Mr. Graves is the Executive Director of the National Association of Securities Professionals (“NASP”), a three-decade-old trade association for minorities and women in the financial services industry headquartered in Washington, D.C. Over 150 companies, including approximately 45 small/emerging companies, in all aspects of the financial services industry are represented in NASP’s membership across the U.S. Mr. Graves previously served as deputy chief investment officer for the City of Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement where he provided expertise in investment performance attribution and evaluation, as well as asset allocation strategies specializing in non-traditional asset categories. Mr. Graves serves on the board of Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans, LA. Mr. Graves earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Hampton University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Wisconsin. He is a CFA charter holder.
Ambassador Modest Jonathan Mero.
Mr. Mero is the outgoing Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations. Until his appointment on December 3, 2016, Mr. Mero was his country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and all international organizations in Geneva. Holding that position until May 2013, he was accredited simultaneously to the International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations Industrial Organization, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization and the United Nations system in Austria. Between 2007 and 2013 Mr. Mero was stationed at his country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he served as Minster Plenipotentiary, Economic Adviser and Head of Chancery. From 2005 to 2006, he served as Head of Policy in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Previously, Mr. Mero was a senior economist at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, from 1987 to 2004, and a trade policy adviser to the Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community from 2004 to 2005. Mr. Mero holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Dares Salaam in the United Republic of Tanzania, as well as a master’s degree in finance from the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Russell Read.
Dr. Read is the former Chief Investment Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Gulf Investment Corporation (“GIC”) in Kuwait City, Kuwait, which, since its inception in 1984, has become a pioneering and leading development investment manager related to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, including Shariah-compliant investment opportunities and natural resources investment opportunities. He also served as Chief Investment Officer of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC, America’s largest sovereign investor) and of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS, America’s largest pension system), where he launched its infrastructure program along with new initiatives in timberland, commodities, infrastructure, and environmentally-sensitive investing. Dr. Read founded and currently serves as Managing Partner for the C Change Group PB LLC, focusing on transformative infrastructure development associated with materially improving the world’s utilization of natural resources, with a special geographic focus on the MEASA Region (Middle East, Africa, Southern Asia) and the Arctic/Near-Arctic. He developed the first commodities-based mutual fund and related institutional products while at Oppenheimer Funds during the 1990’s. Dr. Read received his undergraduate degree in Statistics and graduate degree in Finance from the University of Chicago and his master’s degree in Economics and doctorate in Political Economy from Stanford University. He is a member of the Investment Funds Committee (IFC) for the US State of Wyoming and its sovereign wealth funds and formerly served as Chairman of the Investor’s Committee for the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets under Treasury Secretary Paulson.
Daphne Michelle Titus.
Ms. Titus is a career member of the United States Department of State Senior Foreign Service and of Entrepreneurship by Women STEM. One of the Department of State’s premier Africanists and senior consular officers, she has served in roles including at the United States Agency for International Development’s Mission in Kinshasa, Senior Advisor for the Addis Ababa Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Great Lakes Region, Counselor for Consular Affairs for U.S. Mission Nigeria, as the Senior Director/Diplomat in Residence for the National Capitol Region (based at Howard University) and as the Foreign Policy Advisor for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa in Djibouti. Her previous positions include service as Embassy Nairobi’s Somalia Political Advisor in Djibouti, Regional Affairs Director/Senior Public Diplomacy Advisor/Policy and Coordination Officer in the Department’s Bureau of African Affairs Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Deputy Chief of Mission/Charge d’Affaires in Banjul, The Gambia and at the U.S. Mission to the African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ms. Titus has also served in Washington as a member of the Department’s Foreign Service Board of Examiners, its tenure/promotion/selection-out boards and as its Bilateral Western Hemisphere Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The recipient of numerous Department of State performance awards, she is most notably an alumna of the London School of Economics and Political Science, The New College of California and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF, now the Eisenhower School) at the National Defense University.
Ambassador (ret) Bisa Williams
Ambassador Williams is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs where she teaches a course on peace-building. She is also Special Advisor on Mali for The Carter Center and has led The Carter Center’s effort as Independent Observer of Implementation of the Peace Agreement in Mali since 2018. She was elected Chairperson of the Board of Health & Development International (HDI) in 2021. For most of her career, Ambassador Williams was a career member of the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, serving tours in Guinea, Panama, Mauritius, Niger, France, the US Mission to the UN (NY), and Washington, DC, including two years at the National Security Council of The White House. As Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, she led the US delegation to talks in Havana, Cuba, ending a seven year hiatus of high level direct discussions. Her accomplishments were recognized in LeoGrande/Kornbluh book “Back Channel to Cuba”. Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 as Ambassador to Niger, Ambassador Williams holds the distinction of being the first Department of State officer to be awarded the “Agency Seal Medal” from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for exceptional contributions to U.S. national security while serving as Ambassador. Immediately after her tour in Niger, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs. Ambassador Williams retired from the Foreign Service in 2015, having received numerous Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State. Upon retirement, she co-founded with her brother, Paul T. Williams, Jr., Williams Strategy Advisors, LLC (WSA), a problem-solving, business and foreign affairs advisory firm. She has authored or co-authored articles for Foreign Affairs Magazine, Al Jazeera, and Air Mauritius Magazine and appeared on various TV and radio programs. She holds a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College of the National Defense University in Washington, DC, a Master of Arts and is ABD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Yale. She speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
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