Don Cipriani serves as the President of the Hostage US Board of Directors. Don was a longtime friend, fellow teacher, and former housemate of Jim Foley’s, and worked closely with the Foley family and friends to secure Jim’s release from captivity in Libya and to seek his release from captivity in Syria. Don was a founding Board Member of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation and served as its Project Director on Hostage US initiatives.
Professionally, Don is an international philanthropy consultant assisting foundations in areas such as children’s rights, racial justice, criminal justice, and multi-donor collaboration. He was the founding Director of the Just and Fair Schools Fund, a collaborative fund comprised of 14 US donors, and supported the Fund’s 2015 relaunch as the Communities for Just Schools Fund.
He is the author of “Children’s Rights and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Global Perspective” (Ashgate, 2009). Don holds a bachelor’s degree from Drew University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy. He earned a Ph.D. in Law from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
“I support Hostage US because of my friend Jim Foley’s kidnappings in Libya and Syria, and the experiences of Jim, his family, and our community of friends and loved ones during and after Jim’s periods of captivity and murder. Jim’s boundless spirit, humanity, and generosity are a constant presence in our lives, and I see the creation of Hostage US as one part of Jim’s continuing legacy to this country. Hostage US is the world-class organization that Jim would have wanted to support his family, his fellow hostages, and their families.”
Kristen Mulvihill serves as the Vice President of Hostage US Board of Directors. Kristen is a co-author of A Rope and a Prayer: A Kidnapping from Two Sides, which chronicles the seven-and-a-half months she and her husband spent apart while he was a prisoner of the Taliban. A Rope and a Prayer was named a Washington Post Best Nonfiction Book of 2010 and a The New York Times Sunday Book Review Editor’s Choice.
She is a seasoned photography editor and contributor at various media outlets, including The Food Network, Hearst and Conde Nast Publications.
She is a graduate of Brown University and serves on the board of the Brown Alumni Monthly magazine.
“In a situation when there is so much misinformation, uncertainty, and varying opinions, it is a relief to have an advocate that seeks to support the family first, in the most basic, essential and practical ways. Hostage US considers family first. There are no outside or competing agendas, interests. We respect and work to preserve the privacy and dignity of hostages and their families.”
Amy is a Hostage US founder and serves as the Secretary of the Hostage US Board of Directors. She has 30 years of experience in the kidnap for ransom commercial insurance field acting as an advocate for families and companies faced with a kidnap crisis. She is a senior advisor to the Crisis Team leader for field staff deployed in support of crisis situations.
She has written threat assessments for the National Strategic Information Center and has been a guest lecturer on the topic of kidnap for ransom.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Gettysburg College and a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from The American University.
“I helped set up Hostage US because I saw a gap in support services and the need for an independent advocate to support those thrown into the mayhem of a kidnap crisis. I am in because I want to provide a supportive network that provides hope.”
Peggy O’Neill serves as the Treasurer of the Hostage US Board of Directors. She has over 30 years of experience working with nonprofit Boards specializing in startups, turnarounds and in creating successful and innovative financial models to grow organizations. Peggy provides pro-bono nonprofit consulting to other organizations, particularly ones focused on underserved children.
Peggy had a successful career in corporate sales and financial services and then embarked on a career in the nonprofit sector. She worked with independent schools before being named the Executive Director of the Irvine Nature Center, an environmental education organization. Peggy is currently the Executive Director of the International Security Foundation, a nonprofit organization established to support the Overseas Security Advisory Council of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Peggy is a graduate of Manhattanville College.
“I support Hostage US because there is such a need for an organization that focuses on supporting the families during an unimaginable time. After learning about Hostage UK, and realizing that no such organization existed here in the US, I wanted to do everything I could to support the launch of this important organization.”
John Smith serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors and is Chairman of Hostage UK Board. He is heavily involved in responding to the international demand for the services of both organizations. In semi-retirement, he now advises international organizations on security, intelligence and resilience management.
He was Director of Group Resilience at Prudential plc for 20 years where his global portfolio included political, security, physical, operational, information and cyber risks, financial crime including money laundering control, anti-corruption, fraud prevention and investigation, disaster and crisis management, business recovery and privacy. Before joining Prudential in 1992, he was Director, High Security at THORN Security responsible for providing security systems to banking and government clients, together with the Security Consultancy and Security Services businesses.
