Demonstrating an interest in civic involvement and international affairs from a young age, Susan Aurelia Gitelson, PhD, was recruited by her father to present awards when she was just 9 years old. Since then, she has made myriad appearances as a professor and community leader for various organizations, where she has worked in countless capacities including organizing programs and introducing speakers. Above all else, she values the importance of contributing her time and resources to others, as she believes that one great life purpose on this earth is to provide visionary programs for communities and institutions.
Marquis Who’s Who gave Dr. Gitelson its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017-2018 and its Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian Award in 2019 based upon her dedicated sponsorship of programs and awards at world-leading educational institutions over many years. At the Columbia School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA), she has been
giving the Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson Award for “Human Values in International Affairs” since 1979 and has endowed it in perpetuity though the Columbia 1754 Society. She has also sponsored an award at the Columbia Human Rights Institute. In addition, she has been president of the SIPA Alumni Association and co-chair of the SIPA Dean’s Council. Columbia gave her its Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service, while SIPA gave her a special Outstanding Service Medal.
Dr. Gitelson was a national vice president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University and a member of its international board of governors for many years. She established the Gitelson Peace Prize at its Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, which later became the Truman Peace Prize. She also sponsored the Gitelson Peace Papers. The Hebrew University gave her an honorary degree in light of her outstanding work performed in advocacy of peace. She is also a member of the Einstein Visionaries Society.
Signifying versatility in her profession, Dr. Gitelson has authored books and articles on four continents and was coeditor of “Israel in the Third World.” More recently, she has written “Giving Is Not Just for the Very Rich: A How-to Guide for Giving and Philanthropy.” Dr. Gitelson has been invited to sit on many boards, including the Center for the Study of the Presidency, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the National Institute of Social Sciences Board of Trustees, the City University Graduate Center Ralph Bunche Institute, the Sutton Place Synagogue, the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Network 20/20, among others.
A native of New York City, Dr. Gitelson intends to continue providing for her community while advocating for international peace. She received her BA from Barnard College, MA in international affairs from SIPA, and PhD from the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Hunter College High School Alumni Magazine designated her one of the school’s most innovative alumni.
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