Our Advisory Council
Terry Anderson is a former foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He served as Chief Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press, as well as working as a newspaper editor, tv & radio reporter and documentary producer. He taught journalism at Syracuse University, Ohio University, the Columbia School of Journalism and the University of Florida. He recently retired to Orange, Va. He is a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, and author of the best-selling book “Den of Lions,” recounting the seven years he was held hostage in Lebanon. Anderson holds numerous awards in journalism, as well as for volunteer and charitable work. He is honorary chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which works on behalf of journalists under threat around the world, and co-chair of the Vietnam Children’s Fund, which has built more than 50 schools in Vietnam.
Emma is a New Zealand-born journalist and policy advisor, whose main focus is Syria. While assisting colleagues in danger in Syria, she co-founded the Frontline Freelance Register and the ACOS Alliance, which both strive to improve safety and security for freelance journalists working in conflict. She received the 2017 Foley Legacy Foundation World Press Freedom Award for this work. She has helped SAFER Research implement journalist safety practices into academic field research. She is also on the Frontline Club Trust Advisory Council.
Liz Chamberlin is the Executive Director of the International Security Management Association (ISMA). She began her career in law, where she focused on insurance defense litigation, workers compensation, and corporate litigation matters. Ms. Chamberlin graduated from the University of Iowa (B.A., political science and international relations); and from the University of Iowa College of Law.She resides in Wiltshire, UK.
Christopher P. Costa is the executive director of the International Spy Museum and a 34-year veteran of the Department of Defense. He served 25 years in counterintelligence, human intelligence and with special operations forces (SOF) in the United States Army, in Central America, Europe, and throughout the Middle East. He ran a wide range of intelligence and special operations in Panama, Bosnia, the first and second Iraq wars, and Afghanistan. Colonel Costa earned two Bronze stars for sensitive human intelligence work in Afghanistan. Assigned to the Naval Special Warfare Development Group with Navy SEALs, he served as the first civilian squadron Deputy Director. In 2013, Costa was inducted into the United States Special Operation’s Commando Hall of Honor for lifetime service to US Special Operations. During the first year of the Trump Administration, he was the Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the White House.
Gene Delaune serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He is the Chief Medical Officer for Europ Assistance’s (EA) / Generali Globas Assistance (GGA) North American offices. He manages the US in-house Medical Team which is responsible for determining the adequacy of care customers are receiving and making travel recommendations around medical evacuations and repatriations. He also sits on the International Medical Steering Committee, representing the Americas’ interests and shaping medical policy for the group.
Dr. Delaune is a board certified Emergency Physician with medical licenses in nine states, practicing clinically 80-100 hours per month in several major medical centers.
Prior to EA, Dr. Delaune served on active duty in the US Air Force and in 2003 served in Baghdad as the primary physician determining the “fitness to fly” of patients evacuated out of the war zone. He also worked as a flight surgeon for the US Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, Ramstein Air Base in Germany and was trained as a USAF Critical Care Aeromedical Transport Team as well as a NASA space shuttle support physician. Dr. Delaune conducted his medical residency at George Washington University, graduated from the Tulane University School of Medicine and completed his undergraduate training at the University of Notre Dame.
Jen Easterly is a Managing Director of Morgan Stanley and Global Head of the Firm’s Cybersecurity Fusion Center. Prior to joining the Firm, Jen served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism where she led the development and coordination of U.S. counterterrorism and hostage policy. Jen retired from the U.S. Army after more than twenty years of service which included tours of duty in Haiti, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. A Trustee of the Morgan Stanley Foundation, Jen also serves on the Board of Directors of Nuru International, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, and Theorem Media. She is the 2018 recipient of the Foley Foundation American Hostage Freedom Award.
Mr. Eisen is a trial lawyer with more than 35 years’ experience in the trial of jury and non-jury cases in federal and state courts throughout the country. He has tried numerous cases to jury verdict in federal and state courts and arbitration cases to Awards. Mr. Eisen represents plaintiffs and defendants in litigation matters involving contracts, securities, banking, class action, construction, bankruptcy, intellectual property, real estate, and trusts and estates issues. Mr. Eisen is a Fellow in the American College of Trail Lawyers, in which fellowship is extended by invitation only to experienced trail lawyers within the top one percent of the trial bar in the United States and Canada.
