Perry World House named its class of visiting fellows for the 2023-24 academic year.
Since 2016, PWH — Penn’s center for global policy and engagement — has invited intellectual and industry leaders to take part in its Visitors Program. The 24 incoming visitors are experts in fields spanning climate, finance, journalism, and architecture.
“We are thrilled about this year’s cohort of visitors, and we look forward to Penn students having opportunities to engage with them,” Interim Director of PWH Michael Weisberg wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “Each visitor brings a level of expertise in some of the biggest challenges facing our world — climate change, international security, and the future of the global economy — and will enrich students’ education with their global perspectives.”
Robin Michael Garcia is a visiting scholar in this year’s cohort and the president and CEO of WR Advisory Group, a public affairs firm. He specializes in political science and public affairs, specifically with a focus on the Phillippines, Taiwan, and Asian global affairs.
“I met with [PWH Global Order Program Manager Thomas] Shattuck … and we got to talking about Taiwan and how we agree that there's a big gap in Filipino discourse and discourse in the United States, in Washington, about the importance of the Philippines on the issue of Taiwan,” Garcia told the DP. “We thought that it would be good to collaborate on popularizing the issue of Taiwan on making sure that Filipino policymakers and people — Washington policymakers — think about Taiwan in the right way.”
Garcia, who has extensive experience in Asian foreign policy, said he looks forward to the programs that he will be undertaking as a PWH scholar.
“We'll be doing programs, not just in the U.S., but also in the Philippines,” he said. “So we're thinking about setting up a huge public forum with Filipino policymakers and with some Perry World House officials to converse about the Taiwan issue.”
Some of the other visiting fellows and scholars in this year’s cohort include the CEO and secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the former president of the United Nations Security Council, a career diplomat, and a landscape architect focused on urban adaptibility.
Jagan Chapagain is the CEO and secretary general of the IFRC, and this year’s Wolk Visiting Fellow. A Nepali national, he was a youth volunteer with the Nepal Red Cross, and worked with IFRC throughout Europe and Asia in large-scale humanitarian efforts.
Kishore Mahbubani is this year’s Schlager Visiting Fellow. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore. He previously served as ambassador of Singapore to the UN twice and as president of the UN Security Council from 2001-02. He is also the founding dean of the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Alexander Vershbow has been a PWH distinguished visiting fellow since 2019. In 2020-21, he was a Wolk Distinguished Visiting Fellow. He is currently a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and Eurasia Center. Vershbow has previously served as deputy secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and U.S. ambassador to NATO, Russia, and the Republic of Korea. Vershbow has previously contributed insights on the Russia-Ukraine War.
Kotchakorn Voraakhom is a Thai landscape architect and a visiting fellow since 2022. She is the CEO of an architectural and urban design firm and an organization focused on urban climate resilience in Southeast Asia. Voraakhom received the UN’s Global Climate Action Award and was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Next” in 2019. She is also currently a design critic faculty member at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, from which she obtained her master’s degree.