News & Events

IFE INFO Panel on the Internet of Things (IoT)

John Paul Farmer with White House Presidential Innovation Fellows Dr. Sokwoo Rhee, Dr. Joe Polastre and Geoff Mulligan

John Paul Farmer with White House Presidential Innovation Fellows Dr. Sokwoo Rhee, Dr. Joe Polastre and Geoff Mulligan. Photo Credit: Kevin Allen

The splendid Kalorama home of UNESCO Ambassador Esther Coopersmith is a place where beautiful things, from oil paintings to figurines to antique furniture, are everywhere. On Tuesday, June 16, the Institute for Education held a salon that imagined a future where the things we use are not just attractive and functional, but also smart. 

The panel included Aneesh Chopra, former Assistant to the President and the first-ever Chief Technology Officer of the United States, as well as White House Presidential Innovation Fellows Geoff Mulligan, Dr. Joe Polastre and Dr. Sokwoo Rhee. It was moderated by John Paul Farmer, IFE Emerging Markets Roundtable Co-founder and Director of Technology & Civic Innovation at Microsoft. 

An intimate gathering attended, including Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Eleanor Clift of The Daily Beast, Jill Dougherty of CNN, and IFE Steward Ed Henry of Fox News. Representing IFE were Co-founders Coach Kathy Kemper and James Valentine, Board of Stewards Chair Marci Robinson, and Innovation Steward Dr. Amy Geng.Watch a video recap of the “Internet of Things” here:

“Computing is moving to the edges,” said Polastre. The Internet, he noted, was designed for people to talk to people, but advances in technology have created opportunities for objects to communicate directly with other objects, collecting data and triggering actions that make our society more efficient—and even save lives.

What does it mean for things to be smart? Mulligan described a pilot program held in the homes of elderly, low-income residents of Montgomery County, Maryland, that greatly extends the capabilities of ordinary home smoke detectors. Recently showcased at the SmartAmerica Expo spearheaded by Mulligan and Rhee, the networked smoke detectors gathered data on smoke, gas, light, mold and pollen in the homes, and also monitored the motions of the people who lived there to ensure that they are healthy and active. Insights from these devices promise to improve quality of life for broad numbers of consumers.

Much of the potential of the Internet of Things lies in similar sensor-based efforts to gather information that will help us better understand trends and behaviors, and respond to them quickly. Think of a world where road sensors and traffic lights smooth out traffic jams and protect drivers, and houses and offices better conform to our needs.

“We might design a building that we think is better, but if we aren’t collecting data we don’t really know,” said Farmer. The Internet of Things can enable “feedback loops” that show us what’s working and what could be improved, and enable action to be taken in milliseconds.

Justice Breyer voiced support for the concept but raised questions about privacy and the role of government. He told the story of architect Frank Gehry, who prior to designing the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles spent eight months sitting with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra to better understand what the new venue would need to do.

“You don’t know what I need, and what’s interesting is, I don’t know what I need,” said Justice Breyer. “Is someone from the White House going to sit with me for eight months?”

Chopra, the author of “Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform the Government,” responded to Justice Breyer by describing “modest and well-defined” policy frameworks that directly empower individuals and create opportunities for innovation in the private sector. He cited the example of Pacific Gas and Electric, a California energy utility that instituted “Green Button,” a standard developed by the White House in collaboration with companies to allow consumers to securely download their own detailed energy-use profile with a simple online button-click. Individuals can then take advantage of apps and services developed by private industry to use the data to make smarter energy choices and save money. 

The panel agreed that we have seen only the beginning of what the Internet of Things can do to improve the lives of Americans. One day soon, Ambassador Coopersmith’s home might be more than a stunning collection of art and history. It could also be a place where seemingly ordinary objects make her guests happier, healthier, and a little bit smarter.

Contributed by Mark Schulte, IFE Fellow | Photo Credit: Kevin Allen
Posted in IFE Updates, News & Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , | .

IFE Honors Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at U.S. Supreme Court

More than one hundred and fifty friends of the Institute for Education gathered at the presentation of IFE’s 2014 Cultural Diplomacy Award to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at an evening salon in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday, September 22.
In celebration of Justice Ginsburg’s passion for opera, IFE invited world-renowned opera star, Denyce Graves to open the unforgettable night. Justice Ginsburg, taking evident delight in the honors, introduced Ms. Graves as our “Mezzo-Soprano supreme.” Graves delivered a stunning performance of an eclectic selection of works that ranged from Stephano Donaudy to Rodgers and Hammerstein, and received a standing ovation. A special thank you to pianist Andrew Harley for accompanying Denyce Graves.
“A hearty welcome to my workplace,” Justice Ginsburg told an audience comprising IFE’s unique blend of thought leaders from the diplomatic corps, and business, tech, and press communities.
Ina Ginsburg, herself an IFE Cultural Diplomacy Award recipient from 2012 and an IFE Steward, presented Justice Ginsburg with her award along with IFE CEO and Founder, Coach  Kathy Kemper.
In attendance representing their nations were Her Excellency Claudia Fritsche of Liechtenstein,​ Her Excellency Ritva Koukku-Ronde of Finland, His Excellency Kenichiro Sasae of Japan, and His Excellency Johan Verbeke of the Kingdom of Belgium, Laura Perez Vazquez, wife of Mexican Ambassador also attended.
Also attending were IFE Emerging Markets Roundtable Cofounders John Paul Farmer and Andrew Mitchell, Dr. R. David Edelman, White House Senior Advisor for Internet, Innovation and IFE Fellow, IFE Innovation Steward Dr. Amy Geng,  IFE Board of Stewards Chair Marci Robinson and IFE’s special friends, former  United States Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, and newly minted USCTO Megan Smith, joined the gathering as well.

IFE’s special relationship with the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program was in full evidence, with 22 PIFs attending from rounds one, two and three. These technology wizards, memorably referred to as “the badasses of the badasses,” by former United States Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, are recruited broadly from the private sector to find ways to innovate aggressively in government.
As impressive and diverse as the audience was, all eyes were on the honoree of the evening, a woman who knows well what it means to flout convention and challenge the status quo.
“As an advocate for women’s rights and gender equality,” observed the Honorable Theodore B. Olson, former Solicitor General of the United States, in an introduction to Justice Ginsburg, “she changed the world.”
Olson noted that Justice Ginsburg was one of just nine women in her class at Harvard Law School, the first to be tenured at Columbia Law School, and was the second ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court, after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
“Her questions are invariably tough, focused, penetrating, and, for an advocate, very scary,” said Olson. “If I was limited to six words” to describe her, “they would be pioneer, commitment, dedication, courage, passion, and warrior.”

Olson shared some little-known facts about the Justice, including her near-perfect attendance record: she did not miss a day at the bench while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for cancer in 1999 and a decade later heard oral arguments just 12 days after an operation to remove a tumor on her pancreas. A polymath and lifelong learner, she became fluent in Swedish after law school, and co-authored a book on the Swedish legal system shortly thereafter.
After a brief history of the past Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, whose portraits hang in the East Conference Room, Justice Ginsburg opened the floor to questions from the audience. Often whimsical and candid but ever prudent, the Justice, when pressed on legal matters that may yet come before the court, referred questioners to the court record. There is to date more than 21 years of that, and as Justice Ginsburg has recently made plain, much more to come.

Contributed by Mark Schulte, IFE Fellow

Review: Event Photos | Reliable Post | Photo Credit: Kevin Allen

KAP_IFE_Ginsburg-094 KAP_IFE_Ginsburg-087 KAP_IFE_Ginsburg-114







About Our Distinguished Guest:

Ruth_Bader_Ginsburg_official_portraitRuth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954, and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was Co-founder of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She served on the Board and Executive Committee of the American Bar Foundation from 1979-1989, on the Board of Editors of the American Bar Association Journal from 1972-1978, and on the Council of the American Law Institute from 1978-1993. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993. Read More | Justice Ginsburg’s Opinions

About Our Performer:

denyce gravesRecognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. USA Today identifies her as “an operatic superstar of the 21st Century,” and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclaims, “if the human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce Graves.” Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence. Read entire bio or view Ms. Graves’ website.

