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Covering Nuclear Issues

A Workshop for Journalists

Speakers & Participants


Matthew Bunn is a professor of practice at Harvard Kennedy School and co-principal investigator of The Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. His research interests include nuclear theft and terrorism; nuclear proliferation and measures to control it; the future of nuclear energy and its fuel cycle; and policies to promote innovation in energy technologies. Before joining the Kennedy School in 1997, he served for three years as an adviser to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he played a major role in U.S. policies related to the control and disposition of weapons-usable nuclear materials in the United States and the former Soviet Union, and directed a secret study for President Clinton on security for nuclear materials in Russia. Previously, Bunn was at the National Academy of Sciences, where he directed the two-volume study “Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium.” He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and a consultant to the Pacific Northwest and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of the Arms Control Association. Bunn is the author or co-author of more than 25 books and book-length technical reports and over 150 articles in publications ranging from Science and Nuclear Technology to Foreign Policy and The Washington Post. He appears regularly on television and radio.

Fiona Cunningham is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at MIT and a predoctoral fellow in the Cyber Security Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Her dissertation explains state choices of military strategy in the nuclear, space and cyber domains, with an empirical focus on China. In 2015-16 she was a research fellow at the Renmin University of China in Beijing. Before joining MIT, Cunningham was a research associate in nuclear policy at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia.

Francesca Giovannini is the program director for global security and international affairs at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Among other projects, she is responsible for two main nuclear initiatives: The Global Nuclear Future, which engages nuclear newcomers and nuclear aspirant countries in the Middle East and Asia in discussions on nuclear nonproliferation, safety and security; and Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age, which examines the escalation scenarios that might lead to the actual use of nuclear weapons. Giovannini additionally is an adjunct professor of international security at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She is also the course co-director of Isodarco (International School on Disarmament and Research on Conflicts) and serves as an associate to The Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and as an affiliate to the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Giovannini served the United Nations for five years, both as a consultant to the United Nations Crisis Prevention and Recovery Network and as a post-conflict state-building specialist for the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Beirut, Lebanon. She also served in the Gaza Strip, Turkey and Ghana. She regularly speaks at international conferences and workshops across Asia and Europe.

Melissa Hanham is a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif. She studies the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with particular focus on North Korean procurement and proliferation networks. She uses commercial satellite imagery, ground images and other data sets to understand WMD capabilities, proliferation and the verification of international nonproliferation and disarmament treaties.

Corey Hinderstein serves as vice president of international fuel cycle strategies at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), She returned to NTI in December 2017 after a three-year leave, during which she was senior coordinator for nuclear security and nonproliferation policy affairs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). At DOE, Hinderstein led its Iran Task Force, responsible for the development and implementation of policy and activities related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran. She also advised the deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation on other significant policy and communications initiatives. She was the department’s lead for the logistical preparations for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and served as the DOE’s representative on the White House Summit (“Sherpa”) team. From 2006 to 2015, Hinderstein served as vice president for international programs at NTI, working on global nuclear nonproliferation and security. She led the development and launch of the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS), and serves on its Board of Directors. She also played a significant role in NTI’s initiative to create an international low-enriched uranium bank at the International Atomic Energy Agency. Hinderstein is currently president of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), and a member of Women in International Security and the American Nuclear Society.

lipinski4-150x150Ann Marie Lipinski is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and curator of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, home to an international fellowship program and an innovative group of publications about journalism, including Nieman Lab, Nieman Reports and Nieman Storyboard.  Before coming to Harvard, Lipinski served as senior lecturer and vice president for civic engagement at the University of Chicago. Prior to that, she was the editor-in-chief and senior vice president of the Chicago Tribune, a post she held for nearly eight years following assignments as managing editor, metropolitan editor and investigations editor. As a reporter at the Tribune, Lipinski was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism for stories she wrote with two other reporters on government corruption in Chicago. While editor of the paper, she oversaw work that won Pulitzers in international reporting, feature writing, editorial writing, investigative reporting and explanatory journalism. Lipinski is a trustee of The Poynter Institute and a past co-chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and sits on the executive committee of Harvard’s Center for African Studies.

Vipin Narang is associate professor of political science at MIT and a member of MIT’s Security Studies Program. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies, a predoctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a Stanton junior faculty fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research interests include nuclear proliferation and strategy, South Asian security and general security studies. Narang’s first book “Nuclear Strategy in the Modern Era,” on the deterrence strategies of regional nuclear powers, won the 2015 International Security Studies Section Best Book Award from the International Studies Association (ISA). He is currently working on his second book, “Strategies of Nuclear Proliferation,” which explores how states pursue nuclear weapons. His work has been published in several journals including International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, The Washington Quarterly, and International Organization.

Mahsa Rouhi is a postdoctoral fellow at the International Security Program and The Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is also a research associate at MIT’s Center for International Studies, where she has worked on various research projects since 2009. From 2014–2016, Rouhi was a visiting assistant professor in the political science department at the University of Miami, where she taught courses on security and diplomacy in international relations, conflict resolution, Islam and politics, and foreign policy, with a special focus on the Middle East. She was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow and an associate with the International Security Program and The Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs from 2010–2013. Her research primarily focuses on nuclear security and security policy in the Middle East, and Iran in particular. Her other research interests include energy security, Islam and politics and civil-military relations. She has published op-eds in Al-Monitor, National Interest and The Christian Science Monitor and serves as a consultant to national and international organizations.

