2017 has already been a big year. We received support from New America; we guest-edited an all-women’s issue of World Policy Journal. And we inaugurated a president who is on record as saying he grabs women by their pussies. 

Now more than ever we need to make sure the conversations we have about the world are as representative and diverse as possible. As we launch our fifth fellowship cycle, we’re more determined than ever to change the game.

We’ve once again assembled a truly talented set of women (seven this cycle!) and we can’t wait to work with them to interrupt foreign policy, enrich the discussion, and change the ratio (and the world).



Without further adieu, meet our fifth class of interruptors:


Beatrice Fihn has worked with disarmament issues and multilateral negotiations since 2006. She is currently the Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a coalition consisting of over 450 NGOs in 100 countries working to prohibit nuclear weapons. ICAN is the leading civil society actor in the ongoing negotiations at the United Nations of a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, where the campaign works on national and international advocacy to ensure a strong treaty text and wide participation of as many governments as possible.

Beatrice has published articles and opinion pieces in the Guardian, Survival, Huffington Post and many other places. Previously, Beatrice managed the disarmament programme at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and worked for the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. She has a degree in international relations from Stockholm University and a masters of law from University of London.

Fun fact: Beatrice once started a competition with a colleague about who could get away with adding the most Beyonce quotes in a speech delivered at the United Nations. Beatrice won.

Headshot - Sarah Jackson

Sarah Jackson is Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region based in Nairobi, Kenya. She leads the organization’s campaigns and advocacy on 11 countries. As part of Amnesty International’s Management Team, Sarah is leading an organizational change process to increase the organization’s operations, impact and membership growth in the Global South.

Sarah has worked on the Great Lakes Region for over a decade and has lived in Kenya, Uganda and Burundi for the past 9 years. She previously worked as Acting Deputy Africa Director, Acting Head of the Africa Regional Office, and Rwanda and Burundi Researcher with Amnesty International. As a researcher she led around 15 human rights missions and wrote reports on freedom of speech and assembly, disappearances and torture. She has also worked for the American Friends Service Committee and Human Rights Watch.

Sarah holds an MSc in Comparative Politics and a BSc in Government and History from the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a Harvard-trained negotiator and alumni of Harvard’s Executive Education Program. She is also a Carnegie New Leader with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York.

Fun fact: As a kid, Sarah had over 50 penpals scattered across the world. No wonder she ended up working for one of the world’s biggest letter writing organizations. She still likes receiving letters, somehow email just doesn’t cut it sometimes.


Nina Jankowicz is a communications, democracy, and governance specialist with a focus on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 2016-2017 she served as a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellow in Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, providing strategic communications advice to the MFA’s Spokesperson. Prior to her work in Ukraine, Nina was a Program Officer at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), where she managed NDI’s democracy assistance programs to Russia and Belarus and later joined NDI’s Government Relations and Communications team. In August, Nina will join the Wilson Center for International Scholars as a George. F. Kennan Fellow, where she will begin work towards a book on modern Russian disinformation. Her writing has been published by the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and Atlantic Council.

Nina received her MA in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she was a Title VIII and FLAS scholarship recipient, and her BA from Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated magna cum laude (and her tendencies as a fierce advocate for and supporter of her female friends and colleagues were solidified). She has lived and worked in Ukraine and Russia, and speaks fluent Russian and proficient Ukrainian and Polish.

Fun fact: In her free time, Nina is active in Washington DC’s community theater scene, where she’s played everything from a five-year-old with a serious overachievement problem (Sally in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”), the cast-aside wife of a Russian chess grandmaster (Svetlana in “Chess”) and a ditzy damsel in distress who gets eaten by a plant from outer space (Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors”).

wardah pic

Wardah Khalid is a writer, speaker, and analyst on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and Muslim American issues. She currently serves as a Media Associate for Church World Service’s Immigration and Refugee Program and is President and Co-Founder of Poligon Education Fund, a non-partisan organization dedicated to strengthening American Muslim engagement with Congress.

