Advisors

September 10, 2012

WLP benefits from the guidance of its Board, its expert Advisory Council, and Global South Program Advisors.

International Expert Advisory Council

WLP works in collaboration with an international network of experts that includes heads of U.N. agencies, leaders of international NGOs, and scholars and activists representing diverse professional, cultural, and religious perspectives. They help us analyze the social, cultural, political, and gender implications of our programs and fine-tune them accordingly.

Members of WLP's International Advisory Council (IAC) are:

  • Hafsat Abiola-Costello
    President, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Nigeria
  • Zainah Anwar
    Founder of Sisters in Islam (SIS), Malaysia
  • Charlotte Bunch
    Former Executive Director, Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) and former Chair, Association for Women in Development (AWID), USA
  • Krishanti Dharmaraj
    Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University, India/USA
  • Malena de Montis
    Founder, REDLADER (the Latin America Network for Economic Justice and Gender), Center for Democratic Participation and Development (Cenzontle) and the Women's Development Fund (FODEM/Cenzontle), Nicaragua
  • Nancy Flowers
    Human Rights Education Consultant, Co-Founder of Human Rights USA
  • Masuma Hasan
     President of Aurat Foundation, Chairperson of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Pakistan
  • Vasanth Kannabiran
    Director, Asmita Resource Centre for Women, India
  • Amina Lemrini
    Co-Founder and Former President, Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM), Morocco, President, High Council for Audio Visual Communication, Morrocco
  • Afaf Mahfouz
    Psychologist, Lawyer, and Former President, Conference of Non-governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO), Egypt
  • Rabéa Naciri
    Committee Member, Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM), Member of Human Rights Council, Morocco
  • Kumi Naidoo
    Former Executive Director, CIVICUS and former International Executive Director, Greenpeace International and Director, Africa Civil Society Centre, South Africa
  • Thoraya Obaid
    Chair of WLP's Board of Directors, Saudi Arabia
  • Regan Ralph
    Executive Director, Fund for Global Human Rights, USA
  • Aruna Rao
    Co-Founder and Executive Director, Gender at Work, India/USA
  • Zenebewerke Tadesse
    Founding Member, and First Executive Secretary, Association of African Women for Research and Development, Ethiopia
  • Marfua Tokhtakhodjaeva
    Founder and Co-Director of the Women's Resource Center, Uzbekistan
  • Haleh Vaziri
    Founder and Principal, Vaziri Research Management Consultancy, Iran/USA

Program Advisors

WLP's program advisors in the Global South are the directors of partner organizations:

Aziza Abemba (Zimbabwe) is the Executive Director of Women’s Self-Promotion Movement (WSPM) in Zimbabwe. WSPM provides training and education for Zimbabwean women and girls and for refugee women from African countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. They implement programs that promote women’s leadership, micro-enterprise, and political participation, as well as provide training in conflict resolution skills and domestic violence prevention.

Sengül Akçar (Turkey), Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (FSWW) founder and Board Member, established in 1986 to bring grassroots women’s issues and contributions to the fore. She works in close collaboration with grassroots groups to develop and coordinate FSWW capacity building, business, child care, and childhood education programs. She is an Ashoka fellow and a Steering Committee member of the Huairou Commission, an international partnership body, where she monitors the United Nations Habitat II implementations using a gender lens. Prior to her work at FSWW, she worked on a municipal housing project focused on low-income urban dwellers. She is a civil engineer and holds an MA in Public Administration from the Bosphorus University, Turkey.

Samira Bikarden (Morocco) is a senior WLP facilitator and coordinator at Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) Rabat office. Ms. Bikarden also is Inspector in orientation of education at the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training. She is a founding member and former coordinator of the "Spring of Dignity Coalition" which calls for legislation to protect women from violence and prohibit discrimination; and member of the regional "Equality without Reservation" coalition advocating for the withdrawal of reservations relating to CEDAW and to adherence to the OP-CEDAW in MENA. Ms. Bikarden is also Advisor to the Global Fund for Women, member of UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group in Morocco and member of the CSW/NGO Global Coordinating Committee for capacity building and advocacy training in the Arab region.

Julie Cissé (Senegal) is an organizational development specialist, women’s rights activist, and the Coordinator for Groupe d'Initiatives pour le Progrès Social (GIPS/WAR), based in Thiès, Senegal.  She has been strongly engaged with environmental and food security advocacy, in addition to her activism for women’s human rights and political participation.  She has served as the Technical Coordinator of the Senegal-based Thousand Gardens Project, and the National Coordinator of the Baye Dundee Program on agricultural sustainability. Julie is a member of the Senegal’s National Environmental and Sustainable Development Forum, Slow Food International, and Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN).

