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Staff

Dévora Grynspan

Dévora Grynspan

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.

 

Kim Rapp

Kim Rapp

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.

Responsibilities:

  • Faculty, Staff and Alumni Engagement
  • Grant Writing and Proposal Review
  • New Initiatives

Kim was recently featured on NUWorkWell — Northwestern's podcast for Work, Life & Wellness as a graduate student — where she offered some authentic and practical job search and interviewing tips, spoke about why she made some non-traditional career decisions and revealed how she manages the often tricky work-life balance.

 

Jennifer Gerrard

Jennifer Gerrard

Director of International Agreements and Visitors

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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.

Responsibilities:

  • Partnerships and Agreements
  • Visitors and Delegations
  • Liaison to Chicagoland International Community

 

Janka Pieper

Janka Pieper

Director of Communications

Janka is in charge of telling Northwestern's international story and developing communication plans for the university’s global initiatives and internationalization efforts. Before joining the Office of International Relations in 2016, Janka was Assistant Director of Communications at the former Office of International Program Development at Northwestern University, where she led integrated marketing campaigns,  primarily focusing on study abroad, institutional international partnerships, and global health. Prior to that, Janka was Manager of PR and Communications at the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest in Chicago. Janka is originally from Germany. She came to the U.S. in 2001 as an exchange student and stayed to pursue a BA in Mass Communication at Illinois State University (2004), where she also worked as an international assistant. She also has an MA in Communication (2006) with a focus on international public relations from ISU. 

Responsibilities:

  • Internal and External Communications
  • Northwestern in the World Resources
  • Telling Northwestern's International Story

 

Annie Lee

Annie Lee

Executive Assistant

Annie is an advocate for cultural exchange and all things international. Having grown up in New York City, she developed an avid interest in learning about other cultures and in traveling globally. She has studied French, Hebrew, and Russian, and is fluent in conversational Korean. She has hosted high school students from Germany in her home when her three children participated in the German Exchange Program through the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) at Evanston Township High School. Before joining the Office of International Relations, Annie worked as a financial and grants manager for a social networks lab at the McCormick School of Engineering and the School of Communication. Annie holds a BA in Economics from Columbia University and a Certification in Cross-Cultural Ministry from Wheaton College.

Responsibilities:

  • Assistant to Dévora Grynspan
  • Financial oversight of office budget
  • Assist with project coordination
Licheng Gu

Licheng Gu

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.

Responsibilities:

  • 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

 

Elie Rekhess

Elie Rekhess

Israel Liaison

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.

Responsibilities:

  • 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

 

Kianti Champion

Kianti Champion

Graduate Intern

A Chicago native, Kianti Champion received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from DePaul University in the spring of 2021. Kianti is currently studying Higher Education Administration & Policy at Northwestern in order to expand her outreach to a broader student population and more positively impact students’ lives. With dual interests in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and international relations, Kianti focuses on ways to create more equitable and inclusive campus experiences for all. In addition, she aims to support underrepresented students by helping to create more diverse and inclusive environments within international education.

 Responsibilities:

  • Research
  • Communications
  • Special Projects