Past Faculty & Speakers

Abdul El-Sayed (Columbia University) – PGLS 2015

Professor Abdulrahman M El-Sayed is a Population Health Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University, where he directs the Columbia University Systems Science Program and co-directs the Global Research Analytics in Population Health initiative. His research considers the intersections between society and health, health disparities, and the uses of simulation modeling in epidemiology.

Dr El-Sayed is also Fellow at Dēmos, a non-partisan public policy center. His commentary has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, Al-Jazeera, The Guardian, Project Syndicate, and Huffington Post. He is also a regular commentator on public health and medical issues at Al Jazeera America.

Dr El-Sayed earned a doctorate in Population Health from Oxford University, and an MD from Columbia University. He is a 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan with Highest Distinction in Biology and Political Science. He was named a Rhodes Scholar, a Soros Fellow for New Americans, a Global Policy Innovator by the Carnegie Council, Global Governance Futures Fellow, University of Michigan Student of the Year, and University of Michigan Commencement Speaker. His awards include the University of Michigan William Jennings Bryan Prize in Political Science, Phi Beta Kappa, and numerous research excellence awards.

Justin Gest (Harvard University and London School of Economics) – PGLS 2014

Justin Gest is a Lecturer in the Department of Government and the Department of Sociology at Harvard University. His teaching and research interests include comparative politics, minority political behavior, and immigration policy. In the field of minority political behavior, his earlier research focused on Muslim political behavior in Western democracies. This work was collected in Apart: Alienated and Engaged Muslims in the West (Columbia University Press/Hurst, 2010). He is currently writing a follow up study that applies his conclusions to white working class people.

This forthcoming book is entitled The New Minority: White Working Class Politics and Marginality. In the field of comparative immigration politics, his research compares policy regimes across 50 countries worldwide. This work is being collected in a forthcoming, co-authored book entitled Crossroads of Migration: A Global Approach to National Policy Differences. He is pursuing related work on political incorporation regimes, migrants rights frameworks and the representation of immigrant political views by legislators. As a teacher and citizen, Justin received the 2013 Star Family Prize for Student Advising, Harvard’s highest award for student advising.

At Harvard, he has also been selected for six Awards for Teaching Excellence, based on student evaluations. He co-founded and currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Migration Studies Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and engages in a variety of public and private sector consulting. Justin received a PhD in Government from the LSE and a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard.

Hans Noel (Georgetown University) – PGLS 2014

Hans Noel is a professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He is the author of “Political Parties and Political Ideologies in America” (Cambridge University Press) and a co-author of “The Party Decides: Presidential Nominations Before and After Reform” (University of Chicago Press).

His research has received several awards, including the Heinz I. Eulau Award for best article in Perspectives on Politics. In 2006, he was awarded the Political Organizations and Parties “Emerging Scholar Award” one of the highest distinctions in the field. He has received fellowships with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations Scholars in Health Policy Research Program at the University of Michigan and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University.

Prof. Noel’s research has appeared in the top academic publications in the field including the Journal of Politics, Party Politics, American Politics Research, Perspectives on Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and the British Journal of of Political Science. He blogs at Mischiefs of Faction and for The Washington Post. Prof. Noel has given lectures on the American political system around the world.Before going into academia, Prof. Noel worked as an editor at The Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, a daily newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the co-director and co-producer of an award-winning feature film, The Rest of Your Life, released in 2001.

Harry Verhoeven (Oxford University) – PGLS 2013

Dr Harry Verhoeven teaches African Politics in the Department of Politics & International Relations at the University of Oxford and he is the Convenor of the Oxford University China-Africa Network and the Oxford Central Africa Forum. His research focuses on conflict, development and environment in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Region. He has just finished writing his major academic monograph, focusing on the politics of the Nile Basin: “Water, Civilisation and Power.

The Hydropolitics of Military-Islamist Rule in Sudan”, which will appear in the second half of 2014 with Cambridge University Press. A second book of his tackles the bloodiest conflict on earth since the end of World War II, which claimed more than 5 million lives between 1996 and 2002 in Congo. Co-authored by Professor Philip Roessler, “Why Comrades go to War: Post-Liberation Movements, Elite Politics and the Internal Dynamics of Africa’s Great War” tells the inside story of the dynamics between Central Africa’s elites and how former brothers-in-arms became mortal enemies within the space of 15 months, a fallout that led to Africa’s greatest hecatomb ever.Research for this book has taken Dr Roessler and Dr Verhoeven to ten different countries in the past five years, to interview elusive army generals across Africa, study diplomatic cables in the Vatican and track down those implicated in the Rwandan genocide and Congo wars of the 1990s. Outside academia, Dr Harry Verhoeven has collaborated with UNDP Sudan, Small Arms Survey and advised several Western & African governments, as well as working on education and human rights in Northern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal.

