Upstate International thrives on making connections—reaching out to anyone interested in international culture, global issues and education, and fostering the dynamic exchange of ideas. UI Ambassadors are passionate about what Upstate International has to offer. They welcome, support, and celebrate the international diversity that makes this community such a vibrant place.

An Ambassador can help you get connected to programs, groups, and activities that will facilitate a deeper connection with other Upstate residents and cultures. Read the bios below to become acquainted with each of our UI Ambassadors. Let their passion for the world ignite yours.

Contact an Ambassador to learn about his or her experiences with Upstate International and how you can benefit through participation.

Anita Tam

Email Anita

Meet Anita

In addition to serving as Board Chair of Upstate International, Anita is a professor of psychology at Greenville Tech and the Chief Innovation Officer for the startup company PsyPhotology. She earned her doctorate from Clemson University in International Family & Community Studies. Having directed various research projects in both the private and nonprofit sectors domestically, as well as in university settings and international consulting firms in Hong Kong, Anita continues to apply her unique combination of academic and practitioner experiences to community development efforts.

Given the influx of international companies, the arrival of employees from around the world, and the ever increasing importance of global issues, Anita believes that Upstate International is vitally important to the continued growth and success of our community. Upstate International serves to lessen the cultural gap that exists between people, creating an environment in the Upstate of South Carolina of inclusivity, understanding, and acceptance.

C. David Esch

Email David

Meet David

David’s passion to explore his world led him to a career working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). He has lived and worked in Ghana, Guyana, Pakistan, and Russia, and travelled the world near and far.

After 30 years of living abroad and in Washington, DC, David and his wife retired and moved to Greenville in 2008. He has had a tremendous influence on the Upstate of South Carolina through his many volunteer positions. His continuing interest in all things international led him to serving as Chair of the International Task Force, as well as serving on the steering committee of Upstate International Month, where he continues to be a driving force behind its success. David loves to connect people and businesses to opportunities they might not even know exist.

Margo Pons

Email Margo

Meet Margo

Margo joined Upstate International in 2000 when a neighbor invited her to a meeting of the International Women’s Club. Most of the women in the group had given up jobs and left families, friends, and homes to begin a new adventure in a different country. She became an instant volunteer.

The International Women’s Club consists of great women from all over the globe (including the United States) who become instant friends. Women who are new to the group settle into the Upstate and become more comfortable as they establish new friendships. It is a home away from home for many.

The International Women’s Club presents a variety of programs and activities to make it enjoyable for everyone. Along with all of the other programs that Upstate International has to offer, including language classes, IWC provides a complete ‘feels like home’ package!

Monique Glass

Email Monique

Meet Monique

In 1998, Jerry Gibbins and Kip Seiber approached me, as president of the local Alliance Française chapter, to join them in creating an International Association for the Upstate. They needed existing international organizations to provide a base upon which further growth could be created. For the Alliance this would provide a site for our language and other cultural activities, a perfect fit. With the blessings of the Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor, we were fortunate to obtain our first home within Greenville City Hall. This was the beginning of the International Center of the Upstate, now Upstate International.

In 1999, I created our local International Women’s Club, an organization that had meant a lot to me in Pittsburgh when I was a newcomer to the States. Its purpose was to bring the local and International Community closer together. The leadership of Margo Pons and her team has provided energy, stability and many new ideas leading to the continuous growth and success of this organization. The benefits derived by membership in Upstate International are too numerous to list, but suffice it to say that I believe our shared experience of living in the Upstate of South Carolina is greatly enhanced and the world is a better place because of it.

Yuji Kishimoto

Email Yuji

Meet Yuji

Yuji Kishimoto’s background and experience has made him a perfect fit for the Board of Upstate International and the steering committee for International Month. After graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1965, teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Upstate of South Carolina got lucky when Yuji took a position at Clemson University in 1980. Acting as Special Assistant to the President for US-Japan relations in education, economic development and culture for 25 years until his retirement in 2011, Yuji’s passion for cultural exchange was able to flourish. Governor Carroll Campbell named him the 1989 Economic Development Ambassador and the Japanese Government also recognized him by awarding him a Special Commendation for Cultural Exchanges. Yuji also participated in the creation of the Japan America Association of SC and serves as a board member of Greenville Sister City International.

Needless to say, given Yuji’s interest in and experience as a cultural exchange ambassador throughout his career, he is a natural for the Upstate International Ambassador program. Yuji welcomes any chance to talk about Upstate International and will easily convince you of the many benefits you will derive by participating in our programs.