About of Introducer:

ted-olsonTheodore B. Olson is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s Washington, D.C. office, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Co-Chair of the Appellate and Constitutional Law Group and the firm’s Crisis Management Team. Mr. Olson was Solicitor General of the United States during the period 2001-2004. From 1981-1984 he was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. Except for those two intervals, he has been a lawyer with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. since 1965. Selected by Time magazine in 2010 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Mr. Olson is one of the nation’s premier appellate and United States Supreme Court advocates. He has argued 60 cases in the Supreme Court, including the two Bush v. Gore cases arising out of the 2000 presidential election, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, prevailing in over 75% of those arguments. Mr. Olson’s practice is concentrated on appellate and constitutional law, federal legislation, media and commercial disputes, and assisting clients with strategies for the containment, management and resolution of major legal crises occurring at the federal/state, criminal/civil and domestic/international levels. He has handled cases at all levels of state and federal court systems throughout the United States, and in international tribunals. Mr. Olson’s Supreme Court arguments have included cases involving separation of powers; federalism; voting rights; the First Amendment; the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses; jury trial rights; punitive damages; takings of property and just compensation; the Commerce Clause; taxation; criminal law; copyright; antitrust; securities; campaign finance; telecommunications; the environment; the internet; and other federal constitutional and statutory questions. Mr. Olson is co-author of the book “Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality” with David Boies. Read More | Selected Appellate Litigation





Posted in Events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | .

Institute for Education Honors – The Georgetowner

The Georgetowner PQThe Georgetowner

View: Institute for Education Honors -The Georgetowner | Article PDF

Posted in IFE in the News | Tagged , , , , , , | .

Inaugural Chris International Tennis Cup 2014 at Congressional Country Club

​Starring, Dr. Joanna Breyer, United Kingdom; Champion, Gitte Wallin Pederson,  Denmark; Finalist,​ Chris Sager, Switzerland; Nobuko Sasae, Japan; Laura Perez Vazquez, Mexico; and IFE Fellow George de Nevers Milanovic, Coach Kathy Kemper and Tournament Director David Parker
15292572699_0007594d01_k 15456360636_9c7cd7197e_k 15479111442_b4a891121e_k

IMG_1163 IMG_1164 IMG_1165 IMG_1166 IMG_1167 IMG_1169 IMG_1175

Posted in Events, IFE Updates | Tagged , , | .

IFE MTR to host FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai

The Institute for Education’s Media and Technology Roundatable is pleased to welcome special guest speaker Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner. Catherine Bohigian, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs at Charter Communications Inc, will introduce the Commissioner. The dinner will be held on October 27th. Venue to be determined. By invitation only.


About our special guest: Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner

Ajit Pai, FCC Commissioner

Ajit Pai was nominated to the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama and on May 7, 2012 was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. On May 14, 2012, he was sworn in for a term that concludes on June 30, 2016.

Commissioner Pai’s focus is on creating a regulatory environment in which competition and innovation will flourish, thus benefitting American consumers. He believes that it is vital for the FCC to adopt policies that will give private firms the strongest incentive to raise and invest capital; to develop new products and services; and to compete in established and new markets. Specifically, Commissioner Pai is working to remove uncertainty that can deter businesses and investors from taking risks, to revisit outdated regulations, and to set clear, modernized rules for the road. These steps will result in consumers enjoying better products at lower prices and the communications industry contributing to faster economic growth and more job creation.