Nzira Deus (Mozambique) is Executive Director of Forum Mulher (Women's Forum). She is a human rights activist and member of the feminist movement and has been developing actions to fight for promotion of human rights of women and girls (violence, economy, political participation and sexual and reproductive health).

Enas El Shafie (Egypt) is an institutional capacity building consultant and the Executive Director of the Forum for Women in Development (FWID) which works on strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations, especially local organizations in various Egyptian governorates, to help them adopt a participatory approach in development and integrate gender concepts in their structures, framework, and programs. FWID seeks to build an influential force to create positive change in policies and legislation as well as to raise awareness on equality and human rights. FWID also combats discrimination and violence against women in all its forms in various ways, including networking, building alliances, exchanging experiences, and strengthening solidarity and partnership with various parties that focus on similar issues. 

Thency Gunasekaran (Malaysia) has been President of All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) since 2014. In addition to her work on women's human rights, Thency is also actively involved in advocating for issues concerning child rights, especially in the areas of child protection, prevention of child sexual abuse and juvenile justice. She is currently a committee member of the Child Welfare Committee of the Petaling Division in Selangor. She strongly believes that holistic education plays a crucial role in bringing about any social change.

Soraida Hussein (Palestine), is Women's Affairs Technical Committee Director General and a longtime women’s rights activist. She is one of the co-founders of the Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling, heading its Research, Documentation and Advocacy Units. Currently, Soraida is a Board member for the Palestine musical institution "Al-Kamanjati," and an assembly member in Women and Family Affairs Center based in Nablus. With other academic women and in collaboration with Cardiff University, she prepared an undergraduate curriculum for the class, "Law and Women in Palestine," at Al-Najah University. Born in Colombia, Ms. Hussein is fluent in Arabic, English, and Spanish and has published articles in women issues and is known as a competitive trainer in the field. In 2004, the Canadian Board of Films produced the movie, Soraida: A Woman of Palestine

Saida Idrissi (Morocco) is currently serving as President of the Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) Rabat office. She is a member of the Committee on Human Rights and Citizenship at the Moroccan Ministry of Education and National Coordinator of the Anaruz National Network of Listening Centers for Women Victims of GBV. She is also member of the Gender Working Group of the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights and trainer of the WLP program since 2002.

Tolekan Ismailova (Kyrgyzstan) is the Director of Human Rights Movement: Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan. She is also a founder of the NGO Forum of Kyrgyzstan (1996), which played a key role in the development of the non-governmental sector in Kyrgyzstan. Ms. Ismailova was the founder and President of the NGO, Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, which united the country’s NGO sector during a national campaign on educating civil society and monitoring elections. The Coalition was successful in the passage of a new election code in 1998. She also directs the annual International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Kyrgyzstan. In 2002, Ms. Ismailova became the first Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow from Central Asia, and in 2009, she was awarded the French Liberty-Equality-Brotherhood Human Rights Award, which honors freedom of expression and information in Kyrgyzstan.

Mehrangiz Kar (Iran) is a leading Iranian attorney, writer, and activist working towards the promotion of democracy, rule of law, and human rights within the framework of Islamic law. She was one of the first women attorneys to oppose the Islamization of gender relations following the Revolution. She has been an active public defender in Iran’s civil and criminal courts and has lectured extensively, both in Iran and abroad, on political, legal and constitutional reform, promotion of civil society and democracy, and on dismantling legal barriers to women’s and children’s rights. Her books have received international critical acclaim.

Gulnara Karakulova (Kazakhstan) is the Director of Shymkent Women’s Resource Center (SWRC) in South Kazakhstan. SWRC focuses on leadership development, freedom of speech, the right to personal safety, and the prohibition of discrimination against women. Karakulova works with marginalized groups for greater inclusion in decision-making processes and to improve their social status and social participation. In 1999 she implemented a project on women's leadership, which is still ongoing. From 2002 to 2008, she ran shelters for women who were victims of domestic violence and trafficking. In 2007, she opened a social beauty salon that provided vocational training and certification to promote the economic independence of girls and women. In 2003 the Women’s Resource Center was nominated “The best organization headed by a woman.” In 2005 Karakulova earned a diploma from the Minister of Environment for her participation in the National Women's Fair of ideas and goods, “Inspired woman-2.” She has taught Russian, Kazakh and World literature in the South Kazakhstan State University named after Mukhtar Auezov. Karakulova is a member of the National Commission for Women, Family and Demographic Policy at the mayor’s office of Shymkent, and she is a patron of the orphanage № 4 in the village Sairam, South Kazakhstan region. 

