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Conference Speakers

Opening Speaker: Derrick Olsen | Closing Speaker: Mary Thompson-Jones

NWMUN-Portland 2017 Opening Speaker: Derrick Olsen
President, World Affairs Council of Oregon; Former Vice President of Regional Strategy, Greater Portland Inc.

Derrick Olsen is President of the World Affairs Council of Oregon.  Prior to joining the Council on March 1, 2016, Derrick was the Vice President of Regional Strategy at the regional economic development nonprofit Greater Portland Inc (GPI) for almost four years where he led the implementation of Greater Portland Global, the region’s Global Trade and Investment Plan developed as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint program of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.  He also served on the Board of Trustees for the World Affairs Council of Oregon during that time.  

Previously, Derrick managed international trade and investment issues for over four years with Business Oregon (the Oregon Business Development Department).  Derrick also has over 13 years of experience managing political and economic issues as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Latin America, Asia, and Washington, DC, with four overseas tours including as Chief of the U.S. Embassy’s Political Section in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 

Fluent in Spanish, Derrick grew up in Oregon and graduated from Tigard High School.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Government and History from Dartmouth College and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.  He and his wife Rebecca are proud parents of their son James, a college junior, and their daughter Morgan, a high school senior.

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Faculty Director, Master of Science Program, Northeastern University, and former Charge d'Affairs, United States Embassy to the Czech Republic

Mary Thompson-Jones is a faculty member and the faculty director of the Master of Science in Global Studies and International Relations program and Professor of the Practice. Her research interests include international diplomacy, the intersection of cultural diplomacy and international higher education, and U.S. foreign policy in the geographic regions of Europe and Latin America.

Previously, Dr. Thompson-Jones was a career diplomat and foreign policy practitioner with 23 years of experience in the U.S. Department of State. She served in embassies and consulates in Madrid, Prague, Quebec, Guatemala, Sarajevo, and in Washington, D.C. Dr. Thompson-Jones attained the rank of minister counselor while serving as chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, where her portfolio included missile defense negotiations, the Czech entry into the visa waiver system, and the Czech presidency of the European Union. She oversaw two visits from President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, several cabinet secretaries, and numerous congressional delegations. In other overseas postings, she was a counselor for public diplomacy who orchestrated embassy work on media outreach programs and academic exchange programs. Dr. Thompson-Jones also served as the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence for the New England region, and she was the former dean of International Graduate Programs at Endicott College.

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