2019 Conference

Uncertain futures: trade, power, and the changing nature of political risk

March 8, 2019

The Fletcher school
160 Packard avenue
Medford, MA 02155

The conference will concentrate on the macro and micro elements of the shifting geopolitical balance of power, the changes to economic policies of regional and world powers, and how these dynamics are increasing sources of political risk in their own right. The Conference’s panels will help business leaders and policy professionals understand what specific elements are driving changes to the political risk landscape for trade and new political trends, and how multinational companies are addressing the emergence of new players in the Global South as political risk factors.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2019 Fletcher Political Risk Conference.

See the full conference schedule here.

Keynote Address

Geopolitical recessions:
what our changing world means for power, politics and trade


Keynote speaker

Meredith Sumpter — Eurasia Group / Head, Research Strategy & Operations

Meredith Sumpter has more than 15 years of experience in policy, analysis, business and management. She leads the firm's research management and strategy in addition to her global advisory and executive advisory work. Meredith is a leading strategic thinker on global politics and foreign policy, regularly speaking at conferences and to the media. Her experience is steeped in both politics and strategy, spanning multiple regions and sectors including ICT, media and public relations, fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare, banking and finance, and commodities.

Meredith joined Eurasia Group after leading strategic advisory for Fortune 500 clients across Asia, including in Indonesia, India, and China. Prior to that, she served as a government analyst and a diplomat, including in Beijing, where she advised two US ambassadors and analyzed politics, economics, and security issues for the policy community. She has held positions at the Asia Foundation and the International Crisis Group, as well as in the USSenate. She started her career working among business executives and engineers at a Fortune 100 multinational company, where she worked to expand the company's product base worldwide. Meredith is an honors graduate of both the London School of Economics and Political Science (master of science degree) and the University of Washington in Seattle (double bachelor's degree). She hails from the Pacific Northwest and, along with her husband Ryan, enjoys a rich life parenting four children.

panel one: birth of a new world disorder

The global economy is becoming increasingly multipolar in light of the Global North’s protectionist policies while the Global South is asserting itself on the global stage. With a rising China and resurgent Russia, what events led to this changing global balance and how is the political risk industry changing to adapt to a landscape more difficult to project? Many didn’t believe that Trump would carry through with his threats on global trade or that Brexit would happen, but both are now inextricably linked to the global economic outlook. Did these major events push political risk calculations towards more circumspect outlooks for liberal democratic countries?


Mary Karol Cline — EY / Senior Policy Advisor

Mary Cline is a senior PhD political scientist with more than 20 years of experience in the private, public, and academic sectors. She is a specialist in foreign affairs, political economy, and political risk, with extensive international experience, including residential positions in Russia, the UAE, and Germany. Her career has spanned appointments at the RAND Corporation (Graduate Fellow), the US Department of State, Eurasia Group, and Georgetown University (Adjunct), where she taught masters-level courses on Political Risk Assessment and Public Private Partnerships for Social Development.

She is now at EY, serving as a policy and research advisor in the Office in the Global Chairman and CEO. As part of this role, Mary works with the Geostrategic Business Group, briefs senior leadership, and contributes to strategic projects. Mary completed her undergraduate work at Bowdoin College (1988) in Maine and her PhD at UCLA (2000) with specialties in comparative politics, Russian studies, and quantitative methods.


Charles Myers — Signum Global Advisors / Founder

Charles Myers has over 20 years of US political and electoral experience advising candidates in Presidential, Senate, House of Representatives, Gubernatorial and Mayoral races, including Hillary Clinton for President 2016.  He also has 25 years of experience in global financial markets.

As Chairman, Charles works with financial institutions and multi-national businesses to anticipate and assess policy agendas and announcements.  Areas of expertise include US foreign policy and the implications of the Trump presidency in the US, Europe and Asia. Charles also forecasts global trade policy, energy dynamics and regulation within the financial, energy and technology sectors in the US, UK and Europe.  

Formerly Vice Chairman of Evercore ISI, he was the Founding Partner & Head of the Institutional Equities business. Prior to that, Charles served as Global Head of Equities and Board Member at Fox-Pitt, Kelton.

Charles serves on the Board of Trustees of the Central Park Conservancy, the Board of the Mayor's Fund for NYC, and previously served on the NYC Host Committee for the 2016 Democratic Convention. Charles has a BA from Amherst College in Massachusetts and a post-graduate M. Phil degree from Cambridge University in England. He lives in New York City with his four children.


Shehzad H. Qazi — China Beige Book International / Managing Director  

Shehzad joined China Beige Book International in 2012 and has since supervised the firm’s analytics team and data collection efforts. As the managing director, he also oversees the productive innovation, business acquisition and corporate strategy of China Beige Book International.