Gary Samore is executive director for research at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. In 2015, Samore was appointed as a member of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) under Secretary Ernest Moniz and served until January 2017. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and member of the advisory board for United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). Samore served for four years as President Obama’s White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), including as U.S. sherpa for the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., and the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea. From 2006 to 2009, he was vice president for studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), where he held the Maurice R. Greenberg chair and directed the David Rockefeller Studies Program. Before joining CFR, Samore was vice president for global security and sustainability at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, and from 2001 to 2005, he was director of studies and Senior Fellow for Nonproliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, where he produced three “strategic dossiers” on Iran, North Korea and Iraq. Samore was special assistant to the president and senior director for nonproliferation and export controls during the Clinton administration. Before joining the National Security Council, Samore worked on nonproliferation issues at the U.S. State Department. In 1995, he received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service for his role in negotiating the 1994 North Korea nuclear agreement.

David E. Sanger  is a national security correspondent for The New York Times, an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and was the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ first senior fellow for National Security and the Press. During his 35-year career at the Times, Sanger has been a member of three teams that won the Pulitzer Prize, including the 2017 Pulitzer for international reporting on the Russian hack of the American elections. He has served as a foreign correspondent in Japan, as chief economic correspondent, White House correspondent and chief Washington correspondent for the Times, and has received many of journalism’s top awards for national security, foreign policy and White House reporting. He is also the author of two best-sellers on foreign policy: “The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power” and “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power.”  With Graham Allison, he teaches “Central Challenges of American National Security, Strategy and the Press” at the Kennedy School.

Angela Schlater is a program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she manages grants for education and training and congressional engagement in the Nuclear Challenges area and is a working group member of 100&Change. She was previously employed at the foundation as a program associate for research and grant writer in the International Peace & Security program from 1996-2004. Before returning to the foundation as a consultant in 2012, Schlater worked on archival projects as an independent historian.

William Tobey is a senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He was deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2006-2009. There, he managed the U.S. government’s largest program to prevent nuclear proliferation and terrorism by detecting, securing and disposing of dangerous nuclear material. Tobey also served on the National Security Council staff under three presidents, in defense policy, arms control and counter-proliferation positions. He has participated in international negotiations ranging from the START talks with the Soviet Union to the Six Party Talks with North Korea. He also has 10 years of experience in investment banking and venture capital. He serves on the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He chairs the board of the World Institute for Nuclear Security.

Katlyn Turner is a postdoctoral fellow at The Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She earned her Ph.D. from the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences at Stanford University, where her dissertation focused on the atomic structures of nuclear materials in extreme conditions. Her current research focuses on nuclear proliferation risk, the development of current and emerging nuclear technologies and issues related to nuclear waste management.

Jim Walsh is a senior research associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program. His research and writings focus on international security, and in particular, topics involving nuclear weapons, the Middle East and East Asia. Walsh has testified before the United States Senate and House of Representatives on issues of nuclear terrorism, Iran and North Korea. He is one of a handful of Americans who has traveled to both Iran and North Korea for talks with officials about nuclear issues. His recent publications include “Stopping North Korea, Inc.: Sanctions Effectiveness and Unintended Consequences” and “Rivals, Adversaries, and Partners: Iran and Iraq in the Middle East” in “Iran and Its Neighbors.” He is an international security contributor to the NPR program “Here and Now” and his comments and analysis have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and numerous other national and international media outlets.  Before joining MIT, Walsh was executive director of The Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has taught at both Harvard University and MIT.

Alex Wellerstein is an assistant professor of science and technology studies in the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. He previously was a postdoctoral fellow at The Project on Managing the Atom and the International Security Program at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and an associate historian at the Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics. He is completing a manuscript on the history of nuclear secrecy in the United States and is the author of “Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog,” the creator of the nuclear weapons effects simulator website NUKEMAP, and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker’s Elements website. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine and The Atlantic Online, and his research has been profiled in The New York Times, “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” NPR’s “Radiolab,” “On the Media,” “Morning Edition” and “Science Friday,” among other venues. He is a co-principal investigator on the Reinventing Civil Defense Project, funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Spencer Ackerman is the senior national security correspondent for The Daily Beast. A former U.S. national security editor for The Guardian, he was part of the Pulitzer Prize–winning team that reported on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, work which won several other awards. Before that, he was a senior writer for Wired magazine, where his series on Islamophobic counterterrorism training won the 2012 National Magazine Award for digital reporting.

Idrees Ali is a Pentagon correspondent for Reuters, currently based in Washington, D.C. Covering the secretary of defense, he has reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and a number of other countries. Ali is from Pakistan, where he has spent most of his life.

