Click here to view the Washington Forum 2014 schedule and list of speakers


Ali Alfoneh is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and a top expert on Iran and the inner workings of its regime. Mr. Alfoneh came to FDD from the American Enterprise Institute, where he worked as a resident fellow specializing on civil-military relations in Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Mr. Alfoneh is the author of Iran Unveiled: How the Revolutionary Guards Is Transforming Iran from Theocracy into Military Dictatorship (AEI Press, April 2013). Mr. Alfoneh grew up in Tehran, but moved to Denmark with his family in 1988. In 1993, he ran for public office, and served as elected member of the Herlev City Council from 1994 to 1998.

Ghaith Al-Omari is Executive Director at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP). Prior to that, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to then-Prime Minister and current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In these capacities, he provided advice on foreign policy -- especially vis-à-vis the United States and Israel -- and security. He has extensive experience in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, having been an advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team throughout the permanent status negotiations (1999–2001). In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. Mr. al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy.

Ambassador Ron Dermer is Israel's Ambassador to the United States. From 2009-2013, he served as Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. From 2005-2008, Amb. Dermer served as Israel's Minister of Economic Affairs in the United States. In 2004, Amb. Dermer co-authored with Natan Sharansky the best-selling book, The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, which has been translated into ten languages. He earned a degree in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford University. For three years, he was a columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

Toby Dershowitz is Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies where she engages in policy roadmapping to move the dial on issues of concern to FDD. She has spent more than 25 years in Washington, focusing on issues related to terrorism, technology and human rights, democracy building, energy security, and the Middle East. She co-directs several FDD projects including the Iran Human Rights Project and the Project on Terrorist Media. She briefs and works closely with members of Congress and their staff as well as with officials throughout the Executive Branch. Prior to her work for FDD, she was Spokesperson and Director of Media Relations for a leading foreign policy organization for 14 years. She continues to provide counsel in strategic communications and public affairs.

Mark Dubowitz is the executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he leads projects on Iran, sanctions, nonproliferation, and countering electronic repression. Mr. Dubowitz is an expert on sanctions and has testified before Congress and advised the U.S. administration, Congress, and numerous foreign governments on Iran sanctions issues. Mr. Dubowitz is the co-author of nine studies on economic sanctions against Iran. He also is co-chair of the Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy, a nonpartisan project co-chaired by five nonproliferation and sanctions experts, which produced a 2013 report on U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East. Mr. Dubowitz is a lecturer and senior research fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto where he teaches and conducts research on international negotiations, sanctions, and Iran's nuclear program.

Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) is the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Recently, working in bi-partisan fashion with Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Rep. Engel co-authored HR 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of 400-20. Recently. Working in bi-partisan fashion with Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Representative Engel co-authored HR 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of 400-20. Rep. Engel leads the committee on important issues such as energy independence and national security matters in Latin America.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He focuses on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, and intelligence. Mr. Gerecht is the author of The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East (Hoover Institution Press, 2011), Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey into Revolutionary Iran (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997) and The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy (AEI Press, 2004). He is a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard and a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, as well as a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other publications. Mr. Gerecht was previously a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century. Earlier, he served as a Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA's Directorate of Operations.

Ambassador Michael Gfoeller served 26 years as a U.S. diplomat including service in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Russia, Armenia, Moldova, Poland, and Belgium, retiring from the State Department in 2010. During his tenure, he served as Political Advisor and Regional Coordinator for South Central Iraq in the Coalition Provisional Authority. He was Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge' d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he coordinated interagency counterterrorism operations. From 2008 to 2010, he was the senior political advisor to General David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. Central Command, focusing on counterterrorism, international security, and diplomacy. After his retirement in 2010, he served as head of Middle East and North African (MENA) affairs at Exxon Mobil's International Government Relations Department. Ambassador Gfoeller has taught at Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, and co-authored the book United by the Caspian.

John Hannah is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, focusing on U.S. strategy. During the presidency of George W. Bush, he served for eight years on the staff of Vice President Cheney, including as the vice president's national security advisor. Mr. Hannah also served as a senior advisor to Secretary of State Warren Christopher during the administration of President Bill Clinton, and as a member of Secretary of State James A. Baker's policy planning staff in the George H.W. Bush administration.

