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A Brief Biography of Kenneth Gluck
Brief Biographical Material
February 8, 2001
Kenneth Gluck, 38, Head of Mission for the North Caucasus program for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), is an experienced, dedicated, and knowledgeable humanitarian aid worker.
Born to schoolteacher parents in Queens, New York, Gluck grew up in the New York City metropolitan area. His interest in international affairs dates back to his early days as an undergraduate at Harvard University in the 1980s. He left after two years to study Russian literature on his own then taught himself Spanish and worked and traveled in Puerto Rico and Latin America before returning to Harvard in 1988 to complete his degree. He began to study Russian at Harvard, and graduated in 1990.
Gluck first came to Russia with his brother in 1990 on a cultural exchange trip organized by two friends on the eve of the fall of the Soviet Union. His Russian improved dramatically and shortly afterward, he began working for Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, and other humanitarian aid organizations. His international work has been marked by an unflinching commitment to help relieve people's suffering even in the most desperate war-ravaged areas. He has worked in Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Congo-Zaire, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, and Ethiopia, in addition to Chechnya.
In Tajikistan, he negotiated the country's first agreement with an international relief organization and then designed an innovative Food for Work program that organized 15,000 people to rebuild 11,000 homes in only six months.
Gluck first came to work in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, when the war was at its height. He returned to Chechnya early in 2000, when he began working for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), recipient of the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize. Gluck and his MSF team support hospitals, maternity wards and dispensaries throughout Chechnya, providing medical supplies and rehabilitating surgical facilities and patient wards. His MSF team also assists displaced Chechens in neighboring republics with food, medical supplies, shelter, and psychosocial care. In addition, MSF runs several medical programs for TB and AIDS in other parts of Russia.
Known as a highly professional, careful, and savvy aid veteran, Gluck has worked with the Collaborative for Development Action, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, helping to train other relief workers in dozens of countries. He has led trainings on subjects ranging from cross-cultural understanding and sustainable development, to security awareness in war zones, and has authored studies, policy guides, and training materials about humanitarian relief work and for its volunteers.
For almost a decade, Gluck has considered Russia his second home. Now a fluent Russian speaker, his compassion for and commitment to the Russian people has inspired him to pursue his relief work in some of the most conflict-ridden areas of the former Soviet republics.