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Fulbright Commissioners

The work of the Fulbright Commission is governed by a Board of Commissioners, seven appointed by the UK government and seven by the US government. The Commissioners appoint an Executive Director who manages the work of the Commission and its staff.

Bios of Current Commissioners

Sir Nigel Sheinwald  - Chairman

Sir Nigel Sheinwald is a former British diplomat. He served as British Ambassador to the United States (2007-12) and European Union (2000-2003) and was Foreign Policy and Defence Adviser to the Prime Minister (2003-7).

He served in a wide variety of policy jobs in London and internationally. Since leaving the Diplomatic Service in 2012, he has joined the Boards of Royal Dutch Shell a, Invesco nd the Innovia Group as a Non-Executive Director, become Senior Policy Adviser to the Universal Music Group, and been appointed Visiting Professor and member of the Council of King's College, London. In 2014-15 he served as  as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Intelligence and Law Enforcement Data Sharing. Nigel serves on the Advisory Boards of British American Business, The British American Project, the Ditchley Foundation, the Centre for European Reform and  Business for New Europe.

He is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford and an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple. He was knighted in 2001 and awarded a GCMG in 2011.

Lord Victor Adebowale CBE MA MCIH FCGI

Victor is Chief Executive of Turning Point, a health and social care organisation providing services for people with complex needs, including those affected by substance misuse, mental health issues and those with a learning disability.

Victor has a passionate interest in public service reform and reversing the inverse care law (those who need public services most tend to get them least). In pursuit of this, he lectures and speaks widely on the subjects of poverty, social exclusion, equality and human rights, leadership and change management.  

He is a Visiting Professor and Chancellor at the University of Lincoln and holds numerous honorary doctorates as well as being a Fellow of the City & Guilds of London Institute, an associate member of the Health Service Management Centre at the University of Birmingham and of Cambridge University Judge Business School, as well as on the Board of Governors for London School of Economics.

Victor is a Non-Executive Director of NHS England, President of the International Association of Philosophy and Psychiatry, and he is the founder and Chair of Collaborate at London South Bank University.

In 2000, Victor was awarded the CBE for services to the New Deal, the unemployed, and homeless young people and in 2001 was appointed a cross bench member of the House of Lords. 

Sara Grote Cerrell

Sara Cerrell is the Founder of Global Change Network (GCN), a social impact consulting practice. She brings two decades of political, private sector and nonprofit experience to her clients. Before founding GCN in 2008, she was Vice President at DDB Issues & Advocacy, a social sector practice that was part of DDB Worldwide. 

Sara’s work has centered on social impact, particularly international development with an emphasis on global health and women’s empowerment. She has created strategies and managed campaigns for organizations and companies such as the International Center for Research on Women, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, PATH, Viacom, Gap Inc., Jimmy Choo Foundation, Marie Stopes International, Packard Foundation and Kaiser Foundation, among many others.

Sara’s career began in The White House, coordinating First Lady Hillary Clinton’s involvement in several initiatives, ranging from health care to women’s rights to children’s issues. Additionally, Sara served on two U.S. presidential campaigns. She lives in London with her husband and three children. 

Jennifer Diamond

Jennifer Diamond is the President of the Diamond Family Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that develops unique methods to improve and increase access to education and healthcare, by supporting those who fall outside traditional, government-sponsored assistance programs. As president, Jennifer helps determine the direction and mission of the organization, sets the strategy for how to best tackle issues most important to the foundation, reviews results from past projects, and continually seeks compelling new philanthropic opportunities to explore. 

Under Jennifer’s leadership since its establishment in 1997, the Diamond Family Foundation has supported a range of projects that particularly emphasize educational development as a vehicle for poverty reduction. Examples of missions the Foundation has funded include research projects aimed at developing gifted and talented primary school programs in the USA, financial literacy training programs in the UK, and campaigns supporting HIV education and awareness in the USA and sub-Saharan Africa. 

Jennifer holds a BSc from Michigan State University and a MA in Anthropology from University of London. She began her career working as an engineer in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to her role with the Diamond Family Foundation, Jennifer serves as a trustee on a number of boards and  is a partner in Cobble House LLC, a multimedia development company.

Drake Dubin

Drake Dubin is Chief Operating Officer for Neuberger Berman in Europe and Latin America. Prior to joining Neuberger, Drake was a Partner at Tideway Investment Partners where he had both operating and business development responsibilities. Earlier in his career, Drake spent fifteen years with JP Morgan Chase where he was a Managing Director and Head of Structured Capital Markets for EMEA and five years as a Managing Director in The Royal Bank of Scotland’s Financial Structuring Group.  

