Naveed Baqir, PhD, Vice President, Technology

Dr. Naveed Baqir earned his Ph.D. in Information Systems and Operations Management from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009.Dr. Baqir holds MBA, MS in Technology Management, and MSc in Computer Science as well. He has a background in implementing information risk management and governance initiatives to safeguard protected health information. He has taught at the University of Delaware, and the University of North Carolina. He has served as the Chief Information and Technology Officer at Star Restaurant Group, LLC in Washington DC and has 15+ years of experience in systems development in banking, telecommunication, hospitality and healthcare industries.Dr. Baqir joined People to People International, Delaware Chapter in 2019 as the board secretary.

Mary Cella, MS, Vice President, Public Relations

Mary Cella, originally from New York, retired in 2009 after 35 years as a Vice President of Operations from JPMorgan Chase. In 2016, Mary retired for a second time from the Little Sisters of the Poor as their Director of Volunteer Services. Currently, she serves on the Advisory Board for the BTL Foundation. Mary also volunteers with the Red Cross Disaster Team and is a member of the Wilmington University Alumni Committee. Mary has a Business undergraduate degree from Pace University in New York (attended University of Puerto Rico in her junior year) and a Masters of Science from Wilmington University in Organizational Leadership. She is an avid traveler and has visited 30 countries and the 48 contiguous states.

Sharon Cooper, Vice President, Membership

Sharon is a clinical social worker and was a partner at Alliance Counseling, an outpatient mental health practice in Newark and Wilmington, Delaware for over 20 years. She specialized in the psychology of women, eating disorders and mindfulness techniques. She provided both individual and group psychotherapy, as well as workshops on body image and stress reduction. Sharon graduated cum laude from Duke University in North Carolina, with a double major in nursing and psychology. She received a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University in New York City. She is recently retired from practice. Sharon is pleased to join the People to People Board in Delaware, as it provides new avenues to promote non-violence and compassion in this diverse world through positive engagement with our US and global neighbors. Other interests include pickleball, acrylic painting and travel.

Justin Collier, Vice President, Programs

Justin Collier is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Political Science and International Relations Program at the University of Delaware. His primary research interest centers on U.S. public diplomacy efforts and their impacts abroad and domestically. His dissertation focuses on evaluating the efficacy of US people-to-people exchange/citizen diplomacy programs through the mutual understanding lens. His other research interests include nationalism, civic education, national identity, ethnic conflict, and political communication. As an undergraduate, Justin worked as a student assistant at his University of Missouri’s International Student Office, as well as a language mentor for the Asian Affairs’ South Korean Exchange Program. After completing his undergraduate studies, he moved to Pusan, South Korea, and worked as an English Language Instructor. Upon his return, he attended George Washington University where he earned a MA in International Education. Justin has worked seasonally with the Institute of International Education (IVLP Program Coordinator), the University of Delaware’s Institute for Global Studies (Student Engagement Leader for Mandela Washington Fellowship), and the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication (William P Frank Research Fellow). He is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Political Science and International Relations Department at UD. Justin has a passion for international exchange programs and sees them as the foundation of the US public diplomacy effort.

Ami Patel, Vice President, Hosting

Ami Patel was born in Mumbai, India, and was raised in Newark, Delaware. Her passions and interests led her to obtaining B.A.’s in history, anthropology, and international relations with a concentration in development and a specialization in Africa. After graduation, Ami spent her next few years teaching abroad in South Korea, Vietnam, and England. Her interest in education development led her to the University of Leeds for an M.A. in Global Development and Education. From there, Ami worked with youth in various capacities from NGO work in inner-city Wilmington to teaching History and Global Studies at Sanford School. She is now working at the University of Delaware as the Academic Program Coordinator for the Student Support Services Program. The SSSP program is part of the state-funded TRIO program helping low-income students, first-generation students, and students with disabilities successfully obtain a high school diploma, an undergraduate degree, and a graduate degree through funding and student support resources. Ami’s experiences through education, travel, and working with the community inspires her to continually shine a light on the importance of empathy and cultural awareness in the era of globalization and identity development.

Dr. Saleem Khan, Past Co-President

Dr. Saleem Khan was born and raised in Pakistan. Practiced general medicine in Pakistan and Iran. Dr. Kahn moved to the US more than four decades ago, where he received training in general and Child Psychiatry. Dr. Kahn is presently Child and Adolescent Clinical Director at Rockford Center. Writes poetry in English, Urdu, and Punjabi. Married to Sabira for almost half a century; together, they have two adult children and seven grandchildren. Dr. Kahn is quite active in the community at large. He has served on the Board of PTP for many years and is one of the most recent past co-Presidents of The Delaware Chapter.

Jean Raleigh, Past Co-President

Jean Raleigh has been involved with People to People International Delaware Chapter for over 20 years. In college in Virginia, she majored in art and education. After college, she taught in the Alfred I. DuPont Special School District, and later, she spent over 30 years at Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, where she loved meeting people from all over the globe and developing programs for all ages. After retiring from a full-time position at Winterthur, she joined PTPDE. She created the Circle of Understanding programs, led the Families of the World children programs for many years, served as a board member and as co-president, and shipped used books to hundreds of school children around the world through the Books for Youth project that she started. She hopes that more Delawareans will join PTPDE to bring their energies to this organization. She has served on the Board of PTP for many years and is one of the most recent past co-Presidents of The Delaware Chapter.

Barbara Theiss, Secretary

Barbara Theiss is honored to be a member of PTPDE for several years. She is a native New Yorker and has lived in Delaware for over a dozen years. She joined PTPDE because she has a strong belief in our goal that through communication and interaction, we can get to know people of diverse backgrounds and cultures and help promote global friendship, respect and understanding. She graduated from Suffolk College on Long island, New York, became Assistant Vice-President with Enterprise Savings Bank in Illinois, was Human Resource Manager for Barnes & Noble Bookstores and owned a Nationwide Insurance Agency in New York, together with her husband of over fifty years. She retired to Delaware where she works as a Staff Agent with State Farm. She was a Docent at Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, creating and presenting tours and programs for visitors and groups. She was on the International Student Host Committee and hosted international high school students for Rotary and with The American Field Service and NASAL French exchange program.

Tyler Johnson, President

Tyler Johnson has a deep passion for history, nature, and making new friends. He has a bachelor's degree in world history from West Chester University with a minor in Russian Language studies. He loves to travel and camp, both in the United States and abroad. Currently, he works for Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library where he is able to pursue his passions for history and nature. He appreciates working with People to People as he continues to meet many interesting people. It is an honor to work with PTPDE to advance its goal of "Peace through Understanding."

Tamkanat (Timmie) Mirza, CPA, Treasurer

Timmie's Bio Coming Soon