Susan Davis Reflects

Capping off a wonderful three-day event was Women and Peace-building, a dialogue that featured tough talk and several calls to action.  Leading the charge for this event was moderator Susan Davis, President and CEO of BRAC USA.

(watch a clip of Susan Davis at Women and Peace-building)

Susan Davis at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit (photo by Carey Linde 2009)Susan Davis founded BRAC USA in 2006 and has long been a proponent of social entrepreneurship and microfinancing. She was drawn towards the Dalai Lama Center and the Vancouver Peace Summit by founding director Victor Chan and what she calls his “incredible ability to build relationships”.

As moderator of Women and Peace-building, Susan sat alongside some of the most remarkable architects of change of our time, including Fazle Hasan Abed, Ela Bhatt and Peter Buffett.

Of her experience at the Summit, Susan says, “It was an amazing, inspiring and spine tingling experience to share the stage with the Dalai Lama.“

Susan told us a story about an on-stage interaction with the Dalai Lama that most people watching would have missed:

“I was concerned that he was tired, running from one event to the next.  He seemed like he could use of a cup of tea while I was watching him back stage.  We didn’t have any tea but I did bring him a cookie which seemed to delight him – but which he didn’t touch.  It was however the last thing he said to me as he departed the stage.  He stopped suddenly, turned around and said with a twinkle in his eye, ‘Thank you for the cookie!’”

As founder of an organization like BRAC USA, Susan had so much to share with everyone who attended the Summit. She says, however, that she also took some things away herself.

“I think Summits like this can inspire and galvanize greater citizen action.  They can raise awareness and accelerate learning journeys.  They can foster collaboration and produce new coalitions. This Summit inspired me to learn more about educating the heart.”

“I supported a study to assess BRAC’s education program in Bangladesh on its social and emotional learning competencies in November 2009 and now we are implementing a master training of trainers in social and emotional learning for BRAC Education staff from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda – starting with primary education.  I hope to expand to pre-primary and adolescents life skills training.  I think this will create a huge contribution towards peace.”


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