Meet The Board of Trustees
Jeff Coburn – Chairman
Management Consultant, Coburn Consulting
Jeff Coburn is Managing Director of Coburn Consulting, a management advisory firm serving the U.S. legal industry. Prior to establishing his own firm, he was Director of International Marketing for Education Development Center, Deputy and Interim Director of Laspau, and Senior Consultant with Arthur Andersen, Harbridge House, and the MAC Group/Gemini Consulting.
Mr. Coburn has worked and traveled extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean and is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Portuguese. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Harvard Business School, he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Universidad Central del Ecuador.
In addition to serving as chair of Laspau’s board, he has served as a trustee of the Boston Children’s Museum, Wheelock College, Board Chair of the Wheelock Family Theatre, and Board Chair of the Cleveland Steel Tool Company. He is a member of Laspau’s Executive and Fundraising Committees.
Mauricio Obregón, Co-Vice Chair
Mauricio Lopez Obregón is involved in private business in Colombia. He is a member of the Board of Directors of privately held companies and foundations. Mr. Lopez Obregón is a graduate of Harvard University.
In addition to serving on Laspau’s Nominating and Governance Committee, Mr. Lopez Obregón is a member of the Advisory Committee of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard. Formerly, he served on the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Commission in Colombia, the University of Virginia Families Board, the Parents Committee at the University of Virginia, and is the former President of the Board of Directors for the MIT Harvard Club de Colombia. He is a member of Laspau’s Executive Committee.
Angélica Natera – Ex-Oficio
Executive Director, Laspau
Angélica Natera is the Executive Director of Laspau. She has over twenty years of experience working in design, development, and management of educational programs and has worked for both public and private universities, government agencies, private companies, and nonprofits around the world. In her previous role as Laspau’s deputy director, she oversaw the organization’s work in University Innovation as well as the management of scholarship programs including the Fulbright Foreign Student program, Science without Borders, the Organization of American States (OAS) Scholarship Programs. Prior to serving as Deputy Director, she led the development and launch of the organization’s initiatives in university innovation.
Ms. Natera earned an undergraduate degree in administrative and management sciences from the Universidad Tecnologica del Centro in Venezuela, a specialization in cognitive-behavioral psychology from the Universidad Simon Bolivar, and a Graduate Certificate in management from Harvard University. She was also awarded the 2010–2011 Harvard University Administrative Fellowship.
Partner (retired), Pricewaterhouse Coopers
Clark Bernard is a retired partner of PricerwaterhouseCoopers LLP where he directed audit and consulting services for over 25 years. Mr. Bernard led the Firm’s nonprofit business on a national scale, directly serving many of the Firm’s large university clients across the country. During his career with PWC, he also served a broad variety of clients in the banking, industrial manufacturing, and retail industries, whose businesses were international.
Mr. Bernard holds a BS in accountancy from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador for two years where he taught courses at the Catholic University in Quito and worked with organizations which promoted the education of disadvantaged children. Now retired, he maintains a strong connection with Latin America and frequently travels in the region.
In addition to Laspau, Mr. Bernard has served on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston as well as on the Board of Revels, a Boston-based performing arts organization. He currently serves on Laspau’s Audit and Finance Committee.
Visiting Professor, Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies, Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
Peter DeShazo is a Visiting Professor of Latin American Studies at Dartmouth College. He was formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. During his career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Ambassador DeShazo directed the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs of the State Department, and was Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Information Agency. He also served in the US embassies and consulates in La Paz, Medellin, Santiago, Panama City, Caracas, and Tel Aviv.
Ambassador DeShazo served as the Executive Director of Laspau from 2011 to 2014, and as Director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC from 2004 to 2010. He is a former Fulbright scholar and served as President of the U.S.-Chile Fulbright Commission. Ambassador DeShazo has taught at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, at Harvard, and at Boston University.
DeShazo received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a PhD in Latin American history from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, with postgraduate study at the Universidad Católica de Chile. He serves on Laspau’s Audit and Finance Committee.
Everett Egginton – Emeritus
Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA
Everett Egginton is Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction at New Mexico State University. He has served as Dean of International and Border Programs at New Mexico State University, as President of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and as a Senior Policy Analyst and HHS (HEW Fellow) for the US Department of Health and Human Services.