Commissioner Pai also believes that the FCC must act with dispatch to reflect the pace of change in today’s marketplace. Faced with an industry as vibrant and dynamic as today’s communications sector, the Commission must be careful not to cling to twentieth century approaches in addressing the technological landscape of the twenty-first century. Thus, for example, it is a priority of Commissioner Pai to increase promptly the availability of spectrum for high-value uses.

Commissioner Pai’s regulatory approach has been shaped by his decade and a half of experience in communications, law, and policy.

Between 2007 and 2011, Commissioner Pai held several positions in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, serving most prominently as Deputy General Counsel. In this role, he had supervisory responsibility over several dozen lawyers in the Administrative Law Division and worked on a wide variety of regulatory and transactional matters involving the wireless, wireline, cable, Internet, media, and satellite industries.

Commissioner Pai’s career outside of the FCC has spanned the private and public sectors. With respect to the private sector, Pai worked in the Washington, DC office of Jenner & Block LLP, where he was a Partner in the Communications Practice until being sworn in as a Commissioner. Years earlier, he served as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.

Commissioner Pai also has served in all three branches of the federal government. After moving to Washington, DC in 1998, his first post was with the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division as an Honors Program trial attorney on the Telecommunications Task Force. There, he worked on proposed mergers and acquisitions and on novel requests for regulatory relief following the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He later returned to the Department of Justice to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy. Pai has worked on Capitol Hill as well, first as Deputy Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, and later as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights. Immediately following law school, he clerked for the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Commissioner Pai received a B.A. with honors from Harvard University in 1994 and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas J. Mulroy Prize. In 2010, Pai was one of 55 individuals nationwide chosen for the 2011 Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a leadership development initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The son of immigrants from India, Commissioner Pai grew up in Parsons, Kansas. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Janine, son, Alexander and daughter, Annabelle.

Click here to read more online.Commissioner Ajit Pai bio


Posted in Events | Tagged , , , | .

IFE MTR to host Ambassador Daniel A. Sepuveda

The Institute for Education’s Media and Technology Roundatable is pleased to welcome special guest speaker Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State. Catherine Bohigian, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs at Charter Communications Inc, will introduce the Ambassador. The dinner will be held on December 18th at 7:00pm. Venue to be determined. By invitation only.

About our special guest: Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda

Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Daniel Sepulveda, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB). In this role, Ambassador Sepulveda leads and coordinates the Department’s positions on communications and information policy issues.

Prior to joining the State Department in 2013, Ambassador Sepulveda served as a Senior Advisor to Senator William “Mo” Cowan of Massachusetts. From 2009 to 2012, he served as a Senior Advisor and member of Senator John Kerry’s senior management team, handling the Senator’s extensive commerce, trade, and business portfolio, which included his work as chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.

Ambassador Sepulveda served as an Assistant U.S. Trade Representative leading a team that managed relations with Congress for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk from 2008-2009. He managed trade, immigration, interstate commerce, labor, and ethics and lobbying reform issues for Senator Barack Obama from 2004-2008, and helped advise his campaign for President. He assisted Senator Obama on the Senate floor during the debate on CAFTA, the immigration debates, and during the debates on ethics and lobbying. He also assisted him on labor issues as part of the Senator’s responsibilities on the HELP Committee.

In the four years before joining Senator Obama’s office, Ambassador Sepulveda worked for Senator Barbara Boxer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, advising her on trade, technology, telecommunications, media regulation, and consumer affairs. He also advised her on immigration and labor issues.

Additional prior work experience includes service in the Clinton Administration in the Office of Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor and advocacy at the nation’s largest Latino organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR).

Ambassador Sepulveda received a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Public Policy and International Affairs. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Emory University.

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , | .
  • Testimonials

    …pioneer, dedication, courage, passionate, “and to me, most of all, a warrior.”

    The Honorable Ted Olson, a former solicitor general of the United States introducing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at IFE INFO held September 22, 2014 at U.S. Supreme Court (as published in The Washington Post’s Reliable Source)