Sylvia Acevedosylvia-acevedo

Sylvia Acevedo currently serves as the Director to the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture (FCST) the only torture rehabilitation program in the state of Florida. Under her leadership she is also responsible for the agencies Refugee Resettlement programs and the VOICES Interpreter/Translation Services.

She has over 25 years of social service experience working specifically since 2001 with Sexual and Gender-Based Violence programs (SGBV) overseeing outreach and programs to marginalized and underserved communities.

She has developed sexual assault outreach programs to migrant workers, human trafficking victims and has worked with community NGO’s to create welcoming and affirming programs for LGBT survivors of SGBV.

Most recently she has been working on building capacity around working with LGBTI refugees/Asylees on the local and national level. As a result of her work she has been asked to engage in national advocacy and participate with key organizations on identifying gaps.

Sylvia attained her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Lynn University and her LL.M, Master of Laws from St. Thomas University School of Law in Intercultural Human Rights where she focused her thesis work on domestic and international laws related to human trafficking victims.

David Barclay

David E. Barclay is a native of Tampa and grew up in St. Petersburg. He received a BA in history from the University of Florida and a PhD in history from Stanford University. Recently retired as Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies in the Department of History at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, he is executive director of the German Studies Association, with 2300 members in 29 countries the world’s largest academic society devoted to the study of all aspects of the German-speaking world. Barclay has written or co-edited five books on 19th- and 20th-century German history, and is currently writing a history of West Berlin from 1945 to 1994. In 2014 he was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (Federal Cross of Merit, 1st Class) by the Federal Republic of Germany. He lives in Largo.

Marie-Roger Biloamarie-roger-biloa-by-d-acouetey-web

Chief Executive Director of The Africa International Media Group, Media Consultant and Adviser on African Affairs. She also heads the “Club Millenium” in Paris. Born in Cameroon, educated in Cote d’Ivoire, France and Austria, she graduated from the universities of Abidjan, La Sorbonne in Paris and Vienna (German Studies, Political Science and History). Ms. Biloa is also an alumni of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, where her name is on the Hall of Fame, and of the Harvard Kennedy School of Governance. Besides being a frequent TV guest ( TV5Monde, France24, Aljazeera, RFI, i-Télé, ARD, ZDF) to comment current news and African politics, she is involved in a hydro energy project in Africa and seeking partners. Ms Biloa is fluent in French, German and English, on top of several African languages.

John S. Boardman

John Boardman was a career Foreign Service Officer for 36 years. His last post was as Deputy Chief of Mission, Hanoi, Vietnam (2004-2006). He was  Political Advisor (POLAD) to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (2000-03) and was at Marine Headquarters in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001; at the end of that year he accompanied the Commandant to see Marines in Afghanistan. 

Boardman was Deputy Principal Officer at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba (1997-2000), at the time of the Elian Gonzales affair. He was Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at U.S. Embassies in Colombo, Sri Lanka (1994-97) and Bamako, Mali (1990-92) and Deputy Political Minister-Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the UN (1992-94). He was Political Counselor in Managua, Nicaragua (1988-90), working in support of free elections. He reported on Indochina from Bangkok, Thailand in the mid-1980s. Early in his career, Boardman was political officer in Vientiane, Laos and Seoul, Korea and consular officer in Lahore, Pakistan. In the Department, he worked in the office of Korean Affairs and the Office of Thai Affairs.  After retirement from the State Department, Boardman was the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of the Center for Special Operations, HQ Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa Florida (2007-8).

Boardman was in the Marine Corps from 1964 to 1970. He served as an intelligence officer in Japan, Vietnam and at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, Bangkok, Thailand and at several posts in the United States.    

Mr. Boardman is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of Yale University (BA in Philosophy, the University of Michigan (MA Asian Studies) and the National War College. He has studied Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish and French. Mr. Boardman has received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and five superior honor awards.

Elizabeth Brincklow

Elizabeth Brincklow is currently owner of Elizabeth Brincklow Arts, providing consulting services in the visual and performing arts including Creative Pinellas, Pinellas County’s Local Arts Agency. She formerly oversaw the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg. She curated 13 seasons of Class Acts Education Performance Series and Community Arts Programming at Progress Energy Center’s Mahaffey Theater presenting over 195 international and national shows for youth and family. Following performance work with Asolo State Theater (Sarasota, FL) and Living Stage/Arena Stage (Wash, DC), she was involved with New York City productions as producer, writer, director or actor. Locally, Elizabeth was creator and artistic director of the Florida Playwrights Process (Ruth Eckerd Hall) in addition to other Tampa Bay area theatre work. Elizabeth is a graduate of Florida State University in Theater and Art History. Following post-graduate work at FSU, she continued movement and theater studies and artistic work in Paris, France with Etienne Decroux and Ella Jarocewicz Marceau. Elizabeth is affiliated with the Dramatists Guild, Association of Performing Arts Professionals and International Performing Arts for Youth, among others. Elizabeth currently is on the board of American Stage Theatre Company and Blue Butterfly Productions.

Christina Casadontechristina-casadonte-web

Christina Casadonte is an attorney specializing in complex commercial litigation. Christina attended Stetson University College of Law and received her juris doctor in 2012, graduating with honors. While in law school, Christina served as a research assistant in Health Law, a teaching assistant for Federal Civil Procedure and competed with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Board’s negotiation and client counseling teams. She also interned for the Honorable David A. Demers of Florida’s Sixth Judicial Circuit and the Honorable Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich for the Middle District of Florida prior to graduating.

Christina received her bachelor’s degree in international studies and journalism from Emory University in 2007. While living in Atlanta, Christina interned at the Carter Center, Former President Carter’s NGO, where she assisted the research needs of Peter Bell, the former President of Care International, and Steven Hochman, President Carter’s personal historian. At the Carter Center she studied the efficacy of program indices for the Center’s non-health-centric initiatives. Prior to attending law school, she worked for the Japanese Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Hikone, Japan, where she focused her time on special needs education, and wrote for a Florida newspaper.  

Christina has been a member of the Tampa Bay Area Committee on Foreign Relations and an Advisory Board Member of Best Buddies Tampa Bay, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, since 2014.

Donald Cleary


Donald Cleary worked in ticket marketing for the Oakland Symphony Orchestra Association, and was later the manager of a touring and educational subsidiary of San Francisco Opera. He also performed with improvisational theater troupes on the West Coast. After moving to New York, he was the Director of Business Affairs for a literary agency that represented authors of general trade fiction and non-fiction. He is a Research and Policy Consultant for the National Canine Research Council, and Treasurer of its parent organization, Animal Farm Foundation. He formerly served as general editor of the Council’s print and web publications. He has collaborated on articles for the academic press on cultural issues relating to dog keeping. He is a co-author of the U.S. Department of Justice manual “The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters.”

Don and his wife make their home in Tampa.

Ralph S. Clem

Ralph ClemRalph S. Clem (Ph.D., Columbia University, 1976) is Professor Emeritus of Geography and formerly Director of the Center for Transnational and Comparative Studies (1999-2005) at Florida International University in Miami where he was a faculty member from 1974-2009. He also taught in the graduate program in International Administration at the University of Miami (2009-2011). His research, published in many books and articles, focuses primarily and most recently on the electoral geography of states transitioning from authoritarian regimes to pluralist democracies, in particular Russia. He has secondary interests in the study of the demography of ethnicity and migration and labor force issues in ethnically plural states. Professor Clem is the recipient of the Professorial Excellence Award of the State University System of Florida and the Ryder Corporation Excellence in Teaching Award. He has held several prestigious fellowships, including those at the W. Averell Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. Professor Clem has been the principal investigator on research grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of State, and the National Council for Russian and East European Research. He has traveled extensively throughout Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia and has lectured for the American Geographical Society on trips in Russia, including the Trans-Siberian route, and for the National Geographic Society. He retired in January 2004 from the Air Force Reserve with the rank of Major General, having served at the squadron and wing level and at the National Security Agency and the Air Intelligence Agency as an intelligence officer, and in the Pentagon on the Air Staff. His military decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Defense Superior Service Medal.

