Our Leadership Council

Group photo of leadership council and senior staff

The Global Women's Institute's (GWI) Leadership Council is made up of leading experts on gender issues from across the country and around the world. Their passion for the rights of women and girls paired with diverse expertise provides the GWI with guidance and leadership to effectively bring about positive change.


Diana Arango, Co-Chair

Diana Arango

 

Senior Gender-based Violence and Development Specialist, World Bank

Diana J. Arango is the Sr. Gender-Based Violence and Development Specialist in the Gender Cross-Cutting Solutions Area at the World Bank Group. She has more than ten years of experience working on development issues, including gender-based violence, specifically within the context of humanitarian settings. Before joining the World Bank Group, she was a Research Scientist at George Washington University's Global Women's Institute leading research on violence against women and girls in conflict settings. Prior to that, she served as the Global Coordinator for the development and implementation of the Gender-Based Violence Information Management System (GBVIMS), an innovative inter-agency initiative that aids humanitarian workers in collecting timely data on gender-based violence incidents that can then be used to inform programmatic work. She has a master's degree from the London School of Economics in Anthropology and Development and has on-the-ground experience in several countries, including Colombia, Haiti, Chad, Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan.

 


 

Lauren Fite, Co-Chair

Lauren Fite

 

George Washington University Parent and Philanthropist

Lauren Geisler Fite is a retired physician’s assistant, living in Los Angeles, California.  She attended the University of California, Berkeley for her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Duke University for her Physician’s Associate Degree.  She has 2 children, Lexi, a GWU alumnus and Aidan.  She has served as Co-Chair of the Leadership Council at GWI since 2017.  She is also serving as a trustee of The Acher School for Girls and on the Advisory Board of the Simms Mann Center for Integrative Oncology at UCLA.  She volunteers her time as the Health Advisor for PS1 Elementary School, an independent elementary school in Santa Monica, CA and The Girls Athletic Leadership School, a public charter school in Los Angeles.  Lauren’s passions are education and women’s health, and doing her part to bring access and equity in these areas. 


Lina Abirafeh

Lina Abirafeh

 

Executive Director, Arab Institute for Women

Dr. Lina AbiRafeh is the Executive Director of the Arab Institute for Women at the Lebanese American University. The Institute was established in 1973 as the first women’s institute in the Arab region – and one of the first globally.

Lina spent over 20 years in development and humanitarian contexts in countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, and others. Her specific expertise is in gender-based violence prevention and response, summarized by her TEDx talk, Women Deliver PowerTalk, keynote address for Swedish International Development Agency annual meeting, amongst others.

Lina completed her doctoral work from the London School of Economics and published “Gender and International Aid in Afghanistan: The Politics and Effects of Intervention” based on her research. She speaks and publishes frequently on a range of gender issues, most recently on the need for a feminist response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Arab women and girls. She believes women’s leadership is the strongest vehicle for peace and sustainable development.

Lina is among the Gender Equality Top 100 worldwide in 2018 and 2019.


 

Tesmerelna Atsbeha

Tesmerelna Atsbeha

 

Senior Program Officer, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Tesmerelna Atsbeha is a senior program officer on the Women’s Rights team at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, a private foundation supporting the advancement of Human Rights globally. Her grantmaking portfolio includes supporting Reproductive Rights movements in Latin America and global prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls  research and programming. Prior to joining Wellspring, she worked at UN Women in the Health and HIV/AIDS Unit in the Policy Division and at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health as part of the International AIDS Care and Treatment Program (ICAP). She also spent ten years based in Eastern and Southern Africa and Latin America working in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender-Based Violence research and service delivery programming with UNDP, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and several academic institutions. She holds a BA in International Relations and Community Medicine from Brown University, a MPH from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and a MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.


Laxman Belbase

Laxman Belbase

 

Co-Director, MenEngage

Laxman is a Co-Director at the MenEngage Global Alliance. He has over 17 years of experience working with and providing technical support to various Human Right NGO and I/NGOs, UN Agencies and Government in the areas of Gender Equality and Justice, Child Rights, and, ‘transforming masculinities and working with boys and men in gender justice’. He is experienced in strategic planning, programs development and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy in the areas of gender equality, women’s rights & child rights. Prior to MenEngage Alliance, Laxman worked for Save the Children Sweden, where he played an instrumental role in the development of the gender policy and gender integration toolkit for Save the Children International, programs on positive discipline in everyday parenting and several other tools. Laxman is also a member of the CSO Global Reference Group of the UN Spotlight Initiative to end VAWG and the Leadership Council of the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University, USA.


