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Advisory Council

Francesco Bandarin

Francesco Bandarin is an architect and urban planner, specializing in urban conservation. He holds degrees in architecture (IUAV Venice) and city and regional planning (UC Berkeley) and has been professor of urban planning and urban conservation at the University of Venice from 1980 to 2016. From 2000 to 2010, he was director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and secretary of the World Heritage Convention. From 2010 to 2018, he served as assistant director-general for culture of UNESCO.

His recent publications include The Historic Urban Landscape: Managing Heritage in an Urban Century (2012) and Reconnecting the City: The Historic Urban Landscape Approach and the Future of Urban Heritage (2015), both co-authored with Ron van Oers and published by Wiley-Blackwell. A comprehensive book on the Historic Urban Landscape experience, Reshaping Urban Conservation, co-edited with Ana Pereira Roders, was published by Springer in 2019.

John Boochever

Following a thirty-year career in international management consulting, John O. Boochever is now a financial services industry leader at Eagle Hill Consulting LLC, a nationally recognized woman-owned boutique firm. He is also an advisor for I Dream Public Charter School, an innovative PK3-5 school in Southeast Washington, D.C. Previously, he was the founding partner and global head of Oliver Wyman’s Strategic IT & Operations practice and the European/Middle East head of Booz Allen Hamilton’s Information Systems Group.

Boochever has a deep commitment to nonprofit board leadership and volunteer work. He is a commissioner emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. At Cornell, he is an elected member of the Board of Trustees, the Cornell University Council, and the College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Council. He is a national board member of Higher Achievement, an award-winning after-school academic enrichment program, where he also served as a mentor.

Ginnie Cooper, Chair

Ginnie Cooper has been a librarian for many years. She retired from the District of Columbia Public Library where she served as chief librarian for eight years. Previously, she led libraries in five states, including in New York City as executive director of the Brooklyn Public Library. She believes in the power of public libraries to make a difference in the lives of individuals and to strengthen the communities they serve.

Since her retirement, she has continued to work in support of greater community understanding through board service at Poets House in New York City and Literary Arts in Portland, Oregon.

Gretchen Gonzales Davidson

Gretchen Gonzales Davidson is the chair for the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, the state’s lead agency charged with developing arts and culture policy and grant-making. She is an artist and arts advocate, pushing boundaries through her sound sculptures and musical collaborations in bands including Infinite River, Seedsmen to the World, and various projects over the decades. She serves on numerous boards including the National Council on the Arts, Cranbrook Academy of Art, BasBlue, MELA Foundation, Henry Ford Health Systems Foundation, and REBOOT. She and her husband, Ethan Daniel Davidson, reside in Birmingham, Michigan, with their three boys.

Thomas Downs

Thomas C. Downs is principal at Downs Government Affairs, LLC, in Washington, D.C. He is an attorney and consultant who works to develop legislation, shape new federal programs, and promote partnerships involving the federal government, colleges and universities, state and local governments, and other clients.

Before entering private law practice more than twenty years ago, he served as legislative aide and chief of staff in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Now, he also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of National History Day.

George Edwards

George E. Edwards is a retired professor of law at Indiana University. In 1997, he established the school’s International Human Rights Law program, which guides students toward work in private human rights organizations, governmental bodies, and the United Nations. Before joining the law school faculty, he lived for six years in Hong Kong, where he was associate director of University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Comparative and Public Law. As a Fulbright grantee, he traveled to Peru to teach an International Legal Transactions course at the Universidad de San Pedro.

At Harvard Law School, Edwards served as editor of the Harvard Law Review and associate editor of the Harvard International Law Journal.

Robert N. Johnson

Robert N. Johnson has built a career in the corporate and public service sectors for over three decades. He is the founder of ACommon1 Connectivity LLC, focusing on strategic small business and philanthropic initiatives. In 2015, he finished his twenty-five-year career in leadership at Kraft Foods as a customer vice president for sales. He gained experience in retail at the store level, general management, supply chain/logistics, strategic planning and client marketing, consumer insights, brand development, and client cultivation.

