BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Christine M. Sheckler
President (A), Vice President, Development Committee Chair (A)
Christine lived and worked overseas for 30+ years as a career U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Foreign Service Officer (ret), Peace Corps Volunteer/Liberia (RPCV) in the remote bush, and international development expert. She crossed the Sahara Desert on her own (1984). She specializes in conflict, fragile, and transition countries with extensive on-the-ground experience designing, implementing, managing, monitoring and evaluating U.S. international development programs at the country-team leader level. She was the senior USAID advisor to nine Ambassadors. USAID: AIDREP Sierra Leone (2015-16) - managing the U.S.G. response to the Ebola crisis; USAID Washington Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation Advisor (2014-15) - she and her military counterpart received an award for their joint rescue effort to relocate the Yazidi's from Mt. Sinjar to safety; Director of USAID/Cairo Office of Democracy and Governance during the Arab Spring (2012-13) - present when the US Embassy walls were breached; Senior Development Advisor to senior military as a member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team covering North West Baghdad and Abu Ghraib, Iraq (2008-10) - embedded with the U.S. Army in the "red zone." Christine's convoys were attacked twice; USAID Country Coordinator: Sierra Leone (2004-2008) - post 11-year "blood diamond" civil war reconstruction; Belarus 2000-4, Lithuania 1998-2000, Tajikistan 1997-8, Georgia/Caucasus 1994, and Pakistan 1989-1994 (counter-narcotics, agriculture & rural development, provincial strategic planning, Women in Development). With the fall of the Berlin Wall, she was the AID/W/Europe & Eurasia Office of Democracy & Governance Civil Society lead for 28 countries mostly from the Former Soviet Union (1995-1997).
Christine earned an M.B.A in International Business from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in Pre-med/Zoology/Entomology from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from Mill Valley, California, she worked in the California Academy of Sciences as a researcher. As the daughter of a Department of the Army & WWII vet father and a Vienna-born triplet mother, she and her sister spent much of their time growing up in Europe.
Immediate Past President
John is a Senior Advisor of Albright Stonebridge Group, where he draws on extensive overseas and domestic management experience as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer to advise clients on successful business strategies in South Asia and attract new clients to the firm.
Prior to joining the firm, John was Director of the Office of Regional Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, serving as the principal adviser to the Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia. He was a driving force in shaping and implementing the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative. Prior to that assignment, Mr. Schlosser was founding Director of the Department’s Office of Export Control Cooperation and Sanctions. Previously he served as Deputy Political Counselor and chief of the Political-Military and External Affairs units at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland and as Senior Political Officer in the State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs. He also served in The Netherlands, Canada, Suriname and Jamaica and as second in command/acting ambassador in Nepal. He received five Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State.
John earned an M.A. in European History from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and completed doctoral work at Stanford University, passing his Ph.D. oral examinations with distinction shortly before joining the Foreign Service. He has two adult children, a son who works in Virginia as an engineer and a daughter who works in the Los Angeles area in public relations. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, hiking, tennis and golf and reading history. John served as President of the San Diego World Affairs Council 2016-2019.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Finance Committee Chair
Evan is currently Chief Financial Officer of the San Diego World Affairs Council in San Diego, California and conducts independent economic development research in countries with extractive resources (oil, gas and mining). Previously he worked as an Economic and Policy Researcher at Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), where he created a metrics to guide policy-making decisions on when beneficiation of mineral deposits should be considered a policy paradigm in countries with iron ore deposits. He also created an executive training curriculum for Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in association with the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange to help project sponsors implement Public-Private Partnerships when developing public works projects. Prior to his work in economic development, Mr. Toma has held various positions within the financial services industry, including Senior Analyst roles in Fixed Income Derivatives Operations for bulge-bracket investment banks.
Evan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in development economics from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.
Debby currently serves on the San Diego World Affairs Council Board as Secretary. She was employed by the San Diego Unified School District for forty years. Unique travel experiences have allowed her to expand her interest in and knowledge of International Affairs, while developing greater understanding of diverse cultures.
Debby is a past member of the Board of Directors of the North County Chapter of the San Diego World Affairs Council of San Diego and served as secretary for one year. She is a member of the American Association of University Women, San Diego Zoo Global, and the York Society of the University of California San Diego.
Debby received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego.
