President of WIIS DC
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Michelle Shevin-Coetzee joined WIIS-DC in May 2015 as Vice President, having previously served as the Founder and President of WIIS-GWU, the chapter at the George Washington University.
Outside of WIIS-DC, Michelle is an MA candidate in Security Studies at Georgetown University. She previously was a 2018-2019 Fulbright Schuman Fellow based at Chatham House in London and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin. Michelle also worked in Washington’s think tank community, serving as a Research Assistant at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) and as a Researcher at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her work focuses on European defense policy.
She graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs with a B.A. in International Affairs and a minor in Arabic. She has also studied at the University of Cambridge.
Brenda Estefania Ortiz Calva
Estefania is an Analyst in the Congressional Affairs Office at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, DC. She has contributed in the organization of a wide variety of events, including briefings to Congressional staffers, a discussion on consular protection to LGBTI communities, and a mentoring talk between Mexican diplomats and college women interested in foreign policy. Estefania obtained a master’s degree in Security Policy Studies from the George Washington University, where she belonged to the first generation of Carlos Slim Scholars.
As a graduate student, Estefania interned at the Inter-American Dialogue and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime liaison office in New York. She is interested in the intersection between security and development, particularly in the Western Hemisphere. She enjoys working on topics like migration, transnational crime, and regional cooperation. Estefania was born and raised in Hidalgo, Mexico. She received her bachelor's degree in International Relations from ITAM. As a research assistant, Estefania participated in the organization of roundtable events to discuss the state of the energy sector in Mexico. Her thesis about security cooperation between Mexico and Central America allowed her to graduate with distinction.
Carly Millenson’s focus is the international peace and security field, particularly as it pertains to the Eurasian sphere. She completed a graduate certificate in international affairs in 2019 from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She received her BA from Princeton University with a self-designed major in International Security with Historical Studies, which used the lens of modern history to understand current security challenges facing the US, and a minor in East Asian Studies. Her senior thesis examined how best to characterize the US-China-Russia strategic dynamic. Other research interests include the South China Sea dispute and the Far Right. While at Princeton she served as a fellow at the Center for International Security Studies, where she helped run inter-institutional crisis simulations and the Center’s speaker series. She also represented Princeton at the 2018 McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character at United States Military Academy at West Point.
Carly first began working with WIIS while in high school, when she served as Program Manager at WIIS-NY. She speaks Mandarin, Spanish, and German and has spent time living in the People's Republic of China, as well as Taiwan, where she attended National Taiwan University for a semester. Carly has interned at the Center on National Security at the Fordham University School of Law, the American Enterprise Institute’s Asian Studies Group, and Washington’s Laogai Research Foundation. She was accepted into the MA program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies but is currently taking a leave of absence to serve as Director of Marketing & Global Partnerships at a public benefit company that is working to develop a home test for SARS-CoV-2.
Social Media Coordinator
Luca DiDomenico is a passionate scholar, advocate and ally of issues related to gender in the sphere of International Affairs. A dual-national of the United States and France, he has used his background to work in multinational institutions and expand on research topics related to his academic specialization, Global Gender Policy.
During his Hillary For America internship in 2016, he completed quantitative data analysis, social media management, and language translations for the campaign website. As a Press and Communications intern at the French Embassy, he drafted and edited articles for the Embassy newsletter which touched on a number of gender issues in France and francophone countries around the globe. As an undergraduate at The George Washington University, he co-founded March On the Campus, the first collegiate affiliate of March On. More recently, he worked closely with the Elliott School’s Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs on organizing and managing the social media for a Women Peace and Security Conference in March 2020.
After earning his BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University, Luca started his Master’s in International Affairs at GWU. His thesis is a policy paper assessing the effectiveness of gender-segregated transportation.
Luca speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian, and his hobbies include playing and watching soccer and recreating his family’s French recipes in the kitchen.
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Jessie Evans is the Africa Program Lead for the Institute of Security Governance at the U.S. Department of Defense. She works closely with foreign security sector partners across Africa on institutional capacity building. Prior, Jessie served as a security sector reform advisor to the United States Mission to Somalia in Mogadishu, Somalia, and Nairobi, Kenya. Her team managed over $115 million dollars in US- security assistance to Somali forces and other African partners serving in Somalia. She pushed for tougher conditionality and as a result, the US Ambassador paused and realigned millions of dollars of assistance to address issues of waste, corruption, and poor alignment to policy goals.
