Meet the Vice President of Travel

Shoshana Altrichter

Vice President of Travel

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Shoshana has been with the travel department at the World Affairs Council for over fourteen years. Prior to joining the Council, she worked for the Jewish Federation in Philadelphia. Shoshana received her B.S. from Drexel University in Film & Video production with a minor in Political Science. She worked in the local film industry for a few years, before shifting her focus to the non-profit sector. Shoshana has traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East and has led many tours for the organization.

China, Tibet, and the Yangtze, May 9-24, 2020 led by:

Bill Clifford

Bill Clifford is President and CEO of the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, DC, where he leads WACA's national office and represents its nonpartisan nonprofit network of more than 90 World Affairs Councils across the United States. In March 2017, he was appointed nonresident senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He also serves on the editorial board of the SAIS Review. In spring 2019, Bill joined the Advisory Council of the Korea Economic Institute, a U.S. think tank. Before joining WACA six years ago, Bill was president of WorldBoston (2008-2013), a WACA member Council known for innovative programming, access to leaders, and a tradition of advancing public learning about critical international issues. Previously, Bill was a Tokyo-based journalist for more than a decade. He served as Asia bureau chief for the pioneering multimedia venture CBS MarketWatch, where he launched and directed news bureaus in Japan and Hong Kong. He broke into broadcast news with Asia Business News TV and was senior correspondent in Tokyo for CNBC Asia after its merger with ABN. Bill’s start in journalism came in graduate school and he reported on international business, finance, and politics for several newspapers. Bill holds an M.A. in Asia studies and international economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS, a B.A. summa cum laude in international relations and French literature from Tufts University, and a C.E.P. with distinction from Sciences Po in Paris.

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Barcelona: Art, Culture & People, April 18-26, 2020 led by:

Ambassador Heather Hodges

Ambassador Hodges joined the Foreign Service in 1980 and was assigned to Caracas, Venezuela. Following Caracas, she served in Guatemala and later in Washington as Peru Desk Officer. In 1989, she became Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Bilbao, Spain. In 1991, she returned to Washington to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Cuban Affairs. In 1993, Ms. Hodges was assigned to Managua, Nicaragua, as Deputy Chief of Mission. She served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Lima, Peru, from 1997 - 2000 and was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, from 2000 - 2003. Before she left Spain, the Spanish government awarded Ms. Hodges the Spanish decoration of “Isabel la Catolica – Encomienda de Numero” for her contributions to Spanish-U.S. relations. Ambassador Hodges is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She has a B.A. in Spanish from the College of St. Catherine, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and an M.A. from New York University. The Cleveland Council on World Affairs appointed Heather Hodges as President and Ambassador in Residence in November 2011.

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Eastern Cuba: Crossroads of Culture, History, and Politics, March 15 - 23, 2020 led by:

Ambassador Vicki Huddleston

Ambassador Vicki Huddleston was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense and led American diplomatic missions in Mali, Madagascar, Cuba, and Ethiopia. She was head of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba during the custody battle over little Elián Gonzalez in the spring of 2002. She is the only woman to have led our diplomatic mission in Cuba; she was also the lead foreign policy expert on Cuba in the early nineties at the State Department. As a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution she lead a bipartisan Cuba project that resulted in “Learning to Sala: New Steps in U.S. – Cuba Policy,” a blueprint that was largely followed by President Barack Obama when he engineered the opening to Cuba. She was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as a Congressional Fellow worked on the staff of former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

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Costa Rica, December 7 - 15, 2019 led by:

Ambassador G. Philip Hughes

G. Philip Hughes, currently a Senior Director of the White House Writers Group, has served in many senior foreign policy posts in the White House and Departments of State, Commerce and Defense and served as a former President of the World Affairs Councils of American. In addition to serving as Assistant Director for Intelligence Policy In the Office of the Secretary of Defense; Deputy National Security Affairs Advisor to Vice President George Bush; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs; and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, Ambassador Hughes served as Director for Latin American Affairs on the National Security Council staff for President Ronald Reagan. He later served as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council in the White House of President George H.W. Bush, helping plan and execute President Bush's Summit meeting in Cartagena, Colombia with the Presidents of Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru that led to stepped-up commitments for anti-narcotics cooperation and the enactment of the Andean Trade Preference Act. He was subsequently appointed Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, where he served from 1990-93.

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Egypt & the Eternal Nile, January 28 - February 11, 2020 led by:

Ambassador Mark Johnson

Ambassador Mark Johnson (ret.) completed 30 years as a career foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department serving as Ambassador to Senegal, Deputy Inspector General of the State Department, Deputy Chief of Mission in Kuwait, and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Cairo, Egypt. He was the first American diplomat to return to the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City after it was liberated during the Desert Storm military campaign. He also was involved with the Middle East peace process in Cairo and helped negotiate the release of the American diplomats during the Iranian hostage crisis from 1979-81. He has led several World Affairs Council trips.

