The San Diego Diplomacy Council’s Advisory Board meets bi-annually to guide our council, to open doors to new opportunities, to make suggestions on how we can improve, and to create connections.
Advisory Board Chair
George was born in Louisiana and grew up in a US Air Force family that lived in many parts of the world. He graduated from high school in Naples, Italy, where his father was Commander of Allied Air Forces (NATO) in Southern Europe. He attended Yale University and graduated with a BA in International Relations. Following Law School at Louisiana State University, he began practicing law as a criminal prosecutor with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Read more
During his 35-year career, he specialized in white collar criminal prosecutions and served, among other jobs, as Chief of the Criminal Division in the US Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, and Chief of the Major Frauds Section in the US Attorney’s Office in San Diego. In the last five years of his career with DOJ, George worked in Southeast Europe as a legal advisor to several different countries and missions. For two years he lived and worked in Bucharest, Romania, where he was Resident Legal Advisor to the SECI Center (now SELEC), a platform for law enforcement cooperation in fighting organized crime, with representatives from 12 countries in the region. Later, he returned to the area on several occasions to provide guidance and training on Rule of Law issues. For example, he trained Macedonian judges, prosecutors and police on their new criminal procedure code; he conducted an analysis of Montenegrin efforts to combat corruption within the country; and he helped draft the new criminal procedure code for Kosovo. In San Diego, George has many interests including singing, tennis, jogging, and hiking. He is Immediate Past President of the Spreckels Organ Society, and currently Chair of Friends of Balboa Park, the non-profit organization devoted to preserving Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations through park-wide projects. George completed 6 years on the Board of the San Diego Diplomacy Council in June of 2018.
Susan L. Shirk (born c. 1945) is an expert on Chinese politics and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State during the Clinton administration. She was in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs (People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia). She is currently a professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego. She is also a Senior Director of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, where she assists clients with issues related to East Asia. She is married to Samuel L. Popkin, another prominent UCSD professor. Read more
Susan Shirk was born circa 1945. She received her B.A. in political science from Mount Holyoke College in 1967, her M.A. in Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1968, and her Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974. She first traveled to China in 1971 as a member of the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars.
Shirk is the Ho Miu Lam Endowed Chair of China and Pacific Relations in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego and Director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). She heads the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, a track II diplomatic initiative.
Darlene G. Davies
Balboa Park/Old Globe/SDSU Emeritus
Darlene Davies graduated San Diego State in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication Administration and her Masters Degree in Communicative Disorders in 1965. She’s a published writer in Speech Pathology, San Diego history, and co-producer of educational videos on international topics among others. Read more
With her long standing love of theatre and the arts, and her commitment to improving our community, Darlene served for eight years as a member of San Diego City Commission on the Status of Women, two terms on San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, nine years on the City Park & Recreation Board (simultaneously serving on the Balboa Park Committee, four years as Chair), twelve years on the Old Globe Theatre Board, and five years on the Board of YWCA of San Diego County. Darlene Davies achieved a unique trifecta of honors, November 14, 2006 which included “Darlene Davies Day” proclamations by the San Diego City Council, San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the State of California.
Judge Richard Huffman
Fourth District Court of Appeal
Justice Richard Huffman was appointed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal for the State of California by Governor George Deukmejian in October of 1988 following his tenure as a Judge of the Superior Court for San Diego County since April of 1985. Read more
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Huffman served as Chief Deputy District Attorney for over 10 years and as Assistant District Attorney for the remainder of his 14 years service with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. In those positions he was responsible for the overall supervision of a staff of 450, while at the same time personally taking to trial a number of complex and sensitive cases. His contributions to the administration of justice and his trial skills brought him four singular honors: “Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year” by the California District Attorneys Association, “Outstanding Public Lawyer” by the San Diego County Bar Association, “Prosecutor of the Year” by Citizens for Law and Order, and selection for membership in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was also the recipient in 1988 of the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association’s “Trial Judge of the Year Award.” In 2012 Justice Huffman was presented with the Ronald M. George Award for Judicial Excellence by the Judicial Council of California.