Dorothy M. Davis

Dorothy Davis is a pioneer, social entrepreneur, writer, film creator, innovator, and strategic thinker. She specializes in identifying, connecting, and executing common interests between people, cultures and business from local to global levels to produce positive, effective, and sustainable results.

Ms. Davis’ innovative business, Dorothy Davis Inc., is a New York based global thought leadership and project management firm specializing in image building, branding through storytelling and building common ground to create an impactful holistic development approach to issues including gender, entrepreneurship, health (Ebola and HIV/AIDS), creative economy, diasporan relations, Africa as a global citizen, and South-South and triangular cooperation. Her clients have included: The Africa-America Institute (AAI), UN Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), AMREF, UN Women, UN-OHRLLS, IFAD, WHO, UNECA, the Executive Office of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, the African Women’s Development Fund, Femmes Africa Solidarite, and the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa (AMICAALL). Partners include: the African Union, the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the United Nations, UN Secretariat, UNESCO, ILO, FAO, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNEP, and a spectrum of local to national governments, civil society organizations and private sector in the U.S. and spanning the globe.

As part of the 50th Anniversary Independence celebrations of Barbados in 2016, Ms. Davis appears in the first film about the country’s Founding Father The Rt. Excellent Errol W. Barrow, “Barrow: Freedom Fighter,” narrated by 82nd US Attorney General Eric Holder. In May 2015, Ms. Davis received the 21 Leaders of the 21st Century 2015 Award from Womens eNews in the category of Seven Who Interrupt Legacy Narratives as a Transcontinental Developer of African Economic Justice. She received the Global Poverty Award from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in April 2014. She was previously recognized by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for her pioneering work for Fortune Magazine promoting US overseas investment.

Born in Liberia of U.S. Foreign Service parents, Ms. Davis grew up in Tunisia, Nigeria, Switzerland, and the United States. Over the course of her career she has traveled to 40 countries in Europe, North and Sub Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and film with a minor in political science from Boston University and her M.S. degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Thomas N. Edmonds

Thomas N. Edmonds is a veteran Republican media consultant and strategist. He is a past president of both the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC) and American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC). He is also a recipient of the AAPC’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr. Edmonds is the co-author of two books on politics and public policy, producer of the official documentary on Ronald Reagan, and has won over 100 awards for political commercials. He has spoken on the impact of American style political campaigns on democracies in numerous venues around the world including Austria, France and, most recently, Oxford University’s Rothermere Institute of American Studies.

Fernando Nuñez Fabregafernando-nunez-web

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama, Fernando Nuñez Fabrega has had a successful career in both private and public sectors. He is no stranger to the diplomatic world, coming from a family with long ties to diplomacy, as his father was twice-president of the UN Security Council during his seven year tenure. He has been Consul General in Tampa, USA, vice consul in Nassau, Bahamas and Secretary General of the Consulate in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

A journalist and economist by profession, he graduated from the University of Missouri and entered the world of European finance, reaching the presidency of Societe Panamericaine de Bourse based in the Principality of Andorra.

His public sector experience has been extensive, including being Secretary of Transparency, governor of Coclé Province, Financial Director for all three branches of his country’s Police services and Secretary General of the Agriculture Ministry.

In the private sector he has been active in journalism, including being executive vice president of the Vision Group, the largest written news media conglomerate in Spanish based in London, as well as managing director of El Siglo, the highest circulation daily newspaper in Panama. He was also president of the second largest national radio network in Panama.

In private activities he was twice elected president of the National Broadcasting Association of Panama and Treasurer of the Panamanian Private Sector Council. Until 2006 he was president of Fenufa Foundation a private entity dedicated to helping young people suffering from Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome. As of February 2014 he has re-assumed the presidency of Fenufa Foundation and is involved in fund raising.

Ray Gallon

Ray Gallon is co-founder of The Transformation Society, a research and consulting organization oriented to social transformation, dealing with complexity and technological change for business executives, educators, and other society leaders. He is also the owner of Culturecom, a company that provides business process improvement through communication.

Ray has over 40 years as a communicator, first as an award-winning radio producer and journalist (CBC, NPR, France Culture, Radio Netherlands International, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Deutsche Welle), then in the content industries. His management experience includes a stint as program manager of WNYC-FM, New York City’s public radio station.

Ray has always been interested in the meeting point between technology and culture, and has used his broad experience to advantage with companies such as IBM, General Electric Health Care, Alcatel, 3M, and the OECD, as well as in smaller companies and startup enterprises.

As an educator, Ray was associate professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, in the Film/TV/Radio department, and has led workshops and courses at institutions around the world, notably The New School Graduate Media Programme (New York), Université Paul Valéry (Montpellier, France), Centre d’Etudes Littéraires et Scientifiques Appliquées (CELSA, Paris Sorbonne), Université de Paris Diderot, Université de Toulouse Le Mirail, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Temasek Polytechnic (Singapore), and other institutions in Europe and North America. He is currently co-chair of the Primary and Pre-primary Education Research and Development Community of the Association of Teacher Educators in Europe (ATEE) and teaches Masters Level courses in Radio at the Universitat de Barcelona school of Belles Arts, and is developing a new Masters level course in Information Techniques for the Université de Strassbourg (France).

He is a speaker at events throughout the world, and recently delivered a keynote address to the TCUK conference in Britain. He has contributed articles and chapters to many books and periodicals and is the editor of the recently published “Language of Technical Communication” (XML Press).

Ray, who is Canadian with the zeal of a convert, shares his life between the Languedoc region of France and Barcelona, Spain.

Arthur E. Grimarthur-grim-web

Arthur Grim has been a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County and served as Administrative Head of the Juvenile Court from 1987 – 2007. He served as President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas 23rd Judicial District from 2004 – 2008, and is currently the Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission, and a member of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

In February, 2009 he was appointed as Special Master by the Supreme Court of PA to review all Juvenile Cases presided over in Luzerne County by Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, Jr. who improperly committed juveniles to two detention facilities and denied juveniles their constitutional right to counsel in one of the most egregious violations of public trust in the history of American Juvenile Justice. As a result of his findings and recommendations, the Supreme Court entered an order expunging the records of over 3,000 juveniles.

He was an Adjunct Professor at Alvernia University and at St. Joseph University. He served as President of the Pennsylvania State Trial Judges Association Juvenile Justice Section from 2003-2005, and on the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Families since 2005. He has also served as chairman of the Board of the United Way of Berks County and on the Wyomissing Foundation Board of Trustees.

He has gathered and led a broad and committed group of community leaders for the Berks County Disproportionate Minority Contact Reduction Steering Committee. He served as a Yale Law School – China Law Center visiting Juvenile Justice Consultant in China in August 2010. In the wake of the Penn State – Jerry Sandusky tragedy, he was appointed by the Governor as the Judicial Representative to the state-wide Task Force on Child Protection.

George E. HamiltonGeorge E. Hamilton

George Hamilton is Chairman of National Payment Corporation (NatPay), a Tampa Bay-based technology company, specializing in electronic payments and electronic document services. He was an investment banker with Raymond, James & Associates, and later started and sold his own securities firm. A former Foreign Service Officer, he holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Mr. Hamilton divides his time between Tampa, FL and France.