Previously, she served six years as a Conflict Specialist in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations supporting US embassies in Burma, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Before the State Department, Jessie worked at the Harvard School of Public Health on international health and human rights. Jessie received her master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. While at Fletcher, Jessie was a Rosenthal Fellow in the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Office of African Affairs. She received her BA in Diplomacy and World Affairs from Occidental College and originally hails from Bend, OR.
Navigating Your (European) Career: How to Succeed at an Embassy
October 22, 2020
In partnership with the Georgetown University chapter of European Horizons, WIIS-DC co-hosted a virtual event, “Navigating Your (European) Career: How to Succeed at an Embassy.” It was the twelfth event in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured three DC-based European embassy officials: Kadri Peeters of the Estonian Embassy; Ricardo Añino Vazquez of the Spanish Embassy; and Beth Wilson of the British Embassy.
International Security with a Latin American Focus
August 24, 2020
WIIS-DC hosted the first virtual event of the Regional Mentorship Series, "International Security with a Latin American Focus." The event was hosted via Zoom and featured three professionals currently working in the DC region: Marcela Calle, Program Coordinator in the security department of a recognized international organization; Julia Yansura, Program Manager, LAC at Global Financial Integrity; and Leslie Solis, Program Manager at the World Justice Project. Via breakout groups, participants were able to interact directly with the panelists.
Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in the Human Rights field
August 11, 2020
WIIS-DC hosted a virtual event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in the Human Rights field.” It was the eleventh in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured Dr. Gloria Yayra A. Ayee, Lecturer and Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Government at Harvard University; Professor Melissa Stewart, Dash-Muse Teaching Fellow at the Georgetown Human Rights Institute; Professor Macarena Sáez, Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University; and Professor Susan Deller Ross, who teaches International and Comparative Law on Women’s Human Rights and is Director of the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic.
How to Publish Your First Book: Tips from an Author and Her Editor.
July 23, 2020
WIIS-DC hosted a virtual book talk, “How to Publish Your First Book: Tips from an Author and Her Editor.” It featured author Elizabeth Shackelford and her editor Colleen Lawrie on how Elizabeth took her book idea and made it a reality, "The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age."
The event recording is available here.
Colleen Lawrie is an Executive Editor who joined PublicAffairs in 2015. Her list includes narrative nonfiction -- business, politics, social justice, and history. She published the New York Times bestselling book, The Storm Before The Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic by Mike Duncan, as well as the Washington Post and USA Today bestseller Disrupt Aging by AARP CEO JoAnn Jenkins, Crash Override by Zoe Quinn, and Radley Balko & Tucker Carrington’s The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South, among others. A resident of Harlem, she is a marathoner and obsessive podcast consumer—often at the same time.
End of Year Toast
December 18, 2019
WIIS-DC hosted an end of year toast at Eighteenth Street Lounge. The gathering was an opportunity for WIIS-DC members to reflect on the events organized during 2019, meet and network with others, and plan events for the next year.
Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in International and Domestic Humanitarianism
November 21, 2019:
In partnership with SAIS Global Women In Leadership, WIIS-DC co-hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in International and Domestic Humanitarianism.” It was the tenth in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured Dr. Jane Stromseth of Georgetown Law; Dr. Felice M. Apter of Georgetown Medical School; Ruth Greenspan Bell of the Wilson Center; and Professor E. Christi Cunningham of Howard University School of Law, with opening remarks by Professor Tanvi Nagpal of SAIS’ International Development Program.
Latin American Women in Diplomacy
October 22, 2019
In collaboration with WIIS-GWU, WIIS-DC hosted an event,"Latin American Women in Diplomacy." This was the fourth event of the "Embassy After Hours" series and featured Georgina Barquet from Mexico and Beatriz De la Fuente from Chile, diplomats who lead their Embassy's work on security and political affairs, respectively
“Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Maritime Security.”
September 25, 2019
In partnership with the SAIS International Law Society, WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Maritime Security.” It was the ninth in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured the Council on Foreign Relations’ Lori Murray, the Hudson Institute’s Liselotte Odgaard, and the Defense Department’s Cristina Garafola.
"Diversity in International Security: How to Broaden your Network."
August 28, 2019
In partnership with the Truman National Security Project, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), WIIS Global, Diversity in National Security Network (DINSN), #NatSecGirlSquad, GLIFAA, and Truman's TruDiversity initiative, WIIS-DC hosted an event, "Diversity in International Security: How to Broaden your Network." Attendees also had the opportunity to interact with representatives from these organizations.
“Africa Women’s Foreign Policy and Defense Mixer."
August 26, 2019
In partnership with Women’s Foreign Policy Network, WIIS-DC hosted its second “Africa Women’s Foreign Policy and Defense Mixer.” It brought together over 60 women who work in African affairs to connect and share ideas.
“Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in International Law.”
August 7, 2019
In partnership with Pay Our Interns, WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in International Law.” It was the eighth in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured Dinah Shelton and Burrus Carnahan, both of the George Washington University.
May 1, 2019
In partnership with the SAIS International Law Society, WIIS-DC hosted a career event on international institutions and organizations. The event featured New York University’s Anna di Lellio, SAIS’ Ruth Wedgwood, and Georgetown University’s Shareen Joshi.
"Africa Women’s Foreign Policy and Defense Mixer.”
March 11, 2019
In partnership with Women’s Foreign Policy Network, WIIS-DC hosted an “Africa Women’s Foreign Policy and Defense Mixer.” It brought together over 60 women who work in African affairs to connect and share ideas.
Networking Happy Hour for Women's History Month
March 27, 2019
In partnership with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, WIIS-DC hosted a networking happy hour to celebrate Women's History Month.
"The Heart of War Book Talk: an Evening with Dr. Kathleen McInnis"
February 7, 2019
WIIS-DC hosted an event, "The Heart of War Book Talk: an Evening with Dr. Kathleen McInnis." It featured the Congressional Research Service's Kathleen McInniswho discussed key themes from her new novel, "The Heart of War: Misadventures in the Pentagon."
Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Middle Eastern Security.”
December 7, 2017
WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Middle Eastern Security.” It was the fifth in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured the Brookings Institution’s Tamara Cofman Wittes, the Institute for the Study of War’s Jennifer Cafarella, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Dana Stroul.
Networking Happy Hour
October 23, 2018
In partnership with Cultural Vistas, Women’s Foreign Policy Group, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, and WIIS Global, WIIS-DC hosted a networking happy hour with international affairs professionals to learn more about early- and mid-career fellowship opportunities.
The Gender Gap in 2018: Supporting Women in the International Security Community
September 24, 2018
In partnership with the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Women in Defense, Women's Foreign Policy Group, Women's Foreign Policy Network, and WIIS Global, WIIS-DC hosted an event, "The Gender Gap in 2018: Supporting Women in the International Security Community." Panelists discussed the status of the gender gap in the international security field.
Networking Happy Hours
August 16, 2018
WIIS-DC hosted a networking Happy Hour at the Italian Dupon Kitchen. Members of WIIS DC met members of their chapter and planned for the next year of events.
"Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed at the Department of Defense”
May 8, 2018
WIIS-DC will hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed at the Department of Defense.” It is the seventh in the “Navigating Your Career” series and feature the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Melissa Dalton and Alice Friend, as well as the Center for a New American Security’s Kelley Sayler.
"So You Want to be a DASD"
March 12, 2018
WIIS-DC hosted an event, “So You Want to be a DASD.” It featured a panel of three former Deputy Assistant Secretaries of Defense: Western Hemisphere Affairs’ Rebecca Chavez, Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia’s Evelyn Farkas, and Strategy and Force Development’s Mara Karlin.
“Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed at the National Security Council”
March 1, 2018
WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed at the National Security Council.” It was the sixth in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured the Atlantic Council’s Elisa Catalano Ewers, the Center for a New American Security’s Loren DeJonge Schulman, and JPMorgan Chase’s Lisa Sawyer Samp.
"Embassy After Hours”
October 24, 2017
WIIS-DC hosted the third event in its “Embassy After Hours” series at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States. During this private event, panelists discussed the U.S.-EU and EU-NATO relationships, as well as the EU’s defense initiatives.
Networking Happy Hour
September 5, 2017
In partnership with Harvard University’s Women in Defense, Diplomacy, and Development (W3D), WIIS-DC hosted a networking happy hour.
“Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Foreign Policy”
July 10, 2017
In partnership with The German Marshall Fund of the United States’ (GMF) Young Transatlantic Network, WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Foreign Policy.” It was the fourth in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured the GMF’s Derek Chollet and the Center for a New American Security’s Julianne Smith.
"Embassy After Hours”
June 29, 2017
WIIS-DC hosted the second event in its “Embassy After Hours” series at the German Embassy. During this private event, panelists discussed the U.S.-German relationship, Germany’s role in the EU and NATO, and the upcoming German federal elections, as well as how to succeed in the international security field.
“Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Academia”
April 26, 2017
WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed in Academia.” It was the third in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured American University’s Karin Johnston, Georgetown University’s Oriana Skylar Mastro, the George Washington University’s Joanna Spear, and the National Defense University’s Eva Jenkins.
Networking Happy Hour for International Women's Day
March 15, 2017
December 16, 2016
In partnership with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, WIIS-DC hosted a holiday party.
