Anna Crosslin, a 1972 Arts & Sciences graduate of Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in Asian studies, has helped thousands of refugees and immigrants make a smooth transition to life in the St. Louis area. Crosslin received an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2006.
Under Ms. Crosslin’s entrepreneurial leadership, the International Institute, which is in St. Louis’ South Grand neighborhood, has grown in size and scope. Today it is the largest resettlement agency in the state and it annually provides educational, counseling and employment services to more than 8,000 newcomers from 55 countries.
Founded in 1919, the institute is nationally recognized for its programs designed to move refugees and immigrants quickly from overwhelming dependence to productivity and self-sufficiency
During Crosslin’s 28-year tenure, the institute has led the charge to resettle refugees, resulting in the largest Bosnian community in the United States now claiming St. Louis as home.
The organization is playing a major role in revitalizing its surrounding city neighborhoods, where many immigrants are finding jobs, starting businesses and buying homes.
Promoting language and cultural literacy
Recently, Crosslin has launched the International Institute Business Solutions Center, a social enterprise that provides language and cultural expertise to local businesses to help them work more effectively in the global marketplace and with more ethnically diverse workforces. She is working to expand the program to more than 20 other metropolitan areas during this year.
In recognition of her leadership role among fellow International Institute directors nationwide, Crosslin was elected chair of the Standing Committee of the Professional Council of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the umbrella organization for the country’s International Institutes. She served from 2004-06, retiring from the position in February.