Eddy L. Harriseddy-harris-web

Eddy L. Harris, a product of St. Louis, Missouri, is the author of six critically acclaimed books: Mississippi Solo, Native Stranger, South of Haunted Dreams, and Still Life in Harlem; all of which partake of memoir, adventure tale, travelogue and cultural reportage.  As USA Today put it: “Eddy Harris isn’t your everyday tourist.  His travels almost always have a purpose, and that purpose is to write about not only what he sees, but what he feels.”

His two most recent books, Jupiter et Moi – a touching memoir about the life of his father, Jupiter – and Paris en Noir et Black, have not been published in English.

Harris has always been a traveler and an adventurer, leaving home for the first time at the age of sixteen to “light out for the territories,” as Mark Twain would put it, and travel the back roads and by-roads of America.  He set his sights next on Europe and then on Latin America and Africa and has been traveling ever since, living long stints in London and in Yorkshire; in Mexico and Guatemala; Japan, Tuscany and Israel.  He has traveled to every continent but one.

He began writing early, but success for Harris did not come easily. His is a story of frustration, failure and perseverance: failure as journalist and as a screen writer, failure as a short story writer, failure as a poet and failure as a novelist.  In 1985, after seven years of failure, he canoed the Mississippi River and thus began his career as non-fiction memoirist and travel writer.  He has since garnered the kind of attention and praise that swirls around the finest writers and the greatest talents. The Los Angeles Reader says of his writing: “At every turn Harris challenges assumptions about race, forcing his readers to examine their own minds…  In thoughtful prose that is deeply personal, Harris rips open the wound of race and lets out the evil festering inside… A consciousness-raising session on the conundrum of race relations.”

Four years as Writer-in-Residence at Washington University, a stint on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in northern Idaho, a documentary project he wrote and presented for BBC-Wales: Roots In Wales.

He continues to challenge himself and in 2014 he repeated his canoe journey along the Mississippi River and with the intention of producing a documentary film.

Cynthia L. Hogle

Embedded as a cultural intelligence analyst for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Cynthia’s work and interviews with Afghan women resulted in the seminal report regarding women in the region and the establishment of a center for women and girls.

Deployed to Iraq as Public Diplomacy Officer for the U.S. Department of State, Cynthia designed and initiated a national training program for Iraqi journalists, which resulted in an Emmy Award winning documentary. She also founded The Actors and Artists Forum in Karbala Province.

Cynthia served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Protocol and Protocol Gift Officer for the White House and the U.S. Department of State. She has directed projects for nonprofits including D.A.R.E. America, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. Television production credits include Roseanne and Married…With Children.

Currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Kansas, Cynthia’s research focus is on media narratives regarding veterans and veterans’ issues. She received her MPA from Harvard University and her BA from California State University, Northridge. She trained under the U.S. Army and Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and at the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute. Cynthia was awarded fellowships at the Institute for Policy & Social Research at the University of Kansas, as Helmut Schmidt Fellow at the InterAction Council of former Heads of State and Government, and at Conaculta (National Council for Culture and Art) in Mexico.

Samuel Hoskinson

Samuel Hoskinson is a Founding Partner and Board Member of Jefferson Waterman International, a leading international business and political consulting firm based in Washington D.C. Mr. Hoskinson is a former Vice Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, the body responsible for providing the President and his National Security Council with intelligence assessments concerning major international developments. During the George H.W. Bush Administration, Mr. Hoskinson served as the Deputy to the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. As a senior member of the NSC staff at the White House, he served under three National Security Advisors: Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski – working on Middle East, South Asian and intelligence policy affairs. In the private sector, Mr. Hoskinson was the manager for international corporate strategy at the Bechtel Group in San Francisco. Mr. Hoskinson has been awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement for his service to the Intelligence Community. He was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and received a personal letter of commendation from President Bush for his contributions to the 1990 G-7 Summit. Mr. Hoskinson holds a B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa and a M.A. in International Relations from Georgetown University.

Angelica V. Iglesias

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Italian immigrant parents, “Vivi,” nickname by which she is known, immigrated with her family to the United States in 1985, is married and has three children.

Vivi began her work for the Diocese of St. Petersburg on September of 1999, as the Administrative Assistant to the Diocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry and was quickly promoted to Executive Secretary to the Bishop in February of 2003. Vivi worked as Bishop’s assistant for almost eleven years until her promotion to Director of the Hispanic Ministry Office. Previous experiences include: Administrative and Legal Assistant at the Law Offices of Arturo M. Rios, PA, St. Petersburg, Florida (1996-1999), and Manager of several restaurants with DaVinci’s Corporation, St. Petersburg, Florida (1989-1996).

A product of Catholic Education, and as an adult, Vivi received a BA in Administration from Eckerd College with Highest Honors. At the present time she is enrolled in a MBA program with Barry University that concentrates in Ministry with Hispanics.

In her fiduciary role, she was Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Bermuda Bay Beach Association (2012-2013) and currently holds the title of Secretary of the same Board (2013 to present), is a member of the Eckerd College ENACTUS Business Advisory Board (2016-2017), Participates in the Hispanic Leadership Council of Pinellas County, and holds as well memberships in the National Association of Professional Women and the International Association of Professional Women. Vivi is a former member of the Board of 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares. (2014-2015).

Fluent in Spanish, Italian and conversational in Portuguese; Vivi is also proficient in Microsoft Office, and a competent translator and interpreter. Other skills include: Management, Public speaking, Non Profits, Team Work, and Supervising of Others. She is responsible for developing programs which further the preparation of others in areas of pastoral planning and ministry. She is a Notary of the State of Florida.

Nazek Jawad

Nazek Jawad is a PhD candidate in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies (SIGS), at the University of South Florida (USF). She completed her Master’s degree in Political Studies at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2013. In her Master thesis, she investigates the state-civil society dynamics in Syria; specifically, the interaction between the state and professional syndicates at the political level. She is now working on her PhD dissertation which addresses the prospects and challenges of realizing global restorative justice.

She has two scholarly publications in the British Journal of Islamic Studies and Contemporary Arab Affairs, on democracy in modern Islamic political thought, and revolutionary violence in Arab and Islamic political thought.

Her research interests include: Arab political thought, Islamic political thought, international relations theory, normative international relations theory, ethics of political violence, and global Justice.

Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi

Arturo Jimenez-Bacardi is Assistant Professor of International Relations. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine.  His teaching and research interests intersect the fields of international relations, international law, global governance, and foreign policy with a focus on the tension between security and human rights. His current book project, Speaking Law to War, examines whether, why, and how states comply with their international obligations during times of great threat. More specifically, he examines how the domestic institutionalization of international law into the U.S. national security system affected its use of torture during the Vietnam War and the War on Terrorism. His work has appeared in the European Journal of International Relations, and the Journal of Human Rights. Prior to joining USFSP, he was a Research Affiliate at the National Security Archive where he worked on several projects that set the documentary record of CIA covert operations from 1947 to 1975.

John van Keppel

Dr. John van Keppel is a consultant for various international non-profits to assist them to strengthen their organizational operations and systems. John has been involved in sustainable community development on the international stage for more than 20 years. His experience extends across a variety of disciplines. Some include working with indigenous families in Guatemala to acquire land where they were able to develop new techniques to diversity their farming practices and skills in self-governance. He has assisted various groups to incorporate non-traditional business development to expand their income generation. Dr. van Keppel worked closely with Mayan communities to establish sustainable educational initiatives that increased the number of children going on to higher education. He has assisted organizations working in women’s reproductive health, violence prevention, and micro-finance.

