Sri Preston Kulkarni
Sri Preston Kulkarni is a proven leader who has been serving his family, community, and country for his entire life. Growing up, he saw the inequities between the lower income communities where he lived and the affluent neighborhood where he was bused to school, and decided to become involved in public service. At age 15, he took on responsibility for coordinating volunteer service across schools in Ft. Bend and Harris Counties. When Sri was 18, his father Venkatesh contracted leukemia and Sri dropped out of college to care for him. After Sri’s mother became a widow, he split his time between helping her raise his younger siblings and finishing his studies at the University of Texas, where he graduated from the Plan II Honors program.
Following college, Sri was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer by Secretary of State Colin Powell and served his country for 14 years, with overseas tours in Iraq, Israel, Russia, Taiwan, and Jamaica. Sri speaks Spanish, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Hebrew, and Russian. He has spent his career using his skills and education to find common ground between groups in conflict, such as Arabs and Kurds or Israelis and Palestinians, and standing up for the truth, including combating the Russian government’s online misinformation campaign.
In 2015, Sri accepted a Pearson Fellowship to serve as a foreign policy and defense advisor on Capitol Hill, assisting Senator Kirsten Gillibrand with her work on the Senate Armed Services Committee. During this time, Sri used his knowledge of international treaties to get a rule changed by the DEA that now allows greater research on treatments for conditions such as intractable epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and chronic pain.
In 2017, Sri completed a mid-career Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he was Vice President for Communications. Following the divisive 2016 Presidential election, Sri and a Republican colleague founded a bipartisan initiative called “Breaking Bread,” which aims to reduce the partisan hostility in our society, that has been repeated in several states.