Drake received his BSc from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., is a Trustee of The UK Friends of Georgetown and recently concluded six years serving on the university’s Board of Regents where he was Chair of the Global Engagement Committee.  

Dame Amelia Chilcott Fawcett DBE

Dame Amelia Fawcett is Chairman of the Hedge Fund Standards Board in London, a Non-Executive Director of State Street Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts, Deputy Chairman of Investment AB Kinnevik in Stockholm, Sweden and a Non Executive Director of Millicom Cellular S.A in Luxembourg (until May 2016).  Until September 2013 she was Chairman of the Guardian Media Group plc in London and until June 2010 she was Chairman of Pensions First LLP, a financial services and systems solutions business, based in London. Prior to that Dame Amelia held senior roles at Morgan Stanley including Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of European operations. She was an attorney (in New York and Paris) at the New York-based law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell.From June 2004 to 2009, Dame Amelia was a member of the Court of Directors of the Bank of England. In 2002 she was awarded a CBE and in 2010 she was awarded a DBE, in both instances for services to the finance industry. In addition, she received The Prince of Wales’ Ambassador Award in 2004.

Dame Amelia, a British and American citizen, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1956. She has a degree in History from Wellesley (1978) and a law degree from the University of Virginia (1983). She was admitted to the New York Bar in 1984.

Dame Amelia is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation, Governor of the London Business School, a Commissioner of the US-UK Fulbright Commission and a Trustee of Project Hope (UK). 

Andy Griffiths

Andy is the Executive Director of the Investor Forum and a Senior Advisor to Corsair Capital. He has 20 years of investment experience gained at Capital Group and Prudential and has consistently been ranked among the leading equity investors in Europe over the last two decades.

Andy has a number of roles in the social enterprise arena, including Chairman of StudentFunder (a social enterprise that provides finance for professional and postgraduate courses), a trustee of the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and a member of the Seeing is Believing Innovation Investment Committee.

Eric A Johnson, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy, London

Eric joined the U.S. Embassy in London after serving for three years as the Counselor for Public Affairs (Head of Communications) at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Most of Eric’s career has focused on Russia or on those countries along its border, including assignments as: the Consul for Public Affairs in St. Petersburg; the Public Affairs Officer in Tallinn, Estonia; and an extended tour as the regional Information Resource Officer in Moscow. For his work in Russia, Eric received the 2002 Award for Achievement in Public Diplomacy and the 2010 Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy.

Although he spent 11 years at the U.S. Library of Congress before joining the U.S. Foreign Service, Eric’s library career also focused on Russia and the surrounding region where he worked on everything from acquisitions and training to parliamentary development and exhibits. Eric graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with degrees in Politics and Russian Studies and completed his master’s at the University of Maryland. A second generation public diplomacy officer, Eric speaks Russian, Estonian, and Spanish.

William A Plapinger

Bill Plapinger has been a partner of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP since 1986. He is a member of the firm’s Managing Partners Committee and was the Managing Partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s London office from 1995 to 2008 and the Coordinator of the firm’s European offices from 2000 to 2011. He has been resident in London since 1987, having spent his first nine years in Sullivan & Cromwell’s New York office.

Mr Plapinger’s practice is focussed on capital markets, M&A and general corporate (including corporate governance) matters. His work has an emphasis on complex, often precedent setting international and US financial transactions, advising US and non-US industrial and financial companies, governments and investment banks. He has been named repeatedly by numerous publications as, variously, one of the world’s leading IPO, equity and debt capital markets, privatisation and M&A lawyers.

Mr Plapinger has devoted much of his time outside Sullivan & Cromwell to education. In addition to serving on the US-UK Fulbright Commission, he is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Vassar College, the senior member of the Board of Trustees of the American School in London and a member of the Conference of Board Chairs of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges and the President’s Commission of Wheaton College (MA). He is also a member of the Atlantic Council.

Mr Plapinger earned his AB from Vassar College, his JD from New York University School of Law, and attended Westfield College, University of London.

Mr Plapinger is married to Cassie Murray, and they have three children.

Alexsis de Raadt-St. James

Alexsis is an investor and entrepreneur with over 25 years of investment experience. She is the founder and managing partner of Merian Ventures, a US and UK venture-investment firm. She is also founder and chairman of The Althea Foundation, a social-venture fund in San Francisco she established in 2003. 

Merian Ventures partners with exceptional female entrepreneurs who are driven to building competitive and profitable companies where women that are pioneering innovation in financial technology, retail, B2B / B2C, consumer products, cyber security and mobile. The focus on female entrepreneurs is more than a social statement. It is a clear objective to find and fund the rise in women-led innovation that has been largely overlooked by the investment community. 

