Women Forward International is a global platform for systemic change in international affairs education, reorienting research towards the principals of unity, collaboration, and service. We create unique partnerships that lead to behavioral changes that advance women to advance humanity.
WFI partners with a range of private sector, academic and non-profit clients to identify research critical to human progress, and then pairs teams of graduate international studies students with these organizations to complete that research and implement solutions.
WFI also uses the reflective power of Art to reveal and investigate the underlying cultural issues at stake in a given international relations issue and provide the next generation of leaders a more holistic approach to human relationships.
President & Executive Director
Dr. Kent Davis-Packard is President & Executive Director of Women Forward International, which she launched as an initiative at the Aspen Institute in 2019. Most recently, she initiated and developed the SAIS Women Lead curricular program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), launching a practicum program that partners students with public and private organizations on research that advances women.
She taught Johns Hopkins SAIS's first courses on global women's issues: "Transcending Culture: Women as Agents of Change in the International Order” and "Women, Peace, and Security: Moving Beyond the Myth" as well as U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East. She is Features Editor for the Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism journal based at the London School of Economics and a member of the Advisory Board of Kallion, an organization that elevates leadership through the humanities.
Previously she was co-Executive Director of Women's Learning Partnership, and a 2014-2015 Council on Foreign Relations Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Guest Scholar and lecturer at the American University in Cairo. As a Presidential Management Fellow, Dr. Davis-Packard played a key role in launching the State Department’s Women in Public Service Project and managed the Egypt Desk's human rights portfolio. She served as a Political Officer in Syria and Department of Defense Desk Officer for Iraq.
Dr. Davis-Packard received her Ph.D. in international relations and Middle East studies and master's degree in conflict management and economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS; a master's degree in French and romance philology from Columbia University; a comparative literature Maitrise, Lettres Modernes, from the Universite of Paris VIII; and a BA in English and comparative literature summa cum laude from Cornell University. As a Fulbright Scholar to Morocco, she studied the influence of returning migrants on local communities and literature. She is a graduate of the National Cathedral School for Girls in Washington, DC.
Dr. Davis-Packard has reported on such topics as family law reform, sectarianism and extremism, the women’s movement, labor, and language politics for the Christian Science Monitor and other publications including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. A term and International Affairs Fellowship Committee Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Cosmos Club's International Affairs Committee, she is fluent in French and able in Arabic and Spanish. She has studied or worked in Bangladesh, Bosnia, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Qatar, Senegal, Syria, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Dr. Davis-Packard's book on contemporary Islamic thought is forthcoming.
Wesley Elizabeth Spencer, M.A.
Director of Arts Partnership and Strategic Development
Wesley Spencer focuses on Strategic Development and Arts Partnerships for Women Forward International. Most recently, she was Advancement Director at Friends School of Louisville, Kentucky. Previously, she served as Director of Major Gifts and Development at the Frazier History Museum in Louisville for eight years. Wesley was Project Manager for Kentucky by Design: The Decorative Arts and American Culture, sponsored and published by University Press of Kentucky, in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art, the Shelburne Museum, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, American Folk Art Museum, Historic Locust Grove, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill and South Union Shaker Village.
Additionally, she has served as Chief Curator and Director of Programming for major public exhibitions, including: WWII: 48 Local Stories, Top Drawer: 150 Year of Bittners, and America by Design.
During her tenure at the Frazier History Museum, Wesley wrote and researched extensively on standards and best practices for museum and non-profit boards; the development of American cultural identity through the decorative arts; the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on arts and cultural organizations; the effect of cultural institutions on economic growth and development; and the repatriation of cultural property.
Spencer received her Bachelor of Arts in History, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Critical and Curatorial Studies, from University of Louisville. She holds a Certification in Major Gifts from the University of Indiana Lilly School of Philanthropy.
Director of Women and Security Program
Aisha Almesned was appointed as the first female Assistant Defense Attaché for Policy at the Embassy of Qatar in Washington, D.C. in August 2018. She is also the first female in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to ever hold such a position. As Assistant Defense Attaché for Policy she is focused on continuing to enhance US and Qatar bi-lateral relations. She has initiated and developed a new partnership opportunity between the Ministry of Defense and the US defense and intelligence community. She also frequently briefs Congress on matters of national security related to the US and Qatar by providing geopolitical analysis from Qatar’s perspective.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Almesned worked in the Government Communications Office under the Office of the Prime Minister and headed the Public Diplomacy division. In this role she established a public diplomacy department within the Government Communications Office and drafted a comprehensive strategy that would engage non-government entities locally and globally. She conducted research using Arab government archives on the Beirut 1983 Marine Barracks bombing.
Ms. Almesned holds a Master’s Degree in International Studies and International Economics with a concentration in Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She has published an article on National Intelligence Estimate |Russia. In addition to Arabic, she is fluent in English and French.
Lindsay Wozniak is Senior Vice President, Digital and Creative, at TMP Worldwide LLC and works closely with clients to lead the development and creation of innovative and groundbreaking initiatives and to ensure their success. With 40+ years of experience and over 200 industry awards for creativity and effectiveness, she provides consulting to help clients stay on the forefront of new marketing solutions and trends.
