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Michele grew up in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina but has lived most of her adult life in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania – one of the poorest nations on earth.
Michele Pezdirtz Cumming is a registered nurse who serves part-time as a Team Leader Supervisor for Doulos Community, a Christian humanitarian organization working among the poor in North Africa. She also homeschooled her twins from kindergarten through eighth grade, most of which time they were living in Mauritania.
Michele grew up in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina but has lived most of her adult life in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania – one of the poorest nations on earth. She currently lives primarily in New Haven, Connecticut, but spends time in Mauritania every year. During her 15 years in Mauritania, Michele directed a large Maternal-Child Health program providing health education, nutritional monitoring and food supplementation to 20,000 malnourished children and mothers. She also helped to oversee Doulos Community’s wider work in agriculture, literacy, education, microcredit and other areas. In her present work she has continuing oversight responsibilities for Doulos Community in Mauritania, and she also does consulting for NGOs in other nations. Her areas of expertise and interest include public health and nutrition in developing nations, cross-cultural communication issues in Islamic societies, and the concerns and challenges of Muslim women.
During their 15 years in Mauritania, Michele and her family committed themselves to living among the poor as the poor. Michele and her husband rented one room (then, after their children were born, two rooms) in a house with two local Mauritanian families, with no running water or electricity, and sharing an outdoor latrine with their neighbors. As Michele shared in the daily struggles of her Mauritanian friends and neighbors, and as they shared in hers, both she and they were deeply touched and changed.
Michele holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing (B.S.N.) from Duke University and an M.A. in Intercultural Studies (concentration: Islamic Studies) from Fuller School of Intercultural Studies. She speaks fluent Arabic and French, as well as some knowledge of German,Spanish and Koiné Greek. Michele and her husband Joseph are parents of twins – a daughter and a son – born in June 1992. Michele has several years’ experience in homeschooling them, and they also attended Mauritanian schools for three years. Michele and her husband, Joseph Cumming, are currently co-pastoring the International Church at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, an outreach to international students and scholars and their families.
A video of Michele speaking at a conference at Yale University can be viewed here.