Alda Facio, WHRI co-founder and academic director, is a feminist human rights activist, jurist and writer. She is Chair of the UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice of the Human Rights Council; is the Director of the Women, Gender and Justice Program of the UN Latin American Institute for Crime Prevention (ILANUD), and was one of the founders of the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Alda has carried out hundreds of trainings for judges, police, and judicial officials throughout Latin America, as well as for women’s organizations and civil society throughout the world, and teaches Human Rights and Gender at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica. She has a decades-long history of supporting and shaping the international women’s human rights movement. She shares her experience and skills as advisor to numerous women’s initiatives, including JASS (Just Associates), and International Women’s Rights Action Watch – Asia Pacific (IWRAW-AP), where she serves as Resource Person at the Global to Local NGO trainings at the CEDAW Committee. Alda is known for her accessible, joyful and humorous teaching style, and her commitment to fostering women’s leadership.
Martha Morgan, JD, is the Robert S. Vance Professor Emerita of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law. She has may years of experience teaching courses in domestic/comparative constitutional and human rights law. Her research and writing interests include women and constitution-making, comparative gender jurisprudence, and the domestication of international gender norms. Since retirement from full-time teaching , she has focussed her work in the area of international women’s human rights training and activism. She serves as a resource person/trainer for the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific’s Global to Local Program, an NGO mentoring program which assists women’s groups in countries reporting to the CEDAW Committee, and is a core faculty member of the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute, teaching the CEDAW for Change Institute together with Alda Facio.
Shanthi is an internationally renowned expert and activist in women’s human rights, a former CEDAW committee member (2005-2008), and has served as a women’s rights expert for key UN agencies such as UNDP, The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNIFEM and UNICEF. She has provided technical services to governments in the Asia Pacific Region, Africa and Latin America assisting them to build capacity for the implementation of CEDAW. In 1993 she founded the International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, a regional and international independent, non-profit global NGO, based in Malaysia, which monitors and facilitates the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against (CEDAW).
Mary is a co-founder of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Canada’s premier organization litigating women’s equality test cases, and was the first head of its National Legal Committee.~ Since 1991, she has been counsel to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, in its work for constitutional equality for Aboriginal women and against violence. She writes, lectures and teaches in Canada and abroad, on women’s equality, and the wide recognition of her work includes Canada’s Governor-General’s Gold Medal in Honour of the Person’s Case.
Debby Wilson Danard, PhD, Anishinaabekwe, is a traditional knowledge keeper, teacher, water ambassador, academic and Life promotion activist. She currently works as a Youth Suicide Prevention Coach with communities in Ontario to plan and mobilize evidence-informed practices for youth suicide prevention and life promotion. Living and teaching from a traditional knowledge perspective is how she envisions LIFE sustainable communities. She brings her vision of Indigenous worldview to participants in the WHRI, hosted in Toronto on traditional First Nation lands.
Wayunkerra (Karmen Ramirez Boscan)
Karmen Ramírez Boscán is a Wayuu indigenous woman from Colombia. She is an artist and graphic designer, as well as an activist and human rights defender in her home region affected by mining activities, with a particular interest in indigenous women’s rights. She founded the indigenous women’s organization Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu in Colombia, which spearheaded the first CEDAW Shadow Report focused on indigenous women in Colombia. Currently living in Switzerland for safety reasons, she founded the Wayunkerra Indigenous Women’s Initiative and has worked as a consultant for the International Labour Organization (ILO) and for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. In 2013, she was honored by the Global Fund for Women for her work with indigenous women around the world. She is alumna of the WHRI, and initiated the collaborative “CEDAW Indigena” trainings on CEDAW for Indigenous Women.
Zarizana Abdul Aziz
Zarizana Abdul Aziz is a human rights lawyer. Zarizana was involved in law and policy reform initiatives on gender equality and anti-violence legislations in Timor Leste, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar and Afghanistan and in constitutional dialogues in the Middle East as well as training of lawyers, civil society advocates, religious scholars and government officials in several countries. Zarizana served as Chair of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (until 2013). She also served as an elected Malaysian Bar Council member (the statutory self-regulatory body of all lawyers in Malaysia) and co-chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Council and President of the Women’s Crisis Centre (now Women’s Centre for Change) in Malaysia. She was shortlisted for the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice. Zarizana was Human Rights Fellow and subsequently visiting scholar at Columbia University. Zarizana was also visiting scholar at Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, USA where she undertook research and occasionally taught. Currently Zarizana serves as consultant with Women’s Development Research Centre (KANITA), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).
Janine Moussa is the Director of Policy and Outreach of the Global Women’s Institute. Ms. Moussa is a human rights lawyer with over 15 years’ experience in women’s human rights. Prior to taking up her position with the Institute, Ms. Moussa co-founded and co-directed the Due Diligence Project on State obligation to end violence against women. Previous work experiences include serving as Senior Program Specialist, violence against women, with the Division for the Advancement of Women (now UN Women); Senior Program Officer, international advocacy, with IWRAW Asia Pacific, a Malaysian based CSO working towards the implementation of the CEDAW Convention in the region and globally; and as legal consultant for the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights of the Organization of American States. Ms. Moussa has spent several years living and working abroad namely in South East Asia and the Middle East, where she worked on micro-enterprise and vocational training programs with women refugees. Ms. Moussa received her Juris Doctor cum laude from the Washington College of Law of American University and her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, Canada.
Donna Nicolls is Jamaican by birth and is now a citizen of The Bahamas. She is a former mathematics teacher, business owner and is now the managing director for Quantum Technologies Engineering. Her professions qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences and a Masters Degree in Counselling. She has been affiliated with the Bahamas Crisis Centre as and advocate for over 30 years, a counsellor for over 10 years and is also the co-founder of Bahamas Women’s Watch (BWW), a newly formed advocacy group, committed to promote CEDAW as a tool to improve the lives of women living in The Bahamas. In the early years of her advocacy, she was mainly involved with working on the Crisis Centre’s hotline, advocacy marches and public outreach. For the past 12 years, she has been more hands on at the Centre; facilitating training for new volunteers, counselling clients and also facilitating training of Police, Social Workers and various civil society groups. As an advocate, hot line volunteer and counsellor, Donna works with victims of violence, mainly women and adolescent girls.
Kenita Placide is the Caribbean Advisor for OutRight Action International and Director of the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE). These LGBTI Human Rights organisations are based in New York and Saint Lucia respectively. She served as a director of United and Strong Inc from 2006 – 2016, Co-Secretary General (2010-2012) and Coordinator ( 2012 – 2015) of the Eastern Caribbean hub of the Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS). In addition she contributed to the International Lesbian and Gay Association World Board as Alternate Co-Secretary General, Alternate Women’s Secretariat and is now the lead contact for United and Strong Inc as the Women’s Secretariat representative. She was the Caribbean Co-Chair (2012 – 2015 for the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project.
Meskerem Geset Techane
Meskerem Geset Techane holds an LL.M in Human Rights from the University of Pretoria and is currently a PhD fellow at the Human Right Center of the University of Padova in the International PhD program run jointly with the universities of Panteion, Western Sydney and Zagreb. In the past thirteen years Meskerem has worked in several capacities in the legal and human rights field including as judge, academician, private practitioner, consultant, and as a human rights advocate/expert working with national, pan-African, international and inter-governmental organizations. After concluding her tenure as a Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, she has been engaged in PhD research, human rights advocacy and independent consultancy. She is a UN Special Rapporteur with the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice.