Our Team

Milena Beltramo, Program Officer
Milena Beltramo is a Program Officer at Halifax International Security Forum and is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the attendance of the Forum’s 300 participants, alongside providing support to the President in development of the annual agenda. She is a proud alumna of the University of Michigan, where she earned her BA in Political Science, German, and International Studies.

Andrew Fishbein, Chief of Staff
Andrew Fishbein is Chief of Staff at Halifax International Security Forum. Prior to joining the Forum, Andrew was Policy and Advocacy Director at the Center for Democracy in the Americas, where he worked with key stakeholders in the U.S. government and outside constituencies to push for a decisive change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. From 2007-2014, he managed congressional relations and policy programming at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Andrew holds a MSc in Energy Policy & Climate from Johns Hopkins University and a BSc in Political Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He lives in Washington, DC.

Julianna Gouss, Event Manager
Julianna Gouss is the Event Manager at Halifax International Security Forum and is responsible for the management of the annual November Forum. Prior to joining Halifax, Julianna served as Event Manager with Chris Wayne & Associates (CWA), managing a diverse client portfolio including The Wall Street Journal, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the Center for American Progress, among others. She previously served as the Director of Development for Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and a Legislative Assistant for Congressman John J. Hall. Julianna received her BA from The George Washington University.

Joseph Hall, Advisor to the President
Joseph Hall is Advisor to the President at Halifax International Security Forum. In 2011 he returned to the US after 15 years working overseas to join the leadership of the Forum as founding Vice President. Joe has more than 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management and fundraising and has served on the boards of directors of national advocacy organizations and philanthropic institutions in the US and abroad. Joe previously served as senior advisor for the Middle East and North Africa and senior director for Lebanon for the National Democratic Institute in Beirut. Since 1997, he has provided strategic advice to political parties and civic organizations throughout the Middle East, West Africa, and the former Soviet Union and has directed election observation and civic programs in the West Bank and Gaza, Azerbaijan, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. Joe is also a visual artist with a studio in NE Washington, DC. His abstract work hangs in private and corporate collections in Washington, New York, Palm Beach and Miami.

Paz Magat, Director, Peace With Women Fellowship
Paz Magat settled in the United States when her family fled the Philippines on the eve of the People Power Revolution. The majority of her career has been spent in the non-profit sector. Her focus on the fields of international education, conflict management, and social change has taken her to 37 countries and counting. Paz is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds an MA in Applied Social Change and Peacebuilding from Future Generations University.

Randy Scheunemann, Strategic Counselor
Randy Scheunemann is Strategic Counselor to Halifax International Security Forum. Over more than three decades, he has advised senior US and international political leaders on strategy, policy and governance in public and private sector positions. In his final book, The Restless Wave, John McCain thanked Scheunemann as his “consigliere.” Scheunemann also serves as Vice Chairman of the International Republican Institute, an organization devoted to advancing democracy worldwide. He lives in Montana.

Robin Shepherd, Senior Advisor
Robin Shepherd is Senior Advisor to Halifax International Security Forum. A British citizen, Robin has been a senior journalist and think tank analyst for many years. Among the highlights of his career, he has been the head of the Europe Programme at Chatham House, Moscow Bureau Chief for the Times of London, and the author of two previous books, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe’s Problem with Israel; and Czechoslovakia: The Velvet Revolution and Beyond.

Peter Van Praagh, President
Peter Van Praagh is the founding President of Halifax International Security Forum. Peter has served as Senior Director for Foreign Policy at the Washington, DC-based German Marshall Fund of the United States, as Deputy Vice President of Programs at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC, and as Chief of Party for the National Democratic Institute both in the former Soviet Union and in Turkey. In 2006-07, Peter served as Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada. Peter is a graduate of University College, the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. He is married to Lena Van Praagh and has three children, Yasha, Sophia Joy, and Elizabeth.

Beth Wojciechowicz, Finance Officer
Beth Wojciechowicz is the Finance Officer at Halifax International Security Forum and is responsible for day to day financial and operating activities. Before joining HISF, Beth worked as an administrator for an accounting firm in Vienna, VA. She holds a BS in Accounting from George Mason University.