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Donna Baranski-Walker is the founder and Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and bringing the world together to make them safe. Rebuilding Alliance’s Rebuilding to Remain program with the Palestinian West Bank Village of Al Aqaba is currently under consideration as a semi-finalist for the 2016 World Habitat Award. 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. Donna’s work has been awarded the 2003 Lewis Mumford Award for Development by the Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility. Donna is 2nd generation Polish-American from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, raised Catholic now attending Quaker meetings. She holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. from the Unversity of Hawaii, both in engineering. 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. Mentored by Jerome Wiesner, President Emeritus of M.I.T. and former science advisor to President Kennedy, Donna’s work over the past 25 years explores the creative use of technology to link neighbors together over the world to build peace. Her latest work to create an advocacy mapping mobile app draws upon all she has learned about engaging Congress to provide a powerful new resource for citizen engagement and policy change.
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