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Advisory Council

Rebecca Bill Chavez ’93 is a non-resident senior fellow with the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program. She is also a Senior Advisor at the Center for Naval Analyses and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2013 through 2017. Prior to joining OSD Policy, she was Professor of Political Science with tenure at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Chavez received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University and her B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Her research has focused on Western hemisphere security and on comparative politics, with an emphasis on security and defense, the rule of law, and democratization. 

Melani Cammett is Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Government at Harvard University. She holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Cammett specializes in the politics of development, identity politics and the Middle East; teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on comparative politics, development, and Middle East politics; and consults for development policy organizations.

Cammett's current research focuses on governance and the politics of social service provision by public, private and non-state actors, identity politics, and the historical influences of economic and social development with an empirical focus in the Middle East. She also co-edits the Cambridge University Press Elements series on the Politics of Development and serves as a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Syria, which will release a report on the humanitarian crisis in Syria in 2018.

Alain Dieckhoff is the head of the Centre for International Studies and Research, Sciences Po Paris, where he is a senior researcher, studying the various aspects of contemporary Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is currently working on a major comparative project on nationalism in the Western world. Additionally, he has authored six books, edited nine others and published more than 50 articles in journals and edited volumes. Among his books published in English: The Invention of a Nation: Zionist Thought and the Making of Modern Israel and The Politics of Belonging: Nationalism, Liberalism, and Pluralism.

Jason M. Fish ’80 is currently a private investor and a co-founder and member of the Management Committee and the Board of Directors of Alliance Partners, an asset management firm based in Chevy Chase, Md. He also serves on the Board of Congressional Bank, Bethesda, Md. From 2000 through 2008, Fish served in various management and board roles including president, vice chairman and chief investment officer for CapitalSource, Inc., a NYSE traded commercial finance company which he co-founded (recently merged into PacWest Bancorp, “PACW”). Prior to founding CapitalSource, Fish was a managing member of Farallon Capital Management, a San Francisco based private investment firm, which he joined in 1990. Before joining Farallon, he was a senior vice president at Lehman Brothers. Fish has served as chairman of the advisory board of Teach for America in the Bay Area for the past eight years and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Ballet and a former Trustee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco University High School, and Schools of the Sacred Heart. He lives in San Francisco, is married and has three children.

John N. Irwin III '76 is managing director and lead investment officer of the Brookside Group, Greenwich, Connecticut, which he cofounded in 1977. Irwin and his partners were pioneers in the field of leveraged buyouts starting in the late 1970s. Irwin himself has extensive international investing experience, including a leadership role in early privatizations in Eastern Europe. Currently, he serves as president of the Fresh Air Fund and the Achelis and Bodman Foundations, as well as treasurer of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

James Leitner serves as president of Falcon Management Corporation, a family office. Previously, he worked as a foreign exchange trader at Morgan Guaranty, as chief dealer at Bank of America International, as vice president for proprietary trading at Shearson Lehman and as managing director in the Global Trading Department at Bankers Trust. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale in economics with an emphasis on Russia and Eastern Europe. He also holds a master’s degree from Columbia University specializing in international finance and Russian studies and a JD from Fordham University Law School. Leitner serves on the Dean’s Planning Council and the advisory board of the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham University Law School. He is a member of the Yale President's Council on International Activities (PCIA). He is also a fellow of Yale’s Pierson College and member of the Dean’s Council of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. He also serves on Columbia University’s Global Leadership Council. In 2009, he received the Columbia University Alumni Medal for his distinguished service on behalf of SIPA and during the 2010 Fordham Law Diploma Ceremony he was honored with the Eugene J. Keefe Award, which is given for the most important contribution to the Fordham Law community. In 2010, he also received the Yale Medal which is the highest award presented by the Association of Yale Alumni, conferred solely to honor outstanding individual service to the university.

Jeffrey Lewis-Oakes ‘75 began his legal career with Davis Polk & Wardwell in 1979 in New York and was a partner in Davis Polk’s corporate department, resident in their London office, at the time of his retirement at the end of 2015. Mr. Lewis-Oakes is presently Senior Counsel with Davis Polk. At the time of retirement, Mr. Lewis-Oakes was head of the Firm’s European Financial Institution’s Group and recognized as one of the leading Capital Market’s lawyers in Europe. Mr. Lewis-Oakes primarily advised European companies and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Citibank and Bank of American Merrill Lynch on US securities law compliance and all types of capital markets transactions, including IPOs, equity, hybrid capital and debt financings. Mr. Lewis-Oakes was a specialist in financial institutions and advised on many rights offerings by European financial institutions following the financial crisis in 2008. Since retirement Mr. Lewis-Oakes has been writing history essays for the Education Department of the New York Historical Society.

George McCabe '97 is the managing director of Portolan Capital Management. McCabe was formerly a research analyst at the Lynch Foundation where he performed research and analysis on numerous public and private companies across broad industry groups and made portfolio allocation decisions and recommendations. He served in that role since from July 2001 to December 2004 when he launched Portolan Capital Management, LLC. Prior to joining the Lynch Foundation, McCabe spent four years as a research analyst at Pilot Capital Corporation, a New York based investment manager. While at Pilot Capital, he performed research and analysis on both public and private companies in the healthcare, retail, technology, consumer and financial services industries and made portfolio allocation decision for companies under his coverage. McCabe has an AB from Princeton University.

Arka Mukherjee *95 is the founder and CEO of Global IDs, Inc., New York. The company provides information integration solutions for major corporations at a global level. Mukherjee gained prior management experience from companies such as IBM, Accenture and KPMG, with expertise in sales, consulting, finance and technology.

