Adam Smith Albion brings ten years of experience in the field of regional leadership organizations and twenty in the field of international relations and cross-cultural cooperation. He served as Director of the Central Eurasia Leadership Alliance (CELA) from its foundation in 2002 until the beginning of 2010. In 2010 he joined the effort to launch the Middle East Leadership Academy (MELA) and worked as its Regional Director until 2013. In the 1990s Adam was a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs studying and writing about the Black Sea area and Central Eurasia. He subsequently worked as a journalist and analyst for Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Freedom House, Jane’s Intelligence review, and other publications. For four years he was a senior associate at the EastWest Institute (EWI). As a member of the top team of World Monitors, an international business consultancy, he led consulting projects for Newmont Mining, Rio Tinto, Symbion Power and other companies.Adam was educated at Harvard University and Oxford University (Christ Church). He is a member of the advisory board of the Museum of Islamic Art (Pergamon Museum) in Berlin.
Ronald Grigor Suny
Ronald Grigor Suny is the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago, and Senior Researcher at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The grandson of the composer and ethnomusicologist Grikor Mirzaian Suni and a graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University, he taught at Oberlin College (1968-1981), as visiting professor of history at the University of California, Irvine (1987), and Stanford University (1995-1996). He was the first holder of the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern Armenian History at the University of Michigan (1981-1995), where he founded and directed the Armenian Studies Program. He was Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History at the University of Michigan from 2005 to 2015 and director of the Eisenberg Institute of Historical Studies from 2009 to 2012.
He is the author of The Making of the Georgian Nation (Indiana University Press, 1988, 1994); The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States (Oxford University Press, 1998, 2011)” A History of the Armenian Genocide (Princeton University Press, 2015) and several other works. He is also the editor of Transcaucasia, Nationalism and Social Change: Essays in the History of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia (Michigan Slavic Publications, 1983; University of Michigan Press, 1996) A Question of Genocide: Armenians and Turks at the End of the Ottoman Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). He is currently working on a co-authored history of Russia entitled Russia’s Empires; a two-volume biography of Stalin; and a series of historiographical essays on Soviet history.
Professor Suny has served as chairman of the Society for Armenian Studies, and on the editorial boards of Slavic Review, International Labor and Working-Class History, International Journal of Middle East Studies, The Armenian Review, Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, Armenian Forum, and Ab Imperio. He was elected President of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies for the year 2006. He has appeared numerous times on the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, CBS Evening News, CNN, Voice of America, and National Public Radio, and has written for the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, New Left Review, Dissent, and other newspapers and journals.
He has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford (2001-2002, 2005-2006) and has received both the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. In 2005 the Middle East Studies Association awarded Professor Suny and his co-organizer, Professor Fatma Muge Goçek of the University of Michigan, its academic freedom prize for their work in bringing Armenian and Turkish scholars together to further study of the Armenian Genocide. In 2013 Professor Suny was awarded the ASEEES 2013 Distinguished Contributions to Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Award and in 2014 the Berlin Prize, Anna-Marie Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
Professor Suny’s intellectual interests have centered on the non-Russian nationalities of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, particularly those of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia). The “national question” was an area of study that was woefully neglected for many decades until peoples of the periphery mobilized themselves in the Gorbachev years. His aim has been to consider the history of imperial Russia and the USSR without leaving out the non-Russian half of the population, to see how multi-nationality, processes of imperialism and nation-making shaped the state and society of that vast country. This in turn has led to work on the nature of empires and nations, studies in the historiography and methodology of studying social and cultural history, and a commitment to bridging the often-unbridgeable gap between the traditional concerns of historians and the methods and models of other social scientists.
Ron Suny was married to pianist Armena Marderosian (1949-2012), had a son Grikor Martiros Suni (1978-1980), and has two daughters, Dr. Sevan Siranoush Suni and Anoush Tamar Suni.
Since his retirement from the federal government in December 2016, Dr. Yamashita has been serving as an Executive Mentor and Coach for the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID). In this capacity he has travelled to various USAID Missions in Latin America, providing support to senior managers and the staff on matters ranging from leadership skills, strategic direction, and engagement with other U.S. government agencies, such as the State Department. During his over 25 year career, Yamashita served as a USAID Foreign Service Officer, attaining the rank of Career Minister, the highest rank in the Senior Foreign Service at USAID. Immediately prior to his retirement, Yamashita served as a White House Senior Executive Service Appointee as the Associate Director for Global Operations at Peace Corps. In this role, Yamashita was responsible for all operational aspects of Peace Corps programs and offices in over 60 countries supporting over 7,000 volunteers. Prior to this appointment, Yamashita was the U.S. State Department Coordinator for Economic Assistance, Rule of Law and Law Enforcement at Embassy/Kabul. In this Ambassador-rank position, Yamashita directed policy and operational coordination across 13 US Departments, Agencies, and Offices operating in Afghanistan on matters related to economic and development assistance, law enforcement, and rule of law. He was the principal point of contact for NATO and US military assistance in Afghanistan. Yamashita is one of the few three-time Mission Directors at USAID, having served in Kosovo, Colombia, and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, he was the first Mission Director to serve two consecutive years after USAID re-started its operations in 2002. In this role he oversaw the surge in development personnel from 250 to 500 and an annual program budget of over $2.0 billion. He was instrumental in starting the first ever Women’s Empowerment program in Afghanistan and the largest of its kind in USAID worldwide. In Colombia Yamashita was instrumental in starting the first-ever dedicated program for Afro-Colombians and Indigenous Colombians. In South Africa as Director of the Health Office, Yamashita and his team started the USAID’s first HIV/AIDS program for the country. This program and the Regional Corridors program that Yamashita directed were key inputs into the design and creation of the PEPFAR program. Yamashita brings over 35 years of development experience in policy and field operations across all major regions of the world. In addition to his leadership in policy and program matters, he has been instrumental in inspiring and empowering staff by serving as mentor and coach. He has been recognized for his service and accomplishments, including a Presidential Rank Meritorious Award in 2008.