Perry World House Perry World House Announces Visitors for the 2021-22 Academic Year

September 17, 2021
By Perry World House

Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania’s hub for global affairs, has announced its new cohort of visitors for the 2021-22 school year. As Penn students, faculty, and staff return to in-person operations on campus this fall, they will find a cohort of outstanding leaders from around the world with experience and insights from a number of fields including multilateral institutions, defense, diplomacy, academia, and the highest levels of government.

“Our visitors represent some of the best minds making some of the strongest contributions in their respective global policy areas. Each will greatly impact campus this academic year in public events, small conversations with students, and in guest lectures,” said Perry World House’s Director Michael C. Horowitz. “Their unique and diverse perspectives also inform our research on the world’s most urgent policy challenges. We are delighted to welcome them to Penn, and we look forward to an enriching and exciting year with them.”

Perry World House’s Visitors Program brings thought and policy leaders, as well as academics with strong global policy connections in their work, from around the world to Philadelphia for visits ranging from a week to a semester. While on campus, they can connect with Penn faculty and students and share their in-depth experience of the pressing global challenges Perry World House influences.

2021-22 Distinguished Global Leaders-in-Residence

Perry World House’s Distinguished Global Leaders-in-Residence Program invites internationally-recognized dignitaries to Penn, including current or former heads of state, cabinet officials, and Nobel Prize winners. The presence of these high-profile guests provides exceptional opportunities for students, faculty, and the public to learn from and with individuals at the vanguard of global policy debates.

Carl Bildt is co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations. He served as both Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden. Under his leadership, the government initiated major liberal economic reforms and negotiated Sweden’s accession to the E.U.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, known as “Africa’s Iron Lady," is the former President of the Republic of Liberia and a Nobel Peace Laureate. As Africa’s first democratically elected female head of state and Liberia’s first female president, Johnson Sirleaf is credited with achieving dramatic economic, social, and political change, culminating in Liberia’s first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in 73 years.

Anote Tong served as President of the Republic of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016. During his terms in office, he drew international attention to the existential threat faced by his people and other vulnerable countries on the frontline of climate change impacts.

2021-22 Visiting Fellows and Scholars

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was sworn-in as Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone in May 2018, with a commitment to transform Freetown using an inclusive, data-driven approach to address challenges in the city. The 3-year Transform Freetown plan details 19 concrete targets across 11 sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.

Daniel Bodansky is Regents’ Professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University.  Prior to joining the ASU faculty in 2010, he taught at the University of Washington from 1989-1999, served as Climate Change Coordinator at the U.S. State Department from 1999-2001, and held the Woodruff Chair of International Law at the University of Georgia from 2002-2010.

Dominique Day leads DAYLIGHT | Rule of Law • Access to Justice • Advocacy, an access to justice platform that uses training, mapping, and advocacy as tools to help organizations, communities, and individuals build intersectional racial justice globally. Day is the Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, a fact-finding body mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on the situation of people of African descent globally.

Melissa Flagg is a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center and founder of Flagg Consulting LLC. Prior to this, she was a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) at Georgetown University. Previously she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research, responsible for policy and oversight of Defense Department science and technology programs.

John Gans will be Managing Director for Executive Communications and Strategic Engagement at The Rockefeller Foundation. From 2017 until 2021, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania and worked at Perry World House, last as Director of Communications and Research. Prior to joining Perry World House, he was the chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at the Pentagon.  

Alice Hunt Friend researches the role of civilians in civil-military relations and emerging military capabilities. She has served in several roles at the Pentagon, most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Friend has worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security. She has published articles in The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, War on the Rocks, Lawfare, and Just Security.

Lolita K. Jackson is the Executive Director of Communications & Sustainable Cities for Sustainable Development Capital, LLP, a billion-dollar London-based climate finance and investment firm. She previously worked for the NYC Mayor’s Office for 15 years in a variety of roles.  Until March 2021, Jackson served as the Special Advisor for Climate Policy & Programs, where she was the climate diplomat and lead for the administration regarding global work on divestment and climate finance.

Shaden Khallaf is an international expert in humanitarian and development affairs, with extensive expertise in multilateral cooperation. As Senior Policy Advisor at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), she leads regional policy analysis and partnership design in complex displacement situations.

Melissa M. Lee is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. She studies the international and domestic politics of statebuilding and state development. Lee is the author of Crippling Leviathan: How Foreign Subversion Weakens the State.