As a member of the National Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association, Mr. Eisen is a certified Level II Arbitrator who has arbitrated more than 100 multimillion-dollar disputes involving major corporations and individuals and is a lecturer and author in the field of arbitration. He is also a member of the CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals and the CPR Panel for Banking, Accounting, and Financial Services. Mr. Eisen has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Washington D.C. Super Lawyers – 2007 – 2017 Alternative Dispute Resolution).
Mr. Eisen currently practices with K & L Gates, received his B.A from Princeton University, and LL.B from Yale Law School.
Diane Foley is the mother of American freelance conflict journalist James Wright Foley. While reporting in northern Syria, James was kidnapped in November 2012. He was tortured and starved until the 19th of August 2014, when ISIS publicly beheaded him.
Three weeks of Jim’s murder, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation (JWFLF) became a non-profit to advocate for the safe return of American hostages and protect journalists.
In 2015, the JWFLF began fundraising to start Hostage US, worked with Hostage UK and Rachel Briggs to facilitate her move to the US. The Ford Foundation matched the 200K raised by JWFLF to fund the start of Hostage US, Additionally in 2015, Diane participated in the US hostage policy review with White House, which resulted in a US Hostage Fusion cell, a Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs and Hostage Recovery group at the White House, whose sole mission is the return of Americans taken hostage abroad.
To learn more about JWFLF, please view the HBO documentary “Jim, the James Foley story”, now available on Amazon, Netflix and UTube and our website, www.jamesfoleyfoundation.org.
Diane has a masters in nursing from the University of New Hampshire and worked as a family nurse practitioner for 18 years before becoming the founder and current president of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation.
Lt Col John Foley is a results-driven professional with 16+ years of operational and strategic military leadership experience. Excels in dynamic, demanding environments while remaining pragmatic and focused. Principled leader, seasoned project manager and skilled communicator with a demonstrated record of successfully leading small and large teams in fast-paced, high-pressure environments.
Self-motivated servant leader that specializes in developing and maximizing talent in others. Able to summarize complex issues for executive review. Highly polished in top-level command politics, strategy and tact with the ability to resolve difficult situations with grace and diplomacy. Consistently recognized by high-level executives, senior managers and peers as a superior performer with consistent top peer rankings. Frequently selected for strategic level assignments including tours as in US Central Command, European Command, and Pacific Command, as well as Headquarters Air Force.
Christopher Fonzone is a partner in Sidley Austin’s Privacy and Cybersecurity group. His practice focuses on a wide range of issues related to information technology and cybersecurity, as well as the management of crisis situations. Before joining Sidley, Chris was Deputy Assistant and Deputy Counsel to President Obama and the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council. Before that, Chris worked at the Departments of Defense and Justice and as a law clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Chris has lectured and taught classes at a variety of law schools, and his writing on national security and privacy and cybersecurity topics has been published in many forums, including the Washington Post, The Hill, Newsweek, Lawfare, and Just Security.
Florent “Flo” Groberg was named Chief of Staff for Commercial Airplanes effective April 2018. He is responsible for simplifying and managing the management system and operating rhythm and leading a focus across the business on simplification. His role also includes partnering with other leadership team members to maximize the use of digital and analytic tools and drive the Boeing Behaviors and cultural change throughout Commercial Airplanes. Previously, Groberg was director of veterans outreach and Boeing Defense, Space & Security Strategy for Boeing Global Engagement. In that role he was responsible for developing and implementing a company-wide giving and engagement strategy.
Judy Gross spent her career in the field of mental health, working with families as well as groups and individuals, most recently at Johns Hopkins Suburban Hospital. She holds a certification in forensic evaluation from University of Virginia, and completed an externship in structural family therapy.
In December 2009, her husband Alan was kidnapped by the Cuban government where he remained a hostage for five years. During this time, she devoted her time to obtaining his release, working with members of Congress, and officials at the Department of State, National Security Council and the White House, and speaking publicly throughout the country and in the media to make sure his case remained well known. She was able to travel to Cuba several times and met with Cuban Government officials. With the assistance of numerous people, Alan gained his freedom in December 2014.
Following this five-year ordeal, Judy wanted to help other families who were victims of hostage situations. She is a member of the Hostage US Family Support Team, where she combines her knowledge as a therapist with her personal experience to assist families in similar predicaments.
