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.
Derrick Olsen is President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Prior to joining the Council on March 1, 2016, Derrick was the Vice President of Regional Strategy at the regional economic development nonprofit Greater Portland Inc (GPI) for almost four years. While there 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. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the World Affairs Council of Oregon during that time. Previously, Derrick managed international trade and investment issues for over four years with Business Oregon (the Oregon Business Development Department). 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, Derrick grew up in Oregon and graduated from Tigard High School. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Dartmouth College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He and his wife Rebecca are proud parents of their son James, a college sophomore, and their daughter Morgan, a high school junior.
E-mail: derrickworldoregon [dot] org
Marketing & Communications Director
Ila is passionate about the power of cross-cultural learning as a catalyst for social change. She is thrilled to help amplify the mission of World Affairs Council to engage Oregonians with the world as Marketing & Communications Director. Ila’s brand and communications work has helped grow nonprofits, social businesses, and corporations for the past decade. Ila’s background includes roles as Communications Director for global women’s media organization World Pulse; Sales & Marketing Director of a global women’s self-defense program; rapporteur for VitalVoices.org in India; English teacher in SE Asia and North America; and corporate trainer at Amazon.com. She earned an English B.A. from the University of Washington; and a TEFL certificate from the Master’s program at Seattle University. Ila is the founder of Half Sky Journeys—a relationship-focused travel organization, designed to connect women leaders and boost the impact of women-centric initiatives worldwide. Journey destinations have included countries such as Cambodia, Kenya, and Rwanda; work and study have led her to India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Uganda. She is a misheard-lyric aficionado, a procrasti-baker, and a fair-weather bike rider. She has called Portland home since 2001.
E-mail: ilaworldoregon [dot] org
Director of International Visitors and Training Programs
Amy Barss joined the Council's team in 1998 and currently serves as the Director of International Visitors and Training Programs; 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
Education and Evaluation Associate, Education and Youth Programs
Samara Chism-Winfield serves as the Education and Evaluation 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 One World 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
Jayne Conley is the Council's Finance Manager. She has been working as a Full-Cycle Accountant including Financial Management for over 25 years, the latter 12 years with non-profits most recently at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), Oregon Episcopal School (OES) and the Oregon Primary Care Association (OPCA). She attended the University of Oregon and graduated from Western Business College with honors in Business Administration. She is working 20 hours per week at the Council and still works at OCOM as the Director of Accounting. She is married with two teenage children.
E-mail: jayneworldoregon [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
Global Classroom K-6 Manager, Education and Youth Programs
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 University, 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 one of the centerpieces of the Council’s Youth and Education Programs. Karen and volunteers carefully tend and lend a 130-box collection of Culture Boxes representing more than 100 countries of the world. After joining the Council in 2002, Karen helped run the WorldQuest Global Knowledge Competition for High Schools (2003-2013) and the annual Teach the World Educator Conference and Youth Forum Series. 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
Program Officer, International Visitor Program
Alli Magee is a Program Officer in the International Visitor Program. She was born and raised in the Portland area and is passionate about local and global cultures alike. Her interest in working with cultural exchange programs stems from her college study abroad experience in Quito, Ecuador, which has led to many subsequent travels and intercultural projects. She graduated in 2007 with a B.A. in Spanish from Willamette University and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Intercultural Relations through the University of the Pacific.
E-mail: alliworldoregon [dot] org
Director of Education and Youth Programs
Andrew Neal oversees the Council's Youth and Education Programs serving students and teachers from Oregon and around the world. 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. During his time at the Council he has helped launch several programs for high school students including Young Leaders in Action, the No Boundaries Study Abroad and Travel Fair, and youth leadership exchanges with over 40 different countries.
E-mail: andrewworldoregon [dot] org
Program and Administrative Coordinator, International Visitor Program
Anna Schneider is a native Oregonian raised in Ambler, Pennsylvania. She joined the Council as a volunteer in late 2015 and is excited to provide support to the International Visitor Program. She graduated with a BA in International Affairs from Gettysburg College before living in Sendai City, Japan for two years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. In her free time she loves to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
E-mail: annaworldoregon [dot] org