The following five former U.S. ambassadors will each lead one of the five country and organization teams during the international crisis response simulation on March 19 and 20, 2021.
Ambassador Robert Bradtke
Robert Bradtke has more than forty years of experience in dealing with foreign policy and national security issues, including in a series of senior positions in the State Department and on the National Security Council. A career Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Bradtke joined the State Department in 1973. His first assignments were Georgetown, Guyana and Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Returning to Washington in 1978, he served in the Office of Eastern European Affairs and as an American Political Science Association Fellow in the offices of Senator Charles Mathias and then Congressman Dick Cheney. In 1983, he was posted to Moscow and then Bonn. From 1990 to 1994, Mr. Bradtke worked in the Department of State’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs, becoming Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary. In August 1994, Secretary of State Warren Christopher selected Mr. Bradtke as his Executive Assistant. He served in that capacity for two years before taking an assignment as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in London.
In July 1999, President Clinton appointed Mr. Bradtke as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. He remained in that position under President Bush, until August 2001, when he became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, with responsibility for NATO and European security issues. From 2006 to 2009, he was United States Ambassador to Croatia.
Following his retirement from the Foreign Service in 2009, Mr. Bradtke has continued to serve in a number of positions in the State Department including: Charge d’Affaires at the American Embassy Berlin (2009); United States Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict (2009-2012); Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs (2013); head of the U.S. delegation to the OSCE Human Dimension Meeting (2013); Senior Advisor in the Bureau of Counterterrorism for Partner Engagement on Syria Foreign Fighters (2014-2015); and, Charge d’Affaires at the American Embassy Oslo (2015).
Mr. Bradtke has three times been the recipient of the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award, and in 2001 and 2009, he received Presidential Meritorious Service Awards from President Bush and President Obama for sustained superior accomplishment in the conduct of foreign policy and public service. He has also received decorations from the governments of Lithuania, Croatia, and Bulgaria, for contributions to relations between the United States and those countries.
Ambassador Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick, a career member of the Foreign Service, served as the U.S. ambassador to Timor-Leste, which is located on the eastern half of the island of Timor in Southeast Asia, from 2018 to 2020.
Ambassador Fitzpatrick is from Hyattsville, Maryland, and attended the University of Dayton, earning a B.A. in 1978. She then went to Georgetown and earned an M.A. in 1980. Ambassador Fitzpatrick later earned an M.S. from the National War College in 1999. While attending Georgetown, Ambassador Fitzpatrick joined the Civil Service before transferring to the Foreign Service in 1983.
Ambassador Fitzpatrick’s early postings included stints at the consulate in Antwerp, Belgium; in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs; in the Office of Maghreb Affairs in Bureau of Near East Affairs; and in the Executive Secretariat Operations Center. In 1993, Ambassador Fitzpatrick began a tour as political officer in the embassy in Moscow and moved to Brussels in 1995 in a similar capacity.
She returned to Washington in 1999 to serve as deputy director in the Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs. In 2001, Ambassador Fitzpatrick was named director of the Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs in the Bureau of European Affairs. She went overseas again in 2003 as political counselor at the embassy in Madrid. Ambassador Fitzpatrick returned to the United States in 2007 as director of the Office of Southern European Affairs.
Ambassador Fitzpatrick was named deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in 2010 and in 2012 became chief of staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. In 2014, Ambassador Fitzpatrick was appointed principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, a post she held at the time of her nomination as ambassador.
Ambassador Fitzpatrick speaks Spanish, French, Russian, Dutch and Arabic.
Ambassador Michelle Gavin
Michelle D. Gavin is senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has over twenty years of experience in international affairs in government and non-profit roles. She was formerly the managing director of The Africa Center, a multidisciplinary institution dedicated to increasing understanding of contemporary Africa. From 2011 to 2014 she was the United States ambassador to Botswana, and served concurrently as the United States representative to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
During her tenure the United States and Botswana launched the most ambitious HIV prevention study in the world, Botswana hosted the 1,400-strong joint military exercise Southern Accord, and the U.S. embassy helped to found the first Botswana-American Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, Ambassador Gavin was a special assistant to President Obama and the senior director for Africa at the National Security Council, where she led major policy reviews of Sudan and Somalia, and helped to originate the Young African Leaders Initiative.
Before joining the Obama administration, she was an international affairs fellow and adjunct fellow for Africa at CFR. Earlier in her career she worked in the U.S. Senate, where she was the staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on African affairs, director of international policy issues for Senator Russ Feingold, and legislative director for Senator Ken Salazar.
Ambassador Gavin received an MPhil in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar, and earned her BA from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she was a Truman scholar. She serves on the board of directors of Points of Light, the Africa-America Institute, and is a member of the Harvard AIDS Initiative’s International advisory board.
