Board of Directors
Born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the Soviet Union in 1963, Garry Kasparov became the under-18 chess champion of the USSR at the age of 12 and the world under-20 champion at 17. He came to international fame at the age of 22 as the youngest world chess champion in history in 1985. He defended his title five times, including a legendary series of matches against arch-rival Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s rating record in 1990 and his own peak rating record remained unbroken until 2013. His famous matches against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue in 1996-97 were key to bringing artificial intelligence, and chess, into the mainstream.
Max Boot is a historian, best-selling author, and foreign-policy analyst who has been called one of the “world’s leading authorities on armed conflict” by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, a columnist for the Washington Post, and a Global Affairs Analyst for CNN. Max Boot has advised military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his books have been assigned reading by the military services. Max Boot has also served as a senior foreign policy adviser for the presidential campaigns of John McCain, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio.
Annafi WahedBoard Member
Annafi Wahed, CFA is the founder and editor of The Flip Side, a daily newsletter that brings curated analysis of political news from all sides to all citizens. In July 2016, Annafi left a promising career in finance to campaign for Democratic party candidates in NH. Walking door to door, she saw firsthand how even next-door neighbors could be completely isolated from one another by the news they consume. In the months following the election, as talk of ‘fake news’ and media bias became commonplace, Annafi set out to burst her own bubble and the bubbles of those around her. Annafi’s op-eds have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and USA Today.
Anne ApplebaumBoard member
Anne Applebaum is a columnist for the Washington Post and a Pulitzer-prize winning historian. She is also Professor at the London School of Economics’s Institute of Global Affairs where she runs Arena, a program on disinformation and 21st century propaganda. Formerly a member of the Washington Post editorial board, she has also worked as the Foreign and Deputy Editor of the Spectator magazine in London, as the Political Editor of the Evening Standard. She is the author of several books, including "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe" and "Gulag: A History," which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.
Asha RangappaBoard Member
Asha Rangappa is a Senior Lecturer at the Yale University Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a former Associate Dean at Yale Law School. Prior to her current position, Asha served as a Special Agent in the New York Division of the FBI, specializing in counterintelligence investigations. Asha has been a contributor on numerous television and radio outlets, and is now a legal and national security analyst for CNN.
Senator Bob KerreyBoard Member
Bob Kerrey is Executive Chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, where he advocates for broad reform in higher education. Prior to joining the Institute, Kerrey served as president of The New School, a university founded on strong democratic ideals and daring educational practices. From 1983 to 1987 Kerrey served Nebraska’s 35th Governor, and then as the state’s Senator from 1989 to 2001. Prior to entering politics Kerrey also served three years as a Navy SEAL in the U.S. Navy, and is a Medal of Honor recipient.
Senator Heidi HeitkampBoard Member
Heidi Heitkamp is the founder and Chair of the One Country Project, an organization focused on addressing the needs and concerns of rural America. Prior to founding One Country, Heitkamp served as the first female senator (2013-2019) from North Dakota. Before that, she served as North Dakota’s Attorney General, and prior to that as the state’s Tax Commissioner. She currently serves as a contributor to CNBC and as a visiting professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She received a B.A. from the University of North Dakota and a law degree from Lewis and Clark Law School.
Ian KahnBoard Member
Ian Kahn was born in New York City and is a stage and television actor perhaps best known for his portrayal of George Washington on the popular Netflix series Turn: Washington’s Spies. Beyond Turn, Kahn is also well known for his roles on Dawson’s Creek as Danny Brecher, and Marty Decker on Bull. In addition to an extensive stage resume, Kahn has also appeared on Homeland, Billions, and As The World Turns. Kahn graduated from the the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in 1990, and from Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, New York) with a Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in 1994.
Igor KirmanBoard Member
Igor Kirman is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he focuses primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and general corporate and securities law matters. He has advised public and private companies, in connection with mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, cross-border deals, financing transactions, takeover defenses and corporate governance matters. He is also the author of M&A and Private Equity Confidentiality Agreements Line by Line. He was selected to be included in The Deal's “Movers & Shakers” issue in 2006, and was named as one of the “Dealmakers of the Year” by American Lawyer for 2006.
Mark LasswellBoard Member
Mark Lasswell is an op-ed editor at the Washington Post. He is the former editorial features editor, overseeing op-eds, at the Wall Street Journal, where he also served as deputy books editor. He was previously an editor at the Daily News and the New York Observer, and was a contributing editor at Spy magazine. Mark was also a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University, where he taught the courses “Journalism & Opinion” and “Writers on Writing.” A native of Texas, who also grew up in St. Louis, Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri.
Richard North PattersonBoard Member
Richard North Patterson is a prominent novelist, attorney and political commentator. Richard has served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio; a trial attorney for the Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco; and was the SEC’s liaison to the Watergate Special Prosecutor. More recently, Mr. Patterson was a partner in the San Francisco office of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, now Bingham-McCutchen. In 1993, he retired from the practice of law to devote himself to writing.
Uriel EpshteinExecutive Director
Prior to joining RDI as its Executive Director, Uriel worked in the private sector - first as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group and then in strategy at start-ups in the mobility space including DoorDash and Uber. As a student at Yale University, he founded and to this day, continues to chair the Peace & Dialogue Leadership Initiative (PDLI), an organization dedicated to bridging the civil-military divide and creating a space on campuses for nuanced discussion of the US role in the Middle East.
Michael EastmanSenior Program Manager
Michael Eastman is an immigrant from South Africa. Born and raised in Cape Town, he trained and practiced as a lawyer. He clerked for the Chief Justice at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Thereafter, he became a busy litigator in constitutional and corporate law in Johannesburg and throughout Africa. Alongside his practice he created a large and highly successful pro bono human rights clinic. He later entered public service as a legal advisor for the executive branch of government in his home province of the Western Cape. He also led a number of educational not-for-profit organizations. Michael was educated at the University of Cape Town and Yale University.
Yilun ChengProgram Associate
Yilun Cheng, originally from Tianjin, China, is a political scientist, holding degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University. At both institutions she was a highly active researcher, writer, and publisher on democratization and other issues pertinent to social progress in newly developed nations. Prior to RDI, she worked at United Nations Women – Beijing as a digital media manager to raise awareness of gender-based violence in the Asia-Pacific.
Allison Lee Pillinger ChoiAdvisor
The daughter of a Korean-born mother and Brooklyn-born father, Allison Lee Pillinger Choi was born and raised in South Florida. Alli studied at Harvard where she concentrated in Economics, competed on the NCAA Division I Varsity Tennis team, and worked at The Harvard Crimson. After graduating in 2006, she moved to New York City where she worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and then Equinox. Alli had her first book, Bleeding Heart Conservatives: Why It’s Good To Be Right, published in 2016. Her latest initiative is dedicated to Experiment In Dialogue, a bipartisan nonprofit set on breaking down political polarization.
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French journalist and philosopher who has written many best-selling books in English and French over the last 35 years. He has written extensively on totalitarianism, calling for intervention in Bosnia in the early 1990s in Darfur in 2008 and in both Libya and Syria in 2011.He has written extensively on a range of political issues, with books ranging from “Barbarism with a Human Face” (1977), “Who Killed Daniel Pearl” (2003) and “Left in Dark Times: a Stand Against the New Barbarism” (2008). Levy was also one of the key signatories for the manifesto against totalitarianism along with Salman Rushdie.
William “Bill” Kristol is an political analyst and media commentator regular panelist on ABC and MSNBC. Mr. Kristol founded and was the former editor-at-large of the now defunct political magazine, The Weekly Standard. Before starting The Weekly Standard in 1995, Mr. Kristol served as Chief of Staff for Vice President Dan Quayle, and led the Project for the Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. Mr. Kristol is also known for association with a number of prominent conservative think tanks. In 1997, he co-founded the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) with Robert Kagan. He is the founder and director of Defending Democracy Together, and serves as on trustee on the boards of the Manhattan Institute and the Susan B. Anthony List.
Bret Stephens is a journalist, editor, and political commentator. Mr. Stephens began working as an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times in April 2017, and also serves as senior political contributor for NBC News. Mr. Stephens came to The Times after a long career with The Wall Street Journal, where he was most recently deputy editorial page editor and, for 11 years, a foreign affairs columnist. Before that, he was editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. Mr. Stephens has reported from around the world and interviewed scores of world leaders. He is is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including two honorary doctorates and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.
Dan Benton founded the technology hedge fund Andor Capital Management and served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman until 2008 where he then established the Andor Opportunity Fund LP and the Andor Opportunity Offshore Fund Ltd. Previously, he was a Partner at Pequot Capital management and an tech equity analyst at Goldman Sachs Groups. Dan previously served as the Vice President at the Whitney Museum of Art and is currently a Trustee at both the Hospital for Special Surgery, and Colgate University, his alma mater. He graduated with a BA from Colgate in 1980, and received an MBA.from Harvard Business School in 1984.
Daniel B. Hurwitz is Founder & CEO of Raider Hill Advisors LLC. He is a graduate of Colgate University and the Wharton School of Business Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Early in his career he worked with the Shopco Group, a reginal shopping mall developer based in NYC. He later served as Senior Vice President of Director of Real Estate and Corporate Development for Boscovs Department Store. Most recently he led numerous departments during a 16-year tenure at DDR (NYSE: DDR) culminating with service as CEO until 2015. Mr. Hurwitz is a frequent Speaker at real estate industry functions and can often be found as a guest discussing retail and real estate trends on CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business.
John Avlon is an author, journalist and political commentator. He is a senior political analyst and fill-in anchor at CNN, appearing on New Day every morning. From 2013 to 2018, he was the editor-in-chief and managing director of The Daily Beast, during which time the site’s traffic more than doubled to over one million readers a day while winning 17 journalism awards. Prior to his transition to journalism Avlon served as chief speechwriter to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He is also the author of the books Independent Nation, Wingnuts, and Washington’s Farewell, as well as the co-editor of the acclaimed Deadline Artists journalism anthologies.
Karl-Theodor Zu GuttenbergAdvisor
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is Chairman of Spitzberg Partners LLC. He served as German Minister of Economics and Technology and then as Minister of Defense in the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. zu Guttenberg was a Member of the German Parliament, a Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Secretary General of Germany's CSU party. He is a Distinguished Statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He sits on several corporate and not-for- profit boards, including Edelman, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, BDT Capital, Barrick Gold‘s International Advisory Board, Samsung’s European Advisory Board, ASAPP, Ripple, and Clocktower Technology Ventures.
Laurence H. Tribe, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, has taught at its Law School since 1968 and was voted the best professor by the graduating class of 2000. Born in China to Russian Jewish parents, Tribe entered Harvard at 16; graduated summa cum laude in Mathematics (1962) and magna cum laude in Law (1966); clerked for the California and U.S. Supreme Courts (1966-68); received tenure at 30; was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at 38 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2010.
Whitney Haring-Smith is a former Rhodes Scholar, entrepreneur, and investor focused primarily on industrial and technology businesses. As a Managing Partner at Anzu Partners, Dr. Haring-Smith leads the portfolio support functions and has led most of Anzu’s acquisitions and software companies. Prior to joining Anzu Partners Dr. Haring-Smith worked as a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in their Hong Kong offices, and was also the co-founder the and board chairman of the College Abacus, a website that became the “Kayak.com of college financial aid” in the United States.