Meet the Travel Professionals — with 35 years of experience!
Joan has run the Council's travel program for nineteen years and in 2010 was appointed Vice President, Travel. Prior to joining the Council, she ran the travel program of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; held the position of Product Marketing Manager for the British Tourist Authority; and worked for several special interest tour operators based in England, Australia and the U.S. During her career in travel, Joan has visited every continent and led many tours around the globe.
Shoshana Altrichter, Associate Director of Travel
Shoshana has been with the travel department at the World Affairs Council for over eight years. Prior to arriving at the World Affairs Council, Shoshana earned a B.A. from Drexel University in Philadelphia. Shoshana had led several tours for the Council including a Ukraine Dnieper River and Black Sea Cruise, a Russia River Cruise, and a cruise to the U.A.E. and a tour to Iran with Ambassador Mark Johnson, a tour to Israel, and a Mekong River Cruise.
Meet some of our Lecturers and Leaders
Admiral William J. Fallon retired in 2008 as a four-star admiral after a distinguished, 40-year career of military and strategic leadership. In his last assignment, Admiral Fallon was Commander, U.S. Central Command, the first Navy officer to hold that position. He directed all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa, focusing on combat efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. He previously commanded the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and U.S. Fleet Forces Command, with responsibility for the readiness of U.S. Naval forces worldwide. He then led U.S. Pacific Command, with responsibility for all U.S forces in the Asia-Pacific Theater. Combat duties also included command of Battle Force Sixth Fleet during NATOs Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia. Admiral Fallon is a graduate of Villanova University, the U.S. Naval War College, the National War College, and has an M.A. in International Studies from Old Dominion University. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Naval Analyses. Admiral will lecture on the 2013 cruise Meeting Places of Empires.
Since August 2001, Jim Falk has been the president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and is a past board member of the World Affairs Councils of America. He formerly was at the Middle East Institute as press officer and director of education. He is an adjunct professor of international relations at the University of North Texas. Jim Falk is the moderator of the Global IQ with The Economist, the Council’s monthly webcast. Jim has a French Baccalaureate from the Academy of Grenoble in France, is fluent in French and will lead a “Bike and Barge” tour to France in 2014. He in an expert in the Maghreb region, has led two Council tours to Tunisia, and recently returned from our group tour to Morocco.
Dr. Carla Thorson, Vice President of Public Programs, World Affairs Council of Northern California, earned her MA and PhD in Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining the Council, she was on the faculty at UCLA and was Outreach Coordinator for the UCLA International Institute’s Center for European and Eurasian Studies. While studying for her degrees, she also worked as a consultant at the RAND Corporation and as an analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc. Dr. Thorson has led several Council tours and lectured on the Baltics cruise in 2011 and 2012. She will lecture on our Antarctica tour in 2014.
Ambassador Johnson was a career foreign service officer, serving as Ambassador to Senegal, as Deputy Inspector General of the State Department, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait in 1991, and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Cairo, Egypt. He was the first American diplomat to return to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City after it was liberated in the Desert Storm campaign. He also was involved with the Middle East peace process and the Iranian hostage crisis. Mark is the former national Vice Chair of the World Affairs Councils of America and is the Founder of the World Affairs Council of Montana. He is a Mansfield Adjunct Professor at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. Ambassador Johnson has lectured on several tours for the Council and will lecture on a Mediterranean Cruise in 2014.
Maria Zammit is Chair of Programs at the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads. She has led Leadership Missions throughout the Middle East and the first American delegation to Viet Nam after the embargo was lifted (Feb. 1994.) In January 2009, then Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan C. Crocker, invited Ms. Zammit to lead the first civilian delegation to Baghdad since the Americans arrived in 2003. Maria has led several member tours for the Council and will return to Vietnam to lead our tour in 2012. Maria is a dual national of Malta and the United States and has traveled to Malta regularly since childhood, where she has extensive family. She will lead our 2013 tour to Malta, Sicily, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast.
Dr. Pamela A. Zeiser is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of the International Studies Program at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the University of Nevada, Reno, and both a Masters degree in International Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University. She teaches courses on Europe generally, with special interests in former Soviet countries and foreign policy. She is a member of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, where she volunteers for the Education Committee. Dr. Zeiser will lead our Celtics cruise in 2013.
Mimi Gregory is Past President and now Program Chairman of the Naples, Florida, Council on World Affairs. Mimi has traveled extensively in Central and Eastern Europe, participated in a Council Leadership Mission to Germany, and led a Great Decisions group for eleven years. She also lived in France for several years, where she worked as an Executive Recruiter for the banking industry. Mimi maintains very strong ties with France through her association with the Alliances Francaises, as President of their Federation, and was recently honored by President Sarkozy with the National Order of Merit, Rank of Commander. Mimi will lead our Villages and Vineyards of France tour in 2013.
Dr. Steven E. Sokol joined the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh in late June 2010 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Previously Dr. Sokol served as Vice President and Director of Programs at The American Council on Germany (ACG). In his career, he has organized high-level policy discussions in cities including Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Paris, Riga, San Diego, Warsaw, and Washington, DC. Dr. Sokol has 20 years of experience working with foundations, think tanks, and other non-profit organizations in Europe and the United States. Dr. Sokol is a frequent commentator on transatlantic relations and German and American political affairs in the U.S. and European media. He holds a Doctorate in Law and Policy from Northeastern University as well as an M.A. in International Relations and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. He has also studied at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg and as a Fulbright Scholar at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Dr. Sokol will lead our Berlin tour in 2013.
Ambassador Marilyn McAfee (Ret.) was a career foreign service officer from l968 to 1998 with service primarily in Latin America.Assignments also included Washington and the Near East. Her overseas assignments began in Guatemala where she returned to serve as U.S. Ambassador from l993-1996. Other postings included Nicaragua, Iran, Washington, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Chile and Bolivia. Ambassador McAfee was Diplomat in Residence, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University. In June 1997 she was designated Assistant Inspector General for Inspections and subsequently Acting Deputy Inspector General, Office of Inspector General, Department of State. Ambassador McAfee received her Bachelor's degree (with honors) in History from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University. She retired from the diplomatic service in July l998, but continues her involvement in international affairs as a private consultant with Manatt Jones Global Strategies, Washington, D.C.; as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville (where she served as Council President for six years) and on the National Board of the World Affairs Councils of America (2000-2008). Ambassador McAfee will lecture on a private jet tour to South America.
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