Educating young people about world events
Luncheon Lectures
Berks Cable TV Show
Breakfast Meeting
Wednesday, April 25th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Dr. Stepanka Magstadt

Human Trafficking, A Global Problem, A Local Solution

A migration historian educated in the U.K., the United States, and the Czech Republic, she is currently teaching courses dealing with Global Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking and Domestic Violence she developed. Stepanka is the Director of the Center for the Study of Human Trafficking in South-Central Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on identifying vulnerabilities to Sex Trafficking and Domestic Violence.



Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, May 9th 2018

Luncheon Meeting - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Dr. Tara O

The Nature of the Kim Family Regime and the Future of the Korean Penninsula

Sponsored by Vice Admiral Daniel Cooper, USN (ret.)

Dr. Tara O is an Adjunct Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS. She is the author of The Collapse of North Korea: Challenges, Planning, and Geopolitics of Unification. She serves on the board of directors of the International Council on Korean Studies and was the editor-in-chief of its journal International Journal of Korean Studies (IJKS). A retired Air Force officer, she worked on national security, intelligence, alliance, and political-military issues at the Pentagon, the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea, and the U.S. European Command, as well as intelligence agencies. She also worked counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and satellite issues. She worked in a variety of capacities, including analysis, liaison, and leadership.

As a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, she taught strategy and military operations. She was a faculty researcher at the Institute of National Security Studies. Her research areas include the Korean contingency and unification, U.S. alliance relationships in Asia, human rights in North Korea, and the social integration of North Korean defectors.

Prior to the military, she also worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including the U.S. Agency for International Development in Nairobi, Kenya, working on drought assessment and food aid; the Asia Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand and Vientiane, Laos, assisting the Laos Central Bank as it transitioned from a centrally-planned to a market-oriented economy; Bank of America, managing syndicated loans to Latin America; the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, assessing potential global flash points; and the United Nations Association of the USA in New York,analyzing international economic institutions.

She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of California at Davis, an MPA in Public Policy and International Affairs from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Texas at Austin.

Breakfast Meeting
Wednesday, May 16th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Professor Alexis Jardine

Similarities and Differences Between PA Dutch and Latino Cultures

Alexis Jardine is a Professor, Coordinator of the Spanish Department, and Co-Chair of the Multicultural Awareness Initiative at Reading Area Community College.  Alexis attended the Andres Bello University in Venezuela earning a bachelor’s degree in Education.  Prior to coming to the US, Alexis worked for the Embassy of Japan and the Embassy of Canada.  She has earned four Masters Degrees in Education and studied and lived in Barcelona Spain.  She is the author of No Barriers! College Success Strategies for Hispanic Students, a text book published by Kendall/Hunt in 2003. Alexis specializes in the development of Spanish language curriculum and cultural training for business executives, hospitals, and embassy staff.  She enjoys traveling to South American and Europe.  

Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, June 13th 2018

Luncheon Meeting - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 of Email

Bonnie Rohde

Tariffs, Trade, and Tribulations

Bonnie is an Instructor of Business at Albright College

D.B.A.: Wilmington University (in progress)
M.B.A.: Saint Joseph’s University (international business)
B.S.: Albright College (computer science and marketing)
A.S.: Lincoln Technical Institute (electronics technology)

Data Science Certification Johns Hopkins University through Coursera, 2015

Masters Certificate – Project Management, Stevens Institute of Technology & Lucent Technologies School of Business, 1998

Certified in Total Quality Management as a Trainer, Facilitator, Team Leader, and Team Member, AT&T School of Business and Technology, 1987

Breakfast Meeting
Wednesday, June 20th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Peter Rye, President

International Business: Brentwood Industries

Brentwood began putting down roots in foreign countries nearly 20 years ago starting with Thailand. Today, we operate in the Czech Republic and India also with a Mexico facility soon to open. Even our US based operations enjoy sales to foreign countries amounting to approximately 30% of the whole, including over 30 years of selling to China.

Many of our product relate to infrastructure such as power generation, water and waste-water processing and storm-water management. These are things that all countries need, especially countries that are advancing in their desire to live as we do. Our opportunities abroad come from interest in these products. As demand builds in a region over time, we begin to consider the need to be local. Despite having preeminent products in our niches, we will always encounter both indigenous competition and competition from other foreign companies, whether European or Chinese, that results in price pressure. Often, we choose to be a pioneer in establishing local manufacturing and setting customer expectations on performance and value rather than wait to become a “me too”. This requires a long term view and patience.

