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. policymakers on women, peace and security, human rights, maternal and child health policy, and population politics.

Eunice Apio

Senior Fellow

Eunice received her Ph.D. in African studies and anthropology from the University of Birmingham (UK) and is now a postdoctoral fellow studying Gender and Transitional Justice. She is the 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

Senior Fellow

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 the use of the internet for terrorism and human trafficking. In 2019 she served as the press secretary for U.S. Customs and Border Protection

charlie ponticelli

Senior Fellow

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

Senior Fellow

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

Senior Fellow

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

Humira noorestani

Senior Fellow

Humira Noorestani is a corporate and commercial attorney based out of Washington DC. She is the founder of DigiCounsel, a platform that teaches practical legal and business skills. Ms. Noorestani has been dubbed an “unconventional attorney” because of her non-traditional legal education and work experience. Ms. Noorestani has earned degrees from the William and Mary Law School, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, the American University of Central Asia, and the American University of Washington D.C.

wendy wright

Senior Fellow

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.

Grace hoffman

Fellow

Dr. Grace Hoffman is a Fellow at American Council on Women Peace and Security. She serves as Women, Peace, and Security subject matter expert and instructor at Defense Security Cooperation University (DSCU) where she is integrating WPS into curriculum for Department of Defense security cooperation planners and U.S. international partner militaries.

Dr. Hoffman is a historian who received her Ph.D. in 2021 from Trinity College Dublin.

Ambassador Steven E. Steiner

Advisory Committee Member

Ambassador Steven E. Steiner served from 2011 to 2018 as a gender advisor for the U.S. Institute of Peace. He previously served in the Department of State’s Office of Global Women‘s Issues and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. He was the director of the Department’s Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative. Steiner served for 36 years in the United States Foreign Service. He completed tours of duty at the U.S. embassy in Moscow and the State Department’s Offices of Soviet Union and West German Affairs and served as the deputy director of the Department’s Operations Center, its 24-hour crisis management facility. 

laura lederer

Advisory Committee 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.

Jennifer Arangio

Advisory Committee Member

Jennifer Arangio is a senior national security and humanitarian assistance professional with over two decades of policy, strategic leadership, advocacy, and communications experience. She has advised members of Congress and senior federal officials throughout her career, most recently as the Chief Advisor to the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). While there she led an Agency-wide strategic review on the secondary and tertiary effects of COVID-19 and managed a diverse set of humanitarian and development issues.


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