David W. Hunter is a retired U.S. Diplomat, who served in South Korea (1992-96), India (1996-99), Ukraine (1999-2000), Pakistan (2001-02) and Spain (2003-04). Prior to joining the U.S. Foreign Service as a career Foreign Service Officer, Hunter worked in the Office of International Operations, at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 1983 he was a Visiting Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. He published a book in 1991 "Western Trade Pressure on the Soviet Union" (MacMillan Academic Press: London, England). Hunter holds an M.Phil degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics (LSE), and speaks Russian, Spanish and some Korean.
Brahim Kas is a doctoral researcher in political science at the University of Paris 8 Saint-Denis. His research focuses on Saudi Arabia and the new balances in the Middle East, exploring the internal and external challenges of the House of Al Saud, and the construction of its new bilateral relations, among others, with Moscow, Tel Aviv, Beijing where he conducted a field study in April 2016.
After studying science applied to economics at the University of Paris-Ouest-Nanterre, Mr. KAS pursued a career as a consultant in networks & telecoms before joining the civil service as an executive position at the Ministry of National Education in Paris where he was able to lead some reflections on Islam and secularism.
After being admitted to the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA), Mr. KAS resumed his studies by obtaining a Master II in Geopolitics and Strategic Foresight with a specialization module in Economic Intelligence at the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques in Paris (IRIS Sup).
Bilingual French-Arab Algerian, he also holds an intensive diploma in Arabic from INALCO, where he is pursuing a degree in Arabic language and civilization. He has published several articles and produced several TV programs on the Middle East and North Africa, regions he has frequented on numerous occasions. His last field study (April 2019), allowed him to travel to Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan where he recently participated in an international symposium co-organized by the Royal Institute for Inter Faith Studies and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation on 29-30 September 2019.
Eric Lynn served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense and as Special Advisor on the Middle East in the Policy Office of the Secretary of Defense. He advised three U.S. Secretaries of Defense (Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel) at the Pentagon, as well as the Undersecretaries for Policy, focusing on National Security and a range of Middle East issues.
In multiple roles, Eric worked personally for the Secretary of Defense and served as Senior Policy Advisor to General John Allen. While working in the Pentagon, Eric traveled overseas over 50 times with Secretaries of Defense and others for engagements with the heads of state and military leadership. Notably, Eric served as the Secretary's lead on the Iron Dome counter rocket system since its inception in 2009. He was the Secretary of Defense's representative to the State Department's Israeli-Palestinian negotiations team.
A St. Petersburg, Florida native, Eric has worked extensively in National Security policy and U.S. politics. Eric served as Middle East Policy Advisor to President Barack Obama in 2007- 2008. He advised President Obama on national security, Middle East policy and coordinated outreach to the Jewish community nationwide.
Previously, Eric practiced law as an attorney in Florida and Washington DC, working on public policy, litigation, and regulatory work. He served on senior policy staff in Congress, as a top advisor on foreign policy and defense. Eric led international Congressional delegations and advised Members of Congress on a range of legislative issues within the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Since leaving the Department of Defense, Eric runs a strategic consulting business, serving clients with such diverse needs as national security strategy, international dynamics, and business strategy. This includes work with current and former Military Leadership and high ranking international officials.
Eric studied International Relations, History and Business at Northwestern University, studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and holds a law degree from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Tracy, have two young children.
Phillip Smyth is a 2018-2019 Soref Fellow at The Washington Institute. He has studied Shia Islamist militarism in the Middle East as a researcher at the University of Maryland, and created the blog Hizballah Cavalcade. He is the author of the 2015 Institute monograph The Shiite Jihad in Syria and Its Regional Effects.
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