Asma Khader (Jordan) has over 40 years of experience as a specialized lawyer in human rights and legal protection of victims of human rights violations, is a civil society activist nationally in Jordan, regionally and internationally, and is a  gender consultant and CEO for Sisterhood is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI-I). Khader is the co-founder and leader of many Jordanian and Arab non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and a member of the Royal Commission for the Drafting of the Jordanian National Charter.  She played an important role as a member of the Royal Commission for Human Rights which was succeeded by the National Centre for Human Rights and appointed as a member of its Board.  Her national appointments include Minister of Culture (2003-2005); Minister of State and the official spokesperson for the Jordanian Government (2013); Member of the Jordanian Senate (2013); Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for women (2007-2014); and Commissioner at the Independent Election Commission (2014-2016). 

Aziza Khalidi (Lebanon) is engaged at Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD.A) as a monitoring, evaluation and learning officer.  She is also a board member of the association Najdeh, and a founding member of the Forum for Palestinian Women in Lebanon - a network of grassroots organizations working with refugee communities in the field of women's economic and social and political empowerment of women.  Aziza has track record of action research and activism on gender based violence in vulnerable communities as well as international advocacy through engagement in generating shadow reports on the situation of refugee women. She has been involved in needs assessments, and program evaluations in refugee settings, and participated in disseminating research findings in public events. Aziza teaches courses and is a Master's thesis adviser at the Department of Hospital Management, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the Islamic University of Lebanon. 

Aminetou Mint El Moctar (Mauritania) is President of the Association des Femmes Chefs de Famille (AFCF). AFCF works to promote and defend the rights of women and children, support women in precarious situations, create a network of associations working to improve living conditions of women heads of household and their children, and contribute to the emergence of an active solidarity amongst women of different social classes.

Naeem Mirza (Pakistan) is a human rights and women's rights activist and Acting Executive Director of Aurat Foundation, a Pakistan-based NGO working for women's empowerment and democratic governance in the country. Prior to joining Aurat Foundation in 1998, he worked as a journalist. As a COO of Aurat, and as one of the founders of the major civil society forums and alliances, he works to strengthen democratic practices, ensure and maximize women's effective participation in politics and decision- making, as well as, to develop strategies for ending violence against women and girls. He is the author of several books and reports on the issues of legal literacy, women's political participation and local governance. 

Joy Ngwakwe (Nigeria) is the Executive Director of the Center for Advancement of Development Rights (CEADER). In that position she leads the implementation of the organization’s mandate to promote women’s and girls’ economic and social rights, increase their capacity to overcome poverty, and strengthen their participation in development and leadership activities in their communities. Joy's work as a social entrepreneur spans nearly two decades, during which she has worked with human rights and women’s human rights organizations as a community mobilizer, women’s human rights activist, researcher and training facilitator. She also has carried out several local and international research projects on women's economic and social rights status. Joy has written and published articles and research reports in both local and international journals, covering topics including women’s economic and social rights in Nigeria, the impact of HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence in Nigeria, among others. Joy has facilitated and trained diverse groups of women at both regional and local levels on topics such as gender, leadership, political participation, and health as a human right. Joy is also the Registrar of Olivet Academy, the life transformation unit of Olivet Bible Church. 

Siti Nurjanah (Indonesia) is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Women and Youth Development Institute for Indonesia (WYDII) and previously, she co-founded and directed the Center for Religious and Community Studies. She has interacted with, designed and conducted trainings for women in district assemblies, women activists, and grassroots youth, and designed and implemented assessments focused on women’s political participation. She also has conducted research on women’s issues and political participation in Indonesia including: qualitative research on women’s political representation (2003-2004); qualitative research on women's empowerment through Islamic organizations (2003-2004); academic analysis of secondary school textbooks, focusing on gender and multiculturalism; and quantitative research on Middle East Islamic books about women’s role according to Islamic Law. To promote women's civic engagement, she encourages women to apply radical interpretations of religious teachings. Nurjanah was a Reagan-Fascell Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. In an earlier career as a journalist, Nurjanah wrote articles related to women's empowerment in national and international publications.

Andrea Romani (Brazil), a biologist is Program Officer at Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informação e Ação (CEPIA), has worked on environmental issues for over a decade. She has focused on sustainable development, mainly as it relates to waste management, human rights, and gender issues, and has spent several years working to empower pickers of recyclable materials and to develop capacity building projects with grassroots women’s organizations from communities across Rio de Janeiro. Since 2004, she has served as the liaison at CEPIA to the joint activities developed with WLP, including the Portuguese translation and adaptation of the Leading to Choices and Leading to Action manuals. During her undergraduate studies Romani worked with the Women’s Center for Global Leadership at Rutgers University on the development of the “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” campaign. 

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