Chairman of the Board
George Laudato most recently served as the USAID Administrator’s Special Assistant for the Middle East. He has more than 45 years of experience in international program development and management in the private and public sectors in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Central Europe.
He managed a staff rich in experience and education, conducting projects in more than 25 countries for clients such as USAID, private international firms and not-for-profit organizations. Mr. Laudato also actively coordinated Abt Associates’ new business development activities in international health with government and private clients. Before to Abt Associates in 1998, Mr. Laudato spent more than 35 years with USAID, rising to the position of Deputy Assistant Administrator. In his most recent post as Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID Bureau for Asia and the Near East, he directed a comprehensive review of USAID programs in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Thailand to develop strategies consistent with Department of State and Congressional interests. He also oversaw USAID’s participation in the multilateral negotiations on Palestine and set up additional programs to support local authorities and services in the West Bank and Gaza. Mr. Laudato also led a US team to reestablish a program in Nicaragua, putting new programs in place and committing $90 million within the first sixty days. He negotiated and disbursed a $60 million cash transfer to recapitalize the Central Bank of Nicaragua, negotiated food aid agreements that results in the arrival of food within six weeks and increased utilization of the private sector, and negotiated initial PVO grants to help reestablish basic services. He also instituted programs to replenish medical supplies for the new government and participated in the US delegation to the donors conference on Nicaragua. He has also filled roles with USAID such as Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Program Policy and Coordination, Deputy Director of USAID/Egypt, Program Officer for USAID/Philippines, Chief of Program Operations with USAID/Egypt, and Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Asia and Private Enterprise. He directly supervised major organizational units, negotiated policies, and represented USAID at meetings of US government bodies and international organizations. He speaks Vietnamese and Spanish and holds a B.A. in psychology from Seton Hall University.
Andrew Corrie, founder of Canvas Home, had a circuitous path to launching and managing one of the most sought after design brands in the United States today. Originally from Dorset in the United Kingdom, Corrie graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in monetary economics. He went on to become an investment banker and specialized in the retail and apparel industry. In 2005, after years of traveling to craft fairs he came a partner of OCHRE, the international high end furniture and lighting design company. In 2008 he founded canvas home. Canvas Home’s mission is simple: the brand serves as a destination for beautiful objects created by craftsmen from around the world. A proponent of fair trade and green principals, Corrie is committed to offering simple and sustainable ceramics, wooden objects, textiles, and furniture that are meant to be used, treasured, and passed down to the next generation. In 2010, canvas opened its first storefront in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and the shop quickly became a popular shopping destination for the home. Needing more space, the store has since moved to a new 4,500 square foot flagship at 123 West 17th Street (6th and 7th Avenues) in Chelsea, NYC. “It’s not about chasing each and every new trend; it’s about asking people to invest in the things they truly believe in. Helping people help themselves is the key to building a better, more sustainable world,”says Corrie. Corrie resides in New York City with his wife and three children.
Johanna Mendelson Forman
With more than two decades of experience in the international arena, working on post-conflict transition and democratization issues, Johanna Mendelson Forman holds a wealth of expertise and insights into the role of food in driving conflict and connecting people and communities. An Adjunct Professor at American University’s School of International Service where she teaches Conflict Cuisine®: An Introduction to War and Peace Around the Dinner Table, Mendelson Forman encourages new ways of looking at diplomacy, conflict resolution, and civic engagement.
Recognizing that Washington’s culinary landscape often reflects global conflicts with the opening of new ethnic restaurants, Mendelson Forman was inspired to connect food and war as a tool for teaching how food is a form of Smart Power as well as a driver of conflict. Linking food and conflict has also allowed her to develop a new interdisciplinary platform for examining why food is central to both survival and resilience in zones of conflict. The course has been recognized twice as an example of innovation in college offerings.
An expert on post-conflict transition and democratization issues, Mendelson Forman holds regional expertise in the Americas, with a special focus on the Caribbean, Central America and Brazil. She also has had extensive field experience for the U.S. government on transition initiatives in Haiti, Iraq, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her frontline experience as a policy maker on conflict and stabilization efforts from Haiti to Rwanda drove her interest in connecting the role of food in conflict. She serves as a Senior Advisor with the Managing Across Boundaries Program at the Stimson Center, where she works on security and development issues with a focus on food, and is also a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation.
Mendelson Forman has written extensively about food and conflict, and topics related to Latin America. Her work has been published in a wide-range of publications including, the Miami Herald, Washington Post, Americas Quarterly, The Globalist, VOXXI, Estadao, El Universal, and World Politics Review, and has been cited in NPR’s The Salt, LeFigaro, Salon, and Italia Oggi, and This Week. She frequently appears on national media including National Public Radio, Univision, and CNN. Mendelson Forman has lectured on food related topics at the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, Johns Hopkins University Bologna Campus, New York University’s Washington Program, and at the United States Pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan, Italy. She also writes a column on conflict cuisines for the DCist, a local Washington blog post.
Previously, Mendelson Forman served as the Director of Peace, Security, and Human Rights at the UN Foundation. She has held senior positions in the U.S. Agency for International Development helping create the Office of Transition Initiatives, and serving as a Senior Adviser for Humanitarian Response, as well as at the World Bank’s Post Conflict Unit. She served as a Senior Advisor to the UN Mission in Haiti.
Mendelson Forman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a J.D. from Washington College of Law at American University, a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Washington University, St. Louis, and a Master’s of International Affairs, with a certificate of Latin America studies from Columbia University in New York. She serves on the board of Creative Learning and Earthspark International. She is a passionate collector of Latin America folk art, and shares her great love for food of the Americas with friends and family. She is married to David Forman, an attorney, and is the proud mother of the lead guitarist in the punk rock group, Priests.
Ilana Marcus Drimmer is an Emmy nominated producer at NBC’s Meet the Press, in Washington, DC. With over 20 years of experience in the field of television journalism, she has been a producer at ABC’s This Week, first with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts and then with George Stephanopolous, at ABC’s Nightline, at CNN’s Larry King Live, and CNBC. She has participated in dozens of special news events, from election coverage, to the tragedy of September 11, to the Columbia space shuttle explosion, to the deaths of Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. In 2006, she was part of the ABC news team nominated for a piece about Watergate and in 2011 for ABC’s coverage of 911. She is a graduate of Kenyon College, and lives in Chevy Chase Maryland with her husband and two children.
Laurie Regelbrugge has thirty years of career experience with cross-sector partnerships and development initiatives involving business, civil society, and government, both domestically and internationally. She has held senior management positions in global non-profit organizations and senior positions in corporate responsibility and corporate community involvement in major global companies, two in the energy/oil sector and one in the electronics industry. Stakeholder engagement, corporate social responsibility, and community-driven development have been areas of central focus in Laurie’s career experience, along with extensive involvement in designing and leading adult education/training and youth development activities. She has taught school for ten years: teaching science and literature at the middle school level and social studies in high school. Laurie is a frequent writer, consultant, and speaker on partnerships, corporate citizenship and responsibility, social license to operate, education, community development, and youth development.
Pauline H. Baker
Pauline H. Baker served as President of The Fund for Peace for fifteen years from 1996 to 2010. Dr. Baker also served as a Professorial Lecturer at The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and as an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Foreign Affairs at Georgetown University. An internationally recognized political scientist and specialist on African affairs and fragile states, Dr. Baker lived and worked in Nigeria from 1964 to 1975. She also conducted research in South Africa and served as Staff Director of the Africa Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A member of the Council on Foreign Affairs, Dr. Baker appears in the media, lecturers widely and is well-published. Her latest publication is “Unraveling Afghanistan,” in the American Interest, December, 2013. She earned her doctorate with Distinction from UCLA in 1970 and did her undergraduate work at Douglass College, Rutgers University.
