WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 21 – Meridian’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the approval of five new Members to the Board of Trustees. The Members will serve for a period of three years, bringing unique experience and expertise to the important work of the Center.
Arthur R. Collins is a Founding Partner of the Collins | Johnson group, an independent consulting firm focusing on public policy development, strategic communications and political consulting. Prior to founding the Collins | Johnson group in 2011, Collins served as Chairman and CEO of Public Private Partnership, Inc., which he founded in 1990. Collins served as a Senior Political Strategist for the current President of the United States during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Currently, Collins is a member of the Morehouse School of Medicine Board of Trustees, serves as board member and Treasurer for the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education & Leadership Institute, and is Chairman of its policy think tank, the 21st Century Council. Collins graduated from the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree. He also attended the University of Miami School of Law and the University of Montpellier-France. In 2009, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from his alma mater Florida A&M University.
Matthew T. Echols is Vice President of Corporate Government Relations for The Coca-Cola Company. In this capacity, he leads U.S. federal government, diplomatic corps relations and heads the company’s Washington DC office. Echols joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1998 and has traveled extensively with the company to share best practices and different approaches to managing key government issues across markets. Before joining Coke, he worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill for U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Representative Jack Kingston. Echols currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Business Council for International Understanding and is also a member of the International Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Government Relations Council. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Washington DC and is The Coca-Cola Company's corporate membership representative for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute. Echols holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
Rudyard Griffiths is a social entrepreneur, author and Canadian television anchor. He is the executive director of the semi-annual Munk Debates and the Grano Speakers Series, two of Canada’s leading public discussion forums. He is a co-founder and board member of the Historica-Dominion Institute, Canada's largest history and civics NGO. Griffiths also serves on the executive committee of the board of His Highness the Aga Khan’s Centre for Global Pluralism. He is a member of the advisory boards of the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the U.K. based Ditchley Foundation. In September 2008, he was appointed Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Canadian Forces College. He is the author of Who We Are: A Citizen's Manifesto, which was selected as a Globe and Mail Best Book in 2009.
Ben R. Leedle, Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer of Healthways, Inc., where since 1993 he has led the development, marketing, sales, implementation, operations and strategy of Healthways’ comprehensive programs for well-being. He is an active member of numerous CEO round tables and initiatives including the Center for Health Transformation, the HealthCare Executive Summit, the Healthcare Leadership Council and the CEO Health Care Transformation initiative. Leedle serves as Chairman of the Nashville Health Care Council and participates on the Vanderbilt Owen Health Care Advisory Board. He earned a Master of Science degree from Emporia State University and Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Central College, Pella, Iowa. He also completed the Executive Education Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Richard Thompson has nearly forty years of experience in government affairs, and currently advocates critical business and public policy objectives with Patton Boggs. Thompson concentrates his work in the pharmaceutical and food and drug areas, an industry in which he has spent the majority of his professional career. Before joining Patton Boggs, Thompson served as Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Thompson has spent nearly eight years on Capitol Hill, working as an executive assistant to Rep. John Terry (R-NY) and later as Republican staff director and chief counsel to what is now known as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
About Meridian: Meridian International Center’s mission is to strengthen international understanding and serve as a center of innovation for engaging the public sector, private sector and diplomatic community in an exchange of people, ideas and culture. For more information, visit www.meridian.org