Network 20/20 Member of the Month: Interview with Dr. Susan Gitelson
Susan Gitelson is an executive who has led a distinguished career in academia, international consulting and entrepreneurial business. She is the author of Giving Is Not Just For The Very Rich: A How-to Guide for Giving and Philanthropy and has had books and articles published on four continents. The former co-chair of the Dean’s Council of the Columbia School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA), she has also served on the boards of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University, and Sutton Place Synagogue.
She received a BA from Barnard College and an MIA and Ph.D. from Columbia University, and was subsequently a professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Gitelson received the Columbia University Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service, a special Columbia SIPA Outstanding Service Award, and an honorary degree from the Hebrew University. She endowed her Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson Award for “Human Values in International Affairs” at Columbia SIPA and founded the Gitelson Peace Prize (now the Truman Peace Prize) at the Truman Institute.
In 2018, Susan received the Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award. Network 20/20 conducted a brief interview with Susan:
Why is Network 20/20 valuable to you?
Network 20/20 brings together many bright, lively people from many different countries and professions who share a fascination with international affairs with a desire to improve the world. The programs are well chosen and lively with opportunities for intensive discussions. Network 20/20 has many women participating and asking questions, more than most other international relations organizations.
What do you consider being your greatest achievement so far?
Since I believe in bringing out the best in students and professionals, I have established a number of award programs for “Human Values in International Affairs,” etc. at the Columbia School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA), the Columbia Human Rights Institute, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, as well as the UN seminar at the City University Ralph Bunche Institute. I also founded the Gitelson Peace Prize at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (the city of peace) Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, which was later transformed into the Truman Peace Prize.
The best career advice that was ever given to you?
Follow your passions.
Marquis Who’s Who has just given me its new Lifetime Achievement Award, which is a stimulus for me to continue learning and to encourage others to promote innovative programs and new opportunities especially for women and for all people around the world through organizations like Network 20/20.
Professional skillset you want to develop?
Stimulate programs and opportunities for others in organizations like Network 20/20.
Top three tips for success
Engage in conversations with people from all over the world and really listen to them.
Be adaptable when circumstances change, as they do frequently.
Be positive about yourself and others.
These principles have enabled me to succeed in several different careers when circumstances changed: academia, entrepreneurial business, authoring books, non-profit organizations.
Recommend a book?
The most important book to learn from is the Bible, as for example:
Joseph went from being a pampered son, to a slave, to the vizer of the great Egyptian kingdom.
Moses went from being an honored member of the Pharaoh’s household, to a simple shepherd, to the great leader of the children of Israel in the desert for 40 years on the way to the Promised Land.
Deborah was a great leader and judge who enlisted a military general to help conquer the enemies of the Children of Israel. #