Ambassador Husain Haqqani is the former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States (2008–2011) and Sri Lanka (1992–1993). He is currently Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute and co-edits the journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology published by Hudson Institute’s Center for Islam, Democracy and Future of the Muslim World. Ambassador Haqqani is also Director of the Center of International Relations, and Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University.

General Michael Hayden is a retired four-star United States Air Force general who served as director of the CIA and the NSA when the course of world events was changing at an ever accelerating rate. As head of the country’s keystone intelligence-gathering agencies, he was on the frontline of geopolitical strife and the war on terrorism. General Hayden became director of CIA in May of 2006, capping a career in service to the United States that included nearly 40 years in the Air Force. He served as director until 2009. From 2005 to 2006, General Hayden was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country. After being appointed by then President Bill Clinton, General Hayden had served as the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and chief of the Central Security Service (CSS) from 1999 to 2005. Throughout his career in the NSA, he worked to put a human face on the famously secretive agency, make it more visible on the national scene, and explain its role to the American people.

Catherine Herridge is the Chief Intelligence correspondent for Fox News Channel. She is an expert on national security, the Justice Department, and the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security. She has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, Israel, the former Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Guantánamo Bay, and New York City on 9/11. Her 2012 book, The Next Wave: On the Hunt for Al Qaeda's American Recruits, exposed the growing threat of homegrown terrorism and the resurgence of Al Qaeda. Mrs. Herridge has been a recipient of a number of journalism awards, including the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award and a Bronze World Medal by the New York Festivals for excellence in media communication.

Ambassador Frederic C. Hof is a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. On March 28, 2012 President Obama conferred on Hof the rank of ambassador in connection with his new duties as special advisor for transition in Syria. Ambassador Hof was previously the special coordinator for regional affairs in the US Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchell on the full range of Arab-Israeli peace issues falling under his purview and focusing on Syria-Israel and Israel-Lebanon matters.

Dr. Robert Kagan is a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe in Foreign Policy at Brookings. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, The World America Made. Dr. Kagan also serves as a member of the secretary of state’s foreign affairs policy board and is co-chairman of the bipartisan working group on Egypt. He writes a monthly column on world affairs for the Washington Post, and is a contributing editor at The New Republic. He served in the State Department from 1984 to 1988 as a member of the policy planning staff, principal speechwriter for Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and as deputy for policy in the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) served five terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2010 and is a veteran of the United States Navy. He serves on four Senate Committees including Appropriations, Banking, HELP (Health, Education, Labor & Pensions), and Aging. Senator Kirk has led the way on many national security issues, including ensuring that Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons ability is stopped, countering terrorism, and working with our allies to combat common enemies. He co-authored the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 with Senator Robert Menendez.

Elise Labott is CNN’s award-winning foreign affairs reporter. She has reported from more than 75 countries and has interviewed and traveled the world with five Secretaries of State. Ms. Labott joined CNN in 2000. Over more than a decade covering U.S. foreign policy and international affairs for the network, Ms. Labott has reported on many major global events, including the Camp David peace talks of 2000, the September 11 attacks, and the Arab Spring. Ms. Labott's extensive reporting on the Arab Spring uprisings has taken her to Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco. Ms. Labott has interviewed several heads of state and international newsmakers, including Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Pakistan’s late former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Indira Lakshmanan is a senior correspondent for Bloomberg News, covering U.S. foreign policy from Washington. Mrs. Lakshmanan joined Bloomberg in 2007 as a senior political correspondent, writing features during the 2008 presidential campaign, and traveling with the campaigns of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Mitt Romney. She has traveled extensively with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has interviewed Clinton several times for Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio. From 2008-2010, she wrote a Page Two foreign affairs column for Bloomberg and the International Herald Tribune, the overseas edition of the New York Times. Mrs. Lakshmanan has reported from more than 50 countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. For 12 years, she worked overseas as The Boston Globe’s Asia Bureau Chief in Hong Kong and Shanghai, its Latin America Bureau Chief in Bogota, Colombia and a Bosnia War correspondent. She started her career on the foreign desk at National Public Radio in Washington, and lived in Chile, reporting for NPR during the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

