Giving in Memory of Leah Horowitz N06

Dear Friedman Classmates,

After the tragic passing of our dear friend Leah Horowitz, N06 in 2009, a group of us worked with the School to find a fitting way to honor her memory. We created the Leah Horowitz Humanitarian Award to be given out annually at the Friedman School All-Alumni Reunion. LeahH

Leah earned a bachelor’s degree in geography at Dartmouth College and worked on community food security issues in Oregon before completing her FPAN degree at the Friedman School. As an undergraduate she studied in Zimbabwe and South Africa and continually aspired to return to Africa. After graduating from Friedman, Leah worked for the International Food Policy Research Institute in D.C. and asked to be transferred to Ghana, where she focused on sustainable agriculture, good governance, and the role that gender plays in developing societies. She was ever curious and mindful of how agriculture can be used as a tool to increase food security and reduce poverty. Her spirit, attention to the beauty in the world, and compassion for others inspired all who knew her, from the communities of Philadelphia, Hanover, NH, and western Oregon to Boston, Washington, DC, and Accra, Ghana.

This award remembers Leah Horowitz (FPAN ’06), who died tragically in a car accident in Ghana in May of 2009. Leah was a tireless advocate for student involvement in the daily life and broader mission of the Friedman School. In her two years at Friedman, Leah led the creation of the school’s first student-organized symposium. She also spearheaded an effort to review and revise the Friedman curriculum to provide students with a more systemic view of food policy and ways to influence it. Constantly striving for a deeper understanding of problems and solutions in the food system, Leah pushed herself and her fellow students to work across disciplines, think more critically, and make greater change in the world.

The award is meant to recognize those who embody Leah’s commitment to addressing complex problems in the food system in ways that empower individuals and communities. We believe the spirit of Leah honored by this award is perhaps best captured in one of her favorite quotes: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

This award recognizes a Friedman alumni who:

  1. Has demonstrated a substantial commitment to forging relationships based on service in humanitarian field work;
  2. Strives to achieve lasting change by empowering individuals in their local communities;
  3. Seeks to bridge cultures and create systems-based solutions to problems.

It is fitting that Courtney Anderson, N09, M09, was the first recipient of the Leah Horowitz Memorial Award given on Sunday, April 11, 2010. Courtney was working for World Vision in Cambobia at that time and her nomination letter stated: “She is so deeply committed to improving the wellbeing of the disadvantaged, both internationally and in this country. This commitment has been readily apparent in everything that she does, from consulting with governments and international agencies, to volunteering in programs helping destitute women in Boston or street children in Kolkata.”  Please click here for Courtney’s Acceptance video.

The 2011 winner of the Award was Sasha Chanoff, MA, N04, F04, Executive Director, Mapendo International.  Sasha  has worked for over a decade in refugee rescue, relief and resettlement operations in Africa and the US. Before launching Mapendo he consulted with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya and worked with the International Organization for Migration throughout Africa, identifying refugees in danger, undertaking rescue missions and working on refugee protection issues with the US, Canadian, Australian and other governments.

The 2012 winner of the Award was Randa Wilkinson N85, Director of Training for the Positive Deviance Initiative. She began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer working with mothers and malnourished children in Mauritania, West Africa. She has lived in Europe, Asia and Africa. Randa had firsthand experience implementing programs using the Positive Deviance Approach in the context of childhood malnutrition and goiter during her 8 years in Indonesia. Her work included building the capacity of government health staff to use Positive Deviance in their work and programming. She was instrumental in developing a network of practitioners among NGOs and government. Randa was nutrition technical advisor for the USAID funded Maternal and Newborn project in Indonesia.

The 2013 winner of the Award was Christina Economos, NG96, Vice-Chair and Director of ChildObesity180.  She is also the New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition and Associate Professor at the Friedman School, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at Tufts University School of Medicine and Adjunct Faculty at the Tufts Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.  Chris’ research has addressed the interaction among exercise, diet, body composition, bone health, and the built environment, aimed at preventing osteoporosis and obesity, starting in early childhood. She is the principal investigator of multiple large-scale studies examining childhood nutrition and physical activity, which inspire behavior, policy, and environmental changes to improve the health of America’s children.  She has led a number of research interventions including Shape Up Somerville, EAT SMART, PLAY HARD, funded by the CDC

Continuing Student Internship Support

We would also like to help future students, who like Leah, seek to achieve lasting change by empowering individuals in their local communities. One way to do this is to provide students the opportunity to be in the field during their summer internships. We want to create a way to support student internships so that current Friedman School students can afford to pursue the summer internship with the greatest impact, and not necessarily the one that pays the most.

 Our goal is to raise support for student internships at the Friedman School Leah’s memory each year .  Every dollar donated in memory of Leah Horowitz will go towards internship expenses to a deserving student. We have raised over $16,000 since 2009 in Leah’s memory.  Please, give again this year!

 We encourage you to make a gift today. You can give online at and in gift designation 3 write, in memory of Leah Horowitz.

Warm Regards,

Aimee Wittemann N06, Julia McDonald N07 M07, Elanor Starmer N07 F07, Kumar Chandran N07 M07, Julie Thayer N07 M07 and Sally Abbott J01 N06