Terry D. Ince
Terry D. Ince is the Convenor and founding member of the CEDAW Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (CCoTT), a non-governmental organization committed to stakeholder advocacy for the implementation of the CEDAW convention and its mandates, through collaboration, education, development, advocacy and wisdom sharing in Trinidad and Tobago. A social entrepreneur and rights advocate, Ms. Ince has worked extensively with for-profit and non-governmental organizations in developed and developing countries and underserved communities.
Dr. Amanda Dale is an international human rights scholar and activist, with a specialization in access to justice and women’s international human rights. She is a recognized spokesperson and expert in the way law impacts marginalized people’s lives and in women’s rights and violence against women. Amanda has over 30 years’ experience working in municipal, provincial, national, international, multicultural, urban, and remote contexts. Her leadership was pivotal to the Jane Doe Audit of Toronto Police sexual assault investigations, the successful restriction of the use of religious arbitration in the settlement of family law matters in Ontario, the development of a women’s shelter in the Arctic, and the success of projects in Ghana and Sudan that resulted in increased women’s political participation. Under her leadership as executive director, Canada’s only gender-based violence legal clinic, the Barbra Schlifer Clinic, completed a historic period of growth and influence, including an advanced role in direct access to justice service development, test case litigation, appellate work and the achievement of U.N. ECOSOC status . For three decades, Amanda has remained active in the feminist movement contributing to many organizations, including Quimaavik Shelter (Nunavut), Nellie’s Hostel, St. Joseph’s Women Health Centre, YWCA Toronto, and is the Vice-Chair of the Board at Inter Pares, and the advisory board of the Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response (CCLISAR), and of the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. Amanda is the 2013 recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for Social Justice. Amanda holds a Master in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School focused on intersectional approaches to women’s international human rights at CEDAW.
Occasional Faculty & Presenters
Walleska Pareja Díaz
Walleska is a lawyer and international consultant on issues related to human rights and Legal Drafting. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University. In her country of origin, Ecuador, she worked in the public sector and was a university instructor. Since 2013, her work has focussed on supporting Latin American civil society organizations in their advocacy efforts. Since 2016, she continued this work before the United Nations Human Rights mechanisms in Geneva-Switzerland. Walleska is a WHRI alumna, now working as a WHRI researcher, mentor, and program contributor.
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. Kenita 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 Kenita 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. Kenita was the Caribbean Co-Chair (2012 – 2015 for the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project.
Meskerem Geset Techane
Meskerem Geset Techane is a human rights lawyer, and a keen advocate of women’s rights which has taken primacy in her work over the past 15 years. She previously held positions as a High Court Judge in Ethiopia, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) where she led prominent human rights ventures across the Continent. Meskerem has worked closely with the African human rights mechanisms and was involved in drafting African Union human rights laws, policies and studies. She served as an expert member in different Working Groups of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and collaborated with the various Special Rapporteurs of the Commission. Currently a Doctoral Fellow at the Human Right Center of University of Padova, Meskerem holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Addis Ababa University and a Master of Laws (LL.M) from the University of Pretoria. She is Visiting Faculty and Scholar-in-residence at the WHRI. She is currently a UN Human Rights Council mandate holder serving in the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women (UNWGDAW).
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.
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.
Karmen Ramírez Boscán
Karmen Ramírez Boscán is a Wayuu indigenous woman from Colombia. She started her career in graphic design. She has worked 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 focussed on indigenous women in Colombia. Currently living in Switzerland for safety reasons, she co-founded Lucify.ch to empower migrant women as well as she has worked as a consultant for the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations -institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. In 2007 she published “Desde el Desierto” a book that denounces the violence of the war in Wayuu territory as well as various articles related with the impacts of mining in biodiversity. 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 Women Human Rights Institute, and initiated the collaborative “CEDAW Indigena” trainings on CEDAW for Indigenous Women. In 2017, her organization Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu was awarded with the National Human Rights Defense Award.
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 a human rights lawyer with over 15 years’ experience in women’s human rights. Ms. Moussa co-founded and co-directed the Due Diligence Project on State obligation to end violence against women. Formerly the Director of Policy and Outreach of the Global Women’s Institute, her 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.
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.
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.
Francesca Rufino holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from “La Sapienza” University of Rome. She is a Gestalt Psychotherapist graduated in Italy at The Gestalt Institute of Florence and became an Expressive Art Therapist at The Create Institute of Toronto. Francesca is a Human Right defender and activist. She has collaborated with several organizations including the European Anti-Poverty Network. She has been involved for more than twelve years as an activist and educator with organizations supporting refugees, victims of abuse and sexual violence, victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied foreign minors and LGBT persons’ rights. In 2009 she attended the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute for the WHRI Intensive Program and cooperated with it in 2018. Francesca, in 2010 in Rome, created the first “International Women’s Workshop for the Right to Education”.
Melissa Upreti is a women’s rights advocate and human rights lawyer with over 15 years experience in advancing women’s rights. She has led fact-finding missions, undertaken strategic litigation, built the capacity of civil society organizations, published numerous articles and reports, advised governments and currently serves as independent expert on human rights at the United Nations with the UNWorking Group on discrimination against women and girls. Melissa is part of the leadership team at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), Rutgers, which has a long history of building feminist leadership and movements globally. She directs CWGL’s program initiatives and advocacy strategies at the intersection of economic policy, peace and security and women’s human rights, with a strong focus on sexual and reproductive rights, and collaborates with feminist leaders from across the world to support their advocacy and local movements.