 

Charlotte Bunch

Charlotte Bunch

 

Founding Director and Senior Scholar, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University

Charlotte Bunch has been an activist, writer and organizer in feminist, LGBT, and human rights movements for 5 decades. A Distinguished Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, Bunch was previously a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in DC. She has been involved in many civil society efforts at the UN, including advocating for women’s rights as human rights and for the creation of UN Women. Her awards include the National Women's Hall of Fame, White House Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, and being one the “1000 Women Peace Makers” nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She has written numerous influential essays, edited nine anthologiesand authored Passionate Politics: Feminist Theory in Action,and Demanding Accountability: The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women's Human Rights.


Elizabeth Dartnall

Brisa DeAngulo

 

Executive Director, Sexual Violence Research Initiative

Elizabeth Dartnall (Liz) is Executive Director of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, the world’s largest global network for research on violence against women and violence against children in low- and middle-income countries. Liz is a health specialist with over 25 years’ research and policy-making experience on health systems, mental health, violence against women and violence against children. Liz has a deep understanding of the policy process and use of research to inform policy and practice. In South Africa, Liz worked for the Department of Health, both nationally and provincially, in epidemiology and health information systems. In Australia she worked in public health on mental health. In addition to government, Liz has worked in both academia and non-government organisations in Africa. Since 2006, Liz has managed the SVRI and, with support of multiple partners, recently launched the SVRI as an independent NGO. Liz is committed to research and policy-making that is feminist, ethical, equitable, collaborative and improves the lives of women and children.


 

Brisa De Angulo

Brisa DeAngulo

 

Founder and CEO, A Breeze of Hope

Brisa De Angulo is founder and CEO of A Breeze of Hope Foundation. As a lawyer, psychologist, and human right activist, she dedicates her life to improving access to justice and healing for survivors of sexual violence against children (SVAC). Brisa, herself an SVAC survivor, uses her expertise to challenge the status quo and promote legislation that safeguards children. With 17 years of experience working with survivors, and 21 years working with early childhood development, her insights have created a remarkably effective set of interventions. Her center for child survivors of sexual violence in Cochabamba, Bolivia implements these interventions on a daily basis, serving more than 500 children every year. In addition, Brisa is a public speaker, researcher, and author of many books. Her life story, her drive, and her outstanding accomplishments have garnered recognition from around the world. Brisa has received many international awards for her work, including CNN Heroes, BBC Outlook Inspirations award, the World of Children Award, and Elevate Prize.


Emma Fulu

Emma Fulu

 

Founder and Executive Director, the Equality Institute 

Dr. Emma Fulu is a feminist activist, social entrepreneur and one of the world’s leading experts on violence against women. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Equality Institute, a global feminist agency working to advance gender equality and end violence against women and girls. She is also the co-founder of VOICE, a non-profit organisation that partners with women and girls in conflict and disaster settings to amplify their solutions to violence in their own communities. Before that she worked at the United Nations and led the ground-breaking UN Multi-Country Study on Men and Violence, the findings of which have been featured on BBC, Al Jazeera, and CNN. Emma is Co-Chair of the Gender and Rights Advisory Panel of the World Health Organization, and a member of the Global Women’s Institute Leadership Council. She has a PhD from the University of Melbourne, is the author of Domestic Violence in Asia, and publishes widely on gender, violence, masculinities and feminist leadership. The mother of three young children, Emma lives in Melbourne Australia and is currently writing a memoir.