Judge H. Ronald Domnitz
H. Ronald Domnitz served for 24 years as a Superior Court Judge (1983 – 2007). During his tenure on the bench, he served in numerous court departments, including many years as a Family Law Judge. Since then he has continued to serve as a Family Law Judge on assignment to the San Diego Courts as well as those throughout the State. His prior legal background is rooted in 13 years of private practice with an emphasis in labor relations and family law. He was among the first group of attorneys in California to become a Certified Family Law Specialist.
Business Architecture Guild Advisory Board
Mike Clark is an industry recognized business designer and a member of the Business Architecture Guild Advisory Board. Mike grew up interested in both the complications and detail of engineering and the thoughtfulness and simplicity of art. Across his career he has applied these interests to define numerous business design frameworks across a variety of industries and solve the elusive outside in and inside out alignment. More recently Mike became an advisory board member of the business architecture guild. He previously held positions at JP Morgan Chase and other institutions.
Former Director, Center for Environment and National Security, UCSD/Scripps
Reno L. Harnish III was the Director of the Center for Environment and National Security (CENS) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego. Prior to, he was a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service (American diplomat) and formerly served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment, and Science. Harnish received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from San Diego State University, a Master’s in International Studies from American University, and a Master’s in Economics in 1975. Read more
Before entering the Foreign Service, Mr. Harnish worked as a research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, an international economist at the U.S. Department of Treasury, and as a clerk for Congressman Dave Martin of Nebraska.
Later, he served as the Environment, Science and Technology Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, as Economic and Commercial Counselor at the U.S. Embassy to the German Democratic Republic, in the Office of Developed Country Trade at the Department of State, as an Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria, a Political Officer in the Status Liaison Office in Saipan, and an Economic Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria.
Mr. Harnish speaks German, Italian, Swedish, and some Azerbaijani. He was honored for Presidential Meritorious Service, received Senior performance pay twice, and has been awarded a Meritorious and two Superior Honor Awards.
Consultant with Squareroot2
Kamaal Martin is a consultant with Squareroot2, where his focus is improving the region’s quality of life and growing out San Diego/Tijuana S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) eco-system. Prior to joining the private sector, he serves as Government Relations Specialist for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and as a Field Representative, District Director, and Special Assistant to the Speaker for the California State Assembly. A resident of Lemon Grove, Kamaal is an alumnus of University of Oregon, where he received a B.A. in History and an M.A. in International Studies. In addition to his consulting work, Kamaal also serves as adjunct faculty teaching Political Science in the San Diego Community College District.
Elena Salsitz is one of the community’s leading experts in the field of protocol, diplomacy and management of visits of dignitaries, diplomats and high-level international and domestic guests of the city. After working as chief of protocol for the NASA/Johnson Space Center and an assignment at the White House, she amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in managing all logistics and details surrounding visits of hundreds of dignitaries from across the country and around the world. Read more
Elena has extended the reach of the protocol office to several organizations, including the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association, World Affairs Council, San Diego World Trade Center, Japan Society of San Diego/Tijuana and the San Diego Concierge Association. She also coordinated making the 9/11 Day of Remembrance and established strong ties with the San Diego area military community. Elena has established strong ties with many sectors and sub-communities within the city, and during her tenure, San Diego has gained an additional two sister cities: Jalalabad, Afghanistan and the Shannon Region of Ireland.
Elena has also coordinated or participated in visits by the President, White House officials, international officials and many other notable visitors. Elena participates in community organizations including the Japan Society of San Diego/Tijuana, Citizens Diplomacy Council of S.D., KPBS, Crawford High School Somalian/Ethiopian Refugee Education Program, Bird Rock Elementary’s Homework Help Center, READ San Diego’s Citizenship Exam Preparation Program, Duke University Alumni Admissions Agency, Refugee Services Agency, Better Business Bureau, American Cancer Society and is a graduate of Leadership Houston. Her awards include being listed in Who’s Who Among American Women; the NASA/Johnson Space Center’s Certificate of Commendation, Outstanding Performance Award, Superior Achievement Award and Go the Extra Mile Award; and the NASA Administrator’s Commendation for management of JSC Distinguished Visitors Program.
