Alex Castellanos is one of the Republican Party´s best known and most successful media consultants and strategists. Castellanos has served as media consultant to seven U.S. Presidential campaigns. He served on the John McCain for President Ad Council, worked as a senior strategist for the 2008 Romney for President campaign and as a key creative member of the Bush-Cheney 2000 and 2004 campaigns. He has been credited with the discovery of the political “soccer-mom,” called “father of the attack ad” and was named by G.Q. Magazine as one of The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C. Castellanos has helped elect nine U.S. Senators, six Governors, and enjoys almost four decades of political consulting experience, both abroad and in the United States. Castellanos brings a wealth of campaign strategy, public opinion research and communications experience to corporate communications and public policy campaigns. In 2008 he was honored as a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 2009, he became a founding partner of Purple Strategies, the merger between the Democratic firm Issue and Image and the Republican firm National Media Inc. In addition to his Purple Strategies work, he is a CNN contributor, speaks to groups across the nation and offers political commentary for Politico, the Huffington Post and other publications.
Stephanie Cutter’s political and communications experience spans two decades in public service. From the west wing of the White House, to the campaign trail, to the halls of Congress, Cutter has spun political issues and crafted communications strategies for the nation’s leading political figures and campaigns. Most recently, Cutter served as Adviser to the President, overseeing the political and communications strategy for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor. From January to May 2009, Cutter served as Counselor to the Secretary of the Department of Treasury, handling the strategy behind the development and implementation of the Obama Administration’s Financial Stability Plan. Prior to the Obama Administration, Cutter was the Chief Spokesperson for the Obama-Biden Transition, developing message and communications strategies for the roll-out of the new Administration’s policies and cabinet. She was Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff on the Obama for America Campaign, and also held the title of senior adviser charged with developing and managing a nationwide surrogates program. Before joining the campaign, Stephanie Cutter ran The Cutter Media Group, LLC, a strategic communications firm that specializes in designing and implementing public affairs and crisis communications strategies, including public affairs, national and grassroots coalition building, message development, and other strategic communications, for corporations, political and issue-based campaigns, trade associations and non-profit organizations. She has also served as a senior advisor to then Minority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy, was Communications Director for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 presidential campaign and served in the Clinton White House. Cutter is a graduate of Smith College and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Giuliano Da Empoli is the current Deputy Mayor for Culture of the City of Florence. From 2006 to 2008 he served as Senior Advisor to Italy’s Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli. A sociologist and lawyer by training, Da Empoli graduated with a degree in law from La Sapienza University of Rome and obtained a masters degree from the Institute of Political Studies of Paris. He regularly contributes to several daily newspapers including Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Il Riformista and Il Sole 24 Ore. His books include, Un grande futuro dietro di noi (1996), La guerra del talento (2000), Overdose (2002), Fuori controllo (2005) which received the Capalbio award and has been translated into numerous languages, Canton Express (2008) and Obama: La politica nell’era di Facebook (2008). Mr. Da Empoli also contributed to the creation of the first Italian Design Council in Milan and is an executive board member of the Venice Biennale.
Sergio Fabbrini is Professor of Political Science at the University of Trento and is a specialist in transatlantic relations. He has served as NATO Associate Professor of American and Comparative Politics at UC Riverside and UC Berkeley (1981-1983), Fullbright Professor of American and Comparative Politics at Harvard University (1987-89), recurrent Visiting Professor of Comparative Politics at UC Berkeley (since 1991), and Jean Monnet Chair Professor at the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence (2001). He has taught and lectured at Nanjing University (China); Osaka, Tokyo and Sapporo Universities (Japan); Bath University (Britain); and the Andina University (Quito, Ecuador), among others. He is member of the Steering Group on European Union of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) and is currently the editor of the Italian Journal of Political Science. Prof. Fabbrini has authored several books including America and Its Critics. Virtues and Vices of the Democratic Hyperpower (Cambridge, 2008) and Compound Democracies: Why The United States and Europe Are Becoming Similar (Oxford University Press, 2007) and has published numerous articles in scientific journals in the fields of: Comparative American, EU, and Italian politics, political theory, political economy, and public policy. Prof. Fabbrini was educated at the University of Trento and Cambridge University.
Stanley B. Greenberg is CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner where he provides strategic advice and research for leaders, companies, campaigns, and NGOs. Greenberg has served as pollster to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, South African Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, and Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer. This year he published a new book, Dispatches from the War Room: Polling and Campaigning for Five Extraordinary Leaders. He also wrote The Two Americas: Our Current Political Deadlock and How to Break It and Middle Class Dreams, which put the spotlight on “Reagan Democrats”, key to last year’s U.S. election. Together with Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, Greenberg conducts bi-partisan surveys for National Public Radio on the main issues of the day. He advised the Nobel-prize winning campaign to ban land mines and directed the year-long "People on War" project for the ICRC - a consultation with people in the principal war zones of the late 20th century. He was also a strategic consultant to the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council on its multi-year campaign on global warming. Greenberg is co-founder with James Carville of Democracy Corps - a non-profit initiative providing opinion research and strategic advice to aid progressive organizations. He also served as principal polling advisor to the Democratic Leadership Council during the formative years of change (1988-1994) for the Democratic Party. Greenberg founded the company in 1980 after a decade of teaching at Yale University where he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was educated at Miami University and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D.