He is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and Manchester University in England. He served in the British Army in general management and specialist roles. John is a life member and Past President of the International Security Management Association, a member of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Overseas Security Advisory Council and an Emeritus member and former Chairman of the Risk and Security Management Forum. He is a founding Fellow of the Security Institute.
David Bowker serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He is a partner at the law firm of WilmerHale, where he chairs the firm’s International Litigation group representing foreign companies, multi-nationals, foreign states, nonprofit organizations, and individuals before U.S. courts and international tribunals. Before joining WilmerHale, David was an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and a graduate intern on the National Security Council staff.
He is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law School, elected member of the American Law Institute, an Honorary Governor of the Washington Foreign Law Society, and active member of the American Society of International Law. He frequently publishes and lectures at legal conferences and has been recognized for his support of non-governmental organizations and the defense of human rights.
David earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (“Boalt Hall”), his M.A. from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“I support Hostage US because it exists for an important and noble purpose: to support and advise families as they confront the painful and difficult challenges that arise when a family member is taken hostage. Having served as counsel for hostages and the wrongfully imprisoned and their families, I have come to appreciate that the legal aspects of these cases comprise only one or two dimensions in a much more complicated, multi-dimensional crisis. Thankfully, Hostage US was created to provide the knowledge and support that family members need to deal with the practical and emotional sides of these crises. I am proud to be a part of such a worthwhile organization.”
Gene Delaune, MD
Gene Delaune serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He is the Chief Medical Officer for Europ Assistance’s (EA) 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 six 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.
“There is no “How-to” guide telling families what to do when a loved-one is taken hostage. How do they contact the government? Who do they contact? What questions do they need to ask? During this unimaginably stressful time, these families don’t need sympathy; rather they need a rational, neutral well-informed navigator whose only agenda is to help them secure the release of their loved-one; this is what Hostage US does. They are the only organization that provides this support.”
Jack Lichtenstein serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He oversees American Society for Industrial Security’s (ASIS) International’s relations with Congress and the executive branch of the US Government. He also maintains several ASIS partnerships with major business organizations and educational institutions and serves as a spokesman before the media. ASIS is the largest association of security professionals in the world, with 39,000 members. ASIS members typically are responsible for the protection of people, property, and information in corporations and government institutions, including critical infrastructures.
As part of his duties with ASIS, Jack founded and directs the Wharton-ASIS Security Executive Leadership Program at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. He serves on the US Chamber of Commerce Task Force on National Security and was a 2006 Senior Fellow of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at The George Washington University. He is a long-time member of Business Executives for National Security (BENS).
Jack’s public service was as an appointed official in the administrations of President Ronald Reagan, where he served in the White House and the Departments of Commerce and Defense, and President George H.W. Bush. Earlier, he was executive assistant to Republican US Senator Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts. His private sector experience includes having been an advisor in government relations and communications to corporations and trade groups.
He retired from the US Army Reserve as a colonel in 1995, having served as Director of Operations for Task Force Freedom in the liberation of Kuwait during the Gulf War. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal and three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal.
He earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard University. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University.
Dave Komendat serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He is the vice president and Chief Security Officer (CSO) for The Boeing Company. In this role, he leads the Security & Fire Protection (S&FP) organization comprised of more than 2,000 people including contracted personnel to provide risk management services and standards to protect people, property, and information across the enterprise
As CSO, he is the Boeing interface for both national and international security policy engagement with government and industry advisory groups to include the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council; the Overseas Security Advisory Council and the National Counterintelligence Working Group. Dave is the past Chairman of the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Manufacturing Leadership Council and currently represents Boeing as the private sector Co-Chairman on the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), a partnership comprised of the FBI, DHS and members of the private sector formed to enhance communication and promote the timely and effective exchange of information focused on keeping the nation’s critical infrastructure safe, secure and resilient. Dave also holds board leadership roles within The International Security Management Association and the International Security Foundation.
Dave graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice specializing in industrial security. He joined McDonnell Douglas as an Industrial Security Specialist in 1986. He is a graduate of the executive development program at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University in May 2005.
