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7 GR Forum 2023 (Washington DC)


7th Government relations Forum 2023

Details about the International GR-forum:

Date: March 6, 2023

Time: 11.00 – 16.00

Location: The National Press Club (Washington, DC), Lisagor room

Address: 529 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20045, United States of America

Panel Discussion schedule:

March 6, 2023

11.00 – 11.20   Introduction 

11.20 – 12.00   Panel 1. Not just a coronavirus, or a new wave of global challenges for the GR industry

– War in Ukraine and challenges for the world

– Opinion of industry representatives: Energy and food crisis

– Tectonic changes 2022-2023, trends in regulatory decisions of countries and supranational structures

– Trends and forecasts      

– Geopolitical map 2023-2024, Industry trends


Stephen Blank – is an internationally recognized expert on Russian foreign and defense policies and international relations across the former Soviet Union. He is also a leading expert on European and Asian security, including energy issues. Since 2020 he has been a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. In 2020-21 he also was a Senior Expert for Russia at the U.S. Institute of Peace From 2013-2020 he was a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, From 1989-2013 he was a Professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. 

Mihael Cigler is the head of FIPRA in Slovenia. He specializes in political lobbying and campaigning, environmental policies and climate change, the REACH directive, European tenders and pharmaceutical-related issues for multinational companies, SMEs, governments, NGOs and political parties.

Zhanar Suleimenova is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, trainer, public figure, and activist. She is one of the creators of the “Confidence in Tomorrow” Reform Plan for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, public administration and education. This program has the potential to become the basis of Kazakhstan’s economic policy. She implements social and charitable projects, and her business practices are discussed at prestigious business trainings, at Atakemena, and in world forums.

12.00 – 12.40   Panel 2. USA: Capitalism or oligopoly? How dialog work now?

– The influence of big business on the US elections

– Which lobby groups are the most influential?

– The most striking examples and cases, voting for the best case (practice)

– Active industries, regulation and working methods

– “Foreign agents! In the US, who are they?

– Successful practices in promoting the interests of foreign businesses and groups in the United States (examples)

– Methods of dialogue with the authorities, differences in approaches – what does this polarization mean for the world

– Methods of communication between business, government and the public on the example of American companies in other countries

– The positions of the authorities of various countries regarding lobbying activities


Kendall Coffey – is a former U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Florida (1993-1996); and served as Chair, Southern District Conference, Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission (April 2009 – January 2017). He is annually recognized as one of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, Florida “Super Lawyer,” and South Florida Legal Guide’s “Top Lawyers”, recognized by the National Law Journal as one of its Lawyers of the Year for 2000, as a Member of Gore Legal Team. A frequent teacher and guest lecturer, he has been Guest Legal Analyst providing legal commentary for international networks: “CNN International”, “Telemundo”, “Univision”, “Canadian Broadcasting Company”; national networks: “CNBC”, “CNN”, “CNN Headline News”, “FOX”, “MSNBC” and “NBC”; and local television: “ABC-10”, “CBS-4”, “América TeVe”, “Telemundo-51”, “Univision-23”, “TeleMiami”.

Thaddeus Walls is a political consultant and leader, has worked with grassroots groups, candidates, and their staff to fill in the gaps to create a path to victory. A decade of experience specializing in winning electoral campaigns, outreach, training, and change management. Committed to racial, gender, and social justice.“ I can take care of clients, data, and strategic advice.”

Joe Wertz is a politician, public relations expert & Corporate Consulting professional. As a seasoned veteran of government relations, advocacy campaigns, and political operations, Joe has worked in competitive political, non-profit, and private sector arenas across the country and at every different level.

Prior to founding Cornerstone Principles, Joe worked for a public affairs firm and a national political consulting firm. He was Director of Government Relations for a 501(c)6 association, leading lobbying efforts at all levels of government, overseeing all advocacy campaigns, and operating successful government relations and political engagement strategies.

