2016 Conference Speakers

Congressman Joaquin Castro
U.S. House of Representatives, Texas 20th District

Joaquin Castro was elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives for Texas Congressional District 20 in 2012, and is currently serving his second term. He serves on both the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and additionally serves in House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip. He received his Juris Doctorate degree in 2000 from Harvard Law School, and after working at a private law practice, he was elected into the Texas Legislature.

He has a proven interest in public service and has championed a wide array of education-related causes. He has worked to transcend political gridlock to help restore millions of dollars in funding to critical health care and education programs. As Vice Chairman of the Higher Education Committee and Democratic Floor Leader in the Texas House, he was also at the forefront in proposing forward-thinking legislative reforms in the areas of mental health, teen pregnancy, and juvenile justice. Joaquin is active on several boards of education-related, non-profit organizations, including the National College Advising Corps, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ (NALEO) Taskforce on Education.

Luis Almagro Lemes
Secretary General, Organization of American States

Luis Almagro Lemes was elected Secretary General of the Organization of American States in March 2015. He was Foreign Minister of Uruguay (2010-15). His time was characterized by activism in defense of human and civil rights and strengthening Uruguay’s image of as a democratic, fair, tolerant and diverse society.

As Foreign Minister for President José Mujíca, he defined several emblematic initiatives, from receiving former prisoners from Guantanamo, to welcoming dozens of Syrian families, to building support in the United Nations so that, beginning in 2016, Uruguay will become part of the Security Council.

He was Ambassador to China, after several diplomatic posts in his country and in Germany and Iran. Foreign Policy magazine named him a Leading Global Thinker.

Nancy Neill,
President and Chair, Fulbright Association Board of Directors

Nancy Neill has been part of the board and executive team at the Fulbright Association for a number of years. She regards the Fulbright Prize selection and event as one of her most treasured responsibilities. The award ceremony focuses all who attend on the central purpose of the Fulbright Program: to pursue Senator Fulbright’s goal of mutual understanding between the people of the world.

Her other efforts on behalf of the Association also emphasize this goal. For example, she led the Association’s Travel Task Force when it launched mission-driven travel programs in 2015, including Insight Tours and Alumni Service Corps trips. Those programs have given alumni the opportunity to work on service projects in several countries and, in the process, to appreciate the cultures of those countries. She now serves as the President and Chair of our Board of Directors, providing leadership as the Association launches a new strategy with a central goal of building a Global Networking Platform. The purpose of this ambitious undertaking is to empower Fulbright alumni across the world to imagine and jointly create their own projects to provide service and improve mutual understanding.

Peter Agre
Nobel Laureate; Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute

Dr. Peter Agre is a professor of biological chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also holds an appointment in the department of molecular biology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Agre’s research has focused on the molecular aspects of human diseases, including hemolytic anemias, blood group antigens and malaria. He received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Roderick MacKinnon of Rockefeller University for the discovery of aquaporins, water channels that facilitate the movement of water across cell membranes.

Dr. Agre received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Augsburg College. He earned his M.D. from Johns Hopkins. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals of Cleveland and performed a hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Agre returned to Johns Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow in cell biology before joining the faculty in 1984.

He became vice chancellor for science and technology at Duke University Medical Center in 2005. He returned to Johns Hopkins in 2008.

Dr. Agre is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He has received honorary doctorates from universities in Denmark, Japan, Norway, Greece, Mexico, Hungary, Poland and the United States. From 2009 to 2010, Dr. Agre served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.

Zipangani M. Vokhiwa
Associate Professor of Science, Mercer University

Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, a graduate of Colorado State University, joined academia as Assistant Professor of Biology at Kennesaw State University, where he taught environmental science to non-science majors. Dr. Vokhiwa served the Government of Malawi in Africa as Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs and later as the Regional Director for Southern Africa for the Wild Wide Fund for Nature Int’l in Gland Switzerland outposted to Harare, Zimbabwe. He joined the science faculty of Mercer University in August 2007 where he has worked as a Team Leader on Mission to Malawi. As Project Director for Mercer University’s Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad (gpa) Program award from the US Department of Education for 2012/2014, he led a team of ten teachers and two administrators from Atlanta on 4-week field research projects to Malawi during summer 2013 to collect data on The Interaction of Environment & Culture in Malawi. Dr. Vokhiwa’s teaching and research interests are in Sustainable Watershed Management, Ecological and Water Quality Monitoring, and stem initiatives.
Craig McMahan
Dean of the Chapel; Assistant Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Mercer University

Dr. Craig McMahan, Dean of the Chapel and an assistant professor in the College of Liberal Arts at Mercer University, is the founding director of Mercer On Mission, an international service learning program. Since 2007, nearly 1,400 Mercer On Mission students and faculty have initiated high-impact humanitarian aid and community development projects in 34 developing countries. These projects include manufacturing and fitting over 5,300 prosthetic legs for impoverished amputees, mitigation of mercury pollution and exposure in small-scale gold mining communities, educational support and training, operating medical clinics for refugees and other under-served populations, sex-trafficking interventions and providing access to clean water and sanitation.

