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Executive Committee

Cornelius M. Kerwin


Dr. Cornelius M. Kerwin became American University’s 14th president in September 2007. He leads an institution of about 13,000 students, 1,300 teaching and administrative faculty, and 2,500 staff in the nation’s capital; oversees a $548 million operating budget and $434 million endowment; and in 2010, led the $200 million capital campaign to a successful conclusion of more than $213 million raised.

Dr. Kerwin joined AU in 1975 and holds a faculty appointment in the School of Public Affairs, Department of Public Administration. He was dean of the School of Public Affairs from 1988 to 1997; provost from 1997 to 2005; and acting—then interim—president of American University from 2005 to 2007. He founded AU’s Center for the Study of Rulemaking and is the author of Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy and co-author of How Washington Works: The Executive’s Guide to Government.

Dr. Kerwin is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration; and founding chair of the Section on Public Law and Administration of the American Society for Public Administration. He received degrees from American University (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA in political science), and Johns Hopkins University (PhD in political science). He was named a 2009 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine in its January 2010 issue. He was also named to the inaugural Irish Education 100 List, compiled by the Irish Voice and comprised of the 100 most influential Irish educators at colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada.

Ambassador Catherine Russell


Ambassador Cathy Russell

Cathy Russell currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Prior to assuming this position in August 2013, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden focusing on military families and higher education. During her tenure at the White House, Ambassador Russell coordinated the development of the Administration’s strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. She previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on international women’s issues. During the Clinton Administration, Ambassador Russell served as Associate Deputy Attorney General. She has also served as Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senior Counsel to Senator Patrick J. Leahy. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston College and a J.D. from George Washington University.

James Goldgeier


James Goldgeier

James Goldgeier is Dean of the School of International Service. Prior to joining American University, he was a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University. He taught previously at Cornell University, and has held appointments at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, the State Department, the National Security Council staff, the Brookings Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Library of Congress, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Hoover Institution, and the German Marshall Fund’s Transatlantic Academy. From 2001-2005, he directed GWU’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. His books include: America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11 (co-authored with Derek Chollet), Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy toward Russia after the Cold War (co-authored with Michael McFaul); and Not Whether But When: The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO. He is the recipient of the Edgar S. Furniss book award in national and international security and the Georgetown University Lepgold Book Prize in international relations.

Among his current projects, Dean Goldgeier and collaborators at Duke University and the University of California, Berkeley, lead the Bridging the Gap initiative, which encourages and trains scholars and doctoral students to produce research oriented policy-relevant scholarship and/or theoretically informed policy work.

Dean Goldgeier’s areas of expertise include contemporary international relations, American foreign policy, U.S.-Russia relations, the European Union, transatlantic security and NATO.

Jonathan Carpenter


jonathan carpenter

Jonathan Carpenter serves as a Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Prior to assuming his current position earlier this year, Jonathan served for three years as a Senior Economic Advisor in the Special Representative's office. 

A career Foreign Service Officer, Jonathan has previously served on the professional staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, working for Senator Lugar (R-IN) on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process, the conflict in Libya, and the Arab Spring.   

Jonathan's previous tours include three years in Jerusalem as Consulate General Economic Counselor, as well as tours in Nigeria, Iraq, and Jordan. He has served in a number of offices in the Department of State, including in the Office of the Undersecretary of Political Affairs and the Bureau of Economic Affairs, as well as on assignment to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Esperanza Jelalian


Espie Jalalian

Esperanza Gomez Jelalian has served as executive director of the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce since 2003. She provides leadership and direction to the council and oversees strategic planning, policy, and advocacy. As director of South Asia, she develops and executes Chamber programs and policy activities relating to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

While advancing U.S. commercial interests in this region, she works closely with Chamber member companies, business and government leaders, and American Chambers of Commerce abroad.

In her previous work, she worked with the late Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX) in the government relations firm, Wilson Associates and Hooper Owen & Winburn, where she represented the government of Pakistan and a number of companies before the U.S. Congress and the executive branch on a wide range of issues. These included foreign policy, defense appropriations, U.S. foreign assistance, sanctions, and international trade.

Currently, Esperenza serves as a member on the US-Pakistan Women's Council's Executive Committee Board, where she fills the corporate seat and represents the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council.

Esperenza has an M.A. in International Commerce and Policy and a B.A. in International Studies from George Mason University in Virginia. She also has a certificate in Executive Leadership from Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business.

Nabeela Khatak


uspwc nabila khatak executive committee member

Nabeela is a serial entrepreneur and management consultant with 20+ years in the fields of military health, technology, finance, marketing, public relations at Fortune 500 companies. Presently, Nabeela is helping to establish a nonprofit, EmbraceRace, focused on building an online community to discuss and share best practices for raising and caring for kids in the context of race. Most recently, Nabeela was a senior consultant at Deloitte and authored the 2016-17 strategic plan for the Defense Health Agency. Before joining Deloitte, Nabeela was a founding member and Managing Partner at SocialmPresa, a marketing and management consulting firm. Previous to SocialMpresa, Nabeela headed the New Initiatives division for Fannie Mae where she focused on developing new programs and products. Nabeela co-founded Grid Technology Partners, a boutique consultancy specializing in grid computing, a predecessor to cloud computing a decade before it hit mainstream. Her other professional experience has include being a director at the Corporate Executive Board, director of communications and marketing at Independent Sector and director of Public Relations at Strategic Communications. While in college, Nabeela founded a national nonprofit, Center for Balkan Development, to educate the public about the impact of the war in the former Yugoslavia and provide aid. A testimony to her leadership kills, she grew the organization to 15 chapters and it exists to this day. Nabeela has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College in Comparative Literature and Architecture. She attended Harvard University for graduate studies in History and Middle East Studies. Nabeela is the author of Smart Cards: Markets of Opportunities, Technologies of Choice and co-author of The Global Grid Computing Report 2002—Technology and Market Assessment. Nabeela is a board member of OPEN, a global nonprofit focused on entrepreneurship.

Melanie Bixby


(See Council Staff)