Charles King

Charles King is Professor of International Affairs and Government at Georgetown University. He lectures widely on international affairs, social violence, and ethnic politics, and has worked with major broadcast media such as CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, the History Channel, and MTV. He previously served as chairman of the faculty of Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

He is the author of Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern IstanbulOdessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams, which received the National Jewish Book Award; The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the CaucasusThe Black Sea: A History, and other books. His work has been translated into more than ten languages. King’s articles, commentary, and reviews have appeared in magazines and newspapers such as The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe New RepublicForeign AffairsThe Daily Beast, and The Times Literary Supplement, as well as in leading academic journals.

King grew up on a cattle farm in the Ozark foothills of northwest Arkansas, one hollow over from J. William Fulbright’s rural home at Rabbit’s Foot Lodge. He studied history and philosophy at the University of Arkansas and later earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Oxford University, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. Before coming to Georgetown, he was a junior research fellow at New College, Oxford, and a research associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, the writer and anthropologist Margaret Paxson.

Prof. King is this year’s Aresty Speaker at the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs.

Paul Kubicekpaul-kubicek-web

Paul Kubicek is Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Studies Program at Oakland University in Rochester Michigan. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1995. He has also taught in Turkey, Ukraine, and Austria, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Slovenia in 2007. Much of his research is on democratization, the European Union, Turkish politics and foreign policy, and post-communist Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He has published in journals such as Comparative Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Political Studies, and Democratization. His two most recent books are Political Islam and Democratization in the Muslim World (2015) and (co-editor) Democratic Consolidation in Turkey: Micro and Macro Challenges (2016). He also serves as a contributor to Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World report and is the editor of Turkish Studies.

Deborah R. Lapidusdeborah-lapidus-web

Is on the full-time faculty at The Juilliard School and at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She recently taught at the Victoria School of the Arts in Australia and taught a master class at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She was an on air master teacher for two seasons on the CSC’s “Triple Sensation” ( Canada) and spent a month this summer working at NYU’s La Pietra campus in Florence, Italy.

Moez Limayemmoez-limayem-web

Moez Limayem joined the USF Muma College of Business in 2012, coming from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. At the University of South Florida, Limayem has been charged with enhancing the college’s profile and increasing its resources, building program demand, and strengthening relationships with varied stakeholders, including alumni, and business leaders. The results from his first four years on the job are impressive: the college has received three multi-million dollar naming gifts, and its programs have risen in national rankings. Pam and Les Muma’s 2014 gift of $25 million was the single largest gift in USF’s history, and will help the college join the top echelon of business schools across the nation. In 2015, in honor of more than $22 million in gifts to support the university, which includes a $10 million gift to the USF Muma College of Business and its accounting programs, the University of South Florida School of Accountancy was named for longtime supporter Lynn Pippenger. In addition, the 2015 Collier Student Success Center naming recognized a $10.85 million gift from the longtime supporters of the Muma College of Business: Barron Gift Collier III and his wife, Dana. The donation will improve a unit of the business school that focuses on student success and career preparedness programs.

As an administrator, Limayem spurred the development of a new doctoral program targeting seasoned C-suite executives and a professional development program targeting the business school’s younger students. Additionally, he has expanded the student success initiatives programs, including the Corporate Mentor Program, the dual-degree Zimmerman Advertising Program and the Muma Leadership Program. He also lead efforts to begin certificate programs in anti-money laundering.

The recipient of numerous professional awards, Limayem has published dozens of articles, many of which focus on the intersection of technology with the consumer, academic and business worlds. He is also the coauthor of a scholarly book, “Understanding The Use of Technology-Based Self Service: The Consumers’ Point of View.” His most recent publication is “Building an Informing Business School: A Case Study of USF’s Muma College of Business.”

Limayem worked in the private sector as a systems analyst and computing consultant before receiving his MBA and PhD in business administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since 1992, he has served as an international expert in IT for UNESCO. He has taught at universities across the globe: the University of Minnesota, Laval University in Canada, City University of Hong Kong, and Lausanne University in Switzerland, as well as the University of Arkansas.

Kent Lydecker

Kent Lydecker is retired Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida. He served as Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Associate Director for Education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; held the post of Executive Director of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago (where he was also Adjunct Professor in the School of the Art Institute); and began his museum career at the National Gallery of Art as Curator in Charge of Public Programs.

Lydecker holds a B.A. in history from Rice University, an M.A. in art history from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in art history from The Johns Hopkins University.

Although his specialization is the Italian Renaissance, professional museum work has taken him into all areas of museum practice and the history of art. He is fascinated by the visual arts, their histories, and the shaping role art plays in the contemporary world.

Dave Lyon

Dave Lyon currently works as a private sector consultant advising clients on risk and strategy by providing targeted business intelligence and consulting services.  Previously, he served for over a decade as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations / National Clandestine Service. He completed multiple overseas field tours where his missions focused primarily on counterterrorism, counterintelligence, counterespionage, cyber security, and political-military issues.

Mr. Lyon is also a uniformed reserve intelligence officer with the US Navy and is qualified as an Information Dominance Warfare Officer, all-source intelligence analyst, and a subject matter expert in human intelligence. Mr. Lyon is the recipient of various military decorations, as well as a number of awards from his time at CIA.

Prior to joining CIA, Mr. Lyon was an Assistant Country Director for China within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) at the Pentagon. He also worked in OSD’s Office of Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, for the Foreign Commercial Service at the US Embassy in Beijing, China, and at the White House.

Mr. Lyon attended the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. where he earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees: one in International Relations and a second in East Asian Studies. He also received a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in the Analysis of Criminal Behavior from the University of Cincinnati.  Additionally, he has taken graduate-level coursework in national security and strategic studies at the US Naval War College.

Mr. Lyon is a Member of the Asia Society, the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the OSS Society. He is also a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. He speaks Mandarin Chinese and Indonesian.

John Maguirejohn_maguire-web

John Maguire was named Director of International Relations and Cooperation of France Medias Monde in September 2013. Prior to that, from March 2012 to September 2013, he was Director of International Development, Audiovisuel Exterieur de la France; from May 2010 to March 2012 he served as Director of International Affairs, Radio France Internationale and from 2004 to 2010 he was head of RFI’s International Training Department. Before that he spent six years as Managing Editor of RFI’s English service.

David Manson

David Manson is a trombonist, composer, presenter and educator. His degrees include a doctorate from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. A musician with diverse interests, he began his performance career with positions in the Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra and Memphis Symphony Orchestra. He is a recipient of two Artist Fellowships in music composition from the Florida Arts Council, a Fulbright-Hays project in Turkey, an artist feature in the Southern Arts Federations JazzSouth radio program, and grants from Meet The Composer. David served eight years on the board of the Pinellas County Arts Council (1995-2003). His original music has been performed by the Florida Orchestra and placed in the HBO series, “Looking” and “Grandfathered” on Fox.

David directs the nonprofit presenter EMIT, with awards from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Chamber Music America and ASCAP. Through EMIT, David has presented nearly 400 concerts and educational workshops in Pinellas County. David is a founding developer in the MIRA (Music Industry/Recording Arts) program at St. Petersburg College. He performs with Brazilian group O Som Do Jazz, directs the Helios Jazz Orchestra, directs the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival and manages the Recording Arts Program for the Boys & Girls Club at the Royal Theater in Midtown.

Alexios Mantzarlis

Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He also trains and convenes fact-checkers globally. Mantzarlis previously served as Managing Editor of Pagella Politica and FactCheckEU, respectively Italy’s main political fact-checking website and the EU’s first multilingual crowd-checking project. He has presented fact-checking segments on Italian TV and led seminars on fact-checking around the world. Before becoming a fact-checker he worked for the United Nations and the Italian Institute for International Political Studies.

