Kristin Fleschner has worked on a broad range of national security and human rights issues for the federal government since 2008. Fleschner joined the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor as a foreign affairs officer covering human rights issues. The Bureau leads the country’s efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally. She was one of 17 women profiled by the U.S. Department of State for Women’s History Month in 2015. Before joining the federal government, she worked for the Polaris Project, Younger Women’s Task Force, Population Services International, and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Fleschner underwent a successful pancreas transplant in 2007 but began experiencing vision loss in 2008. She maintained her passion for athletics and running. She completed the 2014 Boston Marathon with a professional running guide.
Fleschner, a native of Terre Haute, Ind., is a 2014 graduate of Harvard Law School and a 2004 graduate of Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, she graduated summa cum laude with degrees in anthropology and human and organization development. She was the 2004 Vanderbilt University Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellow, which enabled her to travel to Southern and Eastern Africa to study sexual violence against women and children. Those experiences deepened her interest in international relations and gender issues.
She has served on Federal Interagency Working Group on disability issues since 2010 and she was awarded one of Harvard Law School’s Leadership Awards for her work on disability issues. She was the National Federation of the Blind’s National Scholarship recipient, which recognized her scholarship and advocacy work. She directed a documentary, “Blind Ambition,” (https://vimeo.com/69119995) about her experiences and those of other Harvard Law students who are blind or visually impaired.