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What the Next U.S. President Needs to Know, Examined at November 14 PDAA Lunch

Tara Sonenshine

Tara Sonenshine at PDAA lunch program, 14 November 2016 (A. Kotok)

(Updated 14 November 2016) On November 14, PDAA welcomed two outstanding foreign policy leaders with great affinity for public diplomacy – Tara Sonenshine and Kristin Lord – to discuss the new President’s global challenges.  Well known for their public service and engagement with the State Department, both have distinguished themselves in other areas of government, the private sector, the media and academia.  Tara Sonenshine offered reflections on the international media environment for the Trump Administration and Kristin Lord provided insights on the future of cultural and educational exchanges.  Several serious and probing questions followed their remarks.

Tara Sonenshine has a distinguished career in government, non-profits and the media.  She is the winner of 10 News Emmy Awards and other awards in journalism for programs on domestic and international issues and was editorial producer of ABC News’ Nightline for many years.  She counts among her inspirations to journalism the work of Edward R. Murrow.  Tara joined the United States Institute of Peace leadership team in January 2009 as Vice President for Planning and Outreach. In that capacity, she has overseen strategic planning, public outreach and publications.  She served as special assistant to President Clinton and deputy director of communications for the NSC (1994-1995).

She has been a strategic communications advisor to the International Crisis Group, CARE, Internews, the American Academy of Diplomacy and Women of Washington.  A former contributing editor for Newsweek, Sonenshine is the author of numerous articles on foreign affairs published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers.  In April 2012, Tara Sonenshine was sworn in as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, a position she held until July, 2013.  In this capacity, she traveled to China, India, Russia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Qatar and throughout the United States.

Kristin Lord

Kristin Lord at PDAA lunch program, 14 November 2016 (A. Kotok)

Dr. Kristin Lord has been President and CEO of IREX since October 2014.  IREX and its partners to empower youth, cultivate leaders, strengthen institutions, and extend access to quality education and information.  She previously served as Acting President and Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace.  From 2009-2013, she was Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security.

She was a Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program and Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution.   Dr. Lord was Associate Dean at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs from 1995 to 2008, and taught courses on U.S. public diplomacy, U.S. foreign policy, and the causes of war.  She served as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow and Special Adviser to the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.  Dr. Lord is the author and editor of numerous books, articles, and policy reports, and has written on U.S. grand strategy, cyber security, managing 21st century diplomacy and combating violent extremism. She has provided expert commentary to media outlets such as the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, NPR, Al-Jazeera, BBC Radio, VOA, PBS, and MSNBC.

This PDAA program took place Monday, November 14 at 12 noon, at DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F Street NW in Washington, DC.

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