"Embassy After Hours"
November 14, 2016
WIIS-DC hosted the first event in its “Embassy After Hours” series at the British Embassy. During this private event, panelists discussed the U.S.-UK special relationship and women in combat.
"Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed at the State Department”
October 20, 2016
WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed at the State Department.” It was the second in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured both foreign service officers and civil servants.
Networking Happy Hour
September 19, 2016
"Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed on Capitol Hill”
May 3, 2016
WIIS-DC hosted an event, “Navigating Your Career: How to Succeed on Capitol Hill.” It was the first in the “Navigating Your Career” series and featured both personal and professional staffers.
March 2, 2016
Women In International Security hosted a collaborative networking event to kick off 2016. This was a great opportunity to have candid conversations and form both personal and professional relationships with established practitioners in the security and international affairs field.
Participants represented professionals from organizations, which include, but are not limited to:
- Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH)
- Brookings Institution
- Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
- Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI)
- Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security (GIWPS)
- International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
- International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
- The Institute for Inclusive Security (IIS)
- US Agency for International Development (USAID)
- US Department of Defense
- US Department of State
- US Institute of Peace (USIP)
- Women for Women International (WfWI)
- Women in Defense
- Women in International Security (WIIS)
- Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP)
2014 & 2015
Networking Happy Hour
December 16, 2015
WIIS-DC hosted a Holiday Happy Hour, which included International security professionals from WIIS, Women in Defense, the Women's Mentoring Network of Brookings Institute, and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy met for a networking happy hour. Participants got into the holiday spirit as they met, mingled, and networked across organizations.
Networking Happy Hour
October 5, 2015
WIIS-DC hosted an October happy hour, kicking off a series of new events for area professionals. Individuals new to Washington and long time residents alike gathered to meet and mingle with other men and women interested in international security, peace, and development.
Monthly Mentoring Circle
March 4, 2015
WIIS DC hosted their Monthly Mentoring Circle featuring Dr. Craig Zelizer. Dr. Zelizer shared his expertise in conflict resolution. In addition, as Founder of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network (PCDN), he shared insider tips on how to use this amazing global networking and job search tool for peace builders and change agents. The event was held on the GWU campus.
Talk with Dr. Nora Bensahel
January 22, 2015
Dr. Nora Bensahel shared her range of experiences and advice working national security issues across the think tank community in D.C. Come prepared to offer your own questions and observations to help enrich the discussion.
Talk with Anne Witkowsky
April 22, 2014
Anne Witkowsky shared her range of experiences working at the National Security Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the State Department, and her current role leading the Defense Department's Partnership Strategy and Stability Operations office.
Monthly Mentoring Circle
September 26, 2014
On September 26 from 6:00-7:30 pm WIIS-DC hosted an inspiring and stimulating roundtable discussion with Dr. Maria Stephan. She talked about her experience working with civil society and most recently with the Syrian opposition.
The event was held at George Washington University - Phillips Hall 111 (801 22nd Street - about a block from the Foggy Bottom metro stop (Blue/Orange Line).
February 18, 2014
Come listen to Alice Friend share her tips and insight on working and succeeding in the national security realm. Come prepared to offer your own questions and observations to help enrich the discussion.
WIIS DC hosted their Monthly Mentoring Circle featuring Alice Friend. Alice Friend is the Principal Director for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Ms. Friend joined the Department of Defense in 2009 as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. From 2010 to 2012, Ms. Friend was the Senior Advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (DUSD) for Strategy, Plans, and Forces (SPF), supporting the DUSD on the full range of SPF’s portfolio items with a particular focus on global posture initiatives. In addition to her assigned duties, Ms. Friend provided support to the development of the January 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, and led the Policy team responsible for rolling out the Guidance to the public.
Prior to joining SPF, she served as Country Director for Pakistan in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, where she covered the strategic and nuclear issues portfolio. She spearheaded DoD’s participation in the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue ministerial meetings in Washington, D.C., and the U.S.-Pakistan defense bi-lateral Defense Consultative Group talks in Islamabad, Pakistan. For her efforts at the Department, Ms. Friend was awarded the Outstanding Public Service Award in 2009 and the Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2012.
Prior to joining DoD, Ms. Friend held research positions at the Center for a New American Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and authored numerous reports and editorial pieces. Her international experience includes positions at the International Labor Organization and the Public International Law and Policy Group, and work with the Senegalese Association for Research, Study, and Aid to Development through Operation Crossroads Africa.
Ms. Friend has also served as a Case Manager with Catholic Charities homeless shelter programs and as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Smith College and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs and U.S. Foreign Policy from American University. She speaks French and Spanish.