Formerly a Senior Foreign Service career diplomat, Chris Castro directs CMCastro Global Consulting, focused on exploring and maximizing the full range of strategic opportunities in the Indo-Pacific region.
At the Department of State, Mr. Castro served as the East Asia Bureau’s first-ever Senior Advisor for Cyber Policy, charged with promoting U.S. cyber policy goals in the Indo Pacific, one of the world’s fastest-growing information and communications technology markets. He also launched and led the State Department’s first office devoted exclusively to U.S. engagement with the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As Taiwan Coordination Office Director, Mr. Castro leveraged Taiwan’s unique role as a top-ten U.S. trading partner, vital technology hub, key regional security cornerstone and democratic powerhouse. During his tenure as Chief of the American Institute in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Office (Consulate equivalent), Mr. Castro and his team energized U.S. engagement with southern Taiwan, setting post records for U.S. export successes for three consecutive years. In other assignments, Mr. Castro also served as Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage and later to Deputy Secretary Robert Zoellick.
Mr. Castro graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and was awarded Georgetown’s Sun Yat-sen China Studies Fellowship for graduate studies at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. He received a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies at the National War College, earning Distinguished Graduate Honors.
Ambassador Kelley Currie
Ambassador (Ret.) Kelley E. Currie is currently an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington DC think tank. She currently serves on the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy; on the board of governors of the East-West Center; and on the advisory boards of Spirit of America and the Vandenberg Coalition. From 2019-2021, she served as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and the U.S. Representative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Prior to that appointment, she led the Department of State’s Office of Global Criminal Justice (2019) and served under Ambassador Nikki Haley as the U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council and Alternative Representative to the UN General Assembly (2017-2018). Throughout her career in foreign policy, Ambassador Currie has specialized in human rights, political reform, development, and humanitarian issues, with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region. From 2009 until her appointment to the USUN leadership, she served as a Senior Fellow with the Project 2049 Institute. She also has held senior policy positions with the Department of State, the U.S. Congress, and several international and non-governmental human rights and humanitarian organizations. Ambassador Currie received a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, and an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs.
Ambassador Michael DeSombre
Ambassador Michael George DeSombre is a partner at the international law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell where he heads up their Asia M&A practice as well as the Korea and Southeast Asia practices. Ambassador DeSombre served as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand from 2020-2021. While serving as Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador DeSombre worked closely with the Royal Thai Government on economic reforms to encourage the relocation of supply chains and manufacturing to Thailand. Ambassador DeSombre is recognized as one of the preeminent mergers & acquisitions and private equity lawyers in the world and is a frequent speaker on the art of negotiations. Ambassador DeSombre has been representing technology companies, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, for over 20 years in some of their most important transactions. From 2015-2020 Ambassador DeSombre served as the Chairman of the Board of Save the Children Hong Kong. Ambassador DeSombre has a Bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Economics and a Masters degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and has a JD degree (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School. He speaks Mandarin Chinese fluently and has some ability in Korean and Japanese.
Ambassador Adam Ereli
Ambassador Adam Ereli is the founder and CEO of IberoAmerican Consultants, a strategic advisory firm that counsels governments, the private sector and non-profits on policy formulation, communications and business development in the United States, Middle East and South Asia. Ambassador Ereli retired from the U.S. State Department in 2013, after 24 years as a Foreign Service Officer. During this time, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain (2007-2011), Deputy State Department Spokesman (2003-2006) and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (2011-2013), in addition to postings in Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Qatar and Iraq. From 2013-2016, he was Vice Chairman of Mercury Public Affairs, where he led the firm’s international practice and represented large corporate and sovereign accounts, including the governments of Nigeria, Uganda, Japan and Qatar. Ambassador Ereli appears regularly as a foreign affairs commentator on Fox News, Bloomberg TV, BBC, CNN, Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia. His opinion pieces have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Politico, Foreign Policy, U.S. Today, and Forbes. Adam has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He speaks French and Arabic.
Ambassador Pete Hoekstra
Ambassador Pete Hoekstra brings a unique blend of skills and experience to the executive suite, Ambassador, Congressman, and Fortune 500 executive. Pete’s areas of expertise include national security, international relations, cyber security, marketing and business development. Ambassador Hoekstra represented the United States as Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Pete served in the United States Congress for 18 years, representing Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District from 1993 to 2011. He served as Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 until January 2007. Prior to his service in the U.S. Congress, Pete had a successful career at Herman Miller, Inc. of Zeeland, Michigan. Pete earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hope College and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Michigan.
