Radhika Balakrishnan, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, is an advocate for economic and social rights. Her work with CWGL includes empowering women with resources and training to lead a world that acknowledges human rights and implements social justice. Balakrishan is a professor at Rutgers University in the Women’s and Gender Studies department. In the past, she has worked as a program officer in the Asia Regional Program for the Ford Foundation.
is the 20th president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Since beginning his tenure on September 1, 2012, President Barchi has been overseeing the integration into Rutgers of most units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, as outlined in the New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act. He has begun work on a university strategic plan (the first in more than 15 years) and was part of a statewide coalition of university, business, and labor leaders urging voter support of a $750 million bond act for higher education construction, which was approved by a wide margin in November. From 2004 to 2012, Barchi served as president of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, nationally regarded as a top university dedicated to health sciences education and research. Prior to Jefferson, he was provost and chief academic officer of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution founded in 1740. There, he had responsibility for Penn’s 12 schools, all academic programs, athletics, students, and faculty.
Savitri Bisnath, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University
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Associate Director, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Bisnath has fifteen years of experience working with nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations, inter-governmental institutions, including the United Nations Development Programme and the South Center, on issues related to development, conflict, natural disasters, women’s rights, and trade in services; in specific countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Middle East as well as the United Kingdom and the United States. She is co-editor of (Routledge, 2004) and the (Edward Elgar, 2001) with Lourdes Beneria. Her article, “Feminist Economics,” with Radhika Balakrishnan appears in (Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho, Edward Elgar, 2012), and “Poverty and Gender: An Analysis for Action,” with Lourdes Beneria, in (F. J. Lechner and J. Boli editors, Blackwell, 1999). Bisnath is also the author of several practical tools, including the “ (United Nations Development Programme, 2010). She was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and holds dual citizenship with the United States of America.
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Charlotte Bunch, Founding Director, Center for Women's Global Leadership, is an activist, writer, scholar and organizer. She serves as a Senior Scholar for the CWGL and is on the Board of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and the Advisory Committee for the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. Bunch has had a hand in feminist organizing for the UN World Conferences on Women, which has helped for the advancement of women’s rights as human rights.
Abena Busia is a Professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She received her D.Phil from St. Anthony's College, Oxford. Busia’s research interests include African American and African Diaspora Literature, Post-colonial Studies, Black Feminisms and Cultural Studies.
Ejim Dike, Executive Director, U.S. Human Rights Network (USHRN), has spent her career focusing on social issues relating to race, class, and employment. Her role with USHRN has helped to enhance the U.S. human rights movement for marginalized populations. In the past, Dike has been involved with the Urban Justice Center’s creation of racial discrimination reports.
Patricia Guerrero, founder of La Liga de Mujeres Desplazadas (League of Displaced Women), is a legal advisor for her organization. She helps to advocate for the social and economic rights of women who have been displaced in Colombia due to the country’s internal conflicts. Since its founding in 1999, Guerrero has helped to create the City of Women which houses over 500 displaced people. She is one of two women recently chosen by more than 50 organizations and networks of female grassroots activists to the National Peace Council, a multi-sector advisory council charged with finding a lasting and sustainable peace for Colombia. Currently, she is the advisor to the Minister of Internal Policy in the subject of women and armed conflict.
LaShawn R. Jefferson, Ford Foundation
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LaShawn R. Jefferson works on gender rights and equality, focusing on policies and practices that promote respect for women's human rights, with a particular focus on the economic rights and economic participation of low-income women and women of color. Her grant making supports key national, regional, and global women's human rights organizations and networks to be effective advocates in advancing women's rights as a part of an integral component of achieving social justice. Jefferson joined the Ford Foundation in 2009 after holding many positions, most recently as the executive director of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch in Washington, D.C., and New York City. The primary goal of her work was to develop and advance macro-level policies to improve the lives of millions of women around the world, combining changes in law with procedural and other on-the-ground measures to strengthen respect for women's human rights. She provided strategic and intellectual guidance to the work on women's international human rights, crafted and executed long-term advocacy strategies, represented Human Rights Watch at the highest levels of national and international government, and was the organization’s primary spokesperson for women's human rights. Jefferson holds a master's degree in international relations from The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is the author of numerous reports on a variety of issues confronting women around the world, and her op-eds have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The International Herald Tribune.
Norma Maldonado is the founder of Asociacion Raxch' och Oxlaju Aj, AROAJ, an organization of 12 communities Maya Q'eqchi' of northern Guatemala. Maldonado has been an activist all her life, and was also founder of the Integration of Indigenous Mayas IXIM in Los Angeles. She is an environmentalist and a native of Guatemala with a specialty in food sovereignty and indigenous territories. She studied at the University of California in Los Angeles and graduated with a BA in Latin American Studies and Public Health Studies and lives in the United States as a refugee. Maldonado also has an ABD in history from the University of Havana and studied Permaculture (Permacultora) in Brazil and Guatemala. She has engaged in resisting neo-liberal policies and creating alternatives since 2000.