Wardah has significant UN and U.S. government experience working with and advising members of Congress and their staff, the White House, and State Department on the Iran nuclear negotiations and human rights issues pertaining to the Syrian and the Israel/Palestine conflicts. She traveled to Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel and provided policy recommendations to Congress and National Security Council staff on settlements and reconstruction issues, based on her observations. Her UN efforts include consulting for UN CTED on lone wolf terrorism as well as field work with UNRWA in Jordan, UNDP, and the Permanent Mission of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in New York.

Wardah’s writing and commentary has been featured in outlets including the Washington PostCNNThe GuardianNPRUS News & World ReportAl Jazeera America, and Haaretz. She is the author of the “Young American Muslim” blog for the Houston Chronicle and regularly speaks in person, on television, and radio about foreign affairs, civic and political engagement, and Islam. Wardah was featured on ABC’s Nightline as one of the country’s top millennial activists.

Wardah holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, focused on Human Rights and Middle East Studies. Additionally, she is a CPA and received a BBA and MS in Accounting from Texas A&M University.

Fun fact: Wardah loves roller coasters and was a consistent season pass holder at Six Flags while growing up in Houston, Texas.

Christine Mahoney is an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Politics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia.She studies social justice advocacy, activism and direct action through social entrepreneurship. Her first book Brussels vs. the Beltway (Georgetown University Press) explored how advocates shape public policy in two of the most powerful political systems on the planet: the US and the EU.

She conducted fieldwork in 7 conflict zones in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America for her second book Failure and Hope: Fighting for the Rights of the Forcibly Displaced (Cambridge University Press). The book argues we need to advance social entrepreneurship for the 60 million people displaced by violent conflict worldwide. She co-founded the Alight Fund to implement her proposals – investing in refugee and host community entrepreneurs and shift humanitarian response from temporary charity to long term integrated economic development.

To help foster innovative solutions to social problems she launched and leads Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Virginia. Over the past five years the SE@UVA Initiative has introduced new courses on social entrepreneurship, a minor, a concept competition, scholarships to work with social enterprises and a myriad of student activities providing hands-on experience in social innovation.

She was previously an Assistant Professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the Director of the Center for European Studies and the Maxwell EU Center. She has been a Fulbright Fellow, Visiting Scholar at Oxford, a National Science Foundation grant recipient, and recipient of the Emerging Scholar award from the American Political Science Association.

Fun fact: Christine plays old-time fiddle and sings in an all-ladies blue grass band and has been told that her rendition of Wayfaring Stranger can make you weep.


Purple Romero is a Filipina multimedia journalist. She has written about politics, gender issues, the environment and international relations for The Guardian,  Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, the Spanish publication El Mundo ( www.elmundo.es) and others. She is also a freelance producer for Al Jazeera and Channel News Asia. She provides analyses and updates on Philippine politics to Deutsche Welle.

Her 2009 reporting fellowship under Internationales Institut für Journalismus (IIJ) focuses on ASEAN relations and the maritime conflict over South China Sea. She has since written about it and is now a researcher for two books that will tackle the issue – one will be published in the Philippines, the other in London.

Fun fact: On long bus and plane rides, which she often takes to do interviews in various areas, Purple kills time by sketching the scenery she sees or the other passengers around her.


Cortney Weinbaum is a National Security Policy Associate at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, think-tank.

She has spent 14 years in the Intelligence Community and Department of Defense improving policies, practices, and technologies. She has improved analytic and collection tradecraft, identified emerging technologies and their impact on special operations, countering weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence, and facilitated strategic planning with senior executive leadership teams. She has facilitated cross-discipline teams to apply structured analytic techniques to intractable intelligence topics, and she has applied wargaming and scenario-based planning against both operational and enterprise topics. She led two teams to receive the Director of National Intelligence’s Meritorious Unit Citation. She began her career developing radio frequency and electromagnetic MASINT collection systems.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Carrie Simon House, a charity that provides housing, financial literacy, and life skills to homeless mothers with young children in Washington, DC.

Fun fact: When hearing about the Challenger space shuttle crash in 1986, at the age of 5, she decided she wanted to be an astro-phys-ys-ysist when she grew up, so she could study outer space.