Our Team


Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez

Project Leader

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez is Regional Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs in Southeast Asia for Microsoft Corporation. She previously served as Vice Dean of Research at the Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Prior to joining the LKY School, Dr. Tuminez was Senior Research Associate of the Philippine Facilitation Project of the United States Institute of Peace. She was also a Senior Fellow of the Southeast Asian Research Centre of the City University of Hong Kong. Dr. Tuminez has been a Senior Advisor, Strategy and Programs, for the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria. She is also the former Director of Research for alternative investments at American International Group (AIG) Global Investment Corporation. In the early 1990s, she ran the Moscow office of the Harvard Project on Strengthening Democratic Institutions. Dr. Tuminez is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her publications include Russian Nationalism Since 1856: Ideology and the Making of Foreign Policy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000), journal articles, and opinion pieces. Dr. Tuminez earned her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Dr. Vishaka N. Desai

Project Leader

Vishakha N. Desai is President Emerita of Asia Society, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening partnerships among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. She is also Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President and Professor of Practice at Columbia University, as well as Senior Advisor for Global Policy and Programs, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Desai is a frequent speaker at national and international forums and commentator in the media on a wide variety of subjects that include the U.S.-Asia relationship, cultural roots of Asian economic development, regional connections within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the arts and cultures of Asia and Asian America. Dr. Desai holds a B.A. in political science from Bombay University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Asian Art History from the University of Michigan. The recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, Dr. Desai was awarded an honorary doctorate from Susquehanna University in 1996.



Denika Torres

Editor, Contributor

Denika  currently works as a Management Associate at Citigroup in New York City. She has over five years of experience in economic development consulting, project management, and private equity. Denika received her BA in International Relations from Brigham Young University and recently earned a MIA in International Finance from Columbia University and a MPP in Economic Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Prior to her graduate studies, Denika worked for Citibank, The World Bank Group, the Organization of American States, and Mexico’s Foreign Service.




Maria del Mar Garza


Maria del Mar is a candidate to the Masters in Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. She has over three years of experience on economic development and international cooperation in Colombia. Maria del Mar received her Bachelors in International Business from EAFIT University, Medellin. She also has a Postgraduate Degree in Political Studies from the same university. Prior to her graduate studies in Singapore she worked as International Cooperation Coordinator in a local NGO in Colombia.