Anna Crumley-Effinger '07 earned a Rotary Peace Fellowship to support her master's degree work at Uppsala University in Sweden. Previously she worked with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in the Horn of Africa, with a special focus on peace-building in Burundi and famine relief in Somalia. She is also involved in a raft of American Quaker organizations. A Quaker with many family connections to Earlham including her mother Stephanie '77 (a faculty member at the Earlham School of Religion) her grandmother, Vera Crumley '53, her siblings Max '10 and Mary '13 and her cousin Sandy Hartsmanngruber '05. This is an extended version of an interview published in the Winter 2012 issue of Earlhamite magazine.
What's your definition of a leader?
A leader is someone who enables those around them to flourish in their roles and contribute to the goals that they are collectively striving to achieve.
In what ways do you feel called upon to be a leader?
As a Quaker serving with an organization that is seeking to put Friends' beliefs into action, I work to help articulate how the programs we do in the world and specifically with communities in East Africa seek to bring people closer to reconciliation, justice and social equity, goals that are universal and very important to Friends. Connecting people within our AFSC work to Friends communities and other like-minded organizations is another aspect of my work. Collaboration is a key to any work and especially in ours that at local levels or at policy levels requires building relationships across perceived or actual barriers.
What are your struggles with taking on leadership roles?
Some people think of leaders as experts. Although this is not how I see it and I think good leaders are always learning from those around them and helping others tap into their potential, the expectations I've seen people put on leaders has caused me pause at some points in taking on work.
In AFSC's engagement with communities around the world we seek to strengthen local leadership and draw out existing skills and expertise that people possess. This has not always been the dominant model in international organizations work in other places and we do not always get it right ourselves. I organized dialogue and exchanges between people on the continent to share learning and their local experiences with trauma healing from a number of countries in east and southern Africa. This work feels like leadership through facilitation, which I am always more eager to do.
What's one thing every Earlhamite should know about Kenya?
I've never been anywhere that so many people read the newspaper and most everyone you talk to from a building guard to a CEO to a cleaner cares and has a nuanced political opinion. It makes me ashamed to think of those Late Show people on the street interviews. What has happen to Americans? We take our democracy for granted and don't engage.It is an incredibly diverse country with many groups and histories and a strong civil society because of people like Wangari Maathai and my colleague Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, both amazing Kenyan peacemakers. Dekha, an ethnic Somali, Muslim and incredibly proud Kenyan is my model for leadership. She was driven by her faith, her community, and was willing to find ways to work with anyone from fighting clans-people to politicians seen as corrupt, always keeping hope for the future and working for peace at home and around the world.
What are your hopes and plans for the next five years?
I hope to continue to be able to contribute to the lives of the people around me by cooking them dinner and having great discussions - whether that be my neighbors in West Philadelphia, ECers I visit in Seattle or Seattle or Dar es Salaam. I hope to find my way to graduate school and get back to Earlham and my hometown Richmond often.
What's your idea of a great day off?
Time to spend or communicate with friends, take a walk if the weather is nice, read a New Yorker or at least all the cartoons, cook some delicious food after a trip to the local co-op of market and end with a little internet TV.