The Office of International Relations

“The worth and importance of the Institution is not to be estimated by what it accumulates within the walls of its building, but by what it sends forth to the world.”

- Joseph Henry, first Secretary of the Smithsonian (1850)


Our Mission

We leverage the creativity, assets, and expertise of the entire Smithsonian to promote meaningful change in the world and advance our mission: the increase and diffusion of knowledge. 

View our 2020 Annual Report to learn more.

Our Team

Aviva Rosenthal. Photo credit: Maria Sanchez.

Aviva Rosenthal

Aviva Rosenthal is the Director of the Smithsonian's Office of International Relations. She has more than 20 years of diverse experience in government, business and the non-profit sector. Aviva manages a vast portfolio of strategic partnerships between the Smithsonian Institution and international governments, foundations, NGOs, and other organizations, as well as ongoing collaborations between the Smithsonian and various U.S. federal agencies with a focus on the U.S. Department of State. Aviva has traveled to over 60 countries for work and has a focus on public diplomacy and people-to-people connections in her career. She doesn’t come home without a snow globe from each country visited for her daughter’s massive collection.

Learn more about Aviva Rosenthal

Matthew Lutkenhouse

Matthew Lutkenhouse

Matthew Lutkenhouse is the Deputy Director for the Office of International Relations and Global Programs. He comes to the Smithsonian with nearly 20 years of experience working in conservation and international development with a particular focus on marine conservation in tropical ecosystems. Responsible for overseeing the development and execution of global projects in science and conservation, he works closely with the Smithsonian’s science units and many distinguished scientists on strategy and implementation of their priority programs and applied research around the world. Matt received his BA in Economics from Stanford University and his MA in International Development from American University. He has lived and worked in Latin America, Africa and Asia and speaks Spanish and Portuguese as well as some French, Indonesian, and German.


Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is an International Program Manager in the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution. She has worked extensively on the Smithsonian partnership with U.S. Department of State on the American Spaces Assessment and Redesign Project to enhance public diplomacy venues worldwide. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Lauren worked at cultural institutions in the DC area including National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Society of the Cincinnati, and International Arts and Artists’ Hillyer Art Space. Her work has been focused on the care, preservation, and accessibility of museum collections for a wide range of audiences. Lauren received her BA from Emory University and her MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University. Lauren’s best travel tip: always check, and then re-check, your departure airport before leaving home. You’ll save yourself time and stress if you head the right airport the first time around (and yes, she speaks from experience).

Learn more about Lauren Appelbaum

Liz Tunick Cedar. Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution.

Liz Tunick Cedar

Liz Tunick Cedar is the Manager of Global Cultural Sustainability Programs in the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution, where she is responsible for leading new partnership development and overseeing the strategic planning and execution of global projects in art and culture. She works with national governments and foreign museums on preserving, developing, and designing cultural institutions, training museum professionals, and enhancing public engagement. She also contributes to the Institution’s efforts to preserve and protect cultural assets in crisis. She has worked previously at several major U.S. museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Clark Art Institute, and the National Gallery of Art, where she was also a Kress Fellow. Ms. Tunick received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her M.A. in Art History from Williams College. She enjoys practicing her French any chance she gets.

Learn more about Liz Tunick Cedar

A picture of Susan Cleary.

Susan Cleary

Susan Cleary is the Senior Diplomatic Advisor in the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution. She is a senior Foreign Service Officer on a detail from the U.S. Department of State. She is especially interested in exploring ways of communicating science and policy through experiential programming, culture and the arts. Susan was most recently Senior Advisor for Entrepreneur Recruitment for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019. Before that, she was Director of Policy and Public Outreach at State’s Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She has served in a variety of public diplomacy positions throughout her career at U.S. Embassies in Ireland, Ukraine, Russia, Spain and Poland and brings extensive experience creating international public engagement campaigns.

Sara de la Torre Beron

Sara De La Torre Berón

Sara De La Torre Berón is an International Project Coordinator in the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of International Relations and Global Programs. In this role, she supports many of the Institution’s ongoing international projects, focusing on the cultural and conservation sectors. Sara has experience in developing proposals and curricula, facilitating workshops and trainings, and coordinating large-scale, high-profile events. She also provides support for the Institution’s international visitor exchange program, coordinating appropriate, relevant experiences for international delegations to the Smithsonian. Previously, Sara worked in international higher education, with a particular focus on non-traditional, experiential learning. Sara has a BA in Romance Languages from the University of Georgia, and an MA in Anthropology from the Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, where she conducted field work on intangible cultural heritage in the French and Spanish Pyrenees. Sara grew up in Colombia and speaks Spanish, French, and Portuguese. One of her favorite parts of travel is trying new foods – and she’ll try anything once, no matter how exotic!

