Working Group #1: History of Conservative Thought and Coalition
Edward L. Gaylord Chair/Associate Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University
Professor Ted McAllister, an intellectual historian, brings a historical imagination to the public policy curriculum, a perspective not typical of such programs. His training well equips him to press students to ask the foundational moral questions concerning public policy, leading them back to first principles. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian College, he earned his master’s degree from Claremont Graduate School before completing his doctoral degree in American intellectual and cultural history at Vanderbilt University. A recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, he also received the Leland Sage Fellowship as well as several additional grants including one from the Earhart Foundation.
The author of a volume entitled Revolt Against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order, he has completed a new textbook on American history entitled The Promise of Freedom: A History of the United States. Among his other publications, he has authored the chapter “Reagan and the Transformation of American Conservatism” in The Reagan Presidency. McAllister has lectured frequently on the nature and future of American conservatism, including recent presentations at Oxford University and at Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany.
In addition to his research into conservative philosophy, he is currently working on a history of the baby boomer generation. McAllister serves (with Jean Bethke Elshtain and Wilfred McClay) as an editor of Rowman & Littlefield’s book series, American Intellectual Culture, which is designed to produce books that examine the intersection of culture and politics in American history. At Pepperdine, he teaches the core class entitled Ethical Dimensions of Public Policy: Great Books and Great Ideas, as well as a variety of elective courses that focus on putting policy debates in larger historical and philosophical contexts, including such classes as Comparative Federalism, Public Policy in Modern America, and American Democratic Culture.
Wilfred M. McClay
G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, The University of Oklahoma
Wilfred M. McClay has been named the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. The position of G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty is devoted to teaching students about the evolution of the concept of liberty in Western civilization. The chair also serves as director of the Center for the History of Liberty. Currently, McClay serves as the SunTrust Bank Chair of Excellence in Humanities and Professor of History at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is also co-director of the Center for Reflective Citizenship at UTC. In addition, he serves as a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, and Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum. McClay was appointed in 2002 to the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities, where he served until January.
His book, The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America, won the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American intellectual history. Among his other books are The Student’s Guide to U.S. History, Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America, Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past and the forthcoming Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Public Life in Modern America. McClay received his bachelor of arts degree cum laude from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., in 1974, and his doctoral degree in history from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in 1987. He has taught at Tulane University, Pepperdine University, Georgetown University and the University of Dallas and as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Rome.
Professor of History, Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Chair in History and Politics at Hillsdale College
Richard M. Gamble (Ph.D., University of South Carolina) is Professor of History and holds the Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Chair in History and Politics. His publications include The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation (ISI Books, 2003), The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being (ISI Book, 2007), the chapter on World War I for the Cambridge History of Religions in America (Cambridge UP, 2012), In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth (Continuum, 2012), and a history of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” forthcoming from Cornell University Press. He is currently at work on the first intellectual and religious biography of Julia Ward Howe. His courses, essays, and reviews focus on the history American civil religion and the long argument over the American identity.
Professor of History, The City College of New York
Professor Staloff teaches courses in colonial and revolutionary America. He has published The Making of the American Thinking Class: Intellectuals and Intelligentsia in Puritan Massachusetts” (Oxford University Press) and, most recently, “Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding” (Hill and Wang). He has recorded dozens of audio and video tapes (nationally distributed) on U.S. and world history and major philosophers. He has received many fellowships, including The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University as well as an NEH grant and a post-doctoral fellowship from the Omahundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.
Working Group #2: Religious Liberty
Co-Founder of EMBC
Abby Skeans is the Co-Founder of EMBC (pronounced, “embassy”), a consulting firm that builds strategies for impact investment through creativity and innovation and produces multisensory experiences to help brands and organizations reimagine their mission and values. Deeply committed to issues of justice, Abby has worked with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Annie E. Casey Foundation, among others, to develop strategic grantmaking, partnerships, and campaigns on poverty and opportunity for low income children and families, international development, child welfare, and criminal justice reform. Prior to her domestic work, Abby was based in Kampala, Uganda where she worked with the Government of Uganda and various international and local civil society organizations to craft and contribute to systemic reforms on behalf of children in conflict with the law. She was invited to Malawi and South Sudan to explore opportunities to participate in reforms in the juvenile systems of both countries and created valuable relationships between Government institutions of both countries and American organizations.
