Dawn Booker G’13

"For me representation and inclusion are guiding principles."

Dawn Booker '13

What is your most enduring memory of your time at AUP?

I came to AUP because I knew I wanted to have a global experience, obtaining my master’s at a university with faculty, staff and students from all over the world. When I graduated, my classmates selected me to represent graduate students as a speaker at AUP’s 50th anniversary commencement ceremony. I felt so honored and grateful to have the opportunity to share publicly the transformative experience I’d had at AUP. Standing on the stage at Théâtre du Châtelet was a moment I will never forget.

How did AUP impact your life?

My experience at AUP transformed my life and career in so many ways. I attended AUP as an older student; I never imagined how impactful my time there would be for me. Prior to attending AUP, I was a communications and marketing professional, also serving as an adjunct journalism professor. After graduating, I had expected to come back to the US and continue my career; however, after receiving the Slosberg Grant to conduct research on NGO communications in South Africa, my approach to work was forever changed. Upon my return home, I continued to conduct research on representation in communications, collaborative research and cultural tourism.

Where have those interests led you?

Shortly after returning to the US, I launched Pack Light Global Itineraries, an experiential travel business that encourages and inspires women of color 40 years and older to explore the world fearlessly. Additionally, I teach new global courses, including a strategic communications module as part of my former AUP program, the MA in Global Communications. I also serve as Editor-in-Chief for DETOUR: Best Stories in Black Travel, which is a multimedia travel journal that is distributed through news outlets in the McClatchy media network.

What advice would you offer other global explorers?

Develop a set of values that will guide your work and life. For me representation and inclusion are guiding principles. Understanding what motivates you is essential when choosing and evaluating the best path for both your life and career. Intolerance that is rooted in lack of knowledge or understanding of people who are different is one of today’s biggest global challenges. There are so many polarizing factors that separate us as citizens across the globe. Travel, research and forming relationships with people who hold different beliefs to you can all build bridges.