Milancy Harris is a Governance and Strategic Initiatives manager at Facebook where she supports the development and execution of digital governance initiatives. Milancy previously spent 15 years with the U.S. Government focused on intelligence analysis and counterterrorism issues, including hostage recovery. She represented the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the White House’s 2015 Hostage Policy Review and served from 2015-2017 as a Director for Counterterrorism on the National Security Council staff, focused on hostage recovery and other counterterrorism issues.
Milancy is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and holds B.A. degrees in International Affairs and English Literature from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a M.A. in Political Management from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.
Luke Hartig is Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and Consulting at National Journal. Prior to joining the Atlantic Media Company, Luke served as Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council (NSC) in the Obama White House, where he played a key role in the 2015 U.S. hostage policy reforms. Luke previously served as Deputy Director for Counterterrorism Operations in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Luke has also held various positions with the State Department, Office of Management and Budget, Government Accountability Office, and U.S. Forces Afghanistan. He began his career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala.
Luke is a non-resident fellow at New America, a member of the editorial board of Just Security, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. in International Relations from Boston University.
Delphine Halgand-Mishra is the Executive Director of The Signals Network, a non-profit organization that supports whistleblowers. She previously served for six years as Reporters Without Borders’ North America Director, advocating for journalists, bloggers, and media rights worldwide. In May 2017, she received the 2017 James W Foley American Hostage Freedom Award for her work assisting American journalists detained abroad.
Roy Hallums earned a management BBA from the University of Memphis and an M.S. in management from the U.S. Navy Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA. Work as a career Naval officer and a civilian defense related contractor has taken him to employment sites worldwide. Significant time was spent in China, the Philippines, and recently the Middle East. Departmental and budgetary authority often included over $100 million and large human resource staffs.
After retiring from the U.S. Navy as a Supply Corps Commander he worked with the Royal Saudi Naval Forces for ten years. This service involved support for more than 50 Saudi ships in the port of Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Upon completion of his contract with the Saudi Navy Roy accepted a contract with a Saudi company doing business in Iraq.
While working in Iraq Roy was kidnapped and held for 311 days. He was eventually rescued by U.S. Army Special Forces.
Interviews include: 60 Minutes, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN Morning, CBS Evening News, ABC Evening News, Scarborough Report, Hannity and Combs, New York Times, Discovery Channel, numerous magazine and newspaper articles.
Kelly joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2000 following seventeen years of law enforcement and security experience in the government sector. She was elected as a company vice president in May 2015. As the Chief Security Officer, Kelly has global responsibility for ensuring safe and secure operations for The Coca-Cola Company’s more than 70,000 employees operating in more than 200 countries across the company’s six operating segments: Europe, Middle East and Africa; Latin America; North America; Asia Pacific; Bottling Investments Group; and Corporate. In addition, Kelly oversees information assurance which includes, cyber threat intelligence, computer forensics, eDiscovery and cyber investigations. She has served in numerous roles within Strategic Security during her 19 years with The Coca-Cola Company and also served as Executive Assistant and Chief of Staff to the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Alex Cummings, from 2010-2012.
She is a graduate of the University of Florida and the Harvard Business School, General Management Program. She currently serves on the boards of the International Security Foundation and Domestic Security Partnership, International Security Management Alliance and RAND Corporation.
James (“Jim”) LeBlanc is the founder of J. LeBlanc International and ‘Consigliere’ to a number of senior executives throughout the world. He has over 30 years of international leadership and executive experience and is also currently Chairman of the Candy Group US.
He was recently Vice President of Unity Resources Group and served as executive director for the American-Kuwaiti Alliance. Jim was also senior resident Country Director in Iraq for a large international NGO from 2004 to 2006. He previously served as chief of staff to the Canadian Foreign Minster and the Minister of Science and Technology, as well as, executive assistant to the Canadian Ambassador for International Security and Arms Control.
He is a past senior associate at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies and sits on numerous boards and advisory councils including as Vice Chair of the International NGO Safety and Security Association (INSSA), the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), Hostage US and the O Mansion Museum.
Jim has an MA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School (U.S.); and an MA in International Security and Conflict from Canada.
Diane Lebson is a 25-year veteran of the nonprofit sector. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and specialist in fundraising, relationship building, governance, and strategic planning, she has worked with organizations focused on issues from international development to domestic community building.