Shehzad has had substantial experience in strategic market research and analysis, especially for frontier and emerging markets. His area of expertise also includes strategic communication and polling design. Prior to joining China Beige Book International, Shehzad was the senior project manager at a strategic public opinion research firm. 

Shehzad holds an M.A. in International Relations from New York University and a B.A. in International Studies from Indiana University. He writes regularly for Foreign Policy, Huffington Post, World Politics Review, and World Affairs, and is an elected member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

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Tom West – The Cohen Group / Vice President

Founded in 2001 by former U.S. Secretary of Defense and Senator Bill Cohen, The Cohen Group (TCG) provides advice and assistance to companies across many sectors, including energy, healthcare, technology, finance, manufacturing, defense and aerospace. TCG is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has offices in China, India, Australia, the Middle East, and London. Tom West joined The Cohen Group in 2015, following a career in the U.S. Department of State and at the White House. At TCG, Tom assists clients in the satellite communications, engineering and design, consumer goods, energy, and aerospace sectors, among others.He is a member of the firm’s South Asia and Middle East teams.

Prior to joining TCG, Tom worked at the White House from 2012-2015, serving on the National Security Council as Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan and as Special Advisor to Vice President Biden. From 2011-2012, he served as the State Department's senior diplomat in Kunar province, Afghanistan. Earlier in his career, Tom served as a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and helped to finalize the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Initiative. He received a BA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and he speaks French and Pashto.

panel two: operating in an age of crises

As politicians look at global trade through the lens of domestic politics and as new economic heavyweights look to reorient the axis of global trade, how are multinational companies and international investment firms coping with managing political risk both abroad and at home?


Distinguished speaker

DJ Peterson — Longview Global Advisors / President

Longview Global Advisors provides a relevant world view to business leaders and investors, and DJ Peterson’s mission is to help them monitor and make sense of the global  political, economic, and social trends.

In 2013, DJ founded Longview Global Advisors, a consultancy that works with clients on a range of tasks from strategic planning to market intelligence to thought leadership, and executive positioning. To tackle their needs, the firm draws on a network of over one hundred countries, sector, and issue experts around the world. DJ has advised firms in a range of sectors, including financial services, insurance, consumer goods, automotive, industrial products, energy and mining, life sciences, technology and telecommunications, and professional services.

DJ frequently speaks to and writes for top-level business audiences, and has been quoted in publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and CNN. DJ received his B.A. in Area Studies and Russian from Duke University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA. He is based in Los Angeles, California


Sarah Cartmell — Manager for International Government Relations / Ford Motor Company

Based in Washington, DC, Sarah develops Ford’s global trade policy strategy and advocacy while advising Ford business units and functional teams on key developments. Sarah also leads Ford engagement with governments and stakeholders on a portfolio of trade, regulatory, and security-related policy issues for Ford’s European, Middle Eastern and African operations.

Prior to joining Ford in 2015, Sarah spent four years at General Electric as part of a mid-career commercial leadership rotational program. She led strategic marketing and product commercialization initiatives for GE Corporate, GE Transportation, and GE Automation.

Sarah was also an economic policy advisor for the European Commission in Washington, DC and a government relations specialist at the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. She was a fellow at the German Parliament and started her career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida.

Sarah has a master’s degree in International Political Economy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and bachelor degrees in Journalism and German from Northwestern University. She is a board member of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and an Atlantik-Bruecke Young Leader. She speaks native English and fluent German.


Mathew Shapiro — Oxford Analytica / Managing Director

Matthew joined Oxford Analytica in 2017 as a member of the Leadership Team and leads the firm’s client engagements throughout both North and South America.

Matthew has extensive experience in macro risk consulting, spanning both qualitative and quantitative technology applications for the sector. Most recently, he ran the Global Markets group at Predata Inc., a cutting-edge predictive risk analytics platform using open-source digital and social information to quantify country risk. Previously, he served in leadership roles at Eurasia Group, a New York based political risk advisory firm, where he was responsible for business development, consulting, research management, and product innovation.

He holds a MSc in International Relations from Royal Holloway College, University of London, and a BA in History and English from Franklin & Marshall College. Matthew lives in New York with his wife Keturah and their children Olivia and Henry.


Sarah Thorn — Senior Director, Global Government Affairs / Walmart

Sarah is primarily responsible for managing global government relations related to supply chain and trade issues at Walmart. In this capacity, she advocates for Walmart priorities in legislation and trade negotiations that impact the company’s worldwide sourcing, e-commerce and retail distribution rights. She also leads a team that drives global public policy in support of Walmart’s responsible sourcing commitments. Most recently, Sarah has expanded her portfolio to manage Walmart’s UK government relations, focused on BREXIT negotiations.

