Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Announcing the 2023 Templeton Fellows 
Announcing the 2023 Templeton Fellows 

Announcing the 2023 Templeton Fellows 

  • May 2, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Templeton Fellows 

  • May 2, 2023

The Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) is pleased to announce the appointment of its 2023 Templeton Fellows. Recipients of the Templeton Fellowship work across FPRI’s research programs on a variety of projects throughout the year.

The Templeton Fellowships are named for the late John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D., who had a decades-long association with FPRI, serving as Vice Chair of FPRI’s Board of Trustees and, along with his beloved wife Josephine “Pina” Templeton, generously supported FPRI for many years. We’re deeply grateful to them both and to the Templeton Family and the Psalm 103 Foundation for their support to FPRI and its mission.

Africa Program

Alden Young is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the Africa Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Alden is also the Vice Chair and an associate professor of the African American Studies Department and a faculty member of the International Development Studies program of the UCLA International Institute. A political and economic historian of Africa, he is the author of “Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Young is particularly interested in the ways in which Africans participated in the creation of the current international order and has research interests on both sides of the Red Sea. He has done extensive fieldwork in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Young’s current research project examines how Sudanese intellectuals and businessmen conceptualized the rise of the Arab Gulf beginning in the 1970s and built economic, political, and labor relationships between Sudan and the Gulf region. He is also engaged in two collaborative research projects:    a study of post-partition conflicts in the Horn of Africa (e.g., Sudan-South Sudan and Ethiopia-Eritrea) with political scientist Michael Woldemariam, and a study of East African ideas of federation. Along with Nathalie Puetz of NYU Abu Dhabi, Young has been awarded a research grant by the Social Science Research Council to conceptualize the Red Sea as a region of study.

A frequent contributor to international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, Young is a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University for the 2019–2020 term.

Asia Program

Nara Sritharan is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a Postdoctoral Fellow at AidData, a research lab at the Global Research Institute at William & Mary, where she conducts quantitative analyses of a number of development topics. Her primary research interests are foreign aid, the nexus between geospatial and economic analysis, China’s impact  in the Global South, and conflict.

Prior to joining FPRI and AidData, Nara completed her PhD in Economics at UMass Amherst. Her dissertation was on the political economy of peace and conflict, in particular peacebuilding and ethnic reconciliation in conflict/post-conflict countries. Nara is a Steering Committee member and Co-Founder of Diversifying and Decolonising Economics (D-Econ), and maintains affiliations with Security in Context and Human Security Lab.

Jessica C. Teets is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the Asia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a Professor at Middlebury College, and Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chinese Political Science. Her research focuses on governance in authoritarian regimes, especially the role of civic participation. Dr. Teets is the author of Civil Society Under Authoritarianism: The China Model (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and editor (with William Hurst) of Local Governance Innovation in China: Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance (Routledge Contemporary China Series, 2014), in addition to articles published in The China Quarterly, World Politics, Governance, and the Journal of Contemporary China. She is currently working on a new book manuscript (with Dr. Xiang Gao) on changing governance under Xi Jinping, and a forthcoming edited volume (with University of Michigan Press) developing a theory of how to lobby dictators (with Dr. Max Grömping).

Education Program

Dan Whitman is a 2023 Templeton Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former United States Foreign Service Officer.

As Foreign Service Officer, Whitman was posted in Denmark, Spain, South Africa, Haiti, and Cameroon. He briefly served in Ghana, Guinea, and Nigeria, South Sudan, Mauritius, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo-Brazzaville.

As Assistant Professor at American University 2009-2020, he taught Foreign Policy, research methods, cross cultural communication, and oral history. In 2022, Dan worked on the Biden White House Summit on Africa. Currently he teaches at George Washington University.

Whitman began his public diplomacy work in 1969, when he was the assigned French interpreter for an African visitor under the International Visitors Program of the U.S. Information Agency.  Since then he accompanied African and French visitors in the IV program for a thirteen-year period, then planned programs for IVs at Delphi Research Associates.  He was a Fulbright scholar in 1980-81 in Brazzaville, after earning his PhD at Brown University in 1979.

