Hélène Sostarich-Barsamian is the Executive Director of the Friends of Freie Universität Berlin, Inc. which was founded in January 2003 with the support of the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. She brings to the position a multicultural background coupled with an education and experience gained on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ms. Sostarich-Barsamian, who speaks five languages, holds degrees in French and German Languages and Literatures from Rice University in Houston, Texas, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium and New York University. Throughout her professional career she occupied positions as an academic as well as administrator, enabling her to better understand and balance the needs of institutions of higher learning based upon this wider perspective. While in the academic field, Ms. Sostarich-Barsamian was a member of the Modern Language Association where she presented papers and published several articles on topics ranging from Proust to Zola.
During the following years, first as Project Manager for the Real Estate Investments arm of Prudential Financial, and thereafter as Assistant Dean for Administrative Affairs at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, Hélène Sostarich-Barsamian has successfully pursued an agenda of incorporating her grasp of cultural and social diversity to the benefit of those institutions.
Throughout her extensive travels, whether for pleasure or in the interest of her posts, Ms. Sostarich-Barsamian established long lasting collaborations with national and foreign dignitaries, officials within academic institutions, and corporate leaders through their shared interest in current issues of global concern such as world hunger, the diminishing availability of potable water, infectious diseases, the environment and women’s initiatives. She takes an active involvement through several New York and New Jersey based organizations.
In her off hours, Hélène Sostarich-Barsamian is a patron of several cultural institutions, among them the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
For the Friends of Freie Universität Berlin Ms. Sostarich-Barsamian has a very ambitious and long-range vision, looking to bring together through successful fundraising, American Alumni of the Freie Universität, business and political leaders, academics and grant making foundations with an interest in furthering academic and research cooperation between Germany and the United States.