In his capacity as director of Mercer On Mission, he has negotiated with the government of Vietnam for NGO status and health care licensure, partnered with the United Nations, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian International Resource and Development Institute on various initiatives and has consulted with numerous universities concerning service learning models and applications.

Recognized by President Jimmy Carter, President Bill Clinton, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President Paul Kagame, and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Mercer On Mission is making a difference in the world today and is cultivating leaders who will make an even bigger difference in the future.

Ambassador Reuben Brigety
Dean, Elliot School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

Reuben Brigety served as the appointed U.S. Representative to the African Union and Permanent U.S. Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa. From 2011-2013, he was the Deputy Asst. Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs with responsibility for Southern African and Regional Security Affairs. As Deputy Asst. Secretary of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, he supervised U.S. refugee programs in Africa, managed U.S. humanitarian diplomacy with major international partners and oversaw the development of international migration policy.

Previously, he served as Director of the Sustainable Security Program at the Center for American Progress and as a Special Assistant in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development. He also served as a senior advisor for Development and Security to the U.S. Central Command Assessment Team in Washington and Qatar.

He earned a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Naval Academy and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, England. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and recipient of the Council’s International Affairs Fellowship. He served as a politics professor at George Mason University and American University.

Matthew McGuire
U.S. Executive Director, World Bank

Matthew T. McGuire, Ph.D. is the United States Executive Director at the World Bank, He previously served as Director of the Office of Business Liaison at the Department of Commerce from 2011-2014. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Dr. McGuire was a senior executive in the asset management industry from 2003-2011. Earlier in his career he worked in the community development field, running workforce training programs and planning affordable housing projects. He has taught at the high school and college levels. Dr. McGuire received a B.A. from Brown University, a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and a Certificate of Religious Studies from the University of London.
Jeff Bleich
CEO, Dentons; Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia
and Special Counsel to President Obama


Jeff Bleich is a partner in the Public Policy and Regulation practice where he is focused on international and domestic litigation and counseling, with special emphasis on privacy and data security, internal investigations, trade and cross-border disputes and the Asia-Pacific region. Jeff previously served as special counsel to President Obama in 2009, before being appointed by the President to serve as the 24th United States Ambassador to Australia. As ambassador, Jeff’s term was marked by the US rebalance to the Asia­Pacific, with Australia being the focal point for that shift. His efforts included overseeing record growth in trade and investment between the US and Australia, bringing the Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty into force, establishing new alliance agreements for satellites and cybersecurity, and promoting regional human rights efforts.

Brian Wynne
President and CEO, AUVSI

Brian Wynne is the President and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the largest association representing the unmanned systems and robotics industries. Brian brings in-depth experience in transportation and technology applications gained in leadership roles with trade associations and public-private partnerships. Previously, Brain led the Electric Drive Transportation Association as well as served as Senior Vice President for business and trade at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton, a master’s degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Cologne in Germany.

The Hon. Réka Szemerkényi
Ambassador of Hungary to the United States

Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi is the Ambassador of Hungary to the United States. Prior to this appointment, she worked as chief advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary, covering security policy, energy security and cyber security issues. Working in the private sector, she was chief international public relations advisor to the Chairman of the Board of the MOL Group, the Hungarian Oil and Gas Company. Ambassador Szemerkényi also held various other governmental posts, including the position of state secretary for foreign policy and national security advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary, and senior advisor to the state secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Hungary. She completed her master’s degree in strategic studies as a Fulbright Fellow at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University. She has been decorated with numerous awards by European governments including the Hungarian, French and Slovakian. In Hungary, she was decorated National Service Award for the contribution to Hungary’s joining NATO in 1999.
Frances Colón
Deputy Science and Technology Adviser
to the Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State

Dr. Frances Colón is the Deputy Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State at the U.S. Department of State where she promotes integration of science and technology into foreign policy dialogues; global scientific engagement for capacity-building; advancement of women in science; and innovation as a tool for economic growth around the world. Previously, Dr. Colón served the U.S. Department of State as the Science and Environment Adviser at the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau where she was responsible for advising on environmental and scientific issues that affected the U.S. Government’s foreign policy objectives in the Americas. Dr. Colón earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience in 2004 from Brandeis University and her B.S. in biology in 1997 from the University of Puerto Rico.

