Meet the Travel Professionals — with 35 years of experience!
Joan has run the Council's travel program for over twenty 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 has been with the travel department at the World Affairs Council for over ten 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, a tour to Iran with Ambassador Mark Johnson, Israel, Cuba, a Mekong River Cruise and a European Coastal cruise.
Meet some of our Lecturers and Leaders
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. He in an expert in the Maghreb region, has led Council tours to Tunisia and a cruise from Venice to Cannes. He will lead our 2016 tour to Morocco.
Mimi Gregory is Vice President and 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. She will lead our Rivieras & Islands of France, Spain & Italy in 2016.
Ambassador Heather Hodges became the President and Ambassador-in-Residence of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs in November 2011 after 31 years in the Foreign Service, spent mostly working on issues related to Latin America. She was deputy chief of mission in Lima, Peru, from 1997-2000. Earlier in her career she was in charge of the Peru Desk at the Department of State and was Deputy Coordinator for Cuban Affairs. She was deputy chief of mission in Managua and Madrid and did consular work in Venezuela and Guatemala. Heather was Ambassador to Moldova from 2003 to 2006 and Ambassador to Ecuador from 2008 to 2011. She was elected to the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2011. Heather has led two trips for the Council in Central and South America, and will share her diplomatic experiences and knowledge of Peruvian politics on our Lima & the Amazon tour.
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 October 2015.
Dr. Leach earned a PhD and an MA from Cambridge University as well as an MA from Berkeley on Turkish affairs. His fascination with Turkey began as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving with his wife Marianne there, in the 1960s. They both have been back to Turkey many times since then and he has led several tour groups there. In recent years, he served as a professor at the American University in Cairo 2006-2011 and as the National President of the World Affairs Councils of America 1996-2006. Within the US Government, he was Peace Corps Regional Director for Eastern Europe, Soviet Republics, Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific; NSC Director of International Economic Affairs; Deputy Director of State's Strategic Technology Affairs Office; and a consular officer at the US Embassy in London. In addition to AUC in Egypt, Dr. Leach has taught at Cambridge University, the University of Papua New Guinea, and Gazi University in Ankara. He speaks frequently within the world affairs council system and at universities. Jerry will lecture on a cruise to Turkey in October 2015 and our Egypt tour in 2016.
Kay Maxwell is the Executive Director of the World Affairs Forum in Stamford, CT, and served as President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. from 2002-2006. Internationally, she has led League-sponsored trips and conducted training of women leaders in Bosnia and Azerbaijan. Kay has also conducted workshops for women,political, NGO and business leaders in Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Mongolia and Rwanda under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State’s International Speakers Program. She received her BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. Kay led a Council tour to Cuba in March 2013 and to Myanmar in February 2014 and will lead our Viet Nam tour this fall.
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 a Baltics cruise and Antarctica cruise. She will lead our Cuba December tour and our tour to Tanzania in 2016.
Maria Wulff is President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Prior to joining the World Affairs Council, Maria worked for over 20 years in international business as Managing Director of an import company based in the Philippines which produced goods in four Asian countries for worldwide distribution; international trade consultant; Director of Business Assistance at the International Trade Institute; and founder of an import company specializing in Central Asian artifacts. She has lived in Morocco, the former Yugoslavia, and England and has traveled extensively in over 60 other countries. Maria serves on a number of civic boards, including the national board of the World Affairs Councils of America, and was founder and president of the East West Business Association. She holds a BA and an MS in History and Social Science/International Relations from Portland State University, a Certificate in Central European Studies from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, as well as a graduate degree in Business from Harvard University.
Maria Zammit has held leadership roles with the World Affairs Council system since 1989, with Greater Hampton Roads and nationally, with World Affairs Councils of America. Previously, she worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Maria has recently been named a Virginia State Advisory Committee member of the US Global Leadership Coalition, based in DC. Ms. Zammit is currently the President of the Economics Club of Hampton Roads and the Chair of Programs at the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads. She received her M.A. in International Relations at the Paul Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. Maria last traveled to Tehran in October 1974. She has led international tours and Leadership Missions, including to Baghdad, Kabul, Singapore, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan. Maria has led Council trips to Malta and Sicily; Morocco; Vietnam; a cruise from Malta to Rome; a tour to India and this past year to Sri Lanka.
Dr. Pamela A. Zeiser is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies 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. Dr. Zeiser teaches courses on International Relations and Europe, generally, with special interests in foreign policy and the European Union. Dr. Zeiser has lectured for previous World Affairs Council programs in Europe, including two previous programs in Germany and the Czech Republic, and has led student study abroad groups to Central Europe. She is a member of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, where she volunteers as liaison between the Council and the University of North Florida. She will led our 2015 cruise along the Elbe River and will lead our 2016 tour to Eastern Europe.
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