Board of Directors

Clovis Maalouf
General Counsel at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

Clovis Maalouf is the General Counsel at AUIS, reporting directly to the AUIS President on all internal and external legal matters pertaining to the University. In addition to his law responsibilities, Clovis is an assistant professor of business law and business management courses at AUIS.

Prior to joining AUIS, Clovis was a Director at a boutique CEO business advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. Before that, he practiced law at Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick - a litigation law firm based in Washington, D.C. - where he focused his efforts on corporate transactions.

Clovis is US bar certified in the states of New York and Wisconsin.


Eric Brown
Senior fellow at Hudson Institute

Eric has directed a wide-range of research and analysis projects on Asian and Middle Eastern affairs, international security and development, and alternative geopolitical futures.

Brown’s current work is on re-tooling international assistance to vulnerable countries and on strategies for enhancing public security in weak and contested states.


Frank Blake
General Manager for Outside Sales and Service for The Home Depot

Frank Blake is currently the General Manager for Outside Sales and Service for The Home Depot. He is responsible for leading the nationwide professional sales force as well as leading the company's B2B services efforts. Since joining The Home Depot in 2004 as part of the Store Leadership Program, Frank has held positions of increasing responsibility, including Store Manager, District Manager and General Manager.

Prior to joining The Home Depot, Frank served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He is also an accomplished angel investor and serves as General Partner of his own early stage investment fund, and as Limited Partner within several investing groups.

Frank is a passionate philanthropist and serves on the board of many local and global non-profits. He and his wife Jennifer live in Atlanta, Georgia with their three children.


Gaylen R. Hansen
Audit Partner and Director of Quality Assurance at EKS&H
The American University of Iraq Foundation (AUIF) Treasurer

Gaylen R. Hansen recently retired as an audit partner of Plante Moran, PLLC following over forty years of engagement in the accounting profession. His career spanned lengthy periods in public practice including initial periods as a manager with Arthur Andersen and later Price Waterhouse. He currently is the chair of the Consultative Advisory Group (CAG) of the International Ethics Standard Board for Accountants and serves as a CAG representative to the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. The IESBA and IAASB establish standards of practice for professional accountants throughout the world. The CAG’s are responsible for ensuring that the public interest is a priority in financial reporting standards. Hansen also currently serves on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board. The ASB establishes auditing for all U.S. non-public entities, including not-for profit organizations. He is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and holds an MBA in international business from California State University, Fullerton. He has been a CPA since 1977 and resides with his wife in Evergreen, Colorado.


Jake Cusack
Managing partner and co-leads CrossBoundary LLC

Jake Cusack is co-managing partner of CrossBoundary, a frontier market investment advisory firm, as well as its adjunct investment platform, CrossBoundary Energy. Mr. Cusack holds joint MPP/MBA degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame’s Honors Program. Prior to CrossBoundary, Mr. Cusack served as a Marine Corps officer in Iraq and worked at Abraaj Capital, an emerging market private equity firm. He also worked in Kurdistan in 2011 advising OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) on their portfolio of investments in the region. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The New York Times, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and Inc. Magazine.

He is Chairman of the Emerging Market Private Equity Association’s Frontier Market Council, Board Member of Invest Africa US, Presidential Leadership Scholar, Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Aspen Ideas Fellow.

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John Paul Schnapper-Casteras
SFounder, Schnapper-Casteras PLLC

Schnapper-Casteras founded the first student exchange program between Stanford University and postwar Iraq in 2004. He is the founder of Schnapper-Casteras PLLC, a boutique law firm in Washington, D.C., as well as a National Security Crisis Law Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Previously, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and to the Honorable Scott W. Stucky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

He received his J.D. with Pro Bono Distinction from Stanford Law School, an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School, and an M.A. in Sociology and B.A. with honors in Political Science from Stanford University.

