Who We Are


Susannah Coolidge has served as Executive Director of the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council since January of 2009. From 2000-2009 she served as Trade Programs Manager of the World Trade Center of New Orleans where she promoted and managed all seminars and conferences to highlight overseas markets for Louisiana products and services. In addition she coordinated and facilitated both outbound trade missions and visits by foreign delegations. Prior to joining the World Trade Center Ms. Coolidge worked for five years as a Commercial Account Executive for an American Express travel franchise. Before that she worked as a French interpreter at Logan International Airport in Boston. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger from 1989-1991.

Ms. Coolidge is past President of the Louisiana Peace Corps Association and served on the Board of the French American Chamber of Commerce/Louisiana Chapter from 2001-2008. Ms. Coolidge received her Bachelor’s degree in linguistics from Tulane University and a Master’s in Urban Studies from the University of New Orleans.

Kelley Ponder serves as the Program Manager for the New Orleans Citizen Diploma Council.   Originally from Fairhope, Alabama, she has lived in New Orleans since 1996.  She earned her Ph.D. in International Development from Tulane University Law School and holds a Masters of Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  She has worked as a consultant to the United Nations, an Adjunct Lecturer in the International Development Studies Program at Tulane University, as well as a Senior Program Manager for HIV/AIDS projects throughout West and Central Africa.  She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin, West Africa (1993-1996). 


Svetlana Pizzati serves as the Program Officer for the New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council, a position which she has held since August 2016. Previously Svetlana assisted the NOCDC as Projects Assistant through a busy period of 2015, and served as an intern in 2013 during which time she completed 120 hours for the Council. 


A native of Russia, Svetlana has proudly called New Orleans her home since 2006. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of New Orleans in 2014 with a degree in International Studies with a concentration in Diplomacy and International Organizations and a minor in Spanish. She is multilingual in Russian, English and Spanish. Svetlana also studied in Russia and has completed four years of courses in Translation and Translation Studies in English and German. In 2019 Svetlana volunteered with the English Opens Doors Program of the Ministry of Education of Chile and the United Nations Development Programme-Chile where she was assigned to Escuela Adelaida La Fetra, a public primary school in Huechuraba, a socially vulnerable inner-city sector of the Metropolitan Region of Chile. During her time collaborating with the English Opens Doors Program, Svetlana worked to develop the listening and speaking abilities (in the English language) of approximately 275 underserved public-school students, who generally have little to no contact with the spoken English language outside of their time with volunteers. Additionally, she was responsible for aiding her Chilean head teacher in pedagogical planning, organizing extra-curricular English related activities in her community, and participating in multiple initiatives and activities of the English Opens Doors Program, all of which seek to enrich and enhance the English language learning process at the local level. Outside of the NOCDC, Svetlana is a traveler and a dreamer – her ultimate dream is to travel to every country on the world map.

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New Orleans Citizen Diplomacy Council       Website: www.nocdc.org

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Suite 203

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NOCDC promotes citizen diplomacy.
NOCDC is a member of the Global Ties U.S. network.
NOCDC works on the IVLP, the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.

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