'Breaking Digital' Debate Event Participants

Biographical Information


David Karpf


Assistant Professor, School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University 

David Karpf is an Assistant Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University.  Prior to this, he spent two years as an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information.  His research explores the internet’s impact on political associations — both in the formation of novel organizational structures seen in MoveOn and DailyKos, and also tracing implications for more traditional advocacy organizations.  Karpf’s book, The MoveOn Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy was published in May 2012 by Oxford University Press. His previous academic positions have included a visiting fellowship with the Yale Information Society Project, a postdoctoral position at Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and a pre-doctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs.  Karpf earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and B.A. in Politics from Oberlin College in 2002. In addition to his academic portfolio, he’s a longtime volunteer leader with the Sierra Club and has been a member of that organization since 1995, served as National Director of the student-run arm in 1999, and served on the national Board of Directors from 2004-2010. Source: davidkarpf.com/about   



Michael Silberman


Global Director of the Digital Mobilization Lab at Greenpeace

Michael Silberman is the Global Director of the Digital Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace. The "MobLab" exists to transform how campaigns are fought and won, pioneering a powerful new era of people-powered strategies that amplify campaign impact and create positive change. Silberman and his team work with Greenpeace and its allies in 42 countries to envision, test, and roll out creative new means of communicating, organizing, and fundraising online. A senior digital campaigns strategist, Silberman is recognized as one of the U.S.’s 50 most influential leaders by The NonProfit Times. He got his start as the National Meetup Director for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid, where he developed one of the first successful online organizing programs in American politics and lead a team that regularly mobilized nearly 200,000 volunteers in over 1,200 cities worldwide. Silberman subsequently co-founded EchoDitto (now Echo& Co.), a digital agency that empowers organizations to have a greater impact through the creative use of new technologies. 

For more follow: http://about.me/michaelsilberman 

Mark Smith

Senior Director for Humanitarian Emergencies


Mark Smith works as World Vision's senior director for humanitarian emergencies. Prior to joining World Vision's team in Washington, D.C., Mark was the senior development and fundraising specialist for the American Red CrossExternal Link. He has also worked with World ReliefExternal Link as the disaster response director for the organization, managing responses in Darfur, Indonesia, Sudan, Iran, and Grenada. Before his time at World Relief, Mark lived in Missouri, working as the humanitarian aid director at Convoy of HopeExternal Link, where he led the organization's work in Jordan and Iraq prior to the first Gulf War. Mark began his humanitarian career in Calcutta, India with Mission of MercyExternal Link where he helped the organization respond to the Orissa cyclone, the Gujarat earthquake, and flooding along the India/Bangladesh border. Before his career in relief and development, he also worked as a lawyer and a college minister.  

Blair Glencorse

Founder and Executive Director, Accountability Lab


A seasoned international development professional and social entrepreneur, with significant experience across issues of governance, accountability, institutional reform and political-economy transitions. He established a new independent, “for purpose” organization that co-creates the world’s most innovative tools to build accountability and fight corruption in the developing world. He develops and manages programs that empower youth to build accountability movements in their countries using culture, media, education and technology. Blair has raised and won significant funds from various philanthropic sources to support preliminary work across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, with the Lab’s work awarded a number of prizes for progress to date. He’s worked around the world with governments, the private sector, philanthropists and civil society to improve lives. In everything he does he seeks to empower communities and connect people- to develop ideas, overcome challenges and support positive change. His previous work experience has been with the Institute for State Effectiveness, Johns Hopkins SAIS, World Bank. He is an alumnus of Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Robtel Neajai Pailey 

Liberian academic/activist/author, SOAS, University of London


Dr. Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author based at SOAS, University of London. She previously served as special assistant for communications to Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and has consulted for ActionAid, the African Development Bank, the Australian Agency for International Development, the Ford Foundation, and Search for Common Ground. Her anti-corruption children's book,Gbagba, was published by One Moore Book in 2013 to critical acclaim and has been placed on the supplemental list of readers for 3rd to 5th graders in Liberia. Robtel's writing has also been published in the 2014 book Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence, as well as the Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings, the International New York TimesThe Guardian (UK), Al Jazeera English, and Newsweek-Daily Beast. She was selected as a “99 under 33” influential foreign policy leader in 2013 and an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow in 2010. 

Jason Cone


Communications Director at Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres USA

His previous work experience was with the Center for Reproductive Rights, The Earth Times amongst others. He’s an alumnus of Syracuse University, Maxwell School. Jason is an experienced brand steward, marketing, and crisis-communications leader at non-profit organization working at senior management team and board levels. He’s adept at leading multi-disciplinary, cross-departmental, and international teams to execute multi-channel global communications and high-visibility marketing initiatives. Jason has proven capacity to support executive leadership in driving operations and results, managing growth, and in the development and advancement of strategic priorities. He’s a regular speaker on crisis communications, social media, photo ethics and humanitarian communications.

Andrea Koppel


Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy, Mercy Corps

Andrea joined Mercy Corps in June 2011 as the head of the newly created global engagement and policy unit. She is a seasoned television journalist and media professional with 25 years of communication, journalism and advocacy experience and is based in the DC office. Prior to joining Mercy Corps, Koppel worked as Director of International Communications at the American Red Cross where she led the organizations communication strategy for the Haiti Assistance Program following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Prior to joining the Red Cross, Koppel was a Senior Vice President at M+R Strategic Services, a DC based public affairs firm that helped non-profits and foundations build and implement advocacy campaigns. Koppel spent 2 decades in her earlier career working as a journalist in the US and East Asia and was a CNN correspondent from 1993 – 2007. She has won several awards including the Emmy Award for a documentary entitled “Haiti and the coup”, a Peabody Award for contributing to CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and DuPont Award for contributing to CNN’s coverage of the 2004 South Asian tsunamis. She attended Middlebury College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Asian Studies. 

Steven Livingston


Professor at George Washington University

Steven is a Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs. He is a "pracademic," which is to say that he does applied research on governance capacity building and economic development in "areas of limited statehood." These are places where the state has not or chooses to not provide for basic services. Examples on a grand scale would be a failed state, such as Somalia or the Central Africa Republic. But it also includes slums where the state fails to provide for almost all public services. He writes articles, reports, and books (Bits and Atoms: Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood, Edited by Steven Livingston and Gregor Walter-Drop, Oxford University Press). He’s traveled to about 40 countries in the last decade.

Ben Wikler


Washington Director, MoveOn.org, Host of The Good Fight & The Flaming Sword of Justice

As Director, his job is to ensure that the views and values of MoveOn's eight million members are impossible to ignore in DC and political media. He is a product of Harvard University. He worked as host of The Flaming Sword of Justice program in Brooklyn, New York; and host of The Good Fight in Washington, DC.  Ben has served as Executive Vice President of Change.Org in 2011 – 2012 and Campaign Director, AVAAZ.Org between 2007 – 2011.