Diane formerly was national Director of Women in Philanthropy for the American Red Cross and national Director of Strategic Markets for United Way: collectively, both organizations engaged over 70,000 women in their philanthropic efforts and raised over $1.5 billion since their inception.
As Chief of Protocol for the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia, Diane coordinated outreach efforts by the U.S. Ambassador to Australia and other officers of the mission, solicited the support from U.S. corporations for trade promotion initiatives, and advised Embassy personnel on diplomatic etiquette and ceremony.
Diane’s other executive experience includes senior roles with SOS Children’s Villages and the District of Columbia Public Library Foundation.
Mr. Lebson’s career focuses the intersection of research, intelligence, and geopolitics. He served as a Director at the National Security Council (Afghanistan/Pakistan), at the Pentagon managing the Pakistan policy team, and as an exchange officer within the Australian Department of Defence. Prior to and after his government service, Mr. Lebson built and ran successful investigative and intelligence practices in the private sector, co-founding a global business intelligence firm where he now serves as a Managing Director. He also was a senior officer in a crisis communications firm, where he built the industry’s first-ever integrated business intelligence practice. For two years, Mr. Lebson provided pro bono support to an American hostage family, utilizing his government experience and regional expertise, while working with the family to manage substantial media interest. He has worked on a volunteer basis with several Hostage US families to help them assess and navigate issue related to media engagement and managing their public profile and regularly advises the US Government on hostage issues.
Mary B. McCord is Legal Director at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection as well as Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. McCord was the Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice from 2016 to 2017 and served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division (NSD) from 2014 to 2016. Previously, McCord worked for nearly 20 years as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
David McCraw is Deputy General Counsel of The New York Times Company and serves as the principal newsroom lawyer for the company. He is the author of the book “Truth in Our Times: Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts” (St. Martin’s 2019), a first-person account of the legal battles that helped shape The Times’s coverage of Donald Trump, the #MeToo movement, and the dramatic changes in national security and foreign policy under a new administration. Mr. McCraw also heads up The Times’s crisis management team coordinating the paper’s response when journalists are kidnapped or detained overseas. He is a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School and an adjunct professor at the NYU Law School. Mr. McCraw is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Cornell University, and Albany Law School.
David F. McGowan is a Vice President and Head of Global Protection Services for Tiffany & Co. based in NYC. Mr. McGowan is responsible for all physical security programs, safety and environmental management, investigations, business intelligence, trademark enforcement, and resilience programs for all Tiffany business channels worldwide. Prior to Tiffany & Co., Mr. McGowan held several other positions including Director of Loss Prevention and Safety for the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation.
Mr. McGowan has spoken globally on topics like, “A Leader’s Role in Setting Workplace Climate” and “Blue Box Leadership.” He has been recognized in the industry with the “Security Director of the Year” award in 2006 and more recently with the “2017 Insightful Practitioner” award from the Security Industry Association.
Mr. McGowan currently is the President of the International Security Management Association (ISMA), the global association of leading chief security officers.
Mr. McGowan earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at the College of the Holy Cross located in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Mr. McGowan has two children, Micaela and Colton, and makes his home with his wife, Amy, in the garden state of New Jersey.
Bernadette Meehan is the Chief International Officer at The Obama Foundation. Previously a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department for thirteen years, Bernadette served in a variety of assignments in Washington and overseas.
From January 2016 to January 2017 she served as a Senior Advisor at the White House National Security Council, conducting negotiations with the Government of Cuba and overseeing a series of regulatory changes and migration agreements, as well as President Obama’s historic trip to Havana.
From August 2015 to August 2016 Bernadette was an adjunct professor and State Department resident fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. In June 2015, Bernadette completed her first three years of service at the National Security Council, most recently as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Spokesperson for the National Security Council.
Prior to her assignment at the National Security Council, Bernadette served at the State Department as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her overseas diplomatic Foreign Service assignments include Dubai, Baghdad, and Bogota.
In 2007 Bernadette was selected as a Powell Fellow, recognized as one of the 12 most promising future leaders in the Department of State.
Prior to joining the Department of State, Bernadette was a Vice President of Private Banking at J.P. Morgan and Vice President of Asset Management at Lehman Brothers. She graduated from Boston College with a degree in Political Science. A native of New York, Bernadette speaks fluent Spanish and conversational Arabic.
