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The Global Advisory Council (GAC) provides leadership to advance the mission and purpose of the Center for Global Engagement (CGE). GAC members collaborate with each other and CGE staff to generate innovative ideas, develop new initiatives, support program implementation, and assist with program evaluation. In addition, the GAC generates its own programs and initiatives that further the missions of the CGE and create a sense of community. GAC members assume public roles at select CGE events and in public communications, thus representing the CGE and taking ownership in its successful growth.


With international divisiveness growing in a time of deeper worldwide interconnectivity, more not less engagement with the global community will lead to solutions. Accordingly, James Madison University has transformed its successful Office of International Programs (OIP) into the Center for Global Engagement (CGE). JMU Associate Provost, Dr. Lee Sternberger says, “At Madison, we already do a great job sending our American students abroad and attracting a growing population of international students to JMU. Yet, all one has to do is read the increasingly alarming news to understand that we have an urgent responsibility to intensify our efforts and lead the way in raising global engagement among our students, faculty and, in fact, all of society.”

To meet the expanded goals of the CGE, JMU has established an advisory council to be populated by seasoned and successful international leaders. Jon Fleming—a JMU alumnus and executive at Audible—is a founding member of the Council. Because of Fleming’s international business experience, and a 10-year stint as a U.S. Marine deployed abroad, he says, “Global engagement is my passion. Being asked to help my alma mater create a new Center for Global Engagement gives me an opportunity to express that passion. And with the headlines today, I can’t think of more important work.”

The GAC will work with the university leadership on developing ground-breaking programs that elevate and expand the global engagement of its students, faculty, community, and society through opportunities at home and abroad. “We’ve got our sights set very high,” says Fleming. “The fact that the university has asked leaders in international business, non-profit and government to help advise the creation of this new center speaks volumes about how serious JMU is about confronting the big problems of the world.” 

Next Meetings

Upcoming meetings are TBD. Check back for future updates.

Meet the Members
Jon Fleming

Jon Fleming is a 1984 alumnus of James Madison University who majored in Spanish and Latin American Studies. He has held leadership positions in technology industries, including wireless and wireline telecommunications, media, and software. Jon is currently Vice President and Country Manager for Audible’s Canadian operation, and his extensive international experience managing multi-cultural environments and leading teams in Latin America, Western and Central Europe, the Middle East and Asia gives him a keen global perspective. Fleming is a decorated US Marine Corps officer and aviator.

Dan Nardi

Dan Nardi attended James Madison University, graduating with a degree in Chemistry and a minor in Math and Business in 1979; and then a Masters in Business Administration in 1986. Dan was employed at Merck & Co. Inc. from 1980-2012, holding numerous positions during his tenure there. In 2008/2009, he was the Executive Director of Americas Procurement, responsible for Global Procurement for Merck sites in North and Latin America. From 2009–2012, he was the Executive Director of Global Procurement, Asia Pacific and Japan. During those years, he was based in Singapore, with responsibilities for strategic sourcing and Country Procurement activities in Singapore, Japan, China, Australia/New Zealand and multiple other Asia locations. In 2012, he retired from Merck and became the Principal for wwlw Advisors, LLC., serving as an Independent Supply Chain and Strategic Sourcing Consultant. In 2014, Dan joined the JMU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as an Adjunct Professor.

Kimberley Furst

Kim Furst graduated JMU in 1991, and participated in the Study Abroad program in Florence. She began her career as a film editor, with credits including Discovery Channel’s Rocket Challenge, the popular aviation documentary "One Six Right, Wings Over the Rockies," starring Harrison Ford and the PBS series The Horsemen Cometh, about a P51 Mustang formation aerobatic team. She has produced hours of behind the scenes documentaries for American Studio features, including Tom Cruise and J.J. Abrams’ Mission Impossible: III - for which she earned Paramount Pictures a Golden Satellite Award, the "special features content" industry’s highest award. Her directorial debut Flying the Feathered Edge has been acclaimed as “a wonderful film” by Harrison Ford and “A cinematic burst of high-flying joy” by the press. Feathered Edge received the prestigious Combs/Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame, given to one book, journal or film a year that best preserves Aerospace history. Feathered Edge is listed by FLYING Magazine as one of the top 14 aviation films of all time, along with Top Gun, The Right Stuff, and Apollo 13. Her upcoming feature documentary, Rock Camp, features Roger Daltrey, Gene Simmons, Sammy Hagar, Judas Priest and Nancy Wilson, and explores a cultural phenomenon that has been going on in Los Angeles, New York and other cities for 21 years.

