About this event

The Third Annual Women of Color in Transatlantic Leadership Forum will convene over 100 distinguished women of color leaders from across sectors to discuss the foreign policy and national security issues most pressing to the transatlantic space, and to create a pipeline to encourage women of color to continue pursuing opportunities to advance the international and transatlantic component of their leadership. 

The Forum will open with a Congressional Roundtable, featuring Congresswomen of color who serve as leading voices on foreign affairs and national security issues in the U.S. Congress. The roundtable will be followed by three "power panels" in which woman leaders distinguished in government, business, Congress, and think tanks will engage in dialogue on the Forum topic: Changing the Face of Foreign Affairs

Please note that this event is invite-only. Please email Catharine Carstens at [email protected] with any questions. 

Follow the discussion on Twitter using #DiverseVoicesinFP!

Featured Forum Speakers


Congresswoman Veronica Escobar represents Texas’ 16th Congressional District in El Paso in the 116th Congress. She took office on January 3, 2019 as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives after making history as the first woman elected to this seat and the first of two Latinas from Texas to service in Congress. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. She is the Freshman Representative on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Vice Chair on the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She is also a member of the New Democrat Coalition, and the Democratic Women’s Working Group, where she serves as Co-Chair of the Immigration Taskforce. Prior to her election to the House, Congresswoman Escobar served as a County Judge and, previously, a County Commissioner in El Paso. Prior to her service with El Paso County, Congresswoman Escobar was an English teacher at the University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College, Communications Director for former Mayor Raymond Caballero and the Executive Director of Community Scholars, a non-profit that taught high school students how to produce public policy recommendations.


Congresswoman Gwen Moore was elected to represent Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District in 2004, making her the first African American elected to Congress from the State of Wisconsin. She serves as a Commissioner on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) and is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. In addition, she is an active member on the Congressional Progressive Caucus, LGBT Equality Caucus, the Great Lakes Caucus, and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. As a member of the House Democracy Partnership, Congresswoman Moore collaborates with international partners to implement the development of responsible democracies. Prior to her election to the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Moore was a member of the Wisconsin State Senate, and, previously, the State Assembly.


Congresswoman Deb Haaland represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District in the 116th Congress. A 35th generation New Mexican and one of the first Native American to serve in Congress, she is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Vice Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources. She is the Freshman Representative to the House Steering and Policy Committee, House Democratic Region VI Whip, and Deputy Whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Prior to her election, Congresswoman Haaland served as Honorary Commander of Kirtland Air Force Base. After running for Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico in 2014, she became the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party. A member of the Pueblo of Laguna, and of Jemez Pueblo heritage, Congresswoman Haaland previously served as a tribal administrator, administering a service provider for adults with developmental disabilities.


Congresswoman Brenda L. Lawrence represents Michigan’s 14th Congressional District. She was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November of 2018, and she serves as a Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues and 2nd Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She is a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, serving on the subcommittees on National Security and Government Operation. She is also a member of the House Appropriations Committee. Elected Mayor Southfield in November 2001, she became the first African American and the first woman to serve in that post. She previously served on the Southfield City Council, where she was elected President in 1999. She has also served on the Southfield Public School Board of Education as President, Vice President, and Secretary.


Congresswoman Lauren Underwood represents Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and was sworn into the 116th U.S. Congress on January 3, 2019. Congresswoman Underwood is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is also the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives. Congresswoman Underwood serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, the House Committee on Education and Labor, and the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. She also serves on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Rep. Underwood is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Future Forum, a group of young Democratic Members of Congress committed to listening to and standing up for the next generation of Americans. Prior to her election to Congress, Congresswoman Underwood served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), helping to implement the Affordable Care Act.


Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a Senior Vice President at ASG and leads the firm's Africa practice. From 2013-2017, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, where she led the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to that appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, leading the team in charge of the State Department's 70,000 personnel. From 2008, to 2012, she was Ambassador to Liberia and previously held postings at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Switzerland, as well as in Kenya, Nigeria, The Gambia, Pakistan, and Jamaica. In Washington, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of African Affairs, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield taught political science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She was awarded the Hubert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, and the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She has also received the Presidential Rank Award and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award. She earned a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked towards a PhD. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wisconsin in May 2018.


