The World Affairs Council of Oregon’s most valuable asset is its staff. It is the dedicated service and professionalism of our staff that enables the Council to fulfill its mission. Without exception, all Council staff members have enjoyed a lifetime of contact with people from around the globe and have either studied, traveled extensively, or lived abroad. In addition, each quarter the Council doubles its workforce with a number of talented interns and volunteers. These volunteers hail from colleges and universities throughout Oregon as well as across the U.S. and abroad and receive valuable work experience while providing an invaluable service to our staff and mission.
President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon
Maria Wulff is President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Prior to joining the World Affairs Council, Maria worked for over 20 years in international business as Managing Director of an import company based in the Philippines which produced goods in four Asian countries for worldwide distribution; international trade consultant; Director of Business Assistance at the International Trade Institute; and founder of an import company specializing in Central Asian artifacts. She has lived in Morocco, the former Yugoslavia, and England and has traveled extensively in over 60 other countries. Maria serves on a number of civic boards, including the national board of the World Affairs Councils of America, and was founder and president of the East West Business Association. She holds a BA and an MS in History and Social Science/International Relations from Portland State University, a Certificate in Central European Studies from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, as well as a graduate degree in Business from Harvard University.
E-mail: mariaworldoregon [dot] org
Director, International Visitors and Training Programs
Amy Barss joined the Council's team in 1998 and currently serves as the Director of the International Visitor Program; a program that reflects her passions in life. With cousins of Ecuadorian descent, her interest in other cultures was spurred at a young age. While earning her BA from Linfield College she pursued her interest in other cultures by working in the International Programs Office, minoring in Spanish, studying a semester in Costa Rica through the support of the National Security Education Program scholarship, and a January Term in England through a Linfield Presidential Passport. In 2008 she further pursued her interest in Latin cultures when she was selected to participate in the U.S. Spain Council Young Leaders Program. Outside of her time at the Council, Amy loves spending quality time with friends and family, and breathing in as much arts, culture and time in the outdoors as she can.
E-mail: amyworldoregon [dot] org
Director of Programs
Tim DuRoche joined the Council as Director of Programs in May 2010. Prior to that, Tim was the Community Programs Manager for Portland Center Stage, where he developed innovative engagement strategies, public programs and community partnerships connecting sustainability, civic engagement, historic preservation and the arts. Since moving to Portland in 2000, he's worked for Northwest Film Center, City Club of Portland and as a freelance journalist—writing regularly about the arts, planning, urban history, and cultural policy for Oregon Humanities, Willamette Week, Portland Spaces, The Oregonian and Metroscape, among others. Very active in the region around nonprofit, cultural equity, arts and education issues, DuRoche is on the board of the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, Oregon Creative Industries, and Coalition for Livable Future, a member of the State Commission on Civic Engagement, Oregon Nikkei Endowment's Program Committee, the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, Right Brain Initiative's Governing committee and chair of Advocacy. He's a frequent public speaker and moderator for cultural organizations including Wordstock, Portland Center for Public Humanities, the Multnomah County Library, Pacific NW College of Art, Portland Jazz Festival, University of Oregon Arts and Administration Program, and Portland Business Alliance, among others. Throughout the '90s he lived in Minneapolis where he was a curator in the performing arts department of the Walker Art Center, an internationally-focused contemporary arts institution. Tim is also a jazz musician, artist and radio host in what passes for his spare time.
E-mail: timdworldoregon [dot] org
K-12 Education Director
Karen Ettinger Originally from Syracuse, New York, Karen grew up as one of 4 daughters of an activist Episcopal priest and his wife who had committed their lives to the civil and human rights of all. This unique and inclusive environment was a powerful influence leading to Karen’s own dedication to the global and multicultural education of children from the earliest age. Karen is a graduate of Syracuse University and San Francisco State, where she received her Elementary Teaching Credential. Karen taught in San Francisco’s inner city until moving with her husband and children to Portland. In 1987 Karen founded the award winning Global & Multicultural Resource Center, now the centerpiece of the Council’s K-12 Education Program. Here Karen carefully tends and loans a 130 box collection of Culture Boxes representing over 100 countries of the world. Since joining the Council in 2002, Karen has also developed the popular WorldQuest Global Knowledge Competition for High Schools, now in its ninth year and the Teach the World Educator Conference and Youth Forum Series, Teach Africa, the Middle East and East Asia having been accomplished so far. Karen is the recipient of the World Arts Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award and the United Nations Association – Oregon Division’s Outstanding Service Award.
Email: Karenworldoregon [dot] org
Administrative Assistant and Membership Manager
Beth Fitch serves as the Administrative Assistant and Membership Manager for the World Affairs Council. Prior to joining the Council, Beth worked in the Asia Division of the International Republican Institute in Washington, DC, where she managed programs to promote civil society and democratic development in Burma, Cambodia and Indonesia. She also interned at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Beth’s interest in international affairs grew from her time at the University of Kansas, where she received a BA in sociology and in anthropology and had the opportunity to study in Italy, France and Turkey. After graduation, Beth taught English in Costa Rica before returning to the US to earn her MA in social justice and human rights from Arizona State University.