Bonnie Michelman has over 30 years of corporate security leadership. She is the Executive Director of Police, Security and Outside Services at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Security Consultant for Partners Healthcare Inc. Bonnie is Past President of the International Security Management Association (ISMA), ASIS-International and the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS). She is Chairman of the Board of IAHSS. Bonnie is on the Regional Board of Directors for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and chairs their National Security Committee. Under Bonnie’s direction, MGH won the Lindberg Bell Award for the nation’s finest healthcare security program in 1999, 2007 and 2018. She was appointed in 2010 by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC), holding that position until 2015 and chaired the DHS Faith Based Security Advisory Committee. Bonnie has an MBA, an MS in Criminal Justice and a BA in Government and Sociology. She holds her CPP and CHPA certifications.
James O’Brien is Vice Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) and heads the firm’s Europe practice. A founder of the firm, he has worked on issues affecting consumer goods, health, entertainment, environment, media (including free speech), telecommunications, and finance. Mr. O’Brien is also a member of the management committee of Albright Capital Management LLC, an affiliated investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.
Mr. O’Brien has served two U.S. administrations as special presidential envoy, securing the release of Americans held hostage abroad and overseeing U.S. policy towards the Balkans. He has been senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State and served as the principal deputy director of policy planning at the State Department. He worked to end armed conflicts in Europe, helped develop non-proliferation initiatives after the Cold War, negotiated environmental agreements, and supported initiatives to investigate and prosecute persons responsible for war crimes.
Mr. O’Brien earned a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Frank M. Ochberg, M.D., originated the Trust for Trauma Journalism and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma helping journalists understand traumatic stress and traumatic stress experts understand journalists. He is a founding board member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and recipient of their highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. He edited the first text on treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder after serving on the committee that defined PTSD. He was associate director of the National Institute of Mental Health and director of the Michigan Department of Mental Health. At Michigan State University, he is clinical professor of psychiatry, formerly adjunct professor of criminal justice, and adjunct professor of journalism. Ochberg developed, with colleagues, the Academy for Critical Incident Analysis at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Gift From Within (a nonprofit for persons with PTSD), and the Committee for Community Awareness and Protection (responding to serial-killer threats). For the latter activity, he is the first physician to receive the Law Enforcement Medal of the Sons of the American Revolution. Ochberg served in uniform during the Vietnam era and advises several nonprofit veterans organizations.As a Red Cross volunteer, Ochberg assisted families at sites of earthquakes, floods, fires and aircraft disasters. In the mid-1970s he systematically debriefed survivors of hostage-captivity in the UK, USA and Europe and is credited with defining “the Stockholm syndrome.”
Louis O’Neill is Counsel and Director of Pro Bono at White & Case. He helps run the Firm’s Global Pro Bono Practice and also advises the Firm’s clients on risk management, criminal law, dispute resolution and human rights.
Previously Mr. O’Neill served as Ambassador and Head of Mission to Moldova for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as a Member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and as White House Fellow to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Before that, Mr. O’Neill served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Special Prosecutions Bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Prior to becoming a prosecutor, Mr. O’Neill served as General Counsel for a leading New York merchant bank and investment house. Mr. O’Neill began his legal career as an Associate with White & Case. He speaks Russian, Romanian and Persian.
Alan Orlob is the Vice President of Global Safety and Security for Marriott International. In his role, he oversees safety and security operations and directs the crisis management program. Marriott is the largest hotel operator in the world with more than 6000 hotels in over 120 countries. Prior to working for Marriott, Alan was the corporate security director for Al Ghanim International, managing a close protection detail. He served with U.S. Army Special Forces, both active and reserve for a total of 24 years. Mr. Orlob recently served as the president of ISMA, the International Security Management Association and is the Chairman of the Orange County Homeland Security Advisory Committee–a public private partnership with the Orange County, California, Sheriff’s Department. He has served as a consultant with the U.S. State Department’s Anti-terrorism Assistance Program on hotel security and was a stakeholder ona RAND initiative on counter-surveillance. In his role, he has consulted with several foreign governments on hotel security. Following the Mumbai terror attacks, Mr. Orlob testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security in January, 2009 and testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security in 2016. In 2013, Mr. Orlob was selected as one of Security Magazine’s “Most Influential People in Security”. Mr. Orlob has written several articles on the subject of protecting soft targets in hostile environments and has been interviewed by most major publications and news media. Mr. Orlob is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and is a former committee chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). He is a member of the Global Security Advisory Group to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Robert (Bob) Pritchard recently retired as Vice President and Chief Security Officer for S&P Global. Bob was responsible for protecting the corporation’s global assets which included Crisis Management, Executive Protection, Systems & Technology, Global Contract Security, Investigations, Building Security and Threat Assessments/Risk Analysis.