Abby began her career in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State where she focused on issues of International Religious Freedom, eventually transitioning to a grantee organization to build capacity between security officials and minority religious communities in Southeast Asia. Abby is a published writer and speaker, and currently serves as an editorial reviewer for The International Journal of Transitional Justice. Her work has been featured in The Economist, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and USA Today. Abby is a graduate of Calvin College and Regent University School of Law. She is a member of the Washington, D.C. Bar, and serves as a Policy Fellow with the American Conservative Union Foundation, an Executive Council Member for Global Unites, and a member of the Ideas Council for the Values and Capitalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute.
Vice Chair US Comm On Religious Freedom
For more than 20 years, Kristina Arriaga de Bucholz has fought for religious freedom in the U.S. and internationally. For seven years she led Becket Law, which Associated Press called a “powerhouse law firm.” During her tenure, Becket won several landmark religious freedom cases including securing the rights of Native Americans to use eagle feathers in their powwows, persuading the army to let a Sikh Bronze Star Medalist serve with his articles of faith, as well as securing the rights of a small order of Catholic nuns who take care of the dying elderly poor. Before Becket Law, she served on the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In 2016, she was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom an independent, bipartisan commission that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief–the only of its kind in the world. She is a sought-out expert on religious freedom and has appeared on MSNBC, CNN Español, C-Span, FOX and NPR among others. She is the 2017 recipient of the Newseum’s Freedom of Expression award for her work Religious Freedom.
Ryan T. Anderson
William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., is the William E. Simon senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, where he researches and writes about marriage, bioethics, religious liberty and political philosophy. Anderson, who joined Heritage in 2012, is also the founder and editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey. He is the author of, The Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, and co-author with Princeton’s Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis of, What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. His research was cited by two U.S. Supreme Court justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, in two separate cases. Anderson received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. He holds a doctoral degree in political philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. His dissertation was titled: “Neither Liberal nor Libertarian: A Natural Law Approach to Social Justice and Economic Rights.” Anderson has made appearances on ABC, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, and Fox News. His work has appeared in major newspapers such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal as well as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, the Harvard Health Policy Review, The Weekly Standard, and National Review.
Associate Professor of Polictical Science at Westmont College
Jesse Covington is Associate Professor of Political Science at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, where he teaches and writes in the fields of political theory and constitutional law. He earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A.R. in Religion at Westminster Theological Seminary, and a B.A. in Political Science from Pepperdine University. Dr. Covington’s research interests focus on the interrelation of religion and government, particularly as regards First Amendment law, natural law, and the foundations of political liberalism. His writing includes publications on John Locke, Saint Augustine, Natural Law, the First Amendment, and Christian liberal arts education. Dr. Covington is currently working on a book manuscript provisionally titled Taken on Faith: The Concept of Religion in First Amendment Jurisprudence. He is also engaged in an ongoing collaborative project on Protestant political morality. Dr. Covington resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife and four children. He has taught at Westmont since 2007 and has also held appointments at Princeton University and Wheaton College.
Assisant Professor of Government at Biola University
Matthew D. Wright is Assistant Professor of Government in the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University. In addition to being a teacher of great books, he is a political theorist who works mainly within the Thomistic-Aristotelian natural law tradition. This entails a methodology particularly sensitive to the diverse forms of natural association and authority that occur within political communities. He is interested in understanding how groups like families and churches relate to the political community and what political life uniquely contributes to the full development of human social capacities. His articles and reviews have appeared in The American Journal of Jurisprudence, Philosophia Christi, and The Catholic Social Science Review (forthcoming), as well as web journals such as The Public Discourse and Ethika Politika. Dr. Wright holds a B.A. in History from Biola University and a Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
Associate Professor of Law & Associate Director, Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies, Pepperdine University
Professor Michael Helfand is an expert on religious law and religious liberty. A frequent author and lecturer, his work considers how U.S. law treats religious law, custom and practice, focusing on the intersection of private law and religion in contexts such as religious arbitration, religious contracts and religious torts. His academic articles have appeared in numerous law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, New York University Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law Review, Southern California Law Review, and University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law. In addition, Professor Helfand often provides commentary on clashes between law and religion, writing for various public audience publications, including The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the National Law Journal and the Forward.
