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Susan M. Blaustein
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Dr. Susan M. Blaustein is Co-Founder/Director of the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), a project of the Earth Institute at Columbia University committed to sustainable urban development and designed to assist selected sub-Saharan capitals in attaining the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Dr. Blaustein built the organization from scratch to cover 11 underserved sub-Saharan municipalities, each with distinct challenges.

In 2014 Dr. Blaustein established a new DC corporation, WomenStrong International (WSI), to address the health, protection, education, housing and livelihood needs of women and girls in urban settings in Haiti, Ghana, Kenya, India and Washington, DC, thereby enabling these women to become the agents of change for the sustainable implementation of the MDGs in their respective communities. Soon to be a non-profit, WSI works with an established and respected local non-governmental organization in each of these five settings to expand programming for women and girls, link the programs and establish a global online and mobile platform capable of sharing resources, innovative ideas, best practices and lessons learned with other women’s and girls’ programs, among the participating girls, women and project staff, in chronically impoverished settings, acute crisis zones and among development practitioners.

Prior to her work at the Earth Institute, Dr. Blaustein was a senior consultant and analyst with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank focused on conflict prevention, and with the Coalition for International Justice, a Washington-based NGO supporting the efforts of international criminal tribunals to prosecute gross human rights abusers in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, East Timor and Sierra Leone. Dr. Blaustein also reported on conflict, politics and economics from the Balkans and Southeast Asia for such publications as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The New Republic and the Los Angeles Times; she is completing a book about the Rwandan genocide. She served previously as Assistant Professor at Columbia University, her doctorate is from Yale University, she was a Harvard Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of multiple awards.

Dr. Blaustein also serves as Director on the Board of Millennium Promise, the non-profit that operates MCI's sister Millennium Villages Project, and recently completed eight years on the Board of Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where she lives with her journalist husband Alan Berlow. Their daughter, Maia, is a freshman in Columbia College.

Entries by Susan M. Blaustein

Making Every Day the Day of the African Child

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 11:33 AM

As we celebrate the Day of the African Child this week, we hold in our hearts the
brave Nigerian schoolgirls -- those in captivity, those who have escaped, the thousands whose fearless assertion of their right to an education has put them now at such risk. Our thoughts...

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Reading: The Key to Development and Community Worldwide

(1) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 8:04 AM

In an early celebration last week of World Read Aloud Day in Kisumu, Kenya's third largest city, the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) and Kisumu public school teachers made the rounds of a number of primary schools where we now have Girls' LitClubs, thanks to the New York-based, literacy-focused non-profit LitWorld....

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Safe Shelter, Health and Wellbeing in the World's Poorest Cities

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2012 | 7:45 AM

This Human Rights Day, let's talk about housing.

We've been paying more attention to housing here in the U.S. lately, given the calamitous impact of Hurricane Sandy on entire New York and New Jersey communities and the countless American families with homes still in foreclosure.

Globally, of course,...

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"Let It Be a Lesson": The Yearning for Learning, as a Force of Nature

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 11:06 AM

"Let it be a lesson," pronounced the Taliban spokesman, confirming the midday shooting by colleagues in Pakistan's Swat Valley of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, explicitly because of her passion for education and her courageous campaign for the right of girls to go to school.

Lessons, of course, are all that Malala...

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Mother's Day Challenges for Us All

(1) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 10:20 AM

A mother in Kisumu, Kenya, contacted by her daughter's teacher because the usually bubbly 10-year-old had seemed so flat in school in recent weeks and her performance had slumped dramatically, told the teacher to speak with the girl's father. Since the economic downturn, the mother explained, the girl's father had...

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Healing, Storytelling and Girls' Empowerment: Stand Up for Girls and Let them Speak!

(68) Comments | Posted September 21, 2011 | 12:12 PM

There could be no stronger testament to the healing power of storytelling than the tremendous outpouring of personal narratives that accompanied the 10th anniversary of 9/11: from National Public Radio's wonderful StoryCorps tales, representing every victim with at least one illuminating story, to the moving and supremely dignified testimonies of...

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Fast-Tracking Women's Empowerment: Partnerships and Practical Solutions

(0) Comments | Posted March 8, 2011 | 8:43 AM

We've learned a lot in the first 100 years of celebrating International Women's Day, about women's empowerment and resistance to that empowerment; about leverage and how to fight above one's weight class; and about the benefits and challenges inherent in sister solidarity worldwide. But we've not really appreciated yet the...

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