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 an associate 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.


  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Kimberlee Laney

    Administrative Coordinator

    Kimberlee Laney is the Administrative Coordinator at Perry World House. She is responsible for providing administrative support, assistance on events planning, and is also the front desk receptionist. A native of Maine, Kim went south to attend the University of Richmond, where she earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education & Development and a minor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She became interested in international education after spending two semesters in Uganda and Mongolia and interning at the EducationUSA Ahmedabad Advising Center in India. She also worked as a student at the University of Richmond’s Office of International Education. Most recently, Kim was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, where she worked with a local trilingual Kazakh school and two Embassy language centers.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Daniel Agbiboa

    Daniel E. Agbiboa received his PhD in International Development at Oxford University, an M.Phil. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge, UK, and an MA in International Relations from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He has expertise in informal economy and non-state governance in Africa, terrorism and political violence, and cross-border security cooperation. Daniel has authored over 50 journal articles on related issues, recently in Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies (2015), Australian Journal of International Affairs (2014), Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (2014), Review of African Political Economy (2013), and Third World Quarterly (2012). He has worked as a Consultant for the Africa Governance Architecture of the African Union, Transparency International’s Defense and Security Programme, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research, Global Centre for Pluralism, and the Nigeria Police Forum within London’s Metropolitan Police. As a Perry World House Postdoctoral Fellow, Daniel’s research will focus on the micropolitics of urban transportation in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and Africa’s largest city. The research will engage with the everyday challenges – the risks and uncertainties – faced by road transport operators and, importantly, the tactics and strategies they routinely deploy to minimize risks and maximize profits. The analysis will extend to the impact of the World Bank-funded Bus Rapid Transit system on the lives and mundane livelihoods of these operators.

  • Margarita Konaev

    Margarita Konaev is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame (2016), an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University (2010), and a B.A. from Brandeis University (2007). Her research lies at the intersection of international security and demography, and explores how demographic factors and shifts – changes in the size, distribution, composition, and growth rates of populations – shape efforts to prevent, manage, and resolve armed conflicts. During her year at the Perry World House, Margarita will focus on turning her dissertation into a book manuscript as well as completing a number of articles addressing the interface between global demographic shifts, specifically, urbanization, and the changing nature of warfare.   

  • Julia Macdonald

    Julia Macdonald is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House and an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies (on leave 2016-17). Julia’s research lies at the intersection of international security and political psychology and explores the role of pyschological variables in explaining state threat assessments, use of force decisions, and U.S. military strategy and effectiveness.  Her work has appeared in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Strategic Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis, and Armed Forces and Society, as well as in various policy outlets. Previously, Julia was a pre-doctoral fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Stanton Nuclear Security fellow in the Security Studies Program at MIT. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the George Washington University, an M.A. (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. During her year at the Perry World House, Julia will work on turning her dissertation into a book manuscript as well as completing a series of papers on the rise of unmanned weaponry.

  • Aaron Rock-Singer

    Aaron Rock-Singer is a social and intellectual historian of the Modern Middle East and Islam. He received his B.A from the University of Pennsylvania (2007), his M.Phil from St. Antony’s College, Oxford (2010) and his Ph.D from Princeton’s Department of Near Eastern Studies (2016). His research, which draws on methods of social and intellectual history, uses mass and small media to trace the changing relationship between religion, politics and society in the Middle East. Aaron has published five articles in peer reviewed journals, including The International Journal of Middle East Studies, The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, The Muslim World, and Islamic Law and Society. In September 2016, an E-book, entitled Islamists and Autocrats: What the Next Administration Needs to Know about the Current Egyptian Landscape and its Origins, will be published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute. As a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Perry World House, Aaron will prepare a book, based partially on his dissertation, that charts the rise of the “Islamic Revival” in Egypt over the past forty years. The spread of such mass religiosity, in turn, casts light not only on Egypt’s contemporary battles but also on the broader contestations of Islam in the Middle East today.

    • Grand Opening
    • Grand Opening