“Having the opportunity to support Hostage US and the exceptional work they accomplish supporting the families of loved ones who have been kidnapped is an honor and I’m humbled to help.”
Jessica Buchanan serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. She is a teacher, author, humanitarian, speaker, mother, daughter, survivor.
In the summer of 2006, Jessica Buchanan followed her dream and left for Africa. She traveled through areas of South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, volunteering in different capacities, and then was fortunate enough to secure a student teaching position at an international school based in Nairobi, Kenya, the Rosslyn Academy. She was eventually offered a full-time teaching position and in 2009. Jessica left her teaching position and relocated to Hargeisa, Somaliland to join her new husband and begin her next adventure. Jessica eventually took on the role as the Regional Education Adviser for the Danish Demining Group, the mine action unit of the Danish Refugee Council, and worked with issues related to Armed Violence Reduction and community safety in areas of Somaliland, Somalia, Uganda, and South Sudan.
On October 25, 2011, while on a routine field mission in Somalia, Jessica, along with a colleague, were abducted at gunpoint and held for ransom by a group of Somali land pirates for 93 days. Her liberation came on January 25, 2012, when the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six successfully rescued her, along with her colleague. The ordeal is detailed through the perspective of Jessica, and her husband, Erik in their New York Times bestselling book, Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six.
Jessica and her husband have since relocated to the United States and now reside in the Washington DC area with their two children. Jessica travels the country speaking about her experience as a hostage to a wide range of audiences. She also continues to serve as a dedicated Ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, which works to support families of fallen SEALs.
Peter P. Pedraza
Peter P. Pedraza serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He is a communications professional with more than 15 years of corporate, agency and government experience. Based in Seattle, Pedraza leads financial communications for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and supports the chief financial officer of the $66 billion dollar business unit. Prior to his current assignment, Pedraza worked at Boeing Defense, Space & Security and Boeing Corporate offices in Chicago.
Earlier, Pedraza was employed in the communications department of Commonwealth Edison, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States. At the utility, Pedraza developed and managed programs to protect company reputation and served as company spokesperson. Earlier, Pedraza worked in the corporate and government affairs group at United Airlines. At United, Pedraza focused on executive, employee and customer communications. Prior to United, Pedraza served as director of public relations for Equity Office Properties Trust.
Before joining Equity Office, Pedraza spent six years with Edelman Worldwide, the world’s largest independent public relations firm. Earlier in his career, Pedraza worked as a staffer for United States Senator Russ Feingold in Washington, D.C. focusing on a number of issues including telecommunications, veteran affairs and campaign finance reform.
In 2011, Pedraza spearheaded publicity efforts to aid the release of James Foley, a friend and American journalist held prisoner by forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Foley was released from Libyan custody unharmed on May 18 of that year following six weeks of detention. Pedraza also advocated for Jim’s safe release when he was held prisoner in Syria.
Pedraza holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Marquette University. Pedraza also has received awards from the Business Marketing Association, Edelman, Publicity Club of Chicago, Boeing and the Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America.
José A. Freig
José Freig serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He is the Chief Security Officer for American Airlines. In this role, Freig oversees the airline’s corporate security team and the relationship with all federal agencies focused on security. He is responsible for the airline’s domestic and international security programs, investigations, fraud and revenue protection, crew and operations security, and regulatory compliance. José oversees the airline’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Air Marshal (FAM) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Facilitation programs. José leads American’s security and related policy development and advocacy on Capitol Hill and at the White House.
José is the Chairman of the Airlines for America (A4A) Security Council and the Vice Chairman of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Security Group.
Joshua Geltzer serves as a member of the Hostage US Board of Directors. He also serves as the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection as well as Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. He is also an ASU Future of War Fellow at New America.
Geltzer served from 2015 to 2017 as Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council staff, having served previously as Deputy Legal Advisor to the National Security Council and as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as a law clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court and, before that, as a law clerk to Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Geltzer received his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal, and his PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, where he was a Marshall Scholar. Before that, he attended Princeton University, majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
He is the author of US Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View, published by Routledge; and his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Parameters, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, the Journal of Constitutional Law, and the Berkeley Journal of International Law.
“Hostages and their families face some of the most difficult and devastating circumstances imaginable. Hostage US is there for them in their time of need with a wide range of critical support, and that’s why I’m proud to support Hostage US.”