Spring 2021 Fellows

As an incubator for policy innovation and convener of the best minds in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the arts, and journalism, the Sine Institute announced its 2021 class of Fellows and Distinguished Lecturers. These experts lead discussions and study sessions with students, as well as convened and participated in campus-wide events throughout the year. Learn more about Fellows from previous years: 2020 and 2019.

Suzanne Clark

Suzanne P. ClarkPresident and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Suzanne Clark is president and chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, the largest business federation in the world. She is the first female President in the institution’s 107-year history.

Ms. Clark leads the strategic alignment and execution of policy development, government relations and market innovation in the quarter-billion-dollar organization. She also guides the strategic transformation of the Chamber’s policies and processes to best meet the 21st century needs of its more than 3-million-member companies internationally.

Prior to re-joining the US Chamber in 2014, where she had previously served as Chief Operating Officer, Clark acquired and led a prominent financial information boutique – Potomac Research Group (PRG) – which was recognized by the Inc500 as the 135th fastest growing private company in 2012. PRG became a brand leader in the field of policy research and analysis for institutional investors – connecting “Washington to Wall Street;” and, the firm was sold to a larger macro research organization where she is a non-executive partner. As a seasoned business owner, Ms. Clark remains passionate about the need to create an environment where companies can innovate, grow and flourish.

Seminar Series
Getting Back to Work: The importance of building strong policy and partnerships to support and expand our workforce

2021 Sine Institute Fellow Suzanne P. Clark, Open For BusinessWhat does a job really mean to a community? Financial security, personal opportunity, better health, a stronger environment, and investment in all the things that enrich our lives—just to name a few of the ways employment supports healthy, thriving communities. During this seminar series, we will rise above politics to explore the importance of private sector job creation. Across five sessions, we will examine specific ways jobs contribute to communities, while also discussing policies and procedures that support current and future job growth. The final session will focus on creating an environment for job creators to thrive.
Register Watch Recordings

Dates & Times

What does a job mean to a community?
January 28, 4:00PM ET

Impact focus: Healthy Economy = Improved Health Outcomes
February 4, 4:00PM ET

Impact focus: Healthy Economy = Healthier Environment
February 18, 4:00PM ET

Impact focus: Healthy Economy = Vibrant Arts and Philanthropy
March 4, 4:00PM ET

What policies are needed to promote job growth and a healthy economy?
March 18, 4:00PM ET

Ann Curry headshot

Ann CurryAward-winning Journalist

Ann Curry is an American journalist and photojournalist, who has been a reporter for more than 30 years, focused on human suffering in war zones and natural disasters. Curry has reported from the wars in Kosovo, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Afghanistan, Darfur, Congo and the Central African Republic. Curry has covered numerous disasters, including the tsunamis in Southeast Asia and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where her appeal via Twitter topped Twitter's 'most powerful' list, credited for helping speed the arrival of humanitarian planes.

In June 2012, she became the national and international correspondent-anchor for NBC News and the anchor at large for the Today show. She was co-anchor of Today from June 9, 2011, to June 28, 2012 and the program's news anchor from March 1997 until becoming co-anchor. She was also the anchor of Dateline NBC from 2005 to 2011.

On January 13, 2015, it was announced that Curry would be leaving NBC News after nearly 25 years. In January 2015, Curry founded her own multi-platform media startup. She continues to conduct major news interviews on network television, most recently securing an exclusive interview with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about the Iran nuclear talks.

Seminar Series
Empowering Truth: Why America Needs True Journalists in an Increasingly Complicated World

2021 Sine Institute Fellow Ann CurryIn this moment, when truth is on its knees, as people are besieged with information and misinformation in a chaotic digital age, what is the role of journalists, in politics and policy both at home and abroad?

In a five-part seminar series, Ann Curry explores, session by session, the value and vulnerabilities of truth and the fundamental skills we can develop, both practical and emotional to not only get it, but to defend it, and thus, each other.
Register Watch Recordings

Dates & Times

Credibility Masterclass
February 16, 12:00 Noon ET
Who in a world full of lies, can we trust to tell us the truth? This seminar will focus on when to trust information we read or hear, when to doubt it, and how to be seen as trustworthy ourselves.

