With members of Baraka Women’s Center

Susan Burgess-Lent is Executive Director of Women’s Centers International, a non-profit that creates safe spaces where women affected by conflict and poverty can access resources to build the lives they want.

An interview with Susan:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEtKiOyXMdo

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Susan moved to San Francisco after a stint at the  University of Michigan. Her first job at KQED-TV marked the beginning of a twenty-year career in television news on both coasts, working  for Voice of America TV, NBC4 News, CBS News, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, KRON-TV, WTTG-TV, and WJLA-TV.

Getting around Darfur in a WFP chopper

Susan was drawn  international relief and development work during the Rwanda genocide. In 1994 – 96, she served with the American Red Cross International Services, providing administrative and logistical support for relief workers in Rwanda, Bosnia and Central Asia. She traveled to Rwanda in 1998. It was her first trip to the continent and the genesis of her humanitarian field work.

From 2006 through 2011, she completed six missions to Darfur, Sudan as Program Director with Darfur Peace and Development Organization (DPDO). At Kassab IDP Camp in North Darfur,  she opened a Center to support literacy and livelihoods among displaced women. Kassab Women’s Center became the model for WCI’s work.

Susan collaborated with a team in Nairobi in October 2012 to create Baraka Women’s Center, that has served over 500 members with training and support programs.  The first U.S.-based Center in California  Oakland Women’s Center, opened in May 2015 … and closed in April 2018 after service to nearly 250 women.

ITB Cover

Susan is the author of two novels: In the Borderlands (Xlibris, 2000) and When All the Girls Stopped Singing (to be published). Her short stories and essays have been published by World Press Institute Online, Wild Child Magazine, Pictures and Stories, MS magazine, and Global Women Magazine as well as included in several anthologies. She received the 2004 Maryland Writers’ Association First Place Prize for Mainstream Fiction for an early version of her second novel, and the 2002 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant for Fiction for her first novel In the Borderlands.

An experienced public speaker,  Susan has made numerous presentations to civic, student, religious and professional groups about ways of meeting the urgent needs of women affected by conflict, migration, and poverty.

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