Vice President for International Relations
Dévora was born in Israel, grew up in Costa Rica, and came to the US in 1972 for her undergraduate studies at Northwestern University (Economics, 1976). She received her PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University in 1982 with an emphasis on International Political Economy and Latin American Politics. She also has a JD (1995) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she taught Latin American Politics and was Associate Director of the Office on International Programs and Studies. Dévora has been working in international programs for more than 25 years, specializing in the development of interdisciplinary programs, global health curricula, study abroad programs, and grant writing and fundraising. Read Dévora's full biography.
Assistant Vice President for International Relations
Kim Rapp, Assistant Vice President for International Relations, helps the university define its key international priorities and develop and implement its global strategic plan. Her areas of expertise include change management, graduate education, and program development. Previous positions include executive director, Stanford University’s Global Studies Division and associate director, University of Wisconsin - Madison Global Studies Program. Rapp earned her PhD in Higher Education Administration and Policy Analysis, her MA in African Literature at UW-Madison, and her BA from Juniata College. Her teaching has ranged from African literature to international research methods, and her publications focus on graduate education.
- Faculty, Staff and Alumni Engagement
- Grant Writing and Proposal Review
- New Initiatives
Senior Director, Global Engagement and Intercultural Initiatives
Jennifer has spent the majority of her career in the field of international education and has held roles focusing on international student program management, academic advising, and educational development in conflict contexts. Before joining Northwestern in 2019, Jennifer was the Senior Director of the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Community Programs department at New York University Abu Dhabi. Additionally, she spent seven years at Northwestern, where she directed the Kellogg School of Management’s Executive MBA Global Network and managed graduate programs at the School of Professional Studies. She has also worked on U.S.-government funded programs at DePaul University, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the nonprofit AMIDEAST. She has lived in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Jennifer completed her BA in Political Science and Women’s Studies at DePaul University and her MA at the University of Chicago in Social Sciences.
- Partnerships and Agreements
- Visitors and Delegations
- Liaison to Chicagoland International Community
Senior Director, Communications and Intercultural Learning
Janka joined Northwestern in 2010, and has since been working in marketing and communications in the fields of international programming and relations. In her current role, Janka develops communication plans for global initiatives and internationalization efforts, drafts executive communications, and and co-directs the Intercultural Learning Initiative, facilitating workshops and designing programming on cultural competency. She has written extensively about programs in Germany, France, Serbia, China, South Africa, Cuba, and Mexico. Before joining Northwestern, Janka was in charge of PR and Communications at the German American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago. Janka has a BA and MA in Communication with a focus on mass communication, international public relations and intercultural communication from Illinois State University. She also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center in Chicago. Janka was born and raised in Germany.
- Internal and External Communications
- Northwestern in the World Resources
- Intercultural Learning Initiative
International Relations Coordinator
Hongji Wang joined the Office of the Vice President for International Relations (VPIR) in March 2023. He has extensive work experience in international education and relations through previous roles in the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISS) at Northwestern University, the Office of International Admissions and Office of International Affairs at North Park University, and the Office of International Student & Scholar Services and the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity at DePaul University. His experience as an international student in the U.S. sparked his passion for international education. Originally from a small town in Hunan, China, Hongji began his post-secondary education in the U.S. in 2011. He earned a BS in Advertisement and Promotion from Missouri State University and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Loyola University Chicago. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Education Leadership at DePaul University.
- Executive Assistant to Dévora Grynspan
- Financial Oversight of Office Budget
- International Relations Project Coordination
East Asia Liaison
Licheng Gu joined the Office of the Vice President for International Relations in January 2019. Gu is also a Professor of Instruction in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, where he teaches courses on Chinese language and literature and focuses his research on teaching pedagogy. Gu has authored numerous books and articles. His latest book, An Analysis of Chinese Teaching in America: Its Past, Present, and Future, was published in January 2019 by Beijing Language and Culture University Press. He also leads the “NU in China” summer study abroad programs and was Director of Northwestern’s former Program of African and Asian Languages for ten years. Born and raised in Beijing, Gu completed his BA in Beijing and his master’s degree in Australia. He completed his Ph.D. in 1992 at the University of Oregon and taught at Princeton University before arriving at Northwestern in 1993.
- Advises on strategic university initiatives and partnerships in East Asia
- Provides support for delegation visits to and from East Asia
- Assists with raising Northwestern’s visibility in East Asia through various communication efforts
Israel Liaison and Director, Israel Innovation Project (IIP)
Elie Rekhess, Ph.D. (Tel Aviv University) joined the Office of the Vice President for International Relations in January 2021 as Israel Liaison. Rekhess is also the Director of the Israel Innovation Project (IIP) at Northwestern, which was established in 2020 to expand and develop academic ties between Northwestern and Israeli universities — with a special emphasis on science and technology. Rekhess is Crown Visiting Professor in Israel Studies at Northwestern, a position he has held since 2013, and teaches in the Department of Jewish Studies and the Department of History. In 2014, he established Israel Studies at the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. Rekhess is a leading historian of the contemporary Middle East, specializing in the study of the Arab minority in Israel and Islamic resurgence within the Palestinian society. He has authored and edited over a dozen books — his most recent was entitled: Muslim Minorities in Non-Muslim Majority States.
- Assists with expansion and development of institutional relationships and programs in Israel
- Leads the Israel Innovation Project (IIP) to promote technological and scientific relationships between Northwestern faculty and their Israeli counterparts
- Provides support for delegation visits to and from Israel
Krystle Felcaro Heaps
Program Assistant, Israel Innovation Project (IIP)
Krystle Felcaro Heaps is the program assistant for the Israel Innovation Project (IIP) . In her role, Krystle serves as the manager and coordinator of the project focusing on partnership development and growth, program execution, and marketing and communications. Prior to joining IIP, Krystle managed the Israel Studies events and programs at the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies since 2017 when she joined Northwestern. She studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in Marketing and graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration. She is currently working on her Master’s in Sports Administration at Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies. Krystle has over ten years of experience in marketing and public relations, project management, and client service, working with several marketing agencies, startup software companies and her own non-profit projects.
- Coordinates IIP projects focused on partnership development and growth
- Organizes IIP programs and events
- Leads IIP marketing and communications
Intercultural Learning Initiative Intern
Ruonan Wang (she/her) is originally from Beijing, China. Ruonan came to the United States as a student and received her undergraduate degree in Education with a focus on media and technology from Syracuse University. She is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy program at Northwestern. As an intern, Ruonan works with the Intercultural Learning Initiative and helps plan workshops, conduct research and compile and analyze data.
- Workshop Planning
- Data and Analytics
Communications and Marketing Intern
Sequina King is a student who loves to express the stories of others in a creative way. Growing up in an African immigrant family with Tigrinya being her first language, she became aware of the importance of communication and connection, using her passion for art and writing as a medium. As a RTVF & Creative Writing double major along with a Video Game Design minor and an IMC Certificate, Sequina has familiarized herself with professional software to make videos, articles, and designs that will present tales and narratives of a lifetime. With a history of graphic/interior design, film, writing, and art, she works with Janka Pieper to bring the stories and experiences within the Northwestern community to life.
- Helping tell Northwestern's International Story
- Website and Graphic Design
- Creative forms of Marketing