Working in these roles, he advised clients large and small, industry leaders, and candidates up and down the ballot – from leading efforts to establish nationally-recognized benchmark legislation, to winning targeted Congressional races around the U.S. Additionally, Joe also led the political operations and advised multiple state legislative campaign committees. In late 2021, Joe launched Cornerstone Principles – a full-service government relations consulting, business development, and public affairs firm. He works with a wide range of clients, both domestically and internationally.

Joe resides in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife, Allie, and their three daughters, Ainsley, and identical twins, Quincy and Bailey. 


12.40 – 13.20   Panel 3. Eastern Europe and Asia: a new stage in relations with the West

                   – Work of representatives of these regions in the USA

– Difference in mentalities – does it matter

– Practices in the local market and internationally

– Methods of such interaction and their effect

-The impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war 


Egon Cholakian is a registered Federal lobbyist at the White House. Served as Reagan Administration lobbyist for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI [a/k/a Star Wars]). Restricted Practice: Dual-Use Technology, Energy, Data Driven Science & Bio / Medical Technology research sectors, solely. Former Legislative Tax Analyst, Joint Taxation Committee (U.S. Congress) and the President’s Commission on International Trade and Investment Policy (The White House).

Pete Krasteff is a PhD Candidate and the President and the Founder at Global Trade Alliance of America Inc. With more than 20 years of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, Pete Kristofferson is responsible for overseeing the Global Trade Alliance of America as well as maintaining strong, positive relationships with elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels. Under Pete’s leadership, the Alliance serves as an effective advocate of mutual business interests by arriving at consensus positions on issues that clearly affect business growth and well-being. These issues may take the form of proposed legislation or regulation.

Mark Plavetic – Executive Officer and Public Liaison for the National Federation of Croatian Americans Cultural Foundation. Former Rudy Perpich Fellow who has participated in multiple political discussions relating to Southeastern Europe focusing on election disenfranchisement in Bosnia and Herzegovina and business and philanthropic relations between Croatia and the U.S. Mark serves as a policy liaison for the President of NFCA Steve Rukavina and has assisted in the organization with Croatian diaspora projects with European Parliament members and specialists of Bosnian elections, Kosovo relations, and Croatia business law, history, and culture. 

Natalija Dobrovic is a political science consultant from Montenegro specializing in working with think tanks, political advocacy and NGOs. She is currently leading analytics and strategy at Moderna focusing on COVID-19 vaccine.

13.20 – 14.00   Coffee break   

14.00 – 14.20   Presentation. Institute for Democracy and Development “PolitA” Think Tank

14.20 – 15.00     Panel 4. Practices and cases from companies and business associations

                   – Cases in the field of business, advocacy, G2G and B2B relations

– Examples of successful construction of specialized associations.

– Methods of dialogue with the Supervisory structures of the European Union (European Parliament, European Commission and others)

– Dialogue with international organizations (UN, NATO and others)

– Lobbying practices in Arab countries and African countries – regulation and practices 


Prince Taylor is a deputy Director, VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Lead organizer for annual internally licensed TEDx event. Taylor is a Senior Leadership program graduate (GS14+/EQVs) with The Partnership for Public Service’s Excellence in Government Fellows program. The Partnership for Public Service is an independent, nonprofit organization, with a mission to revitalize our Federal Government, by transforming the way government works and inspiring a new generation to serve.

Catherine Keren Petersen works together with US-based and volunteer-run Nonprofit Charitable Organization “US Ukrainian Activists” in order to represent the interests of Ukraine and Ukrainian people, abroad. 

                                        Brian M. Abrams, a proud Louisiana native, serves in dual   positions as Vice President of Governmental Relations at the EOP Group, Inc. and Executive Director of the EOP Foundation’s Cannabinoid Research & Policy Institute based in Washington, D.C.

