TechATState

Technology Empowering U.S. Diplomacy and Development

Ignite Sessions - Speaker Bios

During our Ignite Session, we will be offering the audience exposure to six diverse new ideas, concepts, and programs. These will be presented in a series of ignite sessions, which are highly engaging 5 minute presentations with 20 slides set to auto advance for every 15 seconds.

Amir Bagherpour (@StateCSO): "Big Data Analytics and Preventing Conflicts" - U.S. Department of State

Amir Bagherpour is a Senior Advisor on Advanced Analytics and Predictive Modeling at the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and  Stabilization  Operations (CSO). He is an expert in predictive analysis with an emphasis in conflict and crisis outcomes. His regional area of focus is the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Before joining CSO, he was a Senior Analyst at Voice of America’s Iran Research Desk. He served in the U.S. Army as an Armor Officer and is the first Iranian-born graduate of West Point. As a student, Dr. Bagherpour’s doctoral dissertation predicted many of the current outcomes of the Arab Spring with moderate to detailed accuracy. 

John Silson (@johnsilson): "Trade Leads and Visualizing Economic Diplomacy" - U.S. Department of State

John is a Foreign Service Officer working as a financial economist in State’s Office of Development Finance.  He works on availability of finance for development and infrastructure in challenging markets and is State’s Liaison to U.S. ExIm Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.  John was previously a Special Assistant to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke; a Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Richard Boucher; reported on the National Assembly and political parties from our Embassy in Kabul; and worked on politics, economics and visas in Haiti.  John hails from Pittsburgh PA and has a degree in Physics and Philosophy from Haverford College.

Matt Chessen (@mattlesnake): "Digital Reputations, Development and Diplomacy" U.S. Department of State

Matt Chessen is a career Foreign Service Officer currently serving as a Senior Innovation Advisor in the Office of eDiplomacy, Knowledge Leadership Division. Matt is leading State's efforts to develop a crowdsourcing platform for internal microtasking within State.

Prior to joining eDiplomacy, Matt served two years in Kabul as POLAD to ISAF-HQ Force Reintegration Cell, where he advised the two-star director of the FRIC and managed policy development and execution for the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. From 2009-2010 he served in PM/RSAT as a desk officer covering South and Central Asia, focusing on arms transfers to Pakistan, AfPak issues and the Northern Distribution Network. Matt served in Embassy Baghdad from 2008-2009 where he was the NIV Chief in the Consular Section and a Political-Military Officer working on Weapons Removal and Abatement Programs. From 2005-2007, Matt was the Economic-Commercial officer at Embassy Monrovia where he developed and implemented the Governance and Economic Management Assistance program, an innovative initiative to re-introduce financial accountability to Liberian Government.

Prior to joining State, Matt worked for Razorfish in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, managing large-scale web redesign projects and leading delivery management initiatives.

Will Tucker (@ideas42): "Designing Behavioral Interventions in the Western Cape" - ideas42

Will Tucker is a Vice President at ideas42, where he applies behavioral economics to consumer protection, anti-poverty, and household finance projects. A Truman Scholar, he graduated with degrees in Africana Studies and Public Policy & American Institutions from Brown University, where he was a member of the President’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice. He also received an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, with a certificate in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. He has worked at the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget, as Director of the Rhode Island Urban Debate League, in public health and information technology evaluation, at the Department of Justice, and on the 2008 Obama campaign in Iowa. Will’s writing has been published in the Sage Handbook of Measurement and the Harvard Business Review, and he has been safety-certified in forklift, jackhammer, and chainsaw operation.

Cindy Walker: "Predictive Analytics - Beyond The Numbers" - Pragmatics

Cindy Walker is a director and solution architect with Pragmatics, Inc., an information technology services consulting firm. Her areas of expertise include Information Management, Information Sharing, Business Intelligence, and Business and Data Analysis. She has served as a strategic adviser and architect guiding enterprise transformation, knowledge management, and information sharing efforts in the Defense, Homeland Security, Healthcare, Financial Regulatory, and Intelligence arenas. She is currently helping financial regulatory agencies develop data strategies to meet the statutory obligations of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and to more effectively mitigate systemic risk to the global financial system.

David Kim: "The Future of Big Data: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Predict and Alter Group Behavior" - Foretuit

Dr. David Kim is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of foretuit.  Dr. Kim was previously CEO and Founder of theophilus, a National Science Foundation and privately funded startup which used advanced artificial intelligence to predict consumer behavior and which subsequently merged with foretuit.  Previously he was involved in over $15 billion of transactions on Wall Street, purchasing, selling, spinning out, and restructuring technology and consumer goods companies during the early 2000’s in Credit Suisse First Boston's Mergers & Acquisitions Investment Banking group, working with companies including Samsung Electronics, Advanced Micro Devices, Alpha Processor, General Electric, and Xerox. Subsequently, he spent stints at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and at Weill Cornell Medical Center/NY-Presbyterian Hospital in neuroradiology, and at McKinsey and Co. developing business development and technology strategy. Dr. Kim has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and a physics degree from Amherst College.

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