Michael Matthews

Michael Matthews has over twenty years experience in economic development and institutional reform in Africa. This experience has been in both the corporate and government sectors, serving clients both domestically and internationally. His work has taken him to 42 African countries: alongside farmers to foreign ministers. He has worked with the US Agency for International Development, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Brookings Institution, and various foreign governments. He has been responsible for managing a multitude of development programs, research projects, and government contracts. His economic development accomplishments include establishing a cut flower operation in Uganda, building irrigation systems in Mali, overseeing a railway integration project in Congo (formerly Zaire), revamping a fish processing plant in Botswana, and installing internet gateways in 27 African countries. He has over 40 publications on various topics guiding Africa development policy within the US Government. Mr. Matthews holds degrees from the University of Georgia, Ohio University, and George Washington University. He has a working knowledge of French, Swahili, and Amharic. He lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and two children.

Richard Mbatu

Richard Mbatu (Ph.D. Oklahoma State University, 2006) is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy. Dr. Mbatu’s research interests are in two interconnected areas: (1) forest resource management and policy aspects of sustainable development and climate change, and (2) the structure and function of plans, programs, bilateral and multilateral agreements and conventions dealing with forest resource management and climate change. These two research areas are connected by the “local to global” nexus which allows him to draw from the local and state levels in the U.S. as he focuses on the international perspective. Dr. Mbatu is particularly interested in community and national forests policy, and the UNFCCC’s (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) program in the Congo Basin region in Central Africa, as forest communities wield significant influence over deforestation through agriculture and land use powers, but are only beginning to consider the implications of those powers for climate change. There is the need to understand how local communities and national governments in forests-rich nations can influence deforestation and forest degradation, the extent of greenhouse gas emissions reductions that they can achieve, and the keys to success for adopting policies to pursue those reductions. Dr. Mbatu’s research looks into human-environment interactions through the lenses of political ecology, political economy of natural resources, environmental politics, and sustainable development.

Michael J. McCarthymichael-j-mccarthy-web

Michael J. McCarthy (MA, International Affairs, The Catholic University of America, 1996) is Principal and co-Founder of M4 Strategic Solutions, LLC, an international consulting firm. Mr. McCarthy retired from the US Air Force in May 2011 with the rank of Colonel, having served over twenty-six years as both an Intelligence Officer and as a Foreign Area Officer, specializing in Russia, Eurasia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. He served as the Senior Analyst of Russian Political and Military Affairs within Air Force Intelligence (Pentagon), the Senior Military Advisor for the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (Tbilisi, Georgia), the Chief of the Central and South Asia Branch at US Central Command (Tampa, Florida), and the Director for Intelligence at the NATO Air Command (Ramstein, Germany). As a civilian, Mr. McCarthy served in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency as the Country Program Director for post-Soviet and Eastern European nations, including Ukraine and Georgia, where he managed all foreign military sales and related security cooperation programs. As a consultant, he has advised members of Congress on the provision of military capabilities to Ukraine and was instrumental in the development of the Ukrainian Strategic Defense Bulletin, a roadmap for defense reform. Mr. McCarthy is currently assisting the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council in the drafting of legislation on the security and defense sector. Mr. McCarthy has traveled and studied extensively throughout Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, and has numerous publications to his credit. His book, The Limits of Friendship: US Security Cooperation in Central Asia, was published in 2007.

Douglas L. McElhaneydoug-speaking

Doug is the instigator of the St Pete Conference on World Affairs, having participated in a similar event last year in Boulder, Colorado. When he moved to St. Petersburg in 2007 to take care of aging parents, he noted that international issues did not get the time and attention in the lives of busy Floridians that they warranted. The presidential elections only reinforced his conviction that an international conference in St. Pete that talked about issues, and unfettered by political rhetoric, would be a true contribution to the community. Doug was a career Foreign Service Officer at the US State Department and retired with the rank of Ambassador after a 34-year career. He served in Europe: Brussels, Rome, Milan, Paris, Lisbon, Sarajevo, and for three years in Cairo. He was the US Deputy Permanent Representative during both the Bosnia and Kosovo wars, and he worked for several years in the late seventies on the negotiations that later resulted in the independence of Namibia. At the Embassy in Cairo, he worked on the peace process as well as liaison with the Egyptian military. As Ambassador to Bosnia, he renegotiated wide changes to the wartime constitution, which in 2006 were ultimately rejected by the ethnically-based parties in power in 2006. He was the Distinguished Ambassador in Residence at the University of Miami from 2008-2012.

 Kevin J. McGuire

Kevin McGuire

Mr. Kevin J. McGuire was sworn in on October 23, 2001, as Ambassador to the Republic of Namibia. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador McGuire was Director of Senior Assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources. Ambassador McGuire joined the Foreign Service in 1966. He served as Director of Senior Assignments, Bureau of Human Resources from 1999 to 2001; Diplomat in Residence, Howard University from 1997 to 1999; Director of Economic, Social, and Human Rights Affairs, Bureau of International Organization Affairs from 1994 to 1997; Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy Rome from 1990 to 1994; Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy Seoul from 1987 to 1990; Chief of Developed Country Trade Division, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs from 1985 to 1987; Deputy Office Director, Energy Consumer Country Affairs from 1983 to 1985; Student, National War College from 1982 to 1983; Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Libreville from 1980 to 1982; Chief of Economic Section, U.S. Embassy Dublin from 1977 to 1980; Economic Officer, U.S. Embassy Athens from 1973 to 1976; Special Assistant, Bureau of Public Affairs from 1971 to 1973; Watch Officer, Operations Center from 1970 to 1971; Recruitment Officer, Bureau of Personnel from 1969 to 1970; Vice-Consul, U.S. Consulate Adelaide from 1967 to 1969; and Third Secretary, U.S. Embassy Canberra from 1966 to 1967. Mr. McGuire has received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (1990, 1999) and the Meritorious Honor Award (1994, 2000). Born in New York City, Mr. McGuire earned a B.A. degree in history from Holy Cross College (1964), an M.A. in history from Indiana University (1966), and an M.P.A from Harvard (1977). He also has received a Diploma in Strategic Studies from the National War College (1983).

Andrew McIntosh

Andrew L. McIntosh is a partner with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, a full service business law firm with offices in Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.  As a member of the bars of both Ontario and Florida, Andrew provides representation to clients involved in cross-border business.  He is a member of the firm’s international practice group.

From 2005 to 2012, Andrew served as an Honorary Consul for Canada – one of 16 in the U.S. –pursuant to the Government of Canada’s “Enhanced Representation Initiative”.  He continues to facilitate trade and investment activities through the Canadian Consulate General at Miami, assisting Canadian businesses with interests in Florida, and U.S.-based firms seeking to do business in Canada.  In 2016, he received the Governor General’s Medallion in recognition of his service.

Andrew is a co-founder of Cross Border Partners Advisory Services which provides project management and consulting services to businesses expanding their platform through exports or direct investment.  The work of CBP complements Andrew’s law practice and supports economic development efforts for the benefit of clients and the community as a whole.

In addition to providing legal representation and international trade and investment expansion services, Mr. McIntosh is engaged heavily in economic development and Chamber of Commerce activities. He is a co-founder of the Canada-Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew and his wife, Shannon, are the parents of 3 lovely daughters who enjoy the benefits of dual citizenship.

Joe Menascejoe-menasce

Joe was born in Egypt out of a Jewish family that spoke French and Spanish with some Arabic. He left Egypt at the age of 16 for political reasons and headed to France where he completed his high school education.

Six years later, he immigrated to the US where he earned a BS in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing from California State College at Los Angeles. Joe’s career spanned the worlds of medicine in sales and marketing management as well as the financial industry from where he retired at the age of 56 to devote himself to lecturing senior citizens at USF in Tampa and Eckerd College as well as to Rotary clubs, a church and other private organizations.

