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Board of Directors

All aspects of BPIA’s operations are managed by an accomplished volunteer Board of Directors. The BPIA board is dedicated to increasing opportunities, exposure and involvement of our community in international affairs arena. Our Board of Directors are elected annually by our general membership. They represent leadership in our community committed to the mission and programs of BPIA.

Alexandria J. Maloney, MPA


Alexandria J. Maloney, MPA currently serves as the President of The International Association of Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA) and as a visiting lecturer at the Cornell University Brooks School of Public Policy. Maloney is a foreign affairs professional with nearly a decade of social impact experience. By 31, she was named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People of African Descent”, a “Forbes 50 Champion” for Black and Brown communities, and Distinguished Alumna of the Year at her alma mater in Italy for her leadership in building ecosystems to educate, prepare, and empower an organic reach of over 60,000. Maloney holds a B.A. in International Affairs from John Cabot University (Rome, Italy), M.A. in International Studies from Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), and MPA from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). At Cornell, she wrote her final research paper on diversifying U.S. foreign affairs agencies through system thinking frameworks. Her expertise and interests span a host of foreign affairs, DEIA, arts and culture, and public engagement matters

Violet Esipila


Violet Esipila founded Pepetwa Farm in rural Kenya with a strong focus on promoting and supporting women farmers. She is committed to raising awareness about best practices for women farmers and provides essential resources, employment opportunities, and youth volunteerism to uplift rural farming communities in Kenya. Currently, she is serving as an Agriculture Chair at Black Professionals International Affairs (BPIA) and as a Disaster Recovery Specialist at U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Esipila has extensive experience serving as a United States Peace Corps Ukraine Volunteer, where her work focused on international development with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Within this role, she concentrated on empowering and educating youth, women, and primary teachers on a variety of social issues. Her efforts included spearheading strategic planning initiatives to promote best practices in education, increase awareness of gender equality and leadership, and advocate for causes such as HIV/AIDS, disabilities, and breast cancer detection. Esipila holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from William Paterson University and a Master's degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Penn State University. She recently completed a course in Farm Management, Planning, and Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Bobby Curtis King II


Bobby Curtis King II, M.A is the current Vice President for Education and Exchange. He has been a BPIA member for three years and is an early career professional with a passion for international development. He currently works in USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian He previously supported USAID and FCDO-funded programs in Africa, he worked in African Union’s Peace and Security department, the University of Peace, Africa Programme based in Addis Ababa. He has an M.A. in Global Studies with an emphasis in Peace and Security in Africa from Addis Ababa University and Leipzig University. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from Elon University.

Michelle Washington 


Michelle C. Washington is a social scientist and technologist who believes in the value of public service and using technology to solve society’s problems. Her passion is collaborating at the intersection of technology, policy, digital equity, and national security. She is currently serving in the Cyber Excepted Service as an Information Technology Specialist in the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office, at the U.S. Department of Defense. Her work focuses on establishing new systems and tools for mission support leveraging data and analytics. Washington's experience spans over a decade in foreign policy, information technology, public finance, governance, and public administration. Her work supported military assistance, international security, economic development, global health programs, human rights initiatives, and humanitarian assistance in Africa, the Middle East and South America. She has worked with the Department of State in the U.S. Office of Foreign Assistance, the Foreign Service Institute, and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Washington is a Truman National Security Scholar serving on the Defense Council and a National Security Fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. She is a member of the Marconi Society advocating for digital equity and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Washington holds a Master of Public Administration, with an International Management focus from George Mason University and a professional certificate in Humanitarian Assistance, Crisis and Conflict from Harvard University.

Lassine Cherif 


Lassine Cherif came to BPIA in 2010 as student member and volunteer. He subsequently joined the BPIA staff as Membership Coordinator and IT manager. Appointed to the board in 2018 and elected 2019; he serves as the chair of the membership committee overseeing the organization membership activities. Elected as assistant treasurer in 2022, Cherif's led the modernization of BPIA’s financial systems. He has been serving as treasurer since July 2022. Cherif is a highly accomplished and innovative IT leader with 10+ years of experience in IT and cybersecurity, including end-to-end definition and implementation of cybersecurity/ information security governance and compliance programs while building and leading cross functional cybersecurity and compliance teams.