Ambassador Dawn Liberi
Dawn M. Liberi is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Burundi from 2012 to 2016. Ambassador Liberi started her career in Africa where she served in five posts with USAID over a span of twenty years, focusing on key development issues. Serving as the USAID Mission Director in Nigeria (2002-2005), she managed a $100 million program of assistance and brokered a $20 million public-private sector alliance to fund community development activities. As USAID Mission Director in Uganda (1998-2002), Ambassador Liberi managed one of the largest HIV/AIDS and micro-enterprise programs in sub-Saharan Africa, helping to significantly reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence and assisting Uganda to develop high value exports.
Other USAID assignments include: Associate Assistant Administrator in the Global Bureau, Population, Health and Nutrition Office (1994-1998); USAID Deputy Mission Director in Ghana (1992-1994); and USAID Population, Health and Nutrition Officer in Senegal and Niger (1981-1987). Starting in 2005, Ambassador Liberi focused on stabilization and civilian-military integration. As USAID Mission Director in Iraq (2005-2006) she managed a $5.2 billion program of governance and economic development activities. As USAID Executive Civil-Military Counselor, she served as Senior Development Advisor to the Commander of the U.S. Central Command (2007-2008).
From 2009 to 2011, Ambassador Liberi was the Coordinator for the Interagency Provincial Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, responsible for managing over 400 civilian positions outside Kabul and implementing governance and economic activities. She also served as the Senior Civilian Representative for the Combined Joint Task-Force 82 at Bagram Airfield Afghanistan, where she was the civilian equivalent of the Commanding General, responsible for coordination of over 20,000 civilian and military staff. In 2012 Ambassador Liberi served as the Senior Assistance Coordinator at U.S. Embassy/Tripoli.
Ambassador Liberi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College and Master of Public Health degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a Distinguished graduate of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at the National Defense University, where she focused on national security issues. Ambassador Liberi is the recipient of two Distinguished Honor Awards and several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards. She was awarded the U.S. Army Superior Civilian Service Award, as well as the Medaille D’Or (Gold Medal) by the French Government, and the Army Iron Cross by the Polish Government, for her work in Afghanistan. Ambassador Liberi speaks fluent French, is an avid African art collector and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ambassador Michael Polt
Ambassador Polt assumed his new position as ASU Ambassador-in-Residence in The College’s Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab on October 1, 2020. Prior to that he had served as Senior Director at the University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership after concluding his 35-year diplomatic career in 2012. The Ambassador held assignments as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia and to Serbia and Montenegro. Prior to his ambassadorial missions, Ambassador Polt was Principal Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Powell and Clinton State Departments.
During his three decades as a career diplomat, Ambassador Polt served as U.S. Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany and Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge’ d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. He has also served as Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Foreign Service for Management Reform and was a key member of the Senior Management Steering Board directing the State Department’s 2003-2005 multi-million-dollar reinvention of its Diplomatic Communications System. Ambassador Polt has held other senior positions in the Department of State, as Deputy Director for European Security and Arms Control issues, and in Panama City as Political Counselor of the U.S. Embassy during the time leading up to the U.S. military action against the Noriega regime in 1989. During his earlier career, Ambassador Polt was assigned to Embassies in Bonn, Mexico City, and Copenhagen, as well as the U.S. Consulate in Bremen, Germany. The Ambassador has been the repeated recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and numerous Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards for Outstanding Policy Leadership, Management, Crisis Performance, and Political Analysis. He has been awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Service to U.S. Citizens Overseas by American Citizens Abroad.
Ambassador Polt was born in Austria. He holds a bachelor’s degree and an honorary doctorate from American International College in Springfield, Mass., and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee. He and his wife Hallie live in suburban northern Virginia. They have two grown children, Nicholas and Lindsay. The Polts enjoy sailing and skiing for relaxation and a good cup of coffee with time to savor it.
Simulation administrators and advisors:
Jim Finkel, Simulation Creator and Game Master
A former member of the senior civil service, Jim Finkel served as the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Center for the Prevention of Genocide’s 2013-2014 Leonard and Sophie Davis Genocide Prevention Fellow after ending his 35-year federal service career in May 2012. During the final 20 years of his service, he held positions that provided him an insider’s view of the evolution of U.S. policy toward international accountability and the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities. Finkel was a participant in President Barack Obama’s Presidential Study Directive 10 (PSD 10) effort and was a frequent attendee during the first year of meetings of the President’s Atrocity Prevention Board. He is the co-founder of the Atrocity Prevention Study Group, a non-resident fellow at the Henry Stimson Center, a visiting scholar at George Mason’s Carter School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a courtesy professor of practice at the University of Oregon. Finkel holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor of arts from Rutgers College, Rutgers University. He is the author of a half-dozen structured, atrocity-based simulations, several of which have been run by the University of Oregon, Vanderbilt University, Claremont McKenna College, Binghamton University, and West Point. His Sri Lanka simulation was run by the IRLS program at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in October 2019.
