Shannon Simrell, Representative of the Helsinki Commission to the U.S. Mission to the OSCE
Shannon Simrell was appointed to the staff of the U.S. Helsinki Commission on September 2, 2019 and is the commission’s representative to the United States Mission to the OSCE (USOSCE). Shannon ensures close cooperation between the commission and the mission, leads USOSCE’s engagement with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and on youth, and supports the OSCE’s work across all three dimensions, with a focus on anti-corruption, democratic elections, tolerance and non-discrimination, and civil society participation.
Between 2008 and 2018, Shannon recruited, deployed, and provided ongoing support to more than 2,300 Americans seconded to nearly 100 OSCE permanent, special, and election observation missions on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. She has conducted dozens of site visits to OSCE field missions and has been deployed as an OSCE election observer in Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine, and Tajikistan.
As a U.S. secondee to the OSCE Mission to Kosovo between 2006 and 2008, Shannon oversaw democratization programs and eventually served as the acting deputy director of the Regional Center in Gjilan/Gnjilane and its 110 staff. She began her engagement with the region in the 1990s when she developed democratization and environmental programs for civil society leaders from Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
Shannon holds a dual B.A. in philosophy and French language from the University of Scranton and studied for one year in France. She also earned a M.A. in international education from the School for International Training in Vermont.