Macaulay Honors College is pleased to announce that Liat Krawczyk, from the Hunter College Class of 2009, has been awarded the Macaulay Pioneer Alumni Award winner for 2021. The award was created by the college to recognize a graduate who embodies Macaulay’s values by forging a unique path to success. Liat received her award at the 3rd Alumni Fall Fête celebration on November 9.
Liat has always taken a courageous, entrepreneurial approach to social challenges. As a student, she co-founded the not-for-profit Jeneba Project to address systemic barriers and support education for girls in Sierra Leone. To date, the organization has significantly contributed to quality of life in the area by providing over 170 scholarships and building two high schools and a library, and reaching over 6,000 students.
Most recently, in 2018, The Jeneba Project launched an all-girls excellence high school academy that couples quality education with civic leadership and female empowerment modules. “We put women’s education front and center in a country that until 2020 banned pregnant girls from school, has soaring female genital mutilation rates and the highest maternal mortality rate in the world”, says Liat.
Motivated by the belief that widening access to critical services and expanding economic opportunity can elevate communities, Liat spent the next decade growing startups, social-enterprises, and ecosystems centered on emerging technologies such as those focused on base-of-the-pyramid markets.
To make change in an interconnected world, Liat uses the power of storytelling. Her documentary films cover topics ranging from youth’s struggle with substance abuse in New York to the experience of atomic bomb survivors. Her latest film, Retracing Jeneba: The Story of a Witness, won multiple awards including “Best World Documentary” at the Harlem International Film Festival.
Today, Liat is a Vice President at the NYC Economic Development Corporation where she leads economic mobility initiatives. Her portfolio has included Cyber NYC, a $100M suite of public-private investments to grow NYC’s Cybersecurity ecosystem with a focus on catalyzing an inclusive talent pipeline. She is also the founder and head of the women.nyc Childcare Innovation Lab, which seeks to reframe childcare as an economic development issue and leads research and innovative interventions in this sector.
No matter what issue she chooses to tackle, Liat’s work reflects her time at Macaulay. “I carry the lesson imparted by Eleanor Roosevelt that I learned during my time as a human rights student at Hunter, that universal rights don’t have to begin with grand gestures. We can cure systemic inequalities, ‘in small places, close to home’, starting with one foot in front of the other.”
2023: Michelle Pelan ’12 and Noa Krawcyk ’12
2022: Zuobin Tang ’05
2021: Liat Krawczyk ’09
2019: Brian Kateman ’11 and Sasha Ahuja ’09
2018: Christine Curella ’08
2017: Mary Pennisi ’08
2016: Thomas Brigandi ’12