Professor Helfand joined the Pepperdine Law faculty in 2010 where he has taught Contracts, Arbitration Law, Jewish Law and seminars in Law and Religion as well as Multiculturalism and the Law. Professor Helfand also serves as the associate director of the Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Pepperdine University as well as a member of the faculty of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. In addition, he serves as both an arbitrator and consultant for the Beth Din of America.
Working Group #3: The Role of Citizens and Government Institutions
Immigration Policy Analyst, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, Cato Institute
Alex Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute. His popular publications have appeared in virtually every major newspaper in the United States and his academic publications have appeared in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, theFletcher Security Review, and Public Choice. Alex regularly appears on television and radio shows across the United States. He is a native of Southern California and received a BA in economics from George Mason University and a Master of Science in economic history from the London School of Economics.
Director of Domestic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute
Ryan Streeter is the director of domestic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he oversees research in education, American citizenship, politics, public opinion, and social and cultural studies. Before joining AEI, he was executive director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the University of Texas. He previously served as a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London, senior policy advisor to Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and policy advisor to President George W. Bush. His numerous articles, several books, and random media appearances have focused on how family, community, learning, and mobility contribute to upward mobility.
President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity
Avik Roy is the President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity (FREOPP.org), a non-partisan, non-profit think tank that deploys the tools of individual liberty, free enterprise, and technological innovation to expand opportunity to those who least have it. National Review has called Roy one of the nation’s “sharpest policy minds,” while the New York Times’ Paul Krugman concedes, “Roy is about as good as you get in this stuff…he actually knows something.” Roy has advised three presidential candidates on policy, including Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney. As the Senior Advisor to Perry’s campaign in 2015, Roy was also the lead author of Gov. Perry’s major policy speeches. The Wall Street Journal called Perry’s address on intergenerational black poverty “the speech of the campaign so far.”
Roy also serves as the Opinion Editor at Forbes, where he writes on politics and policy, and manages The Apothecary, the influential Forbes blog on health care policy and entitlement reform. Hugh Hewitt has called Roy “the most influential conservative analyst on health care.” NBC’s Chuck Todd, on Meet the Press, said Roy was one “of the most thoughtful guys [who has] been debating” health care reform. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes calls The Apothecary “one of the best takes from conservatives on that set of issues.” Ezra Klein, in the Washington Post, called The Apothecary one of the few “blogs I disagree with [that] I check daily.”
Communications Director, American Action Network
Ruth Guerra is a communications professional with vast experience in political campaigns and policy. Currently, Ruth is the communications director for the American Action Network and its sister super PAC, Congressional Leadership Fund, endorsed by Speaker Paul Ryan. Prior to her current role, Ruth was the sole bilingual spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee during the 2016 presidential primary cycle where she served as Director of Hispanic Media. Ruth started her political communications career as a press secretary for Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart representing South Florida and later as a communications director for Rep. Sam Johnson representing North Texas.
In between her time on Capitol Hill, Ruth was tapped by The LIBRE Initiative to become their first national press secretary. LIBRE is a national, non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that advances the principles and values of economic freedom to the U.S. Hispanic community. Ruth is a proven spokesperson and political commentator on TV and radio, appearances include CNN, MSNBC, Univision, Telemundo, CNN Español, and Entravision. Among Ruth’s most notable media appearances include the two Spanish-language Sunday show, Univision’s Al Punto and Telemundo’s Enfoque. Ruth has been quoted in numerous print and online publications. Ruth was born and raised in McAllen, Texas, and currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Vice President Policy and Program, Manhattan Institute
Troy Senik, is the VP of Policy and Programs, he oversees the progress of projects, manages the flow of publications, and ensures that they are effectively influencing public debates. He brings years of experience in public policy, media, and management as former editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com, host of Ricochet’s Law Talk podcast, vice president of programs for the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Senik, a Pepperdine School of Public Policy alumnus, has written for the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and City Journal and is a former member of the Orange County Register’s editorial board.