He has had vast experience in Latin America throughout his career including the Peace Corps (Venezuela), Foreign-Area Fellowship (Peru), Fulbright Dissertation Fellowship (Colombia); numerous consultancies with the U.S. Agency for International Development (Colombia, El Salvador), various ministries of education (throughout Central America), and the World Bank (El Salvador). Professor Egginton has been a member of numerous committees including the Executive Committee of the Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), the Standing Committee on International Exchanges and Matriculation at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), and the Executive Committee of APLU’s Commission on International Programs.
In addition to serving on Laspau’s board, Professor Egginton is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP).
Luis E. Garcia de Brigard
Chief Executive Officer, Educas Americas
Mr. Luis E Garcia de Brigard is the Chief Executive Officer at Educas Americas, an international investment firm that specializes in K-12 education. He previously served as Deputy Minister of Education of Colombia where he led efforts to reform the teaching profession, create effective measures of learning and promote accountability.
Before joining the Ministry, Mr. Garcia de Brigard was educational entrepreneur who started and scaled educational companies across the Americas. He is also a committed social entrepreneur and has advanced the cause of educational opportunity in his country by co-founding Enseña por Colombia (partner of the Teach for All Network) and Volunteers Colombia (partner of Harvard University’s WorldTeach).
Mr. Garcia de Brigard earned his law degree from Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, completed an exchange program in politics and economics at the University of Notre Dame and received his mater’s of education from Harvard University. He has served as Chairman of the Universidad Pedagógica Nacional and ICFES in Colombia and has been a member of numerous boards of educational organizations.
Margot Nelson Gill
Administrative Dean for International Affairs,
Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
Margot Gill is the Administrative Dean for International Affairs for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences which includes Harvard College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Paulson School for Engineering and Applied Sciences and the FAS International Research Centers. She also chairs the University’s Committee on General Scholarships which oversees all university-wide scholarship programs.
Dean Gill previously served as the Administrative Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where she was responsible for implementing Graduate School policy across the PhD programs at Harvard. She held multiple positions in the Graduate School including Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Dean for Student Affairs. She also served Harvard College as an Allston Burr Senior Tutor and as an advisor for international programs.
Dean Gill received a Master’s and PhD in Anthropology from Boston University. She is a member of Laspau’s Executive and Nominating and Governance Committees.
Merilee Grindle – Emeritus
Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development, Emerita,
Bio coming soon…
Alexander F. Watson
Managing Director, Hills & Company
Alexander F. Watson is Managing Director of Hills & Company, an international consulting firm in Washington, DC. Previously, he served as Vice President for the Latin America and Caribbean region at The Nature Conservancy and later assumed responsibility for the full range of the Conservancy’s work abroad as Vice President and Executive Director for International Conservation.
For over thirty years, Ambassador Watson was a career foreign service officer, serving as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, as well as U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations with the rank of ambassador and Ambassador to Peru. Before his assignment to Peru, Ambassador Watson served as deputy chief of mission in Brasilia, Bogota, and La Paz. He also served as the Director of the Office of Development Finance in the Department of State among other positions.
Ambassador Watson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Diplomacy, the American Foreign Service Association, and the Inter-American Dialogue. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Wisconsin.
In addition to serving on Laspau’s board, Ambassador Watson currently is a trustee of Maryland/DC chapter and the Argentina advisory council of The Nature Conservancy. He is chair of the advisory council of the Inter-American Foundation and serves on the advisory councils of the Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the United Nations Association of the United States.
President, Instituto Ciudad
Professor, Universidad de Chile
Carolina Tohá is a Chilean woman and holds a Political Science degree from Universidad degli Studi di Milano in Italy. She also studied Law in Universidad de Chile.
She was the Minister Secretary of Government under the first administration of President Michelle Bachelet, the Undersecretary of Government under President Ricardo Lagos and the President of Party for Democracy. She was also a Congresswoman for two terms, presiding over the congressional Committee for Education as well as participating in those of Interior Government, Treasury, Economy and Youth.
As a student, she had an active role in the fight to recover Democracy for Chile and was a prominent student leader and activist during the NO campaign against the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
At the end of 2016 she completed a term as the Mayor of Santiago where she led a series of urban and social reforms that earned the Municipality of Santiago numerous national and international awards and recognition.
In November, she completed an advisory assignment as the Co-president of the High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport for the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
She is currently the President of Instituto Ciudad (City Institute), a civil society organization dedicated to promoting urban equality and sustainability.
