Jonathan Cristol has served in several positions in the BGIA program, including Deputy Director and (since 2004) Summer Director. He is a former student of BGIA’s founding Director, James Chace. For the past seven years, Dr. Cristol has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bard College, where he has built a reputation as an outstanding teacher. At Bard he teaches courses including: “Introduction to International Relations,” “Advanced International Relations Theory,” “The United States and the Modern Middle East,” and “The Nature of Power,” a joint-seminar with the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Cristol is the recipient of numerous awards including a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship; a Mellon Grant for Curricular Development; an Overseas Research Scholarship; and a Postgraduate Research Scholarship from the University of Bristol (UK). He speaks and writes frequently on issues relating to diplomatic recognition, international relations theory, and the Middle East. Since January of 2010, Cristol has been an editorial advisor for Oxford University Press. Dr. Cristol holds degrees from Bard College (B.A. Political Studies), Yale University (M.A. International Relations) and the University of Bristol (Ph.D. International Relations).
Jonathan Becker is Vice President and Dean for International Affairs and Civic Engagement at Bard College. He also directs Bard’s academic program in Global and International Studies. He has written extensively on Soviet and Russian media, media and democratization, and US/Russian relations. Recent works include: ‘Lessons from Russia: A Neo-Authoritarian Media System,’ European Journal of Communications, June 2004; Soviet and Russian Press Coverage of the United States: Press, Politics and Identity in Transition (revised and expanded edition, Palgrave: 2003); and ‘Keeping Track of Press Freedom,’ European Journal of Communications, March 2003. In 2004, he served as a consultant for the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2020 project, facilitating workshops of international scholars from Europe and the former Soviet Union, and preparing a report on Eurasia. He was previously Assistant Vice President of the Central European University in Budapest and European Director of the Civic Education Project. He has taught at Yale, Wesleyan and Birmingham Universities. He received his doctorate from St. Antony’s College, Oxford in 1993.
Rachel is a graduate of Bard College ('06), where she majored in Political Studies with a concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies. As a student in the BGIA program (Fall '04), Rachel interned in the international legal department at the Center for Reproductive Rights. After graduation, Rachel moved to Barcelona where she lived and worked until January 2013. In Barcelona she worked as the program manager for Untours, a US-based travel company specializing in living like a local. She earned her M.A. in International Relations at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals ('12). Her master's honor thesis and work as a graduate research intern at Institut Català Internacional per la Pau focused on urban violence in Central America. Rachel comes to BGIA directly from the Institute for International Education, where she worked on the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program.
As the BGIA Senior Fellow in Venture Philanthropy & International Affairs, Diana Ayton-Shenker focuses on global social leadership and philanthropic innovation. She has taught and lectured at the American University of Paris, Lewis & Clark Law School, and Hunter College where she directed the first undergraduate human rights program in the country. At Bard College, Ms. Ayton-Shenker has led seminars on Human Security, Conscious Citizenship, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concentrating on human rights and the international finance sector. She is the author of two books on the United Nations, A Global Agenda: Current Issues before the General Assembly (2002, and 2001, Rowman & Littlefield), numerous articles on human rights, CSR, sustainable development and culture, as well as an original poetry collection, Tumbalalaika (2007, Narcissus Press).
The founding President of Global Momenta www.globalmomenta.com, a social investment consulting firm, Diana Ayton-Shenker works with private philanthropists, families, foundations and corporations to advance high-impact philanthropy, strategic partnerships and inspired social giving. She brings decades of work with philanthropy, the UN and other international organizations to promote practical and profitable solutions for effective social sector management and entrepreneurship promoting human rights & sustainable development.
She has held senior positions with Mercy Corps, PEN, Human Rights Watch, and has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. Ms. Ayton-Shenker received her LLM in International Law from the University of Essex Law School Human Rights Centre, and her BA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania. After living and working in France, England, Spain, and Israel, she has settled with her family in upstate New York.
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