Britta Garfield

Britta Garfield

Britta Garfield is an Advisor for global science and conservation in the Office of International Relations. She is responsible for building strategic partnerships and raising the profile of Smithsonian science in international fora such as under the Convention on Biological Diversity. She also contributes to the global efforts of the pan-institutional Smithsonian Conservation Commons initiative, an action network bringing together scientists and experts in cultural heritage to advance evidence-based solutions and tools. Prior to joining the Smithsonian in 2017, she worked on international policy and program development at the intersection of nature conservation and development for more than ten years. Her previous experience includes global roles with the environmental NGOs Rare and Forest Stewardship Council and the German Development Agency (GIZ) based out of the United States, France, Germany, Korea, and most recently China. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science, Chinese and French from University of Bonn, Germany, and studied abroad at Beijing Foreign Studies University in China and Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Grenoble in France. In her free time, Britta can be found horseback riding, swimming, running or in her yoga swing. Her husband and their two young children share her love of nature and passion for exploring foreign countries and cultures.

Alex Mackay

Alex Mackay

Alex Mackay is a Project Coordinator in the Office of International Relations at the Smithsonian Institution, focusing on the USAID-funded My Armenia project. Before joining the Smithsonian, she worked on the Operations & Finance team of the USAID/PEPFAR-funded Strengthening High Impact Interventions for an AIDS-free Generation (AIDSFree) Project, supporting public health work in over a dozen African countries. Alex graduated from Bucknell University with a BS in Geology, and spent time studying abroad in Denmark and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her favorite travel experience is visiting the Greenland Ice Sheet in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. When not working or traveling, Alex loves to spend time enjoying nature, going to the theater, and cheering for the Seattle Seahawks.

Marie Morse

Marie Morse

Marie Morse is a Project Manager with the Office of International Relations and Global Programs at the Smithsonian Institution. She currently supports implementation of a variety of global projects which focus on enhancing awareness of cultural heritage as well as cultural heritage preservation. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Marie managed USAID funded projects in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya. She was responsible for a range of project management tasks such as field office registration and operations, oversight of activity development and implementation, financial and regulatory compliance, as well as ensuring policies were in line with host country labor practices and USAID regulations. She spent a great deal of time traveling to the Middle East region in order to support project implementation and to better understand the cultural context within each country. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines where she focused on youth development and education initiatives from 2007-2009. She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from American University where she focused in International Management, specifically in countries facing conflict and crisis. While she loves to travel, Marie has rarely experienced a flight without significant delays or lost luggage.

Samantha Peterson

Samantha Peterson

Samantha Peterson is a Senior Advisor in the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of International Relations and Global Programs, where she supports the development and planning of pan-Institutional programs and serves as Chief of Staff to the Director. She came to the Smithsonian as an ACLS/Mellon Public Fellow to develop mission-driven, revenue-generating global activities in the cultural sector. Dr. Peterson has extensive experience in international and intercultural education including curriculum development, strategic planning, and project management. She earned her BA in French from Williams College and her MA and PhD in French Literature at Boston University where she researched the narrative power of the female body in the work of Émile Zola. She is fluent in French and conversant in Italian, and loves to explore new destinations through local food and wine.

Agnes Bielawska

Agnes Robine

Agnes Robine is the Management Support Specialist for the Office of International Relations and Global Programs at the Smithsonian Institution. A Chicago native, Agnes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. She has developed her expertise in acquisitions and contracting through numerous training certifications and her time in the private sector. Agnes is responsible for purchase orders, managing budgets, tracking program funds, coordinating travel, and assisting international visa applicants. Agnes credits her time studying abroad in Italy at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center for sparking her interest in International Relations. When not at work, Agnes enjoys an active lifestyle of traveling, boating, attending cultural events, and enjoying a good read.


Isabella Roden

Isabella Roden is a Digital Communications Specialist for the Smithsonian's Office of International Relations and Global Programs. As a content writer, editor, social media manager, and manager of the Smithsonian Global website, she enjoys getting to talk with and learn from Smithsonian staff around the world. She also leads production of Smithsonian Global's international video series. Isabella graduated with a BA in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University. She then received Harvard’s Finley Fellowship to travel solo around the world for a year writing about wildlife conservation. Some of her favorite experiences abroad include tracking rhinos on foot in Zimbabwe and washing injured elephants in Thailand.

A picture of Laine Rover.

Laine Rover

Laine Rover is the International Exchange Specialist in the Office of International Relations and Global Programs at the Smithsonian Institution. She works closely with Smithsonian units, foreign researchers and visitors, and external agencies to ensure the international group of individuals present at Smithsonian can continue their contributions in their respective fields. Smithsonian staff traveling outside of the United States for work can contact her to help navigate the passport and visa process. Laine has nearly 10 years of experience working with international stakeholders in both the public private sector. She holds an M.A. in European and Mediterranean Studies from New York University and has studied in Canada, France, Germany, and Poland. She speaks French and has forgotten all of the Italian and German she learned during her studies.

Stephanie Wezowicz

Stephanie Wezowicz

Stephanie Wezowicz is the Administrative Management Specialist with the Office of International Relations and Global Programs. She manages the general office budget and a vast portfolio of sponsored project funds of around $5M and growing. Stephanie has worked at the Smithsonian Institution for 8 years starting with the Office of Sponsored Projects as their Administrative Officer, and then as the Administrator for the Barcode of Life project at the National Museum of Natural History. Stephanie graduated Trinity College in 2003 with a BA in Studio Arts, and then Syracuse University in 2006 with a MA in Museum Studies. She lives in Arlington, VA and is an avid runner; completing 3 full marathons and countless other races over the years.