Dr. Karen Donfried has been President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) since April 2014. Previously, she was special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House, serving as the president’s principal advisor on Europe and leading the interagency process on the development and implementation of the president’s European policies. Prior to her service in the White House, Dr. Donfried served as the national intelligence officer (NIO) for Europe on the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community’s center for strategic thinking. From 2005 to 2010, Dr. Donfried served as GMF’s senior director of policy programs and, later, as executive vice president. From 2003 to 2005, she was responsible for the Europe portfolio on the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff. She is a senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the American Council on Germany. 


Reta Jo Lewis is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Congressional Affairs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Lewis draws on her immense experience and GMF’s resources and European networks to connect Congress and GMF. In January 2015, she joined GMF’s Leadership Programs, where she focuses on leadership development, outreach, programming, and thought pieces on global engagement strategies to strengthen the next generation of transatlantic leaders. Previously, she served as the State Department’s first-ever special representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, under secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry from 2010-13. Lewis led the office charged with building strategic peer-to-peer relationships between the U.S. Department of State, U.S. state and local officials, and their foreign counterparts. In her post, she served as the State Department’s lead interlocutor in negotiating and executing the first historic agreements to solidify subnational cooperation and engagement efforts with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries and with targeted countries in the European Union. She was the driving force behind the global engagement of American state and local government leaders’ integration into and strategies behind sustainability and climate change to RIO+20, COP-16, COP-17, and COP-18. 


Captain Gail Harris was the highest-ranking African-American woman in the U.S. Navy before her retirement in 2001; over the past 20+ years, Captain Gail Harris has built a unique professional career that includes breaking ground for women and African Americans in the military, providing combat-proven leadership and intelligence analysis during major international conflicts, and developing policies and strategies for mitigating cyber warfare. She assists the Naval War College in strategic planning for the 21st century and previously served as Intelligence Specialist for Lockheed Martin, where she compiled, interpreted and presented complex intelligence and aided in strategic decision making. She has served as the Department of Defense Lead, where she drove innovation, developed policy and proposed new strategy for addressing the emerging issue of computer network defense. Before this position, she served as Director of the Joint Intelligence Center, U.S. Strategic Command. She was personally requested to develop and lead intelligence support for the 1988 Olympics, oversee intelligence functions for overseas deployments, and lead intelligence matters for highly visible war games. Captain Harris was also personally selected to develop the Navy's first training courses on intelligence analysis. Trained at the University of Denver and Drew University, she earned her Master of Arts in International Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.


Yara Bayoumy is a senior editor leading national security coverage at The Atlantic. Bayoumy was formerly the deputy national security editor at Reuters, where she had worked since 2004. Her reporting on conflict, militancy, and regional politics as a foreign correspondent took her to more than 20 countries across the globe, including Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. For the past two years, she has been based in Washington, DC, where she has led a team of award-winning reporters who have broken news on major stories related to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and North Korea. Bayoumy has a BA in political science from the American University in Cairo.


Lora Berg guides the Inclusive Leadership portfolio within the Office of Leadership Programs at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). In this capacity, Ms. Berg develops partnerships on the international stage to strengthen diversity and inclusion, and designs leadership programs such as the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network (TILN), which builds the capacity of rising diverse young leaders from both sides of the Atlantic who hold or plan to run for public office. Ms. Berg coaches on strategies and best practices that create economic, political, and social inclusion for transatlantic communities across race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, and other markers at a time of significant demographic shifts in the United States and Europe. Prior to joining GMF, Ms. Berg served as a senior foreign service officer specialized in public diplomacy at the U.S. embassies in Tunis, Rabat, Jeddah, Riyadh, Bridgetown, Bratislava, Paris, and Brussels, as well as in the office of the Special Representative to Muslim communities. She holds master’s degrees in international relations and in poetry from Johns Hopkins University.