 


Claudia García-Moreno

Claudia Garcia Moreno

 

Team Leader, Violence Against Women, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization

Dr. Garcia-Moreno currently heads the unit on Addressing vulnerable populations in the Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organization. She has over 30 years' of experience in public health and global health policy, with a focus on women's health, sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. She joined WHO in 1985, following 8 years with Oxfam UK&I and has led WHO’s work on gender and women’s health and violence against women, including coordinating the WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence and co-leading the first global and regional estimates on intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women. Under her leadership, WHO has produced numerous guidelines and tools on integrating gender equality and human rights in health, strengthening prevention and the health response to violence against women and the global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health sector in addressing violence, in particular against women and girls and against children endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2016. Her team also does research and provides support to countries to address violence against women. She is involved in several initiatives on violence, including as founder and past chair of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative and Chair of the Independent Advisory Board of DFID’s research initiative, ‘What Works to prevent violence against women and girls?'. She is a physician from Mexico with an MSc in Community Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

 


Lynn Goldman

Lynn Goldman

 

Michael and Lori Milken Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

Lynn R. Goldman is the Michael and Lori Milken Dean at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Before joining Milken Institute SPH in 2010, she was a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to that, Goldman served as assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. She also worked at the California Department of Public Health, where she headed the Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control. Dr. Goldman is a pediatrician and environmental epidemiologist who has had a distinguished career in environmental public health and academia. She holds a B.S. in conservation of natural resources and an M.S. in health and medical science from the University of California, Berkeley; an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins University; and an M.D. from the University of California, San Francisco.

 


Anne Marie Goetz

Goetz

 

Professor, Center for Global Affairs (CGA), School of Professional Studies, New York University 

Dr. Anne Marie Goetz joined NYU’s Center for Global Affairs in January 2014, where she teaches International Relations and Comparative Politics. She is both an academic and a policy-maker. She was a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex between 1991 and 2005, and she has also held a number of positions at the UN, most recently as UN Women’s Chief Advisor on Peace and Security. In this role, she spearheaded initiatives to promote women’s empowerment in the UN’s peacebuilding work, women’s participation in peace talks and post-conflict elections, and protection of women from violence. Dr. Goetz was instrumental in supporting negotiations for important Security Council resolutions on women’s participation in peacebuilding (resolution 1889), conflict-related sexual violence (resolution 1820) and women’s leadership in conflict resolution (resolution 2122).  She is the author of seven books on women’s rights, democratization and accountability institutions. She holds a bachelor's degree from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario); a master's degree from the London School of Economics; a doctorate from the University of Cambridge.

 


 

Alessandra Guedes

Alessandra Guedes

 

Gender and development manager, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti 

Alessandra has dedicated 20 years of her professional life to promoting children’s and women’s rights and health, including working intensively to end violence against children and against women. She joined Innocenti in 2019 to lead the development and implementation of a research programme to address key issues and constraints to achieving gender equity within child protection, with a particular focus on addressing the interlinkages between violence against children and violence against women. Prior to joining UNICEF, Alessandra served as the World Health Organization’s Regional Advisor for the Americas on family violence prevention (2009-2019) and as the co-chair of the Sexual Violence Research Initiative’s Coordinating Group, a role she continues to occupy. Alessandra holds a Master of Science in Public Health for Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a Masters of Arts in Art Therapy from the George Washington University.

 

 


Raul Herrera

Raul Herrera

 

Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

Raul R. Herrera concentrates on international matters, with particular emphasis in international corporate and financing transactions in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more than 25 years, he has been involved in transactions in every country of the region on behalf of a wide variety of clients, including private, public, and multilateral entities.

Mr. Herrera represents lenders (including multilateral and bilateral agencies, as well as commercial banks), host governments, and sponsors with the development and financing of projects and private equity funds across a wide range of industry sectors. He is knowledgeable of deal structures, procedural requirements and policy directives of agency lenders. With the depth of his regional experience, Mr. Herrera is often called to resolve client disputes throughout Latin America. Previously he served as the general counsel of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest), the private sector multilateral financial institution affiliated with the Inter-American Development Bank. In addition, Mr. Herrera has experience in international arbitration matters. He speaks Spanish and is conversant in Portuguese.


Neil Irvin

Neil Irvin

 

Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape

Neil Irvin brings over 30 years of youth development and leadership experience to his position as Executive Director of Men Can Stop Rape. Over the past 20 years Neil’s grown MCSR’s curriculum-based youth program from one school in Washington, DC to over 200 school systems and youth serving institutions in urban rural and suburban communities in 25 states throughout the country, He’s also plays an instrumental role in our partnerships with local and national organizations doing this work.

As Executive Director, Neil is responsible for continuing Men Can Stop Rape’s 20 plus years of national work in the field of primary prevention of men’s violence against women, as well as cultivating strategic partnerships with state and federal agencies and private and corporate foundations.

