Board of Directors      Advisory Board Members       

ACIR's leadership team is made of up former military personnel, leaders,

academicians and business professionals, all with a keen interest in international affairs.

Board of directors

More About Bob

A former senior government official, Bob is president/CEO of ACIR. He served more than 20 years as Professor of International Affairs at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia and was elected professor emeritus upon retirement. His prior positions include serving as director of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Deputy Commandant, NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy; Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of National Security Studies, U.S. Army War College; Senior Researcher at the U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute; Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; an enlisted man in the U.S. Army; and command pilot on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and later with the reserve forces. Bob was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru, holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Georgetown University and a B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy, is recipient of the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Doctorate Honoris Cause from the Bulgarian National Defense College, and the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He has been elected a permanent member of the Academy of Security, Defense, and Law Enforcement, Russian Federation with the title of Professor. For his efforts in helping Romania meet the requirements for NATO membership, the President of Romania awarded him the title of Commander. He has lectured and published widely. His latest book is The Road to War: Congress’ Historic Abdication of Responsibility.

More About Colin

Colin Brady is a community leader and former businessman. During his corporate career, Colin was an executive with PPG Industries, a division president and corporate officer of Philip’s Industries (NYSE), and CEO of the America’s of Portals Holdings, PLC. At the time, he was the only American to have been elected to a UK board of Portals Holdings since that company’s founding in 1712. Colin is one of the few Americans knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Colin is a community leader, who has served with the British American Business Council, the Georgia Council for International Visitors, the Atlanta College of Art/Woodruff Arts Center (now merged with SCAD), the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities. He was also a judge for the annual National Business Plan Competition among Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He currently is board director for the National Monuments Foundations. He joined the ACIR Board of Directors in 2020.

More About Cynthia

Cynthia Rennolds has extensive past experience within the corporate world in leadership positions overseeing product development, marketing and sales efforts for Fortune 500 companies. She is also a researcher, writer and editor on technical, business and policy topics. She holds an M.S. in International Business from Georgia State University and a B.S. in Industrial Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. She has taken post-graduate courses on China and Russia. Her interests include International Relations, International Business, Startups, Technology, Angel Investing and Ukraine and Russia. In addition to serving with ACIR, she is a past member of the Georgia Council of International Visitors and was a volunteer for the non-profit Razom for Ukraine. She assisted in editing the Ukrainian Briefing Book prepared for Congress by Razom. Cynthia was one of the original Angel Investors for 4City Restaurant in Odessa, Ukraine which was built on a model of utilizing all profits to give back to the city of Odessa by creating projects for civic good. Cynthia is a beginner speaker of Russian and continues to study the language. Cynthia is ACIR’s Corporate Secretary and Director of Special Projects, managing organizational projects related to increasing the effectiveness of the organization.

More About Tony

Tony Cuzzucoli, a New Englander, was born in Sharon, Connecticut. He is a former civic leader who, while a Long Island resident for 40 years, engaged with local, state, and federal governments on behalf of local residents, fighting for improved education, groundwater flood relief, and other community issues. He was also a political consultant for several county and state contests. He served on key Long Island committees, such as the 208 Ground Water Advisory Committee for the protection of the Sole Source Aquifer that serves Long Island’s three million residents. He is a veteran and taught Government and American History for three and a half decades. In his decades as a teacher, he brought prominent guests to the classroom in addition to establishing a successful internship program for state and federal officeholders. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Government from Wagner College, 1961, and a Masters in American History and Foreign Affairs from Adelphi University, 1970. An ACIR member for well over a decade, he has been on the ACIR’s Board of Directors since 2016.

More About Shilpi

Shilpi Sukdev Ganguly is an accomplished technology leader with 20+ years of progressively responsible and diversified experience in information technology. Currently, she is the Director of Information Security in the Cybersecurity Office of Warner Media, LLC (formerly known as Warner Communications, AOL Time Warner and Time Warner; and now owned by AT&T). She is a graduate of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) of India, one of India’s premiere universities. She earned a BS in Physics and MS in Computer Science from SPPU, and graduated both with a First Class Distinction. After moving to Atlanta in 2004, she joined the Goizueta Business School, Emory University to pursue her MBA. Shilpi became a board member of ACIR in September of 2020.

More About Mark

Mark Pierson is an international business development executive and heads up ACIR’s consular breakfast program. Mark holds an M.A. in International Economic Affairs from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky, and is President of the Greater Atlanta University of Kentucky Alumni Club. His extensive international experience includes six months as a college student in India, as a volunteer in Kenya, extensive travel to China and Europe, and two years living in Bangkok and Hong Kong. Mark has been active in numerous Georgia organizations and is past-president of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on its corporate advisory board. He was publisher of the German Chamber’s magazine from 1996-2003 and was the City of Berlin’s U.S. Business Liaison from 2010-2011. He helped establish the GlobalFax News Service in 1993 which is now GlobalAtlanta, a strategic partner of ACIR. He was a member of the Braves Inaugural Fan Advisory Council and has been a season ticket holder since 1993. Mark arranged for three Consuls General of Japan and the Consuls General of Korea and Germany to throw out the first pitch at Braves games over the past 15 years. Mark also taught Math and English for the Navy High School Functional Skills Program on five deployed ships, including the aircraft carrier USS Independence during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

More About Bob

Robert (Bob) Hipps is a retired finance executive with broad domestic and international experience in all aspects of the financial world including restructuring, acquisitions and shareholder relations. Following graduation from Yale and with an MBA from Stanford, he began his career with Price Waterhouse in New York City before entering the worlds of venture capital and Wall Street. He has retired as a partner and board member of Tatum Partners, a professional services provider of financial and information technology. In between, he thoroughly enjoyed multi-billion dollar diversified international industrial products companies U.S. Industries, Neptune International Corp., General Signal Corporation, and National Service Industries. He has also been very involved in the Atlanta community, serving on the Executive Committee and as Treasurer of the Atlanta College of Art, the Finance Committee of the Woodruff Arts Center and on the Investment Committee of the Atlanta Community Foundation. He has been an ACIR board member since 2012.

More About Galina

Galina Alexeenko is a Managing Director and Senior Economist at CoStar Group, a leading provider of commercial real estate information and online marketplaces. Her major responsibilities include staffing, content production, and content quality of the CoStar Market Analytics product offering. She also conducts advanced analysis of current economic developments by reviewing economic data from regional and national sources and provides assessment of their possible implications for the commercial real estate industry. Galina was previously a Regional Economic Information Network Director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She was responsible for gathering and analyzing economic intelligence from information networks of industry executives, civic and business leaders, and academics. She also held positions of an executive communications liaison and an international economic analyst. Before joining the Atlanta Fed, she worked as an investment associate at Merrill Lynch’s Global Private Client Division. Galina is originally from Ukraine, and holds a B.A. in economics and business from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta and an Executive MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

More About Sherry

Sherry is a senior marketing communications professional with 20+ years’ experience developing and executing strategy for corporations and nonprofit organizations. Her career has spanned three continents as: a respected business journalist for The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Economist Group reporting on the historic economic transition in Central Europe; a senior-level marketing communications professional covering 20 countries for the global consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers; a passionate advocate for women and children in nonprofit organizations. She helped direct an AIDS orphanage in Brazil. She is a graduate of Mercer University, holds an MA in English literature from Georgia State University and is certified by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK. She spent 25 years abroad in South America and Europe, most of that in Brazil and Hungary. Sherry is multi-lingual, adept at building consensus in complex organizations, and enjoys mentoring.