Azizah al-Hibri
Professor Emerita,University of Richmond School of Law

Professor Azizah al-Hibri is a Professor Emerita at the University of Richmond School of Law, having served on the faculty from 1992 until her retirement in 2012. Her work has centered on developing an Islamic jurisprudence and body of Islamic law that are gender equitable and promote human rights and democratic governance. Professor al-Hibri has authored numerous book chapters, essays, and law review articles on these subjects, and her work has appeared in the highly respected Journal of Law and Religion, Harvard International Review, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, among other venues. In 2011, Professor al-Hibri was appointed by President Obama to serve as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Professor al-Hibri is the founding editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and founder and president of the organization KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. Professor al-Hibri was a Fulbright scholar in 2001.

The Hon. Maureen Duffy-Lewis
Judge, Los Angeles County Superior Court

 Judge Duffy-Lewis has served on the Los Angeles Court since 1987. The Los Angeles Superior Court is regarded at the single largest trial bench in the world. Judge Duffy-Lewis has experience as both a civil litigator and a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles. As an attorney she has tried over 100 jury trials with over a 98% success rate. As a Judge she currently sits in a civil court of unlimited jurisdiction handling many Nationally and Globally recognized cases. She was a highly regarded Felony trial Judge in her previous assignment.

Judge Duffy-Lewis is the Initial Chair of the “Judicial Mentoring Initiative” (2009-2010) in Bulgaria. This Program is in co-operation with the United States Department of Justice and the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives. She is a 2 time Fulbright Awardee to Bulgaria. While in Bulgaria she initiated and developed the court related Mediation Program. It has been called by the European Union one of its top three improved programs.

While teaching her Fulbright Class on American Law at Sofia University Law Program (St. Kliment Ohridski University) her classes were five times the anticipated enrollment and her students have excelled in the Bulgarian Legal Community and within the EU. Her Students are now lawyers, legislators and teachers. Her Students lead the country and the EU in international Moot Court Competititons. A handful of her students became Coaches for the National Mock Trial Team. Their students most recently won Best Brief in the American and International Moot Court Competition in Washington DC. She continues to lecture and publish.

Jeanne Toungara
Associate Professor, Howard University

Jeanne Maddox Toungara is Associate Professor of History at Howard University. She teaches courses on contemporary Africa, the African Diaspora and Women in Africa. Her research focuses on Côte d’Ivoire and Francophone Africa. She is the recipient of several study and research awards, including the Fulbright-Hayes Area Studies grant for field work in Côte d’Ivoire, and a US Institute for Peace grant for training African women in the gender studies, conflict management, and peace building. She has lectured for the State Department Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, served as a Public Member on Foreign Service promotions panels, and is a frequent visiting lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute. More recently, she served on the Democratization, Human Rights and Governance team contracted by the US Agency for International Development to prepare the 2015 five-year assessment report on Côte d’Ivoire. As a former Assistant Provost for International Programs, she established several partnerships between Howard University and institutions in South Africa, and participated in IIE-sponsored outreach programs to Brazil. She chaired the Dean’s Task Force on International Affairs that developed a new major and minor program in international studies for the College of Arts and Sciences. As a Fulbright Scholar Ambassador, she promotes faculty engagement abroad. She is a Salzburg Global Seminar alumna, a Mellon Foundation Global Citizenship Program fellow, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees in African Studies and History at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Thomas Moga

Thomas T. Moga focuses his practice on intellectual property and international business transactions. His experience includes the development of domestic and foreign patent portfolios, the acquisition of registrations for trademarks and copyrights, licensing, litigation, and policy development. In addition to his wide array of intellectual property work, Mr. Moga manages patent enforcement and anti-counterfeiting actions in Asia, including overseeing initial counterfeit product investigation, selecting and working with local investigators, selecting and working with local counsel, preparing administrative and judicial documents, and participating in raids.

Mr. Moga has been involved in intellectual property training programs both at home and abroad. He was a Fulbright Scholar in China where he taught patent law at Jilin University and acted as a foreign advisor to China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Mr. Moga was a visiting foreign expert in law at Xiamen University, China, and worked as a foreign legal expert for a patent and trademark law office in Taipei, Taiwan.

