BOSTON–American India Foundation, known as AIF, this year will honor Susan Whitehead, life member of the MIT’s Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, during its Boston gala on Oct. 25, 2020.
Ms. Whitehead is a true global citizen with a sense of humanity, empathy and compassion for art, music, science & technology and under privileged in India.
In an exclusive video interview with INDIA New England News’ Face-to-Face, Ms. Whitehead talks about India, art and AIF. To watch the full interview, please click here, or on the image below.
At 2020 Gala, AIF will feature its transformative impact on women and girls, through the organization’s multi-pronged interventions in education, public health and livelihoods primarily serve the needs of women and girls, who are among the most disadvantaged in society. These interventions advance the cause of gender equality.
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Ms. Whitehead currently serves on the boards of several significant educational and non-profit organizations. She brings a wealth of knowledge in the fields of higher education, the arts and science. She is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees of Berklee College of Music, a global college of contemporary music, dance, and theatre.
Ms. Whitehead understands the practice and culture of basic science and the challenges facing educational institutions in the 21st century, as exemplified in her service as Life Member of the MIT Corporation (MIT’s Board of Trustees) where, since 2013, she has been an active member of its 9 person Executive Committee. She is currently Vice Chair and Life Board Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (at MIT), an institution she has helped to foster for 35 years.
Ms. Whitehead has provided her expertise to dozens of organizations, including as Board Member of the Museum of Science in Boston, and as Chair of Horizons for Homeless Children, the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Bayview Correctional Facility in New York City, and the Research Institute of Learning and Development (as founding chair).
Currently, Ms. Whitehead is advising on the development of an important new art museum (Museum of Art and Photography) in Bangalore, India, as a trustee of their affiliated US Foundation. This activity is a labor of love as Whitehead has been a life-long visitor to India, captivated by the culture, and character of the people. She has worked on several projects in the region, both in the arts and social innovation arenas. In her early career, Ms. Whitehead worked as a trial attorney in private practice in Boston and served as an assistant district attorney in New York City. She directed a clinical program at Brooklyn Law School; worked for the American Civil Liberties Union in Jackson, Mississippi; and founded a comprehensive education program for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
In 2016, Whitehead was honored by the organization, Women in Science and Engineering, for her significant contributions in supporting young women in their development as scientists. She was lauded in 2019 for her more than 25 years of commitment as a very early Board Member of Horizons for Homeless Children. Beginning in high school when Ms. Whitehead co-founded a suicide prevention hotline, funded by a NY state grant, she has demonstrated her commitment to active and engaged participation. She also was a tutor in the then newly established Head Start program, and a dedicated long-time volunteer at the Fortune Society (for recently released prison inmates) in NYC.
Her life-long service has included serving on dozens of not-for-profit boards and chairing countless standing and ad hoc committees for policy development, strategy, CEO searches, Title IX reviews, organizational development, audit and more. Whitehead earned her J.D. from Cardozo School of Law in 1982 and her B.S. from Cornell University in 1976. Ms. Whitehead is a global hiker, avid skier, and dedicated art enthusiast in the visual and performing arts.
The American India Foundation is committed to improving the lives of India’s underprivileged, with a special focus on women, children, and youth. AIF does this through high impact interventions in education, health, and livelihoods, because poverty is multidimensional. AIF’s unique value proposition is its broad engagement between communities, civil society, and expertise thereby building a lasting bridge between the United States and India. Working closely with local communities, AIF partners with NGOs to develop and test innovative solutions and with governments to create and scale sustainable impact. Founded in 2001 in the aftermath of the devastating Gujarat earthquake by the Indian diaspora in the USA, AIF has impacted the lives of 6.7 million of India’s poor. With offices in New York and California, twelve chapters across the U.S., and India operations headquartered in Delhi NCR, AIF is transforming lives across 26 states of India while addressing these issues on a regional, country, and international scale. Learn more at www.AIF.org