Mrs. Chidi Blyden-Rowe is a socio-cultural analyst on Africa’s conflicts, security and development issues. She currently serves as a Professional Staff Member for the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Policy Team, advising on Africa and South America’s defense equities for the 116th U.S. Congress. Prior to joining the HASC, she led the Africa Program at the Center for Civilians in Conflict and was responsible for implementing the Africa portfolio and developed a specialized training on civilian protection for the Nigerian Armed Forces. Mrs. Blyden-Rowe served in the Obama Administration from 2013-2017 as the Special Assistant and Regional Director to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for African Affairs in the Office of Secretary for Defense for Policy. In this capacity she worked on U.S.- Africa defense policy for East and Central Africa and as the Africa Peacekeeping Advisor to the office of Stability and Humanitarian Affairs. Prior to her appointment, she worked at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) from 2007-2012 as the Academic Operations Coordinator, advising in the business and administrative operations of the Academic Dean’s Office, and as an Academic Associate focused on East and Southern Africa. At ACSS, she contributed to academic material and curriculum for over 30 programs on counter-terrorism, defense economics, conflict management, security studies and civil-military relations for Africa’s security sector professionals. She is a Political Partner and Co-lead of the Africa Expert Group for the Truman National Security Project and is a member of the Leadership Council for Memunatu Magazine, a leadership magazine for young African girls. She is an alumnus of Texas A&M University (BS-Sociology), George Mason University (MS -Conflict Analysis and Resolution) and the Annie Walsh Secondary School for Girls (Freetown, Sierra Leone).


Kendra Brown began her career as an Executive Assistant at Kelly Drye and Warren. Following that, she worked as a Scheduler and Executive Assistant in the Office of Representative Maxine Waters. Immediately after this, she also served as a legal fellow in the United States House of Representatives. Then in 2013, she served as a legislative and special assistant in Congresswoman Maxine Waters’s office. Following her service in Congresswoman Waters’s office, she worked in the private sector at Earthjustice as Associate Legislative Counsel. In early 2015, she moved back to Capitol Hill and served for two years as policy director for the Congressional Black Caucus. Following this, she served for a year as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Representative Dwight Evans. Most recently, she was appointed as Chief of Staff in Congressman G.K Butterfields office since 2018.  Ms. Brown did her undergraduate studies at Hampton University, her master’s studies at Howard University, Law School at Vermont Law School and George Washington University.


Shamila Chaudhary is the president of the American Pakistan Foundation, Senior Advisor to Dean Vali Nasr at the School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, and senior South Asia fellow at New America. She worked on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka at the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group from 2011-2013. She also has twelve years of experience working in the U.S. government, most recently at the White House as Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan on the National Security Council from 2010-2011. Prior to her work at the NSC, she worked on the Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff, where she advised Secretary Clinton and the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Chaudhary served on the State Department’s Pakistan Desk from 2007-2009 and covered economic, humanitarian response, and development issues on the Indonesia desk from 2004-2007. She worked on democracy and governance issues at the U.S. Agency for International Development from 2000-2004. Chaudhary was a 1999 David L. Boren National Security Education Program Fellow and studied Urdu in Lahore, Pakistan, as part of her fellowship. She earned an M.A. in International Affairs from the American University’s School of International Service and a B.A. in English Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of Toledo. In 2010, she and her husband founded the Chaudhary-Steinitz Honors Program Research Grant at the University of Toledo to promote greater interest and research in Pakistan and South Asian affairs. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Pakistan.


As the Vice President for Third Way's National Security Program, Mieke Eoyang is committed to closing the credibility gap between Democrats and Republicans on security issues and constructing a national security strategy that is both tough and smart. Ms. Eoyang had a long career on Capitol Hill, most recently serving as Chief of Staff to Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Prior to that, she was the Defense Policy Advisor to Senator Kennedy, the Subcommittee Staff Director on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and a Professional Staff Member on the House Armed Services Committee. Ms. Eoyang began her career as a legislative assistant in the office of Representative Pat Schroeder (D-CO), where she handled the Congresswoman’s Armed Services and Foreign Policy work. Originally, from Monterey, California, Ms. Eoyang earned her J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.


