Our Team

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.

Robin Shepherd, Vice President
Robin Shepherd is Vice President at 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.

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.

Kimberly Burris, Program Officer, Peace With Women Fellowship
Kimberly Burris is the Program Officer for the Peace With Women Fellowship at Halifax International Security Forum. Prior to joining Halifax, Kimberly served in the United States Marine Corps and received a BA in History from the University of Texas. Through her military and education pursuits she has traveled to many countries across North America, Europe, and Asia. Her educational background focuses on the history and politics of Central and Eastern Europe, and she is currently completing her MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University.

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, Director of External Affairs
Julianna Gouss is the Director of External Affairs at Halifax International Security Forum. Julianna is responsible for the management and execution of the annual Forum, as well as the organization’s programming and events in London, Washington DC, and elsewhere. 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.

Paz Magat, Director, Peace With Women Fellowship
Paz Magat is the Director of the Peace With Women Fellowship at Halifax International Security Forum. She 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 38 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.

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.