Senior Research Scholars & Fellows
Iain Thornton Christie
Iain Thornton Christie is a Senior Research Scholar and lecturer at The George Washington University and prior to 1999, was a manager and adviser at the World Bank. He consults on tourism and enterprise development for strategic growth and economic diversification for public and private sector groups. He led preparation of the World Banks Africa private sector strategy in 1997, its framework paper Tourism In Africa in 2000 and regularly publishes on tourism issues. Mr. Christie joined the World Bank in 1972 as a financial analyst and has covered tourism, infrastructure, finance and enterprise development. Mr. Christie has been a hotel manager (US and Europe), assistant professor at Michigan State University and a management consultant in New York City. He attended Strathclyde University, Scotland, and has graduate degrees in economics and business from New York and Michigan State Universities, respectively.
Eli Gorin, CMP, CMM is Managing Director of Aventura, Florida-based Hospitality Growth Partners (HGP), a hospitality consulting firm focused on helping organizations make sense of their approach to meetings and events through meetings management consulting and training/professional development. Prior to HGP, Mr. Gorin worked as Vice President of Global Client Relations for a convention services company specializing in international group housing for medical conferences, responsible for overseeing the account management of over 1000 clients in 70 countries. Previously, Eli and was president of gMeetings, Inc., a meeting management boutique focused on the logistical development and coordination of international corporate meetings and events with a specialization in the Latin American market.
Mr. Gorin is a graduate of the George Washington University having received his Bachelors of Business Administration and Master of Tourism Administration (MTA) degrees in Event, Sport & Hospitality Management. He also received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Leadership and Quality Management from the University of Miami (FL). In his 15 years of experience in the field, Eli has worked in various capacities within the meetings and events industry, from small corporate meetings to large citywide conventions. A great proponent of education within the meetings/events industry, Eli has been part of the adjunct faculty of GWU and Johnson & Wales University, and is currently a Senior Fellow of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at the George Washington University. He has been recognized by leading publications, including MeetingNews list of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry, The Meeting Professionals 30 Under 30, and Connect Magazines 40 Under 40 and has participated in various international association committees, including the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Chairwoman Award-winning Body of Knowledge Task Force responsible for developing the new Meetings & Business Events Competency Standards (MBECS). As part of his commitment to professional development, Eli has received his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation and attained the prestigious Certificate in Meeting Management (CMM), one of the highest level designations in the industry. A frequent speaker at industry association meetings and conferences, Eli has been a member of the MPI Platinum Speakers Series, as well as a Best In Class Speaker for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).
Stephen J. Hiemstra
Stephen J. Hiemstra, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Scholar with the Master of Tourism Administration Program at The George Washington University. Steve is a marketing economist and Professor Emeritus from the Hospitality and Tourism Department at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, where he was Director of their Ph.D. Program for a decade. He taught Economics of Tourism, Hospitality and Tourism Marketing, and Food Purchasing at Purdue for many years. Prior to that, Steve was with the U.S. Department of Agriculture working for the Food and Nutrition Service as Assistant to the Administrator in charge of evaluating the USDA food programs: Food Stamps, Child Nutrition Programs and the WIC Program. Previously, he was with the Economic Research Service where he authored the National Food Situation and did food price, food consumption, and food demand analysis for a decade. He has his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and attended the Stanford Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, CA.
Juan J. Luna-Kelser
Juan Luna-Kelser made a career at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in planning, designing, and managing tourism investment and sector loan projects for the Latin America and the Caribbean region. Since his retirement from the IDB in January 2007, Juan continues to be engaged by bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, as well as NGOs and private clients for sustainable tourism projects.
As an Adjunct Professor and Sr. Research Scholar at George Washington University School of Business and International Institute of Tourism Studies, Juan has taught courses in tourism policy analysis, community-based tourism and provided training courses in destination management, product development, ecotourism, workforce development, and rural and community-based tourism. Juan is also an advisor, facilitator and co-instructor to the University School of Business International Consulting Practicum Study Abroad Summer Program, involving graduate students in a six-week real-life tourism consulting assignment. In addition, Juan is the coordinator for the on-site portion of the UNWTO Themis Foundation / GW Course on Tourism and International Cooperation for Development, a course that trains university graduates and professionals in subject areas related to international cooperation and development through tourism.
