who we are

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Hamed Behravan, President

Hamed has more than a decade of experience in designing, executing, and managing large-scale and innovative intervention solutions that support the improvement of civil society and human rights in closed societies. Hamed has played a key role in design, development, and distribution of multiple mobile-first solutions providing hundreds of thousands of users with access to information and news. His innovative solutions have allowed secure communication and exchange of ideas amongst activists and human rights defenders, crowdsourced reporting of government corruption, and measured and circumvented censorship practices in hostile environments. A former journalist, producer, and a staunch advocate for freedom of speech and press, Hamed has designed and implemented numerous training programs for journalists, citizen journalists, media freedom advocates, human rights defenders, and civil society activists in closed societies; he has personally trained or led training initiatives for Netizens on digital safety, media freedom, story telling, and advocacy in hostile environments.

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James Prince

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James Prince is the co-founder and president of The Democracy Council, a leading non-partisan, non-profit, (501c3) international development organization and U.S. Government implementer dedicated to helping to affect positive change through promoting participatory & accountable governance, human & civil rights, community resilience, access to information, peacebuilding, free & fair elections, civil society capacity building, and combating extremism around the globe. He is a recognized expert on Arab civil society, and U.S. foreign and defense policy vis a vis Iran, the Middle East Peace Process, Cuba, and countering extremism. He has also managed +$90 million in USG grant programming in places such as; Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cuba, East Timor, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Occupied Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Palestine (WB/Gaza), Russia, Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, and Yemen.

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Cesar Alvarez, Secretary

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Cesar Alvarez has over a decade of experience designing and managing civil society capacity building programs in comparatively closed societies, particularly in Latin America. He enjoys a reputation for his work promoting human rights, grassroots activism, artistic freedom, and independent media in developing societies. Cesar holds a B.A. in History from the University of California in San Diego and an M.A. in Politics from New York University. Cesar is an active supporter of LGBTQI rights both in the U.S. and internationally, as well as a supporter of animal rights.

"We believe that individual actions and support can go a long way towards making impactful differences that visibly improve the rights and freedoms of people across the world."

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Eric Novotny

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Eric Novotny is presently the Director of the Graduate Program in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security at The American University, Washington, DC. Today, this program has 15 faculty members and over 100 students. He is twice recipient of the University’s award for distinguished teaching. From 2015 to 2017, he held a special service appointment in cyber security and digital media in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Prior to joining State, he was senior advisor for democracy and technology at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Novotny has also held senior executive positions at the Civilian Research and Development Foundation, Hughes Electronics, and Lockheed Martin Corporation. He received his MA and PhD degrees in international relations and computer science from Georgetown University and his diploma in management studies at the University of Oxford.

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Adnan Kifayat

Adnan Kifayat is a senior resident fellow at GMF, where he advises on GMF programs to strengthen leadership development and strategies for engagement in the transatlantic region, as well as GMF’s Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative. He is also head of Global Security Ventures for the Gen Next Foundation. Kifayat joined GMF following a 15 year public service career at the White House, State Department, and Treasury Department. Kifayat served as Secretary of State John Kerry’s acting special representative to Muslim communities, creating initiatives to broaden and deepen U.S. diplomatic engagement with Muslim communities worldwide. As senior advisor to the under secretary of state for public diplomacy and inaugural director of the Global Strategic Engagement Center (GSEC), he led initiatives to help advance to use of social media tools by the State Department. He developed and led initiatives at the Treasury Department to promote financial cooperation between the United States and key partners in the Middle East, G8, and Asia. He served as an alternate executive director of the African Development Bank Group, shaping bank activities that included the establishment of an anti-corruption unit. He served twice on the National Security Council staff coordinating counterterrorism and economic issues across the Middle East and Africa.

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Bruce Goren

Bruce Goren has approximately 40 years of broad-based real estate investment experience and has been involved in over 100 real estate transactions totaling over $1 billion in value. His experience includes real estate financing, working with governmental agencies through the entitlement process as well as community groups during rezoning and planning exercises on both commercial and residential projects.  In addition, Mr. Goren was a principal in a California apple farming operation which included farming, packing, cold storage, juicing, processing and transportation.

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