Dame Karen Pierce, Ambassador to the United States, United Kingdom 

Prior to arriving in Washington, D.C., Dame Pierce was the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York beginning in March 2018. Prior to this role, Pierce served as the Director General for Political Affairs and Chief Operating Officer of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, from 2016.

Pierce joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1981. Her first role was in Tokyo between 1984 and 1987, after which she returned to the UK to work in the Security Policy Department. Pierce worked in Washington as the Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to the United States between 1992 and 1995. Between 1996 and 2006, Pierce held several positions in London including Team Leader for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Deputy Head of Eastern Adriatic (Balkans) Department, Head of Newsroom, Head of EU Department (Bilateral) and concurrently Head of Afghanistan Political Military Unit after 9/11 before returning to the Balkans as Balkans Coordinator from 2002 to 2006.

In 2006, Pierce moved to New York for the first time to be the Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador at the UK Mission to the UN. In 2009, she returned to London to become the Director of South Asia and Afghanistan Department and the UK’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, Pierce started her second multilateral role, this time in Geneva, where she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and Other International Organisations until 2015. Between 2015 and 2016 Piece was the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.

General Sir Nick Carter, Former Chief of the Defence Staff, United Kingdom 

General Sir Nick Carter is an accomplished strategic leader and advisor. He has over 45 years’ military experience culminating at the top of his profession as the Chief of the Defence Staff where he was the principal military advisor to the Prime Minister, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of State for Defence, and the Head of the UK Armed Forces. He also served as the Chief of the General Staff, professional Head of the British Army. He is an expert on Defence and Geopolitical Affairs, Transformational and Strategic Leadership, and Inclusivity.

Carter has commanded military operations at every level of command and in a variety of different contexts, including the Troubles in Northern Ireland, UN peacekeeping in Cyprus, NATO peace enforcement in both Bosnia and Kosovo, and commanding the UK-led Brigade in Iraq in 2003-04. He has multiple years of experience in Afghanistan since 9/11 until the present day, designing approaches to counter insurgency and acting as the key facilitator to build confidence between the Afghan and Pakistani governments. He has commanded more American troops and marines than any other foreigner.

An accomplished military diplomat, he has developed several coalitions and military communities of interest including in the Middle East with the GCC, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, in the Caribbean, and a Joint Expeditionary Force with the Nordics and Baltic States to counter Russian belligerence. He also sought to develop a relationship with his Chinese opposite number, the Chief of CMC Joint Staff Department Li Zoucheng.

A moderniser and reformer, Carter is a leader who shapes events rather than be shaped by them, using data, strategic acumen, and operational insight and experience to create and sell a compelling vision of the future challenge, aligning teams behind a creative concept for why and how an institution must transform at pace.

His hallmarks are the Defence element of the most recent Integrated Review, leading to the largest uplift in Defence spending since the end of the Cold War; the fundamental restructuring of the British Army (known as Army 2020) following the national Defence Reviews of 2010 and 2015; and the design of the Armed Forces’ support to the national COVID-19 response.

Carter initiated and drove significant cultural change, instituting a strategic culture, a programme of empowerment and Maximizing Talent. A strong advocate for equality of opportunity, enabling everyone to maximise their talent, he was recognised by Business in the Community naming him UK Gender Champion in 2017 after making and winning the case for legislation to be changed to open all roles in the military to all people based on ability and potential rather than outdated notions of gender.

Carter becomes a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center and a  Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University this fall. 


Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project

Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky is a foreign policy expert and former diplomat specializing in national security affairs.  She is a Senior Fellow in the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is Vice Chair of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council.  From 2010-2012, Ambassador Dobriansky was Senior Vice President and Global Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Thomson Reuters. In this position, she was responsible for designing and implementing a corporate approach for engagement in Washington, D.C. and other key capitals around the globe.  During this time, she was also appointed the Distinguished National Security Chair at the U.S. Naval Academy.   

Ambassador Dobriansky served as Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs from 2001 to 2009.  Among her primary accomplishments, she established and led the U.S.-India, U.S.-China, and U.S.-Brazil Global Issues Fora, which advanced crucial work and international cooperation on environment, energy, health, development, and humanitarian issues.  Additionally, she was head of delegation and lead negotiator on U.S. climate change policy. 

In February 2007, as the President's Envoy to Northern Ireland, Ambassador Dobriansky received the Secretary of State’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, for her contribution to the historic devolution of power in Belfast. During her more than 25 years in national security affairs, Ambassador Dobriansky has held many Senate-confirmed and senior level positions in the U.S. Government including Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency.   

From 1997-2001, Ambassador Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations and was the first George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies.  During this time, she also served on the President-appointed U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. 

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy, Ambassador Dobriansky served on the Defense Policy Board, the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, and as Chair of EXIM Bank’s Chairman’s Council on China Competition (C4).   She is a Trustee of the Trilateral Commission, member of EXIM's C4, on the Advisory Board of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and Chair of the Bush Center's Women's Initiative Policy Advisory Council. 

She received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University.  She is a Fulbright-Hays scholar, Ford and Rotary Foundation Fellow, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a recipient of various honors such as the Foreign Policy Association Medal for her service to country and leadership of the World Affairs Councils of America and the International Republican Institute's Women's Democracy Network Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Award (2008).  She has received other high-level international recognition including the Commander Cross of the Order of Merit of Poland, Poland's Highest Medal of Merit, Grand Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, National Order "Star of Romania", Hungary’s Commander’s Cross Order of Merit and Ukraine’s Order of Merit.  She has also received three Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters, one Honorary Doctorate of Laws, and one Honorary Doctorate of International Affairs.