Though the reach and ambition of her work is global, Chelina Odbert grounds every project in the local character, challenges and beauty of each community.
The co-founder and Executive Director of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a non-profit design practice that partners with under-resourced communities to advance equity and activate the unrealized potential in neighborhoods and cities, Chelina is a strong believer in participatory planning and design as keys to sustainable development. She’s built an award-winning practice that puts good design in places where it is not often found, and puts residents at the center of the design and decision-making process.
Chelina has extensive field experience in Africa, Latin America and the US, and her leadership in forging new pathways in design has been widely recognized by groups such as Ashoka Changemakers, American Express, The Atlantic, and The Aspen Institute. She holds a bachelor of arts from Claremont McKenna College, where she graduated with magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors, and she received her Master of Urban Planning from Harvard University.