Julia Fromholz serves as director of the Rule of Law and Governance Program at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and is based in Washington, DC. Before joining ASU Law, Ms. Fromholz worked at the U.S. Department of State, in both Pakistan and Washington. She spent two years as the senior director, Rule of Law at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, and in Washington advised the Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights on a range of issues, including mass atrocity prevention and human trafficking.
Prior to joining the State Department, Professor Fromholz worked at Human Rights First’s Washington office, where she directed the Crimes Against Humanity program and worked with the Human Rights Defenders program. Professor Fromholz had previously lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she worked with local human rights organizations, focusing on monitoring and reform of the criminal justice system. She clerked for Judge William Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law at Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco; before going to law school, she worked at the Boston Consulting Group. Professor Fromholz graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where she was captain of the softball team and wrote her senior thesis on California water policy. She earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where she served as editor in chief of the California Law Review. She speaks French and was a French-American Foundation Young Leader in 2011 and 2012.
Md. Shahriar Islam, Academic Advisor
Md. Shahriar Islam is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton University, USA. His research interest includes intergenerational trust in government and governance, prevention of conflict and mass violence, public sector management, and political conflict in developing countries. He taught for Binghamton University’s MPA program and the Department of Human Development. He also taught public administration courses for The University of Dhaka and the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh. Several of his research on trust, public sector governance, and development were published in different peer-reviewed international journals.
Michael will serve as the simulation’s tech guru. He is a New York City native who graduated from New York University in 2019.
Jacob is the International Rule of Law & Security and Washington Programs Coordinator at the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University. Prior to joining ASU, Jacob interned on the Foreign Policy team at Human Rights First; worked at the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo; and helped coordinate foreign exchange programs for high school students at Educatius International. Originally from Chicago, Jacob has lived in the United Kingdom, Poland, Bosnia, Boston, and now Washington, DC. Jacob holds a BA in Economics and International Relations from Northeastern University in Boston and a master’s in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Max Pensky, Academic Advisor
Max is professor of philosophy and co-director of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention. His main areas of scholarly research include contemporary political theory and political philosophy and the philosophy of international law, with an emphasis on the normative foundations of current practices of transitional justice, the post-conflict legal and political demands on recovering states, and the relation between domestic and international criminal law. He also publishes regularly on critical theory, including the works of Theodor Adorno and Jürgen Habermas, and on issues in contemporary German political culture. He is the author of two books and over 50 articles and chapters. He has held fellowships at Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt, Cornell University, Oxford University and the University of Ulster. Current research projects include a comprehensive study of the normative issues surrounding the use of domestic amnesties for international crimes, and the concept of impunity and the implications of an international legal-political norm against impunity for international crimes.
Amb. Clint Williamson, Special Advisor
Ambassador Clint Williamson joined ASU in 2014 as Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and Senior Director for Law and National Security at the McCain Institute for International Leadership. He currently also serves as the President of the Brcko Arbitration Tribunal. From 2011-2014, he served as Lead Prosecutor for the European Union Special Investigative Task Force, which is conducting a full and impartial criminal investigation into the allegations of war crimes and criminal activity contained in the Council of Europe (CoE) report of January 2011 by Senator Dick Marty, as well as other possible crimes connected to those allegations.
Immediately prior to this position, he was Special Expert to the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The tribunal is charged with prosecuting senior leaders of the Khmer Rouge and those most responsible for mass crimes committed in Cambodia during the 1970s. From 2006-2009, Professor Williamson served as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. From 2003-2006, he served in a number of capacities at the National Security Council, including Acting Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Relief, Stabilization, and Development, as well as Director for Stability Operations. During his tenure at the White House, he was instrumental in developing the proposal for the creation of a standing civilian U.S. Government post-conflict response capacity. While with the NSC, Williamson also served in Baghdad in 2003 as the first Senior Adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Justice. In this capacity, he was responsible for re-instituting judicial operations and ministry functions in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion. From 2001-2002, he served as the director of the Department of Justice in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), overseeing the justice and prison systems.
From 1994-2001, he worked as a Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. While at the ICTY, he supervised investigations and field operations in the Balkans, compiled indictments, and prosecuted cases at trial. Among the cases handled by Williamson were those against Slobodan Milosevic and the notorious paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic, aka “Arkan,” as well as cases arising from the Yugoslav Army attacks on Vukovar and Dubrovnik in Croatia. Prior to joining the tribunal, Professor Williamson served as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime Section and as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana.