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Gender and Social Inclusion

Meet Dale Buscher, Senior Director for Programs, Theater Lover and Dedicated Foodie

Periodically, we’ll be featuring interviews with members of our staff talking about how they got into the field and what inspires them. Here we highlight Dale Buscher, Senior Director for Programs. Dale oversees the Women's Refugee Commission’s reproductive health, livelihood, disabilities, child protection, adolescent girls, and migrant rights and justice programs.

Dale Buscher (standing, fourth from left) with refugee psychosocial workers for Psycho Social Training Institute-Cairo (PSTIC) who worked as research assistants and translators for the WRC’s assessment on urban refugee youth in Cairo. Most of the young men are Iraqi refugees. Q. Where are you from originally?
 A.I grew up in a very rural area—on a farm in northern Iowa near the small town of Algona.

 Q. When did you start working at the WRC?
 A. July 2005

  Q. How did you get involved with the WRC?
A. I was working as a consultant with UNHCR [the UN refugee agency] in Geneva and was recruited by the Executive Director to come to New York.

  Q. How would you describe your job?
A. It’s exciting. Every day is different. I get to meet and talk with refugees in far-flung locations throughout the world, advocate with donors, write proposals for work I believe in and spend my time thinking about and working on how we make the humanitarian system better for refugees and crisis-affected populations everywhere.

Q. Do you travel abroad for your work?
A. Yes, on average about 10 international trips a year, from field research in Kenya and India to facilitating trainings in Sweden, Liberia and Bangkok, to conferences in the UK, to meetings in Geneva.

Q. What part of your job do you most enjoy?
A. The challenge of how do we make the biggest difference in the lives of people uprooted by conflict and disasters. That is, how do we get the humanitarian system to move beyond charity and focus on restoring dignity and opportunity.

Q. What part of your job is the most difficult?
A. Time. There’s never enough time to do everything and do it well. Changing humanitarian practice and improving the lives of real people who are suffering and in need—well, there’s never enough money and time to work on all the things I’d like to be working on.

Q. Any special interests outside of the office?
A. I bike. I go to the gym regularly. I love theater and dance performances. I get to the art museums regularly and I’m a total foodie—always trying New York’s new and interesting restaurants.

Q. What book is on your night stand now?
A. Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about eating locally, organically and sustainably. It’s inspiring me to do more of my food shopping at the Union Square farmers’ market and making me rethink about eating fruits and vegetables out of season as it means there’s a big carbon footprint in getting that produce to the consumer.

Q. Is there a person who most inspires you?
A. I get inspired by ordinary people who live their lives with dignity and practice kindness. The random acts of kindness I see daily—people offering their seats on the subway, helping someone carry their stroller down the stairs, giving a dollar to someone begging. People don’t have to do great things, but we can all do wonderful small things everyday that make us great.

Gender and Social Inclusion