Part-time and Adjunct Faculty
The Elliott School's part-time and adjunct faculty is comprised of superb scholars whose research makes important contributions to our understanding of the world. Being in the heart of Washington, DC enables us to draw on the tremendous intellectual firepower that abounds in the policy community, think tanks, NGOs, and international organizations.
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Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar: Lecturer
Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar is a visiting scholar at the Elliott School's Institute for Middle East Studies and a BBC World Service reporter in Washington, D.C. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Georgetown University and is affiliated with the Middle East Institute. He has previously taught courses on the politics of Iran and broader Middle East politics at George Washington University, Georgetown University, and George Mason University. He received his B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Tehran in Iran, his M.A. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York City, and his M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago. He has published articles in English and Persian, including "The Beloved Great Satan: The Portrayal of the US in the Iranian Media since 9/11," in the Journal of the European Society for Iranian Studies (Winter 2006), "Who Wrote the Koran?" in The New York Times Magazine (December 7, 2008), and "Iran's Green Movement and the Grey Strategy of Patience" for Foreign Policy's Middle East Channel (April 30, 2010).
John W. Tai: Professorial Lecturer
Dr. John W. Tai is a Senior Analyst/Linguist at AECOM. In this position, he provides research and analytical support to the U.S. Government. John has a bachelor of arts in political science and history from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a master of arts in East Asian Studies from the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. In 2012, John obtained a PhD in political science from the George Washington University. His dissertation, which is based on over 100 personal interviews involving approximately 40 Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), examines how institutional connections to the state, media ties, and relationships with international organizations, have helped contemporary Chinese NGOs achieve organizational effectiveness. The dissertation is currently under contract for publication in 2014. John has published writings about the Chinese civil society, religious freedom and human rights in China, and US-China-Taiwan relations. He has also conducted public talks, private briefings, and media interviews on these subjects in both the United States and China. From 2007 to 2011, John taught at the Beijing Foreign Studies University and Shanghai's East China Normal University, where he managed study-abroad programs for American university students. Earlier in his career, he was the China and East Asia Analyst at the congressionally-mandated U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where he managed a Smith Richardson Foundation-funded project on Hong Kong's transition to Chinese rule. In 2004, he was a consultant to the U.S. Army's Foreign Military Studies Office, where he was the principal author of a study on the Chinese military's development of short-range ballistic missiles.
Benn Tannenbaum: Professorial Lecturer
Benn Tannenbaum is a government relations manager and head of the Washington Program Office for Sandia National Laboratories. He is also a nonresident scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science and hold adjunct faculty positions at both George Washington University and Georgetown University. He has testified before the House Homeland Security Committee on radiation portal monitors and has authored or coauthored over 160 scientific or policy-related publications. Tannenbaum has served on the American Physical Society's Panel on Public Affairs and is currently the Secretary-Treasurer of APS's Forum on Physics and Society.
Dr. Tannenbaum has been the Program Director at the Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy; a Senior Research Analyst for the Federation of American Scientists; and the 2002-2003 American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. He worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, he was involved in the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Collider Detector Facility at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside Chicago, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in particle physics from the University of New Mexico in 1997.
Kim Thachuk: Professorial Lecturer
Dr. Thachuk is a senior analyst focusing on transnational issues in the Intelligence Community. Among other positions, she served as the National Counterintelligence Officer for Transnational Issues at the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive. For over a decade she was a senior research professor and policy analyst directing projects on transnational threats in the Department of Defense. She has been an educator in the post-secondary academic system for over 25 years serving as a professor in universities ranging from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, both in Canada, to the National Defense University, the Interamerican Defense College, the George Washington University, and George Mason University in the Washington D.C. area where she directed and taught in the Transnational Threats Concentrations. Her research focuses on transnational threats to national security, including organized crime and terrorism, human, drug, and arms trafficking, and environmental and health threats. She has published various scholarly articles, as well as a book entitled, Transnational Threats: Smuggling and Trafficking in Arms, Drugs and Human Life (Praeger, 2007).
Patricia Thomson: Professorial Lecturer
Patricia Powers Thomson currently teaches at the University of Juba and the Catholic University of South Sudan. She has over 25 years of international development experience, including service in the military, government, NGO, and private sectors. She has served as the Chief Operating Officer of Relief International, Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and Senior Governance Advisor with the State Department in Diyala, Iraq.
Thomson spent 10 years working in the private sector as an Associate Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting where she advised a range of clients in the United States and abroad. She served as an advisor to Vice President Gore's task force on reinventing government and also worked as Assistant Director of Evaluation at the Corporation for National and Community Service, where she played an instrumental role in the start-up of AmeriCorps.
Thomson served four years in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University.
Alexandra Toma: Lecturer
Alexandra Toma is the Executive Director of the Connect U.S. Fund, where she manages the Fund’s day to day programs and grant-making activities. From 2006–2009, Alex was the Director of the Peace and Security Initiative (PSI) at the Ploughshares Fund, the largest grantmaking foundation in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to nuclear nonproliferation. Previously, Alex was the foreign policy and defense advisor for Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), where she led the effort to secure $5 million in funding for landmine removal.
Alex has a Master of Science in Foreign Policy and Security Studies from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, with a thesis on U.S. national security implications of sub-Saharan HIV/AIDS. She is fluent in French and Romanian. Alex serves on the board of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.