Ambassador (ret.) Reno L. Harnish III
Program Committee Chair
Ambassador Harnish founded the Center for Environment and National Security at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prior to this, he spent 33 years in the Foreign Service, including positions as the U.S. Ambassador in Azerbaijan, the Chief of Mission in Kosovo and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Egypt. He was heavily engaged in conflict resolution, democratization and energy issues.
He received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award twice and the Department of State Distinguished Service Award among other decorations.
Ambassador Harnish took a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Master of International Service and a Master of Arts in Economics from the American University in Washington D.C. He has published a book and articles on energy and the environment. Reno is a Knight in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He lives with his wife Leslie in San Diego, California. They have two children and three grandchildren.
Membership Committee Chair
Joe is a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force as an aviator. He was employed for 22 years as a teacher, counselor, coach, principal, and district director. Currently, Joe is an Adjunct Professor of 11 years for the National University teaching Educational Administration, School Counseling, and School Psychology.
Joe has volunteered for 20 years as chair of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for high school accreditation, five years as an interviewer for prospective students of Vanderbilt University, and five years as a volunteer at the International Peace and Justice Center of San Diego.
Joe received a BS in Education from Indiana State University, MA in Education from Vanderbilt University, and MS in Educational Leadership from California State University San Bernardino. In his spare time, he enjoys travel and golf. Joe is from Peoria, Illinois and
David Edick Jr.
Dave is an independent financial & management consultant focused on energy, commodities, Russia, political risk, and global financial markets. Long active in international trade, investment banking, and internationally-oriented nonprofits, he worked in Russia in the 1990′s as owner of California Trading & Industrial Corporation – a food importer and wholesaler; later with Vtoroi Finansovyi Dom – a British-Russian investment bank; and then as Executive Vice President of Cortez Seafoods exporting seafood from Mexico to Asia and Europe.
David stepped down as President in January 2016 to become Past President of the World Affairs Council of San Diego until 2019. He is also Past-President of the San Diego International Sister Cities Association and 6-term past President of the San Diego-Vladivostok Sister City Society. He has served on the Community Advisory Board of the San Diego Diplomacy Council. In addition, David makes public presentations on topics involving international/global affairs, finance, political risk, and energy.
Lulu is currently a community volunteer and leader, following retirement from Solar Turbines Incorporated, a Caterpillar Company, after 35 years with the company. Her career spanned engineering and manufacturing responsibilities to working with global energy super-majors as well as being the General Manager of Solar’s worldwide turbine overhaul operation based in Dallas.
After her retirement as Director of Business Development and Marketing, Customer Services, she continues to be actively involved in working informally with professional women. She is also an amateur classical pianist and volunteers in a number of community organizations. She is a founding member and Vice-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of San Diego, and started a volunteer group called GROW (Generating Ripples of Opportunity for Women) to raise money for and awareness of Shakti Rising, a non-profit that is focused on empowering women and developing feminine leadership.
She is a former Board member of the National Association of Asian American Professionals, a Board member of Amateur Pianists (the largest meetup group of amateur pianists in the nation) and a member of the Diplomacy Council. Lulu was the SDWAC Vice President 2016-2018.
She has a BS in Chemistry and Applied Music and a MS in Analytical Chemistry.
Stan S. Katz
Stan grew up in New York City and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1973, receiving a B.S. in Chemistry, with minors in Sociology and Greek Classical literature. After graduation, he backpacked for a half year through the Canadian Maritime Provinces and then through most of Western Europe and into Northern Africa. On his return home, he attended Georgetown University, where for four years he learned the art and science of Dentistry. While living in Washington D.C., Stan enjoyed exploring the many Smithsonian museums, and partook of numerous public events linked to the Celebration of America's Bicentennial, where talented performers from around the country were brought to our Nation’s Capital to perform their regional and ethnic dances, music, and offer their local cuisine.
Stan's love for the great outdoors guided him to establish his dental practice in rural Upstate New York. After almost ten years there, he moved to San Diego, where he has lived for the past twenty-eight years. During this time, his passion for books and learning led him to obtain a California Teaching Degree from International University (now renamed Alliant University) and to own two ''Used, Out-of-Print, and Rare'' Bookstores. It was through these bookstores that he acquired the personal papers of an Intelligence Agent, Colonel Mashbir in 1999, which inspired his writing of an historical novel, The Emperor and the Spy’, which honors an unsung American Hero who, during the 1920s and 1930s, allied with members of the Japanese Royal Family and other top leaders of Japan. Together, they strove to maintain good relations between their nations and avoid the outbreak of World War II. Much of Stan’s time is devoted to incorporating this novel and its illustrated website TheEmperorAndTheSpy.com into high school and college curriculum to enhance student appreciation and understanding of history and the art of diplomacy.
