About the Author
Born in Germany in 1969 to former Peace Corps Volunteers, Mara Galaty began her amazing life of international travel, friendships, and service. Her early childhood was in Green Bay, WI and Washington DC/Potomac MD; however, she traveled continually, visiting family, studying and working abroad, adding life long friends and 10 languages as she went. By the time she was 7 she had spent time in Nicosia, Cyprus and later in Chile, where her grandfather was US Ambassador. She lived for brief periods in Merida, Mexico, Kassel/Bonn and Berlin, Germany, helping to rebuild villages after hurricanes, experiencing the nuclear fall-out from Chernobyl and witnessing first hand “the Wall” coming down in Berlin and the “Velvet Revolution” in Prague. Her formal education and degrees came from the University of Wisconsin/Madison, and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), but her informal education was from her friends and her work. She worked for Congressman Tony Hall heading up his “gleaning” program; taught English for the Peace Corps in Bulgaria, then at a commercial school in Istanbul; worked in Germany on a Bosh fellowship at the Berlin Aspen Institute in a leadership role recruiting and training young leaders in the emerging Eastern European countries; and continued her development and peace building work in Amsterdam with an Eastern European Congressional training program. While working for Mercy Corps on “democracy building,” she won a fierce battle against virulent breast cancer. Moving to USAID (United States Agency for International Development) as Director of Civil Society, she oversaw and visited projects from Eastern Europe to the Philippines. Here she met, David Mees, the Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy, Amman, Jordan and moved, a year later to a USAID job in Amman, heading democracy-building projects. Here she had two of the best years of her life despite being diagnosed with melanoma and commuting every six weeks to Sloan Kettering in New York for treatment. Mara died November 4, 2007. In her memory, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure created the Mara Fund (a pre-curser to their Global Promise Fund), a one time effort to target under-privileged communities in less-developed countries where shame is the major obstacle to early detection and treatment of breast cancer -- the type of activity Mara had supported in the places she had been active.