Global Grassroots Founder to Speak – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Global Grassroots Founder to Speak

The symposium on genocide will continue this month with a public discussion by Gretchen Steidle Wallace, founder and president of Global Grassroots. The talk, titled “Victims of War/Agents of Change,” will focus on inspirational stories of change and social transformation from the perspective of the least powerful in society. The lecture will be held on Thursday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

“This talk will focus on themes that are regularly a part of our classes: social change, raising consciousness and justice,” says Associate Professor of Religious Studies Richard Salter. “In particular, it will focus on the role of women in social change and contemporary conflicts (particularly in Africa) where women have been active in making a change in the world.” 

On Friday, April 6, a follow-up roundtable discussion with Wallace will be held at 9 a.m. in the Fisher Center in Demerest Hall.

This event follows the recent screening on campus of Wallace’s Emmy-nominated documentary film, “The Devil Came on Horseback,” about her brother’s tenure as a military observer in Darfur, Sudan. Wallace co-wrote the book of the same name on which the film is based.

Wallace’s inspiration for her work with women in developing countries began as a child when her military family was transferred to the Philippines, where she discovered the difficulties of poverty. She graduated in 1996 with BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. From 1996-1999 she worked in international project finance for PMD International, Inc., a boutique investment banking firm specializing in infrastructure development in poor countries. She holds a MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College. After Tuck, she joined Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, an international non-profit organization advancing the profession of social entrepreneurship.

In 2004, Wallace established and now leads Global Grassroots. In 2007, Wallace was honored by World Business Magazine and Shell as one of the top International 35 Women Under 35. In 2010, she was honored as a CNN Hero in Haiti for her work providing support for survivors of the earthquake, and was also recently nominated for a national CNN Hero Award.

The Genocide Symposium was established by a generous donation by Dr. Edward Franks ’72. The Symposium has received support from the Young Memorial Trust, the President’s Forum Series, the Centennial Center for Leadership, the Fisher Center, the Human Rights Collective, STAND (Students Anti-genocide Coalition), and the departments of Africana Studies and Religious Studies.

For more information about Global Grassroots, visit