In 2007, he led MCSR’s Strong Moves initiative to place the Men of Strength Club in every public high school in the District of Columbia, the largest city-wide effort of its kind in the country. In 2012 he created The Healthy Masculinity Action Project an national initiative promoting the benefits of healthy masculinity which has served over 60 million people to date with its programs and activities mobilizing men as allies to prevent men’s violence against women.

Irvin is the Co-Creator of Men Can Stop Rape smart phone app ASKDC and UASK the first comprehensive Identified by the Centers for Disease Control as a “promising practice,” the Men of Strength Club, or MOST Club, provides male teens with a structured space to build individualized definitions of masculinity that promote healthy relationships. Now in its 12th year, Men Can Stop Rape’s middle school and high school curriculum is currently in 20 states with over 200 locations and are taught in schools and youth serving institutions.

Well known throughout the country in the field of youth development and gender-based violence prevention, Mr. Irvin has served as a consultant to The White House Commission on Violence Against Women and Girls, the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women, United States Department of Defense, The United States Department of State, Department of Justice National Advisory Committee member a member of the US Delegation at the 25th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, Inaugural member of the Move to End Violence cohort, The Campaign for Black Male Achievement through the Open Society Institute, NFL,NBA,MLB, MLS and their player associations Boys and Girls Club of America, Ford Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Verizon Corporation and Foundation, Liz Claiborne Foundation. He’s served as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health and has been a regular lecturer at American, George Washington, Howard and Georgetown University’s. In addition to The King Center, The National Council of Negro Women and The Congressional Black Caucus.

Prior to joining MCSR, he worked for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at the John Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents. He is trained in group dynamics and facilitation, along with crisis intervention and one-to-one counseling. He is a state certified sex educator as well as a certified S.H.A.R.P. (sexual health and responsibility program) trainer. His experience covers all ages and genders, though the majority of his training and work has focused on middle and high school boys.

 


Steven Knapp

Steven Knapp

 

Former President, the George Washington University

Steven Knapp became the 16th president of the George Washington University in August 2007. His priorities included enhancing the University’s partnerships with neighboring institutions, expanding the scope of its research, strengthening its worldwide community of alumni, enlarging its students’ opportunities for public service, and leading its transformation into a model of urban sustainability. A specialist in romanticism, literary theory and the relation of literature to philosophy and religion, Dr. Knapp taught English literature at the University of California, Berkeley before serving as Dean of Arts and Sciences and then Provost of the Johns Hopkins University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Modern Language Association.  The author of three books and numerous articles, he earned his doctorate and master's degrees from Cornell University and his bachelor's degree from Yale University.


Shiva Kumar

Shiva Kumar

 

Co-chair, Know Violence in Childhood Global Learning Initiative

A. K. Shiva Kumar is a development economist who works on issues related to human development, poverty, health, nutrition, basic education and the rights of women and children. He serves as senior consultant and policy advisor to UNICEF India and was, until recently, the Director of the International Centre for Human Development in New Delhi, India. He is Co-chair of Know Violence in Childhood, a global learning initiative that is synthesizing evidence to advocate for ending violence.  Mr. Kumar has also been active in the field of development evaluation. He is a visiting professor at the Ashoka University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where he teaches economics and public policy. Mr. Kumar has is master's degree from Bangalore University and his post-graduate diploma in management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He also completed a Master's of Public Administration and a Doctorate of Political Economy and Government from Harvard University.


Daniela Ligiero

Daniela Ligiero

 

Executive Director and CEO, Together for Girls

Dr. Daniela Ligiero is the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Together for Girls, a global, public-private partnership dedicated to ending violence against children, especially sexual violence against girls. The partnership includes five UN agencies, the governments of the United States and Canada, several private sector organizations and more than 20 country governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, working together to generate comprehensive data and solutions to this public health and human rights epidemic. Dr. Ligiero also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Before she joined Together for Girls, she served as the Vice President of Girls and Women’s Strategy at the UN Foundation and developed the foundation’s gender integration strategy. In addition, she spent over five years at the U.S. Department of State where she led the integration of gender issues into all foreign policy and investments in global health—working with over 70 countries and over 1 billion dollars in investments on issues like preventing gender-based violence and improving the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women. She helped develop the first ever International U.S. Government Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence.