Maia Estes Estes currently serves as Chief of Staff to Congressman Anthony Brown (MD-04) and is responsible for strategic planning, policy development, all administrative and operational activities for the Congressman. She oversees his policy development related to both the House Armed Services Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. As Chief of Staff, she acts as the primary contact between for state and local stakeholders including community, labor and business leaders. She has been fortunate to participate in the German Marshall Fund bi-partisan Chief of Staff Study Tour and is an American Israel Education Foundation Alumni. Ms. Estes earned a BA degree in English from Spelman College, graduating cum laude. She earned her JD from Georgetown University Law Center and completed a year as a visiting student at New York University Law School.


Laura Kupe is counsel at the House Committee on Homeland Security, a Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation, a Transatlantic Expert Group Leader for the Truman National Security Project, and a Youth Ambassador for Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation. Ms. Kupe previously served as a Special Assistant at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where she was a subject-matter expert on the Department’s engagement with European Union (EU) member states and the Five Eyes on topics including immigration/migration, border security, and counterterrorism. Previously, Ms. Kupe was detailed to the Office of Presidential Personnel in the White House and served as Domestic Director. Before her detail, Ms. Kupe served as the Briefing Book Coordinator to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. Previously, Ms. Kupe served as a legislative fellow for Congresswoman Karen Bass, Ranking Member of the Africa Subcommittee on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


Sophia Lafargue is Chief of Staff to Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-05). Her policy portfolio includes all international trade and foreign affairs related issues with special emphasis on trade capacity building in emerging economies, and the linkages between geopolitics and economic policy. For over a decade, Ms. Lafargue has actively supported the advancement of all major trade legislation in Congress. Since 2005, Ms. Lafargue has been the top trade advisor and primary leadership liaison for Representative Meeks who is Chairman of the Subcommittee Chairman on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection; former Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats; and Co-Chair of several caucuses  - EU, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Kazakhstan, and Global Investment. Ms. Lafargue is known for her bipartisan approach to legislating, and her understanding of the real world implications of policy making. She is a well-traveled and highly regarded foreign policy expert that is often at the table with think tanks, non-government organizations, the private sector, and government stakeholders alike. She works collaboratively with U.S. entities globally to promote American interests abroad. Her ties extend beyond Capitol Hill. With strong political connections to New York, she has effectively leveraged her influence toward fortifying the services sector in challenging times, and to benefit New York City and State’s economic development. Ms. Lafargue is a graduate of Queens College – City University of New York, and Harvard University.


DeDe Lea was named Executive Vice President of Global Government Relations of Viacom Inc. in January 2006. Ms. Lea is responsible for setting public policy strategy at Viacom and leads the company’s worldwide government relations team. Ms. Lea held senior Government Relations roles at the former Viacom Inc., a predecessor of the company, from 1997 to 2004 and again from 2005 to 2006. She served as Vice President of Government Relations at Belo Corp. from 2004 to 2005. Prior to joining Viacom, Ms. Lea held a variety of positions with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), beginning as a legal intern in 1991 and ultimately serving as Senior Vice President of Government Relations. Ms. Lea has been named by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America. She currently serves on the Board of the Washington Hospital Center and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Ms. Lea received a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University and received her undergraduate degree in broadcast management from Howard University in Washington, DC.


Laura Maristany is the Associate Director for Constructive Politics at the Democracy Fund, where she leads the Governance Program’s strategy to strengthen the congressional political system by fostering more constructive political engagement. Previously, she served as Director of the Washington, D.C. office for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). At both organizations, Laura played a key role in developing and implementing their respective legislative agendas and developing relations with Congress, the Administration, federal agencies, and other national and international organizations. Ms. Maristany began her career on Capitol Hill as Legislative Assistant to former Congressman Luis G. Fortuño. In 2009, she became Legislative Assistant and Public Affairs Liaison for Congressman Pedro Pierluisi, where she was Staff Lead for the Congressional Friends of Spain Caucus. Ms. Maristany is a recipient of the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit bestowed by the Spanish Crown.