15.00 – 15.30      Panel 5. Women’s Leadership in GR and Advocacy

– Biased narratives against women and their impact on leadership

– Barriers that hold women back in terms of their rights, influence, and power

– Ways to accelerate progress toward gender equality on the international level

– Examples of successful leading women as a tool to reduce false statements towards women’s leadership


Kateryna Odarchenko 

Political strategist, CEO and founder of SIC group, Board Member of IGAPA (International Government Relations Association), President of the think-tank “Institute for Democracy and Development “PolitA” ( , Founder of Ukrainian  government professional relations association (, member of board IGAPA network ( Professional  practicing in the field of political communications and projects. He has practical experience in the implementation of all-Ukrainian campaigns and political projects, party building projects. Organized political communication projects in the European Union and the USA for clients from Middle Asia and Eastern Europe. Develops the theme of lobbying and GR as the correct methods of communication between business and government in Ukraine, author of the bestselling book “The Election Game”. The head of the “National Platform” political party (, created through  collection of 14,000 signatures across the country. This party first in worldwide practice produse their ”Token of attention” Now she works in the USA, (Washington, DC). Head of initiative “Ukrainian Humanitarian headquarters”.


Victoria Spartz is a Ukrainian-American politician and businesswoman who is the U.S. representative for Indiana’s 5th congressional district. A member of the Republican Party, she previously represented the 20th district in the Indiana Senate. 

Dina Shaikhislam is a consultant at SOFRECO (France), a political Consultant at KSAP (Kazakhstan). She has a great experience as a GR-specialist that organizes a transparent dialogue between business, state structures and society in Kazakhstan. Also, Ms. Shaikhlislam has experience at providing educational consulting, conducting due diligence, research consultation services to universities and liaising with partner organizations, universities, research institutes, and the Ministry of Science and Education of Kazakhstan.

                                                   Sherry Abedi

Dr. Sofey Saidi

Dr. Sofey Saidi (Ph.D. International Relations), is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the National Council of Resistance of Iran. As a fluent Farsi and Spanish speaker, Dr. Saidi specializes in the Middle East, Latin America, and Global Politics. She has taught courses on Ethnic and Cultural Conflict and International Relations at the University of Baltimore’s School of Public and International Affairs.

15.30 – 16.00   Side-events from partners

Please register here:

Additional Program (March 7-9) in Washington, DC

We offer our guests an additional experience exchange program which includes additional meetings with practitioners at lunch with industry practitioners from the US, an experience exchange meeting in a closed Republican club, 2 tours of landmarks in Washington, dialogue with US authorities, and other activities. 

Date: March 7, 2023

Location: Washington, D.C.


11.00 – 13.00   Tour at the United States Capitol, the seat of the United States Congress.
13.00 – 14.00   Lunch

14.00 – 16.00   Tour at the Library of Congress, the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States.

       7.00 PM  Dinner at a private club, National Republican Club at Capitol Hill, one of the most popular gathering spots in Washington for lawmakers, government officials and other members of the political establishment.

Along with these programs, we offer you a choice to participate in partnership programs, such as “Ukrainian Days” Advocacy Event, for those willing to support Ukraine and Ukrainian people, and spread or gather information and awareness on Ukraine. Apart from this event, you can also join the “Lift Women Now, Elevate the Future” International Women’s Day Event supporting women’s movement. 

“Ukrainian Days” Advocacy Event

Sponsored by the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), the Washington, DC public affairs bureau of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), this advocacy event is a very important endeavor for the Ukrainian American community especially given the nearly one-year war of russian aggression in Ukraine.

As Ukraine enters the first year of the kremlin’s full-scale invasion, the March 8-9th advocacy event will be an opportunity to meet in-person with congressional offices and to promote our immediate concerns for increased security assistance for Ukraine; imposing more sanctions against russia; designating russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism; recognition of the current war and the Holodomor as genocide; and, recognizing the Wagner Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). 

Date: March 8-9, 2023

Location: Washington, DC


March 8, 2023

  9.00 – 17.00      Capitol Hill Advocacy

18.00 – 20.00               “Friends of UNIS” Congressional Reception

March 9, 2023

       9.00 AM                Taras Shevchenko Commemoration 

10.00 – 15.00               Capitol Hill Advocacy

     16.00 PM                 War Crimes in Ukraine Roundtable 

“Lift Women Now, Elevate the Future” International Women’s Day Event 

In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day 2023, Hotel Zena is hosting an event with the ultimate goal of celebrating those who continue to lift women up and elevate their voices in today’s society. A true cultural hub in Washington, DC, Hotel Zena’s mission is to honor the contributions and courage of women whether through their art, design, music and more.

