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Jorge Castañeda

Global Distinguished Professor, Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University

Dr. Jorge Castañeda was foreign minister of Mexico from 2000 to 2003, focusing on U.S.-Mexican relations, joint diplomatic initiatives on the part of Latin American nations, and the promotion of Mexican economic and trade relations globally.


He is currently a professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University and a member of the Board of Human Rights Watch. He has published more than 20 books and is a regular columnist for the Mexican daily Milenio, TIME Magazine and Spanish daily El País. Castañeda received undergraduate degrees from Princeton University and Université de Paris-I (Pantheon-Sorbonne), a master’s from The École Pratique de Hautes Études, Paris I, and his Ph.D. in economic history from the University of Paris-I.

Zhao Changhui

Manager, The Export-Import Bank of China

Dr. Zhao Changhui has been with The Export-Import Bank of China since 1994 and currently serves as a manager specializing in China’s national security policy. Other experience with China Eximbank includes serving at the institution’s representative office for Central and West Africa in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for four years and a six-month visitation program with ANZ Group in Melbourne and Sydney between October 1988 and April 1989.


He is also a scholar or member of many think-tanks including the Council on National Security Policy, China Strategic Thinkers, China Society for International Finance, Asia-Africa Development and Exchange Society, and the London-based The International Institute for Strategic Studies. Zhao has a Ph.D. in the history of economics thought from Renmin University, a master’s in economics from Beijing Normal University, and a bachelor’s in economics from Tianjin University of Economics and Finance.

Gregory Craig

Partner, Litigation, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

Gregory Craig is a Washington-based lawyer and former White House counsel under U.S. President Barack Obama.


He has represented numerous high-profile clients, including John W. Hinckley, Jr., who was acquitted of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by reason of insanity, and, in 2010, Goldman Sachs. As assistant to the president and special counsel in the White House of President Bill Clinton, Craig directed the team defending Clinton against impeachment. He was a foreign policy advisor to Senator Edward Kennedy and to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Birame Diop

Director, Partners Senegal: Center for Change and Conflict Management

Colonel Birame Diop, a scholar and practitioner in the field of security in West Africa, serves as director of Partners Senegal: Center for Change and Conflict Management. He designed and manages the Guinea Citizen Security Project with funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


Diop is seconded from the Senegalese Air Force, where he served as an adviser to the chief of staff. In 2009, he served as a Reagan-Fascell Democracy fellow with NED and a public policy scholar fellow with the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars. His research is focused on reforming Africa’s armed forces. He has sought to bridge the civil-military divide by hosting seminars on the role of military in society, as well as how the military and civilian populations in West Africa can cooperate.

Karen Donfried

President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Dr. Karen Donfried assumed the leadership of the German Marshall Fund in April 2014. Donfried most recently was the special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House. Prior to the White House, Donfried served as the national intelligence officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community’s center for strategic thinking.


Donfried first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. From 2003 to 2005, she was responsible for the Europe portfolio on the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff. 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 Ph.D and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany. She holds a bachelor’s in government and German from Wesleyan University.

Patricia Espinosa Cantellano

Ambassador to Germany, Mexico

Ambassador Patricia Espinosa Cantellano is the ambassador of Mexico to the Federal Republic of Germany. Prior to this, she was secretary of foreign affairs (2006-12).


She has been a career member of the Mexican Foreign Service since 1981 and was promoted to the rank of ambassador in January 2000. In November 2012, she was designated ambassador emeritus by the Mexican president, the highest honor given by the Mexican government to its diplomats. Espinosa holds a degree in international relations from El Colegio de México and did postgraduate studies in international law at the University Institute of Higher International Studies in Geneva.

Winston Fritsch

CEO, Petra Energia

Winston Fritsch is the CEO of Petra Energia, an independent Brazilian exploration and production company.


He started his professional life as an academic, becoming dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Catholic University of Rio, and also served as secretary for economic policy of the Brazilian Ministry of Finance. After returning to the private sector, Fritsch had a long career in banking, being CEO of leading international banks in Brazil and setting up two Brazilian financial services firms as a senior partner. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Cambridge.

Geraldine Gardner

Director, Urban and Regional Policy Program

Geraldine Gardner is the director of the Urban and Regional Policy program. Before joining GMF in May 2012, she held in a variety of planning and economic development positions in the District of Columbia Government, including serving for five years as an associate director of the Office of Planning (DCOP).


In her tenure at DCOP, she led the successful completion of over 18 neighborhood and revitalization plans. Gardner has also worked in a variety or research and planning capacities in Los Angeles, New York, and Berlin. She was also the recipient of a Bundeskanzler/German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to support a year-long research project to track the development of the creative economy in post-Wall Berlin.

Nik Gowing

International Presenter

Nik Gowing was a main presenter for the BBC’s international 24-hour news channel BBC World News from 1996 to 2014.


He has presented The Hub with Nik Gowing, BBC World Debates, Dateline London, plus provided location coverage of major global stories. For 18 years, he worked at ITN where he was bureau chief in Rome and Warsaw, and diplomatic editor for Channel Four News. He has been a member of the councils of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute, the Overseas Development Institute, the board of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and the advisory council at Wilton Park.

Wenping He

Director of the African Studies Section, Institute of West-Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Dr. Wenping He is a professor and the director of African Studies Section at the Institute of West-Asian and African Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). She specializes in Africa’s relations with China and major Western powers, and African democratic transition.


She began her research/teaching career at CASS in 1989, and has served as a visiting scholar at Yale University, London University, the Nordic Africa Institute based in Sweden, German Development Institute, and the BRICS Policy Center of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Wen is secretary general of the Chinese Asian & African Research Society, as well as standing member of the Research Society for African Problems and Asian–African Development & Exchange Society of China. She also served as a council member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Africa in 2009 and 2010.