JAMES N. FALK
President & CEO
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Since August 2001, Jim Falk has been president and CEO of the nonprofit, non-partisan World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, which strives to create a more informed citizenry on matters of national and international significance and supports the region’s international trade and economic growth.
Jim earned a BA degree in Political Science from Washington and Lee University and his MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in international law and organization and Middle Eastern studies. He has a French Baccalaureate from the Academy of Grenoble in France. He served as Director/Southern Region of the Institute of International Education in Houston, as director of education and media outreach at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., and worked for ten years as an energy banker at First City in Houston.
Jim was appointed Honorary Consul of Morocco for Texas on April 4, 2013. He has led World Affairs Council trips to Tunisia, Morocco and Europe. He is a national board member of the World Affairs Councils of America and is currently on the board of the North Texas Commission and the Asia Society of Texas. Jim is also adjunct professor of international relations at the University of North Texas.
Jim is the moderator of the Council’s webcast “Global I.Q. Minute with Jim Falk.” His commentaries have appeared on the editorial page of The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and on KERA 90.1 FM. Jim and his wife Terrell have two adult children and two grandchildren.
BETH SABO HUDDLESTON
Executive Vice President, Chief of Protocol
Beth Huddleston is the executive vice president of the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. She serves as chief of protocol for the City of Dallas through a partnership program between the City and the Council. She supervises the Council’s International Visitors Program, the International Education Initiative and Dallas Sister Cities.
Prior to assuming this position, Beth was the founding director of the International Small Business Development Center, an international trade assistance program of the Dallas County Community Colleges which served 49 counties of northeast Texas. Under her leadership, this organization was awarded the prestigious President’s “E’ Award for Excellence in Export Service.
Beth was recently elected to the board of the National Council for International Visitors, a national network of program agencies and 95 community-based organizations that offer professional programs, cultural activities and home hospitality to international leaders hosted by the US Department of State.
Beth is an active member of numerous organizations in the region and she is a past chair of the North Texas District Export Council, a position appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. Through this affiliation, she has been involved in an on-going effort to internationalize the education standards in our Texas public school system. She is on the board of the Friends of the Katy Trail and serves as co-chair for the Better & Best Friends Committee. She is also an active member of Protocol and Diplomacy International Protocol Officers Association where she receives yearly international training in the art of protocol.
Beth earned a B.A. in Spanish and English Literature from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. She speaks Spanish and has a working knowledge of French and German.
Ms. Huddleston is a native of Dallas. She has a daughter, Audrey, who attends SMU, and two sons, Rex and Riker, who attend Texas Tech and the University of Arkansas, respectively.
President of Finance
Hassan Tahat joined the World Affairs Council in April 2002 as an accountant. Today he manages the accounting department, budget preparation and audit functions; provides documentation and analysis to the chief executive officer, audit committee, finance committee and board of directors for financial decision making. Mr. Tahat, a native of Amman, Jordan, holds master's of business administration with a focus in international finance from the University of Dallas. He is a lifetime member of Sigma Iota Epsilon, the national honorary and professional management fraternity.
Executive Director, Int'l Education Program
Jennifer Bowden joined the Council in July of 2007 from the Lewisville ISD, where she was a World Cultures teacher. She has traveled extensively, led teacher workshops, mentored student teachers, worked on a district curriculum alignment team, written several teaching articles, and directed numerous student programs impacting more than 100,000 students. In 2001, she was awarded a month long study in Japan through a Fulbright Memorial Fund Fellowship and from 2002-2004, she was an area representative for the Center for Cultural Interchange’s area exchange students. In 2002 she led a group of students overseas with People to People and in 2009 she was awarded the Outstanding Support for Geography Education Award by the National Council for Geographic Education. She received her degree cum laude from the University of North Texas after studying in Melbourne, Australia, and a Masters in Global Studies in Education through the University of Illinois. Along with WAC partner organizations, HEB ISD and Richland College, she led 17 DFW educators to India in 2011 as the community outreach coordinator on a Fulbright Hays GPA grant.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Gail joined the World Affairs Council Dallas/Fort Worth in June 2015 as Director of Marketing and Communications.
