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Senior Advisor

Suzanne Abel

Suzanne became a senior advisor at the Haas Center in September 2011, making a transition from her position as associate director for External Relations. For 16 years, Suzanne led the External Relations team and worked closely with the center's leadership to build the resources to support public service education and a strong communications program. She also advised Stanford in Government, a student-led affiliate of the Haas Center, and was a pre-major advisor to freshmen and sophomores, which she continues to do in her new role.

For a decade prior to coming to Stanford, Suzanne was the founding director of a public museum of art, history, and anthropology in Mendocino County. In the late 1970s, Suzanne lived in Costa Rica for several years, where she worked for the National Museum and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Tropical Field Research program. Her interest in Native peoples of the Americas and in U.S.-Latin American relations remains strong.

Suzanne grew up in both the United States (mostly Washington, D.C.) and abroad (the former Yugoslavia, India and the UK), and has been involved in public service throughout her adult life. Her father was a print and broadcast journalist who saw journalism as a pillar of a democratic society, and her mother was an avid volunteer wherever the family lived. A 1971 graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe, Suzanne also completed her master's and doctoral work in anthropology at Brown University and UC Berkeley.

Suzanne's late husband, Jim Kennedy, was a bereavement counselor with Peninsula Pathways, following a career as a documentary filmmaker and journalist. Her daughter graduated from Smith College in 2005 and lives in London, where she produces videos and web content in the Digital Department of the Philharmonia Orchestra. Suzanne also has three stepchildren who live and work in Los Angeles, Idyllwild (CA) and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and four grandchildren.

Since October 2011, Suzanne has been pursuing an "encore career" as academic director at Puente de la Costa Sur in Pescadero, where she had volunteered for almost three years. In 2012, she became a consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania's Cultural Heritage Center as part of a multi-year community-driven interdisciplinary project in Quintana Roo, Mexico, that focuses on the 19th-century Caste War of Yucatan.

She is a news junkie and loves international and domestic travel, film, books, animals, nature, cycling, hiking, museums, theater, and music.