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Richard Spees

Executive Director

Richard (Rick) Spees became Executive Director of CAORC in late 2017 after serving as General Counsel of CAORC for over 30 years. As General Counsel he was also a member of a number of Washington law firms, most recently the firm Akerman LLP.  As General Counsel he participated in most of the overseas meetings of CAORC and advised the Board and Staff on legal and legislative activities. He was instrumental in getting the annual appropriations for CAORC through Congress, and helped write the legislation that created the overseas centers program in Title VI at the Department of Education, as well as the CAORC language in the budget of the Smithsonian.  

Rick currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of the Alliance for International Exchange and on the Board of the National Humanities Alliance.

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Heidi Wiederkehr

Heidi Wiederkehr has worked with CAORC since 1997. As Deputy Director, she is responsible for the organizational management of CAORC and works with the Executive Director on outreach and advocacy.

Heidi also works to expand research opportunities for American and host-country scholars, develop collaborative programming among institutions, and establish centers in areas of the world where infrastructure to support research exchange is lacking. She has worked with American and host-country scholars and officials to establish new overseas research centers in Sri Lanka, Mexico, Cambodia, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Nepal, the South Caucasus, and Myanmar (Burma).


Heidi came to CAORC from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a focus on Non-Western history and diplomacy, and eight years of experience in non-profit grants management.

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Katie Jost

Program Director

Katie Jost joined CAORC in 2016.  As Program Director, she oversees and administers CAORC programs including CAORC’s U.S. Department of State subgrant reporting, all fellowship programs, and the library acquisitions project in West Africa. Katie also oversees CAORC’s social media, and works with CAORC’s network of overseas research centers on a variety of initiatives, including managing and continuing to develop an online grants administration system. Prior to CAORC, Katie received an MSc in European Political Economy from the London School of Economics and has previously worked at non-profits, including the British Academy in London and the Institute of International Education in Washington D.C. 

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Arcelia Jackson

Arcelia Jackson came to CAORC in 2014 with over eighteen years of experience in administrative and financial management. As the CAORC Administrator she is responsible for a wide range of duties including office management, finance and program support, fellowship program assistance, event planning, and everything between. Before coming to CAORC, Arcelia worked in the public school systems in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, MD.