Professor Goverment, Georgetown University
Dr. Mitchell is currently professor of political theory. He has been Chairman of the Government Department and also Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs at SFS-Q. During the 2008-10 academic years, Dr. Mitchell was took Leave from Georgetown, and was the Acting Chancellor of The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani. His research interest lies in the relationship between political thought and theology in the West. He has published articles in The Review of Politics, The Journal of Politics, The Journal of Religion, APSR, and Political Theory. In 1993 his book, Not By Reason Alone: Religion, History and Identity in Early Modern Thought, was published by the University of Chicago Press. A second book, The Fragility of Freedom: Tocqueville on Religion, Democracy, and the American Future, was published in 1995, also by the University of Chicago Press. In 2006, Plato’s Fable: on the Mortal Condition in Shadowy Times, was published by Princeton University Press. His most recent book, Tocqueville in Arabia: Dilemmas in Democratic Age, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2013. He is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Reinhold Niebuhr and the Politics of Hope.
Senior Editor Claremont Institute
William Voegeli is a senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books and author of: Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State (Encounter Books); and The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion (Broadside Books). A visiting scholar at Claremont McKenna College’s Henry Salvatori Center, his work has appeared in the City Journal, Commentary, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. Mr. Voegeli received his Ph.D. in political science from Loyola University in Chicago and was a program officer for the John M. Olin Foundation from 1988 to 2003.
Invest American Fund
Kahlil is a political entrepreneur and expert at building and leading large, disruptive, technology-based advocacy and political reform organizations. For the past fifteen years, Kahlil has specialized in creating long-term strategy, securing substantial investments and achieving reform at the state and national levels. He is the founder and CEO of the Invest America Fund, a seed fund building a community, joining social and political entrepreneurs with funders committed to cross-partisan policy transformation. They target and support leaders and organizations whose ideas and approaches have the potential to reach and improve the lives of 150 million or more American voters. The Fund is building a national matrix of steady-state funders to tackle the most important issues facing our country today and is inspiring a “Silicon Valley” for political reform.
Kahlil formerly served as president of StudentsFirst, a multi-million dollar national reform effort focused on changing the nation’s legislative and policy landscape for public education. Working with the senior team and the board, Kahlil was responsible for StudentsFirst’s long-term strategy, operations, budget, and effort to develop an optimal culture focused on growth. Before StudentsFirst, Kahlil was chief executive officer and cofounder of Americans Elect, a national start-up with the twofold mission of re-imagining, through technology, the U.S. presidential primary system and placing a bi-partisan presidential ticket on all 50 state ballots. Kahlil and his team raised more than $40 million, oversaw over 150 paid staff, 5,000 contractors, and 3,000 volunteers nationwide. AmericansElect.org is the winner of the 2012 People’s Choice Award at South by Southwest, one of the country’s largest interactive technology conferences; the Campaigns & Elections 2012 CampaignTech Innovator Award; and two 2012 CLIO Awards for content and interactive excellence. Kahlil is a graduate of Morehouse College and Harvard Kennedy School.
Senior Director for Emerging Issues and Research, U.S. Chamber Foundation
As the senior director for emerging issues and research at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Michael Hendrix leads the Foundation’s public policy research and outreach. In addition, Hendrix directs the Foundation’s Cities & States Initiative, which educates community leaders in practical solutions for creating entrepreneurial opportunity and thriving economies. Hendrix is a frequent author and speaker on economic development, startups, and technology policy, including in City Journal, National Affairs, and National Review and at conferences such as SxSW. He is also a recurring speaker and contributor for the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, Hendrix served as a fellow at the National Review Institute and as program assistant at the Center for International Private Enterprise, where he coordinated programs to institute market-oriented reforms around the world. He is a graduate of the University of St. Andrews with an M.A. (Hons) in international relations and holds a certificate in strategy and performance management from Georgetown University.
Working Group #4: America’s Role in the World
Robert G. Kaufman
Robert and Katheryn Dockson Professor of Public Policy
Robert G. Kaufman is a political scientist specializing in American foreign policy, national security, international relations, and various aspects of American politics. Kaufman received his JD from Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C., and his BA, MA, M. Phil., and PhD from Columbia University in the city of New York. In May 2016, Kaufman received an LLM in dispute resolution from the Straus Institute at the Pepperdine University School of Law. Kaufman has written frequently for scholarly journals and popular publications, including The Weekly Standard, Policy Review, The Washington Times, the Baltimore Sun, The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Lifezette.
