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Getting to Know Yifat: A Biography

Posted on: Thursday, January 20, 2011

Keywords: Meet Yifat

Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Executive Director, works to make human rights a reality for all people.  Before joining the staff of MADRE, she was part of a joint Israeli-Palestinian human rights organization in Jerusalem, using journalism, advocacy and political organizing in her work for peace.  

At MADRE, Yifat has worked with women’s human rights activists from Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East to create programs in their communities to address violence against women, women’s health, peace building, and economic and environmental justice.  She spearheaded the development of programming focused on food sovereignty, the global water crisis and climate change, and she developed MADRE’s programs in Iraq and Afghanistan.  She has provided expertise on emerging human rights and international development issues, and she has represented MADRE at various international conferences, including at the United Nations.

Yifat founded MADRE’s Network of Experts to promote women’s human rights advocates as sources in US and international media.  She also developed strategies, both on and off-line, to more fully engage members in fundraising, education and advocacy initiatives.  

Yifat has written extensively on international development and women’s human rights, authoring materials for members that translate complex global issues into accessible, timely publications to promote engagement and action. Her critical analysis has appeared in online and print publications such as the Washington Post,, AlterNet, and The W Effect: Bush’s War on Women, published by the Feminist Press in 2004.  Her writing has also been published in dozens of local newspapers across the country.

In 2007, she authored the MADRE report “Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq,” which was widely circulated and commented upon in the media.  She previously contributed a chapter to the Rutger’s Encyclopedia on Women and is the author of “Indigenous Women’s Anti-Violence Strategies” in the book Violence and Gender in the Globalized World: The Intimate and the Extimate, also published by Rutgers.  Her chapter titled “African Women Confront Bush's AIDS Policy” was published in the 2007 book, Grace, Tenacity and Eloquence: The Struggle for Women’s Rights in Africa.  Ms. Susskind has been featured as a commentator on CNN, National Public Radio, and BBC Radio.

Selected Publications


U.S. abandons principle on child soldiers.” Washington Post 31 October 2010.

Why Food Aid Should Be Bought Locally, Not Shipped Halfway Around the World.” AlterNet 14 October 2010.  

Culture Alone Fails to Account for Female Genital Mutilation.” Jurist: Hotline Buzz 20 June 2010.  

Port-au-Prince Earthquake: Responses must address Gender.” AWID 4 June 2010. 

Women's Human Rights Are Key to Successful Reconstruction in Haiti.” Common Dreams 28 January 2010. 

After the Quake, Depend on Women.” New America Media 15 January 2010. 

Las mujeres como socorristas en Haití.” El Diario La Prensa 15 January 2010. 

Postcard From...Copenhagen.” Foreign Policy in Focus 16 December 2009.  

To Fight Global Warming and Prevent Hunger, We Need to Change How We Grow Our Food.” AlterNet 15 December 2009. 

On Afghanistan, We Need a Policy, Not a Macho Hissy-Fit.” Common Dreams 10 October 2009. 

Women Need Rights, Not Rescue.” RH Reality Check 3 September 2009. 

Afghan Democracy is Flat-lining--And Only Women Can Save It.” ZNet 18 August 2009. 

Listen to Iraqi Women.” On the Issues 16 June 2009. 

Obama's Double Standard Undermines Prospects for Middle East Peace.” CounterPunch 4 June 2009. 

The U.S. is Leaving Iraq but Where Are We Leaving Iraqi Women?” distributed by the National Women’s Editorial Forum and published in The Daily Citizen and The Capital Times. 13 March 2009. 

Un-Gagging Women’s Human Rights.” Foreign Policy in Focus 5 February 2009. 

‘Organizing for America’ Means Fighting for Human Rights Worldwide.” Common Dreams 28 January 2009. 

From Mumbai to Washington: Time to Renounce the War on Terror.” CounterPunch 3 December 2008. 

Why Water Rights Are Women’s Rights.” AlterNet 5 August 2008. 

G-8 to Poor Women: Let Them Eat Dirt.” Distributed by the National Women’s Editorial Forum and picked up by the Carlisle Mercury, Ruidoso News, San Marcos Daily Record, The Bay State Banner, The Mansfield Gazette, Compton Bulletin, El Hispano, Daily Town Talk, News of Southern Berks, La Crosse Tribune, North Texas e-News, Big Sandy News, The News Messenger, El Diario de El Paso, Hoy En Las Americas, Pocono Record, Caribbean Life - Queens Edition, The Capital Times, Rio Rancho Observer, The Southwest News-Herald, Common Dreams, La Prensa San Diego, The Progress-Index, Tuscon Citizen. 20 July 2008. 

Food Policies Leave People Hungry.” Distributed by the National Women’s Editorial Forum and picked up by The Capital Times, The Tuscon Citizen, The Bay State Banner, and The Star of Grand Coulee. 

Solving the Global Food Crisis Starts with Women’s Rights.” Distributed by the Progressive Media Project and published in The Modesto Bee, The Island Packet, Centre Daily Times, The Sacramento Bee, Belleville News-Democrat, Tri-City Herald, The News & Observer, Times Herald-Record, and The Bellingham Herald.  

Forgetting the ‘Fair’ in ‘Free Trade’.” OneWorld US 4 April 2008. 

The ABCs of Death: Bush vs. Africa's Women.” CounterPunch 22 February 2008. 

Inequality, Not Identity, Fuels Violence in Kenya.” ZNet 7 February 2008. 

Who Is Killing the Women of Basra?TruthOut 10 January 2008. 

Feed People, Not Cars: Agrofuels are No Solution to Climate Change.” Jerusalem Post 31 October 2007. 

11 Solutions to Halting the Environmental Crisis.” AlterNet 31 October 2007. 

Conscripting Feminism into the War on Terror.” CounterPunch 26 October 2007. 

The Globalization of Hunger.” The Seoul Times 16 October 2007. 

Annotate This: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Foreign Policy in Focus 5 October 2007. 

Hurricane Felix's First Responders.” ZNet 6 September 2007. 

Indigenous Women’s Pushback.” Foreign Policy in Focus 25 May 2007. 

It’s Not Just an Abortion Ban: The Christian Right’s Global Agenda.” Political Affairs Magazine 2 May 2007. 

Violating Iraqi Women.” 22 February 2007. 

Beyond the Surge: Demanding an End to Bush's War.” Common Dreams 11 January 2007.

Grace, Tenacity and Eloquence: The struggle for women's rights in Africa (2007). Edited by Patrick Burnett, Shereen Karmali, Firoze Manji. “African Women Confront Bush's Aids Policy.” Chapter by Yifat Susskind.  

Misery in the Name of Democracy: The US Works Elections in Iraq, Venezuela, Haiti and Bolivia,” Common Dreams 16 December 2005. 

Gutting the World Summit: Bush Betrays Poor Women Again.” Foreign Policy in Focus 13 September 2005. 

Iraq’s Second Class Citizens.” 18 August 2005.

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