Leola Calzolai-Stewart

Leola Calzolai-Stewart is the co-founder of the Virginia-based production company FLOWSTATE Films where she currently directs and co-produces the historical documentary THE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT. The film explores the untold story of three African-American diplomats representing the United States overseas at the height of the civil rights movement and the Cold War. The project received support from Black Public Media, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and is Leola’s directorial debut. Leola previously edited the feature documentaries THE LAST SONG BEFORE THE WAR, distributed by Kino Smith, and DEAR WALMART which premiered in 2019 and is distributed by Virgil Films. Born and raised in San Francisco, Leola has an MA in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and she studied film in South Africa at Tshwane University of Technology.

James T. L. Dandridge, II

Jim is President, Board of /Governor/Trustee of Diplomatic and Consular Officers Foundation  (DACOR),  Vice Chairman of  the Diplomacy Center Foundation; Two-terms Board Director, Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs (WIFA): and Chairman-emeritus of the Board of Directors,  Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST);   

Jim is a retired career Senior Foreign Service Officer (Minister Counselor). Diplomatic assignments included Director, Office of Policy Guidance, USIA; Senior Advisor, Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Assignments abroad included India, Brazil; Bolivia; and Chile. Designated Chargé d’Affaires a.i. during assignments at Embassy La Paz and Embassy Santiago.

Jim spent an additional 20 years in the Office of the Inspector General, State Department as senior inspector, team leader and deputy inspection team leader, and inspection compliance officer for 53 inspections in over 20 countries and seven State Department bureaus.

Jim is the 2008 recipient of the US Department of State’s Director General’s Cup for the Foreign Service for his promotion of the Foreign Service both as a U.S. diplomat and in retirement. He was the recipient of several State Department Meritorious Honor Awards during his career Foreign Service assignments and received the Marks Foundation Award for Creativity in Communication while assigned earlier to USIA

Jim Dandridge received a Master of Arts degree in Government from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology/Philosophy from Howard University.  He did additional post graduate studies in International Relations at The American University and the U.S. Air War College.

Michael L. Krenn

Michael L. Krenn is Professor of History at Appalachian State University.  He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1985 where he studied with Lloyd Gardner.  His books include The Color of Empire: Race and American Foreign Relations, Fall-Out Shelters for the Human Spirit: American Art and the Cold War, and The History of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy:  From 1770 to the Present Day.  His 1999 book, Black Diplomacy: African Americans and the State Department, 1945-1969, helped to inspire the documentary, The American Diplomat, which premiered on the PBS series American Experience in February 2022.