Ethics for Excellence
March 2, 12:00 Noon ET
What beyond talent, actually sets us apart in the world? This seminar will focus on how to develop a code to guide us towards achieving our best.

Warring for Truth
March 16, 12:00 Noon ET
When faced with misinformation and propaganda, what practical skills help us get the truth out of people? This seminar will focus on how to develop what it takes to defend of the public’s right to know.

Frontline Reporter
March 30, 12:00 Noon ET
Where, amid war, humanitarian disasters and climate change, can we find courage and compassion and hope? This seminar focuses on how to document what is happening in the world, and how to survive it.

Interview the Interviewer
April 13, 12:00 Noon ET
Why do journalists matter and how can we become one? This seminar offers virtual office hours with an award-winning global journalist, to any curious American University student with a question.

Kolinda Grabar Kitarović

Kolinda Grabar Kitarović4th President of Croatia

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is a Croatian politician and diplomat who was the fourth President of the Republic of Croatia (2015-2020) and the first female to be elected to the office. Before her election as president, Grabar-Kitarović held a number of governmental and diplomatic positions.

In 2003, she was elected to Parliament and became the Minister of European Integration from 2003 to 2005 and then the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration from 2005 to 2008. She was the Croatian ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011 and the first female Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO from 2011 to 2014.

In 2019, Grabar-Kitarović was appointed Chair of the Council of Women Leaders and remains chair emerita. She is also the recipient of the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Award and has received a number of national and international awards, decorations, honorary doctorates and honorary citizenships.

Seminar Series
Building Policy Consensus on the World Stage: The Pitfalls, Progress, and Possibilities

2021 Sine Institute Fellow Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic digital pinWe see it across the globe, multilateral world order challenged, erosion of values, deeply polarized societies, represented by uneasy coalitions and divided governments, factions unable to come together to make important policy decisions for its citizens. This seminar series will explore the need to find common ground, overseas and at home, to build stronger alliances, resilient societies, and stronger citizenry. Building on the experiences of a girl who grew up fighting prejudice and unequal opportunities and navigating political and diplomatic corridors and centers of power, as well as glass labyrinths of gender bias, from the rural roads of the suburbs of Rijeka, to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, from Canada and the US, to Brussels and NATO Headquarters, to become Croatia's first female Head of State, President Grabar Kitarović has seen what it takes to rebuild a nation and bring people together.

Dates & Times

The Beginning: How personal paths shape our perspectives
March 22, 4:00PM ET
Someone once said that politicians are like window washers: on the way up, they have to keep in mind that they will be meeting the same people on the way down. Life is full of ups and downs and every fall provides potential for a step forward. Drawing on President Grabar’s personal experiences and those of her peers, this seminar will center on how our own life experiences, successes and failures, keeping an open mind and dealing with prejudice – not only that of others but also our own – shape our perspectives and leadership styles. How to turn “being different” into an advantage for yourself and for your community and maximize

your potential, all the while dealing with misogynism, sensationalism, fake news, trolls, misinterpretation and being taken out of context. How to “pay it forward” by giving back to your community and your society not only through one’s political role/function, but also through social engagement and activism. Populism in approach versus populism in substance will be discussed, and special focus will be placed on leadership of women, breaking glass ceilings and shattering glass labyrinths, empowering girls and women, in particular in developing countries and crises areas, as an essential prerequisite to achieve lasting stability, peace and prosperity.

The Future of Diplomacy: A Global Perspective
March 29, 4:00PM ET
With multiple and multifaceted challenges to the established world-order coming from many corners, multilateralism under attack, the rise of regional actors, extremism, quests to question the exclusivity of the Western system of values, the role of diplomacy becomes ever more important to ease the tensions and work on solutions to the key crises and issues facing the mankind, be it climate change, migrations, terrorism, inequality, sustainable development, public health… The seminar will explore the role of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, the fitness of the current UN-system and other multilateral organizations to face the new challenges, the potential for innovation to bring about a more equitable global distribution. Challenges and opportunities to diplomacy, posed by the means of communication, direct contacts between leaders, the new media and social networks, will be explored, as well as the value of public diplomacy and soft power and its relationship to hard power.

