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Christine M. Sheckler

Board Member, President  

For over 30 years, Ms. Sheckler devoted her life to international development. During her 27 years with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as a Foreign Service Officer, she worked to increase the standard of living and/or help bring peace, security, and prosperity to people across the globe. Her work focused on democracy, good governance, economic development, counternarcotics, agriculture, health, and gender equity. She specialized in conflict-, fragile-, and transition countries, which included: Pakistan, Caucasus Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Belarus, Iraq, and Sierra Leone. As a Peace Corps Liberia volunteer, she lived in the remote bush for two years without electricity or running water. Her projects included building fishponds and teaching agriculture, general health, and community development. Following her Peace Corps tour, she spent four months crossing the Sahara Desert on her own.

Ms. Sheckler was a senior USAID advisor to nine Ambassadors. Additional responsibilities included: Sierra Leone, managing the USG response to the Ebola crisis; AID/Washington Office of Civilian-Military Cooperation Advisor, where she and her military counterpart received an award for their joint rescue effort to relocate the Yazidis from Mt. Sinjar to safety; Director of USAID/Cairo Office of Democracy and Governance during the Arab Spring; Senior Development Advisor to the senior military for two years as a member of the Provincial Reconstruction Team covering North West Baghdad and Abu Ghraib, Iraq, embedded with the US Army in the "red zone."  Iraqi insurgents attacked Ms. Sheckler's convoys twice.

Ms. Sheckler earned an MBA in International Business from the University of Oregon and a BA in Pre-med/Zoology/Entomology from the University of California, Berkeley. Originally from Mill Valley, California, she worked as a researcher at the California Academy of Sciences. As the daughter of a Department of the Army & WWII Battle of the Bulge veteran and a Vienna-born triplet mother, she and her sister spent much of their life growing up in Europe. Through the San Diego World Affairs Council, Ms. Sheckler's priorities include bringing unique international voices to the San Diego community via their first-hand stories and mentoring international affairs students and young professionals to encourage careers in international affairs.

 Catherine Greenberg

 Board Member, Vice President 

 Catherine Greenberg is a creative and experienced   nonprofit executive with a demonstrated ability to bring   diverse groups of people together to foster collaboration   and promote cross-cultural collaboration.  A graduate,   Magna Cum Laude, from Southern Methodist University   with a degree in International Studies, Catherine is the   idea architect and founder of U.S. based, nonprofit   global service learning and citizenship provider Bright   Light   Volunteers. She is an advocate for global education and believes that only through study, action, and building   authentic relationships with our global brothers and sisters can we combat hate and cultivate peace and   understanding in our interconnected world.

Manish Parikh

Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Finance Committee Chair 

Manish has extensive experience in management and finance, serving as CEO of Icon Systems for 16 years, until its sale to SAIC in 2008. Icon Systems was a leader in the design, development, and production of state-of-the-art laser based systems and products for military training and testing. Subsequently, Manish was a principal in Knosys Solutions, providing enterprise level media management system for new media platforms and President at La Jolla Country Day School. Manish has a masters degree in Computer Engineering and holds six patents in the field of live training systems.

Manish’s non-profit commitments include being a trustee at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and CFO at non-profits San Diego Indian American Society, Friends of Del Mesa and San Diego World Affairs Council.

Manish and his wife, Shital, have two children, son Rohil, 23, and daughter Ruhi, 19.

 Maria I. Sarchi

 Board Member, Secretary 

 Maria I. Sarchi was born and raised in Argentina.  In 2002, she moved to Whistler, Canada for a year to   immerse herself in a different culture and learn English. The experience was so rewarding that she decided   to   do it again and chose to move to the United States in 2004. Since then, San Diego, California is home   where   she built her family and professional career.

 Maria has been in the Human Resources field for the past decade and her work experience includes private   and public organizations such as Marriott International, Heinz Kraft, Hilton Worldwide, Port of San Diego,   Illumina, and Tarantino.

 Maria earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University where she served   as the President of the Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Student Advisory Board. Through the San Diego   World Affairs Council, her focus is raising awareness about international affairs with an emphasis in Latin   America.

