Leila Bekri, Executive Director & Director of International Visitor Leadership Programs
Leila was born in New York City and raised in Tunis. Her father’s diplomatic service took her family to the U.S., Europe, and West Africa before moving back to Tunisia. Being exposed to a multitude of cultures and places at an early age, she cultivated a pluralistic perspective which she later reinforced through her education, work, and passion for world affairs.
Fluent in French and Arabic, Leila graduated from the Faculté des Sciences Juridiques, Politiques et Sociales de Tunis, Tunis II; and North Carolina State University, where she earned a master’s degree in International Studies with a focus on comparative European Legal Systems.
Leila has sat on panels on public diplomacy, peace building, and intercultural dialogues. She is a fan of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina.
Maria Adoskina, PhD, Director of Special Projects
Maria is from Moscow, Russia, where she was a professor of English at the prestigious Academy of Sciences. After emigrating to the USA, she directed the Slavic department of New Life Ministries (NLM) in Apex, NC.
Maria has been International Focus’ Director of Special Programs since 2000, where she has directed more than 25 successful programs via Community Connections, Open World, Youth Leadership Programs, and the Young Leaders of Americas Initiative.
Wanda Capps, Administrative Support and Bookkeeper
Wanda, a native North Carolinian, has over 30 years of experience in bookkeeping, financial and office management in the nonprofit and private sectors. Before coming to International Focus, she worked to support the International Visitors’ Leadership and Open World Programs at the International Affairs Council of NC. Wanda is a life-long learner and has continued to build upon her mastery of her chosen profession. Outside of work, she volunteers her time in the community and at her church in support of various causes both local and abroad. Most importantly, however, Wanda dedicates her time to her family, her children, and her grandchildren.
DeAnne Dotson, Volunteer and Event Coordinator
DeAnne is a native North Carolinian who has lived and traveled all over the world. She grew up in tobacco country in Stokes County, studied in Finland and Russia (ultimately graduating from UNC-G with a Communications BA in 1995), taught English in South Korea, and worked for the USO on US military bases in Kuwait and Afghanistan. Along the way, she has backpacked across five continents, enjoying the food, the culture, and the people she encountered. Her commitment to non-profits began at a young age, inspired by her mom who was a Den Leader for both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. DeAnne translated this commitment into a stint with AmeriCorps where she worked with disadvantaged youth in Austin, Texas. She has continued to volunteer in a varienty of ways with various organizations throughout the years, such as recruiting alumnae to adopt residence halls at The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (her alma mater), staffing the USO center at the at RDU Airport, and leading a group of friends to set up an apartment for an incoming refugee family with US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
Diane S. Smith, IVLP Community Coordinator
Diane was born and raised in northern New Jersey, 30 miles from New York City, and then moved with her family to Wake County, North Carolina where she finished high school. She attended UNC-Greensboro and NC State University before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania where she attained a summa cum laude BFA double-major in painting and life drawing with a minor in education. Diane moved to Aruba N.A. with her husband for three years doing extensive community volunteer work, back to Pennsylvania for several years, and then returned to North Carolina, She worked as a non-profit arts administrator at the Durham Arts Council and Artsplosure, the Raleigh Arts Festival, and was then employed with the City of Raleigh Arts Commission. Later she transferred to the Raleigh City Manager’s Office as a Management Coordinator working directly with the City Manager. She retired from the City in 2017.
Diane has volunteered with many non-profits over the years in support of events, fundraising and marketing efforts including The ARC of Wake County, Pinecone-The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the Visual Art Exchange-VAE, International Focus, the Storytelling Festival of North Carolina, the North Carolina Museum of Art and Ocrafolk Music and Storytelling Festival on Ocracoke Island NC.