Keynote Speaker: Swanee Hunt
She is founder and president of Hunt Alternatives Fund, which for three decades has advanced innovative and inclusive approaches to social change at local, national, and global levels. In addition to combating the demand for modern-day slavery, the Fund supports leaders of diverse American social movements, inspires women to political leadership, strengthens youth arts organizations in Eastern Massachusetts, and encourages an increase in women’s philanthropy.
Ambassador Hunt chairs The Institute for Inclusive Security (including the Women Waging Peace Network) based in Washington, DC, which conducts research, training, and advocacy to integrate women into peace processes in more than 40 countries.
In November 2007, Ambassador Swanee Hunt and her sister, Helen LaKelly Hunt, along with the Women's Funding Network, launched Women Moving Millions, a ground-breaking initiative to inspire gifts of $1 million and above to women's foundations to effect lasting social change by improving the lives of women and girls. Remarkably, as the United States entered an economic crisis in the fall of 2008, women stood fast in their commitment to boldly fund women and girls. The initiative's first phase drew to a close in April 2009 with 100 donors giving more than $180 million – over $30 million more than the campaign's goal.
From 1993 to 1997, Hunt served as President Clinton’s ambassador to Austria, where she hosted negotiations and international symposia focused on stabilizing the neighboring Balkan states. She also led the US delegation to the EU conference on trafficking. Building on her extensive work with US non-governmental organizations, she became a specialist in the role of women in post-communist Europe, leading to the July 1997 “Vital Voices: Women in Democracy” conference of 320 leaders in business, law, and politics, from 39 countries.
Raised in Dallas, Texas, Hunt made her mark as a civic leader and philanthropist in her adopted city of Denver, where for two decades she led community efforts on social justice issues such as public education, affordable housing, women’s empowerment, and mental health services for two mayors and the governor of Colorado.
Hunt is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; she has authored articles for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, et al. Her first book, This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, won the 2005 PEN/New England Award for non-fiction. Her memoir, Half-Life of a Zealot, was published in October 2006. Her third book with Duke University Press, Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security, is coming out in July 2011. She is currently writing Rwandan Women Rising.
She holds two master’s degrees, a doctorate in theology, and six honorary degrees. Hunt has received numerous awards from groups as varied as the United Methodist Church, United Way, Anti-Defamation League, American Mental Health Association, National Women’s Forum, International Education Association, Boston Chamber of Commerce, and International Peace Center. In 2007, Hunt was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. A composer and photographer, she was married for 25 years to Charles Ansbacher, international conductor and founder of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and the Free for All Concert Fund. Her world includes their three children and a menagerie of cat, parrot, horses, bison, and grandchildren.