The Althea Foundation funds new initiatives and established non-profit organizations it believes could benefit from additional financial help to ensure their continued success and social impact. Its mission is to serve not only as a provider of capital but also a valued business partner and mentor. Its initiatives have received recognition from The White House, Scotland Yard, Ministry of Defense (UK) and funding from The Clinton Global Initiative. 

Prior to creating Merian Ventures and The Althea Foundation, Alexsis held leadership roles with companies she funded or founded, senior executive roles in Commerce One, Shell International in London and Holland where she served in a number of management positions, including director of M&A and venture investments, treasury advisor and pension-fund manager. She also worked at Kidder Peabody Investment Bank in London and Boston as an investment advisor. 

Alexsis is a frequent speaker and author on business, investing and the role of women in entrepreneurship and technology. Alexsis has been a featured presenter and contributor on CNN, the United States Military Academy (West Point), the Milken Institute, the Smith Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has also been published in The Economist, MIT Magazine and the Financial Times. She serves on the leadership board of The Osher Center (Univ. of California Medical School, San Francisco) and is on the advisory board of Caplinked. Alexsis has an MS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology an MBA from Erasmus University, Holland and a BA from the University of Texas, Austin.

Seona Reid CBE

Seona Reid was appointed Director to the Glasgow School of Art in September 1999. Previously she served as Director of the Scottish Arts Council for nine years, and before that Assistant Director (Strategy and Regional Development) of Greater London Arts; Director of Shape; Head of Public Relations Ballet Rambert; Press and Publicity Officer at Northern Dance Theatre; Business Manager, Lincoln Theatre Royal and a freelance arts consultant working with the Arts Council of Great Britain and the London Contemporary Dance Trust.

In April 2011 she was appointed as Deputy Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Chair of the Scottish Committee. She is a member of the Universities Scotland Executive Committee and a Board member of Cove Park, an artist residency centre in Scotland. In recent years, she has served as a member of the Knowledge and Evaluation Committee of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, a Commissioner on the Scottish Broadcasting Commission; Vice Chair of the Lighthouse Centre for Architecture, Design and the City; on the Boards of the Arches and Suspect Culture Theatre.
Seona is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has four honorary degrees from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen (1995), University of Glasgow (1999), Glasgow Caledonian University (2001) and Strathclyde University (2009), all for services to the arts in Scotland. She became an honorary professor of the University of Glasgow in 1995 and was awarded a CBE in the 2008 New Year Honours for services to the Creative Industries.

Anneliese Reinemeyer

Anneliese Reinemeyer comes to London as Cultural Affairs Officer after three years as the head of the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan.  Her previous assignments with the State Department include Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Jerusalem, as well as several assignments in Washington, DC. Anneliese holds a PhD in Political Science from Texas A&M University, and speaks Arabic, French and German.

Professor Colin Riordan BA PhD

Professor Colin Riordan took up the post of President and Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University on 1 September 2012. Previously he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, having been appointed in October 2007. He moved to Essex from Newcastle University, where he had been Pro Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences since August 2005. 

Professor Riordan taught English as a foreign language at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg in Germany (1982-84) and was Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in German at Swansea University (1986-1998).  He became Professor of German at Newcastle University in 1998, where he remained until his move to Essex in 2007.  He has published widely on post-war German literature and culture, including editing books on the writers Jurek Becker, Uwe Johnson and Peter Schneider. Other research interests include the history of environmental ideas in German culture.

He is a Vice-President and Board member of Universities UK, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, the Edge Foundation, NARIC, UCAS and the Equality Challenge Unit.  In 2013 he became chair of Higher Education Wales, the body which represents the interests of Higher Education Institutions in Wales.  He is also a member of the Cardiff Capital Region Board and sits on the Review of Higher Funding & Student Finance in Wales.  As chair of the International Policy Network of Universities UK, he is active in promoting and advancing the role of UK universities aboard.  He is also chair of the UK Higher Education International Unit, and is a member of the International Education Council sponsored by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. 

Toby Young

Toby Young is an associate editor of the Spectator and a blogger for the Telegraph. He is the author of two books, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (2001) and The Sound of No Hands Clapping (2006), and has performed in the West End in a stage adaptation of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. He co-produced the film version of How to Lose Friends & Alienate People (2008) and more recently co-produced and co-wrote a drama doc for Channel 4 called When Boris Met Dave (2009). His teaching experience includes working as a teaching fellow at Harvard and a teaching assistant at Cambridge. He is the co-founder of the West London Free School, which became the first free school to sign a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for Education earlier this year. The school opened in September 2011.