Bob joined S&P Global following 25 years in law enforcement. His career included investigative and managerial positions with NYPD, New York City Board of Education, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Counter Terrorism Bureau of the FBI. In addition, Bob was a certified hostage negotiator and kidnap coordinator.
In 2013, US Secretary of State Kerry appointed Bob to co-chair the New York Forum of the US Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). He was also active with the Latin American Regional Council (LARC), the Pan Asia Regional Council (PARC) and the European Regional Council. Bob was a member of the CSO Roundtable (ASIS) and the International Security Management Association (ISMA).
Bob holds a bachelor’s degree from New York Institute of Technology. In addition, he has completed certificate programs at the Wharton School of Business, the Kellogg School of Management and the Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI).
Nicholas Rasmussen is Senior Director for National Security and Counterterrorism Programs at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Rasmussen is a national security professional with over twenty-seven years in U.S. government service, including in senior counterterrorism posts at the White House and in the U.S. Intelligence Community from 2001 to 2017. He concluded his government career as Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), leading more than 1,000 professionals from across the Intelligence Community, federal government, and federal contractor workforce.
Rasmussen served in senior posts across three administrations, including as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council staff under Presidents Bush and Obama before being appointed Director of NCTC by President Obama and continuing his tenure at the request of President Trump’s administration. From 1991-2001, he served in policy positions at the Department of State, focused on the Middle East.
He holds appointments as Distinguished Professor of Practice at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University as Visiting Professor of Practice at the School of Law, University of Texas at Austin; as Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the National Security College of Australia National University; and as Non-resident Fellow at the Reiss Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law.
Rasmussen holds a B.A. degree from Wesleyan University and an MPA from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
David Rohde is the Online Executive Editor at The New Yorker, a global-affairs analyst for CNN and a former reporter for Reuters, the New York Times, and the Christian Science Monitor. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for stories that helped expose the Srebrenica massacre during the war in Bosnia, and in 2009 he shared a Pulitzer Prize with a team of New York Times reporters for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is the author of three books, including “A Rope and a Prayer: The Story of a Kidnapping.” The book, co-written by his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, a Hostage US board member, recounts Rohde’s 2008 kidnapping by the Taliban in Afghanistan and seven months in captivity in the tribal areas of Pakistan. He lives in New York with his wife and two daughters.
Barry Rosen’s first view of Iran began in 1967, when he left Brooklyn for a two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer. He taught English and he learned Farsi. In many ways, Iran became a second home for Rosen. A decade later, he returned to Iran as the embassy’s press attaché and that home became his prison. On November 4, 1979 he became one of 52 Americans held under brutal conditions for 444 days by Iranian militants. Details of captivity, peculiar as well as profound, are never far from Mr. Rosen’s mind. He was threatened with automatic weapons pointed to his head, a victim of mock executions, held blindfold for days on end, tied hand and foot, and thrown into prison. Torn between his love for Iran, sensitively grounded in Peace Corps experience, and his anger and frustration over the way his captors violated Iran’s own traditions and norms, Mr.Rosen has been an advocate for the needs of hostage sand their families since his release nearly four decades ago.
While he has suffered from Post-traumatic Syndrome, he has been able to go on with his life, his family and contribute to plight of hostages held in Iran.
Marlis Saunders grew up in Germany and has lived in Southern California for more than 5 decades. She worked for many years in the aerospace and healthcare industries and is now retired. When her son, Michael Scott Moore, was kidnapped in Somalia she negotiated for his release with the help of the FBI.
Tom Sanderson is a consultant and the co-founder and former director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Sanderson is a course instructor for the U.S. Government and provides global risk assessments and advisory services for the private sector, media, and academia.
As director of and senior adviser to the CSIS Transnational Threats Project from 2002 to 2018, Sanderson investigated terrorism, insurgency, criminal networks, and geopolitics. He conducted field research in 70 countries, producing dozens of reports as well as opinion pieces and articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, CTC Sentinel, and the Harvard Asia-Pacific Review. Sanderson testifies before the U.S. Congress, provides expert commentary for the media and courts of law, and regularly engages a spectrum of sources, including business leaders, NGOs, clergy, journalists, terrorists, traffickers, refugees, law enforcement, and intelligence officials.
