Meet the CGA Team

The NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs (CGA), one of the most exciting and dynamic programs to emerge on the higher education landscape, explores the latest trends in international policy and examines and vigorously debates critical issues in the classroom and through public events. It is a program that provides the opportunity for individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities to come together and to explore how to make our world a better and more just place. CGA embraces a world where diplomacy and global transactions occur in a 21st-century milieu comprised of state and on-state actors.

Our mission is straightforward—to create a community of global citizens who are capable of changing the world. Some might this is a terribly bold aim for an academic program. Nonetheless, we would have it no other way! CGA’s leading-edge MS in Global Affairs, career advancement courses, and diploma programs, as well as its provocative public events, combine to create an environment where everyone with an interest in global affairs can find a place to contribute and learn.

Those who develop these programs are scholars and practitioners, individuals who have had direct experience in the global arena. Everyone at CGA is passionate, enthusiastic, and committed to our ambitious global agenda.

Graduate Administration

Vera Jelinek, Divisional Dean

Dr. Vera Jelinek’s mission to create a community of global citizens has spanned over two decades at New York University. After an initial career in international educational exchange, she joined NYU as the director of International Programs, Social and Natural Sciences. While overseeing the growth of programs in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Jelinek envisioned and established a new department of international affairs. In 1999, the prestige and overall excellence of the international affairs program allowed Jelinek to found The Lillian Vernon Center for International Affairs at NYU. The Vernon Center provided Jelinek with the opportunity to develop innovative and compelling public programs that attracted world leaders, the U.N. community, authors, journalists and scholars in international affairs.

Under Dr. Jelinek’s direction, 2004 brought the birth of the Masters of Science in Global Affairs program and the emergence of the Center for Global Affairs (CGA) in lower Manhattan’s historic Woolworth Building. Currently, the CGA has over 300 graduate students and presents public programs during the academic year which bring together NYU students and the greater New York community for conversations on critical global issues with experts in the field. Dr. Jelinek maintains close ties with international and nongovernmental organizations, the UN community, international media, and the US Department of State. She has a Ph.D. in modern European history from NYU, a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a B.A. in history from Queens College. She is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in the East. She is conversant in French, Italian and Hungarian.

Carolyn Kissane, Academic Director and Clinical Associate Professor

Dr. Carolyn Kissane serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the Center for Global Affairs at New York University where she teaches graduate level courses examining the Central Asian region, transformations in China, the geopolitics of oil, comparative energy politics, resource security, civil society organizations, and women’s movements. She serves as the Coordinator of the Energy and Environment concentration at the Center and is faculty advisor to the Energy Policy International Club. She held a two year fellowship from the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs and received a Fulbright Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, Teachers College Columbia University Dean’s Grant, National Security Graduate Enhancement Fellowship, IREX Caspian Sea Fellowship, IREX travel grant for study in Kazakhstan, and an IREX Individual Advanced Research Opportunities Grant to examine the impact of natural resources on civil society development. In recognition of her unwavering commitment to education Dr. Kissane was awarded the esteemed NYU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007 and nominated for the NYU-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008 and 2009. She received the SPS Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009.

In 2009 Dr. Kissane received a grant from the Canadian government to lead a group of students to visit the Canadian Oil Sands in Fort McMurray and to visit with oil sands leaders in Calgary. Her work with Canada continues in the form of event partnerships and a special series on the Arctic which she is organizing with the Government of Quebec. Complementing her academic, public service and consultant experience, Kissane is the author of numerous publications including an article on history education in Comparative Education, Freedom House: Countries at the Crossroads report on Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Great Decisions Series, and Evaluating Human Rights Education. She also has chapters on transitional challenges in education in Central Asia and human rights education in Europe, an article on Girls’ Education and Democratization in the Post-Taliban Era and another focusing on the oil extractive industry published in Globalization, Societies and Education. Dr. Kissane received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Cori Epstein, Director, Graduate Administration

Cori Epstein has been with the NYU Center for Global Affairs (CGA) since 2006 and is currently the Director of Graduate Program Administration.  Prior to joining the CGA, Cori worked on school reform initiatives at the New York City Department of Education and on youth development programming at the Partnership for After School Education (PASE).  Cori holds an M.A. in International Education from NYU Steinhardt and a B.A. in History from Brown University.

Anila Churi, Associate Director, Graduate Administration

Anila, a proud alumna of NYU SPS’s Global Affairs program, joined the CGA in August 2015. Previously, she worked as Director-Publisher at the North American Congress on Latin America, as the Communications Manager for the New Media Advocacy Project, and as a researcher at Travel + Leisure Magazine. Anila holds an M.S. in Global Affairs with a concentration in Human Rights & Humanitarian Assistance and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Oberlin College. She loves to travel, cook, and do yoga.