Nancy J. Walker
Nancy J. Walker joined the Elliott School in 2015 as the Director of the Program on U.S. Foreign Policy in a Global Era. Nancy has served in as a senior civil servant, taught and guest lectured at universities on three continents, consults for the United Nations and international NGOs, volunteers in her community, and proudly mentors foreign policy professionals. Dr. Walker served as the Defense Department’s Director of the Office of African Affairs and was the inaugural Director of the Pentagon’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies. Before DoD, Nancy was the German and NATO analyst at USIA’s Office of Research. After government service, Dr. Walker moved with her family to Turkey, where she was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for African Studies at Ankara University and at Bilkent University. Nancy was the founding Director and Non Resident Scholar at the Atlantic Council’s Ansari Africa Center. She was an election observer for The Carter Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nancy holds an A.B. from Harvard and Radcliffe and a D.Phil. from Oxford. She completed MIT’s Seminar XXI on National Security and was a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany. The Republic of Senegal awarded Nancy the Order of the Lion for her commitment to U.S.-Africa relations.
Mr. Marburg-Goodman currently serves as General Counsel at Creative Associates International, a leading private implementer of the U.S. foreign assistance program. He previously served as Special Counsel to the Administrator of USAID, a senior Obama Administration appointment, and, at an earlier time, as the long-serving USAID Chief Acquisitions Counsel (Assistant General Counsel for Acquisition & Assistance), a senior career position.
Most recently, in his role as Special Counsel to the USAID Administrator, Mr. Marburg-Goodman participated in the conception and implementation of the Agency’s USAIDForward reforms, creation of a Global Development Lab, and expansion of human rights in development, among other tasks. While there, he also served as USAID representative to the White House Policy Council on expanding international human rights, on the Aid Effectiveness and Contracting-Out teams of Secretary Clinton’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, and as Coordinator of USAID’s Congressional Oversight Response Team. He also served as dedicated legal counsel for USAID’s new offices of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) and Development Innovation (DIV).
In the private sector, Mr. Marburg-Goodman provides Democracy/Governance consultancies in the form of technical assistance and training to senior officials, members of Parliament, and technical personnel of the Governments of Botswana, China, Gambia, Ethiopia, India, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Swaziland, under auspices of the International Law Institute (ILI), International Development Law Organization (IDLO), and USAID.
During a previous career appointment as USAID’s Assistant General Counsel for Acquisition & Assistance, Mr. Marburg-Goodman headed a team of attorneys and had overall legal responsibility for most of the U.S. foreign aid program’s instruments and funding, comprising a worldwide portfolio of U.S. Government contracts, grants and cooperative agreements in excess of $30 billion. In recent years, this included the portfolio of contracts and grants supporting Iraq and Afghanistan postwar reconstruction and development, Darfur and Southern Sudan relief and reconstruction, and HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria health programs.
While at USAID, Mr. Marburg-Goodman also represented the U.S. at the OECD, WTO and G-7 on a number of aid and trade enhancement initiatives, as well as at the OECD/DAC for the United States peer review process. He was the U.S. Government’s principal proponent of a commitment to financial/contracting capacity-building and reform in developing countries and led multiple U.S. delegations as part of international efforts advancing procurement strengthening. In 2004, he was U.S. member of a G-7 experts’ team that successfully negotiated an international agreement to ensure transparency in foreign aid contracting. In 2001 and 2004 he negotiated landmark international agreements at the OECD to “untie” foreign aid.
Mr. Marburg-Goodman’s other professional activities include his authorship of featured columns on Government Contracting, as well as on civil rights, in the Washington Post, Huffington Post and ABA Journals. He has served in the leadership of the American Bar Association as a Committee Co-Chair, including publication and speaking engagements in ABA fora; he also participated in ABA and ILI expert delegations to the U.N., including to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, he served on the Obama Foreign Assistance/ Development Advisory Group and contributed substantively to the Obama Transition on USAID operations and policy.
Mr. Marburg-Goodman earned degrees from Amherst College and Harvard Law School, and is fluent in French.