Ha McNeill is Chief Operating Officer for BSA | The Software Alliance, where she helps design and implement strategies, operations, plans, and procedures to advance BSA’s strategic direction. As COO, she also oversees all revenue-generating functions for the organization. Previously, McNeill was Chief of Staff at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). She served as a key advisor to the Administrator of TSA on all agency security and workforce matters, and led the offices responsible for strategy, policy coordination, innovation, public affairs, and legislative affairs. McNeill has over a decade of government and national security experience, driving whole-of-government policies on topics including trade and intellectual property, supply chain and transportation security, commercial unmanned aerial systems, and research and development. She has served two tours at the White House, first in the Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordination and subsequently on the National Security Council. McNeill has worked closely with international partners and global organizations to successfully advance joint security interests. McNeill previously served as Vice President of Operations and Chief of Staff at BSA | The Software Alliance. McNeill is a native of Montreal, Canada. She holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and bachelor's degrees in international studies and music from the University of California, Irvine.


Ms. Parker is the National Security Advisor for the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her responsibilities include advising on national security and international affairs matters, and overseeing the activities of the Armed Services, Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Homeland Security Committees, and their Appropriations Committee counterparts. Prior to joining the Office of the Speaker, Ms. Parker served as Deputy Staff Director and General Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. While there she was responsible for managing the staff and the diverse legislative and oversight activities of the full Committee. Earlier in her career, Ms. Parker served as an attorney at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation where she focused on national security litigation, investigations and policy. She also served as an assistant state prosecutor. Ms. Parker received her A.B. from Duke University and her J.D. from The Ohio State University College of Law. She also attended Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England, and completed the Harvard University Seminar for Senior Executives in National and International Security.


Eliza Ramirez serves as Legislative Director for Congressman Tom Malinowski. Ms. Ramirez started her Capitol Hill career at the Senate, where she worked for Senators Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez.  In her previous role, she served as Legislative Assistant for Congressman Michael Capuano. Ms. Ramirez has been instrumental working with key international actors to secure funding for humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. She was named "40 Under 40 Latinos in Foreign Policy" by The Huffington Post in 2016 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Congressional Foreign Policy Study Group and the Woodrow Wilson Foreign Policy Congressional Scholars Program. Ms. Ramirez’s passion to help others is indulged through her service to increase diversity and promote inclusion in Congress, a goal she furthered as President of the Women's Congressional Staff Association, former Board Member of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association, and founder of the Latinas in the House of Representatives Group.


Ms. Stanberry began her career on Capitol Hill working as Legislative Counsel in the Office of Representative Yvette D. Clarke. She was in this position from 2017 to 2018, at which time she was appointed Legislative Director to Representative Clarke. Later that year, Ms. Stanberry was promoted to Chief of Staff and has been serving in that position ever since. She also serves as a staff contact on the Congressional Caribbean Caucus, Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, Congressional Caucus on Multicultural Media, Congressional Caucus on Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality [The Reality Caucus], Congressional Smart Cities Caucus, and the Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus.


Zuraya Tapia-Hadley is the Manager of Public Policy at Facebook. Previously, she served as Vice President at UPS, where she was a part of the company’s Latino Business Resource Group. Prior to joining UPS, Ms. Tapia-Hadley served as Director of the Mexican-American Leadership Initiative at the Mexican-American Leadership Initiative; in this role, she linked Mexican diaspora located in the U.S. with opportunities to join development projects and operated binational delegations as well as diaspora initiatives with the Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs. Ms. Tapia-Hadley also developed national leadership and advocacy programs as Executive Director of the Hispanic National Bar Association and developed economic and immigration policy positions from a hemispheric and regional perspective while at NDN, a Washington, DC think-tank. Previously, she served as committee staff in the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee. She was recently recognized by The Huffington Post as one of the “Top 40 Latinos under 40 in Foreign Affairs.”