Dr. Ligiero also served in leadership roles at UNICEF, as Chief of HIV and then as Senior Program Officer in the UNICEF Brazil Country Office—the second largest in the world. In addition, she has held positions at the World Bank and the US Senate and has worked directly with survivors of sexual assault in a variety of settings. She is also a survivor of sexual violence herself and has been speaking publicly about her story for the last decade. She earned her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from University of Maryland, College Park, ranked the No. 1 program in the US. Dr. Ligiero is fluent in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.


 

Shanaaz Mathews

Shanaaz Mathews

 

Director, Children’s Institute and Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town

Shanaaz Mathews is the director of the Children’s Institute and a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Care and Protection of Children (CPC) Learning Network at Columbia University and serving as a commissioner on  the Lancet Commission on Gender based violence and maltreatment of young people. She has extensive experience with women’s and children’s sectors and has worked within civil society organisations as an academic, and as an advocate, for the rights of women and children. Her research interests include violence against women and children, as well as pathways to violent masculinities. She holds a PhD in Public Health from the University of the Witwatersrand.


 

Jennifer McCleary-Sills

Jennifer McCleary-Sills

 

Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Jennifer is the Senior Program Officer for Gender Integration and Innovation with the Gender Equality team, which she joined in 2016.  Prior to this role with the foundation, Jennifer was the Director of the Global Program on Violence, Rights and Inclusion at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in Washington DC. At ICRW she served as Principle Investigator for more than a dozen studies on gender inequality in global development and provided technical assistance and training on gender integration to international financial institutions and large INGOs.  During her tenure with the Gender Cross-Cutting Solution Area at the World Bank Group, she co-authored the flagship World Bank publication "Voice & Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity" and was the Bank’s lead on the multi-sectoral Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide.   Jennifer has more than 15 years of experience designing and evaluating international development projects in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. She holds honors degrees from Yale University (BA) and the Boston University School of Public Health (MPH), and a PhD in social and behavioral science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She is an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. 



Dayna Bowen Matthew

Dayna Bowen Matthew

 

Dean of GWU Law School 

Dr. Dayna Bowen Matthew is the Dean of the The George Washington University Law School. A nationally recognized lawyer and legal scholar with three decades of industry and academic experience, Dean Matthew is the first woman to lead GW Law. An expert in health equity and public health policy with a passion for public service, Dean Matthew previously served as the University of Virginia Law School’s William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law and the F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights. She was also a professor of public health sciences at the UVA School of Medicine and served as director of the Equity Center at UVA, which works to builds relationships between the university and its surrounding community to address racial and socioeconomic inequality. An expert in health equity and public health policy with a passion for public service, Dean Matthew previously served as the University of Virginia Law School’s William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law and the F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights. She was also a professor of public health sciences at the UVA School of Medicine and served as director of the Equity Center at UVA, which works to builds relationships between the university and its surrounding community to address racial and socioeconomic inequality. 

Prior to her tenure at UVA, she served as professor of law, vice dean and associate dean of academic affairs at the University of Colorado Law School and, before that, as professor of law and medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Dean Matthew has held a number of important positions in the policy world. She served as the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and as senior advisor in the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She also is a non-resident fellow in the Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institution. A prolific writer, she is the author of the book "Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care,” and has authored or co-authored dozens of book chapters and articles, focusing largely on health care reform, public health law, health disparities, patient protection, and antitrust laws and civil rights. Dean Matthew received a BA in economics from Harvard-Radcliffe College, a JD from the UVA School of Law, and a PhD in health and behavioral sciences from the University of Colorado Denver.

 


Lori Michau

Lori Michau

 

Co-Director, Raising Voices

Lori Michau is the Co-founder and Co-director of Raising Voices, a feminist non-profit organization based in Kampala, Uganda, working to prevent violence against women and children. Ms. Michau also spearheaded the creation of the Gender-based Violence Prevention Network, now coordinated by Raising Voices, which has over 800 members across Africa. She has extensive experience in community mobilization; has written numerous articles on violence prevention; and leads a team dedicated to infusing global violence against women prevention work with the transformational potential of solidarity, activism and technical rigor. She also developed SASA!, a comprehensive methodology currently used in more than 25 countries in Africa and beyond that is among the few approaches with proven, community-level impact on preventing intimate partner violence against women and HIV risk. Ms. Michau received her Master's of Human RIghts from Makerere University in Uganda.


