About Us

About Us

Meet the experts behind the Ripples of Hope Project

Project Director

Mara Rudman

Mara RudmanMara Rudman is the James R. Schlesinger Distinguished Professor at the Miller Center, where she directs the Ripples of Hope Project aimed at identifying practical approaches to help democratic leaders resolve key challenges. She serves on the 2022 National Defense Strategy Commission and the Howard University College of Arts and Sciences board of visitors. Rudman also consults for Democracy Forward. Rudman’s government positions have included serving as deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs in the Obama and Clinton administrations; deputy envoy for the Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace at the U.S. Department of State; assistant administrator for the Middle East at the U.S. Agency for International Development; and chief counsel to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Previously, Rudman was executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and senior vice president for policy/projects at Business Executives for National Security. She also led Quorum Strategies, a geopolitical strategic advisory firm. Rudman has been a guest on numerous TV and radio shows and has written for and been quoted in various print publications. She received her BA from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Expert Advisors

Aynne Kokas

Aynne KokasAynne Kokas is the C.K. Yen Professor at the Miller Center, director of UVA's East Asia Center, and a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ research examines Sino-U.S. media and technology relations. Her award-winning book, Trafficking Data: How China Is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty (Oxford University Press, 2022), argues that exploitative Silicon Valley data governance practices help China build infrastructures for global control. Her award-winning first book, Hollywood Made in China (University of California Press, 2017), argues that Chinese investment and regulations have transformed the U.S. commercial media industry, most prominently in the case of media conglomerates’ leverage of global commercial brands. Her writing and commentary have appeared globally in more than 50 countries and 15 languages. In the United States, her research and writing appear regularly in media outlets including CNBC, NPR’s Marketplace, The Washington Post, and Wired. She has testified before the Senate Finance Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and the U.S. International Trade Commission.

Maggie Jo Buchanan

Maggie Jo BuchananMaggie Jo Buchanan has extensive expertise in legal theory, particularly in the field of women’s rights and health, as well as in the federal judiciary overall. Her experience includes work in the U.S. House and Senate, leadership positions with national advocacy organizations and think tanks—such as several years leading the women’s rights department at the Center for American Progress as well as her current role as the managing director of Demand Justice—and work at the state level in Texas. During her career, she has helped to author and pass several pieces of legislation on a bipartisan basis in a variety of political settings. Buchanan’s research has been widely cited in the media, legal journals, and other academic publications, as well as by policymakers. She and her work have appeared in the Washington Post, Vox, The New Republic, NPR, PBS NewsHour, among other outlets. She received her JD from the University of Texas and her BA from the University of North Carolina.

Vidya Mani

Vidya ManiVidya Mani is an associate professor of business administration at UVA's Darden School of Business. Her research and teaching focus on creating sustainable global value chains wherein businesses not only conduct their operations in a responsible manner but also ensure that they do so as part of a global supply chain that adds value to the society and environment that these supply chains pass through. It is key to achieving the targets set out in the UN Sustainable Goals by 2030. Her research focuses on how supply chain imperatives drive operational decisions across electronics, oil and natural gas, pharmaceutical, and retail sectors. Her work highlights how businesses within these supply chains will respond to specific market constraints and regulations. Some of her research topics include developing an efficient product portfolio and distribution strategy for specialty drugs, evaluating the effectiveness of inspection and penalties towards ensuring environmental safety and compliance for the oil and gas sector, making targeted assortment and labor decisions for retail stores, and effective ways to create a secure supply chain in the electronics sector. She teaches an elective on Sustainable Global Value Chains in the Residential and Executive MBA programs at the Darden Business School. She is also the faculty lead for the P3 Impact Award Program run by Concordia, the University of Virginia Darden School Institute for Business in Society, and the U.S. Department of State's Office of Global Partnerships.

Supporting Team

Hannah Niles, Project Coordinator

Sofia Carratala, Research Consultant

Aiden Thomas, Research Consultant 

Core Advisory Committee

The core advisory committee serves as a sounding board for advancing the Ripples of Hope project objectives.

Bill Antholis

Eric Edelman

Anne Griffin

George Hanley

Brian Katulis

Aynne Kokas

Vidya Mani

Rob Nabors

Dan Restrepo

Mara Rudman

Michael Smart

John Veroneau