Washington, DC Staff

Dr. Dan E. Davidson

President Emeritus, American Councils for International Education, Director, American Research Center

Dr. Dan E. Davidson has focused much of his professional life on the development, oversight, and support of international initiatives in educational development, training, and research, primarily through the work of American Councils and its partner organizations in the U.S., Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  Dr. Davidson’s portfolio includes the Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity (EURECA) program, a multi-year U.S.-Russia initiative devoted to supporting bilateral university research and entrepreneurial activities, strengthening science commercialization, and increasing startup collaborations.

Dr. Davidson received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University and has devoted the past thirty-five years to research, teaching, and the institutionalization of support for the fields of Russian and second language acquisition, international education, and innovation-based economic development.  He is professor of Russian and Second Language Acquisition, Myra T. Cooley Lectureship, Bryn Mawr College and has written or edited 44 books or collections as well as over 60 scholarly articles in the fields of language, culture and international education.



Dr. Maria D. Lekic

Academic Director

Dr. Lekic is an associate professor at the University of Maryland-College Park and a widely-recognized expert in curriculum and assessment design. She is author of several major textbooks of Russian for Americans. Dr. Lekic has worked with the Russian Overseas Flagship Program as senior advisor and co-director since its inception. She has co-authored and edited the seven-volume Flagship textbook series. She is also a member of the American Council of Teachers of Russian Board and editor of "Russian Language Journal." Dr. Lekic's research and teaching are focused on the development of Russian language fluency at the upper levels.





Gennady Babankov, J.D.

Assistant Program Manager  

Gennady Babankov joined American Councils in 2009 as a Senior Program Officer for the Overseas Flagship Programs. Mr. Babankov is a native Russian speaker who has studied and worked in the United States since 1994. Mr. Babankov holds graduate and professional degrees from George Mason University Law School and The Johns Hopkins University, where he tutored undergraduate students in Russian. Prior to his work at American Councils, Mr. Babankov worked for almost nine years on the administration of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program which provides overseas training opportunities to American and foreign school instructors.





Derek Groom

Program Officer

Prior to joining American Councils in February 2015, Derek Groom worked at several other non-profits in the Washington, DC area, including the Joint National Committee for Languages - National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) and the American Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation (ARCCF). As a Boren Scholar, Derek participated on the Russian Overseas Flagship Program in St. Petersburg, Russia (2012-2013), at the conclusion of which he tested at a general working proficiency in Russian. He is also an alum of the Russian Domestic Flagship Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he received a B.A. in Russian Language and Literature.