He is the author of four books, including his most recent, Dangerous Doctrine: How Obama’s Grand Strategy Weakened America (University Press of Kentucky, May 6, 2016). His other publications include In Defense of the Bush Doctrine; a biography, Henry M. Jackson: A Life in Politics, which received the Emil and Katherine Sick Award for the best book on the history of the Pacific Northwest; and Arms Control During the Pre-Nuclear Era. Kaufman also assisted President Richard M. Nixon in the research and writing of Nixon’s final book, Beyond Peace. Kaufman is a former Bradley Scholar and current adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation. He has taught at Colgate University, The Naval War College, and the University of Vermont.
Contributing Editor American Affairs
James Poulos is an author, social theorist, and strategist working at the intersection of governance, technology, and culture. His first book, The Art of Being Free, was published this year by St. Martin’s Press. The contributing editor at American Affairs, James has covered the future of human freedom and equality for over a decade at publications from Foreign Policy to Vice, drawing praise inThe Atlantic, The New York Times, New York, Vox, and The Washington Post, among many others. He is a principal at Contra DC, a creative communications firm, and a fellow at the Center for the Study of Digital Life, a strategic research group dedicated to understanding the effects of digital technologies on both western and eastern civilizations.
James earned a B.A. with honors in political science from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of Southern California. He studied philosophy and war at King’s College London and is completing his doctorate in political theory at Georgetown University, where he was awarded the William V. O’Brien fellowship in international law, as well as fellowships from the Claremont Institute, the Bradley Foundation, the Earhart Foundation, and the Tocqueville Forum. He has delivered remarks at colleges and universities across the country and at organizations including The Atlantic Council, The Institute for the Advanced Study of Culture, and The Manhattan Institute, and has appeared as a featured guest on HBO, MSNBC, FOX, NPR, and media outlets nationwide. Previously, James was the Director of Communications for the Heraion Foundation, which enabled rescue and recovery operations for over 100 individuals held in extremist captivity in conflict zones. He lives with his son in Los Angeles.
Claremont McKenna College
Elizabeth Edwards Spalding is Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College, where she teaches U.S. foreign policy and American government and directs CMC’s Washington, D.C. program. The author of The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism and the co-author of A Brief History of the Cold War, she has also contributed to several volumes on the presidency, American foreign policy, and grand strategy. She earned her PhD and MA from the University of Virginia and her BA from Hillsdale College.
Policy Director, Economic Growth Program at New America
Michael Lind is co-founder of New America, along with Walter Mead, Sherle Schwenninger, and Ted Halstead. Lind became New America’s first fellow in 1999. With Ted Halstead, he wrote New America’s manifesto, The Radical Center (2001). He wrote the first book published under the New America imprint with Basic Books, Made in Texas: George W. Bush and the Southern Takeover of American Politics (2003). With Sherle Schwenninger, Lind co-founded the American Strategy program, named after Lind’s book The American Way of Strategy (2006) and later directed by Steve Clemons. At present he is policy director of the Economic Growth program, which he founded along with Sherle Schwenninger. A graduate of the University of Texas and Yale, Lind has taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins and has been an editor or staff writer for The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic and The National Interest. Lind is a columnist for Salon and writes frequently for The New York Times and The Financial Times. He is the author of numerous books of history, political journalism, fiction, poetry, and children’s literature. His most recent book is Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States (2012).
President-Government Relations, The Estophinan Group
Sr. Level International and Public Affairs Chief with 27 years experience in the US Congress and former Chief of Staff and Official Spokesperson for the Chairman Emeritus of the House of Foreign Affairs Committee. Serve as a senior advisor on legislation dealing with governmental and foreign affairs and able to effectively advocate, support and advance legislative initiatives relating to pertinent issues and bring them to the Hill on both the House and Senate side. In-depth understanding of the intangible qualities in economic and political infrastructures, combined with first-hand government experience at the highest levels around the globe. Sound knowledge of public policy and the political arena including legislative, administrative, and lobbying processes, policies and procedures with strong ties to both major political parties. Proven record of advancing important issues through the legislative process.