A recent transplant to Dallas, Gail is a marketing and digital media professional with over nine years experience creating strategic marketing solutions and managing, developing and executing the creation of new marketing platforms. Prior to joining the Council, Gail worked in a variety of marketing roles in New York City, most recently in the Marketing Department at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She obtained two BA degrees from the Pennsylvania State University in Art History and Journalism and holds a MA from New York University in Visual Art Administration.
An avid art enthusiast, Gail loves visual art and cultural experiences as well as traveling and learning about new cultures and areas of the world.
Administrative & Program Associate
Casey Haskins joined the Council July of 2013. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with Majors in Russian Language, Russian Eastern European Eurasian Studies and History. She studied abroad in Moscow as an undergraduate and continues her study of the Russian language today.
Casey moved to Dallas in 2011, where she attended Southern Methodist University and obtained a Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution and Mediation. She now uses her skills assisting the President of Finance at the WAC and the Vice President of Development.
Casey divides her spare time traveling in Europe and caring for her adopted rescue dog, Olivia D’ Havilland. Casey’s hobbies include singing Broadway tunes, coordinating events for Paws in the City, and crochet.
Alana M. Buenrostro
Program Manager and Meridian: Young Professionals Coordinator
South Texas native Alana Buenrostro joined the Council in June 2014. She previously served as director of Membership for the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where she developed and implemented strategies for recruiting and retaining small business and corporate members, promoted business development, and managed seminars, networkers and events. During her undergraduate studies, Alana completed a public affairs internship at Ross Communications in Austin in 2011 and served as a Commercial Service México Student Intern for the U.S. Department of Commerce at the U.S. Embassy in México City, México in 2010. She graduated from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies in 2011. Her love for travel also led her abroad to study at Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires and in 2008 at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato, México. As a Dean’s List student at Southwestern, she was president of the University Programming Council and a member of the Intercollegiate Track & Field and Cross Country teams. She enjoys music, reading and learning about different cultures.
Membership & Development Associate
Kate graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Southwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Spanish. She spent her junior year of college abroad, splitting her time between Granada, Spain, and London, where she interned for the US-UK Fulbright Commission. Thus far, she has visited 16 countries, and hopes to continue her travels.
A native North Texan and Lewisville High School graduate, Kate joined the Council in 2015, following her internship with the Development department. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, reading, and volunteering with college readiness and ESL programs.
International Visitor & Student Program Coordinator
Jameson Hall, International Visitor & Student Program Coordinator, joined the Council in 2013 following his internship here. He works within the International Visitor Program and International Education Program departments. He coordinates our Internship Program. He graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in 2012. He studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as traveling to Chile and Uruguay. Jameson was an intern for Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson in her Dallas district office. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of Sigma Iota Rho: Honor Society for International Studies. Jameson has a passion for the international community so, he hopes to make a career working within the international development field and be a Peace Corps volunteer some day.
Manager for the International Visitor Program
Chelsea Marshall is the Manager for the International Visitor Program at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/ Fort Worth. She helps administer the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), one of the premier professional exchange programs of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Through IVLP and other special projects, Chelsea connects visitors with local resources, experts, and cultural experiences. Chelsea Marshall graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Her studies led her to Madrid, Spain for a summer and Muscat, Oman as a Gilman Scholar. A native of Fort Worth, TX, Chelsea remains active in the community as a member of the Women’s Policy Forum.
Manager, International Education Program.