Alan Makovsky is an independent political analyst and former Senior Professional Staff Member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he covered the Middle East, as well as Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. From May 2001 through June 2013, he worked consecutively for three Chairmen/Ranking Members, Congressmen Tom Lantos (D-CA), Howard Berman (D-CA), and Eliot Engel (D-NY). Mr. Makovsky worked at the State Department from 1983 to 1994, covering southern European affairs and Middle Eastern affairs for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He also served as Political Advisor to Operation Provide Comfort (1992) and as Special Advisor to Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross (1993-94). At The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a private think tank where he worked from 1994 to 2001, Makovsky wrote and published widely on various Middle Eastern and Turkish topics. He also founded and directed The Washington Institute’s Turkish Research Program.

Clifford D. May is President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories in more than two dozen countries, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Uzbekistan, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues. He is a frequent guest on national and international television and radio news programs including CNN and MSNBC, providing analysis and participating in debates on national security issues. He writes a weekly column that is nationally distributed by Scripps Howard News Service and is a regular contributor to National Review Online, The American Spectator and other publications.

Walter Russell Mead is the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest. Until 2011, he was also a Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy at Yale, where he had taught in the Yale International Security Studies Program since 2008. His book, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), was widely hailed by reviewers, historians, and diplomats as an important study that will change the way Americans and others think about American foreign policy. Among several honors and prizes, Special Providence received the Lionel Gelber Award for best book in English on international relations in 2002. Prior to his current positions at Bard and The American Interest, Mr. Mead was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City between 1997 and 2010, serving as the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy from 2003 until his departure.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serves on the Senate Committees on Finance and Banking. He was an early advocate against a nuclear Iran, sponsoring the Iran Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act of 1998. In 2011, Senator Menendez authored a successful amendment to further sanctions against Iran and prevent international financial institutions that did business with the Central Bank of Iran from doing business in the United States. He co-authored the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 with Senator Mark Kirk.

Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) is the Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. He is serving his 11th term in Congress, representing Southern California's 39th district. As a longtime active member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Royce is known for his knowledge of many different regions of the world and analytical foresight into key U.S. foreign policy issues. Immediately prior to becoming Chairman of the Committee, Royce served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and a member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Working in bi-partisan fashion with Ranking Member Engel (D-NY) co-authored HR 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which passed the House overwhelmingly by a vote of 400-20.

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer is the Vice President for Research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers. Dr. Schanzer most recently published State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State (Palgrave Macmillan), which argues the main roadblock to Palestinian statehood is not necessarily Israel's intransigence, but the Palestinian Authority's political dysfunction and mismanagement. His 2008 book, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (Palgrave Macmillan), is still the only book on the market that analyzes the internecine conflict between the two most powerful Palestinian factions. Dr. Schanzer has co-authored two studies on the impact of social media called Palestinian Pulse: What Policy Makers Can Learn from Palestinian Social Media and Facebook Fatwa: Saudi Clerics, Wahhabi Islam and Social Media. Dr. Schanzer has testified before Congress and publishes widely in the American and international media.

Jake Sullivan is Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. In this role, Mr. Sullivan works on America’s biggest and most complex foreign policy challenges, including Iran. Previously, Mr. Sullivan had been the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State and Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Prior to that, Mr. Sullivan served as Secretary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy. He also served as Deputy Policy Director on then-Senator Clinton’s presidential campaign, and as a member of the debate preparation team for then-Senator Obama’s general election debates. Jake previously served as Chief Counsel and senior policy adviser to Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, his home state.

Dr. Bruno Tertrais has been a Senior Research Fellow at the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique (FRS), the leading French think tank on international security issues, since 2001. In 2012-2013, he was a member of the Presidential Commission on the White Paper on National security and defense. His past positions also include Research Assistant, NATO Assembly; Director, Civilian Affairs Committee, NATO Assembly; Europe Desk Officer, Ministry of Defense; Visiting Fellow, the Rand Corporation; Head of Defense Policy Planning Unit, Ministry of Defense; and Special Assistant to the Director of Strategic Affairs, Ministry of Defense. Dr. Tertrais is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and a member of the editorial boards of The Washington Quarterly and Survival. His recent publications include “Leading on the Cheap? France's Security Policy in Austerity" in the Summer 2013 issue of The Washington Quarterly and The Middle East Peace Process: Time For a Reality Check (US German Marshall Fund, October 2013).

