Fernando D. Menéndez

Fernando D. Menéndez distinguished himself as a successful, independent management consultant and training specialist for more than 20 years. His clients have included corporate, commercial and non-profit organizations.


As an expert in organizational development and management, Menéndez works with clients to identify and better utilize the unrealized potential of both their human and material resources.  He facilitates initiatives to create clear visions and pragmatic approaches to improve performance. He teaches organizational, leadership, and critical thinking skills to create uniform messages for clients and their staff.  Menéndez has trained hundreds of trainers in the principles and practices of adult learning to enhance the capacity of businesses and organizations.  He is an outstanding facilitator and process consultant working with clients to build results-based enterprises.  In addition, Menéndez’s expertise as an economic and political analyst provides clients with critical insights for assessing and influencing their environment.


Menéndez is a former director of Tufts University’s Management Development Institute and also served as director of the Burgess Urban and Pelham grant-making and investment funds.  In April 2001, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation presented him with the “Excellence in Training Award” and cited him as “an outstanding educator, innovator and critical thinker.”  He has also taught training design and management courses at Lesley, Tufts, the University of Wisconsin, Northeastern, the American University in Washington, DC and at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala.  His analytical and opinion pieces have appeared in Fox News Latino, The Hill, The Commentator, China-US Focus, Defense Dossier (of the American Foreign Policy Council) and he is a contributing editor at


He earned his economics degree magna cum laude from George Mason University.  In 2010 he received the Graduate of the Last Decade Award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  He is fluent in Spanish with a working knowledge of Portuguese, Italian and German.


Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is an expert in democracy, political transitions, and complex humanitarian emergencies. With 14 years of experience, Hirst has worked for six years with the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) and for five with the humanitarian organization World Vision International. Working in Honduras, Nicaragua, Kosovo, DR Congo, Venezuela, Pakistan and Uganda, Hirst has managed hundreds of millions of dollars and more than 1000 staff to achieve successful programs. In 2007 he received a Superior Honor Award for his work supporting democracy in Venezuela; as well as the Field Team of the Year award for 2009 for his management of the Uganda stabilization initiative.


As a recipient of the prestigious 2010-2011 International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations, Hirst researched Latin American policy and has become one of the world’s foremost experts on the new political dynamics of the region.  As a Fellow in Human Freedom with the George W. Bush Institute in 2011 – 2012 Hirst researched and wrote about the political and freedom issues affecting Latin America. In his 2012 speech to Andean Aid, Hirst discusses the distinction between charity and coerced redistribution.


Hirst has written and published extensively, including articles in Americas Quarterly, the International Business and Development Exchange and chapters in books for the University of Miami on the Bolivarian Alliance and the International Republican Institute on democratic governance. He has written the first (and definitive) book on the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA): The ALBA: Inside Venezuela’s Bolivarian Alliance His The Lieutenant of San Porfirio is a novelized version of events in Venezuela.  Hirst has written dozens of opinion pieces for Fox News Latino, Real Clear World, Latin American Herald Tribune, The Blaze and he blogs for the Huffington Post and is a regular contributor for The Commentator and E-International Relations. Hirst has appeared on interviews with NTN News Network, Voice of America, Globovision, Al Hurrah, Univision, and Guatevision; and has been a speaker at events on the Hill, at Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, the Inter-American Institute for Democracy and across Latin America.


Hirst has a Masters degree from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management from Brandeis University and is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French.


Joseph M. Humire

Joseph M. Humire is a global security expert, focusing on the nexus between security, defense and economic freedom.  Humire’s research and investigations on the crime-terror nexus, Islamic extremism and Iran’s influence in the Western Hemisphere has been sought after by various entities within the U.S. government, particularly the Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community, as well as prominent think tanks and universities throughout the Americas. Moreover, Humire is an eight-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps and has served combat tours in Iraq and Liberia, as well as took part in the first multinational training exercise in Latin America: UNITAS 45-04.


Currently, Humire serves as the Executive Director of the Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS), a global think tank based in Washington D.C. that focuses on advancing security and freedom around the world by catalyzing and connecting a global network of security specialists focused on the correlation between economics, security, intelligence and defense.  Prior to this, Humire was the Director of Institute Relations at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation where he trained and advised a network of more than 300 think tanks in over 85 countries around the world.


Humire has published in Fox News, the Washington Times, and the Wall Street Journal, and has a regular blog on the Huffington Post. He has also featured scholarly articles in the Small Wars Journal and the Journal for International Security Affairs and Defense Dossier (of the American Foreign Policy Council); and is regularly interviewed on major Spanish-speaking broadcasts throughout the hemisphere, such as with CNN Español, Sun News Network (Canada), Nuestre Tele Noticias-24 (Colombia), Ahora con Oscar Haza on Mega TV (Miami) and the Foro Inter-Americano of Voice of America (Wash. D.C.).


Lastly, Humire has testified before the U.S. House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees, as well as the Canadian Parliament on a variety of security and defense issues, primarily related to asymmetric threats from Latin America.  In 2014, Humire will release his first book on “Iran’s Strategic Penetration of Latin America” published by Lexington Books.


Humire holds a degree in Economics and Global Affairs from George Mason University and is fluent in Spanish and English and knowledgeable of Quechua and Portuguese.