Nelson Maldonado-Torres is a Professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies. He is currently working on a book-length project entitled “Fanonian Meditations,” which aims to spell out the epistemological basis of “ethnic studies” and related areas, as well as examine the relevance of decolonization at the epistemological, ethical, and political levels. It continues the reflection on decolonial ethics and epistemology in his previous book, Against War, by looking at the work of a variety of intellectuals from the Third World and elsewhere. Maldonado-Torres is particularly interested in the crossings of different genealogies of thinking, and their appearance in different genres of writing, discourses, artistic expressions, and social movements.
Bhumika Muchhala leads the work of Third World Network (TWN) in finance and development issues, focusing on the international financial architecture, macroeconomic policies and international financial institutions. Muchhala conducts public advocacy, produces research and analysis, engages in strategic organizing and capacity-building with governments, civil society and with global campaigns and social movements. Her specific areas of focus include IMF conditionalities, global capital flows, financialisation and sovereign debt, including social justice areas such as gender justice and inequality. Based in New York, she follows several United Nations processes, including intergovernmental negotiations in the areas of finance and development (FfD) and the Post-2015 development agenda. Previously, Mucchala coordinated the IMF Program at the Bank Information Centre in Washington, D.C., and the Asia Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, also in Washington, D.C. She has a Masters in Development Economics from the London School of Economics, and was born in Bombay, India and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Bernedette Muthien is a scholar, a poet, and an activist. She co-founded and directs an NGO, Engender, which works in the intersectional areas of genders, human rights, justice and peace. Her community activism is integrally related to her work with continental and international organizations, and her research necessarily reflects the values of equity, societal transformation and justice. She has published widely, written for diverse audiences, and believes in accessible research and writing. Over 20 years, on all six continents, she produced 170 publications and conference presentations, some of which have been translated from English into other languages, including Dutch, Flemish, French, German, and Italian. Muthien was the first Fullbright-Amy Biehl fellow at Stanford University (1994-1995), and holds postgraduate degrees in Political Science from the University of Cape Town (Dean's Merit List), and Stellenbosch University (Andrew W Mellon Fellow, 2006-2007) in South Africa.
Anita Nayar has served as Chief at the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service in New York since April 2013. She has worked nationally and internationally on issues including women’s human rights, economic globalization, development, and climate justice. Most recently, she served as Executive Committee Member of the South-based feminist network, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN). In the 1990s she coordinated the Women’s Caucus in six major UN conferences and their follow-up processes, bringing a gender perspective to bear on inter-governmental negotiations and agreements.
Atieno Ndomo is passionate about social justice and equity and has applied skills gained from her professional training in Social Policy and Social Development to work towards ensuring lives of dignity, especially for the poor and marginalized sections of society. Over the past 15 years, Ndomo has conceptualized and coordinated policy and legislative advocacy and campaigning initiatives for social justice and equity at international, regional and national levels. As the UN Millennium Campaign's Regional Coordinator for Africa, Ndomo presently supports the Millennium Campaign's advocacy and campaigning strategies for the acceleration of efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and influencing the Post-2015 development framework.
Anthony D. Romero is the sixth executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, the nation’s premier defender of liberty and individual freedom, founded in 1920. An attorney with public-interest activism, Romero has presided over the most successful membership growth in the ACLU’s history and a significant increase in national and affiliate staff. This exceptional growth has allowed the ACLU to expand its nationwide litigation, lobbying and public education efforts, including new initiatives focused on human rights, racial justice, religious freedom, technology and privacy, LGBT rights and criminal law reform. Romero has been named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America. His book, tells the compelling story of ordinary Americans fighting for their rights in extraordinary times.
Ignacio Saiz is Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, an international NGO founded around the time of the Vienna World Conference to work for the recognition and enforcement of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights worldwide. Prior to 2006, Saiz was director of policy at Amnesty International, where he oversaw the initial development of Amnesty´s work on ESC rights. As deputy director of Amnesty´s Americas Program he was responsible for the organization´s research and advocacy in Mexico and Central America. He has also consulted for other human rights organizations regarding post conflict accountability, the prevention of torture and sexuality and human rights. He has an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex.
Zakia Salime is an associate professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She has Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2005). Salime teaches courses in comparative feminism(s), gender, globalization, social movements, international inequalities, and postcoloniality. Her research interests include, race, empire, the political economy of the "war on terror", development policies, Islamic societies and movements, Middle East and U.S. relations.