Allan Goodman
President, Institute of International Education

 Dr. Allan E. Goodman is the sixth President of the Institute of International Education, the leading not-for-profit organization in the field of international educational exchange and development training. Previously, Dr. Goodman was Executive Dean of the School of Foreign Service and Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of books on international affairs published by Harvard, Princeton and Yale University presses. Dr. Goodman served as Presidential Briefing Coordinator for the Director of Central Intelligence in the Carter Administration. Subsequently, he was the first American professor to lecture at the Foreign Affairs College of Beijing, helped create the first U.S. academic exchange program with the Moscow Diplomatic Academy for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, and developed the diplomatic training program of the Foreign Ministry of Vietnam.
Dr. Goodman has served as a consultant to Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the United States Information Agency, and IBM. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a founding member of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), Co-President of the Partner University Fund (PUF) Grant Review Committee, and a member of the Jefferson Scholarship selection panel. He also serves on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation International Quality Group Advisory Council and the Board of Trustees of the Education Above All Foundation.
Dr. Goodman has a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard, an M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a B.S. from Northwestern University.
Josephine Dorado
Digital Strategist, President of Fulbright Association’s NY Chapter

Josephine Dorado is a social entrepreneur, strategist, educator and artist whose work focuses on the convergence of physical+digital experiences, arts with technology, and games with calls to action. Her work has been awarded both a Fulbright Scholarship and a MacArthur Foundation Award in Digital Media & Learning. She is currently President of Fulbright Association’s NY Chapter and a trainer for the State Department’s TechCamps. Her classes at The New School focus on mashup culture, online collaboration, social media and virtual learning environments. Previously, Josephine founded Kidz Connect, a virtual cultural exchange program that connects youth internationally through creative collaboration and performance in virtual worlds. Her next venture is reACTor, a mobile news game that encourages activism around news stories.
Ammar Abdulhamid
Founder, Tharwa Foundation

Ammar Abdulhamid is a liberal Syrian pro-democracy activist whose anti-regime activities led to his exile in September of 2005. He currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Khawla Yusuf, and their children, Oula (b.1986) and Mouhanad (b. 1990). He is the founder of the Tharwa Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to democracy promotion, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction.
Guillermo Aviles Mendoza
Commander, U.S. Public Health Services

Mr. Avilés-Mendoza is a Commander (CDR) of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and Chief of the Liaison and International Branch of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. At ASPR-OEM, CDR Avilés-Mendoza provides advice with regard to international public health emergency preparedness and response and oversees the ASPR Officers at the Department of Defense in Southcom, Northcom and Transcom.

Commander Avilés-Mendoza’s past work include assignments at the National Vaccine Program Office, HHS-Office of Global Affairs, National Institutes of Health/National Human Genome Research Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, Pan American Health Organization and the Department of Health in Puerto Rico.

Commander Avilés-Mendoza was the 2014 Chair of the Hispanic Officer Advisory Committee to the U.S. Surgeon General and the 2013-2014 President of the HHS-Hispanic Employee Organization. Commander Avilés-Mendoza is a member of the Advisory Board of the Mexican Consulate Ventanillas de Salud to the Mexican Secretary of Health and the 2016 Vice-Chair of the Minority Officers Liaison Council to the Office of the Surgeon General.

Commander Avilés-Mendoza is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is a graduate of the Global Health Law Masters in Laws (LL.M.) program from Georgetown University Law Center; Juris Doctor (J.D.) program from Hamline University School of Law and the Genetics and Cell Biology program at the College of Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota.

Carlos Santos-Burgoa
Professor and Program Director, Global Health Policy MPH Program

 Dr. Santos- Burgoa is a Professor in the Department of Global Health, where he also serves as the Program Director for the Global Health Policy MPH program.
Dr. Santos-Burgoa is raising awareness of the importance for equity and development of the regulatory public health function within the health systems, and seeking to advance their performance. His emphasis is on Latin-American countries institutional capacity, and in regional and global health organizations. Dr. Santos-Burgoa has practiced clinical medicine, and he has worked in academia, consulting, and management at the national and international level.
Rene McEldowney
Director, Health Services Administration
 Rene McEldowney is the Director of the Health Services Administration in the College of Liberal Arts, and a professor in the Department of Political Science. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Health Care Policy from Virginia Tech State University, Blacksburg VA, a post doctorial fellowship at Oxford University, an MBA from Marshall University and a B.S. in Health Physics from the University of New Mexico. She has been teaching at Auburn University since 1992, holds a dual appointment in the College of Business, is on editorial board for Health Administration Press, holds and an appointment on Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Global Health Review Board and has extensive professional experience in both international and national health insurance reform and policy.
Her primary teaching and research expertise is in comparative health care policy, health insurance, innovation and patient safety.
Dr. McEldowney is a Nuffield Research Fellow and is a member of the College of Liberal Arts Academy of Teaching and Outstanding Teachers. She has received numerous research grants and has published over 20 research publications and co-authored the book Health Care Financial Crisis.