Lindsay began her career as an Art Director and then Creative Director for ABC TV, GE and Stackig Advertising and PR prior to TMP. As a “Hall of Fame” advertising design graduate of The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, she thrives in TMP’s innovative and progressive culture.
Lindsay also founded Red Fish Studios, LLC in 2005. Red Fish Studios is all about creative expression and giving back. Film. Photography. Music. Design. Whatever.
Chief Operating Officer
Mona Oswald is a Financial Marketing Executive with over 20 years of experience in broad based strategic sales planning, market expansion, and relationship management.
She holds a master's degree in International Public Policy with a focus on the Middle East from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a master’s degree in business administration from George Mason University, and a bachelor of arts in business marketing from Radford University. A first generation American with parents of Egyptian and Lebanese descent, she has worked with organizations doing business in the Middle East to identify and develop opportunities that promote growth and development in order to provide profitable, positive and peaceful outcomes.
Ms. Oswald is also an active philanthropist with interests in mental health issues, women’s equality, global security and Middle East policy. She regularly advises nonprofit organizations on strategic planning, funding and organizational transitions, and has been involved with Best Buddies International, the American Heart Association, St. Jude’s Hospital, and the Landon School.
As a business minded and socially aware executive, her professional background in finance and international public policy provide her with a unique perspective and the ability to take an interdisciplinary approach to global challenges.
Communications & Alumni Officer
Sarah Odeh’s career has focused on international relations with an emphasis on justice, ethics and human rights as well as global security and conflict resolution. From 2014 to 2015, she served as a project management consultant for the U. S. Department of Commerce, where she specialized in research and evaluation regarding key trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). She was instrumental in both data analysis for trade issues and writing outreach guides for medium-sized American companies interested in exports to global markets.
As a research associate for International Focus, a non-profit organization supporting the cross-cultural diplomacy and exchange for North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Sarah led cross-functional strategies to create new services for international learning and development.
During the 2016 election, she served for a year as a field coordinator intern, organizing events and crafting educational pieces for electoral strategy. From 2017 to 2019, she served as a private school educator in North Carolina and California, developing unique programs to teach young people about civic responsibility. Ms. Odeh holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the American University School of International Service in Washington, DC.
WOMEN FORWARD INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Ambassador (ret.), Consultant
ODEH ABURDENE, PH.D.
President of OAI Advisors
STEPHANIE AHERN, PH.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army; Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council Staff
DR. SEEMA ALIM
Honorary Fellow at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London
FATEMA AL BAKER
Diplomat, Embassy of the State of Qatar
AISHA AL MESNED
Assistant Defense Attache for Policy, Ministry of Defense of the State of Qatar
SARA AL SAADI
Diplomat, Embassy of the State of Qatar
Senior Research Fellow and Director for Women, Peace, and Security Initiatives at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Education Group; Executive Director of the American Center for a European Ukraine; Director, Program on the World Economy, The Aspen Institute
Vice President of Policy Programs and Executive Director of Aspen Global Innovators Group
ALLAN COHEN, PH.D.
Founder of Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Art Instructor, The Art Institute of Washington, George Mason University, Independent Curator, Museum Exhibitions
BARBARA SHAW COHEN
Persuasive Communication Specialist,Washington Post (ret.);Professional Artist
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired; Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University
KENT DAVIS-PACKARD, PH.D.
Director, Women Forward International,Aspen Global Innovators Group, The Aspen Institute
Executive Director, Peace is Loud
Associate Dean for Outreach and Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Chair, National War College; Former Deputy Assistant of Defense for Strategy, OSD
Managing Partner of a private equity advisory group, Adjunct Senior Fellow, American Security Project
Executive Vice President, The Aspen Institute
THERESA ALFARO DAYTNER
CEO, Daytner Construction Group
President Emeritus, Women’s Foreign Policy Group
President, Ellis Global Issues Forums LLC
JANICE KOCH, PH.D.
Professor Emerita of Science Education, Hofstra University
Distinguished Fellow, Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace, and Security
MARIA ZOIE LAFIS
Executive Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University
Actress, Filmmaker, Activist, and President of Heroica Films
Managing Principal at Sprezzatura Advisors
Principal Associate, Nathan Associates
JULIA NESHEIWAT, PH.D.
Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Consultant, Intelligence and National Security, The MASY Group
President and CEO of the Capital Trust Group
Vice President, Brand Strategy, TMP Worldwide, LLC
Founder and CEO, SixtyW
NORMAN B. SANDRIDGE
Associate Professor of Classics, Howard University; Fellow, Center for Hellenic Studies
CHRISTINA SEVILLA, PH.D.
Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Small Business
DR. EILEEN ST. GEORGE
Vice President, Education for Development, Creative Associates International
NATO C&I Representative to North American Organizations and Agencies
BONNIE H. WEINSTEIN
Esq., BHW Global
U.S. Ambassador (ret.), Burkina Faso and Mozambique
DR. CONSTANCE WHITESIDE
Senior Outreach Officer, Delegation of the European Union to the United States
Senior Vice President, Digital and Creative, TMP Worldwide, LLC. President, Red Fish Studios, LLC
Guest Lecturer, Foreign Service Institute
President, Perez APC
Senior Fellow, Leadership German Marshall Fund