Modrowski is a distinguished American educator, education administrator and scholar. Born in Toledo, Ohio, began her university studies in the United States, at the University of Toledo, Ohio where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in History and English Literature. She completed her graduate studies in France at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS - School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences), a leading French research and degree-granting institution. She was awarded the Diplôme d’Etudes de l’EHESS, an advanced degree equivalent to a Master of Arts, in the ethnology of the Arab world. Her dissertation, the fruit of three years of field research in the Tunisian Sahara, was entitled “Cent Ans de Séderisation” (“One Hundred Years of Sedentarisation”), an ethnographic study of a Bedouin tribe in transition from seasonal nomadism to an economy based on migrant remittances. The French National Library selected her dissertation for their archived research base.
Ms. Modrowski pursued her graduate studies further with a focus on anthropology film making at the Musée de L’Homme in Paris under the guidance of Jean Rouch, one of the founders of cinéma verité in France and at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For four years, Ms Modrowski was a member of the research laboratory Geste et Image (Gestures and Images) at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), where she undertook numerous field research projects in visual anthropology, including social aspects of market behaviour in Italy and Tunisia, the public participation and in religious festivals in the Mediterranean countries, gendered spaces in households, and construction of café society in France.
Ms. Modrowski worked as a consultant at the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), at its Paris headquarters for many years. One of the projects was for the Division of Environment on visual documentation in social science research. Another was for the Division on Human Rights and Peace, for the creation of a program for community-based participatory research in human rights education. She pursued another research project related to the relationship between traditional healers (“traditherapeuts”) and national health institutions in Mali. Her study focused on the right to health and traditional medicine and resulted in a report on the integration and normalization of traditional medical practices within the national health policy.
For the past twenty-five years, Ms. Modrowski has built up the global studies and experiential learning programmes of the Global College of Long Island University (LIU), New York, formerly Friends World College, where she has held positions of North American Centre Director, Global Studies Director, Director of Global and Experiential Education, Acting Dean and Assistant Dean. In these capacities, she has visited and worked on development of Global Study centres in Costa Rica, India, China and South Africa. She has advised Global College students doing work in diverse fields including cultural anthropology, sustainable development, community development, and human rights.
As an educational administrator at LIU, Ms. Modrowski served as Chair of the Experiential Education Committee, which created norms and standards courses based on experiential learning and developed a curriculum, which integrates service learning into diverse academic domains. She also was a member of the CORE program committee, which had oversight of undergraduate academic standards. She is currently Global College liaison to the Outcomes Assessment Committee and the Assessment and E-Portfolio Taskforce. She is also the Convener of the LIU Global Academic Council.
Since 1994, Ms. Modrowski has worked to promote human rights education with the Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE), as a member of the Board of Directors and Director of the Education Program Committee. In that capacity, she helped build Human Rights Cities in Kenya, Mali and India. She co-authored a book on this experience.
She is also a founding board member of the Herstory Writers Workshop. The organization offers women the opportunity to create literary works based on their individual voices and experiences leading to societal change. Ms. Modrowski’ s other recent activities include participation as a civil society Constitutional Consultant on the Ghanaian National Constitutional Committee Human Rights Section and a consultant in the pilot program for urban revitalization based on human rights learning.