Stan has for many years been a member of the San Diego World Affairs Council, and through this fine organization he has met Ambassadors, Consul Generals, and other political, economic, academic, and military representatives from around the globe. He has also befriended many wonderful fellow SDWAC members and student interns.
Petya has years of experience working for the U.S. Government in Bulgaria – at the U.S. Peace Corps Office, with the U.S. Commercial Section at the U.S. Embassy in Sofia and in a key role at the American Chamber of Commerce. She moved to San Diego in 2016 and became actively involved in the local start-up community where she currently works in artificial intelligence.
Petya joined the San Diego World Affairs Council as a volunteer in February 2017 and was a key organizer of SDWAC events, programs and publications.
Petya graduated from Sofia University in Bulgaria with a Bachelor's Degree in Hospitality & Tourism, and a Master's Degree in Human Resources Management. She dedicates her free time to volunteering for Kiva and Startup San Diego. She loves to travel and learn about new cultures through their food and traditions.
Prior to retiring in 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Diego Field Office, Mr. Williams helped create and supervise three different Field Intelligence Groups, primarily focused on national security affairs and organized crime. While assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, he was instrumental in the creation of the multi-agency San Diego regional Law Enforcement Coordination Center. In 2006, he was part of the Joint Task Force – High-Value Individuals in Iraq focused on senior terrorists and insurgent leaders.
Prior to taking his position at the FBI, Mr. Williams was a Program Analyst on the staff of Commander Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California.
Before entering federal civil service, Mr. Williams was a Policy Analyst/Council Representative with the San Diego City Council working for three Council members, one of whom served as Deputy Mayor. He provided a full range of policy support and legislative/budgetary analysis at the time. Among his many policy areas were international and military affairs.
Mr. Williams received a Master’s degree in diplomatic history from San Diego State University, a Master of Public Administration in International Trade from George Washington University, and his undergraduate degree from American University, School of International Service.
Ryan Williams is a U.S. Senate staff member based in San Diego whose policy experience and educational background have focused heavily on the U.S.-Mexico border and immigration. He has traveled extensively in Latin America and the Middle East, and studied both regions during his undergraduate and graduate studies.
Ryan received his B.A. from UCLA and M.A. from the University of San Diego. He studied global migration issues and is currently conducting research into the push factors of emigration from the Central American nation of Honduras. Ryan grew up in California but attended an American school in Saudi Arabia during his high school years. He currently lives in La Mesa with his wife, Andrea, and two daughters, Savannah and Harper.
As a social engineer in the 80’s, he helped establish SHARE (Self Help and Resource Exchange) in San Diego, which grew to become one of North America’s largest private food distribution programs.
He founded the Global Energy Network Institute (GENI.org) in 1991, a non-profit research and educational institute designed to explore global solutions for peace and sustainable development. The GENI Initiative has earned the endorsement of seven Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, with Peter presenting the plan at seven World Energy Conferences.
To spur investment into green energy development, Peter co-founded the Global Climate 100 Index, designed for investors seeking climate change solutions. Index companies provided climate leadership in the areas of renewable energies, future fuels and clean/efficient technology.
In 2011, Peter expanded his sustainability work by launching the World Resources Simulation Center (WRSC.org) to visualize sustainable solutions to global and local problems so that society makes more informed choices quicker. In partnership with seven local international organizations, Peter helped to launch GlobalSanDiego.org. The website provides local resources for the global-minded, offering a compendium of all San Diego based international organizations and master calendar.
Peter attended UC San Diego, completing his B.S. in Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences in 1975. He was born and raised in Oceanside. Some of his professional memberships include: UCSD Alumni Association, the IEEE Power Engineering Society, World Affairs Council of San Diego, Union of Concerned Scientists, United Nations Association of San Diego and Global San Diego. He and his wife Ashley, who serves as VP of Onstage Playhouse, reside in San Diego and travel the world to experience all cultures.