Four HKS alumni from the MPP program—one of whom is presently studying for her PhD at Harvard—and one current MPP student have been named to a list of 20 Black Americans who have been making a significant impact early in their U.S security and foreign policy careers.

The third-annual list is compiled by New America, a “think and action tank,” and the Diversity in National Security Network, a coalition of national security and foreign policy practitioners working to amplify the contributions of diverse practitioners in U.S. national security. Individuals were selected based their thought leadership and work in the security and foreign policy space.

The five alumni and students are Charles Carithers MPP 2007, Desirée Cormier Smith MPP 2009, Naima Green-Riley MPP 2010 PhD 2021, Phillip Jones MPP/MBA 2021, and Charles Reynolds MPP 2007.

Charles CaritherCarithers, who also is vice president of the HKS Washington, DC Alumni Council, is a principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs, a bipartisan consulting firm, where he advises clients on national security, defense, and homeland security. He is a former staffer on Capitol Hill, where he advised the House Committee on Homeland Security; he also spent 11 years in the U.S. intelligence community, serving in various leadership capacities at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence



Desiree Cormier SmithCormier Smith is a senior director at the Albright Stonebridge Group, where she advises clients on growth strategies across the African continent. Previously, she was a foreign service officer with the Department of State in Ethiopia, Mexico, South Africa, and Washington, DC. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the recipient of four Department of State Meritorious Honor Awards. Cormier Smith also serves on the Advisory Council of Global Kids, which inspires underserved youths to pursue careers in policy and global affairs, and on the Advisory Board of Shea Yeleen, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering women in West Africa.

Naima Green-RileyGreen-Riley’s research focuses on U.S. and Chinese public diplomacy. She works to measure how much America and China influence public opinion in other countries. Before pursuing her PhD, Green-Riley was a foreign service officer at the Department of State. She had previously served as the public affairs officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Arab Spring, and as consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China.



Phillip JonesJones, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, served more than six years as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He was selected to serve as an instructor at the Basic School, where he guided the development of future officers in the Marines. His interests are in U.S. grand strategy and U.S. military strategy. He is a Zuckerman Fellow at HKS’s Center for Public Leadership.





Charles ReynoldsReynolds is a career diplomat at the U.S. Department of State. His next assignment will be at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, where he will coordinate U.S. sanctions policy with Germany. Previously, he led the Environment, Science, Technology and Health Unit at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai. He specializes in diplomacy, East Asia, Europe, the transatlantic relationship, and sanctions.