Ernesto Cortes Jr.

Ernesto Cortés, Jr. is the National Director Emeritus of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and Co-Director of Interfaith Education Fund. IAF provides leadership training and civics education to poor and moderate-income people across the US and UK. Cortés has been instrumental in the building of over 30 broad-based organizations whose hallmark is the development and training of ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He is the executive director of the 30 organizations of the West / Southwest IAF.

Vasily Gatov

Vasily Gatov is a Russian media researcher and author based in Boston. His research interests include the technological effect on media development as an institution, the censorship and media effects, and media innovation, information war, crisis communications, digital propaganda and intelligence meddling in mass and social media.

Florian von Heintze

Florian von Heintze is a senior print journalist with extensive experience in reporting, writing, editing, managing and marketing weekly magazines as well as local and national daily newspapers. Until 2021, he was Deputy of the Editor-in-Chief of BILD, Europe’s bestselling newspaper. He now works as a media consultant and an advisor to publishers and communication agencies.

Sarah Mojarad

Sarah Mojarad is a Visiting Fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP). She has expertise in social media, science communication, misinformation, and disinformation. She regularly conducts workshops on misinformation and disinformation for USC’s Election Cybersecurity Initiative.

Bob Wekesa

Wekesa is the Director of the African Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa. He is secretary to the U.S. Business in Africa Awards, interim chairman of the African Centres for the Study of the U.S., secretary to the Governing Board of the U.S. Business in Africa Awards (USBAA) and, since 2015, Wekesa has been a senior lecturer at the Wits Centre for Journalism where he teaches and supervises international communications.

Election Cybersecurity Fellow

Headshot of Scott Bates

Scott Bates

Scott Bates has served in leadership roles at the state, national and international levels in policy development and government for over twenty-five years. He has worked with elected leaders and activists alike to build democratic institutions and governance structures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and the Persian Gulf. Bates has worked in the British Parliament and served as an advisor to the Premier of South Australia. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations and the Senior Fellow at the American Security Project

Research Fellow

Isaac Blacksin

Isaac Blacksin is a media theorist and an ethnographer of military conflict. He received a Ph.D. from the History of Consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Stanford University. Operating at the convergence of cultural anthropology, critical theory, and media studies, his research examines the politics of representation and the practice of journalism in conditions of violence. Isaac was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows at USC.