2022-2023 SPEAKERS




BoiseCFR November Dinner Meeting

Date:            Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Speaker:     Asha Castleberry-Hernandez

Topic:         National Security and China

Asha Castleberry-Hernandez is a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council; a global fellow at the Project on the Study of the 21st Century; and adjunct fellow at the American Security Project.

Previously she served in as a senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State where she focused on China and the Middle East in the Biden Administration. She is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve, where she served as the Kuwait desk officer at U.S. Army Central, and as senior key leadership engagement officer for the Combined Joint Task Force Operation “Inherent Resolve,” in Iraq during the Obama Administration. She also served at the U.S. Mission at the United Nations.

She is a graduate of Hampton University and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, with additional studies in China and at the University of Oxford’s New College Program. She is also the founder of Diversity in National Security Network, and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.




BoiseCFR October Dinner Meeting

Date:            Wednesday, October 19, 2022 (Date Change - One Week Earlier)

Speaker:     Ambassador Pjer Simunovic

Topic:         A World Unhinged: Trying to Regain Balance

Ambassador Pjer Šimunović, is the current Croatian Ambassador to the United States. Šimunović joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Zagreb in September 1998 as deputy head of the Analytical Department, staying until March 2000. He served his first foreign posting at the Croatian embassy in Paris, where he served as first secretary and counsellor for political affairs, as well as deputy head of mission, from March 2000 to September 2003.

Šimunović left the Foreign Ministry to return to journalism and to the Večernji List, working as an advisor to the board from September 2003 to February 2004. But when the Foreign Ministry asked him to return to serve as chief negotiator with NATO, Šimunović agreed. He served as national coordinator for NATO, as well as assistant minister for International Organizations and Security, from March 2004 to July 2008. Croatia entered NATO's Partnership for Peace in 2000 and became the 28th and most recent member of the European Union on July 1, 2013.[

Šimunović then left the Foreign Ministry for the Ministry of Defense, serving as Director of Defense Policy from August 2008 to February 2009, and as State Secretary for Defense Policy from February 2009 to December 2011. He was appointed Croatian Ambassador to the United States on September 8, 2017.




BoiseCFR September Dinner Meeting

Date:            Monday, September 19, 2022

Speaker:     Ambassador Hesham Youssef

Topic:         The Middle East: A Regional Perspective

Ambassador Hesham Youssef, currently with the U.S. Institute of Peace, was a career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt. Previously he served as Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and as a senior official in the Arab League.

Amb. Youssef has worked extensively on conflict resolution in the Middle East, and in particular the Arab-Israeli conflict, reconciliation in Iraq, and the situation in Sudan.

Amb. Youssef holds degrees in physics from Cairo University, St. John’s College, and the American University in Cairo.