Brentwood is more comfortable in foreign lands and cultures than many US companies. My parent, sister and I emigrated from Denmark. Since Denmark is so small, its economic development is dependent on commerce with foreign countries. Operating abroad is natural. Brentwood has become a magnet for foreign born workers because we need their language skills, cultural understanding and openness. Also, emigrating is an inherently entrepreneurial act. Entrepreneurship is something we value.


Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, September 12th 2018

Luncheon Meeting - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Nicholas Eftimaides

Strategic Security Issues for the 21st Century

Nicholas Eftimiades recently retired from the US Department of Defense. His 34 year government career includes employment in CIA as a Technical Operations Officer, Special Agent in the US Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and a Senior Intelligence Officer in Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Mr. Eftimiades held positions in analysis, human and technical intelligence collection, and program management. He had overseas assignments in Vienna, Frankfurt, Moscow, London, and Tokyo. His long career in DIA includes senior assignments as the Chief of Counterterrorism Operations, Transnational Issues Division, Futures Division, and Space Division. He has been awarded the National Intelligence Council Achievement Award and DIA Director's Intelligence Award - that agency's highest recognition of achievement. He distinguished himself numerous times in the senior ranks of the intelligence and defense communities. As a subject matter expert Nick was called upon to provide Congressional testimony and briefings to the Cox Commission, the Joint Economic Committee, President’s Commission on the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, and individual meetings with Congressional Members and staff.

Mr. Eftimiades was also a Senior Research Fellow at King’s College War Studies Department, London UK. He has an M.S. Strategic Intelligence, National Defense Intelligence College; and a B.A. East Asian Studies, George Washington University. Mr. Eftimiades has authored books and number of scholarly articles on national security, technology, and space issues. Nick’s book "Chinese Intelligence Operations," is an examination of the structure, operations, and methodology of the intelligence services of the People's Republic of China. To date, it remains the only scholarly analysis of China’s intelligence services and operational methodology.

Nick is a frequent lecturer and public speaker on future technology, space, and national security issues. He has appeared as an expert on CBS Evening News, Dateline NBC, ABC's Day One, BBC, BBC America, National Public Radio, and dozens of other television and radio broadcasts. He has been quoted in hundreds of newspapers and magazines across the world.

Expertise: Intelligence Operations, Terrorist Operations, National Security Space, Diplomacy, Asia Security issues

Luncheon Meeting
Wednesday, October 10th 2018

Luncheon Meetingf - 12:00 Noon - Inn at Reading
Reservations: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

Jenny Town

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Master of International Affairs from Columbia University; BA in East Asian Studies and International Relations from Westmar University

Jenny Town is the Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and manages programs on North Korea, nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, US-ROK alliance and Northeast Asia regional security. She is the Managing Editor and Producer of “38 North,” a web-journal providing analysis of events in and around the DPRK–from social evolution to political developments to WMD. She is an expert reviewer for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, where she previously worked on the Human Rights in North Korea project. And she is also an Associate Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS, a Senior Fellow for Korea Studies at the America Foreign Policy Council, an Associate Member of the Council of Korean Americans, and a Member of the National Committee on North Korea.

Prior to working in Korean affairs, she was the Communications Director for Peace X Peace; the Director of the Washington (DC) Office/Special Projects Manager for Government Relations at the College Board; and a Project Manager at Clarity Coverdale Fury Advertising, Inc. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Melton Foundation and the Editorial Board for Inkstick.

Breakfast Meeting
Thursday, October 11th 2018

Breakfast Meeting - 7:30 AM - Albright College
Reservationa: Call 610-375-7880 or Email

International Women's Day Snow Date

Susan Markham

How the Untapped Power of Women and Girls Can End World Poverty

Susan Markham most recently served at the Unites States Agency for International Development (USAID) as the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. In this position, she advised Agency leadership on gender policy issues, led cross-sectoral program efforts in resilience, adolescent girls’ education and energy, and represented the Agency to the White House and other departments, governments, civil society organizations and private partners. Previously, she led the efforts of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) a non-partisan organization, to increase women’s political participation globally as voters, activists, candidates and officeholders. In this role, she was especially proud of her work in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen to help women find and use their voices in their countries.

Susan worked earlier in her career in U.S. politics bringing to life her Master’s thesis that focused on women running for political office. At EMILY’s List, she ran the Political Opportunity Program (POP) that recruited, trained and supported women running for office at the state and local office. She also managed the Campaign Corps program that brought young people into the political process to engage them in elections. 

Susan now works and lives in Washington, DC with her family and two dogs. She’s earned degrees from George Washington University (Master’s of Arts) and THE Ohio State University (Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and International Studies), but looks forward to learning new things every day.