Richard Top,
Founder & ceo

Richard founded the Institute to provide cross cultural services and support Americans in understanding the diverse cultures and traditions throughout the world. He has managed, coordinated, and contributed to international projects in numerous fields, in particular in leadership training and language services. Over his career, he has held responsibilities over strategic set-up of project proposals to quality delivery of all project outputs. Richard holds a degree from the University of Louisville in Political Science with International emphasis. He is a former United States Army intelligence officer with extensive international experience including working with the U.S. Department of State, other U.S. government agencies, international aid organizations, and international government organizations and officials.


Ardeen Top,
Managing Director

Ardeen Top is our Managing Director and is a K-12 certified ESL teacher who has been managing ESL programs and teaching English to foreign students in the U. S. and abroad since 1999 from levels of preliteracy to university preparation.  She gained relevant, hands on experience working with international students and immigrants is conversant with USCIS visa regulations.  She designed and delivered workshops ranging from ESL teacher training to cross cultural orientation for international students.  In addition, she holds an M. A. in Humanities with a concentration in linguistics from the University of Louisville.


Dirk Van Ziegert, PH.d.
Language Trainer and Intercultural Consultant

Dr. Van Ziegert is a German-born language trainer and intercultural consultant with LPR status in the U.S. For over twenty years, Dirk has been teaching German (DaF) and English (ESL) business language, culture, and media classes in both academic and corporate settings in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Dirk holds a Ph.D. in German Media studies from Siegen University and a M.A. in German Literature, Psychology, and Applied Linguistics. His volunteer work includes diversity counseling, and he enjoys working with international clients ranging from students to executives preparing to work and live overseas. Dirk currently flies out from FRA, Germany.

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Patricia is a United Nations Accredited Freelance Interpreter who has over ten years of experience as a translator and conference interpreter in East Africa.  With her professional background in communications, she also serves as a Consultant Interpreter for events in Addis Ababa and the region.

Patricia holds Masters’ degrees in Conflict Studies and International Law, obtained in France, as well as a Diploma in Translation (IoLET Level 7) specializing in Legal Translation.  Patricia is a French citizen and currently lives in Ethiopia.