Dennis-Michael "DM" Broussard

Board Member

Dennis-Michael Broussard is an event producer, consultant, entrepreneur, adventurer, and humanitarian. A tireless community servant, Dennis-Michael serves on the USS Midway’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the KPBS Producers Club Committee, the Philippine Honorary Consulate Board of Advisors, as well as on the board of the House of France and the Asian Culture and Media Alliance, among many others. In 2021, he was appointed to the City of San Diego's International Affairs Board.

Dennis-Michael is also known for his humanitarian efforts around the globe. In 2014, he founded The Humanitarian Project, an initiative with a mission to “help humanity” by planning and executing humanitarian projects benefiting impoverished and destitute people around the world. His projects have taken him to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, Nepal, and the Philippines.

An advocate of higher education, he earned his B.S. in Marketing from the University of New Orleans. Dennis-Michael then earned an International Master of Business Administration from the University of San Diego, as well as a Master of International Affairs from the Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego School.

  Knox Bell

  Board Member

 Knox Bell had a legal career as a business transaction lawyer for 53 years in San Diego, with the law firm of Gray Cary   Ames & Frye, later named DLA Piper, from 1968 to 2022.   He earned his law degree from UCLA Law School. Knox has   traveled in more than 100 different countries, learning about their cultures, histories, and current situations. Knox Bell is   also on the Advisory Board for the San Diego Diplomacy Council.

 Anchalee Gaffney

 Board Member 

 Anchalee was born and raised in Thailand. At the age of 15, she   moved to Washington, D.C. to   live with her   foster mother who was Chief of  Department,  Army Community Service at Walter Reed Army Hospital.   After   finishing   her   studies she   worked in the restaurant industry as a manager and event planner in   Washington,   D.C. area,   co-owning restaurant Gaffney’s Oyster & Ale  House in   Arlington VA., and Gaffney’s   Restaurant in   Bethesda,   MD. 

 Since relocating to San Diego, California, Anchalee has served as a Community Sponsorship Manager with   the International Rescue Committee,  providing the IRC with educational outreach, refugee resettlement   support,   information and referral program services. In addition, Anchalee has been a volunteer at the Alliance for   African   Assistance Thrift Store Store, Pug Rescue of San Diego County, and Feeding San Diego.   Anchalee speaks both English and Thai.

Michael Williams

Board Member

Michael Williams has had a long career in public service and public policy.  As a career Naval Intelligence Officer, Commander Williams operated at sea and ashore in the European, Indo-Pacific, and Middle Eastern areas of operation.  He served on the staffs of Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Commander Naval Forces Philippines and with special operations during the first Gulf War.

Following his Navy career, 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.

In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mr. Williams joined federal civil service and became a Program Analyst on the staff of Commander Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, California.  He subsequently took a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s San Diego Field Office. 

Prior to retiring from the FBI in 2013, 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 assisted 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.

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.  He has experience in international trade and threat analysis for corporations.

Gina Ing

Board Member

Gina Ing was born in Colombia and moved to North America in 1980 to pursue her academic goals and the American dream. She obtained her MBA from Boston University. Gina has worked as consultant writing business plans for companies interested in exploring foreign finding prospects for their products. She lived in Argentina as a Diplomatic wife and has helped organizing important social non profit events around different countries in Latin America.  She is the founder of a Spanish Tertulia and other programs and events promoting cultural protocol, multiculturalism, diversity and friendships around the world. She is an active volunteer for charity organizations such Airline Ambassadors, House of Charity, and Literacy programs for children in Bogota. Gina is an avid cook and gardener.

Sabodh Garg

Board Member

Chair, Nominations Committee

Dr. Sabodh K. Garg joined Geologica in January 2019. Prior to that, he was a Program Manager with Leidos, Inc. and predecessor companies from 1969 to 2018. He has been an active participant in geothermal R&D since the mid-1970’s and specializes in geothermal reservoir engineering, geophysical survey interpretation, resource assessment, and development planning.