Christine Scott Nelson, Co-Vice Chair
Founder, Cornerstone Research
Christine Scott Nelson is a Founder of Cornerstone Research, a consulting firm that provides expert testimony, economic, and financial analysis to attorneys in all phases of commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings.
Ms. Nelson received a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College, a master’s degree from Boston University, and a master’s degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She has also studied in Spain, Argentina, and Germany.
In addition to serving on Laspau’s board, Ms. Nelson serves on the board of Cornerstone Research and the board of Second Nature, the supporting organization of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. She also serves as the Board Chair for the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry and is a Trustee of Allegheny College, co-chairing the college’s current capital campaign. She is a member of Laspau’s Executive and Nominating and Governance Committees.
John Knutson – Treasurer
Finance Executive (retired), Chrysler Corporation
John Knutson worked in leadership positions for the Chrysler Corporation for over 30 years including Vice President of Financial Control for Product Development and Director of Finance for Chrysler de México.
Mr. Knutson completed his undergraduate degree at Yale University, his master’s in electrical engineering at Stanford University, and his MBA from Harvard University. He spent two years as a volunteer in the Peace Corps.
In addition to serving as Laspau’s treasurer, he is a member of the Wheelock College Board of Trustees. Mr. Knutson serves on Laspau’s Audit and Finance Committee.
Leopoldo López Gil
Editor, El Nacional
Leopoldo López Gil is editor and writer for El Nacional, Venezuela’s leading newspaper. He is currently living in exile in Madrid, Spain, where he is a human rights activist for his son and other imprisoned Venezuelans.
He is an Emeritus Board Member of the Universidad Tecnológica del Centro in Venezuela and founder and advisor of the Pica-Pica Group, a Venezuelan food restaurant chain in the US.
In 1974 Leopoldo López Gil founded the Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Scholarship Program and served as its first Executive Secretary. He became president of the Fundayacucho Foundation in 1989. Fundayacucho has been Laspau’s biggest scholarship program with 3,120 Scholars.
Leopoldo has served on the Boards and Leadership Councils of many prestigious institutions such as the Daily Journal, H.L. Boulton, Universidad Metropolitana, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA) among others. He was Corporate Executive for Grupo Mantesa, Cavendes, and Venezolana de Cementos among others. He promoted the creation of “Future Brand Venezuela” and served on its first Board of Trustees.
López Gil holds an AB degree in government and economy from Columbia University in New York, and a Master’s in Finance from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He has received many acknowledgments and medals of recognition throughout his life, among the most notable are:
Orden Francisco de Miranda
Orden Andrés Bello
Orden Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho
Palmas Académicas, from the Government of France
Medal of Honor – Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas
Medal of Honor de la Universidad de Los Andes
Douglas Orane is a nonexecutive director of GraceKennedy Limited, a publicly traded conglomerate where he previously served as both Chairman and CEO before retiring. In addition to his career at GraceKennedy Limited, Mr. Orane served as President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, Independent Senator in the Jamaican Senate, and was later appointed to Jamaica’s Privy Council by the Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen. He was also named Commander of the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government in recognition of his contribution to commerce and the private sector.
Mr. Orane was awarded a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Glasgow University and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.
Lygia V. Pereira
Professor of Human Genetics and Director of the National Laboratory for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, University of São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil
Lygia V. Pereira is a Full Professor of Human Genetics and Director of the National Laboratory for Embryonic Stem Cell Research at the University of São Paulo. Her research team established the first lines of human embryonic stem cells in Brazil, and has continued her researching using these cells in drug screening. She is also part of Brazil’s National Network for Cell Therapy, and a member of the International Committee of the International Society of Stem Cell Research.
Professor Pereira received a Bachelor’s degree from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from City University of New York, Mount Sinai Graduate School in New York.
Executive Director, Biotechnology Center of Excellence Corp.
Fernando Quezada is Executive Director of the Biotechnology Center of Excellence Corp., a US-based private, non-profit organization providing technical assistance internationally. His consulting assignments have included the Ministry of the Economy of Chile, the US-Mexico Foundation for Science, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, and the US-Israel Science and Technology Foundation. He also coordinated a study for the German Agency GIZ on The Knowledge Economy in Central America.