Johnson has served on the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center advisory board, the Smithsonian’s Campaign Steering Committee, the Indiana University Alumni Association board of managers, the Adelante Foundation, the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment advisory board, and the Sister City Committee San Francisco – Ho Chi Minh City board of directors. Johnson graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and geography. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Joe Kapp

Joe Kapp is the president and cofounder of the National Center for Resource Development, a national nonprofit that helps foundations, nonprofits, higher education, and other institutions achieve greater impact by developing resources to execute their missions more effectively. Through his work, he has helped numerous organizations grow from small entities that are merely surviving to multi-million-dollar organizations that are thriving.

Kapp started and sold his first business in college and has over ten years of experience working in the technology industry. He has also written extensively on resource development, entrepreneurship, and financial planning for a host of national media outlets. He holds a master’s degree in government administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida State University.

Heidi Kühn

Heidi Kühn is the founder and CEO of Roots of Peace, a humanitarian nonprofit organization that restores farmland, food security, livelihoods, and resilience after devastating conflicts. To date, the work of Roots of Peace has impacted over one million farmers and members of farming families in Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Guatemala, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Vietnam. For her service, she has earned multiple awards; she is the first American woman to win India’s Mahatma Gandhi Global Family Seva Medal.

Kühn is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in political economics, and she is a former CNN reporter and producer through her own company, NewsLink International. She has pursued a life of seeking peaceful solutions across all borders.

Dorothy McSweeny

Dorothy Pierce McSweeny is chair emerita of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a local and state arts agency pledged to strengthening arts education, supporting artistic excellence, and ensuring access to the arts for all. She is also former chair and board member of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

McSweeny was elected to the DC Hall of Fame in 2011 and received the Mayor’s Arts Award Lifetime Achievement in 2007. She has served as cultural delegate of D.C. to Senegal, Ghana, and South Africa. A Brown University graduate, McSweeny served as an officer in Vietnam, a writer for The Boston Globe, a presidential oral historian in the White House for Lyndon B. Johnson with the University of Texas, and special assistant to the Speaker of the House, John W. McCormack. She is an oral historian consultant and a licensed Eucharistic Minister of the Episcopal Church.

Selina Morales

Selina Morales is a public interest folklorist whose work focuses on urban folklife and the role of community aesthetics in social justice action. As director of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, she tended the mission and vision of the organization and collaborated on groundbreaking initiatives: Honoring Ancestors, an exhibition highlighting contributions of African and African American dancers and drummers; the Liberians Women’s Chorus for Change; Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer; and La Ofrenda: Beauty Made Visible, a project about home altars in Philadelphia’s undocumented Mexican community.

Morales holds an MA in folklore from Indiana University Bloomington and a BA in anthropology from Oberlin College. She is a faculty member at Goucher College’s Masters in Cultural Sustainability program, where she teaches courses on ethical and effective cultural partnerships and non-profit management. In 2017, she was honored as one of the Delaware Valley’s Most Influential Latinos.

Frederik Paulsen

As one of the few people to have stood on eight poles, Paulsen has a deep historical and scientific interest in polar exploration. His philanthropic interests are global, ranging from environmental projects in South Georgia to infertility treatments to address demographic issues in Russia, and from art and cultural support in Germany to the protection of heritage artwork in Bhutan. He is also the recipient of numerous national honors, including Officier de la Légion D’Honneur, granted by President François Hollande of France, and the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Paulsen is a member of the Salk Institute’s Board of Trustees and a President’s Club life member. He has established, through the Frederik Paulsen Foundation, the Dr. Frederik Paulsen Chair.

George Schell

George K. H. Schell is currently general counsel at The Presidio Trust. He previously worked for The Coca-Cola Company as chief marketing counsel and director of business affairs. Prior to his tenure at Coca-Cola, he was vice president and general counsel for the Oakland Athletics Baseball Company and chief of general litigation for the City of San Francisco. Schell began his legal practice as a litigation associate for Steinhart & Falconer in San Francisco after serving as a staff attorney for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1984.

Schell founded OfficeSeer LLC, a consulting company that provides speaking and management training services. He became chief operating officer for Beyond Law, a skills and success mindset training program for young lawyers. He was selected as one of the inaugural members of the California Minority Counsel Program’s Hall of Fame.

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