Susan (Goldis) Goren ‘03

When Susan (Goldis) Goren ‘03, graduated from FJA (then the Jewish Academy of Metropolitan Detroit – JAMD), she didn’t yet know that her life path would take her on a world-wide journey filled with unexpected opportunities and important professional experiences.    

“I knew from a young age that I was interested in living and working abroad, but I didn’t know anyone growing up who had pursued such a path. FJA/JAMD encouraged students to expand their horizons and pursue individual ambitions that might differ from the norm, which, in turn, helped bolster my decision to pursue a path much different from those I had witnessed.”

Today, Susan is the Protection Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Mexico, managing their humanitarian response for refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations. She currently lives in Mexico City with her husband Nadav, who is Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Israel in Mexico, and their four year old son Liad.

With a background in political science, international studies, and a law degree from the University of Michigan, Susan has focused her career on providing protection to refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons and helping them rebuild their lives in safety and security.  

Before the Gorens’ made the move to Mexico, they spent five years in Abuja, Nigeria where Susan was able to join the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, amidst the growing internal displacement crisis in the northeast of the country and mounting humanitarian response. She helped coordinate protection operations and implement UNHCR’s protection projects, prioritizing the evolving emergency needs in the country throughout the brutal Boko Haram insurgency. She also assisted in the UNHCR’s response to the Cameroonian refugee crisis. During this time, her husband served as Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Israel in Nigeria.

“The careers and lives that my husband and I have chosen, to move around the world to different posts for international humanitarian relief and Israeli diplomacy, is not necessarily the path of least resistance,” she says. “The distance from our families and friends is an eternal challenge.”

Even so, Susan and Nadav feel fortunate for the experiences they’ve had and those their son will be exposed to as he grows up. 

“Being able to absorb other cultures, learn new languages, and meet people from around the world has meant that we are continually learning, evolving and experiencing new adventures.”

The foundation for Susan’s world-wide experiences were established at FJA/JAMD.  

“I have so many great memories from JAMD— Anything Goes and A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays, our Israel senior trip, our senior all-night party including pranks, and bringing in our sleeping bags to lounge in comfort in our student lounge, among many others. We took a memorable class trip to New York, where we waited outside MTV for the TV Show, TRL, got to be in the audience, and called JAMD to have the rest of the school tune in from back in Michigan!” 

She explained that the school helped foster her passion for languages and learning about cultures all over the world. “FJA’s unique character supports students’ individuality and allows them to create their own opportunities and pursue their own interests.”  

We are excited to see where Susan’s life journey will take her!