SFWAF Mission

The Santa Fe World Affairs Forum aims to broaden and deepen understanding of world affairs through small, interactive, professionally led sessions on international issues for a membership of informed individuals.

Forum Membership

SFWAF members are foreign affairs specialists, scientists, artists, business people, journalists, educators, photographers, seasoned travelers and others with a zest for sharing what they know and a passion for learning more.

Current annual dues are $60 a member.  Modest fees apply for luncheon sessions.  Fees for symposia and other special events vary. Members play an active role in suggesting programs and by helping to recruit and escort speakers. Some members also serve as presenters, sharing new developments in their own spheres of expertise.  Finally, members also play an active organizational role by serving on the Board of Directors and on vital committees.

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If you are interested in joining SFWAF, contact us

Tell us who you are, why you would like to join us and what you think you might be able to contribute.
The membership dues are payable via the Payment Page.
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Board Members

Patricia Kushlis
Patricia KushlisPresident
Pat is a retired US Foreign Service Officer specializing in public diplomacy. Pat has served extensively within Europe, Asia, and at the US Information Agency Headquarters. Pat holds a Ph.D in Political Science from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. She is co-writer of the foreign affairs blog WhirledView. Pat is a cofounder of SFWAF.
Arvid Lundy
Arvid LundyVice President
Arvid has extensive experience in nuclear export controls, nuclear proliferation intelligence, electronic instrumentation design, and clinical medical physics. Arvid spent thirty one years at Los Alamos National Laboratory as project engineer, group leader, and program manager. His career included over 100 foreign trips for the US government on nuclear issues, especially international nuclear export control.
Steve Irsik
Steve IrsikTreasurer
Steve Irsik, is a Board Chair and CEO of closely held businesses involved in farming, ranching, dairy production and processing, cattle feeding and private equity. Steve has served and continues to serve on private and charitable boards.
Sue Benedict
Sue BenedictSecretary
Sue’s international experience began as an American Field Service Student to France in 1960. In 1963 she became secretary to the Administrator of Tenefly, New Jersey and the Tenefly Planning Board and later secretary to a Vice President at Thomas J Lipton. She then became involved with the Waldorf Schools, where she began teaching while her children attended nursery school through 12th grade making many international connections through this global movement. She regularly hosted international exchange students (her own children were exchange students in Germany which led to family travels throughout Europe.) She then studied Biographical Counseling in England and worked in a British clinic while doing a counseling practicum in England. Summer 2000, she participated in “Hands in Peace,” a second track citizen based peace initiative in Greece for children from countries experiencing major social conflict, including Israelis and Palestinians. The initiative brought these children together in Olympia, mixing them with children from other countries, teaching them the original Olympic sports as well as providing activities in art, dance, music, crafts and culminating in Delphi in Olympics based athletic competitions. Through her Waldorf experience, Sue had the opportunity to travel and visit families in other countries which broadened her understanding of today’s world. In 1991 she graduated from nursing school and pursued a career in nursing until moving to Santa Fe 4 years ago.
 Krista Peterson
Krista PetersonMembership Chair
Krista Peterson received a degree in radio/television/film from Northwestern University in 1993 but it was a presentation by the US Department of State during her college years that led her to join the Foreign Service. She arrived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras—her first foreign country other than Canada and Mexico—in September 1998 to live and work. Hurricane Mitch devasted Honduras two weeks later, which made for a very interesting two years in the consular section.

After Russian language training she arrived in Ukraine about one month before the terrorist attack in the US on September 11, 2001. Not long after that she consolidated many US agencies spread out across Kyiv and administrative functions housed in shipping containers on the Embassy grounds into two floors of a leased building. She has been an administrative specialist ever since and has worked for several different for profit businesses and nonprofit and educational organizations in Española and Santa Fe.

Jane Abbott
Jane AbbottMember
Jane graduated fromThe American College of Greece in Athens, Greece. She was a Peace Corps Volunteer and Peace Corps staff in Nepal, the Solomon Islands, and Kiribati. She earned a Ph.D. from Colorado State University in community college leadership. She taught mostly integrated humanities in community colleges in Colorado and served as a dean for 12 years. She has also participated in three short-term Fulbrights in Paraguay, Germany, and Thailand. Most recently, Jane directed a program for first generation, low income students at Santa Fe Community College.
William Finnoff
William FinnoffMember
William was born and spent his early years in Denver, then later attended high school in Steamboat Springs Colorado. After graduating from high school, he spent a number of years working on oil drilling rigs and mines in Colorado, Wyoming and Alaska. He resumed his education after this period, first learning German, then studying at the Ludwig Maximillians Universitaet in Munich, where he received both undergraduate and PhD degrees in mathematics. After university, he worked for a number of years in Germany, first at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research then in the Central Research Department of Siemens A.G., doing research on various problems in finance, economics, plant control and medical imaging. He then returned to the United States and spent the next twenty years doing financial and economic research at a number of different financial institutions. In 2008 he left the financial world to found, together with one of his brothers, Finnoff Aviation Products, a company that develops, certifies and sells aftermarket components for civil aviation aircraft. William is still an active researcher and has numerous publications in the areas of mathematics, economics, machine learning and statistical methodology.
Richard D. Hawkins
Richard D. HawkinsMember
Joined the Foreign Service in 1995, recently leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team of 40 subject matter experts and advising a U.S. Army general in Baghdad Province. In Washington he served as Andean Counterdrug Initiative Coordinator, overseeing counternarcotics programs totaling over $700 million. A native of Massachusetts, Mr Hawkins previously headed an educational publishing company and managed training units for multinational corporations. He graduated from Harvard College and holds an MA from Yale and an MS from Rensselaer.
C. E. (Ed) Hildebrand
C. E. (Ed) HildebrandMember
Ed received undergraduate education in physics at Gettysburg College, and earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biophysics from the Pennsylvania State University. His multidisciplinary scientific interests led to involvement in bioscience research, leadership and management roles at Los Alamos National Laboratory with interim postings with the Foreign Service as Science Attaché at the U.S Embassy, London, at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and at the NIH. His research at LANL focused on the international human genome project. Prior to retirement from LANL, he engaged in building collaborative programs with regional universities. More recently, Ed was a principal science and engineering analyst with a not for profit national and homeland security contractor serving multiple federal agencies and state entities.
Vicki Huddleston
Vicki HuddlestonMember
Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, is an American diplomat with lengthy expertise in foreign, defense, and development policy. She was a senior advisor to the Secretary of Defense and led American diplomatic missions in Mali, Madagascar, Cuba and Ethiopia. In Haiti she was Chief of Party for a USAID Value Chain project. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a Congressional Fellow worked on the staff of former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).

Vicki’s opinion pieces on Cuba, Mali, and Ethiopia have appeared in The New York Times, The LA Times, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post. She is the author of Our Woman in Havana and co-author of Learning to Salsa – New Steps in Cuban Relations.

Steven Kerchoff
Steven KerchoffMember
Steve has served as a Foreign Service Information Resource Officer in Cairo, Pretoria, New Delhi, Mexico City, and Washington DC. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked for the Library of Congress as a Fedlink Network Program Specialist. He has also served as a consultant for the National Library of Sri Lanka. Steve holds an MS in library science from The Catholic University of America and an MA in humanities from Georgetown University. An accomplished bass-baritone, he has sung with the Delhi Chamber Choir, the Sri Lanka Symphony Chorus, Coro Melodia (Mexico City), and the Washington Bach Consort.