About Dr. Anu
Dr. Anu, in Senegal (left) and in Ghana (right)
I’m a cultural in-between and go-between who values nuance as well as clarity.
As the daughter of immigrants who has grown up between two cultures, I often draw on my personal experience as a way to connect with and amplify the voices of those who have historically not been heard. As a scholar and academic, I also know that racial equity work is challenging, emotional, institutional, and personal. I’ve taught about global issues, race, gender, identity, and equity to thousands of students, presented at high-profile as well as more humble events, and collaborated with social change agents and innovative thinkers around the world. I partner with clients for the long haul and strive to build inclusivity and collaboration, inviting people into conversation.
My work has been honored by a variety of awards and recognitions: I’ve received the University of Washington “Distinguished Teaching Award” and Seattle Weekly’s “Best of Seattle” designation. I've also been awarded the University of California President’s Dissertation Fellowship, a VONA/Voices Author Fellowship, a Hedgebrook Author Residency, multiple US State Department Fulbright Scholar Grants to collaborate with partners abroad, and served as a Consultant on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. I've served four terms on Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, criss-crossing the state to give presentations and engage with a wide range of Washingtonians.
My book Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World has won numerous awards and honors:
Washington State Book Award in Nonfiction Finalist
Winner of Newsweek’s Future of Travel Award in Storytelling
Fodor’s Travels best “13 Books to Inspire Your Travels”
Oprah Magazine’s “26 Best Travel Books Of All Times”
Foreward INDIES Book of the Year Bronze Prize in Travel
Wishing Shelf Awards in Nonfiction Finalist
Next Generation Indie Award in Social Justice Finalist
Kind Traveler's "10 Books to Fuel Your Eco-Wanderlust"
“Anu, the nuance you always bring to your work really helped create the kind of space where everyone might feel seen and heard."
--Leadership Tomorrow staff
"I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your talk the other evening at Edmonds Community College. You bring a lovely warmth to your presentation, and it was so inspiring to hear some of the comments you elicited from the audience.”
— Humanities Washington participant
“Working with Anu was fantastic and exceeded expectations. Her combination of warmth, wisdom, curiosity and steady presence created a space for intentional listening and meaningful communication.”
— Director, Philanthropy & Community Engagement, Macklemore LLC
“Wow, I loved your workshop. You are an amazing facilitator and the workshop content, together with your collaborative and participatory style, was a great role modeling tool for me to see. Thank you!”
— Seattle Pacific University faculty
"I realize that I have worked on myself on an individual level, but I never thought about the work that I need to do on an institutional and instructional level. I’m ready to go further after Dr. Anu’s workshop.”
— Seattle Public School teacher
"The experience in your classroom was revolutionary! It opened my mind to entirely different concepts of teaching and learning. Truly, I was energized.”
— UW-Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participant
"I have been following Dr. Taranath’s work for years and continue to be inspired by what she offers to educators. The strategies and activities offered in all three of her books have made me a more engaged teacher and learner. I am so grateful to Dr. Taranath for sharing her brilliance in such a creative and caring ways."
-- Western Washington University professor
"I first came across Dr. Anu and Beyond Guilt Trips when I attended her book talk. It was a fascinating discussion and I got my signed copy immediately after the conversation... One of the best books I read in 2019!"
-- Graduate Student, UW Bothell
“You handled the conversation yesterday so much grace, strength, clarity and dignity. I was in awe throughout the event. All this in a room with 200 people and so many issues at play. You model the importance of holding steady in the midst of the storm.”
—UW School of Public Health Town Hall
"It was such a delight to have you on our campuses. I have heard from several faculty that this was the BEST workshop they have ever attended at CSB/SJU. Your work and insights will continue to have positive ripple effects on our campuses."
--College of St. Ben/St. John's University, Minnesota
"Your session was phenomenal. I received lots of positive faculty feedback. I feel it may have been the best session we have had at a KIIS faculty orientation in recent memory."
-- Executive Director, Kentucky Institute of International Studies
“I am full of gratitude following the beautiful session you facilitated for us, Dr. Anu. Thank you for the pace, the wisdom, the heart, the skill. I felt a lot and learned a lot. Many thanks.”
— WA State Dept of Enterprise Services staff member
"Beyond Guilt Trips was an assigned reading for my class, and I am so glad it was. I think everyone should be reading this book. It is certainly not light reading, but the opportunity for guided reflection to sit with discomfort is freeing. Taranath’s book is helpful for anyone like me who feels like they have good intentions, but needs to be exposed to the reality that good intentions are not enough. While challenging the reader, it also offers tools and strategies to hold space for discomfort, pain, crisis of identity, and helps the reader move past feelings of guilt and onto productive conversations. Overall, Beyond Guilt Trips changed the way I look at the world. I highly recommend it!"
--Amazon reader review