Joe’s strong interest in foreign affairs, extensive readings and overseas travels, coupled with his blend of Middle East, European and US mentalities naturally provided him with a world’s perspective that he demonstrated in his lectures.

These include topics such as the Middle East Conflict, Persia and Iran, Ancient and Modern Egypt, The Golden Age in Medieval Spain, Gertrude Bell: Desert Queen, the History and Sociology of Genocide and many other.

Richard MiniterRichard-Miniter

Richard Miniter is the Chief Executive Officer of American Media Institute, and an award-winning investigative journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He writes the “National Security” column on He was editorial page writer for The Wall Street Journal Europe and was a member of the famed investigative team of the Sunday Times of London. As vice president of The Washington Times, Miniter turned around an ailing division. He is the author of Losing bin Laden, Shadow War, Mastermind, Leading From Behind and most recently Eyes On Target. Miniter has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek, Forbes, New Republic, National Review and others. He appears regularly on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and hundreds of radio programs every year.

Glenn Morgan

For more than 30 years, Mr. Morgan – a Canadian national – served in various technical and lead advisory positions with The World Bank Group in Washington, D.C. His professional specializations include environmentally and socially sustainable development, land and natural resource management, environmental and social impact assessment and development project management. During his career with the World Bank, Mr. Morgan worked in more than 40 countries in three world regions including South and Central Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean, and East Asia and the Pacific. As a Lead and Senior Environment Specialist, he directly supported a large number of World Bank financed operations including many high-profile infrastructure and hydro-electric power development projects. Much of his professional work entailed working directly with resource dependent rural households and communities affected by large scale development projects. Mr. Morgan holds degrees from the Center for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. He has recently retired from the World Bank Group and is currently living and working as a private consultant for environmentally sustainable development in Alexandria, Virginia.

Russell Neumanrussell-neuman-web

W. Russell Neuman is a specialist in new media and digital education. He was the John Derby Evans Professor of Media Technology in Communication Studies and Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and also taught at the University of Pennsylvania where he directed the Information and Society Program of the Annenberg Public Policy Center. He served as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy working in the areas of information technology, broadband policy and technologies for border security. His recent books include The Gordian Knot: Political Gridlock on the Information Highway (MIT Press, 1997), Media, Technology, and Society: Theories of Media Evolution (University of Michigan Press, 2010) and The Digital Difference: Technology and the Theory of Communication Effects (Harvard University Press, 2016). He was the Edward R. Murrow Professor of International Communication at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He also taught at Harvard and Yale and was one of the founding faculty of the MIT Media Laboratory. His Ph.D. is from the University of California, Berkeley and his undergraduate degree is from Cornell University. Professor Neuman’s teaching and research focus on educational outcomes, online education, distance education and globalization.

Susan B. NeumanSusan-Neuman-web

Susan B. Neuman is a Professor of Childhood Education and Literacy Development at the Steinhardt School, New York University. Previously, she has been a Professor at the University of Michigan and has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.  In her role as Assistant Secretary, she established the Early Reading First program, the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act. She has served on numerous boards of non-profit organizations, and is currently Co-editor of Reading Research Quarterly, the flagship journal in reading research. Her research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction, prek-grade 3 for children who live in poverty.  She has written over 100 articles, and authored and edited 11 books, including “Changing the Odds for Children at Risk” (Teachers College Press, 2009) “Educating the Other America” (Brookes, 2008) and  “Giving our children a fighting chance:  Poverty literacy, and the development of information capital.” (Teachers College Press, 2012).

Mehmet E. Ozturk

Mehmet E. Ozturk is currently a PhD candidate in Special Education at University of South Florida in Tampa. He has been an international student from Turkey since 2010. Mehmet obtained his bachelor’s in elementary education at Inonu University in Malayta, Turkey. After moving to the United States, he completed a master of science degree in Education from Indiana University with a focus on special education. His current research interest includes special education preservice teacher preparation and family-school collaboration.

Hartmut Pauland

Born 16th March 1955 in Giessen (Germany, state Hessen). Secondary school-leaving examination in 1973. Married since 1979 to Connie; Living in Berlin. Two sons (Daniel and Tim) meanwhile with own families. Main interests including ball sports, skiing and reading.

Enlisted in the Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) on 1st July 1973 as officer cadet in the German Army. Training as an Army officer in the fields of electronic warfare (EW, SIGINT).

Commissioned as a regular officer and promoted to Lieutenant on 1st April 1975. Most of his service has been in EW assignments as platoon and company commander as well as staff positions. In addition, he served as instructor at the Army Signal School in the south of Germany, responsible for the EW Reserve Officers- and NCO training.

He participated in Army General Staff Course of the German Führungsakademie in Hamburg from 1987 to 1989.

He took over the command of the signal battalion (electronic warfare) 320 in Frankenberg / Eder, Germany; Followed by serving as G3 Exercise Planning at the German Army Forces Command.

Brigadier General Pauland served as Commander of the Command and Support Regiment 30 in Düsseldorf, Germany. While this time he attended Senior Course 100 at the NATO Defense College in Roma, Italy.

From September 2002 to June 2004 he served as ACOS G2 at the II. (GE/US) Corps in Ulm.

This post was followed by a Section Chief assignment in the Assessment Branch of the INTELLIGENCE Division International Military Staff in Brussels, Belgium.

After that he served as Branch Chief in the German Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Staff, International Cooperation in Berlin, followed by serving as Defence Intelligence Director and Head of Armed Forces Staff II of the DEU MOD and postings outside the Military Structure.

Since mid-April 2016 he is serving as Head of the German Liaison Team to HQ USCENTCOM in Tampa, Florida also acting as Chairman of the International Coalition in the Fight against Global Terrorism, located at MacDill AFB.

William P. Pope

Mr. Pope was born in Alexandria, Virginia and served in the U.S. Army Security Agency.  He holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia and has done graduate work at Georgetown University.  He attended the National War College and the Department of Defense’s flag officer training course, “Capstone.”  Mr. Pope has studied French, Russian, Serbo-Croatian and Italian.

During his 33-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Mr. Pope had overseas tours in Rome, The Hague, Pretoria, Paris and elsewhere.  He held a number of senior positions in Washington, most recently as the State Department’s Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism.  Prior to his Counterterrorism assignment, Mr. Pope was the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Rome; DCM at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague; Director of the USG Interagency Task Force on Serbian Sanctions, coordinating U.S. contributions to international sanctions against Serbia; Director of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Export Control Policy; and Deputy Political Counselor at the American Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.  He served also in Paris, Belgrade, Zagreb and Gaborone, Botswana.  Within the Department, he was a Legislative Management Officer; Country Desk Officer for Libya; Special Assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs; and specialist on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.  He was awarded the State Department’s Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards and its Career Achievement Award.

After retiring from the Foreign Service in 2005, Mr. Pope served as the Vice President for Homeland Security of MPRI, a leading provider of defense services.  He subsequently created the U.S. Department of State’s Franklin Fellows and Virtual Fellows Programs, which enable experienced, non-U.S. Government professionals to contribute to the formulation of U.S. foreign policy.  In 2015, he worked on U.S. cyber policy in the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues.

Mr. Pope served for a decade as a Trustee of the Fisher House Foundation, a veterans service organization, and was on the Board of the Michael Stern Parkinson’s Research Foundation at Rockefeller University.  He also was a member of the Advisory Board of the Security & Defence Agenda, a Brussels-based forum on transatlantic defense and security issues.  He was a Diplomatic Fellow at George Mason University, where he taught graduate courses in Biodfense and Counterterrorism.  He also has been an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where he taught a graduate-level course on Counterterrorism.

