Martin Graefe is the senior group director and director for the Concordia Language Training Center of Concordia Language Villages. He has been on staff at Concordia Language Villages for 32 years, being introduced to the Villages via weekend programs for school groups, including eight years as director for year-round programs and ten years as the associate director for operations. Over the years, he has focused on new program development, specifically for pre-K and Adventure Day Camp programs as well as family programs. Most recently, Martin has focused on developing and advancing the Concordia Language Training Center programs for U.S. government employees, building on the successful partnerships developed with the U.S. Department of Defense. He is a native of Germany and has studied French. Martin received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D. and a master’s degree in business administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Since joining the Villages, he has been an active member of the Bemidji, Minn. community, with Rotary International and the American Camp Association.
Sara Shams Nimis holds a PhD in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Georgetown University and an MA in Political Science from Miami University. Her passion for Arabic-speaking communities, and for promoting understanding across cultures, grew out of years working, studying and traveling in Morocco, Egypt and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, where she was awarded a graduate diploma in Middle East Studies and an advanced diploma in Arabic language (CASA) at the American University in Cairo. Besides teaching for ten seasons in the youth Language Villages, Nimis has taught Arabic language at Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., at Georgetown University campuses in Washington, D.C. and in Doha, Qatar, and in the Concordia Language Training Center program. She currently serves as Associate Director for program, supporting all languages at the Concordia Language Training Center.