Shai Franklin is a Partner with Gotham Government Relations & Communications, a versatile firm with strong ties to business and government leaders in New York and Washington, as well as globally. <Download bio>
As Executive Director of TEACH-NYS, Shai Franklin led a community-based coalition that – in 2012 alone, working with the New York State Catholic Conference – restored $44 million in state offsets to New York’s non-public schools.
In his role as Director of International Organizations for the World Jewish Congress and Executive Director of the WJC American Section, Shai served three years as Treasurer of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO), and was one of the organizers of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians. While at WJC, he spearheaded high-level and grassroots initiatives on a wide range of international organizations, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Organization of American States, the International Red Cross, and Interpol.
Shai has been registered to lobby at the state and federal levels, and with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent. His broad fundraising experience includes helping to rebuild a $10 million annual direct mail campaign; coordinating face-to-face solicitations to fund a $300,000 operating budget and $250,000 in campaign donations for federal, state and local races; grant-writing and presentations to foundations and funder panels.
Shai has testified in the U.S. Congress and New York State Legislature, and addressed numerous international fora of the OSCE, United Nations, and the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom. He conducted research in France on Muslim-Jewish relations, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has participated in the Manama Dialogue regional security summit as a guest of Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and delivered a keynote address at the VIII International Economic Forum in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Shai has appeared as an expert on TV networks as diverse as TRT World, i24 News, Al Jazeera, Shalom TV, Israel Radio, and Argentina’s C5N (Click here for selected video clips). His views and analysis are regularly published in various print and online media. He was ranked number-eight on JTA’s 2009 list of the “100 Most Influential Jewish Twitter Users.”
For six years, Shai served as Director of Governmental Relations in the Washington, DC, headquarters of NCSEJ (formerly the National Conference on Soviet Jewry), where he helped develop the coordinated strategy by 57 European and North American governments to combat anti-Semitism through the OSCE. On behalf of NCSJ, Shai helped set the tone and shape the substance for landmark trade agreements between the United States and several Soviet successor states, including the Russian Federation.
Shai has extensive and varied experience helping activists and refugees get into the United States and other countries, and in keeping perpetrators out. He has facilitated visits and meetings for, and advised, numerous human rights voices. In September 2020, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute named him Senior Fellow.
Shai is an adjunct professor in Long Island University's Hutton House Lectures, teaching courses on topics including post-Cold War Europe, the "post-modern" Middle East, and the United Nations.
Earlier, he was Managing Editor of Middle East Insight Magazine, a Fellow at both The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and United Nations Watch in Geneva, and a community professional with the Anti-Defamation League. Shai has managed humanitarian projects in Russia and India on assignment with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Shai earned a B.A. in political science (summa cum laude) from Temple University in Philadelphia, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He holds an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where was selected for the U.S. Government's elite Presidential Management Intern Program.
Shai has traveled widely in the Middle East and South Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, Latin America and the former Soviet Union to consult with high-ranking government officials, religious leaders, journalists, and scholars. In addition to fluent English and Hebrew, he also speaks Arabic and French.
Current and past clients have included:
Coalition of Civil Society of Kazakhstan
Kharkiv Regional State Administration (Ukraine)
Government of National Accord (Libya)
Oranim Academic College (Israel)
Republika Srpska (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Ukrainian Jewish Committee