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Director and Professor
Dr. Jerome (Jerry ) Sheridan is the Director of American University's Brussels Center and a Professor of International Relations at American University. Since coming to Brussels in 1991, he has developed, directed, and taught a number of specialized academic programs on the European Union and NATO for students coming from American University's main campus in Washington, DC. He serves as a Lecturer at the Netherlands Defense College, and as a frequent guest lecturer for various European and American audiences on transatlantic relations, the European Union's Common Security and Defense Policy, and NATO. He is also the Chairman of the Fulbright Commission for Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union, and NATO. Outside of academia, Dr. Sheridan is the President of the American Overseas Memorial Day Association in Belgium. He is a Past-President of Lions Club Ijsedal Tervuren, and a member of the Executive Board of the Transatlantic Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is an active participant in the Transatlantic Policy Network and the American Defense Industry Forum, and is a member of several other community service, cultural, and professional organizations. Professor Sheridan graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame and earned his Doctorate in Economics from American University. Prior to coming to Belgium, he taught at American University's London Semester Program, and on the main campus in Washington, DC. While in graduate school, he worked as a part-time Legislative Aid for a Member of the United States Congress. He has also taught at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Dr. Sheridan and his family live in Tervuren, Belgium. He is a dual national, trilingual, and an avid amateur mountaineer.
Amber has lived in Belgium since 2014, and started working with the AU Brussels center in the Fall of 2015, working with staff and students to ensure a successful semester for all. A native New Yorker, she has lived in 8 countries and enjoys the challenges each new experience brings. She has a background in international program and grant management, educational program and business development, and government relations. Past experience includes serving as a Program Officer for the U.S. State Department's English Language Fellow Program, working as part of the Academy of Educational Development's Iraq Education Initiative in Baghdad and Washington, DC, and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. Amber holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from American University and a Master's Degree in Sustainable Development from the School of International Training.
Jamie Shea is NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. He has been working with NATO since 1980. Positions included Director of Policy Planning in the Private Office of the Secretary General, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for External Relations, Public Diplomacy Division, Director of Information and Press, Spokesman of NATO and Deputy Director of Information and Press, Deputy Head and Senior Planning Officer at the Policy Planning and Multilateral Affairs Section of the Political Directorate as well as Assistant to the Secretary General of NATO for Special Projects. Jamie Shea is involved with several prominent academic institutions and acts amongst others as professor of the Collège d'Europe, Bruges, Visiting Lecturer in the Practice of Diplomacy, University of Sussex, Adjunct Professor of International Relations at the American University, Washington DC. He also is a regular lecturer and conference speaker on NATO and European security affairs and on public diplomacy and political communication and lobbying. He holds a D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University (Lincoln College), 1981. Amongst his many associations and memberships, Jamie Shea is Member of the Advisory Board, Security and Defence Programmes at Chatham House, Member of the Policy Council at the World Economic Forum in Geneva and Founder and Member of the Board, Security and Defence Agenda Brussels.
Before becoming Housing Coordinator for the AU Brussels Center in 2002, Bénédicte Debray and her family hosted AU students in their own home for over seven years. During that time, Bénédicte and her husband had three children of their own growing up in the home. To this day, Bénédicte is moved when she thinks about how much her children were influenced by the American students who stayed with them. Later, her own children stayed with American homestay families in the United States. Therefore, she knows the homestay experience from both the perspective of the family and the students. She also knows that the experience of learning about other cultures through homestays produces more open-minded adults. That's why Bénédicte approaches her position as Housing Coordinator with deep personal engagement. In her own words "I treat these students as I wanted my own children treated when they were abroad." Bénédicte knows that communication is they key for a successful homestay relationship, and that each student shapes his or her own relationship with the Belgian homestay family. Bénédicte looks forward to working to build more relationships between undergraduate students and homestay families in the coming years.
Catherine Mulders-Walch has worked with AU Brussels for over 12 years as the internship coordinator. She is half-Swiss and half-Belgian, and has lived in the US, Switzerland, and of course, Belgium. Like many people who live in Brussels, she is trilingual. Catherine is married with two adult children who are just a few years older than the undergraduate students she works with. Her professional life outside of AU Brussels helps her in providing students the best advice and options in their internship interviews, as she still also works in the private sector as a headhunter for a variety of European companies. Her past work has included working as a communication and marketing specialist, a press attaché, and a director of admissions for an international school high school. She is interested in music, painting, philosophy, history, traveling, and nature.
Senior Study Abroad Advisor
Kelly Jo is the senior study abroad advisor for AU Brussels, and works out of the AU Abroad office in Washington, DC. She is students' first point of contact for undergraduate students interested in the semester and summer programs. She has worked with AU Abroad since 2005, first as the country director for AU Nairobi and then as a study abroad advisor in DC since 2011. Kelly Jo is extremely familiar with all the phases of study abroad acculturation, and works closely with the Belgium Embassy in Washington, DC to make sure the student visa process goes as smooth as possible for all students on the semester program. Her favorite part of her professional life is watching how cultures blend into each other. Her favorite part of her job is seeing how much students grow from before they leave to after their time abroad. She grew up with American Sign Language and speaks Swahili.