For the past several years he has been engaged in providing advisory consulting services for purposes of geothermal resource assessment and capacity estimation for various project developers and financial investors. He has been a member of the Board of Editors of Geothermics (the industry technical journal) since 1998 and served as the journal’s Editor-in Chief from 2008 to 2010. Between 1990 and 1993 he served on the U.S. National Academy of Sciences panel on Coupled Processes at the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

He also served on DOE review panels for the Baca Geothermal Reservoir project (1980-1981) and the Hot Dry Rock project (1986). He is a member of the American Geophysical Union, Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Geothermal Resources Council (GRC). Dr. Garg is a recipient of the GRC Special Achievement Award (2001), the GRC Joseph W. Aidlin Award (2003), and the GRC Henry J. Ramey Jr. Award (2017).

Sabodh Garg is a board member of the San Diego Indian American Society (SDIAS) and San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC).

Bettina Hausmann

Board Member

Growing up in East Germany (former GDR), Bettina’s early adulthood was shaped by Cold War Era politics and living life behind the Iron Curtain. These personal experiences resulted in her strong sense of community and the understanding of the importance of collective memory, cultural conflict and peace. A frequent delegate to United Nations’ high-level plenary meetings and panels worldwide, Bettina attended the historic U.N. Conference, Rio+20, that gave birth to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She is a subject matter expert on the SDGs and deeply engaged in localizing the global goals to achieve truly transformative, inclusive, and sustainable development outcomes. Bettina is the President & Chairperson of the UNA-USA San Diego since 2012 and a member of the UNA for over 30 years. Her extensive work experience spans across sectors and industries in Renewable Energy, Bio-Tech, Defense and Space, Government and Management Consulting, and UN Agencies.

She has lived and worked throughout Europe, the Middle East and the United States. Ms. Hausmann earned university degrees in Political Science & International Relations. A polyglot, she lives with her partner in San Diego, California working for an international humanitarian organization. Bettina is actively engaged as a board member of numerous organizations that champion an understanding of global citizenship and social justice.

She is a Representative to the UN Economic & Social Council, Regional Representative with the UNA-USA National Council, Vice Chair of UNA-USA Global Engagement Summit 2021, Executive Committee Member of UNA-USA Southern California Division and Board Member of Pop Culture Hero Coalition.

Kiran Shelat

Board Member

Kiran Shelat is the Executive Director for Classics 4 Kids, a position she has held since 2016. Under Ms. Shelta’s leadership, Classics 4 Kids has made tremendous strides through increased grant funding, added staff positions, growth in programs, and increased community outreach and partnerships. Over the past ten years, Kiran has served in numerous leadership roles and brings a deep understanding of nonprofit management and philanthropy through positions at The American Red Cross, Jewish Family Services, Senior Services of Northern Kentucky and World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati. Kiran was a finalist for the 2016 Women Who Mean Business Awards and the 2020 Businesswomen of the Year from the San Diego Business Journal and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFPSD). In addition to her Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies from Northern Kentucky University, she has attained certificates in Nonprofit Management, Human Resource Management, and Leadership Development from University of the Pacific. She currently serves as a Board of Director for the San Diego World Affairs Council and their efforts to educate and engage San Diegans on global issues, foreign policy, and international relations.

Born in London, England Kiran Shelat moved to Louisville, Kentucky at a young age. She fell in love with non-profit organizations during university at an internship at The World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati. She quickly developed a deep passion and started her career in the non-profit sector which catapulted her career. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, experiencing different cultures, being a foodie, and spending time with family.

Paul Marttila

Board Member

Paul has enjoyed a long career in international business and economic development. Currently the VP of Global Business Development for the San Diego Association of REALTORS, Paul has held senior positions in both the public and private sectors. He served as Managing Director of European Operations for the State of Pennsylvania and Senior VP of Business Development for Enterprise Florida. Paul was a partner at Andersen LLP and BDO LLP and has worked for several European firms. 

To date, Paul has worked as an expatriate in three countries over 14 years and conducted business in 45 countries on five continents. He has consulted to many Fortune 500 firms and to governments in Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the UK. 

In 2022, Paul was appointed to the City of San Diego's International Affairs Board.  He is also a member of the Global Leaders and the International Executives Resources Group.  Paul earned his M.A. in International Affairs from the Patterson School of Diplomacy & International Commerce (UK) and his B.A. in economics and government from Franklin & Marshall College.  

Ambassador (ret.) Reno L. Harnish III 

Ambassador at Large

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.

Mary Agne

Board Member & President of the North County Chapter


Mailing Address

San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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