Bio

Johanna Mendelson Forman is a senior associate with Americas Program at CSIS and with the William E. Simon Chair in political economy. A senior policy expert and practitioner with over twenty-five years of experience, she has worked extensively on security and development issues, pioneered post-conflict reconstruction theory and practice, engaged in field work on civil-military relations and democratic transitions, served as a program officer for UN and other multilateral organizations, and more recently developed extensive working experience with renewable energy as a development tool. With a broad understanding of transnational security issues and current threats she is working on projects related to cross-border arms transfers between the U.S. and Mexico. As an attorney she clerked at the Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review on employment related immigration matters.

She has done field work in conflict states in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. With demonstrated success as both a policy expert and a field-based practitioner she has combined a career of public service, with teaching and mentoring of graduate students and intern scholars. A former co-director of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project, she has written extensively on security-sector reform in conflict states, economic development in postwar societies, the role of the United Nations in peace operations, and energy security. In 2003, she participated in a review of the post-conflict reconstruction effort of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq as part of a CSIS team.

Mendelson Forman also brings experience in the world of philanthropy, having served as the director of peace, security, and human rights at the UN Foundation. She has held senior positions in the U.S. government at the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bureau for Humanitarian Response, and the Office of Transition Initiatives, as well as at the World Bank’s first Post Conflict Unit. She has been a senior fellow with the Association of the United States Army and a guest scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she worked on issues related to livelihood creation in nation-building exercises. Most recently, she served as a senior advisor to the UN’s Special Representative to Haiti in 2005-2006.

An experienced educator, Mendelson-Forman has had extensive experience in the academic world. She directed the Democracy Project at the American University and managed the Washington Semester’s Foreign Policy Program at the same university. She taught the introductory area studies courses at the Foreign Service Institute’s program on Latin America. She is a frequent lecturer at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and the Army War College. She is current on the adjunct faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, SAIS, and taught at Georgetown University’s Center for National Security Studies. She held a research faculty appointment at the American University in Washington, D.C. Mendelson-Forman writes extensively on a broad range of policy issues and is a frequent editorial contributor and commentator in both the national and international media.

Mendelson Forman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She also served on the advisory boards of Women in International Security and is currently a board member of the Latin American Security Network, RESDAL. She holds a J.D. from Washington College of Law at American University, a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Washington University, St. Louis, and a master’s of international affairs, with a certificate of Latin America studies, from Columbia University in New York. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Sub-Specialities: Conflict and Food security, post-conflict assistance, multilateral organizations and peace processes in Latin America with special focus on Colombia, Brazil, civil military relations and Haiti.

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