March 15, 2024

On February 22-23, 2024 the LISD International Policy Associates (IPAs) traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with senior government officials, business leaders, journalists, and non-profit executives. The trip was led by Executive Director Nadia Crisan, Acting Faculty Director Dr. Sophie Meunier, and supported by Academic Coordinator Jana-Alessa Peper.

Our Washington visit began with a dinner conversation with Ethiopis Tafara '85, Vice President, Chief Risk, Legal & Sustainability Officer and Partnerships at the World Bank discussing his extensive experience in international trade and regulation and current work on development investing and partnerships at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the complexities of predicting, and preparing for, conflict and economic disruption.

On February 23, we started our morning with an early breakfast with Business Roundtable CEO, Former White House Chief of Staff and Princeton Trustee Joshua Bolten ‘76 examining issues including the business climate, international trade, and private sector engagement with both Republicans and Democrats in the corridors of power.

Our day continued with a number of conversations at the State Department on public affairs and diplomacy, learning about diplomatic crises, media and the importance of American soft power. These engagements were made possible by our generous host Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Lee Satterfield and her great team. While at the State Department, the IPAs heard unique insights from Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Global Public Affairs Bill Russo, Deputy Spokesperson Nathan Tek *20 and other senior officials.

Over lunch, the IPAs met with Washington Post journalists: Alan Sipress '83, Juliet Eilperin '92, Ian Shapira '00, and Shannon Osaka '17, for a wide-ranging conversation on climate policy, disinformation, reporting from and on the Global South and the future of news media.

Josh Black *00, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs on the National Security Council invited us to the White House for a Chatham House conversation on a number of global crises and the complex role of multilateralism as well as the top current priorities of the administration.

Damon Wilson ‘98, President and CEO of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) shared with us his great vision and their important work in over 130 countries around the world to support democracy. IPAs were invited to work in the field with NED and their local partners. 

The packed day concluded with additional conversations with a diverse group of alumni at a  reception hosted by McGuireWoods LLP.  We also invited Deputy Chief of Mission of the Ukrainian Embassy to the United States Denys Sienik to speak to us about the situation on the frontline and the fight of his nation for self-determination, on the eve marking 2 years since Russia’s brutal invasion.

Reflecting on all of the incredible speakers who made this trip a tremendous experiential learning opportunity and a valuable networking experience, IPA Parker Summerhill ’25 shared: “It was great to explore career paths while meeting phenomenal foreign policy actors in D.C.”

On guidance for her career trajectory, IPA Allie Matthias ‘24 stated that “going to DC with LISD, in 2023 and 2024, provided me with amazing insight into policy priorities of Washington and important career tracks in public service.”

With contributions from IPAs Noah Eshaghpour-Silberman '26 and Hannah Jo '26.