Whitman is the author of eight books, including A Haiti Chronicle, documenting the three Haitian elections of 2000.  His oral history of educational and cultural exchanges between apartheid South Africa and the United States was published in 2014 by the SUNY Press.

Eurasia Program 

Aaron Schwartzbaum is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the Eurasia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and is founder of FPRI’s Bear Market Brief. He now works with the Bear Market Brief team as an advisor, columnist, and podcast host. Aaron received an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), with concentrations in International Political Economy and International Economics. Prior to starting at SAIS, he worked at Eurasia Group as a researcher for the Eurasia and Global Macro practices. Aaron holds a BA in International Relations and Russian from Haverford College and has completed the Overseas Language Flagship program in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


Philip Wasielewski is a 2023 Templeton Fellow and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Eurasia Program. He is a former Paramilitary Case Officer who had a 31-year career in the Directorate of Operations of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was a member of the first CIA team into Afghanistan in 2001 and served a three-year assignment on the National Security Council staff as the Director for Intelligence and Covert Action programs. His CIA career was paralleled by a concurrent 30-year Marine Corps career (7 years active duty and 23 reserve) as an infantry officer including mobilizations for Afghanistan and Iraq. Philip Wasielewski graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 with a B.A. in International Relations and European History. He also has an M.A. from Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian Studies and an M.A. in National Security Studies from the Army War College.   

Middle East Program

Joshua Krasna is a 2023 Templeton Fellow and Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Middle East Program. Dr. Krasna is also an analyst specializing in Middle East political and regional developments and forecasting, as well as in international strategic issues. He retired in 2017 after 30 years of service in Israel to include postings as an Israeli diplomat in Jordan and Canada. His last assignment before retirement was as an Instructor at the Israel National Defense College. He has published numerous articles, and is proficient in Hebrew and Arabic. Dr. Krasna holds a PhD from Bar Ilan University and is a graduate of Columbia University and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He teaches at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs, and is a Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center in Tel Aviv University.


Lior Sternfeld is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the Middle East Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and an associate professor of history and Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is a social historian of the modern Middle East with particular interests in the histories of the Jewish people and other minorities of the region. Sternfeld’s first book, titled Between Iran and Zion: Jewish Histories of Twentieth-Century Iran (Stanford University Press, 2018), examines, against the backdrop of Iranian nationalism, Zionism, and constitutionalism, the development and integration of Jewish communities in Iran into the nation-building projects of the last century.

In 2022, he co-authored with Hassan Sarbakhshian and Parvaneh Vahidmanesh Jews of Iran: A Photographic Chronicle (Penn State University Press, 2022), and together with Honaida Ghanim and Tamir Sorek, they established the journal Palestine/Israel Review, where he serves as the Associate Editor.

Sternfeld is currently working on two book projects: “The Origins of Third Worldism in the Middle East” and a new study of the Iranian-Jewish diaspora in the U.S. and Israel

National Security Program 

Dr. Heather S. Gregg is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the National Security Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and professor of irregular warfare at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany.

She has spent much of her career focusing on religiously motivated violence, causes of extremism, irregular warfare, and leveraging culture in population centric conflicts, including repairing communities and national unity in the wake of war and political instability.  She has held several positions in and out of government service, including at the U.S. Army War College, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the RAND Corporation.

Dr. Gregg earned her PhD in Political Science in 2003 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School, where she studied Islam, and a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, with honors, from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Dr. Gregg has published extensively on religiously motivated conflict, extremism, and population centric warfare, including: Religious Terrorism (Cambridge University Press, 2020); “Religiously Motivated Violence” (Oxford University Press 2016); Building the Nation: Missed Opportunities in Iraq and Afghanistan (University of Nebraska 2018);The Path to Salvation: Religious Violence from the Crusades to Jihad (University of Nebraska 2014); and co-editor of The Three Circles of War: Understanding the Dynamics of Modern War in Iraq (Potomac, 2010).