NATO and the Future of the Trans-Atlantic Alliance: A Former Assistant Secretary General’s Perspective
April 5, 4:00PM ET
The new and emerging threats and challenges testify to the need and continued relevance of the Alliance; however a revamped and modernized one. An Alliance fit for purpose, with increased cooperation with partners around the world in order to face asymmetric and hybrid threats and challenges, coming not only from within, but also from outside of its geographic area. The seminar will explore views on keeping the relevance of NATO, in light of the re-emergence of territorial threats, but also of the new growing threats such as cyber attacks, whether they can be considered attacks under Article 5 and whether NATO as a whole can find a way to respond to them. Topics such as the future of defense spending, the value of partnerships in particular in the post out-of-area operations phase, and restoring trust and confidence between the US and its partners, will be discussed.

Challenges of Building Social Consensus: Education in Croatia - a Case Study
April 12, 4:00PM ET
Modernizing curricula and teaching methods to bring out the full potential of the nation and its every individual, with the undercurrent battle of world views and values, having a perspective on future jobs and skills, is a mine field for any politician, but the necessary one to thread. The seminar will explore how issues of national and universal importance can quickly become ideological and political issues and create rifts within society. Working across a divided society, taking into account opposing views in order not to antagonize but build bridges and bring people together around the common goals, and overall modernization of societies, especially those resistant to change, will be explored in this seminar. The case study will be that of the Croatian Curricular Reform, in particular with the view of the new demographic trends and building upon the experience with on-line programs during the global pandemic. We need to re-think our educational methods and provide responses to contemporary challenges. Among other, questions will be posed at to how to create schools as places of modern and creative learning and training that encourage excellence, creativity, confidence and competition among students, but also educate responsible citizens, schools that will survive and resist the constant social and political turmoil, as well as domestic and global challenges and threats such as terrorism, migrations and pandemics. How to avoid “lost generations”? In this respect, the role of not just scientific, but social innovation is most important, as well as consensus based on the public interest and not on that of particular lobbies, parochial circles, ethnic groups or religion-based restrictions.

The Path Forward 2021 and Beyond
April 19, 4:00PM ET
Globalization vs. regionalization, universality vs. particularity, competing orders and rising actors, rising nationalism and extremism, the US-EU-Russia-China quadrangle of power interaction, confrontation and cooperation, emerging powers, the complexity of relations of multiple and diverse actors in international relations, are all topics to be discussed in the context of the reshaping world-order for the future. The position and role of the US, the challenges and opportunities for the new administration, will be explored, with a focus on restoring America’s image globally and regionally, restoring international alliances and re-engaging in multilateral organizations and institutions. The seminar will also explore the needs and ways of global promotion of universal human rights and values.

Gary Locke

Gary LockeWashington’s 21st Governor, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and America's Ambassador to China

As Governor of Washington State (the first Chinese American to be elected governor in United States history and the first Asian American governor on the mainland), U.S. Secretary of Commerce, and America's Ambassador to China, Gary Locke has been a leader in the areas of education, employment, trade, health care, human rights, and the environment.

As Washington’s 21st Governor from 1997-2005, the nation’s most trade dependent state, Mr. Locke increased exports of Washington State products and services by leading trade missions to Mexico, Europe, and Asia, more than doubling the state’s exports to China.

During his tenure, he achieved bipartisan welfare reform and oversaw the gain of 280,000 private sector jobs, despite two national recessions. Mr. Locke also had the most diverse cabinet in state history. More than half his judicial appointments were women and 25% were people of color.  

His innovations in government efficiency, customer focus, and priority-based budgeting, as well as successful and under-budget management of high-risk initiatives, have won him acclaim from nationally recognized authors and organizations, including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In his two-terms as Governor, Washington was ranked one of America’s four best managed states.