E-mail: bethworldoregon [dot] org
Samara Hoyer-Winfield serves as the Research Associate at the World Affairs Council of Oregon. She directed the Global Classroom program at One-to-World, a US State Department-designated organization that aims to enrich the experience of Fulbright scholars and students visiting the US from abroad in New York City. She received her M.A. in Intercultural Relations and Creative Arts and Learning at Lesley University and her Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin. Samara worked at Lesley University for the Program Evaluation Research Group as a Program Associate evaluating a range of education programs. Prior to Lesley University, she worked as a Communications Manager at NetAid, a nonprofit organization founded by the United Nations Development Program that promoted international development and girls’ education. Samara enjoys developing and conducting cross-cultural collaborative projects in the US, West Africa, South America and Asia. Over the past seven years, she directed Photo Exchangers and OneWorld Classroom’s Global Snapshot exchange projects, connecting youth in Boston and Ghana through multimedia and technology. Samara is currently working on an ethnographic project called Common Stream Stories, a cultural exploration of people and their relationship to water.
E-mail: samaraworldoregon [dot] org
Vice President, Administration and Development
Shelby Kardas has been with the Council since 2006. Shelby earned a BA in Political Science and French at Portland State University in 1996 and completed her MBA at Thunderbird, School of Global Management in 2001. After hosting an exchange student in high school, Shelby was inspired to backpack throughout Europe during the summer of 1990. These travels set her on a path to study and learn about international engagement. Shelby spent over 5 years living and working in five different cities in France. After returning to the U.S., she worked in the development office at a local non-profit in Portland. Coming to the World Affairs Council of Oregon in 2006, she was able to combine her two passions for international affairs with fundraising and development work. Shelby speaks French fluently and maintains close ties to her adopted country France. Shelby is married and has two children who are also learning the French language.
E-mail: shelbyworldoregon [dot] org
Manager of International Youth Programs, International Visitor Program
Andrew Neal works with the various visitor programs at the World Affairs Council including youth leadership exchanges, the International Visitor Leadership Program, and Community Connections. Andrew first became interested in foreign cultures and international affairs while living in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean as a child. He has since had the chance to work and volunteer in Mexico, Jamaica, and Central America. Andrew graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2007 with a degree in International Political Economy, focusing on community development in Latin America and the Caribbean. After returning to Portland in 2008 he began volunteering with the Council, joining the staff in 2010.
E-mail: andrewworldoregon [dot] org
Program Officer, International Visitor Program
Lauren Potter first became involved with the Council in 2010 when she served as an intern in the International Visitor Program. After several months of interning, Lauren returned to her alma mater, Washington State University, to earn a master’s degree in Foreign Languages and Cultures, focusing on Spanish literature and film. In addition, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Global Studies. Lauren developed a passion for international exchange and global issues through her study abroad experiences in Spain and Costa Rica. In 2012 she was nominated and invited to participate in the National Council for International Visitors' Emerging Leaders Program where she learned about the important role citizen diplomacy plays in our country’s foreign relations. Most recently Lauren worked as a translator and bilingual legal assistant at an immigration law firm in Seattle, helping immigrants along the path to residency and citizenship. Lauren is thrilled to be back at the Council coordinating meaningful exchanges for international professionals visiting Portland.
E-mail: laurenworldoregon [dot] org
Program Officer, International Visitor Program
Sydney Stead serves as a Program Coordinator in the International Visitor Program. Her interest in global issues was piqued at a young age while she spent seven years growing up abroad in Singapore and France. More recently, she lived in Morocco for several months, studying multiculturalism, human rights, and elementary Arabic. Sydney graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2013 with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology and a minor in Political Economy. She joined the Council shortly after, serving as the Membership and Nonprofit Management intern for seven months, followed by two months as the Special Assistant for the International Speaker Series, before transitioning into her current role.
E-mail: sydneyworldoregon [dot] org
Fiona Tait is the Council's Finance Manager. While earning her BA in Accountancy & Finance in Edinburgh, Scotland Fiona had the opportunity to spend her summers backpacking through Europe and India, introducing her to the variety and challenges life offers. Upon qualification as a Chartered Accountant in 1997 in Scotland she was offered a 6 month secondment to the San Francisco office of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) with the Forensic Accounting Group. She remained with PwC in San Francisco, Seattle and Portland until early 2002, earning invaluable experience in investigations, litigation support and bankruptcy work. Desiring a new career path Fiona volunteered in the finance departments of various Portland area non-profits in 2002 and 2003, then took some time out to raise her daughter before joining the Council in 2008.
E-mail: fionaworldoregon [dot] org