Perry World House Perry World House Announces Visitors for 2022-2023

September 21, 2022
By Perry World House

Perry World House, the University of Pennsylvania’s hub for global affairs, has announced its new cohort of visitors for 2022-2023. Over the course of the academic year, Penn students, staff, and faculty will have the opportunity to engage with a group of outstanding experts from around the world. When they come to campus, visitors bring with them a wealth of experience in confronting critical global issues, gained in fields including policy, academia, activism and advocacy, and government service.

“Our visitors are among the most renowned across a wide range of global policy areas, from human rights to military strategy. Each will deepen our community’s understanding of the world’s most pressing policy challenges, as they share their ideas in guest lectures, articles, public events, and small-group conversations with students,” said Perry World House’s Senior Executive Director LaShawn R. Jefferson. “It is a privilege to welcome them to Penn, and we look forward to their expertise enriching our work and students’ experiences.”

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. During their time on campus, they build connections with Penn faculty and students, help Perry World House shape the work of its two research themes, and share their perspectives on the global policy issues that Perry World House influences.

2022-23 Distinguished Global Leader

Perry World House’s Distinguished Global Leaders 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.

Chung Sye-kyun is a prominent politician and civil society organization leader who served as the 46th prime minister of the Republic of Korea from January 2020 to April 2021. While in office, he presided over the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chung is currently an executive advisor to the Democratic Party of Korea and chairman of the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation. This academic year, Prime Minister Chung will also be the Moon Family Distinguished Lecturer at the James Joo-Jin Kim Center for Korean Studies.

Inaugural Thakore Family Global Justice and Human Rights Visiting Fellow

Kenneth Roth is the inaugural Thakore Family Global Justice and Human Rights Visiting Fellow. He will play a critical role in a new program at Perry World House, dedicated to issues surrounding global justice and human rights.

Kenneth Roth served for nearly three decades as the executive director of Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading international human rights organizations. Before that, Roth served as a federal prosecutor in New York and for the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, he has conducted numerous human rights investigations and missions around the world and has written extensively on a wide range of human rights abuses, devoting special attention to issues of international justice, counterterrorism, the foreign policies of major powers, and the work of the United Nations.

2022-23 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 three-year “Transform Freetown” plan details nineteen concrete targets across eleven sectors and covers issues ranging from tackling environmental degradation to facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism sector.

Lauren Bernstein is the founder and CEO of The Culinary Diplomacy Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote cross-cultural awareness through global culinary engagement. Prior to launching the Project, Bernstein served as the director of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership at the US Department of State. In addition to over ten years’ experience in culinary diplomacy, Bernstein worked as a public defender for more than a decade.

Fatima Denton is the director of the United Nations University’s Institute for Natural Resources in Africa. She was previously director of the Special Initiatives Division and coordinator of the African Climate Policy Centre at the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa. Denton works at the confluence of research and policy, and has designed a number of research programs into Africa’s climate policy needs and possibilities for a green transition.

Melissa Flagg is the founder of Flagg Consulting LLC, as well as a senior advisor to the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center, a fellow at the Acquisition Innovation Research Center, and an advisor to the Andrew W. Marshall Foundation. Prior to this, she was a senior fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. Previously, she served as the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for research, responsible for policy and oversight of Department of Defense science and technology programs.

Helen Frowe is professor of practical philosophy and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Scholar at Stockholm University, where she directs the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace. She has longstanding research interests in permissible harming, particularly defensive harming, and the ethics of war. She is the author of Defensive Killing and The Ethics of War and Peace: An Introduction. Frowe received the 2019 Marc Sanders Prize in Political Philosophy.

John Gans is the vice president of strategic communications and advocacy 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 US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at the Pentagon.

Lolita K. Jackson is the executive director of sustainable cities at Sustainable Development Capital LLP, a multibillion-dollar London-based climate investment firm. She previously worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office for fifteen years in a variety of roles, lastly as the special advisor for climate policy and programs, where she was the climate diplomat for the city. Jackson is an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Nobukatsu Kanehara is a professor in Doshisha University’s Department of Political Science. He served as assistant chief cabinet secretary to Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from 2012 to 2019. In 2013, Kanehara became the inaugural deputy secretary-general of Japan’s National Security Secretariat, a role which he held until his retirement from government service in 2019. His role in the cabinet built on a distinguished career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he served in a number of notable positions. This academic year, Kanehara will also be a Japan Foundation Visiting Fellow at the Center for East Asian Studies.