Honorary Consul of Philippines in San Diego
Audie de Castro has 17 years of legal experience in both transactional law and litigation. He started his career working on high stakes estate and trust litigation for a boutique firm in San Francisco. He aggressively litigates business, corporate, real estate and investment matters, including those involving fraud or misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, securities, and franchise violations, and breach of contract. Read more
Utilizing his forensic accounting background, he has successfully prosecuted claims against controlling shareholders, directors and principals. He has obtained large settlements and has won trials. He serves on the Board of Governors for the San Diego Foundation, the largest foundation in the county. In 2011, he was appointed by the Mayor of San Diego as Chairman of the Consolidated Plan Advisory Board for the city, which advises the City Council on the distribution of millions of dollars of community development block grant funds (CDBG).
He is former Vice-Chair and Commissioner of the City of San Diego Citizens Equal Opportunity Commission. He is also past President of the Asian Business Association of San Diego and the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of LEAD San Diego (2003). Mr. de Castro graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco School of Law. He was a senior staff member of the University of San Francisco Law Review and McAuliffe Honor Society (top 10%). He is a member of the State Bar of California. He is admitted to practice in all state courts, the U.S. District Courts in the Northern, Southern and Central District, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He received a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of San Diego.
James C. Clark
Managing Director and Director of Development for California/Bajio Associates
James Clark is the Managing Director and Director of Development for California/Bajio Associates. C/BA works to link academic, business and civic enterprises between the Californias (California/Baja California) Read more
Clark is a native of Illinois, and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana with a B.S. in Marketing. After military service in New York, Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Würzburg, Germany, he began his professional career in San Diego as an advertising account executive. Among his clients at the time were the San Diego Padres, Caliente Racecourse and various real estate developments. With a partner, he moved north to found a Los Angeles-based magazine company to publish airline in-flight magazines. When he left that company—East/West Network—ten years later, more than 60 percent of all flights in the United States carried the company’s magazines. Following publishing ventures included serving as President/Publisher of San Francisco Magazine, the city magazine for the Bay Area, and Publisher of The Executive, a business magazine that profiled Los Angeles and Orange County companies through the eyes of those companies’ chief executive officers. Clark was also Director of Magazine Development at Freedom Communications in Irvine, and interim publisher of both World Trade and Latin Trade magazines, based in Irvine and Miami, respectively.
Prior to leading the California/Bajio Associates, Clark was the Founding Executive Director of the San Diego/Tijuana Smart Border Coalition (2007/2017). The Coalition is the leading bi-national organization working to ease border wait times between California and Baja California. It is the only regional organization with board members equally from Both San Diego and Tijuana. The Coalition also promotes the San Diego-Tijuana Region for investment, and is an advocacy group for bi-national border efficiency issues in Mexico City and Washington.
Clark was the founding Director of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Mexico Business Center and led the organization for 11 years (2003-2014). Before joining the SDRCC, he was Director for the Californias of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, based in Los Angeles (1997-2003). The United States-Mexico Chamber is headquartered in Washington, D. C. with sub-headquarters in Mexico City.
He was an International Friendship Commissioner for the City of Chula Vista, and has served on the Advisory Boards of San Diego Citizen’s Diplomacy Council, XLNC1 Classical Radio and LEAD San Diego. He has been a Member of the Board of Directors of the International Community Foundation and Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center as well as having served as the U.S. California Regional Team Leader for FUMEC and BIMI (Border Intelligent Manufacturing Initiative). He is a member of the North American Competitiveness Initiative of the George W. Bush Center, Dallas. He also continues as an Honorary Board Member of the San Diego/Tijuana Smart Border Coalition as well as being an honorary board member of Mainly Mozart 25 and the South (San Diego) County Economic Development Council. He was inducted into the Tijuana Paseo de la Fama in 2015.
Clark has been honored by the Congress of the United States, California State Senate, the State of Baja California, the Consulates General of Canada, Mexico and the United States, Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, Tijuana Innovadora, Tijuana Economic Development Corporation, and the Mayors of San Diego and Tijuana among others for his service to the region.
House of Pacific Relations, Balboa Park
Eugenie A. King is the President of the House of Pacific Relations of Balboa Park.
Adjunct Professor, Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego