Re: Who are you?
Gillian Caldwell is the Executive Director of WITNESS, an international human rights organization that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy capaigns. Caldwell was a Co-Director of the Global Survival Network (now WildAid), where she coordinated the two-year undercover investigation into the trafficking of women in Russia that culminated in her 1997 film, Bought and Sold. She is the leader of the Witness to Truth video project in Sierra Leone that urges the government of Sierra Leone to implement TRC recommendations. Caldwell was the reipient of the 2000 Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership award and has been named one of 40 Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation, a 2003 Tech Laureate by the Tech Museum, and a Special Partner by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. Caldwell received her BA from Harvard University and her JD in human rights law from Georgetown University. Her videos have been shown as evidence in legal proceedings, such as the international war crimes investigation against Slobodan Milosevic, in the Sierra Leone Truth Commission proceedings, and at the UN. Ideas recorded on: 8/13/07
Transcript:I was born and raised in New York City.I was born to a scientist and someone who is essentially an artist at heart. So I think from the get go, you know, competing but arguably complementary dimensions to me in my . . . in my development. I spent a lot of time as a young girl in Soho. My parents separated when we were six, and we moved to Soho. And in fact we had a loft in the back of the gallery where my mother was starting things up in Soho in 1979 . . . or ‘72 I guess it was. So I had exposure early on to a lot of people working in visual arts, a very eclectic community. There was a room off the side of our kitchen where people would be staying and taking care of us in exchange for free rent essentially in Soho in those days. So everybody from, you know, a gay French chef to a Trinidadian model, to a cartoonist – I mean a very broad range of people. And then also at the same time I was growing up in Soho well before most . . . most families were living there. I mean it was a lot of abandoned factories. I was spending a lot of time in Dutchess County New York with my father who loved the countryside, who was born and raised in Vermont. So you know a strange combination of a loft life in Soho and working on a farm in Dutchess County; and a lot of exposure through the schools that I went to to very diverse communities. Bank Street College of Education where I went through sixth grade was really a very diverse environment, both economically and racially. And so I think it was a real gift to grow up here.
Growing up in SoHo.
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