Mr. Quezada has served as an advisor to the International Association of Science Parks, the BioBasque agency, the Basque Network of Technology Parks, the University of Ulster Science and Technology Park and the Quebec Biotechnology Innovation Centre. He was appointed to Chile’s National Commission for the Development of Biotechnology by the President of Chile, and served as consultant to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Board on Science and Technology in International Development of the National Academy of Sciences.
Mr. Quezada studied at UCLA and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has taught at the Federal University of Para and University of São Paulo, both in Brazil, the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, and Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to serving on Laspau’s board, he currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Framingham State University. His publications focus on biotechnology commercialization, technology-based innovation and public policy.
Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and International Education Policy Program Director, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Fernando Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and International Education Policy Program Director at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He focuses his research and teaching on innovative global education policies and programs that help students develop competencies necessary for civic participation and work in the twenty first century. He also works in the area of global citizenship education and in how to align education policies with the achievement of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
Professor Reimers is a member of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, a fellow of the International Academy of Education, and a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO. He is a graduate of Universidad Central de Venezuela and Harvard University where he received both his Master’s and Doctoral degrees.
In addition to serving on Laspau’s board, he serves on the board of several educational organizations and foundations.
More information about his work is available here http://fernando-reimers.gse.harvard.edu/
CEO, Empresas PMC
Francisco Sanánez is the CEO of Empresas PMC, one of Venezuela’s leading sugar and alcohol producers, and the former President of Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA). Under his leadership, IESA opened operations in Ciudad del Saber, Panama, completed a third accreditation granted by the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), and reasserted IESA’s leadership as one of the best Latin American business schools. Previously, he served as Chief Marketing Officer at CANTV, and was a Partner at McKinsey & Company.
Mr. Sanánez received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Universidad Simón Bolívar and a master’s degree in manufacturing engineering from Boston University. He also obtained a master’s in business administration from Columbia Business School on a grant from Fundación Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho program, which was formerly administered by Laspau.
M. Cristián Shea – Emeritus
Partner, Equitas Capital
M. Cristián Shea is a partner of Equitas Capital, an international investment firm based in Santiago, Chile that specializes in growth investments in natural resources-related industries and services in South America.
In addition to Laspau, Mr. Shea is a member of the boards of directors of several privately held companies. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
Mr. Shea is a Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow (ALI ’13) and a Harvard Business School Entrepreneur-in-residence Fellow (EIR ’12). He is a graduate of Yale Law School (LLM) and of Universidad Diego Portales Law School (LLB), having been admitted to practice law in New York and in Chile.
Former Executive Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University
Ned Strong is the Former Executive Director of Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Previously, Mr. Strong served as the Program Director for Harvard’s regional office in Santiago, Chile. From 1996-2010 he was Executive Director of Laspau. While at Laspau, Strong led the organization’s efforts to strengthen and maintain educational exchange programs, institutional relationships, and the training of Latin American university faculty, scientists, and professionals. Prior to assuming the directorship, he coordinated Laspau’s efforts creating new programs supporting environmental sustainability, educational reform, and economic growth. Prior to his service to Laspau he was Budget Officer for the Latin American Region of the Peace Corps in Washington, DC.
Mr. Strong is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of Laspau’s Executive and Nominating and Governance Committees.
Dr. Reyes S. Tamez Guerra
Professor Emeritus, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
Dr. Reyes S. Tamez Guerra is a Full-time and Emeritus Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), and is author of 138 scientific papers and 8 books. He is a Member of the Mexican National Research System Level II and the Mexican National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Tamez Guerra was Vice-President and President of the UANL, Minister of Education of México (2000-2006) and Secretary of Education of the state of Nuevo León. He also served as member of the Lower Chamber National Congress 61st Legislature, and President of the Science and Technology Commission.
Dr. Tamez Guerra earned his bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at the UANL, and his master’s and PhD degrees in immunology at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional. He was a visiting scholar at The Gustave Roussy Institute of Cancerology in Villejuif, France. He has received 34 national and international awards for his research papers; notable among them is the National “Jorge Rosenkranz” Medical Research Award. Other awards include the order “Gabriela Mistral” of the Government of Chile in 2004, the Gold medal of the Organization of Ibero-American States in 2006, and Distinguished Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences in 2013. In addition, Dr. Tamez Guerra was a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011 and a Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow in 2012.