The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Perry World House announced its first class of non-resident senior advisors on Jan. 3. Credit: Derek Wong

Perry World House announced its first class of non-resident senior advisors, building on its existing program for visiting fellows.

Each year, the Visiting Fellows program invites a cohort of experts to PWH — Penn’s center for global policy and engagement — to pursue research projects, contribute to policy discussions, and mentor students. The new class of non-resident advisors will aim to foster a relationship with PWH and provide guidance on global affairs over a longer period of time, according to the announcement on Jan. 3.

Since 2016, PWH has invited a class of intellectual and industry leaders to engage with the Penn community in short visits, ranging from a week to a semester, over the course of an academic year. The six non-resident advisors, who were selected from the pool of past fellows, will remain in the position for three years. 

During their term, the advisors will help expand PWH networks, facilitate access to policy processes, provide guidance on program development, and offer feedback on policy impact.  

“We are thrilled that our inaugural class of Senior Non-resident Advisors will maintain a longer-term relationship with Perry World House and the University of Pennsylvania and provide us with guidance on how we can more effectively bring Perry World House to the world and the world to Perry World House,” PWH interim director Michael Weisberg said in the announcement.

The six inaugural non-resident senior advisors bring expertise in a wide range of international topics. Their backgrounds span leadership of research centers, think tanks, and corporations, as well as serving senior roles in the U.S. government.

The inaugural class includes two Penn graduates: 1989 graduate of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Lolita Jackson and Mauricio Rodas, who graduated with two master’s degrees in government administration and political science in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

Jackson specializes in climate policy and sustainability. She served as the NYC climate diplomat and is the executive director of sustainable cities at Sustainable Development Capital LLP, a climate investment firm. 

Rodas served as mayor of Quito, Ecuador from 2014 to 2019, becoming the youngest mayor in the city’s history. He is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Urban Research and the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at Penn, and his work focuses on sustainable development and climate resilience.

Melissa Flagg is the founder and president of Flagg Consulting LLC. She has held various roles as a research fellow and senior advisor, as well as the US deputy assistant secretary of defense for research. Her expertise encompasses technology policy, defense, and research.

Robert Scher leads international affairs at bp America. He tracks US foreign policy and has 25 years of experience in US government national security and senior global affairs, focusing on defense strategy, global security, and foreign policy. 

Alexander Vershbow works on transatlantic problems and Russia-Ukraine relations as a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He previously served as NATO’s deputy secretary general and as the U.S. ambassador to Russia, followed by South Korea.

Koko Warner directs the Global Data Institute at the International Organization for Migration. She is an expert in climate policy, having spearheaded a climate insurance initiative and serving as the director of environmental migration and social resilience. 

The Visitors Program announced its class of visiting fellows for the 2023-2024 academic year in September. The 24 experts have experience in fields spanning climate, finance, and journalism. In the fall, PWH also named the 24 students selected for the 2023-24 Graduate Associates Program cohort, which draws from each of the graduate schools at Penn.