On Wednesday, March 8, the hosted event appropriately titled “Lift Women Now, Elevate the Future”, will bring awareness to impactful organizations such as White Ribbon by featuring various speakers, presentations, discussions and more, including a showing of a short film by White Ribbon. We invite you to join us, alongside other female owned organizations, charities, local businesses, media, tastemakers in an effort to raise awareness, support and celebrate each individual cause, yours included, within the local community and beyond.

Date: March 8, 2023

Location: Hotel Zena | 1155 14th St NW, Washington, D.C., 20005


5.30 PM     Guests arrive (welcome cocktails available, passed appetizers)

6.00 PM     Welcome speech

6.15 PM     Presentations of each organization and their mission

6.30 PM          Guests are invited to walkthrough displays from various organizations throughout the lobby level of the hotel

7.30 PM          Event ends

If you are interested in joining any of the mentioned events, make sure to follow the given links:

Registration link:     “Ukrainian Days” Advocacy Event –

Hotel Zena 20% off for members:

Invitation link:         “Lift Women Now, Elevate the Future” International Women’s Day Event – file:///C:/Users/ayven_000/Downloads/Telegram%20Desktop/Women%E2%80%99s%20History%20Month%20-%20White%20Ribbon.pdf

[email protected]

The International Governmental Affairs Professionals Association acknowledges that lobbying conducts an important and instrumental role in democracy. Through professionalism and ethical conducts, IGAPA provides members with enhanced governmental representation and strengthening of political ties.

It should be noted that IGAPA is t the leading internationall association for public affairs professionals. The mission of The International Government Affairs Professionals Association is to advance the field of public affairs and to provide members with the executive education, expertise and research they need to succeed while maintaining the highest ethical standards. The members have direct experience in corporate and association public affairs management, lobbying, digital advocacy, global public affairs, corporate responsibility, PACs and campaign finance, crisis communication and a host of related functions. Also each year the Association hosts more than 10 conferences, seminars, webinars, forums and social events for public affairs professionals, including The International GR-Forum. 

The Board acquires membership in the Association through the submission of an application and consideration of the application. We invite participants from all democratic countries of the world and we will be glad to see not only lobbyists, but also lawyers, political communications specialists, PR specialists, former officials, representatives of related fields. The work of IGAPA and its members is covered in media; we are open to dialogue with Governments and Parliaments of countries to develop regulatory policy in the area of ​​our practice or exchange thoughts on topical issues. Dialogue gives rise to truth and new possibilities.

Website IGAPA

Facebook IGAPA


Strategic Information & Communication Group (SIC Group) practices in the field of social engineering, strategic marketing, public relations and government relations (GR). Due to the connection with offices in Europe and North America, as well as experience in the post-Soviet countries, the company’s specialists have many opportunities for the effective implementation of projects and clients’ tasks. SIC Group offers effective, individual solutions both for prompt response to a force majeure task and for building effective long-term strategies in Ukraine and the countries of the European Union.

Leadership positions allow us to support the culture of corporate social responsibility of business. The company develops a culture of correct political communications; SIC Group supports the process of institutionalizing the dialogue between business and government (GR and lobbying in Ukraine). SIC Group supports the sustainable development of the state. It is the co-organizers of the International GR Forum – a communication platform for Ukrainian and international business and government representatives, where business trends are discussed, as well as practices and methods for effectively lobbying the interests of business organizations in dialogue with authorities.

SIC Group is also a managing partner of the Institute for Democracy and Development “PolitA”, thanks to which SIC Group has the opportunity to train students in the practice of democratic change and NGO management.

Among the clients and partners are financial and industrial groups, business associations, as well as large Ukrainian and Global 500 companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Samsung Electronics, Philip Morris International, Coca-Cola, Danone, PepsiCo and others.

SIC Group is constantly working on our product and the quality of our services, adapting international standards. For each client, SIC Group prepares an individual offer, which takes into account the target audience, experience in the country, as well as our regional offices.

Web site: