Kessler, a native of Russia who joined GlobalPittsburgh in September 2011 as Operations & Events Coordinator, was one of several people selected by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and the One Young World Pittsburgh Partnership to join the Pittsburgh delegation representing the region’s non-profit sector.
Winners of the fellowships were described by the One Young World Pittsburgh Partnership as “team players who demonstrate leadership potential, and who have the ability to grasp complex concepts and provide valuable insights, as well as a commitment to cultural diversity. They should show an interest in global affairs and in helping define Pittsburgh’s place in the world.”
Said Kessler: “Arriving in the United States as an international student from Russia, I was fascinated by the level of tolerance, respect and diversity I discovered in this country. I also realize that there is still much work to be done to a respect of diversity in the U.S. My efforts have aided international students and professionals to break down barriers and stereotypes that may impede the productiveness of partnerships in which they become involved. Participation will help me connect with young leaders from over 160 countries and foster these connections potentially turning them into the valuable partnerships involving the Pittsburgh community, colleges, and public and private organizations. I look forward to sharing my experiences and learning from my peers worldwide.”
Kessler, 28, was born in Astrakhan, Russia. She received a law degree from Astrakhan State University and worked as a legal administrator first for a private marine port and later for the federally owned JSC Russian Railroad System.
In 2008, Clark University in Worcester, MA, started a pilot program with Astrakhan State enrolling students in a Master’s of Public Administration program, which included the option to complete the last two semesters in the United States.
Kessler enrolled and received her MPA degree in 2009, and soon began working as a program coordinator at the International Center of Worcester, a member of the National Council for International Visitors, to which GlobalPittsburgh also belongs.
At ICW, Kessler designed and implemented professional programs and itineraries for participants in international training programs, including program organization, communications and logistics. She also assisted in oral interpretation and translation of written documents for professional exchange programs.
Kessler became a permanent resident of the United States in 2010. A year later she moved to Pittsburgh with her husband, Steve, a native Pittsburgher, and started working with GlobalPittsburgh. In May 2012 she took over management of GlobalPittsburgh’s homestay program and international membership program, which focuses on helping international students, scholars, visiting faculty and professionals adapt to American culture, integrating them into the Greater Pittsburgh region’s culture and communities, and encouraging the development of professional and personal relationships between international visitors and the people of Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia.
During the Summit, Kessler will be posting updates on her Facebook and Twitter feeds using the hashtag #OYW2012, as well as on GlobalPittsburgh social network outlets.