In 2011, Sarah led the strategy team that developed Walmart’s Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative, which is focused on empowering women throughout Walmart’s global supply chain. She is actively involved in the implementation of the initiative, focusing primarily stakeholder engagement and global partnerships.

Before joining Walmart, Sarah worked for seven years at the Grocery Manufacturers Association where she led the food, beverage and consumer products industry advocacy on international trade issues. Sarah has also worked as a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers on business mobility issues and served as an international relations representative with AMP Incorporated. Sarah began her career in Washington asa Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Information Agency.

She holds a Master of Arts degree in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies and comparative literature cum laude from Duke University. She has been recognized as a Top Lobbyist by The Hill magazine and serves as co-chair of the board of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and Secretary of the Board of the Washington International Trade Association.

breakout session speakers


Dr. David Glancy — Professor of Strategy and Statecraft / The Institute for World Politics

Dr. David A. Glancy teaches a course on political risk analysis and forecasting at IWP, has done political risk consulting work for clients in the U.S. and abroad, and serves as an advisor to the Fletcher Political Risk Group.

Prior to joining IWP, Dr. Glancy was an Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked on a variety of issues including serving as an Assistant Professor (contractor) with the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) at National Defense University.

Before moving to consulting, Dr. Glancy held positions at both the State Department and Defense Department. At the State Department, he served as a Senior Advisor for Political-Military Affairs. At the Defense Department, Dr. Glancy was a policy analyst and advisor with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Dr. Glancy earned his M.A.L.D. and Doctorate in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University; an M.B.A.from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago; and a B.A., from the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus.

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Andras Petho — Direkt36 / Co-founder

Andras Petho is a co-founder and editor of Direkt36, an investigative reporting center based in Hungary. Previously, he was a senior editor at news site Origo, which he left in protest against political pressure in 2014. During his 17 years as a journalist, he also worked for the BBC World Service and spent 8 months at the investigative unit of The Washington Post, where he contributed to several major reporting projects. In 2008, he spent three months in the United States as a World Press Institute fellow, visiting newsrooms and covering the historic presidential election campaign. In 2012 and 2013 he was a Humphrey fellow at the University of Maryland where he took courses in data journalism and investigative reporting.

He received the Soma Award, the prestigious annual award dedicated to investigative journalism in Hungary, two times. He has been reporting extensively about political corruption and in recent years he has focused on how people with close ties to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban are benefiting from public funds. He has been a member of a number of international investigative collaborations, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Panama Papers project that exposed the hidden world of offshore businesses. He taught journalism courses at Hungarian colleges and gave speeches at various conferences.

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Wolfango Piccoli — Teneo / Co-President, Political Risk Advisory

Wolfango Piccoli is a Co-President with Teneo. He is responsible for co-managing Teneo’s global political risk platform and for the specific coverage of Europe. As director of research, he ensures the relevance, timeliness, rigor, and accuracy of the firm’s political risk advisory and consulting service.

Wolf has a long experience in advising financial institutions and corporations on political developments in Europe. Specifically, he focuses on the interplay between business and government, and the impact of legislative, regulatory, and electoral outcomes on clients’ business and investment strategies.

Prior to joining Teneo, Wolf was the director of the London office and led the Europe practice at Eurasia Group. He often appears on major TV networks and is frequently quoted in the world’s leading newspapers.

Wolf holds a Ph.D. in International Politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Bilkent (Ankara)


Cenk Sidar — GlobalWonks / Co-Founder and CEO

Cenk spent 12 years as a global risk executive before launching GloballWonks as its CEO. he has worked extensively assisting top financial institutions, multinational corporations, risk management first, and legal firms operating in high-risk regions. Cenk has written for, been interviewed by, and worked with the world's leading newspapers and media organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, CCTV and Al Jazeera. He has also addressed audiences around the world, including at UK House of Commons, Cornell, Tufts, Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and CFR.

In 2012, Cenkhas been selected as one of the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 in the world by the Diplomatic Courier and the Young Foreign Policy Professionals. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Advisory Council, Atlantic Council, Turkish Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), Atlantik-Brucke e. V., the European Young Leaders Program, the Jean Monnet Program, the Project Interchange Alumni, and the American Academy of Achievement. He is fluent in English and German.

Cenk holds a master’s degree in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, a postgraduate degree in European studies from SAIS Bologna Center in Italy, and a Bachelor’s degree in business administration and international relations from the Istanbul Bilgi University.

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