Elaine Berman’s interest in international development started more than a decade before she became involved with CUSO in 1979. She and her husband had worked in Africa in the 60s. So when she saw the ad for a job as the local coordinator for the international development organization CUSO, she decided to apply, and got the job.
With help from several volunteers from the International Centre at Queen’s, the local
committee was reassembled and revived its active mandates to recruit cooperants, fundraise, and provide development education.
“It was a fun job, but it was hard work,” recalls Berman of her time with CUSO.
Berman recalls fondly the opportunity to work on two international projects while with CUSO: a project twinning persons with disabilities in Kingston Ontario and Kingston Jamaica during the International Year of the Disabled in 1984; and a project with the Queen’s School of Rehabilitation in India supporting community based rehabilitation with local NGOs.
Following her decade with CUSO, Berman worked as a senior planner for the District Health Council. She then obtained a Masters in the history of medicine—an interest she developed while working on the India project.
Before retiring, Berman was a senior staff person at the Queen’s University Faculty Association.
Elaine Berman lives in Kingston where she volunteers for Peace Quest, a local peace, education and advocacy group, and helps raise money for South African women raising grand-children orphaned by AIDS.