Fall 2011 Master’s Tea Guests

Thursday, October 13th, Alan Elsner, “From Journalist to Advocate: Israelis and Arabs from Two Different Perspectives”
Alan Elsner has thirty-five years experience in journalism, covering the world’s top stories, and is also a successful author. He is currently Executive Director of The Israel Project, and from 2007-2010 served as Editor in Charge for Reuters in Washington DC. Please visit his website,
www.alanelsner.com, for more information.
Tuesday, October 18th, Jim Sciutto, ABC News’ Senior Forreign correspondent
Based in London from 2002-2011- and now based in Washington, Jim Sciutto has reported from more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, including 14 assignments in Iraq and 10 in Afghanistan. He contributes to all ABC News broadcasts and platforms, including “World News,” “Nightline” and “Good Morning America.” In addition to his reporting assignments, Sciutto has also anchored “World News” and “Good Morning America.” In 2010, Sciutto won the Edward R. Murrow award for his reporting from Iran during the 2009 election protests. In 2008 he was awarded the George Polk Award for Television Reporting for his work from Myanmar, as well as a Citation for Excellence from the Overseas Press Club. Sciutto has defied government restrictions to report undercover from Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Iran several times. He is a graduate of Yale University (Pierson alum!) and an Associate Fellow at Pierson College.
Monday, October 24th, Bruce Blair, Co-Founder of GLOBAL ZERO and President of the World Security Institute
Bruce is an expert on US and Russian security policies, specializing in nuclear forces and command-control systems. In 1999, he was awarded a MacArthur “Genius Award” Fellowship for his work on de-alerting nuclear forces. Bruce was a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution from 1987 to 2000. He served as a project director at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment from 1982 to 1985. From 1970 to 1974, Bruce served in the U.S. Air Force as a Minuteman ICBM launch control officer and as a support officer for the Strategic Air Command’s Airborne Command Post. Bruce received his Bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in operations research at Yale University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on security issues.
This Tea is co-sponsored by the Yale Chapter of Global Zero and the “Traphagen Alumni Speakers Series, Yale College Office of Student Affairs”
Wednesday, October 26th, Thomas Ullmann, “How Can You Defend Those People? Why Public Defenders Do What They Do”
Thomas Ullman has been Public Defender in the New Haven Judicial District since 1992. As Public Defender, he supervises five attorneys, three investigators, a social worker, and two clericals in providing indigent clients with legal defenses in major felony cases drawn from the fourteen towns and cities which comprise New Haven Judicial District. Of greatest importance, however, is his role as a trial attorney in major felony cases and the defense provided to indigent defendants accused of these crimes. The office handles approximately 200 cases currently, a figure that includes between 10 and 15 homicides. Some of the high profile cases Mr. Ullmann has handled include the cases of Stephen Hayes, who was convicted and sentenced to death for his role in the Cheshire Home Invasion of 2007, Anthony Gene Bontatibus, Edward Grant, and Jonathan Mills.
Thursday, October 27th, Robin Hessman, Documentary Filmmaker and Producer
Robin Hessman has been a documentary filmmaker and producer for the past 15 years. She graduated from Brown University with a joint degree in Russian and Film and received her graduate degree in film directing from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow. In the US, Robin co-produced the Peabody-award winning documentary Tupperware!, and also co-produced a one-hour PBS biography of culinary master Julia Child which aired on PBS on the series American Masters. She began working on her film My Perestroika in the fall of 2004 as a Filmmaker in Residence at WGBH Boston. The film premiered in 2010 at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast in 2011 on the PBS independent film series POV, marking the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the USSR. Robin is also the director of Documentary Programming for the American Film Festival in Moscow, an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Thursday, October 27th, Chrishan Thuraisingham, 2011 Yale World Fellow
Chrishan Thuraisingham, Senior Fund Portfolio Manager, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria is a 2011 Yale World Fellow. He is a public health financing specialist with a background in international capital markets, and manages a $500 million portfolio of grants across Southeast Asia and the Pacific for the Global Fund. He works, with the support of a talented team, to ensure that life-saving drugs, bed nets and prevention programs reach as many people as possible across the full socio-economic and geographic spectrum. He is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Wednesday, November 2nd, “Beyond Repair: True Stories of Connecticut’s Flawed Death Penalty System”
Juan Melendez is a Florida death row exoneree, and Vicky Coward lost her son in a homicide. Both are fighting to abolish the death penalty in Connecticut.
This Tea is co-sponsored by Yale Amnesty International & The Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty (CNADP)
Monday, November 7th, Matthew Modine, Actor/Director
Matthew Modine’s first film role was in John Sayles’ “Baby It’s You”, which was followed by many more roles including films such as “Streamers,” for which he and his castmates received a Best Actor prize from the Venice Film Festival; “Full Metal Jacket,” and HBO’s “And The Band Played On,” for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. He has also guest-starred on television’s “The West Wing” and “The Weeds” (recurring role). On stage, Modine has appeared in Arthur Miller’s “Resurrection Blues” at London’s Old Vic and “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Connecticut’s Hartford Stage. In 2010, he starred in ”The Miracle Worker” at Circle in the Square theatre. Matthew Modine has also directed several distinguished short films including “I Think I Thought.” Modine is currently filming the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” which is due out in 2012.
This Tea is co-sponsored by the Yale Summer Film Institute
Tuesday, November 29th, Jimmie Briggs
Jimmie Briggs is a jouranlist and human rights advocate. He is the author of several books examining topics such as child soldiers and war-affected children, violence against women and girls in Afghanistan, the Congo, and Haiti, and other topics. His Man Up Campaign is a global initiative to activate young people to stop violence against women and girls in their communities through music, sports and technology. He is a consultant on youth for the United Nations and advises Wyclef Jean and Yele Haiti on engaging men as advocates for gender violence prevention.