Dr. Leventhal has spent a career as a successful entrepreneur as well as an internationally renowned higher education administrator and expert on global higher education. He currently holds an appointment at the University at Albany-State University of New York as professor of professional practice and entrepreneurship in the School of Education. Prior to his current appointment, Leventhal served as vice chancellor for global affairs at the State University of New York system administration (with responsibility over 64 institutions and more than 600,000 students and 90,000 faculty) and as vice provost for international affairs at the University of Cincinnati.
Mitch Leventhal has long been an advocate for reform of US recruiting practice, development of new financing paradigms in support of internationalization, creation of improved technical systems to support comprehensive internationalization, and deeper and more creative approaches to engagement with corporate partners.
As founding chairman of the American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) Leventhal developed a new standard development organization which provides the world’s first rigorous certification process for international student recruitment agencies. This effort led to widespread changes in international recruitment practice in the United States. He has also has served as senior advisor on academic affairs to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), where he headed a global academic working group which is developing an implementation and reporting framework so that higher education institutions can adopt UNGC principles with the same efficacy as corporations.
Dr. Leventhal has founded (or co-founded) several private sector companies, including: Planet Payment (NASDAQ: PLPM) – a global multi-currency payments company; Technology Exchange (TechEx) – a Yale University spin-off to facilitate technology transfer between research institutions; and, Microstate Corporation – an Internet solutions company which specialized in Internet solutions for the financial services industry.
Dr. Leventhal has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the leading “Innovators in Internationalization” for his work at the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Leventhal earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago, where he focused on the nexus between entrepreneurship, medical education and development in the Caribbean. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Director and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Knerr, co-founder of Academic Assembly, is Managing Director and founder of AKA Strategy, a strategic planning consulting firm assisting higher education institutions, and other leading nonprofits in the United States and globally to successfully address complex strategic challenges. He was previously Executive Vice President for Finance and Treasurer for Columbia University and Vice Chancellor for Budget and Planning of the City University of New York. He was earlier Special Assistant for Budget and Planning to the Acting President of Yale University; an Associate with the consulting firm of Booz, Allen & Hamilton; a Program Officer with the International Exchange Program; a Teaching Associate at Indiana University; and a Teacher at Milton Academy.
Anthony Knerr has taught English Literature at Columbia College, Public Policy and Nonprofit Management at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, English Literature at Indiana University, Philosophy at Yale University and Public Policy at the New School. He has written and published widely on strategy, non-profit organizations, public policy, higher education and literature.
Dr. Knerr is currently President Emeritus of the Sea Turtle Conservancy; President Emeritus of United Neighborhood Houses of New York City; Treasurer of Words Without Borders; and a board member of the Keats-Shelley Association and New York Society Library. He is also a Lead Director of the Delaware Group of Mutual Funds and a member of the Mutual Fund Directors Education Council. He has previously served on numerous other nonprofit and corporate boards, and was recently Vice Chairman of Humanity in Action. He is a member of the Foreign Policy Association, Grolier Club, New York Economic Club and Phi Beta Kappa.
He received his Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University; M.A. cum laude in English Literature; and B.A. magna cum laude in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale University.
Director, President, Global Alumni Relations
With over 25 years of experience in higher education and constituent relations, Dr. Gretchen Dobson and her team at Academic Assembly, Inc. lead institutions, governments and member-based organizations towards sustainable international alumni engagement strategies and solutions. Dobson also provides professional coaching for international alumni relations, development, admissions and academic officers new to global engagement practices.
Dr. Dobson is the author of Being Global: Making the Case for International Alumni Relations (CASE Books, 2011), the International Travel Handbook: Engaging Constituents Abroad (Academic Impressions, 2014), and editor of Staying Global: How International Alumni Relations Advances the Agenda (EAIE, 2015). She was recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the leading “Innovators in Internationalization” for her work at Tufts University (USA).
Dobson serves as Board Chair of United Planet, a network of leaders and volunteers fostering cross-cultural understanding and addressing shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders.
Dobson received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Boston College, and her Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.
Robert Fried is the co-founder and CEO of the Chinese Language Institute (CLI) and Solstice Education. CLI is an internationally recognized center for Chinese language and cultural studies that has hosted over 2,000 students from over 27 countries since its establishment in 2009, while Robert was still an undergraduate in college. Solstice Education specializes in integrated, custom study abroad programs developed in partnership with colleges and universities. Robert graduated summa cum laude from Virginia Tech with degrees in Political Science and Communication and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He was named Virginia Tech’s 2012-2013 Outstanding Recent Alumnus for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. He earned his MBA in Entrepreneurial Management and Master of International Studies in Chinese & East Asian Studies from the Wharton School and the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. When not travelling, Robert spends the bulk of his time in Guilin, China and Monument, Colorado.
Director and Advisory Partner
Brian J. Whalen is among the most well-known and influential international education leaders currently working in the field. He served for more than a decade (2006-2018) as the President and CEO of The Forum on Education Abroad, the first Standards Development Organization (SDO) worldwide focused on international education. During that time, he oversaw the Forum’s growth into a leading international organization, and formidable quality assurance organization in the field of education abroad. He is also an experienced senior international academic officer, having served in that role at Dickinson College and Marist College. A widely published scholar, Brian was founding editor and publisher of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. During his long career, Brian has developed or overseen education abroad programs in more than 50 countries, has delivered dozens of presentations and trainings in the US and many other countries, has collaborated to secure nearly $4 million in grants in support of international education initiatives, and has participated in high level meetings as a discussant at the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Education, and the White House. Brian has an interdisciplinary doctorate from the University of Dallas in Psychology and Literature.
Graham Arad is an international corporate and commercial lawyer admitted to practice in New York, England and the British Virgin Islands. He has served as an international business advisor and counsel to diverse businesses and investors from New York, to London to Hong Kong. From 1999 to 2015 Mr. Arad served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and a Director of Planet Payment, Inc., a NASDAQ listed, provider of international payment and transaction processing services in more than 20 countries around the world. As co-founder, Mr. Arad managed the Legal and Human Resources Departments. As a main board Director he participated in strategic and policy decision making for the Company and its subsidiaries including investment funding and finance, merger and acquisitions, investor and personnel matters. Mr. Arad’s expertise is in global busienss, internal business processes – including finance, technology and operational teams – as well as working with external advisers to address all aspects of these multifaceted relationships including technology solutions, commercial arrangements, taxation, and regulatory requirements.
Prior to Planet Payment, in 1993 Mr. Arad became a co-founder of the law firm of Beck & Arad, LLP a New York and British Virgin Islands based, boutique, commercial and corporate law practice that focused on international business and working with technology companies. As early advisors on and adopters of the commercial Internet and e-commerce, Beck & Arad’s practice lead directly to the foundation of Planet Payment.
Growing up in England, Mr. Arad obtained his law degree from the London School of Economics. Following admission as a Solicitor, he became a partner in Robert Gore & Company, a commercial law firm in London before moving to New York with his family in 1991.