Seminar Series
Consensus Drives Strong Policy: the need for a comprehensive approach to our most challenging problems

2021 Sine Institute Fellow Gary Locke digital pinIn this seminar series we will explore the need to work collectively on this nation’s most pressing problems, whether the local, state, national or international stage. Gary Locke brings decades of experience in forming alliances, and consensus on the issues of the day. Leading conversations on our relations with China, how technology will impact our workforce, and exactly how do we run government in an effective way now and in the future. This dynamic series will lead us on a conversation to reveal our challenges, discuss our options and look at potential solutions.
Register Watch Recordings

Dates & Times

The US and its Future with China: Policy and Partnership Options
February 10, 12:00 Noon ET

The Local, State, National and International connection of our Global Economy
February 17, 12:00 Noon ET

What do we do about Artificial Intelligence and Technology’s impact on our Current and Future Workforce?
March 3, 12:00 Noon ET

Running Government Like a Business?
March 31, 12:00 Noon ET

From the State House to The White House What Comes Next?: Policy Prescriptions for a Successful Future
April 13, 3:00 PM ET


Lt. General H.R. McMaster

Lt. General H.R. McMasterFormer National Security Officer, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, US Army (Ret.) serves as the Chairman of the Board of Advisors at the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. General McMaster was the 26th assistant to the president for National Security Affairs. He served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for thirty-four years before retiring as a Lieutenant General in June 2018.

From 2014 to 2017 General McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC).

General McMaster was an assistant professor of history at the United States Military Academy from 1994 to 1996 where he taught undergraduate courses in military history and history of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also taught a graduate course on the history of military leadership for officers enrolled in the Columbia University MBA program.

He is author of the award-winning book, Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. He has published scores of essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare in many publications including Foreign Affairs, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He was a contributing editor for Survival: Global Politics and Strategy from 2010 to 2017.

Seminar Series
Building Strategic Competence: Lessons from Battlegrounds Overseas & in D.C.

2021 Sine Institute Fellow H.R. McMasterThe series draws on the lecturer’s experience as a general officer in the United States Army and as the United States’ 26th Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs to illuminate critical aspects of leadership, strategy development, and effective implementation. The series places the lecturer’s experiences in the context of history and aims to understand how the past produced the present as the first step in anticipating the future. The objective is for students to develop their own theory of strategic competence. Seminars will focus on aspects of strategic competence and elements of effective leadership. Students will discuss real-world, complex problems to illuminate the following elements of strategic competence such as:

  • Developing an organization’s vision and mission
  • Framing complex problems
  • Reasoning by historical analogy
  • Fostering collaboration, gaining interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Building relationships and coping with difficult personalities
  • Anticipating and organizing for rapid decision-making
  • Assessing progress and building flexibility into plans and organizations
  • Balancing short- and long-term perspectives
  • Driving sensible implementation

Register Watch Recordings

Additional Resources

  • PolicyEd, Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World, an 8-part investigation into the most critical foreign policy and security challenges faced by the United States.
  • Battlegrounds Interviews (with foreign leaders)

Dates & Times

The Policy Process: Pitfalls and Prescriptions
February 2, 12:00 Noon ET
The discussion will draw on the pitfalls in developing Vietnam War policy and the fellow’s efforts to avoid those pitfalls as national security advisor.
Guest Lecturer: Megan Badasch

Recommended reading/watching:

The Case for Strategic Empathy as Foundational to Effective Foreign Policy
February 9, 12:00 Noon ET
The discussion will critique US policy since the end of the Cold War as prone to strategic narcissism – the tendency to view crucial foreign policy challenges only in relation to the United States and undervalue the agency that rivals, adversaries and enemies have over the future. Examples include US policy toward China and Russia.
Guest Lecturer: Fiona Hill, Foreign Affairs Specialist, Former official at the U.S. National Security Council specializing in Russian and European affairs

Recommended reading/watching:

Alien to Its Nature: Strategic Narcissism at War in Afghanistan and Iraq
February 23, 12:00 Noon ET
The seminar will explore the implicit and fundamentally flawed assumptions that underpinned American war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those assumptions, based in large measure on neglect of continuities in the nature of war, increased the cost and length of the wars.
Guest Lecturer: Lisa Curtis