Mr. Pope was Senior Advisor for Europe at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations for the 63rd-71st sessions of the UN General Assembly.

Usha Prakash

Usha Prakash immigrated to the United States from India almost 40 years ago as a teenager. She moved here from India with her parents and her brother. Usha was exposed to western culture in India from a very young age both in primary school and college. After arriving in the U.S she worked for two large publishing companies in New York for almost 10 years.

After getting married and moving to New Jersey, Usha owned and operated a printing and marketing company. She was Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board at Salvation Army and a Board member at the Chamber of Commerce in Toms River. Usha was also appointed to Mayor’s committee to change her town’s name.

Usha currently lives in St. Petersburg , Florida with her husband of 35 years and has two wonderful children. She is also the Vice President of her condo Board.

Usha always believed that the United States was a land of opportunity and is proud to say she has truly experienced it.

Ranko Princip

Ranko Princip, CPA, MBA, LLM in Tax, is a tax director of Princip LLC, a tax planning and compliance boutique firm specialized in international tax. In addition, Mr. Princip is a co-founder of Cross Border Partners Advisory Services, which provides project management and consulting services to businesses expanding their platform outside the U.S. or in the US via direct investments. Previously, Mr. Princip was a senior manager and head of the international tax department of Pender Newkirk, a regional accounting firm based in Tampa Bay Area, a tax director in Allied Aviation, LLC, a large Florida company with multiple states and extensive international business presence, and a manager in KPMG, New York City and Vancouver, Canada, offices. Mr. Princip is a past Chair of the South West Chapter, Florida District Export Council, and in that capacity assists numerous Florida businesses in their respective exporting activities.

Rob Rowen


Rob Rowen is President of Global Action Coalition, an NGO working in Nepal, Djibouti, Kenya and Zambia. His involvement with the military and service to the international officers serving at CENTCOM led to  his being made an Honorary Ambassador to the Coalition Forces at CENTCOM and many of the officers serving presently and in the past support his work internationally.  He is a Florida delegate to the US Global Leadership Coalition Conference, a member on the Committee for Foreign Relations Tampa Bay Chapter and a member of the Advisory Board of the Stavros Center for Economic Education. Rob has a history of developing non-profit organizations founding the Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts, 1990, and the Kaleidoscope Festival, 2003. He has also served as President or Board Chair to many other community organizations such as the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Interbay Peninsula Partnership and the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus.

Rob has also owned Nuance Galleries for 35 years, specializing in Florida and many internationally known artists. He acquired a 300 piece Cuban art collection previously the Clyde Hensley collection that had traveled the United States to many museums and universities for 4 years visiting 18 cities. He has also brought artists from Cuba for exhibitions over the last 3 years.

Diane Seligsohn

Diane Seligsohn is an American journalist and university lecturer who has lived in Paris for over 3 decades and now divides her time between France and St Petersburg, Florida. Diane received her BA from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and her MA from NYU. She began her career in journalism at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s New York office, where she worked for 5 years before moving to France.

As head of information for the international federation pf newspaper publishers for two years, she gained knowledge of and insight into press freedom issues. She first visited Africa in 1997, when as Head of Media Relations for the French doctor’s group Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), she led a press trip to visit the organization’s AIDS prevention and care programs in Uganda and Tanzania. Her work as a reporter for Radio France International and freelance journalism trainer has since taken her to 17 countries across the African continent. She has taught Masters-level courses on the images of Africa in the Western media at the Sorbonne’s journalism School, CELSA and at Sciences-Po Paris.

The pilot episode of her educational documentary film series, The African Slave Trades: Across the Indian Ocean, featuring Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, was shown at the New York African Film Festival.

Donald R. Shemanski

Donald R. Shemanski joined the faculty of the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) on June 2, 2008, after serving for 23 years as a diplomat with the United States Foreign Service. Immediately prior to joining IST, Shemanski served as Counselor for Global Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, directing the Embassy office responsible for high-priority policy issues such as counter-terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, climate change, and international judicial assistance. He has had a number of postings in Washington and abroad, including tours in Italy, Pakistan, Cyprus, and Germany. His assignments have included serving as coordinator for State Department refugee assistance programs for the former Yugoslavia, delegate to the U.S. Delegation to the Vienna CSCE Follow-up Meeting, Deputy Special Envoy to the Afghan Mujahedin, and Alternate U.S. Delegate to the foundation, “Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future,” which administered payments to former World War II-era forced and slave laborers of the Nazi regime.

Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Shemanski was an associate attorney with the international law firm Walter, Conston & Schurtman in New York City. He was admitted to the Bar in Pennsylvania and New York.

In addition to his studies in the United States, Shemanski studied German civil law at the Goethe University in Frankfurt pursuant to a Fulbright grant. His foreign languages include German, Italian, and Greek.

Shemanski is the recipient of two Superior Honor Awards and two Meritorious Honor Awards from the U.S. Department of State.

Publications: Shemanski is the author of a scholarly article on judicial assistance, “Obtaining Evidence in the Federal Republic of Germany: The Impact of the Hague Evidence Convention on German American Judicial Cooperation” (17 International Lawyer #3, Summer 1983).

Charles B. Skinner

Charles Skinner has taught courses on foreign policy and diplomacy, twentieth-century history, and NATO at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) since 2009. A retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, he served overseas in Jamaica (1980-82), Yugoslavia (1982-84), Germany (1984-87 and 1991-95), Belgium (1995-99), and Britain (2002-6). During the last half of his career, he was fortunate to work on central policy issues. He was the Berlin desk officer at the State Department in Washington when the Wall came down and German unification was negotiated. He also served as the first U.S. exchange diplomat in the German Foreign Office (1991-92). He worked on operations in the Balkans both at NATO headquarters in Brussels and the NATO desk at State, and then on the response to 9/11 both at State and at the U.S. embassy in London. A fourth-generation Floridian, born in Clearwater, he studied at Davidson College and Harvard University, where he completed his Ph.D. in modern European history in 1979. He also studied at the universities of Marburg (1967-68) and Berlin (1974-76) in Germany and served in the U.S. Army (1970-72). He is married and has a daughter and twin grandchildren.

Kevin D. Slatterypickevinslattery-web

Kevin D. Slattery obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in both Political Science and French from the University of Notre Dame in 1997. While at the University of Notre Dame, he was an active member of both the Notre Dame Council on International Business Development and the national political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha. During his time at Notre Dame, he also studied abroad for one academic year at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. In the summer of 1998, Mr. Slattery participated in the NAFTA Leaders Internship Program at the Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars in Washington, D.C., partaking in a series of lectures and seminars designed to address the policy implications of the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 2003, he obtained his law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he was an active member of both Florida Law Review and the international legal fraternity Phi Delta Phi. While in law school, Mr. Slattery was the recipient of the International Human Rights Law Book Award as well as the Legal Drafting Book Award. He also spent an academic summer abroad through the university’s law program at the Université de Montpellier in Montpellier, France. Following completion of his legal studies, Mr. Slattery served as a judicial law clerk at the Connecticut Appellate Court, first with the Honorable Thomas G. West and then with the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel. In 2006, inspired by his dedication to providing clients with the thorough representation that they deserve and by his desire to truly help others, Mr. Slattery opened Kevin D. Slattery, P.A., a law firm dedicated to the practice of immigration law. The firm is located in Tampa, FL, and offers assistance in family-based and employment-based immigration matters as well as in removal defense. Mr. Slattery is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and is admitted to practice law in Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. He has been a guest speaker to the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Sarasota County Bar Association, to attendees of the 2011 International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA) Annual Convention & Trade Show and to attendees of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Central Florida Chapter’s 28th Annual Conference held in 2014. He is also a contributing author to Employment Discrimination Law, Fourth Edition, Volume 1, ch. 23 Employment Agencies (Barbara T. Lindemann & Paul Grossman eds., 2007).

Darrell Slider

Darrell Slider is Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida (Tampa). He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois (Urbana) and graduate degrees from Yale. Trained as a specialist on the Soviet Union, Dr. Slider has lived for lengthy periods in both Russia and Georgia. He has published widely on the politics of Russia, Georgia, and the Soviet Union. Dr. Slider has also been a Fulbright Scholar in Moscow where he taught at the Higher School of Economics.

Barbara A. Smith

Dr. Smith has been a successful National Institutes of Health funded researcher and made significant contributions to the literature both nationally and globally primarily in chronically ill adults and children as well as those with infectious diseases. Dr Smith was a Professor and Associate Dean for Research until the fall of 2016 at Michigan State University (MSU) College of Nursing (CON). During her tenure at MSU she was involved with various MSU projects in Africa. She supervised a dissertation project looking at adverse drug reactions during treatment of multi-drug resistant TB (South Africa), authored a One Health project in Tanzania, and with a doctoral student is working to reduce maternal mortality (Malawi).  Her work in Malawi was rewarded with an appointment as adjunct professor in the University of Malawi’s Kamuzu College of Nursing. She also participated in a MSU study abroad program in Cuba where health care students from three Colleges became the first U.S. health care professionals in decades to do hands on care in that country. She also participated in a study abroad program along the Amazon River in Peru where the team gave care to over 2400 patients in eight days.

Prior to joining the MSU CON she served as the Associate Dean for Research in the School of Nursing, at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She was Director of East African Affairs, Office of Global Health and Director for the Nursing Component of the University of Maryland, School of Medicine’s PEPFAR grant which served 7 countries in Africa and two in the Caribbean. In 2010 she was a delegate to WHO’s Scale-Up of Global Medical, Nursing and Midwifery Education in Geneva, Switzerland and in 2011 was invited by the Clinton Foundation to participate in planning and implementing a program entitled Human Resources for Health in Rwanda (2012-19).  She also served as principal investigator of a study entitled Assessing Nurses Risk of Exposure to Blood Borne Pathogens in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, she served as faculty member for a WHO Safe Motherhood survey in Malawi and in Kenya.

Michael C. Smithmichael-smith-web

Following a career in university and non-profit leadership in the United States, Dr. C. Michael Smith began focusing on international higher education in developing countries. In 2002, he became director of the Commission on Academic Accreditation in the United Arab Emirates, where he was responsible for designing and implementing academic standards. Three years later he and his wife, Dr. Elspeth Smith, left the comparative luxury of the UAE to help to establish a new university in a rural area of Nigeria. At the American University of Nigeria, he served as founding dean—later becoming president—while Elspeth served as vice president for institutional advancement. When they left in 2009, enrollment had grown from to1200 students. Nobel Prize recipient Desmond Tutu delivered the university’s first graduation address. In 2009 Dr. Smith became president of the American University of Afghanistan, where over the next five years, an innovative law program in partnership with Stanford University School of Law, the country’s first MBA program, and a unique Master of Arts program in education were established. He retired as president at the end of 2014. He and his wife now live in Dunedin, Florida.

Thomas W. Smith


Thomas W. Smith is associate professor of political science and director of the Honors Program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He co-founded the St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs with Ambassador Doug McElhaney. Smith holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. He has published numerous journal articles in the fields of human rights, international humanitarian law, and Turkish politics and foreign policy. He also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Contemporary Korean Studies. From 1997-2000 he taught international relations at Koç University in Istanbul. His second book, Human Rights and War Through Civilian Eyes, was just published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Sri Sridharan

As Director of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity (FC2), Sri Sridharan provides strategic oversight of the Center and is responsible for spearheading initiatives focused on driving workforce development, attracting new industry, and positioning Florida as the national leader in cybersecurity.

A seasoned expert with more than forty years of experience, Sridharan brings a base of knowledge acquired from his work with companies ranging from small start-ups to international industry giants like IBM.  During his career, he has held top management positions focused on: technology-based continuous availability solutions for complex business challenges, solutions for service-quality intelligence on IT performance against business objectives, solutions for wireless mobility/business process integration, ASP (Application Service Provider) solutions with eight international data centers, custom applications for global procurement and distribution management, and hosted and in-house hospital information systems.

At the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, Sridharan has applied his business acumen to create the infrastructure of a statewide center that was formed to serve as a resource for cybersecurity education, outreach and innovative, interdisciplinary research within an academic environment.  In this capacity, he has developed critical industry and government relationships, and positioned the Florida Center for Cybersecurity to become a national player on the cybersecurity landscape.

Sridharan holds three Master’s degrees (Computer Science, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics) and he lives in Tampa, Florida.

James Suggs

James Suggs began playing the trumpet at age 9. At 16, he started performing professionally and toured the US and Europe with the Continental Singers. In 2002, James received a bachelors degree in music performance from Youngstown State University in Ohio. He was employed on six cruise ships taking him around the world. In 2005, Suggs toured and recorded with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and later performed with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Later that year, James moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina where he remained for 8 years, playing and touring. He has shared the stage with such artists as Kenny Burrell, Robin Eubanks, Dick Hyman, Sean Jones, Chuck Mangione, Maria Schneider, and Frankie Avalon to name a few. In 2015, James was awarded the Best of the Bay’s Critic’s choice for “Best Jazz Transplant.” He currently lives in St. Petersburg and is a TA in the Jazz Studies department, getting his Masters degree at University of South Florida in Tampa.

Sridhar Sundaram

Dr. Sridhar Sundaram is the Dean and Professor of Finance at the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. His educational background includes a Master’s degree in Accounting, and a MBA and a Doctorate degree in Finance. He has received the Faculty Recognition Awards in teaching, research and service. He is an active researcher with publications in some of the top finance journals. His business experience involves several years of working with his family’s retail business, consulting with businesses and serving on for profit and non-profit boards. He has also held leadership positions in professional organizations, non-profit organizations and higher education institutions.

David R. Wistocki

David R. Wistocki is a researcher for Ms. Sarah Chayes, the author of Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, and a senior fellow in the Democracy and Rule of Law program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. David’s research is focused on the impact of transnational development finance institutions on kleptocratic network structures in Honduras and broader transnational corruption mechanisms.

Ilgiz Yanbukhtin

Ilgiz Yanbukhtin

Graduated with honors from the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), Department of Philosophy, in 1994. Graduate of Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (1998). Dr. Yanbukhtin earned his doctorate in philosophy from MSU (2000). Visiting professor of the MSU Department of Philosophy. Since 2010 has initiated and launched “Diplomatic Readings” project at the MSU Department of Philosophy with the participation of the ambassadors and senior diplomats representing Asia, Europe, Middle East, North & Latin America. Dr. Yanbukhtin was a speaker at the 23rd World Philosophy Congress in Athens, Greece, in August 2013.

Expert of the US-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation (1998-2001). Worked closely with the US Department of State, USAID, US Small Business Administration, Eurasia Foundation within the framework of Commission activities. Participant of APEC Young Leaders Forum in Shanghai, China (2001). Served in different top executive and advisory capacities in private sector (development & real estate business) since 2004. From 2008 to 2014 was in charge of all international projects of the Moscow City Symphony – Russian Philharmonic, founded by the Moscow City Government. Since 2013 has been appointed CEO of the Moscow Region Philharmonic. Board member of the Ministry of Culture of the Moscow Region.