Global Grassroots Conscious Social Change for Women: Supporting Healing, Empowerment & Sustainable Leadership in Post-War Africa
An Interview with Gretchen Steidle Wallace
Gretchen Steidle Wallace is the Founder and President of Global Grassroots Conscious Social Change for Women, an international organization working at the intersection of personal and societal transformation to catalyze the ideas of grassroots change agents working for women’s rights and well-being post-conflict. In 2007, Gretchen was honored by World Business Magazine and Shell as one of the top International 35 Women Under 35.
In 2005, Gretchen launched Global Grassroots’ work in the Darfur refugee camps of eastern Chad, and in 2006 expanded to Rwanda. Gretchen is also a producer of the documentary film, The Devil Came on Horseback, which was nominated for three Emmy Awards in 2009. She is also co-author of the memoir, "The Devil Came on Horseback: Bearing Witness to the Genocide in Darfur", published by PublicAffairs, about her brother, Marine Capt Brian Steidle’s experience as a military observer in Darfur.
In this dialogue, I engage a conversation with Gretchen about her extraordinary work with Global Grassroots in post-conflict regions. We investigate some of the common pitfalls of traditional aid programs in developing countries and discuss the unique holistic approach that Global Grassroots takes to encourage healing, sustainable development and women's leadership in post-conflict regions.
Gretchen holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Gretchen believes that cultivating inner awareness and contributing to the common good are both necessary to advance the greatest level of positive social change. She is a certified Integrative Breathwork Practitioner and trained in Coherent Breathwork, which she utilizes in her work in Haiti and Rwanda to help women and children heal trauma from war, disaster and sexual violence.
In 2010, Gretchen was chosen with her husband as CNN Heroes working in Haiti after the earthquake. In the same year she was awarded the inaugural Susan J. Herman Award for Leadership in Holocaust and Genocide Awareness by the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. In 2011 she was chosen one of seven Remarkable Women of the World by New Hampshire Magazine.
Below is a fantastic video from the Global Grassroots website, illuminating some of the toughest issues facing women and families in post-war Africa. This video also features Gretchen speaking about her work with Global Grassroots and how they are supporting women's leadership in underprivileged communities.
To listen to more conversations in this Dialogue Series, click here.
*This Dialogue was recorded on August 10, 2012