Proud of the programs she has originated, Susan A. Gitelson, PhD, believes in humanitarian values and encourages people now and for the future. She started working at an early age because her father recruited her to help him present awards when she was 9 years old; her father didn’t have any sons, so he was delighted that she responded so positively to his teaching. Dr. Gitelson has done it all as a woman, and has appeared many places as a professor, community leader for different organizations, organizer of programs and speaker.
Dr. Gitelson began her professional career as a trainee with the Rockefeller Foundation, which promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world. She then joined the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel as an assistant professor of international relations and later became a research associate at Columbia University in New York. Dr. Gitelson went on to direct the international affairs and the Third World section of the World Jewish Congress. A major portion of her professional career has been as president of International Consultants, Inc. and MTIIC Corporation. She has developed business opportunities around the world in the housewares and scientific laboratory supplies industries, as well as in educational consulting.
Highly active in many national and international organizations, Dr. Gitelson was co-chair of the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) dean’s council and president of the SIPA Alumni Association. Subsequently, she was on the executive committee of the Columbia University Alumni Association. She has also been on the board of trustees of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the National Institute of Social Sciences, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and many other organizations.
Serving on the international board of governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Gitelson served on the board of overseers of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. She established the Gitelson Peace Prize at the Truman Institute, which became the Truman Peace Prize. She was also co-editor of the Jerusalem Peace Papers. In addition, she was a national vice president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University. Dr. Gitelson’s many contributions to the Hebrew University led them to bestow her with an honorary degree. She is on the board of advisers of the Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and the board of trustees of the Sutton Place Synagogue in New York, where she presented a Distinguished Leadership Award to major Jewish leaders for 20 years.
As part of her varied careers, Dr. Gitelson has written several books, most notably “Giving Is Not Just for the Very Rich: A How-to Guide for Giving and Philanthropy.” She is also the author of “Multilateral Aid for National Development and Self-Reliance: A Case Study of the UNDP in Uganda and Tanzania.” In addition, she was the co-editor with Michael Curtis of “Israel in the Third World” and has written myriad articles for professional and general journals.
In order to encourage human values in international affairs, Dr. Gitelson has been sponsoring many awards at SIPA and other educational institutions. Most notably, in 1979, she established, and has now endowed, the Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson Award for “Human Values in International Affairs.” Originally, it was given annually for the best student essay, but from 2009 on, it has been given for the best group workshop report based on research in a designated country. The award has more recently been endowed in perpetuity for outstanding work by graduate students and faculty members.
As a tribute to her multitudinous accomplishments, she has also received many awards including the Columbia University Medal for Distinguished Service and the SIPA Award for Outstanding Service. Moreover, she is a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award and the Distinguished Humanitarian Award. Dr. Gitelson has been selected for many editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in Finance and Business, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and Who’s Who in the East.
In all her activities, Dr. Gitelson has always emphasized giving to others. This has enabled her to reach many people through the numerous awards she has sponsored. She always enjoys encouraging other people informally, and is delighted when she inspires chains of people improving the world.