Aliya Kanji Nedungadi ’97 serves on the Advisory Board for PIIRS and CGI at Princeton, the Jackson Institute at Yale, and the Harvard Business School Alumni Board. She graduated from Princeton University in 1997 with a Cum Laude degree in Economics and obtained Certificates in Political Economy, Latin American Studies and Spanish. She graduated from Harvard Business School in 2002 with a Masters in Business Administration. She worked as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company before joining the management team of Saks Fifth Avenue to launch their electronic commerce business. Aliya pursued her interest in luxury retail as the Head of Marketing for DeBeers Diamond Jewellers in London. In 2009, Aliya left DeBeers to start a residential real estate development business. Aliya currently lives in London with her husband Ajit, who runs the private equity firm TA Associates and their four children.

Julie Newton ’83 is the Principal Investigator of the University Consortium. She is a Visiting Fellow of the Russian and Eurasian Studies Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, an Associate Professor of the Department of International and Comparative Politics at the American University of Paris (AUP) and a Visiting Professor at Colorado College. Her research focuses on Russian-European relations, and she divides her time between Oxford, Paris and Colorado, teaching Russian politics at all three institutions. She holds a D.Phil. from Oxford, a master’s from Columbia (Harriman Institute) and a B.A. from Princeton. Major publications include Russia, France and the Idea of Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Institutions, Ideas and Leadership in Russian Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), co-edited with William Tompson; and ‘Gorbachev, Mitterrand, and the Emergence of the Post-Cold War Order in Europe’, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 65 (2013).

Henry Posner III '77 is chair of Railroad Development Corporation, Pittsburgh. He also serves as chair of Iowa Interstate Railroad, RegioRail (France), and Hamburg-Koln Express (Germany), and serves as vice chair of the Hawthorne Group. Posner serves on the boards of the Independent School Chairpersons’ Association and the Winchester Thurston School, where he formerly served as board chair. He has been active in welfare programs for the Jewish community in the Former Soviet Union and in civic work in Guatemala.

Ashish Shastry '96, is an Asian private equity investor. Ashish began his career at Lehman Brothers in New York before moving to Singapore to join TPG Capital in 1998. By the time he left TPG in 2011, he was a partner and the head of Southeast Asia. Ashish then served for five years as a managing partner of Northstar Group (minority owned by TPG) which, at the time, managed US $2 billion in private equity and venture capital funds with a focus on Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. In 2016, Ashish joined KKR as a Member and head of Southeast Asia. Ashish grew up in Indonesia before attending Princeton University, where he studied economics.

Sanjay Swani ’87 has worked as a private equity investor for most of his career, with a focus on investments in the technology and business services sectors. Sanjay currently serves as Head, Investment Strategy and Technology Investing, at Growth Curve Capital. Sanjay was also a Partner with Tailwind Capital, and a member of its Management Committee from 2020 to 2021. Prior to Tailwind, Sanjay spent 17 years at Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, where he was Co-Head of the Information & Business Services group and also a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. Sanjay is also a Co-Founder of Saroras Private Capital, which invests in small high growth companies. Prior to starting his private equity career, Sanjay worked at Morgan Stanley & Co in the mergers & acquisitions and debt capital markets groups.

Sanjay has been involved in a number of civic, educational, and charitable activities. He currently Co-Chairs the Board of Directors for the Partnership Fund for New York City. He also chairs the Advisory Council for the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies (“PIIRS”) and is a member of the Advisory Council for the M.S. Chadha Center for Global India and the President’s Advisory Council at Princeton University. Sanjay has previously served on the Board of Trustees for The Browning School, The Bolles School, the American Red Cross in the Greater New York Region, Everybody Wins!, and the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club.

Sanjay attended Princeton University, where he majored in molecular biology, and then received graduate degrees from Harvard Law School and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Jennifer Wythes Vettel ’86 has committed her career to education which is underscored by her passion for global issues. Her experience includes teaching, curriculum development, foundation development and community outreach in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. After receiving her master’s in education from Stanford University, she taught at the secondary level. More recently, she is engaged in raising awareness for Eastside College Prep, an independent school for first-generation college bound students. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Riekes Center and the Stanford Medical Community Council. At Princeton, she is also is a member of the advisory council for the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China.

Steven I. Wilkinson is Nilekani Professor of India and South Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Yale University, where he is also the Henry R. Luce Director of the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. He has worked on the causes of ethnic violence, and his book, Votes and Violence: electoral competition and ethnic riots in India (Cambridge, 2004), examines the political roots of communal conflict in South Asia. That book was winner of the Woodrow Wilson prize of the APSA for the best book on government, politics and international affairs. He is also interested in corruption in politics, and co-edited the book Patrons, Clients or Politics: Patterns of Political Accountability and Competition (Cambridge, 2007) with Herbert Kitschelt. His most recent book was Army and Nation, which came out in 2015 from Harvard/Permanent Black, and examined India’s success in managing the imbalanced colonial army it inherited in 1947.

His current project, with co-author Saumitra Jha (Stanford GSB) is a book on War and Political Change, the first part of which, on the role of veterans in the partition of India, came out in the American Political Science Review, and the next part of which looks at the role of veterans in the French Revolution.

He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Peter M. Yu '83 is a managing partner of Cartesian Capital Group, a global private equity firm he founded in 2005. Prior to forming Cartesian, Yu founded and served as president and chief executive officer of AIG Capital Partners. Before that, he was director of the National Economic Council, the White House office responsible for developing and coordinating economic policy, during the Clinton administration. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Yu was president of the Harvard Law Review and served as a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.