Additionally, Dr. Tertrais advises the French government in his personal capacity on foreign policy and international security issues. In 2011-2012, he was a member of the foreign policy team of the Hollande campaign for the May 2012 presidential elections.

Ali H. Tulbah serves as managing director at McLarty Associates, focusing principally on the Middle East and Arabian Gulf. He previously served as associate director for cabinet affairs in the George W. Bush White House for most of the 2001-2005 term, where he coordinated the activities of foreign policy and national security agencies. While in the Office of Cabinet Affairs, Mr. Tulbah also served as President Bush’s liaison to the Arab- and Muslim-American communities and performed a broad advisory role to the administration’s public diplomacy efforts to the Muslim world. During his tenure at the White House, Mr. Tulbah accepted assignment to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad where he spent the majority of 2003 as chief of staff of its international coordination council.

Dr. David Andrew Weinberg is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where he works primarily on Saudi Arabia and Gulf affairs. Dr. Weinberg previously served as a Democratic Professional Staff Member at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where he advised the chairman on Middle Eastern politics and U.S. policy toward the region. He also provided research support to staff at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff during the George W. Bush administration. Dr. Weinberg holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was affiliated for five years with the Institute’s Security Studies Program. Before coming to the Foundation, Dr. Weinberg was a Visiting Fellow at UCLA’s Center for Middle East Development.

Leon Wieseltier has served as the literary editor of The New Republic since 1983. He is the author of Nuclear War, Nuclear Peace; Against Identity; and the widely acclaimed Kaddish. His influential essays span a broad range of topics—including culture, politics, religion, foreign policy, national security policy, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Middle East, humanitarian intervention, and contemporary genocide—and have been widely published in the United States and abroad. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including, most recently, the 2013 Dan David Prize. Wieseltier studied at the Yeshivah of Flatbush and later at Columbia, Oxford and Harvard universities.

Ambassador R. James Woolsey is Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former Director of Central Intelligence (1993-1995). He is also Chair of Woolsey Partners LLC and a Venture Partner with Lux Capital Management. He was a Senior Fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Ambassador Woolsey previously served in the U.S. Government on five different occasions, where he held Presidential appointments in two Republican and two Democratic administrations.


April 30, 2014
(All events and sessions on this day are by invitation only)

10:00 am – 12:00 pm: FDD Board of Directors Meeting

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:00 pm – 1:15 pm: Opening remarks

Clifford D. May, President of FDD

1:15 pm – 2:15 pm: State of Play: What’s next for Tehran and Washington?

2:15 pm–3:30 pm: Insider Briefings by FDD Scholars

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm: A Conversation with Amb. R. James Woolsey and Gen. Michael V. Hayden

4:30 pm – 4:45 pm: Closing remarks

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm:
Cocktail reception and dinner*

*Trustee level and above

May 1, 2014
(All sessions on this day will take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

8:15 am – 9:00 am: Registration and Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:15 am: Opening Remarks

9:15 am – 10:15 am: America and the World 13 Years After 9/11

10:15 – 11:00 am: Presentation of the George P. Shultz Award

Gen. Michael V. Hayden,
Former Director of Central Intelligence and the National Security Agency

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: America’s Enduring Alliances

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Lunch

12:30 pm-1:30 pm: Failing States, Rogue Actors, Sworn Enemies

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm: Presentation of the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Statesmanship Award

2:15 pm – 2:45 pm: A Conversation with Ambassador Ron Dermer, Israel's Ambassador to the United States

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm: Dubious Allies, Adversaries and Their Agendas

3:45 pm – 4:15 pm: A Conversation with Jake Sullivan, Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden



For more information about FDD’s Washington Forum, please contact or 202.250.6144