Crissy Lederman, Assistant Director, Graduate Program

Crissy Lederman is a program administrator for the MSGA. In addition to advising students, Crissy’s role is to support the administrative processes of the program. Growing up as a Los Angeles native, she earned her BA in California and later went on to NYU to earn a MA in International Education at Steinhardt. Having a keen interest in global affairs and international exploration, Crissy is excited to be a part of the CGA team!

Katie Dobosz Kenney, Assistant Director, Graduate Program

Katie holds a B.A in History and Religious Studies from the University of Central Florida. Katie is an alumna of the CGA and holds an M.S. in Global Affairs with a concentration in Peacebuilding. An educator for almost 10 years, Katie has developed global and peace education curriculum in Florida, Mississippi, and Timor-Leste. Katie is also a contributing writer for the media start-up, Political Insights.

Katerina Siira, Project Director, PREP

Katerina Siira directs PREP’s project Supporting the Peace Process in Colombia and helps to oversee PREP’s overall development. Prior to shifting her focus to Latin America, she worked in refugee and child protection with the UN Refugee Agency and the United States Refugee Admissions Program in sub-Saharan Africa, where she led refugee resettlement missions throughout the continent and oversaw the child protection program. Katerina’s passion to develop and implement youth participation and education programs have led her to work with several international organizations in countries such as Iraq, Thailand, India, and Jordan. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Skidmore College and an M.S. in Global Affairs from NYU.

Noncredit & Public Programs

Michelle D’Amico, Director, Noncredit and Public Programs

Michelle holds a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising from F.I.T., a Professional Certificate in Fundraising from the NYUSPS Heyman Program, and a M.P.A. from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. She has worked in the noncredit and public events area of the Center for Global Affairs since 2006. In her role as Director of Noncredit and Public Programs, Michelle oversees robust global affairs offerings within Career Advancement courses, High School Academy, and Advanced Diplomas. In collaboration with Executive Director Alice Eckstein, Michelle manages and supports 40-50 public events throughout the academic year. Prior to working at CGA she served as a Senior PC Support Technician for NYUSPS.

Anna Mosher, Associate Director, Grant and Special Program Administration

Anna Mosher is an assistant director at the Center for Global Affairs. Her primary role at the Center is serving as the administrative support for the CGA’s sponsored program activities and special programs. She started at the Center in the end of 2010. A Michigan native, she graduated from Western Michigan University in 2008 with a double major in English Literature and the Spanish Language.

Mayelly Moreno, Assistant Director, Noncredit Programs

Mayelly Moreno is the Assistant Director of Noncredit Programs at NYU’s Heyman Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising. She works closely with the Director of Noncredit and Public Programs at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs (NYU-CGA), Michelle D'Amico, to provide support to students and faculty in the Certificate in Fundraising, NYU-CGA’s Diploma Programs (in Monitoring and Evaluation, Energy Finance, and Clean Energy) and both programs’ Career Advancement courses. Mayelly holds a B.A. in Psychology and also in Hispanic Languages and Literature from Stony Brook University, and an M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from NYU's Graduate School of Arts and Science.

Kaci Forest, Administrative Aide

Kaci Forest is the Administrative Aide in non-credit and public programs at NYU’s School of Professional Studies at the Center for Global Affairs. They have a background in Advertising and Communications with a minor in Art History from the University of North Florida.

Robert Lesko, Administrative Aide

Robert Lesko has been the Administrative Aide of non-credit programs at NYU’s Heyman Program for Philanthropy and Fundraising since 2005, providing support to students and faculty in the Certificate in Fundraising and Career Advancement courses.  Prior to the Heyman Program, Robert worked for 20 years in a number of other capacities for NYUSPS, including in the Office of Finance and Administration, the Shack Institute of Real Estate, and the office of Non-Credit Student Services. Robert holds a B.S. in Marketing from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Advisory Board

  • Michael Druckman (Co-chair), Chairman, Schools that Can
  • Robert Pietrzak (Co-chair), Partner, Sidley Austin
  • David Goldring, Chairman and CEO, Overseas Military Sales Corporation
  • Go Katayama, Power and Gas Market Regulatory Advisor, Shell Energy Japan
  • Nicholas Kourides, Senior Counsel, DLA Piper
  • Sam Lissner, Associate, Ridgewood Energy


  • Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, UN Navy Retired; President, SJL Global Insights
  • Channon Lucas, Chief Administrative Officer, Mother Cabrini Health Foundation
  • Peter Nitze, Chairman, Nitze-Stagen, Inc.
  • Alexandra Rogan, Managing Director, Teneo Intelligence
  • Richard Wolffe, US Columnist, The Guardian
  • Jason Wright, Principal, Geer Mountain Holdings


Honorary Members of the Board

  • H.R.H. Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security


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