More About John

John serves as Honorary Consul General and Foreign Economic Counselor of Hungary. He focuses primarily on cultivating business, educational and cultural ties between Hungary, on the one hand; and companies, institutions and individuals in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. John is also an attorney in the international practice group at Hall Booth Smith, P.C.; and he is Adjunct Professor at Emory Law School and the Scheller College of Business at GA Tech. His law practice focuses on international business and related commercial transactions; international compliance; export/import; international aviation; sustainable airport area development; and governmental affairs. He was an international attorney in Delta Air Lines’ Law Department from 1993-2008. Before Delta, he served as Judge Advocate General (“JAG”) Army officer in a variety of international law assignments. He holds leadership roles in numerous civic and charitable organizations, including past President and current Board Member of the World Trade Center Atlanta, and current Secretary of the Atlanta Consular Corps Board. John also holds a Board position on Arts Clayton. He holds B.A. (European History), M.A. (Diplomatic History) and JD (Law) degrees from Emory University; an M.A. (International Relations) from Boston University; and an LL.M (International and Comparative Law) from the George Washington University.

More About Joshua

Joshua is a Digital Marketer and Project Management Professional (PMP®) who has worked with corporations such as Equifax and Intercontinental Hotels Group. He also worked as a Marketing and Business Development Manager for a law firm in São Paulo, Brazil. Joshua is an international enthusiast and fluent in several languages, including Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and French. He is a graduate of Pepperdine University, studied sports administration in Brazil, and studied languages in France, Russia and Argentina. He has lived in Atlanta for 15 years and is passionate about the city and the way the local citizenry can give back and serve fellow residents.

More About Almaz

Almaz Semere has a background in management, development, budgeting, and human resources. She is an adjunct professor of African Politics at Bay Atlantic University (BAU) in Washington, D.C. She is also no stranger to non-profit organizations as she has worked and volunteered with many organizations throughout her career. She sees her role with the ACIR as part of a larger role to make a difference in the lives of those affected by injustice. “I have always held a high-esteem for non-profit organizations as I was an eyewitness to the effect they served in the communities of the villages I grew up in in Africa,” says Ms. Semere. .

More About Coryn

Coryn serves as the Registrar for ACIR. In addition, she is the Director of Partnerships for the Global Leadership League and a Research Associate on the CASSIE project - funded by the U.S. Department of Education and in partnership with the Institute of International Education. She holds two B.A.’s from Penn State University (Honors in Sociology and Women’s Studies) and an M.A. in Human Geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her master’s thesis focused on the everyday experiences of married international graduate students (and their spouses!) and ignited her passion for International Education. She worked in International Student and Scholar Services at Northwestern University for 5 years. Then, living in London for 4 years, she worked in Education Abroad at SOAS and Goldsmiths (University of London) and then at the University System of Georgia in Atlanta. Coryn studied abroad in the UK and Brazil, participated in professional staff exchange programs in Germany, Norway, and Croatia and received an International Education Administrator Fulbright to Japan in 2019. She speaks Brazilian Portuguese, loves to dance, and is always on the hunt for the next travel adventure!

Advisor to the President and Board of Directors

Steve Bergey

President Emeritus

Charlie Bedford


More About Charlie

Advisory board members

Dr. Dan Papp

Chair, ACIR Advisory Board

Retired President

Kennesaw State University

Chris Davala



Dr. Howard Hensel

Professor of Politico-Military Affairs

Department of Strategy

U.S. Air War College

Swati V. Kulkarni, M.D.

Consul General of India

Craig Lesser


The Pendleton Group

Dr. Jennie Lincoln

Director, Latin America and Caribbean Program

The Carter Center

John Loud


LOUD Security Systems

Dr. Edward Mienie

Executive Director, Strategic Studies and Partnerships

University of North Georgia

Dr. Jorge Perez

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success

University of Tennessee System

Norman Radow

Chief Executive Officer

The RADCO Companies

Gail K. Ripans


Senior University of Greater Atlanta

Nadia Theodore

Consul General of Canada

Chris Young

Senior Manager, Public Sector Consulting