Our Council

These members of the American Council on Women Peace and Security have worked in the United States, at the United Nations, and around the world in their diverse professional occupations promoting peace, security, justice, and development.

Susan Yoshihara

Council President

Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D., is the founder of the American Council on Women Peace and Security. A former Navy combat logistics helicopter pilot and Gulf War veteran, she advises UN delegations and U.S. policy makers on women, peace and security, human rights, maternal and child health policy, and population politics.


Eunice Apio

Council Member

Eunice received her PhD in African studies and anthropology from the University of Birmingham (UK) and is now a postdoctoral fellow studying Gender and Transitional Justice. She is founder of the charity Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD) based in northern Uganda, and has worked in conflict and post conflict settings in northern Uganda since 2001.

Katie cornell gorka

Council Member

Katie Gorka served in the Office of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, where she focused on strategies for prevention of terrorism and targeted violence and combatting use of the internet for terrorism and human trafficking. In 2019 she served as the press secretary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection

shea garrison

Council Member

Dr. Garrison is Vice President of International Affairs for Concerned Women for America (CWA) in Washington, D.C., focusing on U.S. foreign policy and aid, women’s economic and social empowerment, religious freedom, and human rights. She is also Affiliated Faculty and Policy Fellow at George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

laura lederer

Council Member

Founder and director of the  Protection Project at Harvard University. Served as Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State. Also, Executive Director of the Senior Policy Operating Group on Trafficking in Persons, a high-level policy group that staffed the President’s cabinet-level Inter-agency Task Force.

charlie ponticelli

Council Member

Former Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs at the Department of Labor and Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. Provides consultation services to clients working in Central and South Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America regarding change management, business development, strategic planning and project management. 

dorothy taft

Council Member

Dorothy has represented the US Government and Members of Congress, she has defended the human rights and dignity of men and women in virtually every continent around the globe, with particular focus on violence against women and children, torture of political and religious prisoners, accessibility for those with disabilities, and the crime of human trafficking

mary habeck

Council Member

Mary Habeck is a strategic planner and an expert on military matters, Islam, and extremism.  She teaches on Al-Qa’ida and ISIS at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and at Georgetown, while running her consulting firm, Applied Grand Strategies

wendy wright

Council Member

Wendy Wright is president of Christian Freedom International, an international human rights organization that aids, equips, and advocates for persecuted Christians. Christian Freedom International provides material and spiritual support such as schools and shelters; food and medicines; Bibles and churches.


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