Tina Musuya

Tina Musuya

 

Executive Director, Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP)

Tina is the Executive Director at CEDOVIP. She holds a Master's of Sociology from Makerere University in Uganda. Under her guidance, CEDOVIP won the 2010 UNAIDS Red Ribbon Award for innovative work in preventing violence against women and HIV. She successfully piloted the SASA! programing in Kampala, which was the site of the ground- breaking SASA! study that brought to light evidence that preventing violence against women through social norm change is possible. Ms. Musuya has more than 11 years of experience working with communities, police, civil society and policy makers to prevent violence against women. She helped draft, and successfully campaigned for, passage of the Domestic Violence Act in Uganda. Her work and expertise has exposed her to networks of violence against women prevention programming work in the eastern and central African region and to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Ms. Musuya is a Member of the Independent Advisory Board for What Works to Prevent


Dubravka Šimonovic

Dubravka Šimonovic

 

UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

Dubravka Šimonovic was appointed as UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women in June 2015 by the UN Human Rights Council for an initial three-years' tenure, which she began on  August 1, 2015. Dr. Šimonovic was a member of the CEDAW Committee between 2002 and 2014, and served as its chairperson in 2007 and 2008, its follow-up rapporteur from 2009 to 2011 and as the chairperson of the Optional Protocol Working Group in 2011. For a number of years, she headed the Human Rights Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and attended the Fourth World Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995.  Later, she was posted as the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN in New York, where she was the Chairperson of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (2001 and 2002) and also member of the UNIFEM Consultative Committee. She was also the Ambassador to the OSCE and United Nations in Vienna, Austria.  Dr. Šimonvic holds a Doctorate of Family Law from the University of Zagreb.


Esta Soler

Esta Soler

 

Founder and President, Futures Without Violence

A trailblazer who has been developing effective responses to violence against women and children for 40 years, Esta Soler founded Futures Without Violence, formerly the Family Violence Prevention Fund, and the Courage Museum, a groundbreaking design lab for transformative change that will open in 2022. Soler was a driving force behind passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994—the nation’s first comprehensive federal response to the violence that plagues families and communities. Congress reauthorized and expanded the law in 2000, 2005, and 2013. She continues working to update and expand the law further, and to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, which will help prevent gender-based violence on a global scale. The landmark public education campaigns Soler created and oversaw, which promote prevention and invite men and boys to be part of the solution, have reached millions of people and have been replicated in all 50 states and worldwide.

Soler’s work has been featured on every major television network and MAKERS. Her TEDTalk charting 30 years of tactics and technologies—from the Polaroid camera to social media—continues to attract large audiences. She has advised presidents, governors, congressional leaders, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her many awards include a Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship, the UCSF Medal, a Koret Israel Prize, and a University of California Public Health Heroes Award. Soler holds an honorary doctorate from Simmons College in Boston.

 


Natasha Stott Despoja

Natasha Stott Despoja

 

Former Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls and founding Chair of Our Watch

Natasha Stott Despoja AO is the founding Chair of Our Watch (the Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children). She is a former Senator for South Australia (1995-2008) and former Leader of the Australian Democrats. She is the youngest woman to enter the Australian Federal Parliament. She served as Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls (2013-2016).

In November 2020, she was elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations as a member of the Committee to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In May 2018, she was named one of the Top 100 Global Influencers on Gender Policy. She is the author of On Violence, published in March 2019.

Natasha served two years on the World Bank Gender Advisory Council (2015-2017) and was a member of a 2017 UN High Level Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents.

In 2011, Natasha was made a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to the Australian Parliament, education and as a role model for women. In 2019, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. In 2001, she was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

Natasha is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide. She is a member of the Australian National University Council, the Global Citizen Women’s Council, Broad Agenda 50:50 by 2030 Advisory Group, and was member of the successful FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup Steering Committee. She is a non-executive Director of Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer; Global Citizen and The Australian Ballet. She is a former Deputy Chair of beyondblue, and has been a board member of the Burnet Institute, the South Australian Museum (2009-2013), the Advertising Standards Board (2008-2013) and the Museum of Australian Democracy (2010-2013). She was on the Prime Minister’s Referendum Council (2015-2017).