Amy had a passion for international affairs from a young age, participating in her high school’s Model United Nations program and travelling to China with them her senior year. An internship at the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth was a great fit during her undergraduate studies at SMU, working in the Office of Protocol. Amy went on to graduate from Southern Methodist University in 2012 with a BA in International Studies, focusing on Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. After learning about various cultures, she decided to immerse herself in one of them by moving to Spain in the fall of 2012. She taught English in a charter school near Madrid for two years while completing a Master’s in International Education at the Universidad de Alcalá. In August of 2014, Amy joined the team at the World Affairs Council and now works to impact the minds of Dallas/ Ft. Worth’s future international professionals.
Executive Asst./Office Manager
Martha Powell is Director of Administration and Executive Assistant to Jim Falk. In these roles she also handles board communication and human resources. Her twenty-plus years of administrative experience includes governmental relations, public relations, politics, philanthropy and media. Previously, she worked at Hunt Consolidated, Inc. and the Dallas Morning News, and for four years she owned her own business in Oak Cliff. She majored in English Literature at the University of Texas at Arlington and holds a Nonprofit Management Certificate from the Center for Nonprofit Management.
Martha and her husband, Larry, have a strong commitment to pet rescue and animal welfare. Martha served as president of Paws in the City from 2012-2104 and is currently a board member. She also served on the board of the Best Southwest Humane Society. Martha is webmaster of www.readlarrypowell.com, plays the harp and performs with Resounding Harmony, a philanthropic chorus.
Ryan Rankin joined the council part time after a Council internship, and became webmaster in 2013. Ryan spent his youth in Houston, TX attending drawing and design composition classes at the Glassell School of Art as well as science and robotics camps at Houston Museum of Natural Science. He started learning to draw and automate using loops and equations on the command line of an i386 powered home-built PC as a child. Eventually, he learned to establish telnet sessions over a dial-up modem before there were web browsers. He studied Computer Engineering (with a Hardware Specialization) and Mathematics at Southern Methodist University.
Vice President of Development & Partnerships
Whitney joined the Council in 2011. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Public Relations. She has always had an interest in politics and fundraising, working with several non-profits including the Central Texas Food Bank, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Children’s Miracle Network.
Whitney has worked with several media companies including, Burson-Marsteller and TEXAS MONTHLY as well as for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in her district Austin office and later on her 2010 gubernatorial Wcampaign. Most recently, Whitney was the director at a Dallas art gallery and is very active in the Junior League of Dallas and the Texas Youth Scholarship Organization. Whitney is an active runner and enjoys traveling, photography, live music, and meeting new people.
Director of Membership Services
Elaine Tucker joined the Council in 2009. Before that, she served as Stewardship Coordinator for a private school in Dallas. She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Lutheran University, where she also served as Development Database Coordinator for over 10 years. Hobbies include clog dancing, reading mystery novels and traveling (especially to the beach) as time allows. During the summer of 2008 Elaine traveled England for two weeks and loved every minute of her trip. She looks forward to a return visit and highly recommends the Bleeding Heart Yard Cafe© for enjoyment of their excellent food and great atmosphere. She is honored to be called Gramma Laine by her three wonderful granddaughters.
Vice President of Programs
Rachel Vogel is the Vice President of Programs at the Council. She joins the Council after working as a program officer for the World Affairs Council of Houston. Prior to this, Rachel interned at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Following her graduation from University of Dallas in 2006 with a BA in History, she worked for FourthWall Media as a product coordinator. She then completed her MA in International Political Economy at the University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) in 2009, while interning for Environmental Security International. She is the founder of the BSIS Volunteer Forum, specifically focusing on work with refugees living in Brussels, Belgium.
Director of International Business and Protocol Services
Rachel Wallis joined the World Affairs Council in September 2011. Most recently, she worked as Program Officer at Meridian International Center in Washington, DC, implementing the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership program. She received an M.A. in Contemporary European Studies from the University of Bath, UK, and spent her undergraduate years at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, where she earned a B.A. with dual majors of Political Science and French. Rachel has studied abroad at Imperial College in London, the Sorbonne in Paris, the Institut D'etudes Politiques (Sciences-Po) in Paris, and the University of Bath. She is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of Spanish.