Africa

Bisi Ogunleye

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Chief Bisi Ogunleye's work has been devoted to the economic empowerment of rural women in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. In 1982 she founded the Country Women’s Association of Nigeria (COWAN), a grassroots organization that works to empower women through income-generating projects. Today COWAN operates in 25 states in Nigeria with 24,00 working groups and has incorporated health and family programs into the agenda.

Fatema Mernissi

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Fatema Mernissi is a senior researcher at the University Institute for Scientific Research and professor of Sociology at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco. Her research has explored such themes as Islam and women's rights, the role of women in the Morocan economy, and women and civil-society development. In 1997 she began the "Synergie Civique" project to enhance NGO leaders' writing and communication skills and to conduct research on the expansion of civil-society.

Asma Jahangir

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Asma Jahangir is a distinguished human rights lawyer who is Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions. She is former Secretary General and Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (1987-1993). She is a board member of The Commonwealth Lawyer’s Association (London) and a Commissioner with the International Commission of Jurists (Geneva).

Amina Lemrini Elouahabi

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Amina Lemrini is the founding President of the Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) and a member of their Executive Committee. Founded in 1985, ADFM is a non-governmental organization working for the promotion and defense of women's rights in Morocco. She is also a founding member of the Moroccan Human Rights Organization (OMDH) and a member of the Board of Directors of Collectif 95 Maghreb-Egalité, a women’s regional NGO working in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Ms.

Pregaluxmi Govender

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Pregaluxmi Govender, currently a Fulbright New Century Scholar (2004-2005), is an activist and former parliamentarian. She served as an ANC Member of South Africa's Parliament from 1994-2002, during which period she chaired the Joint Standing Committee on the Improvement of the Quality of Life and Status of Women. She was influential in establishing the parliamentary women’s caucus, played a key role in national debates on military spending and HIV/AIDS, and pioneered the Women’s Budget Initiative in partnership with NGOs.

Ayesha Mje-Tei Imam

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Ayesha Imam is a women's human rights activist, as well as a researcher, writer, and trainer on gender issues. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights, a Nigeria-based non-profit organization working for women’s human rights and legal rights under customary, religious, and secular law in Africa and internationally. BAOBAB's activities include research, publication, training, and awareness-raising campaigns on women’s human rights and state obligations in national and international law. In 2002, Dr.

Navanethem Pillay

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An expert in the field of international human rights law, Navanethem Pillay is a Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is charged with bringing to justice the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. Judge Pillay is credited for a precedent-setting decision that established that rape, under certain conditions, can be considered genocide and a crime against humanity. She is the first black woman to serve as Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of South Africa, and has represented political detainees and prisoners of conscience for over thirty years.

Ayo Obe

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Ayo Obe is a human rights lawyer and President of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), one of Nigeria's largest human rights organizations. Education and empowerment are among the key strategies used to address basic human rights issues in Nigeria, including prison conditions, police brutality, and violence against women. She has represented the CLO at numerous local and international fora. Ms. Obe is Chair of the Coordinating Committee of the Transition Monitoring Group, a coalition of over 60 Nigerian NGOs that work together to monitor Nigeria’s transition to civil rule.

Patricia McFadden

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Patricia McFadden is a sociologist, activist, and scholar who has worked in the antiapartheid movement for over 20 years. She has taught at universities since 1976 and is the former director of the Feminist Studies Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe. She is a visiting scholar at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center based at Mount Holyoke College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she is writing a book on feminism and nationalism. She is the former editor of the Southen African Feminist Review and present editor of African Feminist Perspectives.

Rabéa Naciri

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Rabéa Naciri is President of the Association Démocratique du Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) Rabat, one of the largest Moroccan NGOs focused on the rights of women. Ms. Naciri is the former Executive Director of the Collectif 95 Maghreb Egalité, a network of women’s associations and women researchers from Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia committed to preventing violence against women. Trained as a geomorphologist, she is a Professor in the Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines at the University of Rabat in Morocco. Ms.
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