Ambassador/Professor Ibrahim A.Gambari

Ibrahim A.Gambari, a scholar-diplomat, was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, as Joint Special Representative of the Africa Union-United Nations Hybrid Operations in Darfur (UNAMID), effective 1 January 2010. It is the largest international peace-keeping designated Joint Chief Mediator, ad interim, in charge of the ongoing negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Darfur opposition movements. Ambassador Gambari has held several leadership positions at the national, regional and international levels and has built extensive contacts with Governments as well as public and private institutions, especially in Africa. He was the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (1990-1994) during which he worked closely with African Governments to coordinate UN policy to eradicate apartheid, thereby, building trust and confidence with Governments and policy makers in member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADEC). Ambassador Gambari was Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa (1999-2005). In that capacity he worked closely with Heads of Government, key policy makers as well as institutions in the continent to develop the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). During this period, he was concurrently the Resident Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to Angola (2002-2003). He has been a delegate to the Assembly of the African Union in the capacity as a national delegate (1984-1985) and as a member of the UN Secretary- General’s delegation (2000-2012).At the global level, Ambassador Gambari was Under-Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (2005-2007). In that period, he also operated as Un Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. On 22 May 2007, the Secretary-General entrusted him with the Good Offices Mandate on Myanmar. He was also appointed in 2007 by the Secretary-General as Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Iraq Compact and Other Issues, positions which held until 2009. Before joining the United Nations, he served his country as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (1990-1999). He was also Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria (1984-1985) and worked closely with regional leaders, institutions and governments, particularly within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the economic and political development of the sub-region. Prior to this, he was the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. As a scholar, Ambassador Gambari is the author of several books and scholarly articles. He began his teaching career as a Lecturer at the Queen’s College, City University of New York, NY (1969-1974), followed by an Assistant Professorship at the State University of New York, NY (1974-1977). Upon return to his country, Nigeria, he was appointed Senior Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, (1977-1980), and rose to become an Associate Professor (Reader), (1980-1983) and subsequently full Professor at the same University (1983 – present – currently on leave of absence). Ambassador Gambari was a visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University and Howard University in Washington, DC from 1986 to 1989. Ambassador Gambari was also a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, as well as a Resident Scholar with the Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Bellagio, Italy. A recipient of the third highest national honour, Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR), Ambassador Gambari has also been awarded, Doctor of Humane Letters degrees (honoris causa) form the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut (2002) and Farleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey (2006)/ Others include, Honorary Doctorate of Public Service, Chatham University (May 2008) and Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt), University of Ibadan, Nigeria (November 2011). He has also received the Special Recognition for International Development and Diplomacy Award conferred by the Africa-America Institute (September 2007), the Distinguished (Foreign) Service Award by the Federal Government of Nigeria (April 22008), the International House Harry Edmonds Award for Lifetime Achievement, New York ( May 2009) and the Campaign Against Genocide Medal by the Republic of Rwanda ( July 2010). Ambassador Gambari received South Africa’s highest national honour conferred on non-citizens, the Order of the Companions of O. R. Tambo, which was conferred to him personally by President Jacob Zuma on 26 October 2012. Professor Gambari was elected to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars in 2002 and has since 2005 served as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University, Zimbabwe. He was appointed as First Chancellor, Kwara State University in Nigeria, March 2013. Professor Gambari is the founder of Savannah Centre in Abuja, Nigeria. This is a centre of excellence for research and public policy studies on the challenges of conflict prevention and resolution.

Dr. Vittal Anantatmula, Ph.D

Dr. Anantatmula is an Associate Professor of Project Management in the College of Business, Western Carolina University. He is also the Director of Project Management Graduate Programs. Dr. Anantatmula’s current research is focused on integrating knowledge management and project management, knowledge management effectiveness, project management performance, and leadership. Dr. Anantatmula has publications in journals such as Journal of Knowledge Management, International Journal of Knowledge Management, Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems (VINE), International Journal of Knowledge and Learning, and Project Management Journal. Prior to joining Western Carolina University, he was at the George Washington University teaching and directing a graduate degree program. Dr. Anantatmula has worked in the petroleum and power industries for several years as an electrical engineer and project manager. Dr. Anantatmula holds B.E. (Electrical Engineering) from Andhra University, MBA from IIM-MDI, MS and D.Sc. in Engineering Management from the George Washington University. He is a certified Project Management Professional and Certified Cost Engineer.

Ambassador (Ret’d) Scott H. DeLisi

Scott DeLisi served the government of the United States for 34 years as a diplomat, capping his distinguished career representing President Barack Obama as American Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda from 2012 - 2015.   Currently, he is serving as the Executive Director of Soarway, a charitable foundation dedicated to helping the people of Nepal recover from the devastating earthquakes of 2015 and build a stronger, safer, and more resilient future. Ambassador DeLisi also represented President Obama as Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, from March 2010 to July 2012, and he was President George W. Bush’s Ambassador to the State of Eritrea from 2004-2007.  Earlier in his career, Ambassador DeLisi was also the Deputy Ambassador at the American Embassy in Gaborone, Botswana.  In Washington, Ambassador DeLisi served as the Director of Career Development and Assignments in the State Department’s Bureau of Human Resources and as the Director for Entry-Level Programs in the same bureau. Among his other domestic assignments he has served as Director for Southern African Affairs, and also in the Bureau of Intelligence & Research, and the Bureau of South and Central Asia Affairs.  Overseas, he has had additional postings in India, Madagascar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Ambassador DeLisi has been the recipient of two Presidential Rank Awards, the Charles E. Cobb Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence, the CIA Director’s Award, the DIA Director’s Award, and multiple Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State.  His foreign languages include French and Urdu. Ambassador DeLisi is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, earned the degree of Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota Law School, and also attended the Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Ambassador DeLisi is married and has 3 children and 3 grandchildren.

John E. Heather

Over the last decade John’s USAID / UN assignments in destination management, private-sector engagement and workforce development have taken him to Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent 14 years on Guam, America’s Gateway to Asia, expanding the DFS duty-free retail empire, managing the Guam Visitors Bureau market research department, and chairing the International Tourism Department at the University of Guam. John consulted throughout the Pacific-Asia region and took a lead role in the PATA Young Tourism Professionals program. John also taught international tourism at Arizona State University where he worked closely with Native American communities to collectively program and market their cultural and natural attractions. High on the the Mogollon Rim, John owned and operated a luxury fly-in vacation estate. John specializes in aligning local community and investor challenges with international best practices. He is currently a faculty member of international hospitality and tourism management at Saint Leo University in Florida and member of the Pasco County Tourism Development Council.