Chris Hanretty joined the University of East Anglia in 2010 from the European University Institute. Professor Hanretty“s doctoral thesis, "The Political Independence of Public Service Broadcasters", won the inaugural François Mény Prize for the Best Comparative Study of European Institutions and has now been published by Routledge. His work has been published in Electoral Studies and the British Journal of Political Science. He previously studied politics, philosophy and economics at St. Anne“s College, University of Oxford, and has worked for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Adam Nagourney, chief political correspondent for the New York Times, is one of the most respected journalists in the United States. In addition to his articles he has appeared widely on television as a political analyst. Previous to joining the Times in 1996 he wrote for the New York Daily News and USA Today. Nagourney first covered the presidential race in 1996, assigned to the 20 campaign of Bob Dole. He has covered NY mayoral races, Hillary Clinton’s run for the Senate representing New York and the New York gubernatorial campaign in 2002. He published Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America in 2001.
Marylouise Oates is an author and political activist who teaches at The Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU. She holds an M.Div from Yale. She was the youngest national reporter for United Press International, covering the 1964 Democratic Convention, the Philadelphia riots and New Jersey politics. She then moved to the National Desk in New York City. Oates joined the “Dump Johnson” movement, and served as Deputy National Press Secretary to McCarthy for President. She was the journalist-in-residence at The Daily Californian, the University of California, Berkeley, 1968-9. She then returned to Washington, D.C., where she was the press secretary for the National Vietnam Moratorium and subsequently for the National Welfare Rights Organization. She has been involved in the gay and lesbian civil rights movement since the 1970s. She became a reporter and then the nationally syndicated society columnist for the Los Angeles Times, where she refocused coverage to include minority concerns, the power of political money, and the emerging AIDS crisis. She is the author of three novels; one of them, Making Peace, which describes the turmoil and intrigues of the anti-war movement, was praised in the New York Times for capturing the spirit of that era. She worked with First Lady Hillary Clinton in the global initiative to empower women, Vital Voices, and was a founder of the Friends of the Communities of Northern Ireland, which has raised and allocated more than 13 million dollars to community-building and peace-building projects.
Robert Shrum Senior Fellow, NYU Wagner School of Public Service, and Former Democratic Strategist
Robert Shrum is a Senior Fellow and Clinical Professor at The Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at NYU. He was senior advisor and strategist for the presidential campaigns of Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. He has been a senior advisor to the campaigns of Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel, the British Labour Party, and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern. He was speechwriter for Senator George McGovern during the 1972 presidential campaign and for Senator Ted Kennedy during and after the 1980 campaign. He served as the Senator Kennedy’s press secretary from 1980 to 1984. From 1985 to 2004, he was the media and strategic consultant to 30 winning U.S. Senate campaigns, 10 winning Governors’ campaigns, and the Mayors of virtually every major American city. Shrum has published widely in various magazines and newspapers including New York Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New Republic and Slate. He is currently a columnist for The Daily Beast and has frequently appeared as a television commentator on MSNBC, CNBC, CBS’s “Face the Nation,” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” His political memoir No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner, published in June 2007, was a national bestseller.
Leo Sisti Reporter for the Italian newsweekly L“Espresso
Leo Sisti is a reporter for the Italian newsweekly L´Espresso. In more than 30 years he has investigated corruption, financial crimes, mafia, politics, terrorism and organized crime. Sisti covered the so-called ´clean hands´ investigation that lasted six years and was run by former prosecutor Antonio Di Pietro and other Milan magistrates to stamp out corruption in Italy. For his investigations into ´clean hands´ cases, in 1996 Sisti was awarded the prestigious ´Il Premiolino´ journalism prize. He was the first to reveal that an off shore company used to bribe the late former Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, was owned by the current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi´s family company. Sisti has co-authored six books, two of which were on bankruptcy-related scandals involving the Vatican and one investigating corruption in Italian soccer. In 2004 Sisti wrote his first solo book examining Al Qaeda´s financial dealings, entitled “Hunting Bin Laden -The Sheik of Terror.” In 2007 Sisti published a book on the Sicilian mafia, “L´Isola del Tesoro” (“The Treasure Island”), an account of how a prominent Sicilian politician helped the "Corleonese" boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano, captured in 2006 after 43 years on the run, build his criminal career. In 2000 Sisti joined the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), an offshoot of the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity. With ICIJ he worked on cross-border investigations on tobacco, 9/11, the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric carried out by the Cia and again on tobacco smuggling. ”Collateral Damage” and “Tobacco Underground”, written together with a dozen reporters, were awarded two IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) prizes in 2008 (Miami) and 2009 (Baltimore). Mr. Sisti holds a Law degree from the University of Pavia.
Ellyn Toscano is Executive Director of New York University Florence. She is the founder of La Pietra Dialogues, a center at NYU Florence which organizes and sponsors public policy conferences, and the producer of The Season at Villa La Pietra, a summer festival which assembles artists, writers, musicians and public intellectuals to produce new works or reinterpretations of classics. Before arriving at New York University Florence, Toscano served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to Congressman Jose Serrano of New York for two decades, was his chief policy advisor on legislative, political and media concerns, directed his work on the Appropriations Committee, and represented the Congressman in delegations around the world. She also served as counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Education for 9 years, drafting and negotiating legislation and budget on elementary and secondary education and served on the boards of several prominent arts and cultural institutions. She is currently on the board of trustees of the International School of Florence, Italy. A lawyer by training, Toscano earned an LLM in International Law from New York University School of Law.