Meet the Travel Department
Shoshana has been with the travel department at the World Affairs Council for over thirteen years. Prior to joining the Council, she worked for other non-profits in Philadelphia. During her career in travel, Shoshana has traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East and has led many tours for the organization. Shoshana earned a B.A. from Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Hannah began her career with the World Affairs Council in the spring of 2016 as Membership, Events and Database Assistant. Previously, Hannah interned for other non-profits in Philadelphia and New York. Hannah lived and studied in Prague, Czech Republic; where she wrote for VICE News and read as much Kafka as she could. She holds a B.F.A. from New York University.
Meet some of our Lecturers and Leaders
Joyce M. Davis is founder and President of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg. She also is Director of Communications for the City of Harrisburg. Davis is author of many articles, broadcasts and two books. Davis is former foreign correspondent and foreign editor for National Public Radio and Knight Ridder Newspapers. She served NPR as Editor for the Middle East and Africa, as well as for Asia and Europe before she was promoted to Deputy Foreign Editor. She also served NPR as Senior Foreign Editor and Director of News Staffing before she accepted an offer from Knight Ridder Newspapers to become Deputy Foreign Editor. Ms. Davis was Associate Director of Broadcasting for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague, Czech Republic. In her senior role at the international broadcasting agency, Ms. Davis supervised radio and internet services to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the countries of Central Asia. Davis is a member of several boards, including the World Affairs Councils of America, United Way of the Capital Region, Elizabethtown College, Penn State School of Humanities Advisory Board and State Street Academy of Music. Joyce will lead our 2018 tour Town and Country Life of Languedoc.
Jim Falk has been President and CEO of World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth since August 2001. He began his international career as director of education at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. and then was a commercial banker for First City National Bank of Houston. Following his banking career, he was regional director in Houston, TX for the Institute of International Education and later worked as vice president of development for the National Center for Policy Analysis. In April 2013, he was appointed Honorary Consul for the Kingdom of Morocco for the state of Texas. Jim and his parents lived in Tunis, Tunisia throughout Jim’s high school years where he attended a French lycée. He earned his French baccalauréate in philosophy and modern languages. He is a Washington and Lee University graduate, and received his master’s degree in international law and organization and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Virginia.
Mimi Gregory is Vice President and Program Chairman of the Naples, Florida, Council on World Affairs. Mimi has traveled extensively in Europe, has participated in Council Leadership Missions to Germany, Lebanon, Kuwait, Israel, Egypt, Taiwan and Iraq. She has also traveled to Afghanistan and Iran. She has led a Great Decisions group for sixteen years. Having 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 Françaises, and the France Florida Foundation For the Arts. She was honored by President Nicolas Sarkozy with the National Order of Merit, Rank of Commander. Mimi has led two Council trips to France, three to the Danube and a trip to Iran. She will lead our 2019 Grand Seine cruise.
Ambassador Vicki Huddleston was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense and led American diplomatic missions in Mali, Madagascar, Cuba, and Ethiopia. Her opinion pieces on Cuba, Mali, and Ethiopia have appeared in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post. She was head of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba during the custody battle over little Elián Gonzalez in the spring of 2002. She is the only woman to have led our diplomatic mission in Cuba; she was also the lead foreign policy expert on Cuba in the early nineties at the State Department. As a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution she lead a bipartisan Cuba project that resulted in “Learning to Sala: New Steps in U.S. – Cuba Policy,” a blueprint that was largely followed by President Barack Obama when he engineered the opening to Cuba. She was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as a Congressional Fellow worked on the staff of former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Ambassador Huddleston will lead our 2019 tour to Eastern Cuba.
G. Philip Hughes, currently a Senior Director of the White House Writers Group, has served in many senior foreign policy posts in the White House and Departments of State, Commerce and Defense and served as a former President of the World Affairs Councils of American. In addition to serving as Assistant Director for Intelligence Policy In the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Deputy National Security Affairs Advisor to Vice President George Bush; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs; and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, Ambassador Hughes served as Director for Latin American Affairs on the National Security Council staff for President Ronald Reagan. He later served as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council in the White House of President George H.W. Bush, helping plan and execute President Bush's Summit meeting in Cartagena, Colombia with the Presidents of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru that led to stepped-up commitments for anti-narcotics cooperation and the enactment of the Andean Trade Preference Act. He was subsequently appointed Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, where he served from 1990-93.
Ambassador Mark Johnson (ret.) completed 30 years as a career foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department serving as Ambassador to Senegal, Deputy Inspector General of the State Department, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait, 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 during the Desert Storm military campaign. He also was involved with the Middle East peace process in Cairo and helped negotiate the release of the American diplomats during the Iranian hostage crisis from 1979-81. He has led several World Affairs Council trips and will return to Egypt for the World Affairs Council in 2019.
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 lectured on a cruise to Turkey, an Egypt tour, and a tour to Morocco. He will lead our 2019 tour to Mongolia.
Derrick Olsen is the current President of the WorldOregon, and a former Foreign Service Officer. Derrick was the Vice President of Regional Strategy at the regional economic development nonprofit Greater Portland Inc (GPI) where he led the implementation of Greater Portland Global, the region’s Global Trade and Investment Plan developed as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint program of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Previously, Derrick managed international trade and investment issues for over four years with Business Oregon (the Oregon Business Development Department). In 2013, Derrick participated in the U.S.-Spain Council Young Leaders Program. Derrick also has over 13 years of experience managing political and economic issues as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Latin America, Asia, and Washington, DC, with four overseas tours including as Chief of the U.S. Embassy’s Political Section in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Fluent in Spanish, he has a Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Dartmouth College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Derrick will lead our 2019 Iberia cruise.
Norm Olsen is a former Senior United States Foreign Service Officer. He served for 26 years. His professional skills and experience include negotiations, contact work, team-building and management, economic development, USAID project monitoring, peacekeeping, and award-winning political, economic and security analysis, in both benign and hostile environments. He has served in Europe, Jamaica, the Marshall Islands, and the Middle East, where he served for nine years in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Norm will lead our 2019 Israel tour.
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, Antarctica cruise, Iceland cruise, and most recently our 2018 trip to South Africa. She will next lead our 2019 Arcitc cruise.
Megan C. Torrey is the Executive Director, World Affairs Council of Connecticut, Hartford. Megan has extensive travel experience to Europe, North Africa and as an undergraduate undertook a Semester at Sea—Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, China. She lived in Paris during Graduate School and worked at Unesco for the International Year for the Culture of Peace. She attended a Women’s Leadership Conference in Saudi Arabia. In 2015, The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame selected her as one of ten 2015 Global Impact Honorees. The Global Impact Honor is intended to highlight the contributions and the important role Connecticut women play internationally. Megan will lead our Himalayan Kingdoms trip in 2018.
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 led several tours for the Council and will lead our 2019 Vienna & Prague tour.
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