barroso
Former President, European Commission

Barroso joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD) in 1980, was first elected to the Portuguese parliament in 1985, and was re-elected six times thereafter. In 1999, Barroso was elected President of the PSD 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, Barroso played a key role as mediator of the peace accords for Angola in Bicesse (Estoril, Portugal) in 1991, and as Minister for Foreign Affairs he launched the talks with the Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, which ultimately led to the independence of East Timor. Under Barroso’s leadership, the PSD won the general election in 2002 and he was appointed Prime Minister of Portugal. Barroso 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, a post he held until 2014. After graduating with a law degree from the University of Lisbon, he moved to Geneva where he completed a Diploma in European studies at the University of Geneva and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Geneva.

Burns                                    The Hon. Nicholas Burns
Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, US Department of State

Nicholas Burns Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. He served in the US government for twenty-seven years. As a career Foreign Service Officer, Burns was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008, the State Department’s third-ranking official, when he led negotiations on the US–India Civil Nuclear Agreement and a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel. Burns was also the lead US negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. He was previously US Ambassador to NATO (2001–05), Ambassador to Greece (1997–2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995–97). He worked for five years (1990–95) 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 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 (1985–87) where he coordinated US economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American Embassy in Egypt (1983-85).

Green                                    The Hon. Mark Green
President, International Republican Institute

Mark Green is President of the International Republican Institute (IRI). Prior to leading IRI, in 2013, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Initiative for Global Development, a nonprofit organization that engages corporate leaders to reduce poverty through business growth and investment in Africa. From 2011 through early 2013, Green served as Senior Director at the US Global Leadership Coalition, a network of 400 businesses, nongovernmental organizations, policy experts, and other leaders supporting development tools in US foreign policy.

A recognized leader in the foreign policy and business communities, Green served as the US Ambassador to Tanzania from mid-2007 to early 2009. While there, he led a mission of more than 350 Americans and Tanzanians and was ultimately responsible for some of the world’s largest US-led development programs.

Prior to serving as US Ambassador, Green served four terms in the US House of Representatives representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. While in Congress, he helped craft key policy initiatives including the Millennium Challenge Act and President George W. Bush’s history-making AIDS program. He also served as an Assistant Majority Whip. Green holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.

Lindborg                           The Hon. Nancy Lindborg
President, United States Institute of Peace

Nancy Lindborg is President of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Prior to joining USIP, she served as the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) from 2010 through 2014. Lindborg has spent most of her career on issues of transition, democracy and civil society, as well as conflict and humanitarian response. Prior to joining USAID, she was President of Mercy Corps, where she spent fourteen years helping to grow the organization into a globally respected organization known for innovative programs in the most challenging environments. She holds a BA and MA in English literature from Stanford University and an MA in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Sawiris                           Mr. Naguib Sawiris
Executive Chairman and CEO, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding

Naguib Sawiris is Chairman of the Board of Orascom TMT Investments S.à r.l., La Mancha Resources Inc.’s parent company and is also the Executive Chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding S.A.E. OTMT. Sawiris founded Orascom Telecom Holding OTH and led it to become the leading regional telecom player until the much publicized merger deal with Vimpelcom Ltd, creating the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider in April 2011. In 2011, Sawiris also founded the Al-Masryeen Al-Ahrar party in Egypt. Sawiris holds a diploma of mechanical engineering with a master’s in technical administration from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich ETH Zürich and a diploma from the German Evangelical School, Cairo, Egypt.

Solana                           H.E. Dr. Javier Solana
Former Secretary General, NATO

Javier Solana is the President of ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, Barcelona-Madrid and a Distinguished Fellow in Foreign Policy with the Brookings Institution. He began his long career in public service when he was elected to the Spanish Parliament in 1982. In July 1992, he became Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, a post he held until December 1995, when he became NATO Secretary General. In October 1999, Solana left NATO to become the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union and its first High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. His primary task was to put forth ideas and analyze policy options in an effort to help EU leaders agree on foreign and security policy issues, thereby giving the Union more political weight in international affairs. He also assumed a leadership role in world affairs as the EU’s de facto Foreign Minister. Solana spent six years as a Fulbright Scholar in the United States and received his PhD in physics from the University of Virginia.

Stavridis                                    Admiral Dr. James Stavridis (ret.)
Former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO

James Stavridis is Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. A former Admiral in the US Navy, he led the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013 as Supreme Allied Commander. He also served as Commander of US Southern Command, with responsibility for all military operations in Latin America from 2006 to 2009. His focus is on innovation, strategic communication and planning, and creating security through international, interagency, and public-private partnerships in this turbulent twenty-first century.

Townsend                                    Ms. Frances Townsend
Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, The White House

Frances Townsend is Executive Vice President, Worldwide Government, Legal, and Business Affairs of MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated. Previously, Townsend was a corporate partner at the law firm Baker Botts, LLP. She served as Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and chaired the Homeland Security Council from May 2004 until January 2008. Townsend spent thirteen years at the US Department of Justice under the administrations of President George H. W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. After three years of study, Ms. Townsend graduated cum laude from American University, where she received a BA in political science and a BS in psychology. After accelerated study, Townsend received her law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Wollack                                    Mr. Kenneth Wollack
President, National Democratic Institute

Kenneth Wollack has served as president of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) since 1993. Wollack joined NDI in 1986 as Executive Vice President. Before joining NDI, Wollack co-edited the Middle East Policy Survey, a Washington-based newsletter. He also wrote regularly on foreign affairs for the Los Angeles Times. From 1973 to 1980, he served as Legislative Director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Wollack has been active in American politics, serving on the national staff of the McGovern presidential campaign in 1972. He graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and was a senior fellow at UCLA’s School for Public Affairs.

Al-Hamad Abdel-Latif                                    Dr. Al-Hamad Abdel-Latif
Director General, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, State of Kuwait

Abdlatif Al-Hamad has been the Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development since 1985. Previously, he was the Minister of Finance and Minister of Planning of Kuwait from 1981 to 1983 and was Director General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development from 1963 to 1981. He was also a member of the Board of the Kuwait Investment Authority, chaired the Task Force on Multilateral Development Banks, and was chairman of the United Bank of Kuwait (1966-81). He served on the Brandt Commission, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the United Nations Committee for Development Planning, the South Commission, the Commission on Global Governance, the World Commission on Water in the 21st Century, and the World Bank’s MENA Region advisory council. He holds a BA in international affairs from Claremont McKenna College and attended graduate school at Harvard University. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Economic Research Forum in Cairo.

David Miliband                                    H.E. David Miliband
Former Foreign Secretary, United Kingdom

David Miliband is the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. Miliband has had a distinguished political career in the United Kingdom. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the youngest UK Foreign Secretary in three decades, driving advancements in human rights and representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. As Secretary of State for the Environment he pioneered the world’s first legally binding emissions reduction requirements.

Earlier, Miliband was Minister for Communities and Local Government (2005-6); Minister for Schools (2002-4); and Head of Downing Street’s Number 10 Policy Unit (1997–2001). He has also been a Member of Parliament representing South Shields. He is Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission. Miliband graduated from Oxford University in 1987 with a first class degree in philosophy, politics, and economics, and received his master’s degree in political science in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which he attended as a Kennedy Scholar.

Barham                                    H. E. Dr. Barham Salih
Former Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government and Former Deputy Prime Minister, Republic of Iraq

Barham Salih is a veteran Kurdish politician with years of public service and leadership in both the Kurdistan Region and in Iraq. His life and political outlook are defined by his experience as a political activist committed to freeing the Kurdistan Region and Iraq from tyranny and to the pursuit of democracy and human rights. Born in the city of Sulaymaniyah in 1960, Salih joined the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 1976. He was twice arrested by the Baathist regime for his involvement in the Kurdish national movement, and was detained and tortured. Following continued persecution, he left Iraq for the United Kingdom. He earned a degree in civil engineering and construction in 1983 from the University of Cardiff, and a Doctorate from the University of Liverpool in statistics and computer applications in engineering in 1987. He was put in charge of the PUK’s foreign relations in London and at the same time continued his studies. Following the 1991 Gulf War and the withdrawal of the Iraqi army and administration from Kurdistan, Salih was elected to the PUK’s leadership and appointed as the PUK representative in Washington. After the 2003 liberation of Iraq, Salih served in Iraq’s post-war governments. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister in the interim Iraqi government in mid-2004, Minister of Planning in the transitional government in 2005, and from April 2006-August 2009 as Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister to Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. In the July 2009 Kurdistan Region parliamentary elections he headed the Kurdistan List, and was appointed Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region in September 2009, leading the sixth Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) cabinet until April 2012. Salih is fluent in Kurdish, Arabic, and English.

Biegun                                    Mr. Stephen Biegun
Former Executive Secretary, National Security Council

Stephen E. Biegun has been a Corporate Officer and Vice President for International Governmental Affairs at Ford Motor Company since 2004. In this role, Biegun oversees all aspects of Ford’s international governmental relations, including trade strategy and international political risk. Prior to joining Ford, Biegun served as National Security Adviser to Senator Bill Frist from 2003 to 2004. In this capacity, Biegun provided analysis and strategic planning for the Senate’s consideration of foreign policy, defense and intelligence matters, and international trade agreements. Before joining the staff of the Majority Leader, Biegun worked in the White House from 2001 to 2003 as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. Prior to joining the White House staff, Biegun served for fourteen years on the staffs of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the House Foreign Affairs Committee as a Foreign Policy Adviser to members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Biegun graduated from the University of Michigan where he studied political science and Russian.

bonino                                    H.E. Emma Bonino
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Italian Republic

Emma Bonino served as Vice President of the Italian Senate during the previous legislature. First elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 1976 with the Radical Party, Bonino has since served either in the Italian or in the European Parliament continuously until 2014, except when she held the post of European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Fisheries, and Consumer Policy from 1995 to 1999. Bonino served as Cabinet Minister in the Italian government from 2006 to 2008 and as Minister for International Trade and European Affairs. In April 2008, Bonino was elected to the Senate as a Radical candidate on the Democratic Party ticket. Bonino received degree in modern languages from Bocconi University, Milan.

Morrell                                    The Hon. Michael Morell
Former Acting Director, US Central Intelligence Agency

Michael Morell is a Senior Counselor at Beacon Global Strategies and a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. Most recently, Morrell served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and twice as its Acting Director. As Deputy Director from May 2010 until August 2013, he oversaw the Agency’s analytic and collection operations, represented the Agency at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and maintained the CIA’s relationships with intelligence services and foreign leaders. Morrell also served as a member of the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee.

In July 2006, Morell was named the Executive Director of the CIA, overseeing the administration of the Agency. In this role, he worked to strengthen the CIA’s leadership development program and established a cost-savings program for the Agency’s numerous support elements. In 2008, Morell became the Director for Intelligence at the Agency, leading the CIA’s large analytic effort. Morell received a BA in economics from the University of Akron and an MA in economics from Georgetown University.


vali                                    Dr. Vali R. Nasr
Dean, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

A Middle East scholar, foreign policy adviser, and commentator on international relations whose most recent book, The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat, deals with the implications of Obama administration’s foreign policy on American strategic interests. His earlier books, Forces of Fortune and The Shia Revival, examined the postwar sectarian violence in Iraq and the uprisings known as the Arab Spring and contributed to US policy formulated in response to those events. Prior to being named SAIS dean, Nasr was a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; from 2009 to 2011, he was Special Adviser to the President’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; he also served on the faculties of the Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford University, the University of California San Diego, and the University of San Diego. Nasr was a Carnegie Scholar and a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Senior Fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. He is currently a member of the US Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and a Director of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the National Democratic Institute; he is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nasr has a PhD in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rubaie                                    Dr. Mowaffak al Rubaie
Former Member of Parliament and Former National Security Advisor, Republic of Iraq

Mowaffak al Rubaie is a distinguished Iraqi statesman and active civil rights campaigner. In 2003 he was appointed to the twenty-five member Iraqi Governing Council by the Coalition Provisional Authority and in 2004, he was appointed National Security Adviser by the Coalition Provisional Authority. He held this post for a full five-year term until 2009, when he was appointed a Member of Parliament in Iraq’s Council of Representatives. He held this role until the Parliament’s dissolution in 2010. Al Rubaie was the main architect of the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement of 2008, which set the timeline for US withdrawal from Iraq and the rules of engagement for both sides. Al Rubaie graduated top of his class at the Baghdad School of Medicine in 1977 and gained his Membership of the Royal College of Physicians while studying at King’s College Medical School in London in 1979. Al Rubaie was a pivotal figure in the Islamic Dawa Party, which served as the main opposition to Saddam Hussein’s regime. He was sentenced to death in absentia the day after leaving Iraq to complete his medical studies in the United Kingdom. While he was in exile in London from 1979 until 2003, al Rubaie embarked on a successful career in the public and private sectors in the United Kingdom. From 1979 until 1991, al Rubaie was the head of Dawa party’s international wing and instrumental in organizing opposition conferences, publications highlighting Saddam’s atrocities, and fund-raising events in order to assist Saddam’s countless victims.

abdel monem said aly                                    Dr. Abdel Monem Said Aly
Chairman of the Board and CEO, Al-Masry Al-Youm