Ambassador Ken Howery
Ken served as the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden from 2019 – 2021. During his tenure, Ken promoted joint U.S. and Swedish interests across a variety of policy areas. One of Ken’s top priorities as Ambassador was to deepen economic ties between the U.S. and Sweden, with a focus on opportunities created by technology and innovation. This included work to promote secure 5G communications, an effort which culminated in Sweden banning the use of 5G products that the U.S Department of State assessed to be a security risk to democracies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ken also led the U.S. Embassy’s efforts to assist the Swedish health industry with navigating supply chain challenges, helping companies to accelerate production of products that were in high demand for COVID-19 patients in the U.S. and around the world. Ken worked closely with the Swedish academic community as Ambassador, engaging with Sweden’s Innovation Agency and other top scientific research institutes. Ken also focused on strengthening U.S. security and defense ties with Sweden, including through engaging with Swedish officials on military cooperation in the Arctic region, increasing the interoperability of U.S. and Swedish military systems, and advocating for increases in Swedish defense spending.
Prior to his role as Ambassador, Ken was a co-founder and Partner at Founders Fund. He has been an early investor in some of the world’s leading technology companies, including SpaceX, AirBnB, Palantir Technologies, Facebook, Neuralink, Quantcast, Compass, Cedar, Citizen, and Stripe. He also is a co-founder and was the first CFO at PayPal. Ken serves a Founding Advisor at Kiva.org, is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and is a member and former member of the Board of Directors of The Explorers Club.
Ambassador Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson is a member of the United States Senior Foreign Service with over 30 years’ experience in diplomacy, including as the U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2019-2022).
Eric previously served as Deputy Executive Secretary and Director of the Executive Office of the Executive Secretariat supporting the Secretary of State’s technology requirements across the globe. Eric also served as Director of the Office of eDiplomacy in the Bureau of Information Resources Management and was selected by Fedscoop magazine as one of fourteen visionary leaders in federal information technology. During his career tenure, he has received numerous awards for effective leadership, innovation and public diplomacy.
Eric is currently the Associate Director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. As an Ambassador-in-Residence, Eric promotes a whole-of-government perspective to the Marshall Center’s mission to Educate, Engage and Empower security partners and leaders to collectively affect regional, transnational, and global challenges from cyber security to counter-terrorism.
Since joining the Foreign Service in 1990, Eric has also served overseas as Deputy Chief of Mission in Costa Rica and Consul General in Munich, after assignments in Islamabad, Milan, Mexico City, Frankfurt and Santo Domingo. He is fluent in Italian, Spanish and German.
Eric began his career in public service as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching math and science in Liberia. In 2013-2014, Eric was a fellow in Seminar XXI of the Center for International Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Rice University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Ambassador J. Peter Pham
J. Peter Pham served as the first-ever U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel Region of Africa with the personal rank of Ambassador from 2020-2021. The position was created as “the lead in shaping, devising, and coordinating U.S. strategy on the cross-border security, political, economic, assistance, and social issues arising in the Sahel as well as coordinating with both international partners and U.S. Government stakeholders to help return the Sahel to stability.”
He previously served as the U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa from 2018 until 2020, with a mandate “for coordinating the implementation of U.S. policy on the cross-border security, political, and economic issues in the Great Lakes region.” Prior to serving at the U.S. State Department, Ambassador Pham was vice president for research and regional initiatives at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and director of the Council’s Africa Center.
Before joining the Atlantic Council in 2011, Ambassador Pham was senior vice president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and editor of its bimonthly journal, American Foreign Policy Interests. He was also a tenured associate professor of justice studies, political science, and Africana studies at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he was director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs. From 2008 to 2017 he also served as vice president of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) and was editor-in-chief of ASMEA’s peer-reviewed Journal of the Middle East and Africa. Ambassador Pham is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Since 2015, he has been a member of the Board of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, serving as Vice Chair from 2016-2021. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Africell Global Holdings and of Rainbow Rare Earths Limited as well as a Strategic Advisor to dClimate, the decentralized network that allows participants to trade climate data and contribute to an open ecosystem of data-driven climate resilience applications.
Ambassador Pham is the recipient of numerous honors and awards from African countries in recognition of contributions made over the course of his career to strengthening relations between the United States and Africa, including Commander of the National Order of Mali, Commander of the National Order of Burkina Faso, Officer of the National Order of Merit of Niger, Commander of the National Order of Merit of Gabon, and Commander of the Order of the Friendship of Peoples of Burundi.
Nury Turkel is an attorney, author, foreign policy expert, and rights advocate with nearly two decades of experience working in the intersection of law, business, government, and the human rights community. He specializes in corporate governance and regulatory compliance, national security, foreign policy, digital authoritarianism, and forced labor and issues of supply chain risk. He is currently serving as Vice-Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) after being appointed as a Commissioner by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in May 2020.
Mr. Turkel is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he works on US foreign policy and national security issues. He is also a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His policy-oriented essays appeared in major publications such as Foreign Affairs, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Foreign Policy, TIME, Newsweek, and USA Today. He frequently provides commentaries on TV and radio programs, including CNN, BBC, Radio Free Asia, Fox News, PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera, and France 24. He is also the author of “No Escape: The True Story of China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs”. In 2020, he was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and in 2021 was listed as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders. In June 2021, he received the inaugural Notre Dame Prize for Religious Liberty.
He holds a Juris Doctor and a Master of Arts in International Relations degrees from the American University. Mr. Turkel resides in the Washington D.C. area.