Sierra Bracero


Sierra Bracero, serves on the board of directors for three non-profit organizations, a Treasurer for Hispanic and Latin Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA), and Foreign Affairs Recreation Association (FARA), and as an Assistant Treasurer for Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA). Bracero specializes in Anti-Corruption policy, with her current role as an Anti-Corruption Advisor in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Bracero has dedicated 5 years to the U.S. Department of State. Bracero's passion for public service stems from her previous career as an active-duty Marine where she was a Low Altitude Air Defense (LAAD) Gunner. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Bracero brings valuable linguistics skills to her work. Bracero completed her undergraduate studies in National Security Studies at Norwich University and is currently pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in government at Harvard University.

Oona Nelson 


Oona Nelson is a public affairs officer and communications professional in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Howard University with a Bachelor's of Business Administration in International Business and completed a certificate in professional writing from the University of Pennsylvania. Nelson is an active member of UNA-USA and has been involved with BPIA since her undergraduate years.

Christopher Shell 


Christopher Shell is a fellow in the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment. At Carnegie, Shell leads a project that examines the impact of U.S. foreign policy on Black Americans since the end of the Cold War. His writings on the relationship between African Americans and international politics have appeared in Picturing Black History, the Journal for African American History, and Gotham: A Blog for Scholars of New York City History. Shell received his BA from Howard University and his PhD from Michigan State University in history.

Ethel Mwedziwendira


Ethel Mwedziwendira is an innovative, persuasive strategic communications leader with a demonstrated history of developing comprehensive narratives for high-value clients. With a proven track record, she has successfully contributed to high-profile legal cases at the post-appellate level and has been instrumental in driving impactful social initiatives. She has successfully secured media placements in renowned outlets such as The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Bloomberg Law, Al Jazeera, and various other prestigious outlets, showcasing her expertise across state, national, and international media landscapes. Her commitment to consistently achieving desired outcomes is evident throughout her career. A proud alumna of the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science, Mwedziwendira has garnered recognition as a fellow in the Vital Voices Visionaries Program, in collaboration with Estée Lauder's Emerging Leaders Fund. She has also been honored with several awards in journalism and editorial design, including accolades from the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Media Editors (APME). Additionally, she actively serves on the Board of Directors for Hunger Free America. Mwedziwendira's unyielding passion revolves around embracing new challenges and exploring innovative methods to construct compelling narratives and foster engagement.

Abbey Ogunwale


Abbey Ogunwale is a seasoned leader in the international development arena with extensive experience across several countries and sectors. For over a decade, he has provided organizations with the context, foresight, and extensive analysis they need to solve the unknown and enhance their understanding of global, regional, and national affairs. He is currently the Vice President at One Earth Future Foundation, a peace-building organization that incubates innovative programs aimed at preventing conflict and promoting stability in fragile and conflict affected states. He has a B.Sc. from Babcock University, a master’s degree in project management from George Washington University’s School of Business, and a Ph.D. in Public and Business Administration from North Central University. He also received Executive Certificates in Management, Leadership and Strategy from MIT Sloan School of Management, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and Shenandoah University’s School of Business.

Jonathon N. Cummings


Jonathon Cummings is originally from Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to New York City at the age of 16. Cummings holds a BA in Culture and Communication Studies from Ithaca College and an MPA from Cornell University. While at Cornell, Cummings was elected the President of the Cornell Public Affairs Society (CPAS). Cummings has significant experience working with international NGOs, operating within the multilateral space and alliance management Currently, he serves as a Member of the Steering Committee for the Alliance of NGOs and CSOs for South-South Cooperation, an Advisor to Global Policy Insights, and an Alliance Manager for Deloitte.

Jimmy Santos


Jimmy Santos (he/him/his) has worked in public service at the local, state, and federal levels advising senior officials on national security and domestic policy. Prior to these roles, he served on Active Duty with the United States Air Force as a lead tactics instructor flying over 180 combat missions in Afghanistan. Santos has been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 Military veteran and as a rising leader by several organizations to include the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Diversity in National Security Network, New America, and Out in National Security.​ Santos is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Marshall Memorial Fellow with the German Marshall Fund, a Political Partner with the Truman National Security Project, and a member of Foreign Policy For America's NextGen Initiative.

Cory Bullock


Cory Bullock is a Senior Manager of Global Government Affairs at cybersecurity firm Tenable. In his role at Tenable, Bullock develops and executes strategies to engage with governments around the world on cybersecurity policy and leverages public-private partnership to drive long-term strategic business outcomes. Prior to Tenable, Bullock worked at USAID, where he helped develop the Agency’s policy and legislative engagement strategies to advance key foreign policy priorities. He is also a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, and previously worked at the Department of the Treasury. He holds a B.A. from Emory University and an M.A. in International Development from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

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