A career foreign service officer, Shapiro held numerous senior positions with the U.S. Department of State, including Ambassador to Venezuela and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere. Other foreign postings include Chile, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Denmark, in addition to Washington assignments. After retiring, Ambassador Shapiro was president of the Institute of the Americas, a think tank at the University of California San Diego.
The council’s board of directors, in collaboration with Georgia State University, conducted an international search for a new president. Council chairman and UPS CEO-elect David Abney noted that, “Ambassador Shapiro stood out as the most qualified candidate for a number of reasons, especially his experience as a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, including the position of ambassador to Venezuela, and his experience as president of the Institute of the Americas.” Abney added, “I am confident that he has the leadership experience that will enable him to work well with Atlanta’s leaders in business, government, and civil society to address international issues that are critical to Atlanta’s businesses, communities, and residents.”
Abney led the search with a board appointed committee that, in addition to himself, included board members Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Clyde Tuggle, senior vice president and chief public affairs and communications officer, The Coca-Cola Company; Lucinda Smith, senior vice president, global business services, AGCO Corporation; and David Forquer, assistant dean for executive education, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. The council’s Young Leaders vice chair, Cecily McLeod, and council administrator Clare Morton were also on the search committee.
In announcing the hiring of Ambassador Shapiro, Robinson College Dean Richard D. Phillips said, “The World Affairs Council is one of our most important global initiatives as it connects the college to the world in ways that we could not have anticipated following its formation four years ago. I am delighted to welcome Ambassador Shapiro not only as president of the World Affairs Council but also as a colleague. He brings a wealth of experience in global trade, international affairs and commercial diplomacy that will benefit Robinson’s students and the wider Atlanta community.”
Cedric Suzman, council executive vice president and director of programming, said, “We are pleased that Ambassador Shapiro will be leading the council. Under his leadership the organization will maintain its global outlook in programming and, given his experiences, will add new depth to our Latin America programming, a region that is critical to Atlanta.”
In accepting the position, Ambassador Shapiro said, “I am truly honored to have this opportunity to lead the World Affairs Council of Atlanta. In just over four years, my predecessor Wayne Lord and the council staff have done an amazing job delivering impactful programs on international topics critical to Atlanta and to the country. I look forward to building on this strong foundation and working to help Atlanta and Atlanta business think globally. As an Atlanta native and GSU alumnus, I am delighted to once again call Atlanta and Georgia State home.”
Shapiro, who holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Ed. from Georgia State University, will assume his new responsibilities on September 15. He replaces Wayne Lord, who retired June 30.
The World Affairs Council of Atlanta is a membership and grant supported, nonpartisan organization affiliated with the J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, and the World Affairs Councils of America. Its mission is to provide a forum for dialogue, a source of expertise, and an engine for research on international affairs and global issues that affect Atlanta and the world.
The largest business school in the South and part of a major research institution, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business has 200 faculty, 8,000 students and 75,000 alumni. With programs on five continents and students from 88 countries, the college is world-class and worldwide. Its part-time MBA is ranked among the best by the Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report, and its Executive MBA is on the Financial Times list of the world’s premier programs. Located in Atlanta, the Robinson College and Georgia State have produced more of Georgia’s top executives with graduate degrees than any other school in the Southeast.