He also done research on climate change and biofuels in the Indian Subcontinent with Greenpeace India and wrote a visionary briefing paper on how economic cooperation can lock in peace in East Africa for the prestigious Royal Institute of International Affairs/Chatham House in London, “Black Gold for Blue Gold? Sudan’s Oil, Ethiopia’s Water and Regional Integration” Dr Harry Verhoeven’s teaching and research has been widely appreciated, including winning awards from Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council, the Royal Belgian Benevolent Society and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation in New York as well as having ongoing work on the BRICS countries funded by the Volkswagen Foundation in Germany. Dr Verhoeven was also nominated by the Global Water Forum as one of ten outstanding Emerging Scholars. His leadership as the Convenor of the Oxford University China-Africa Network is widely praised and in this capacity he is a regular presence in international media, from Al-Jazeera and China Daily to Reuters and the Guardian.

Lise Morjé Howard (Georgetown University) – PGLS 2012

Lise Morjé Howard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. She has served as a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and was the founding director of the Master of Arts Program in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her A.B. in Soviet Studies magna cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University. She was previously an Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and she has held pre- and post-doctoral fellowships at Stanford University (Center for International Security and Cooperation), Harvard University (Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs), and the University of Maryland (Center for International Development and Conflict Management).

Dr. Howard’s research and teaching interests span the fields of international relations, comparative politics, and conflict resolution. Her work focuses on civil wars, peacekeeping, U.S. foreign policy, and area studies of the Balkans and sub-Saharan Africa. She has published several articles and book chapters on these topics. Her book, UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2008, and it won the 2010 Book Award from the Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS) for the best book on the UN system published in the previous three years. She is currently working on several projects about U.S. foreign policy in ethnic conflict, the use of force in UN peacekeeping operations, and norms of civil war termination.

Dr. Howard has received awards for her work on peacekeeping from the Soroptimist International, the Barnard College Alumnae Association, and the James D. Kline Fund. She has received support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Institute for the Study of World Politics, the National Security Education Program, and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Dr. Howard is fluent in French and Russian, and speaks some Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Spanish, and German. Prior to beginning graduate school, she served as Acting Director of UN Affairs for the New York City Commission for the United Nations.

Marc Morjé Howard (Georgetown University) – PGLS 2012

Marc Morjé Howard is Professor of Government at Georgetown University. His research and teaching interests address a variety of topics related to democracy and democratization, including civil society, immigration and citizenship, hybrid regimes, right-wing extremism, and public opinion. He is a native speaker of English and French, fluent in German and Russian, and he has conducted primary research in all four languages. Howard’s most recent book, The Politics of Citizenship in Europe, was published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press.It received the 2010 Distinguished Book Award, presented by the International Studies Association’s organized section on Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration, as well as an Honorable Mention for the 2009-10 Best Book Prize of the European Union Studies Association. Howard has published multiple journal articles related to his research on comparative citizenship.

Howard is also the author of The Weakness of Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe, which was published in 2003 by Cambridge University Press. This book has received three awards: the 2004 Award for Best Book on European Politics, presented by the American Political Science Association’s organized section on European Politics and Society; the 2004 Virginia Hodgkinson Research Prize, presented by Independent Sector; and the 2006 Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Book Award, presented by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The book was recently translated into Serbian and Russian. Howard is the co-editor (with Vladimir Tismaneanu and Rudra Sil) of World Order After Leninism, which was published by the University of Washington Press in 2006. He is also collaborating with Philip G. Roessler of the University of Oxford on an ongoing research project on elections and change in post-cold war political regimes. Their first article, published in the American Journal of Political Science, studied the causes of liberalizing electoral outcomes in competitive authoritarian regimes. Their second piece, published as a chapter in Democratization by Elections: A New Mode of Transition, analyzes temporal and spatial changes across all regime types between 1987 and 2006. Currently, they are analyzing the causes of electoral contestation in authoritarian regimes.

In addition, Howard directed the “Citizenship, Involvement, Democracy” (CID) project, a major representative survey of Americans carried out in the spring/summer of 2005, which has resulted in several publications about American civic engagement in comparative perspective, most notably a special issue of Political Studies in March 2008. Howard has published articles in a variety of refereed journals (click on the journal title to download the actual article in PDF), including: the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, the Journal of Democracy, Political Studies, the International Migration Review, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, the Journal of Civil Society, Demokratizatsiya, East European Politics and Societies, German Politics and Society, and German Politics.

He has also published an instructional piece as part of a symposium on the methods of field research. And he has received grants from such organizations as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Social Science Research Council, and the National Science Foundation, in support of his research. In addition to his academic work, Howard has served as an Assistant Coach of the Georgetown tennis team. And he has published three articles inTennis Magazine: “No Pain, No Gain: When Ivan Lendl called for a hitting partner, wild horses—or dogs—couldn’t keep this player away,” “The Tennis Chain-Saw Miracle,” and “Child’s Play.” He also published an article on “Lessons in Integrity with San Quentin State Prison’s Tennis Team.”

Moreover, Howard has taken a personal interest in the issue of wrongful convictions in the American judicial system, and in particular the case of his childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who was wrongfully imprisoned for over 17 years until his conviction was overturned in December 2007. He has published op-eds about Tankleff’s case in the New York Times and Newsday. He also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show for an episode on Marty Tankleff and false confessions (click here to see the 4-minute clip).

Garrett M. Graff (POLITICO Magazine And Georgetown University) – PGLS 2012

Garrett M. Graff is the editor of POLITICO Magazine and the former Editor of The Washingtonian magazine.  He is widely recognized both as one of the nation’s leading experts on technology and politics as well as a rising star in the media industry. Of his first book, “The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House” (FSG, 2007), which examined the role of technology in the 2008 presidential race, The New York Times’ literary critic Michiko Kakutani wrote, “The astonishingly young Mr. Graff (who was born in 1981) proves in these pages that he is a cogent writer, willing to tackle large-scale issues and problems.”

Graff joined POLITICO Magazine as a senior staff writer in July 2014 and became editor in January 2015.  As editor Graff leads the magazine portion of one of the most popular political journalism outlets in America. Prior to joining POLITICO Magazine, Graff spent nine years at The Washingtonian including five years as editor-in-chief.  After four years with The Washingtonian covering politics and Washington life, Graff became in September 2009 only the third editor in the magazine’s 44-year history. The Washingtonian, which calls itself “the magazine Washington lives by,” has a monthly print readership of about 300,000 and a million monthly readers online. He’s been named by PR Week as one of four “new media” journalists to watch and one of ten “rising stars” by the magazine industry trade magazine, Folio. When Graff was appointed editor, wrote he was “an up and coming whippersnapper if we have ever seen one.” During his time as editor, the magazine won many of the industry’s most prestigious recognitions—including the Gerald R. Ford Prize for National Defense Reporting, a James Beard nomination for its food coverage, and the Livingston Award for National Reporting, and the City/Regional Magazine Association’s awards for Online Excellence and General Excellence.

His second book, “The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror,” was published in Spring 2011 by Little, Brown. It traced the history of the FBI’s counterterrorism program since the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972, its rise as a global police force, and profiles Robert Mueller, the current and longest-serving FBI Director since Hoover himself. The book, which hit #5 on the Washington Post’s list of political bestsellers, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, which called it an “action-filled, richly detailed portrait of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” and said, “There’s solid storytelling at work here—and quite a story to tell, too.” Kirkus later named “The Threat Matrix” one of the best nonfiction books of 2011. The CIA, in its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence,said, the book is “a well-told story and a reading pleasure.” Graff also teaches internet and social media at Georgetown University in the school’s master’s in journalism and communications program. Previously, he was the founding editor of’s Fishbowl D.C. (, a popular blog that covers the media and journalism in Washington, and co-founder of EchoDitto, Inc., a multi-million-dollar Washington, D.C.-based internet strategy consulting firm.

A Vermont native and graduate of Harvard, he served as deputy national press secretary on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and, beginning in 1997, was then-Governor Dean’s first webmaster. As the first blogger admitted to cover a White House press briefing in 2005, he is a frequent speaker on blogging and the intersection of politics and technology, and his reporter’s notebook from that first day in the White House hangs in the Newseum in Washington, DC. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the media representative on the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century, where he authored a white paper, “Courts are Conversations: An Argument for Increased Engagement by Court Leaders.” He also currently sits on the corporate advisory board of So Others Might Eat(SOME) in Washington, DC, and on the board of the congressionally-chartered National Conference on Citizenship.

He is also a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow in the British-American Project. His writing and commentary has appeared in publications like the Washington Post, The New York Times, Wired, New York, 5280, the Politico, and the Huffington Post, and he has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox News, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN International, CNBC, MSNBC, CBC, the BBC, Al Jazeera English, and various NPR programs, as well as local and regional television and radio channels, and been quoted in publications ranging from US Weekly to the Miami Herald. He contributed to the National Magazine Award-winning “9/11 Encyclopedia” issue of New York magazine. He annually gives more than a score of speeches on the internet, new media, politics, counterterrorism, and the FBI at places like the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the National Press Club, Harvard Business School, the Defense Department, U.S. Southern Command, the International Spy Museum, and the Google headquarters, as well as universities from Duke and Princeton to the University of Florida and Rice University, as well as to companies, trade groups, and to many international audiences—including Germany’s Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, the BBC’s NewsXChange, Spain’s International Seminar of Political Communication, Austria’s University of Vienna, and Israel’s IDC Herzliya.