Cristina Vollmer Burelli

Senior Associate (Non-resident), Americas Program

Cristina V. Burelli, a Venezuelan American social entrepreneur, is the founder and executive director of V5Initiative, a nonprofit that advises and connects civil society organizations in the Americas that focus on universal values, democracy, and the environment. Cristina matriculated at Queens’ College, Cambridge in 1981 and read for an M.A. in social anthropology. Previously, as executive director of Alliance for the Family between 2002 and 2014, she successfully took a visionary idea—a K-12 story-based universal values curriculum “Aprendiendo a Querer”—and transformed it into a sustainable, robust curriculum in three languages (Spanish, English, and Portuguese), as well as an English version for Africa, that has touched an estimated 500,000 children and teenagers in 16 countries, including Cuba where she managed a large-scale, complex project involving tens of thousands of Cuban students and families. Before moving to the United States in 2000, Cristina lived in her native country, Venezuela, where she was a trustee of the Alberto Vollmer Foundation, the British School, and El Museo de los Niños, one of the largest and most admired children’s museums in Latin America. For the last 20 years, Cristina has been deeply involved in various nonprofits in the United States that are mainly focused on education and youth, serving on the board of directors of Cambridge in America, the Orchestra of the Americas, as founding co-chair of the Global Leaders Program, Families of Character, National Fatherhood Initiative, and the Washington Studies Group. The common thread in her work in all these organizations has been her passion for education and the promotion of universal values through different means, including classical music. For the past two years, Cristina has been focused on the humanitarian and environmental crisis in Venezuela. In that context, she has been one of the key drivers of SOSOrinoco—an organization operating under cover in Venezuela—in order to shed light on the existing body of work regarding the situation in the Amazonas and Orinoco regions of Venezuela, raise awareness of the tragedy that is occurring, and outline some urgent measures that should be taken to halt the unfolding human and environmental disaster. She has spoken and written on topics close to her heart, such as the challenges and urgent needs for educating in democratic values and empowering the young by inspiring noble purpose through character and entrepreneurship, as well as the environmental devastation in Venezuela.