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Kelly Peeler
CEO and Founder of NextGenVest

Kelly Peeler is the CEO and founder of NextGenVest (acquired by CommonBond), based in New York City, which helps Gen Z reduce student loan burdens. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Across Borders, building and scaling Iraqi tech-enabled ventures by working with Universities in Iraq to help students from ideation to product/market fit. Kelly has also built several companies focused on helping students thrive. While at Harvard, she started Business Across Borders, a non-profit that helps Iraqi students rebuild their own economy by starting their own companies and the International Women in Business Summit, bringing together top female college leaders. She has been recognized as a 2013 Global Scholar at the Kauffman Foundation, in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30, Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business, Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and a White House #StartTheSpark Ambassador. Kelly graduated from Harvard University with a BA in History and Economics.


Kyle Long
Content Director at Hanover Research

Kyle A. Long is Content Director for Hanover Research’s higher education practice. His forthcoming book The Emergence of the American University Abroad explores the development of the global field of independent, American-modeled higher education institutions. He has visited more than a dozen such institutions in seven countries on three continents. He previously served the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani in multiple senior administrative roles, including Director of the U.S. Office and Director of Communications & Institutional Development. Kyle has consulted for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Asian Development Bank, and for organizations that strengthen higher education governance and student learning outcomes. He holds a Ph.D. in International & Comparative Education from Columbia University (NY), M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (MD), and a B.A. in Classics from Wabash College (IN).

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Marie Labrosse
Senior Lecturer, American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

Since 2011, Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse has taught in the English Department at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. While there, she was instrumental in the formation of the department, serving as the founding Chair. She translates classical and contemporary Kurdish poetry, hosts readings with regional poets, and introduced the annual translation workshop. She received her M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College and her M.Ed. in English Education and B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia. She was awarded the Richard A. Meade Award for Excellence in English Education, honored as a member of the Raven Society, and was an Echols Scholar.

She has been published in The Iowa Review, Words Without Borders, The Fair Observer, and 91st Meridian. She compiled and edited SoJust: An International Art Festival, an anthology of translations and interviews from American and Iraqi artists.

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Newman T. Halvorson, Jr.
Retired partner, Covington & Burling LLP

Halvorson is a retired partner of Covington & Burling LLP, and practiced in the areas of federal income tax law; federal tax litigation; state tax law; exempt organizations and trade associations law; criminal law; and general litigation. He was an assistant United States attorney for the District of Columbia in the civil, grand jury, and felony trial sections from 1983 to 1985, and an associate independent counsel under the Ethics in Government Act from 1987 to 1990. Halvorson is a trustee and chairman of the governance committee of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani; a former trustee and chairman of the board of The Potomac School; former director and chairman of the board, and current co-chairman of the Leadership Council and member of the investment committee, of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation; former trustee and chairman of the board of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.; former president of the Cleveland Park Historical Society; former senior warden and member of the Vestry of Christ Church, Georgetown; and trustee and vice-chairman of the board of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum (Decorah, Iowa).

He received his LL.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a member of the Board of Student Advisers. He received his A.B., magna cum laude, from Princeton University with his major field of study in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1961 to 1967. He is a widower with two children and four grandchildren.

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Michael Gfoeller
United States Ambassador, Retired

Ambassador Michael Gfoeller served for 26 years as a U.S. diplomat including service in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Russia, Armenia, Moldova, Poland, and Belgium. He retired from the State Department with the rank of Ambassador in 2010.

After his diplomatic service, Amb. Gfoeller was the head of Middle East and North African (MENA) affairs at ExxonMobil’s International Government Relations Department from 2010 to 2012.

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Steve Lutes
Vice President, Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Steve Lutes is responsible for managing the U.S.-Egypt Business Council, U.S.-Iraq Business Initiative, the U.S.-GCC Business Initiative, and serves as executive director for each. In this capacity, Lutes is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs that promote U.S. business opportunities and investment in Egypt, Iraq, and the GCC. He works closely with Chamber member companies and business and government leaders to advance and broaden commercial relationships.

Lutes came to the Chamber from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) where he was a senior legislative affairs specialist in the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. He focused on educating members of Congress on the benefits of trade and foreign direct investment and on advancing the Administration’s trade agenda on Capitol Hill.

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