November 2009 Ethical Hero – Judith Mayotte

Published: November 12, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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Judith MayotteOne of the great pleasures of living in an active community is having the opportunity to meet and listen to those who are fully engaged in service to others.

Featured as one of the Smithsonian’s 100 Everyday Freedom Heroes, Dr. Mayotte has a fascinating life story of humanitarian service.  For ten years, she worked as a nun in the inner-cities of America helping people at the margins of society.  After leaving her order, she became a television producer, winning an Emmy for her work on the Portrait of America series in 1986.  With a MacArthur Foundation grant, she wrote a book about refugees.  She later became a special advisor to the Clinton administration on refugee matters.

In 1993, an ill-timed air-drop of food in southern Sudan struck Dr. Mayotte, endangering her life.  Her lower left leg had to be amputated.  She now resides and teaches in South Africa as a visiting professor at the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre and the University of the Western Cap.


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