Karina found her passion for cultural exchange upon starting her career at Meridian several years ago. Karina was hired at Meridian as an intern in the Development Department, and subsequently accepted a full-time Program Associate position in Professional Exchanges. She assumed additional responsibilities as an Assistant Trainer and Communications Coordinator, before being promoted to the Program Officer role. Through her work on global leadership programs with the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Karina has seen the benefits firsthand of connecting people to promote mutual trust and understanding. Her myriad project management experiences include topical focuses on women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, civil society development, and youth civic engagement for emerging leaders from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Karina received her B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University’s Elliott School, after moving to Washington, DC from her hometown of Dubai, UAE. She also studied French throughout college, spending a semester abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Karina completed Middlebury College’s intensive summer language immersion program in Arabic, and most recently received her M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. Among the Master’s courses Karina completed were two graduate seminars on the practice of conflict resolution, peace-building and citizen diplomacy in Damascus, Syria in January 2011, and Israel and the Palestinian Territories in January 2012. These experiences have helped inform the public diplomacy work she engages in at Meridian.