Christa Kuljian is an independent development consultant and writer with a range of NGOs and donors.
From 2004 to 2006, Ms. Kuljian was a visiting research fellow at the Johannesburg-based Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). She focused on civil society and development funding patterns in South Africa over the past decade. Her publications included Philanthropy and Equity: The Case of South Africa, a review of various types of philanthropy in South Africa. The paper concludes that very few philanthropic sources give to issues of social justice and equity.
Ms. Kuljian first arrived in South Africa in 1984 when she worked at the South African Council of Churches, the Woodmead School and a law office. Her year in South Africa was followed by three years working as a foreign policy aide in U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy's office in Washington, DC and later as a researcher at the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.
In 1989, she joined the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to work on their community development and youth programs in low-income communities throughout the US. Three years later, she took on the Foundation's exploratory project in South Africa and opened an office for the Mott Foundation in Johannesburg in 1993. Over the next eleven years, she was the director of the Mott Foundation's program in South Africa, which worked "to support a vibrant civil society in which nonprofit organizations work to deepen democracy, increase participation in decision-making, advance socio-economic and racial equality, and promote justice and reconciliation." The Mott Foundation worked towards this goal via three major grant making programs: 1) the nonprofit sector and philanthropy; 2) rights, responsibilities and participation; and 3) racism and reconciliation. She left her position of director in September 2003.
Ms. Kuljian has served on several boards, including the Southern Africa Grantmakers Association (1995-2001), the US-South Africa Fulbright Commission (1998-2002), the advisory committee of the Southern African Grantmakers Affinity Group of the Council on Foundations in Washington, DC (1992-1999) and the African Grantmakers Affinity Group in New York (2000-2003). She is currently a trustee of the Eugene Saldanha Memorial Fund.
Ms. Kuljian holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University (1984) and a Master’s degree in development and public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University (1989). She grew up in Boston, USA and has made Johannesburg, South Africa her home since 1993. In 2007, she completed a second Master’s degree in writing at the University of the Witwatersrand, with a thesis on developments in an historic part of Johannesburg called Kliptown. To date, her writing, which varies from development documentary to literary appreciation, has appeared in New Contrast, Litnet, Botsotso, and The Weekender.