She is/has been, a Patron or Ambassador for several not-for-profit groups, including The Orangutan Project, VicHealth, secondbite, Ovarian Cancer Australia, ENUF the HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign, Girls Takeover Parliament, the Fay Gale Centre and Action Aid. 

She has been an international election monitor in countries including Nigeria, Indonesia, Cambodia and Kenya (2017).

In 2015, she was awarded the South Australian Award for Excellence in Leadership; she was a finalist in the 2017 AFR Women of Influence Awards; is one of South Australia’s “100 Most Inspiring Women of All Time”, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Adelaide. In April, 2019, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by The University of South Australia. She lives in Adelaide with her family.

 


Lorraine Voles

Lorraine Voles

 

Strategic Communications Consultant

Lorraine Voles is a highly accomplished executive communications leader who is highly skilled in strategic and crisis communications, executive coaching, organizational development, leadership training, and media and public relations. She brings invaluable experience from her tenures working for The White House, the US Senate, The Smithsonian Institution, and The George Washington University.

Most recently, Ms. Voles served as the Vice President, External Relations for The George Washington University (2009-2020). In this role, she was the inaugural leader of Division of External Relations, created and implemented successful data-driven rebranding campaign and new university-wide marketing direction that was credited with increasing undergraduate applications in targeted regions of country and world. She led and managed the offices of strategic communications, marketing, creative services, government relations, media, digital strategy, and university events while managing a $20 million budget, and served as a trusted advisor to President of the University and the Board of the Trustees.

Prior to her tenure at George Washington, Ms. Voles was the Senior Vice President, Communications and Marketing Services for Fannie Mae (2007-2009), where she provided effective communication and marketing strategies, advice, and support to chief executives, the board of directors and senior leadership. Ms. Voles was an integral member on the staff of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, serving the Director of Communications (2006-2007). She served as a communications strategist for Senator Clinton in the U.S. Senate 2006 reelection race and presidential campaign, while also functioning an advisor to Senator Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid, and a member of the senior management team responsible for all aspects of Senator Clinton’s office, including: legislative initiatives, scheduling, constituent services, and communications.

Before working for Senator Clinton, Ms. Voles was an Independent Strategic Communications Consultant (2003-2006), where served as the media advisor to CEO of the Democratic National Committee Convention, and a Senior Counselor at Peter Novelli (1998-2003), providing strategic counsel, crisis management, and media relations for high-profile issues and clients.

Ms. Voles was the Director of Communication, Office of the Vice President (1993-1997) while serving at The White House. She served as chief spokesperson and communications strategist for Vice President Al Gore, directing all national and international media relations and managing the Vice President’s press, photographic, and speech writing staffs. She also participated in all aspects of debate and speech preparation.  She began her tenure at The White House as the Deputy Press Secretary, Executive Office of the President (1993), serving as spokesperson for President Bill Clinton. Ms. Voles worked for The United State Senate as the Press Secretary, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) (1990-1993) and the Press Secretary, Americans for Harkin (1992). She has also been a National Coordinator for Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits; the Director of Public Affairs for The National Hospice Organization; a Coordinator, Membership Services for The Employee Relocation Council; a Freelance Writer for Mobility Magazine, The Washingtonian, and The Des Moines Register; and a  Political Analyst for MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, CNN, CBS, NBS, and ABCNews.com.

She has served in leadership roles for a number of campaigns including the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign (2008); Hillary Clinton for Senate (2006); Gore/Lieberman during the Vice Presidential Debate (2000); Clinton/Gore (1996); Clinton/Gore as the Deputy Press Secretary; Harkin for Senate as Press Secretary (1990); Dukakis-Bentsen as the National Deputy Press Secretary (1987-1988); and Mondale-Ferraro as the Iowa Press Secretary (1984).

Ms. Voles has an M.A. in Organizational Leadership (2019) and a B.A. in Journalism (1981) from The George Washington University. She has completed the Crisis Leadership in Higher Education course from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Executive Education, served as the Chair CASE 2016 at the Annual Conference for Media Professionals, and on the Chief Communications Officer Council as a Member. Recently, Ms. Voles won a Webby Award for Website Creative (2016) and a Regional Emmy Award, Video Production (2015).