Your journey as a Cultural Vistan doesn’t begin and end with your program — the Cultural Vistas Alumni Community encourages alumni from across our programs to build meaningful relationships by facilitating on-going opportunities for Cultural Vistas’ alumni to continue connecting, networking, and engaging across cultures, professions, and borders.
The impact of the Cultural Vistas Alumni Community speaks for itself— our network of more than 160,000 program alum are proven global changemakers, using the skills and insights gained through their program experiences to make a difference in their communities and beyond.
We look forward to getting to know you and the positive change your experience has brought to your life, your career, and your community!
Alumni Community Beliefs and Values
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Cultural Vistas Alumni Council
The Cultural Vistas Alumni Council is a leadership advisory committee made up of a dedicated group of Cultural Vistas’ program alumni who understand the importance of collaboration and innovation in building a dynamic and resilient global community equipped to tackle today’s most pressing challenges .
Edmund S. Muskie Professional Fellowship, 2018
UNDP: Gender Equality & LGBTQI+ Rights
Lela Akiashvili is a global development specialist with twelve years of work experience in public policy analysis, human rights protection, gender equality, gender in development, women and youth empowerment, post-conflict community outreach, and peacebuilding.
Ms. Akiashvili holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Tbilisi State University. She spent her junior year as a UGRAD exchange student at the University of Superior-Wisconsin (LLB).
Diara Andrews Giles
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, 1999-2000
Bank of America: SVP, Global Climate Risk
Diara develops strategy and provides operational support for global climate risk. She brings together her experience in law, strategy and project management to her work and is passionate about social issues.
Diara has a certificate in sustainability and climate risk from Global Association of Risk Professionals. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law, an LLM in Taxation and a Master of Law from the University of Miami School of Law.
Liudmila Batista, Co-Chair
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program, 2018-19
U.S. Department of Justice: Trial Attorney
Liudmila works with foreign partners on international criminal law matters. Previously, she spent a transformative year in Germany where she worked at the German Federal Foreign Office on humanitarian and human rights issues and at Transparency International’s global headquarters in Berlin. She is committed to expanding opportunities for young minority women in national security and international affairs and serves as a mentor with Cultural Vistas alumni network and the non-profit: En Voz Alta.
A native Spanish speaker, Liudmila holds Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville and a Master’s of Law in International and Comparative Law from The George Washington University Law School. She earned a B.S. in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville.
Alfa Fellowship Program, 2014-15
Oxfam: Senior Policy Advisor
Andrew is a human rights campaigner and policy advocate who supports nonprofits, coalitions, and communities fighting injustice. Andrew has defended activists and conducted human rights work in complex environments. He believes that solving some of our most pressing challenges, from climate change to shrinking civic space, requires a firm commitment to inclusive international dialogue, grounded in respect, equity, inclusion and diversity.
He holds an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University and a B.A. in History and Government from Claremont McKenna College.
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, 2013-14
Johns Hopkins University: MSN Candidate
Paul is leveraging his international experience and passion for health equity as a candidate for the Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Johns Hopkins University with anticipated completion in August 2022. He has extensive experience in sustainability management and environmental education as an ISA Certified Arborist.
Paul earned his M.Sc. in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen in Germany. He holds a B.A. in International Business from Ramapo College.
Dominick D. Kennerson
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, 2010-11
Bayer G4A: Global Head
Dominick brings healthcare expertise alongside experience across several sectors, including public health, health innovation and entrepreneurship, healthcare communications, and policy. He supports one of the industry’s leading platforms for digital health start-up partnership to put people at the center of managing their health in the digital age. Dominick holds a Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from South Carolina State University, and a Master’s degree in healthcare management from The George Washington University.
Mariana C. Martinez
Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange, 2016
Mi Familia Vota: Chief Operations Officer
Mariana joined the Hispanic policy organization Mi Familia Vota in spring of 2022. Previously, Mariana served with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute as well as for the Michigan Nonprofit Association as well as the office of Detroit City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López for four years as the Chief of Staff where she worked to advance community advocacy and inclusive policy. Thanks to her work within the office, Detroit ranked the 8th most welcoming city in the U.S. in 2020 by the New American Economy.
Mariana holds a Master’s degree in public administration/non- profit management from Oakland University and a B.A. in Psychology from Western Connecticut State University.
Dr. Earl Mowatt
Building a Diverse & Inclusive Culture of Remembrance, 2021
onePULSE Foundation: VP of Education
Dr. Mowatt participated virtually in an exchange among practitioners in remembrance culture and brings his knowledge and enthusiasm for developing a global dialogue to his work and the community which honors the victims of the onePULSE nightclub mass shooting. He develops programs that cover a broad range of social issues, including queer equality, gender identity, social exclusion, and race.
Dr. Mowatt has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Central Florida, a Masters of Liberal Studies from Rollins College, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications design from the Pratt Institute.
Eva Poppe Co-Chair
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, 2002-03
Zerolight: Chief Growth Officer
Eva Poppe has over a decade of global experience in leading sales with the technology industry. Her dedication and drive have been recognized throughout her career. On several occasions sheâ€™s been awarded for her outstanding performance, most recently in 2020, where she was winner of the â€œMCV/DEVELOP Women In Games Awardâ€ for Business. This background has enabled Eva to motivate and lead teams in a multicultural, diverse and virtual project environment. Eva holds a Master’s degree in Economics (MEcon) and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Leipzig. She also speaks fluent German, English and Spanish having lived in Spain, the Netherlands, the US and now settled in England.
U.K. Youth Issues, 2013
Play Verto, CEO
Michael has led a number of community-based engagement initiatives including launching Bite The Ballot, a UK initiative aimed at engaging youth in voting. He is social entrepreneur with 10+ years of co-creating initiatives that increase community engagement through collective impact. He brings this to his work at Play Verto where they are partnering around the world to demonstrate impact on the Sustainable Development Goals and empowering people at the community level. Michael has a degree in Business Management and Finance from the Southampton Institute. He has received numerous awards for his work and was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2014.
Angie Schmidt Whitney M.A.
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, 1999-2000
College of Saint Benedict and Saint Johnâ€™s University
Angie is a dedicated higher education professional with 20 years of experience in both large research-based and small liberal arts institutions. Her work spans a multitude of areas within higher education focused on increasing leadership capacities. Angie is committed to connecting all students to experiences and reflection and is passionate about the intersection of career and education abroad.Angie holds a Masterâ€™s of Art from the University of Minnesota’s Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology Program and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the College of Saint Benedict.
Ricardo Vanella, Co-Chair
International Visitor Leadership Program, 2010
Strategic International Consultant
Ricardo brings more than 30 years of expertise in advising global corporations, institutions, and NGOs on business development, marketing, communications, and international engagement. He is an experienced speaker, speechwriter, author, producer and presenter.
Ricardo has a degree in Law from the National University of Cordoba, obtained an MBA at Bocconi University in Milan, as well as specialized in International Business at The American University of Paris. He is a graduate of the Strategy and Defense Policy Program at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, National Defense University.
Lend your expertise
Whether itâ€™s taking part in mentorship opportunities, offering insights into your industry and lessons learned, or sharing strategies for career enhancement, other alumni can benefit from your experiences. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and get involved.
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Join our growing alumni network on LinkedIn or on Facebook where you can share updates, discover alumni opportunities and have access to exclusive alumni resources including job postings, funding or grants for alumni-related projects and activities, #ExchangeAlumni stories and more!