Sri Kulkarni Joins AmeriCorps Federal Agency

Washington DC: AmeriCorps, the federal agency for volunteering and service, announced the appointments of three leading experts to key positions – Sonali Nijhawan, director of AmeriCorps State and National; Dan Kohl, director of government relations; and Sri Preston Kulkarni, chief of external affairs.

Joining the seven leaders announced last month, these appointees reflect the Biden administration’s commitment to diverse leadership. In their roles, these leaders will use service to support the administration’s agenda, focusing on four of the most urgent challenges of our time: COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change.

The appointments come as the agency is poised for extraordinary progress, with calls for investment in national service programming at every level, amid growing recognition that service is an effective strategy to help address challenges ranging from climate change to COVID-19 recovery.

Sonali Nijhawan has committed her career to developing leaders and growing national service. Most recently, she developed and served as the executive director of Stockton Service Corps, a six-year, $12 million initiative to address local needs through AmeriCorps. she earned a bachelor’s in education and psychology from Marquette University and a master’s in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Kohl’s’s long record of political and civic engagement will be an asset to AmeriCorps. Kohl is a founder for a leading progressive political advocacy organization, J Street, where he served as vice president of political affairs. He previously served as the SEED Foundation’s Wisconsin director for new school development and as a senior advisor for Baker Hostetler’s government practice group.

Kulkarni brings a variety of experience in service and public affairs to AmeriCorps, including 14 years as a foreign service officer with the State Department where he specialized in public diplomacy and worked in public affairs and international information programs, completing tours in Taiwan, Russia, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, and Washington, D.C. He also spent time as a Pearson fellow with the U.S. Senate, advising on foreign policy, defense, and veterans affairs matters.

Kulkarni furthered this experience as a candidate for Congress in 2018 and 2020, running the first U.S. campaign in 27 languages and the largest relational organizing program for a U.S. Congressional race. He earned a bachelor’s in linguistics from the University of Texas and a master’s in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School. He speaks English, Spanish, Russian, Hindi, Hebrew, and Mandarin Chinese.