Michelle Leighton is Chief of the Labour Migration Branch for the International Labour Organization, leading the global program on labor migration and mobility related to migrant workers and refugees. She is an expert in international law, human rights, climate displacement, and development.

Capricia P. Marshall is president of Global Engagement Strategies, LLC, which advises international, public, and private clients on issues relating to the nexus of business and cultural diplomacy. Marshall is currently Ambassador-in-Residence at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. She served as White House Social Secretary in the Clinton Administration from 1997 to 2001 and United States Chief of Protocol in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013.

Musonda Mumba is the Director for The Rome Centre for Sustainable Development under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in close collaboration with the Italian Government's Ministry of Environment and Ecological Transition. She is also the Chair of the Global Partnership on Forest and Landscape Restoration (GPFLR), and has over 25 years' experience in environmental and conservation issues globally.

Henri-Paul Normandin has engaged in diplomacy and international development for close to forty years, to advance peace, democratic governance, equity and sustainability. He served as Ambassador of Canada to Haiti as well as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He recently retired as director of international relations for the city of Montréal. Normandin is currently a Fellow at the Institut d’études internationales de Montréal.

Clay Risen is a reporter and editor for The New York Times. Over his 11 years with the paper, he has edited opinion articles, helped run 2020 presidential campaign coverage, written the On Politics newsletter, and, most recently, authored obituaries for everyone from scientists and historians to the bassist for ZZ Top. He is the author of several books on American history

Stacy-ann Robinson is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Colby College. Her scholarship investigates the human, social and policy dimensions of climate change adaptation in small island developing states (SIDS), with a special focus on climate justice and adaptation finance.

Mauricio Rodas served as Mayor of Quito, Ecuador from 2014 to 2019. Alongside his fellowship at Perry World House, he also works with the Penn Institute for Urban Research and the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy on the “Cities Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Financing Initiative –C2IFI.”

Trudy Rubin is the Worldview columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and a member of The Inquirer's editorial board. She is the author of Willful Blindness: The Bush Administration and Iraq. In 2017 and 2001, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Before joining The Inquirer in 1983, she was Middle East correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.

Robert M. Scher is the Head of International Affairs for bp America. In this position, Scher tracks and analyses U.S. foreign policy as it affects bp’s businesses around the world. Prior to joining bp, Scher spent over 25 years in senior global affairs and national security roles in and outside the U.S. Government, most recently serving as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities in the Department of Defense from 2014 to 2017.

Erin Sikorsky directs the Center for Climate and Security. Previously, she served on the U.S. National Intelligence Council, where she co-authored the Global Trends report and led the U.S. intelligence community’s environmental and climate security analysis.

Erin Simpson is the Director of Strategy Development and Deployment in Northrop Grumman’s Space Sector. While at Northrop, Simpson has focused on issues of nuclear deterrence, major defense acquisition programs, and a broad range of national security space missions. She has lectured widely on the future of war, defense innovation, and the role of intelligence in irregular warfare.

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He is the author of Reconsidering Reparations, a book that considers a "constructive" philosophical argument for reparations and explores links with climate justice.

Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar is Ambassador for Cyber Diplomacy and Director General for the Cyber Diplomacy Department at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Until fall 2018, she worked as Head of Cyber Policy Coordination at the European External Action Service, where she steered and coordinated E.U. external relations on cyber issues from 2012.

Jane Vaynman is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Temple University and the 2021-22 Lightning Scholar at Perry World House. Vaynman’s work focuses on security cooperation between adversarial states, the design of arms control agreements, and the effects of emerging technology on international institutions.

Alexander Vershbow is a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. He was Deputy Secretary General of NATO from 2012 to 2016, the first American to hold that position. A career diplomat since 1977, Vershbow served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (2009-2012), U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2005-2008), U.S. Ambassador to Russia (2001-2005) and U.S. Ambassador to NATO (1998-2001).

Koko Warner focuses on climate risks and impacts, migration, and resilient futures at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She manages the Vulnerability subdivision, where she guides the UN climate secretariat’s adaptation knowledge hub and the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform.

Elizabeth Yee is the Executive Vice President, Program Strategy and Chief of Staff at The Rockefeller Foundation. She oversees The Foundation’s portfolio of global programs, leading the advancement of The Foundation’s strategic priorities.

Zinta Zommers is a Humanitarian Affairs Officer with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She is a specialist in disaster risk reduction and anticipatory action, climate change adaptation, and loss and damage. She was a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Land and Food Security and is an author of the IPCC’s forthcoming Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report.