Mary Elizabeth Taylor is the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Department of State. Previously, she served as senior advisor in the Office of the Counselor. From 2017 to 2018, Ms. Taylor was Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs at the White House.  In that role, she led the process and strategy guiding Senate nominations, spearheading the successful confirmations of more than four hundred nominees, including the high-profile confirmations of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and CIA Director Gina Haspel.  Previously, she served in the office of United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, working on the Senate floor as the Senior Cloakroom Assistant and acting as a liaison between the majority and minority leadership to negotiate agreements on legislative and executive matters.  Ms. Taylor also provided Members of Congress with parliamentary advice and counsel on floor strategy during consideration of pending legislative matters. 


Dr. Mischa Thompson is Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE, also called the Helsinki Commission), an agency created by Congress that monitors compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other agreements adopted by the 57 participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). As a specialist in intergroup relations, Dr. Thompson also advises the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance and Commissioners on security, economic, and human rights issues related to diverse populations in the OSCE region, including corporate citizenship/social responsibility. Dr. Thompson serves as liaison to bipartisan initiatives co-founded by the Commission that focus on inclusive societies, including the Transatlantic Minority Political Leadership Conference (TMPLC) and the Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network (TILN). Prior to being appointed to the Commission, Dr. Thompson served as a Professional Staff Member and Congressional Fellow within the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, where she worked on human rights, foreign policy, appropriations, trade, economic development, and security issues. A former Fulbright Scholar to Germany and a prestigious National Science Foundation, German Marshall Fund, and AAAS/APA Fellow, Dr. Thompson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where her research focused on intergroup relations in the United States and Western Europe. 


Maria Antonieta Trejo is a career civil servant currently serving as a Senior Congressional Advisor in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs at the Department of State, where she manages and advances the Department’s priorities in the U.S. Congress or multiple bureaus responsible for personnel, funds, property and security including Diplomatic Security, Human Resources and the Office of Foreign Missions. She has also represented a wide range of regional, global and economic issues before the U.S. Congress, including U.S. foreign policy with countries in the Indo-Pacific, European and Western Hemisphere regions. Through successive Administrations, she has developed, negotiated and implemented successful legislative strategies to advance national security priorities in these regions. Ms. Trejo began her public service as a Presidential Management Intern (PMI) in the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics Matters. Ms. Trejo holds a B.A. in International Relations from Scripps College of the Claremont Colleges in California, a J.D. from Santa Clara University Law School, and an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College. She is a member of the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia Bars.


Nancy Youssef is a national security correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. She was previously the Senior National Security Correspondent for Buzzfeed News. She also worked at The Daily Beast, and before that McClatchy Newspapers where she served as National Security Correspondent and Middle East Bureau Chief based in Cairo covering the Middle East and the Islamic world. Prior to that she was McClatchy's chief Pentagon correspondent, focusing on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She traveled frequently to those two nations to see how the policies crafted in Washington reached Afghans, Iraqis and the troops alike. She is also founder of the Pentagon Press Association. Before covering the Pentagon, she spent four years covering the Iraq war, including a stint as Baghdad bureau chief. Her pieces focused on the everyday Iraqi experience, civilian casualties and how the U.S.'s military strategy was reshaping Iraq's social and political dynamics. She joined the Washington Bureau in August 2005. Before that, she was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press, covering legal issues. While at the Free Press, she traveled throughout Jordan and Iraq for Knight Ridder, covering the Iraq war from the time leading up to it through the post-war period. She began her journalism career at the Baltimore Sun. She has won several awards for her work, including the University of Virginia's Lawrence Hall Award for Distinguished Journalism covering the Middle East, the Maryland-D.C. Delaware Press Association and the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. A Washington, D.C.-area native, she earned a bachelor's degree in Economics from University of Virginia and master’s degree in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Her parents are from Egypt, and she has been visiting the region all of her life. She speaks Arabic.