From 2013-2017, Sanderson led a multiphase study of terrorism in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Central Asia. Current activity examines foreign fighters, regional instability, and frontier market entry. Sanderson co-directed a SOCOM-funded effort on terrorism in several regions of the globe from 2010-2012 andbetween 2002 to 2009, he ran open source information networks on violent extremism in Europe and Southeast Asia. From 1998 to 2002, Sanderson worked for Science Applications International Corporation, examining weapons of mass destruction and terrorism for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
Sanderson was a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany (2005) and at Fudan University in Shanghai, China (2001). He holds a B.A. and Honorary Doctor of Laws from Wheaton College (Massachusetts) and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Paula Somers was born in Portland, Oregon, but grew up in California. Her love of travel started at a young age, taking her to Tunisia, Morocco, Greece, Turkey, much of Europe, Russia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. She settled for a number of years in England, a country she maintains great fondness for to this day. While living in England she worked at the Guardian, Telegraph and Evening Standard, and spent time studying photography at the London School of Printing. One of her career highlights was having photographs displayed at Harvey Milk’s shop in Castro.
It was while Paula was living in London that her first son Luke was born, arriving on August 29, 1981. Luke’s younger brother Jordan was born in 1986.
Luke shared his mother’s love of travel, and Paula took him on many adventures to North Africa, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France and Austria. In 1988, the family moved back to California. Luke spent his summers traveling back to England on his own to visit his father. While he was at Beloit College, he studied in Egypt and Morocco. After he graduated, he spent time salmon fishing in Alaska, flipping houses in Boston, working as an editor for author Tamarack Song in Wisconsin, and volunteering at The Reading Centre in Trench Town, Jamaica.
Luke was drawn to Yemen and settled in Sana’a. He rekindled his love of photography and began to photograph the city and and its people documenting the demonstrations that were starting in early 2011. Luke also was working as a copy editor for the National Dialogue Conference plus the National Yemen and Yemen News, and his photographs were published by BBC and Al-Jazeera, among others. He was at home in Yemen and loved its people, customs and history.
Luke was kidnapped in September 2013 and died in a rescue attempt in December 2014. His writings and photographs offer a poignant and important legacy documenting recent events in Yemen.
Luke Somers wanted the world to see the plight of the Yemeni people whom he had grown so close to.
View a selection of his photography here
Jordan was born in London, England in 1986, preceded by his brother Luke, whom was also born in London in 1981. He, his mom, Paula, Luke moved to the States in 1988 and have since resided on the West Coast. Like his mom and Luke, Jordan has sought meaningful connections both near and far, including volunteer service with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua, during which Luke and Jordan would exchange passionate tales between their respective places of residence – Nicaragua and Yemen.
Jordan, his mom and Luke grew up struggling financially which, he believes, has permitted a certain empathy that results from a direct experience and awareness with others of mutual socio-economic hardship. These trials also called for a certain resourcefulness that has permitted their bohemian and curiosity-driven flames to remain lit.
Luke was kidnapped in September 2013, held hostage for 13 months and was killed in a rescue attempt in December 2014.
Jordan balances his time with as much knowledge acquisition, creative expression, and natural healing remedies as possible, in hopes to continue to share Luke’s story in a conducive and provocative manner; all while connecting with and helping others – in little and big ways – in the process.
“Mom and I still struggle immensely with Luke’s loss, in ways that make us feel utterly isolated, so I do thank you Hostage US for providing us with this outlet.”
Gwendolyn van Paasschen is a garden designer and writer and is involved in various non-profits. She is currently working on a major new initiative to perpetuate the legacy of internationally renowned British garden designer, John Brookes MBE having established a trust dedicated to the perpetuation of his design legacy and the renovation and preservation of his garden in West Sussex. Ms. van Paasschen is also a trustee on the American Trust for the British Library Board of Trustees and secretary of the ATBL’s Executive Board. She is the former president of Kids Empowered by Your Support (KEYS), a Connecticut-based nonprofit which provides free music lessons to underserved children in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She began her career as a US Senate legislative staffer on economic issues for Senators Slade Gordon and the late Senator John McCain.