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Women to Women: Journey to Darfur

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Thursday, November 17, 2005

Linda Mason, Liz Walker and Gloria White-Hammond discuss their experiences and thoughts about the future of Darfur and its people and what the United States can do. This lecture includes a presentation of video footage of the women's 2005 trip produced by Liz Walker. In February, 2005, Mason, Walker and White-Hammond traveled to Darfur in the western part of Sudan to raise global awareness of the conflict and to raise funds to support the women and children of Darfur. Recent news reports peg the number of displaced people at 2.5 million and estimate 200,000 to 400,000 have died, mostly women and children, in what has been described as ongoing ethnic genocide. Over 200,000 people have fled across the border to Chad.

Rev. Dr. White-Hammond has been the co-pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston since 1997 and a pediatrician at the South End Community Health Center since 1981. She has a long history of involvement in community service. Rev. Dr. White-Hammond is the founder of and consultant to the church-based creative writing/mentoring ministry called "Do The Write Thing" for high-risk black adolescent females. In 2003, she became the co-convener of The Red Tent Group with Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel, which brings together Christian women and Jewish women for small group Torah/Bible study. Rev. Dr. White-Hammond's work as a humanitarian has achieved global impact. She has worked as a medical missionary in several African countries including Botswana, Cote D'Ivoire and South Africa. Since 2001, she has made seven trips into war-torn southern Sudan where she has been involved in obtaining the freedom of 10,000 women and children who were enslaved during the two decades long civil war. In 2002 she co-founded My Sister's Keeper, a humanitarian women's group that partners with women of Sudan in their efforts toward reconciliation and reconstruction of their communities. My Sister's Keeper has developed two grinding mill projects and supports the Akon School for Girls in Gogrial County. In February 2005, Rev. Dr. White-Hammond traveled into Darfur, western Sudan to listen and learn from female victims of genocide in Internally Displaced Persons camps. She served as the National Chairperson of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign and is co-chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Boston University, a Doctorate of Medicine from Tufts Medical School and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School.
Award-winning journalist and documentary producer, Liz Walker is Host and Executive Producer of WBZ 4's *Sunday With Liz Walker*, a half hour newsmagazine airing Sundays presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The show, which focuses on the power of community, is an extension of Liz's new ministry. An ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Walker has chosen to combine her communication skills with her spiritual passion to serve the world. Walker has been a television news journalist for 32 years, anchoring WBZ Television's evening newscasts for almost 20 years before stepping down to enter seminary and begin the ordination process. Recognized often for her exemplary work on the air and in her community, Walker received the Prestigious Governor's Award from the New England branch of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1997. In addition to her work in news, Walker has hosted and co-produced several documentaries for WBZ4, including "Friends Like These," for which she received recognition from the prestigious Gabriel Awards. A graduate of Olivet College in Michigan, Walker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. She holds a number of honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the commonwealth, including Northeastern University and Bridgewater State University. She is also a member of the board of Trustees at Andover Newton Theological Seminary.
Linda Mason, chairman and founder, co-founded Bright Horizons in 1986 and served as president until becoming chairman of Bright Horizons Family Solutions in July 1998. Linda Mason is also the author of *The Working Mother's Guide to Life: Strategies, Secrets, and Solutions*, published in November 2002. Mason co-founded Horizons for Homeless Children, a nonprofit organization that serves the needs of homeless mothers and their children throughout the Boston area. Prior to founding Bright Horizons, Linda Mason managed large-scale relief operations overseas. She served as co-director of Save the Children's emergency program in Sudan, serving 400,000 famine and war victims, and directed a large feeding program for children in Cambodian refugee camps along the Thai border. Mason is a 1998 honoree in Redbook's "Mothers and Shakers" awards for her work to improve the quality of child care, and she was the 1996 recipients of the Ernst & Young/USA Today "Entrepreneur of the Year" award. Linda also was honored by *Working Mother magazine* as one of the "25 Most Influential Mothers in America." Linda Mason serves on the boards of Yale University and Horizons for Homeless Children. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Management, Cornell University, and the Sorbonne University in Paris, France.
Kenneth A. Sweder graduated from New York University School of Law as an Editor of *the Law Review* in 1968. After serving as the Assistant to the President of Brandeis University and Special Counsel of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, he began practicing law in Boston in 1971. Since that time he has had wide experience and success in handling a variety of complex business litigation matters. Ken was the Chairman of the Litigation Department of the Boston office of a major New York firm before Sweder & Ross was established. When Sweder & Ross was founded, the Boston Business Journal did a Profile on Ken describing him as tackling the "City's high-profile cases" as a "business-savvy litigator." Ken was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Ken's many community activities include his service as the Founding Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur. He was also the President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Boston and in 2006 was the recipient of the prestigious Community of Excellence Award presented at a dinner of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies attended by over 650 lawyers and accountants.