Elizabeth V. Kassinis has more than twenty-five years’ experience in conflict resolution and international development. She is currently executive manager of Caritas Cyprus, a grassroots humanitarian organization that supports vulnerable populations, including migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Previously, she served in various positions within the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Cyprus from 1998 to 2015.

Nathan Law is a Hong Kong activist, currently in exile and based in London. In 2016, he was elected as the youngest ever member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. However, his seat was overturned, and he was later jailed for his participation in the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. Law was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, alongside fellow student activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow. Due to the risks imposed when the National Security Law was passed in 2020, he left Hong Kong, and continues to speak up for its people at the international level.

Evan Mawarire is a Zimbabwean clergyman who founded the #ThisFlag citizens’ movement to challenge corruption, injustice, and poverty in Zimbabwe. For his work, Mawarire was imprisoned, tortured, and charged with treason, facing eighty years in prison. Currently, he is the director of education at the Renew Democracy Initiative, an organization focused on defending democracy in America and the world.

Sheela Patel is a grassroots urban activist who has spent the last four decades working in partnership with vulnerable communities living in informal settlements, both in India as part of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers’ (SPARC) partnerships with Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers Federation, and globally through Slum/Shack Dwellers International.

Clay Risen is a reporter and editor at the New York Times and the author of several books on American history, including, most recently, The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders and the Dawn of the American Century. At the Times, he has written obituaries, served as the deputy editor for the Opinion section, and helped oversee the 2020 presidential election desk.

Stacy-ann Robinson is assistant professor of environmental studies at Colby College, and previously held appointments at Yale University and Brown University. She researches the human, social, and policy dimensions of climate change adaptation in Small Island Developing States, with a special focus on climate justice and adaptation finance, an area in which she is a certified expert.

Mauricio Rodas served as the mayor of Quito, Ecuador from 2014 to 2019. Alongside his fellowship at Perry World House, he works with Penn’s Institute for Urban Research and Kleinman Center for Energy Policy on the “Cities Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Financing Initiative.” He is also a senior fellow at the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center at the Atlantic Council, leading the “City Champions for Heat Action” initiative.

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, he tracks and analyses US foreign policy as it affects bp’s businesses around the world. Scher has close to twenty-five years’ experience in senior global affairs and national security roles in the US government, most recently serving as the assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities in the Pentagon from 2014 to 2017.

Nadeen Spence is an advocate, activist, and scholar focused on issues related to women’s sexual, political, and economic rights. She has served on Jamaica’s National Partnership Council across two government administrations. Spence is the student services and development manager at Mary Seacole Hall, a hall of residence for women at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

Alexander Vershbow is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC. He was deputy secretary-general of NATO from 2012 to 2016, the first American to hold that position. A career member of the US Foreign Service for over thirty years, Vershbow served as assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 2009 to 2012, and as US ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Russia, and NATO.

Kotchakorn Voraakhom is a Thai landscape architect who works on productive public spaces, tackling climate change impacts, such as flooding, in densely populated urban areas. Her works include Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Centenary Park; Thammasat Urban Farm Rooftop, the biggest urban farming green roof in Asia; and Chao Phraya Sky Park, the first bridge park crossing a river in any world capital.

Koko Warner is an expert on climate change risks, impacts, and resilience at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat. She manages the Vulnerability subdivision, where she guides the global adaptation knowledge-to-action hub and the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform. Warner is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth and Sixth Assessment Reports.

Zinta Zommers is a humanitarian affairs officer with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She is a specialist in risk management and climate change adaptation, working to reduce vulnerability to climate shocks by strengthening early warning and anticipatory action systems. Zommers has held a variety of roles within the UN and is also a lead author for the IPCC.

Brigadier General Peter B. Zwack (Ret.) served as the US senior defense official and attaché to the Russian Federation from 2012 to 2014. Retiring in 2015 after thirty-four years of military service, he then served as the Russia-Eurasia fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies within the National Defense University. Zwack is a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Kennan Institute.