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Women's Refugee Commission Mourns the Death of Founding Director Mary Anne Schwalbe

A memorial service for Mary Anne will be held Friday February 26 at 6:00 p.m., Madison Avenue Presbyterian at 73rd Street and Madison Avenue, New York City.

It is with deepest sadness that the Women's Refugee Commission announces the passing of its dear colleague Mary Anne Schwalbe, who died September 14th.

Mary Anne was the founding director of what was until this year called the Women's Commission, leading the organization from 1990 to 1994. She was an eloquent, devoted and tireless advocate for women, children and adolescents affected by war and persecution. She had visited refugees in settings around the globe, including in Afghanistan, Liberia, Sudan and Thailand, touching the lives of all she met.

Prior to working at the Women's Commission, Mary Anne was an educator, who served as Director of Admissions at Harvard and Radcliffe. She was the first woman president of the Harvard Faculty Club. In New York she was the Director of College Counseling at The Dalton School and then the Head of the Upper School at The Nightingale-Bamford School. She received numerous awards for her work in education and for her humanitarian work.

Mary Anne was loved, admired and respected by all who knew her. She inspired countless women and girls to get involved in refugee issues. She will be sorely missed.

Make a donation in honor of Mary Anne here.

Read Mary Anne's obituary in the London Times here and a death notice in the New York Times here.

In October 2012, Will Schwalbe, Mary Anne's son, published The End of Your LIfe Book Club, a memoir that tells of their shared love of books and their conversations during Mary Anne's two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. The book also talks about Mary Anne's devotion to refugees and her work with the Women's Refugee Commission. Read more here.

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