Ethan Bronner is a senior editor at Bloomberg News, where he writes and edits international and analytic pieces. He joined Bloomberg after 17 years at The New York Times, where he was, among other things, Jerusalem bureau chief, deputy foreign editor and deputy national editor.

Desmond Butler is on the international investigative team at The Associated Press, based in Washington, D.C. He was previously the AP’s chief correspondent for Turkey, the AP’s diplomatic correspondent in D.C., and the leader of an AP investigation of USAID’s clandestine work in Cuba. Prior to joining the AP, Butler worked as a metro reporter in New York and as a Berlin-based reporter for the investigative desk of The New York Times, covering terrorism in Europe.

Jesselyn Cook is a Canadian-American reporter at HuffPost, where she covers world news and foreign affairs. She’s also completing her master’s degree in international relations at New York University.

Danielle Douez is an Atlanta-based associate politics editor at The Conversation, U.S., where she helps scholars funnel their expertise into accessible explainers and news analyses for a lay audience. Before joining The Conversation, Douez was a communications specialist for the Southern Regional Education Board. She has written for the Miami Herald and The Alexandria Times.

Uri Friedman is a staff writer at The Atlantic magazine, covering U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the North Korean nuclear crisis. He was previously the editor of The Atlantic’s Global section and the deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

Varghese K. George is associate editor and the U.S. correspondent for The Hindu, India’s second largest English-language newspaper, where he previously served as political editor and chief of bureau. His work has won several awards, including India’s Ramnath Goenka Journalist of the Year award in 2005.

Jennifer Griffin is a national security correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC), where she reports daily from the Pentagon. She has also worked for FNC as a Jerusalem-based correspondent and reporter in Moscow. Prior to joining FNC, Griffin covered the Middle East for several American media organizations including National Public Radio and U.S. News & World Report. She is also the co-author of the book, “This Burning Land: Lessons from the Frontlines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” which she wrote with her husband, Greg Myre, about their experiences in Israel.

Jiha Ham is with the Voice of America’s Korean Service. Prior to joining VOA, he worked for The Korea Times New York while contributing stories to The New York Times. He is currently covering North Korea’s nuclear development and illicit activities, as well as the international response to those activities.

Lara Jakes is the foreign policy editor at The New York Times’s Washington D.C. bureau. Before joining The Times, she was the deputy managing editor and then managing editor for news at Foreign Policy magazine and co-authored “The American Pope,” which was published by the Vatican in 2016. Prior to that, she worked for The Associated Press, including as Baghdad bureau chief and as a national security writer. Earlier, she was a national correspondent for Hearst Newspapers and worked at the Times Union in Albany, N.Y.

Sipho Kings is the Mail & Guardian’s environment reporter. Based in South Africa, he has won numerous awards for his work, including for an investigation into the impact of air pollution on human health, and for reporting that helps to uphold the South African constitution. He is currently a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, and is the first-ever Nieman Fellow from Swaziland.

Jacqueline Klimas is a national security reporter for Politico in Washington D.C. She previously worked at the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times, where she covered defense issues on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon.

Erica Pandey is a reporter at Axios covering breaking news in national and world politics. She’s looking to specialize in U.S.-China relations and has contributed to China expert Bill Bishop’s Sinocism newsletter. Before Axios, Pandey was a student at Yale University, where she majored in English and edited the campus newspaper. Her family is from Nepal, a country she loves to visit.

Usha Sahay is the managing editor and a founding member of War on the Rocks, where she runs the site’s daily editorial process and publishes long-form national security commentary by scholars, former government officials, members of the military and other experts. Previously, she worked as a home page editor at The Wall Street Journal, helping to cover the 2016 presidential election, and a news editor at HuffPost focusing on politics and foreign policy. She started her career at The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, where she worked on nuclear nonproliferation and arms control issues first as a Herbert Scoville, Jr. Peace Fellow and then as the center’s director of digital outreach.

Jeb Sharp is senior editor and correspondent at PRI’s The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston. She has been with the public radio program for 20 years, including stints as reporter, podcaster, host, show producer, special correspondent and now editor. She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club of America for best interpretation of international affairs. Other honors include a Dart Award for Excellence in Coverage of Trauma, and a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. She also teaches audio journalism at Northeastern University

Julie Vitkovskaya is an operations editor for The Washington Post focusing on foreign and national security. She joined the Post in 2015 after spending two years in South Korea working at an English-language newspaper as a Princeton in Asia fellow. She has worked on interactive graphics on topics such as Russia’s efforts to influence the U.S. presidential election and Donald Trump’s campaign ties to Russia. In her current role, Vitkovskaya helps elevate important stories in national security using graphics and design. She also focuses on audience development.

Edward Wong is an international correspondent for The New York Times who served as the Beijing bureau chief and China correspondent from 2008 to 2017, covering Chinese politics, economics, the military, foreign policy, the environment and culture. He has reported across Asia, including in Afghanistan, North Korea and Myanmar. He also covered the Iraq War as a Baghdad-based correspondent, and received the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for his Iraq reporting. He was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting and has received awards for his China reporting and for sports writing. He also reported for the business, metro and sports desks before going overseas. He is currently a fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and previously taught as a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University.