Pratik Banjade

Pratik Banjade graduated from James Madison University in 2010 with a BS in Sports Medicine and again in 2013 with a Master’s in Public Administration. While in graduate school, Pratik served as a Program Assistant for the JMU Office of International Programs (now CGE). While at JMU, he was highly praised, earning numerous honors and awards, including Graduate Student of the Year, JMU All Together One Award, and the JMU Dolley Awards: Carrier Award for Outstanding Personal Pursuit of Leadership Development. In 2012, he served as a summer intern at the US Department of State. Following graduate school, Pratik served as a Program Assistant at XLA and then transitioned into a fellowship with the Presidential Management Fellows Program, where he was appointed to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Pratik has been serving as a Program Examiner for the OMB since 2014.

Chelsea Wilkins

Chelsea Wilkins graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University in 2015 with a degree in Justice Studies and Anthropology, within the Honors Program. While at JMU, she participated in programs and independent research for her Honors Thesis in the Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, and South Africa. She is currently a third-year law student at William and Mary Law School, graduating in May 2018. While in law school, Chelsea has interned at the International Division of the National Center for State Courts, LeClairRyan law firm, a United States Attorney's Office, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. After graduation, Chelsea will work as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk with the Department of Justice Executive Office of Immigration Review with the Los Angeles Immigration Court, for a two-year term. She intends to pursue a career in international human rights law and policy.

Matthew Merritt

Matthew Merritt graduated from James Madison University in 2013 with a double major in Spanish and Global Justice Studies. He also participated in the Study Abroad program in Tarragona, Spain in 2012. Following graduation, he joined the Peace Corps as a Primary English Teacher in Lesotho, Southern Africa. As a volunteer, he taught English literacy, comprehension, and critical thinking skills. He also co-facilitated afterschool sessions on life skills including HIV/AIDS mitigation, gender equality, and character development. Following two years of service, Matthew moved to Charlottesville, VA and is currently Peace Corps’ Regional Recruiter for Central and Western VA. Outside of work, he is the Outreach Manager for Conservation Music, a nonprofit which brings environmental education through musical collaboration to rural communities across Southern Africa. He is a current board member of the JMU Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Network and is the Co-President for the Charlottesville Dukes Alumni Chapter. He is passionate about serving others and loves giving back to his JMU community.

Vinod Narayan

Vinod Narayan graduated from James Madison University in 2010 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Human Resources Development. While at JMU, Vinod was involved in a number of different initiatives on- and off-campus. Vinod served on the International Student Association (ISA) board from 2008-2010. He also served as a First Year Orientation Guide (FROG) in the fall of 2009. Off-campus, Vinod had the opportunity to volunteer on numerous disaster relief service trips to locations such as New Orleans, LA for Hurricane Katrina cleanup efforts and Welch, WA, for property cleanup and restoration, the latter of which he performed in the role of a small group leader. After graduating from JMU, Vinod went on to earn a Master’s in Human & Organizational Learning from George Washington University in 2012. Vinod is currently employed with the Bechtel Corporation as an HR Operations Representative within their Nuclear, Security a & Environmental business unit. Vinod joined Bechtel in 2012 and has held positions in various functions including data analysis, metrics and reporting, staffing and recruiting, employee development, and currently policy interpretation. His career has taken him through various parts of the USA, including Texas, Colorado and currently Virginia/Washington D.C.

Jason Matechak

Jason Matechak graduated from JMU in 1989 with a Political Science Degree and Minors in Russian Studies and Economics. He participated in the JMU Study Abroad program in Paris in 1988. He began his career with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where he served on short term assignments in Bolivia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Tunisia. He holds a Masters of Arts in International Commerce and Policy and a Law Degree. He currently is a Managing Principal with the Impresa Legal Group focusing on Government Contracts, International Transactions, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Technology. He presently serves as the Director of the Center for Procurement Law and Policy at the International Law Institute in Georgetown. He has served as a Partner in the Reed Smith law firm’s Global Regulatory Enforcement Group, and as the General Counsel of International Relief and Development and the International Development Law Organization in Rome. He has served on the Council and Administration Committee and as the Rule of Law Officer at the American Bar Association Section for International Law and as a Delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). Jason is married and has three children.

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