Juan holds a Masters degree in Tourism Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Destination Management from George Washington University, as well as a Masters degree in Political Science from Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. He earned his Bachelors degree in Political Science at the University of the Pacific, Stockton, California. Juan is originally from Mexico City and is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Geoffrey H. Lipman
Geoffrey Lipman is Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization. He is Chair of Green Globe 21 the responsible/sustainable tourism group and of Green Global Village (GGV) its consultancy arm. He is President of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) – a platform connecting socially responsible tourism organizations & people, focusing on poverty alleviation through Tourism, particularly in Africa. He has served as Tourism Envoy for the Administrator of the UNDP and is Tourism Advisor to the Commonwealth & the World Economic Forum. He is a Board Member of Great Canadian Railway Company.
Between 1990 and 1999 he was the first President of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the global business leaders forum and prior to that Chief of Staff and Head of Government Affairs at IATA.
He has written and lectured around the world on tourism strategy, sustainability and airline liberalization, co-authored books on opening up European Aviation and established a Think Tank on Free Trade in the Air. He was a member of 2 European Union High Level Commissions – on Airline Liberalization and on Tourism Employment as well as a member of the UK Roundtable on Sustainable Development. He is a Member of the President of Zambia Business Advisory Council and the Ethiopia Think Tank and Senior Research Scholar at The George Washington University in the US.
Kesh Prasad has been the Executive in Residence at the Master of Tourism Administration Program since 2004, and has conducted graduate level courses in Hotel Brand Management and Tourism Marketing.
He has had vast experience in managing, teaching and consulting, having held senior management positions in manufacturing and hospitality in the US and India. For many years he was with Promus Hotels (now Hilton Hotels) based in Memphis, TN where he was a member of the market information and strategy team supporting leading hotel brands such as: Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites. Later he became Director, Hotel Practice at J. D. Power and Associates in Los Angeles, CA and after that Vice President, Opinion Research Corporation, Princeton, NJ. His is a consultant to National Geographic and a couple of software companies. He began his career as a member of the faculty at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India after receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Alvin Rosenbaum is a Senior Visiting Scholar at The George Washington University and is Senior Tourism Fellow in Residence at the Citizens Development Corps. He is former CEO of the National Center for Heritage Development and was president of the National Coalition of Heritage Areas. He serves as a tourism a advisor on various international development teams, including assignments in the Balkans, Euasia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Mr. Rosenbaum has worked extensively on public affairs, heritage development and cultural tourism projects as a consultant in the United States and abroad for more than thirty years. He lectures widely and is the author of several books, including Usonia: Frank Lloyd Wright Design for America and White House Christmas, both published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Luis Ernesto Simo
Luis Simo, an experienced journalist and marketer, was born in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He attended Arizona State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Broadcasting. He holds an Associate Degree in Architecture from Colegio Tecnologico de la Comunidad of San Juan, Puerto Rico and received art training from the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena and the New York School of Visual Arts.
He has a Master Degree in Marketing from University Unapec in Santo Domingo and extensive business training from Open University in Santo Domingo and is currently finishing his Masters in Tourism Management from the Universidad Operta de Cataluna.
Mr.Simo has been the Editor in Chief of several Dominican tourism magazines. He has been president of the National Association of Travel Writers as well as Vice President of the Latin American Federation of Travel Writers. He has been CEO of two communications companies, Media, S.A. and CLS Communications. He also speaks English, Italian, French and German.
In his role as Deputy Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic in charge of International Relations, he has been Vice President of the Caribbean Tourism Organization and as of today, is the Vice President of the Special Committee on Sustainable Tourism of the Association of Caribbean States. He presided over the Evaluation Committee for Projects of the Special Tourism Committee of the Organization of American States as well as been Vice President of the Regional Commission for the Americas of the World Tourism Organization.
In his government role, he is also in charge of the community tourism development projects of the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic.
Scott Wayne is a Senior Research Scholar and lecturer at George Washington University and Principal of SW Associates, a Washington, DC-based consultancy focused on sustainable development through tourism. He consults on sustainable tourism development in Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and Latin America for USAID, the World Bank, NGOs and private sector clients. Prior to 2002, he directed the North America office of the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council and was Chief of Communications for the Madrid-based World Tourism Organization. He was also the Vice President of an internet travel venture and worked for Lonely Planet and Sierra Club Books as author of seven travel books and an Egyptian Arabic phrasebook. Scott has a BS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MS from the Schools of Public Policy and International Relations at the University of Southern California.