Rebutting Retrenchment: The Need for a Reasoned, Sustained and Sustainable Foreign Policy
March 9, 12:00 Noon ET
Recommended reading: The Future of South Asian Security
The discussion will critique arguments for U.S. retrenchment and use the Middle East and the ‘long war’ against jihadist terrorist organizations as an example.
Guest Lecturer: Joel Rayburn

Regaining Strategic Confidence: Competence and Self Respect as Requirements for Building a Better Future
March 23, 12:00 Noon ET
The discussion will examine why improving competence and restoring national pride are important to competing effectively abroad and securing a future of peace and prosperity for America and the free world.
Guest Lecturer: Ylber Bajraktari

Wes Moore

Wes MooreCEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, bestselling author, combat veteran, social entrepreneur

Wes Moore is the CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation. He is a bestselling author, a combat veteran, and a social entrepreneur.

Wes’ first book, “The Other Wes Moore,” a perennial New York Times bestseller, captured the nation’s attention on the fine line between success and failure in our communities and in ourselves. That story has been optioned by executive producer Oprah Winfrey and HBO to be made into a movie. He is also the author of the bestselling books “The Work,” “Discovering Wes Moore,” and “This Way Home.”

Wes grew up in Baltimore and the Bronx, where he was raised by a single mom. Despite childhood challenges, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Valley Forge Military College in 1998 and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001. He earned an MLitt in International Relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 2004. Wes then served as a captain and paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne, including a combat deployment to Afghanistan. He later served as a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Before becoming CEO at Robin Hood, Wes was the founder and CEO at BridgeEdU, an innovative tech platform addressing the college completion and job placement crisis. BridgeEdU reinvents freshman year for underserved students. Wes remains chairman of the board of directors at BridgeEDU. He has also worked in finance as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in London and with Citigroup in New York.

Wes’ proudest accomplishments are his two children with his wife Dawn.

Seminar Series
All Hands on Deck: Understanding the Role of Business, Philanthropy, and Government in Creating Economic Justice.

2021 Sine Institute Fellow Wes Moore digital pinPoverty is sticking, and often intergenerational and predictable. In this seminar, Wes will examine the root causes of poverty; challenge the persistent and dominant narratives about people living in poverty; and study the effects of systemic racism on poverty. In doing so, we will understand that there’s no quick fix to creating economic mobility; instead it will take an intentional and intersectional effort to move individuals into sustainable economic opportunities. Join us as we identify specific and immediate actions that business leaders, philanthropists, and policymakers can take to make poverty history.
Register Watch Recordings

Dates & Times

Starting with Truth
February 2, 5:30-6:30pm ET
In order to create economic justice, we must first be willing to understand our own complicity in upholding systems that lead to economic disparities among various groups. In this seminar, we will invite world renown experts in truth and reconciliation and poverty historians to discuss our origins and the path forward.

Leveraging the Levers of Government to Create Sustainable Economic Opportunities
February 16, 5:30-6:30pm ET
Government, whether local, state, and federal, must take the lead role in addressing a legacy of uneven public policies that have left too many chronically impoverished and too many families with miserly apportioned pathways. We will discuss what an equity base policy lens looks like when it comes to addressing issues of economic disparities.

Pushing Philanthropy Out of Its Comfort Zone
March 2, 5:30-6:30pm ET
Some believe that philanthropy can serve as risk capital, funding needle-moving and innovative ideas and projects around economic mobility. Others believe that philanthropy serves as a tax code supported feel good effort. This seminar will take an honest look at the history of philanthropy and its role in creating a more equitable society.

The Business Case for Economic Mobility
March 25, 5:30-6:30pm ET
In this seminar, we will make the case for promoting and advocating for economic justice as a business imperative. In this seminar, we will discuss the concept of “conscious capitalism” and whether such an idea lives in our current environment.

Changing the Narrative Around People Experiencing Poverty
March 30, 5:30-6:30pm ET
In our last seminar, we will highlight the importance of first changing narratives in order to change realities. We will discuss how storytelling has been a key component to social movements and which stories we need to highlight going forward.