Total number of comments: 52 (since 2011-10-19 19:23:15)
Donna Baranski-Walker holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Hawaii. Prior to forming the Rebuilding Alliance, Donna Baranski-Walker was the inventions Licensing Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then Stanford University, then SRI International, responsible for evaluating telecommunications inventions, negotiating licenses, and forming start-up companies. On August 31, 2010, the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Polish Solidarity movement, Donna was awarded the Medal of Gratitude at the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland before 27,000 people for organizing the Support of Solidarity committee in Chicago when she was 24 years old. On October 2010, Donna received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo. On Oct. 4, 2008, Rebuilding Alliance, the organization she founded, received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, “Presented to the Rebuilding Alliance in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community,” upon unanimous passage of H.Res. 1369, The Peace- Makers Resolution. which Donna authored. Twice in 2009, people at the U.S. State Department told Donna that she is amazingly effective. One said that when Congress calls, he gives her “his highest recommendation in the hope you can do something that we can’t do yet.” When President Carter was barred from entering Gaza, she arranged a meeting of Gaza NGOs to videotape questions. Donna’s work has been awarded the 2003 Lewis Mumford Award for Development by the Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility. Her plan to finance and rebuild Palestinian neighborhoods — now realized in the Rebuilding to Remain program — was a semifinalist in the National Social Venture Competition in 2003, and she presented her paper at the invitation of a United Nations seminar in Geneva, Switzerland. Rebuilding Alliance was also awarded “Employer of the Year” by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office for the Employment of Persons with Disabilities. Donna has been partnering with Palestinian & Israeli NGOs since 1996, listening hard and building homes, schools and playgrounds. The teleconferences she organizes with peacemakers, congressional staffers & constituents are meaningful and lead to constructive intervention to keep those homes, schools and playgrounds standing despite demolition orders. Donna is 2nd generation Polish-American from Dearborn Heights, Michigan. She's not Israeli, not Palestinian. Donna’s interest in the Middle East began in 1990 when she initiated a symbolic message to the people of Iraq as a way to end the then standoff without going to war. Some 10,000 people participated weekly with considerable U.S. news coverage. Her New York Times op-ed, “Small Lights in the Darkness,” was translated into Arabic and presented to the Iraqi Women’s Federation a week before the First Gulf War began. Encouraged by Jerome Wiesner, President Emeritus of M.I.T. and former science advisor to President Kennedy, Donna’s work over the past 20 years explores the creative use of technology to link neighbors together over the world to build peace. Her latest work, ContactCongress Countability, draws upon all she has learned about engaging Congress to provide a powerful new resource for citizen engagement and policy change.