GCSCI Sister City Committees

Our Mission

  • The GCSCI City Committee’s mission is to further advance the GCSCI mission by advocating and promoting the sister city they are selected to represent. Sister City Committees represent GCSCI and are considered an extension of the GCSCI staff.

Committee Chairs 2019-2020

Alfred Akainyah

Alfred started his Public Service Career with the City of Columbus as a Legislative Assistant. He also served as External Affairs Coordinator under former Mayor Michael B. Coleman.

Now, driven by People-First philosophy, and passionate about progress and prosperity in the community, Alfred has dedicated his entire career to public service in the Columbus Metropolitan Region. As External Affairs Coordinator, Alfred led the efforts in completing the Accra-Columbus Sister Cities Agreement and played a key role in the Columbus delegation that went to Accra, Ghana.

Alfred also worked as a Policy Advisor to Columbus’ current Mayor, Andrew J. Ginther. Alfred’s objective was to adopt a strategy that effectively combined analysis, policy design, and advocacy as a development and consensus builder. The ultimate goal was to assist Mayor Ginther’s policy team, city directors, and interest groups in shaping policy proposals.
As a result of his assiduity and dedication, Alfred is now an indispensable team-player with the Department of Neighborhood Team, an entity that is not only the Gateway to Government, but also A-One-Stop Shop that is home to The Columbus 3-1-1 Call Center. For many Columbus residents, the Department of Neighborhood Team is now the City’s main point office in addressing various Neighborhood interests. The Team has also become the cynosure of Community Relations Commission, serving more than 800,000 people in the City.

Alfred’s enthusiasm, courage, and foresight, together with his leadership style, continue to inspire others, young and old alike, to achieve higher heights.

Shalendra Porwal

Shalendra is a growth and innovation focused technological executive with over 39 years of international experience. He has established several high impact technology programs with key partners and stakeholders and commercialized technologies. His versatile experience spans conducting, leading, managing, and marketing research programs for the US and international clients. He is adept in business and financial aspects of setting up and growing organizations to maturity. He has broad knowledge of diverse technological areas.


As President of Global Gene Corporation, he helped in establishing networks with hospitals and forming alliances with academia and pharmaceutical companies. Earlier, he established the operations of Battelle India in Pune, India and managed it for seven years as the Managing Director and CEO. As co-chair of FICCI’s S&T and Innovation Committee,
Shalendra led and organized S&T fora in India with international participation and authored several Knowledge Papers for analyzing and influencing R&D practices and policy in India. In these roles, he managed and mentored teams of international scientists in diverse technologies. He is currently the CEO of Technology Solutions International, a company he
founded in Columbus, Ohio in 2015.


He has been a speaker at several international R&D and innovation conferences and is familiar with science and technology base, business and political climate, business rules and regulations, tax incentives for R&D, and bureaucracy in India. He is culturally sensitive, energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate about business development and growth.


He obtained MS and MBA degrees from Miami University and a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur India.

Craig Wales

Craig Wales grew up in central Massachusetts and by the early 1970s, his family had settled in Granville Ohio. After
graduating from of Ohio University, Craig began his career in communications and was hired at Battelle in 1987.
Following a 28-year career that led to managing their Video and Interactive Media group, he retired in 2015.

Craig’s involvement with music led to a connection with bluegrass musicians from Genoa, Italy in the late 80s. The friendships that developed over the years were the inspiration for several trips to Italy, often times finding Craig exploring the old Medieval area in the city of Genoa, discovering wonderful regional dishes and spending time there with friends.

In 2008, Craig was invited to compete in the World Mortar and Pestle Pesto Championship, a bi-annual event in Genoa that involves contestants from all over the globe.  Having competed in the contest three times now he sees the competition as the embodiment of Genoa’s passionate food culture and their commitment to honoring and preserving it for generations to come.

Craig is honored to be the liaison with Genoa, Italy and is eager to share the wonderful cultural and culinary traditions found there with the city of Columbus.

When not playing the 5-string banjo, Craig can be found pursuing his love of photography, cooking and traveling with his partner Virginia through various parts of the world, specifically the Liguria region of Italy, which is home to the subject of an upcoming book he’s writing about Pesto Genovese.

Craig lives in Gahanna with his wife Virginia and their dog, Iki.

Eric McGraw

Eric McGraw has been involved in China business, education and cultural projects for more than 12 years, with experience living in Shanghai, Wuhan and traveling extensively around Mainland China. He founded Laonei Global Trade Consulting in 2010, providing foreign market competence, sales resources and personal connections to enable companies to grow in foreign markets.

In addition, Eric has been a lecturer, consultant and guest speaker at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business in cross-cultural business skills. He graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Journalism/Public Relations and from The Ohio State University with a Master’s in Communication/Conflict Resolution.  Eric recently joined Pacer Health, Inc. as International Business Development Manager for the Pacer App and the fitness challenge platform, Pacer for Teams.

Renata Prevedello

Renata Prevedello was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. At young age, she moved with her family to the state of Santa Catarina, which is in the south of Brazil. After getting her degree in Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology from the University of Vale do Itajaí, she moved to Curitiba to pursue a specialty degree and become an Audiologist. She started her Audiology career working for SESI (Social Services for Industries), an institution that promotes safety in the work place and focuses on worker health and wellbeing. It was not difficult for her to fall in love with the city and people of Curitiba. She was amazed by all the diversity she found there.

In 2006, Renata moved to Boston, Massachusetts to follow her husband during his fellowship years. She attended Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/ Harvard Medical School, as a visiting fellow. After some consideration, she decided to dedicate her time to her growing family, while maintaining a tight connection with her family, her roots and her home country of Brazil.

In 2013, Renata moved with her husband and her two children to Dublin, Ohio. Here she welcomed a new addition to the family and was introduced to the Brazilian community in Columbus. This is how she first learned about the Greater Columbus Sister Cities International Curitiba Committee. She is very honored to be a part of this project and is looking forward to building new connections and strengthening the ones that already exist in Brazil.