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Journey through Britain, September 5 - 18, 2019 led by:

Dr. Jerry Leach

Dr. Leach earned a PhD and an MA from Cambridge University as well as an MA from Berkeley on Turkish affairs. His fascination with Turkey began as a Peace Corps Volunteer, serving with his wife Marianne there, in the 1960s. They both have been back to Turkey many times since then and he has led several tour groups there. In recent years, he served as a professor at the American University in Cairo 2006-2011 and as the National President of the World Affairs Councils of America 1996-2006. Within the US Government, he was Peace Corps Regional Director for Eastern Europe, Soviet Republics, Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific; NSC Director of International Economic Affairs; Deputy Director of State's Strategic Technology Affairs Office; and a consular officer at the US Embassy in London. In addition to AUC in Egypt, Dr. Leach has taught at Cambridge University, the University of Papua New Guinea, and Gazi University in Ankara. He speaks frequently within the world affairs council system and at universities. Jerry lectured on a cruise to Turkey, an Egypt tour, and a tour to Morocco.

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Danube River, October 12 – 24, 2019 led by:

Jacqueline Miller

Jacqueline Miller has led the World Affairs Council of Seattle since 2014. She also serves on the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Board; is a board member and chair of the membership committee of Global Ties U.S.; is a member of the Civic Council for UW’s Master of Arts in Applied International Studies (MAAIS) program; and serves on the Washington State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. Prior to joining the World Affairs Council, Jacqueline served as Director of External Relations at Independent Diplomat in New York, working with marginalized democratic political actors to help them navigate the United Nations, the EU, and other international diplomatic fora. She has been a commentator for various news sources including the New York Times, the BBC, CBC, and Voice of America.

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Trade Routes of Coastal Iberia, October 13 - 21, 2019 led by:

Derrick Olsen

Derrick Olsen is President of WorldOregon, and a former Foreign Service Officer. Derrick was the Vice President of Regional Strategy at the regional economic development nonprofit Greater Portland Inc (GPI) where he led the implementation of Greater Portland Global, the region’s Global Trade and Investment Plan developed as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint program of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. Previously, Derrick managed international trade and investment issues for over four years with Business Oregon (the Oregon Business Development Department). In 2013, Derrick participated in the U.S.-Spain Council Young Leaders Program. Derrick also has over 13 years of experience managing political and economic issues as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Latin America, Asia, and Washington, DC, with four overseas tours including as Chief of the U.S. Embassy’s Political Section in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Fluent in Spanish, he has a Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Dartmouth College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

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Along Central Asia's Silk Road, April 13 - 29, 2020 led by:

Norm Olsen

Norm Olsen is a former Senior United States Foreign Service Officer. He served for 26 years. His professional skills and experience include negotiations, contact work, team-building and management, economic development, USAID project monitoring, peacekeeping, and award-winning political, economic and security analysis, in both benign and hostile environments. He has served in Europe, Jamaica, the Marshall Islands, and the Middle East, where he served for nine years in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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Arctic Expedition, June 21 - July 1, 2019 led by:

Dr. Carla Thorson

Dr. Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President, Programs at World Affairs in Northern California, leads program design and management, including over 100 global policy forums each year, the global philanthropy forum and an education program for high school and college students. Prior to joining World Affairs, Dr. Thorson taught political science at UCLA and worked for the UCLA International Institute's Center for European and Eurasian Studies. As a consultant at the RAND Corporation and analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc. she focused on democratization processes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics, and while working at IREX, she helped establish one of the first US nonprofit offices in Moscow in 1989-90. Thorson got her PhD in political science at UCLA, an MLitt at the University of Oxford and a BA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a world traveler, Dr. Thorson enjoys sharing her experiences with World Affairs members and has led several Council tours, including Cuba, Russia and Central Asia. She has also lectured on cruises to the Baltics, Antarctica and Iceland, and most recently on our 2018 trip to South Africa.

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Berlin UnCovered, May 24-31, 2020 led by:

Dr. Pamela Zeiser

Dr. Pamela A. Zeiser is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno, and both a Masters degree in International Studies and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Zeiser teaches courses on International Relations and Europe, generally, with special interests in foreign policy and the European Union. Dr. Zeiser has lectured for previous World Affairs Council programs in Europe, including two previous programs in Germany and the Czech Republic, and has led student study abroad groups to Central Europe. She is a member of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, where she volunteers as liaison between the Council and the University of North Florida.

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