Dr. Abdel Monem Said Aly is the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Al-Masry Al-Youm Publishing House in Cairo since February 2013, and the Chairman of the Board, CEO, and Director of the Regional Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo since January 2012. He was the President of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo since 2009 to 2012 and the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Al-Ahram Newspaper and Publishing House from 2009 to 2011. He has been a member of the Board at Al-Ahram Institutions since 1999 to 2005 and the Director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo from 1994 to 2009. He obtained his BA from Cairo University (1970) and his MA and PhD in Political Science from Northern Illinois University (1979 and 1982). He worked at the Ahram Center since 1975 as a Researcher, Senior Researcher, Head of the International Relations Research Unit, and Deputy Director. He was a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC in 1987 and in the summer of 2004, and a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in 2003. He is a Senior Fellow in the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. He worked as a Political Adviser in the Amiri Diwan of the State of Qatar between August 1990 and June 1993. He was a Senator in the Egyptian Shura Council (Consultative Assembly) from June 2007 to 2011. He has contributed op-eds and commentary in Arabic and in English.

Toni Verstandig                                    Ms. Toni Verstandig
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, US Department of State

Toni Verstandig is Chair of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs and Senior Vice President at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. From November 1994 until January 2001, Verstandig served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs at the US Department of State. In this capacity, she directed and coordinated US bilateral relations and overall policy development concerning Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority, as well as US economic and commercial policies in the Middle East. Verstandig also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula. She chaired the bilateral committees on Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. Verstandig is a graduate of Boston University and Stephens College.

yakıs vesiikalık foto                                    H.E. Yaşar Yakış
Former Foreign Minister, Republic of Turkey

Yaşar Yakış cofounded the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a force which would revolutionize Turkish politics, and was made the Deputy Chairman of the Party in charge of international relations. He was elected a member of parliament in 2002 and became Foreign Minister. He led his country’s bid to start accession talks with the EU and is credited with easing tensions with Cyprus.

Upon graduating from the University of Ankara with a degree in political science he entered the diplomatic service in 1962. In 2000, he was appointed Senior Policy Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1998 he was appointed Turkey’s Permanent Representative at the UN offices in Vienna and named Ambassador to Egypt in 1995. He was appointed Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in 1988, followed by a three year stint in Ankara as Deputy Undersecretary in charge of Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Moushira                                    H.E. Dr. Moushira Khattab
Former Minister of Family and Population, Arab Republic of Egypt

Moushira Khattab is the Chair of the Egyptian Women in Foreign Policy Group. She is a former Minister of Family and Population of Egypt as well as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. She served as Ambassador of Egypt to South Africa during the Nelson Mandela era and Ambassador of Egypt to the Czech Republic and Slovakia during their formation.

Moushira is a strong activist for human rights, especially women and children. She coordinated national efforts to combat gender based violence–including female genital mutilation–and child marriage. She spearheaded the development and inauguration of 1,167 girl-friendly schools, which provide quality learning to thousands of girls in the poorest quintile of Egyptian society. Because of the remarkable results of her leadership, Moushira has been awarded The Order of Good Hope from the President of South Africa, The Knight of the Grand Cross, and the Decoration of “Commendatore” of the Order of Merit by the President of the Italian Republic.

Khattab holds a doctorate in International Relations and Human Rights Law from Cairo University, a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Cairo University. .

ricciardone summit2                                    The Hon. Francis J. Ricciardone
President-Elect, The American University in Cairo

Ambassador (ret.) Francis J. Ricciardone is President-Elect Ambassador (ret.) Francis J. Ricciardone is President-Elect of The American University in Cairo (AUC). Prior to this appointment, he has served as Atlantic Council Vice President and the Director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East since 2014. Mr. Ricciardone continues to contribute to the Atlantic Council as senior advisor to two projects which he had founded: to the Middle East Strategy Task Force under former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and to the Future of Iraq Task Force under Chairman Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Executive Director Dr. Nussaibah Younis. He also continues to advise on the development of The Council’s new focus on Turkey’s strategic regional role, under senior fellow Dr. Aaron Stein. Before joining the Council, he was a career United States Foreign Service Officer in Washington, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, including assignments as Ambassador to Turkey (2011-14), Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Ambassador to Afghanistan (2009-10), Ambassador to Egypt (2005-8), and Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau (2002-5). Before joining the Foreign Service, Mr. Ricciardone held a Fulbright Scholarship in Italy, and taught at international schools in Italy and in Iran. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1973.