Meet our Team


  • Dr. William Burke-White

    Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director, Perry World House
    Deputy Dean and Professor of Law

    William Burke-White, an expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort. Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration. His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests. In 2008 he received the A. Leo Levin Award and in 2007 the Robert A. Gorman award for Excellence in Teaching.

  • Dr. Michael Horowitz

    Associate Director, Perry World House
    Professor, Political Science

    Michael C. Horowitz is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics. His research interests include military innovation, the future of war, forecasting, the role of leaders in international politics, and the relationship between religion and international politics. He has published in a wide array of peer reviewed journals, as well as more popular outlets such as the New York Times, Politico and Foreign Policy. Professor Horowitz spent 2013 working for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Department of Defense as an International Affairs Fellow, funded by the Council on Foreign Relations. He is affiliated with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Center for a New American Security. He is also a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He has held fellowships at the Weatherhead Center, Olin Institute, and Belfer Center at Harvard, where he received his PhD in Government. Professor Horowitz received his BA in political science from Emory University.

  • LaShawn Jefferson

    Deputy Director

    LaShawn Jefferson is Perry World House’s Deputy Director. She brings to Perry World House over two decades of legal and policy advocacy, strategic planning and communications, and research and writing on women’s international human rights through civil-society organizations and philanthropy. She joined Perry World House after almost seven years at the Ford Foundation, where she worked to advance women’s human rights globally and in the U.S. through field building and investments in the areas of rights advocacy; strategic communications and engagement; intersectional leadership and analysis; research; and capacity building. For fourteen years, she also held several leadership positions at Human Rights Watch, a global human rights organization, where she led their women’s rights research and advocacy work, providing strategic and intellectual guidance to the work on women’s international human rights, crafting and executing long-term advocacy strategies, and representing HRW at the highest level of national and international fora. She is the author of many reports on a variety of issues confronting women around the world, and has written op-eds and articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and The International Herald Tribune. She received a BA from Connecticut College  and an  MA in International Relations  and Latin American Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS.


  • Lisa Jourdan

    Operations & Events Manager

    Lisa Jourdan is the Operations and Events Manager for Perry World House. She is responsible for coordinating all activities within as well as supervising event organizers, caterers, and other event-related personnel. Lisa came to Penn from Washington, D.C. where she helped produce annual fundraisers for elite non-profits such as the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and Vital Voices Global Partnership. Most recently she managed events for a non-profit health organization in D.C. raising critical service funds for medically at risk populations. In 2010 Lisa traveled to South Africa to conduct research on the corporate social responsibility of the sponsors and partners of FIFA’s World Cup. It was here that her desire to work for an organization focusing on the global impact of creating and planning mega events was cultivated.  Lisa is excited to be at Perry World House where her interest in the socio-economic, environmental and cultural effects of policy planning is in line with Perry World House’s aim to advance interdisciplinary research on issues of global importance. Lisa earned a dual degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and her Master’s in Tourism Administration with concentrations in Event Management and Sustainable Development from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

  • Kate Leader

    Program Manager

    Kate Leader is Program Manager for the research theme Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography, which launched in fall 2016. In this capacity, she designed the theme's strategic, multi-year vision and manages all aspects of intellectual engagement and output, including conferences, workshops, research papers, and visiting fellows. Kate works closely with Penn's students, faculty, and postdocs, as well as external policymakers and practitioners, to connect academia and policy on pressing global challenges connected to the Global Shifts theme, such as the urban integration of refugees and migrants and sustainable urbanization. She also designed and manages several of Perry World House's undergraduate student programs. Most recently, Kate was a Fulbright-Clinton Fellow serving as a Special Assistant in Haiti’s Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation in Port-au-Prince, where she led research on post-earthquake urban expansion and rural resettlement. She completed her MPhil in Development Studies at Oxford University (St. Antony's College), with a focus on urban-rural linkages in Haiti. Prior to that, she spent two years working for the Office of International Affairs at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Kate received her BA in International Relations, summa cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Dr. John Gans Jr.

    Global Order Program Manager

    John Gans is the Global Order Program Manager.  Prior to joining PWH in December 2017, Dr. John A. Gans, Jr. was the chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. He served as the principal advisor to the Secretary Carter on planning, positioning, and preparation of remarks; managed a team of writers; and drafted dozens of speeches delivered around the world. In addition to leading the writing team at the Defense Department, Gans served as senior speechwriter for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew.

    Over the course of his career, Gans worked with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2008 Beijing Olympic bid delegation, American Airlines, and, in the wake of September 11, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at Ground Zero. He is also a reserve Navy Public Affairs Officer (PAO).

    Gans is currently writing a book on the people and the power of the National Security Council staff, which will be published by a division of W.W. Norton in the coming year.  Gans earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, where he also taught for several years.

  • Itai Barsade

    Research Fellow

    Itai Barsade is the Research Fellow at Perry World House. In this capacity, Itai contributes to both of Perry World House’s research themes – Future of the Global Order and Global Shifts. He is also responsible for coordinating the World House Student Fellows Program. Itai is especially interested in the nexus of global politics, security, and technology. Prior to working at Perry World House, Itai spent time working on sanctions and counterterrorism at the United States Mission to the United Nations, public diplomacy at the U.S. Embassy in Mozambique, and on economics at Associação Portuguesa de Bancos. A native of Philadelphia, Itai received his BA in Political Science, summa cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania. 

  • Ashley Napier

    Assistant to the Director

    Ashley Napier is Assistant to the Director of Perry World House. In this role, Ashley provides support to the Director and contributes to Perry World House strategic communications, development, stewardship, and event management. She joined Perry World House most recently from Penn Global, where she served as Global Initiatives Fellow. Ashley is also a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing her Master's in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and serving as a Research Assistant for the Institute for Research on Higher Education (IRHE). Ashley holds a BA in Public Policy and Finance from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

  • Debbie Rech

    Visitor Coordinator

    Debbie Rech is the Visitor Coordinator at Perry World House. In this role, Debbie serves as the primary point of contact and provides overall administrative planning, support, and coordination for Perry World House Visiting Fellows, Visiting Scholars, Postdocs, special guests, and other visitors, when on campus. She maintains the website, supports other strategic communications efforts, assists with outreach, and plans onboarding and integration activities. She joins Perry World House most recently from Penn Law where, since 2014, she held several positions related to faculty. She planned and executed 250+ faculty events each academic year, including meetings, workshops and conferences for the 55 full‐time faculty members and nine centers and institutes. Previous to working at Penn Law, Debbie spent over a decade working in speech‐writing, marketing and events management positions in the private and public sectors. Debbie received her BA from the University of Michigan in Organizational Behavior and is currently enrolled in the Post Baccalaureate Program at Penn enjoying critical writing/cinema studies classes.

  • Brian Yansak

    Administrative Coordinator

    Brian Yansak is the Administrative Coordinator at Perry World House. In this capacity, Brian supports all administrative and event activities in the building, including liaising with students, faculty, community members, event vendors and organizers to ensure smooth operations of the building. Brian also provides executive support to the deputy and associate directors.  Brian has an extensive background in the hospitality industry, including restaurant management, catering, hotel operations, and event coordination. Brian most recently worked in an Austin, Texas, luxury boutique hotel,  where he was an event coordinator focused on weddings. Brian is very excited to be a part of the Perry World House team and is proud to focus his skillset and talents on supporting and executing the programming and operations of Perry World House in order to create continued success in being a hub of global engagement and an engine for critical global policy engagement.  A native of New Jersey, Brian received his B.A. from The Ohio State University.

    • Grand Opening
    • Grand Opening