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Judge Najla Ayoubi

Najla Ayoubi is a lawyer and former judge and has extensive experience in judiciary, elections, human rights and women’s empowerment. She is a civil society and human rights activist. She served as a Legal Advisor for the State Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs of Afghanistan, Commissioner at the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan and Commissioner of Joint Electoral Management Body, Constitution making process. She was the Senior State Attorney at the Attorney General Office of Afghanistan, State Attorney of the Parwan province, and Judge at the Parwan Provincial Court. She worked with The Asia Foundation Afghanistan in different capacities. She served as a Board Member of Open Society Afghanistan as well as the Country Director of Open Society Afghanistan (OSF representative office in Afghanistan). She was Board member of AWN and is currently she is a Global Advisory Board Member of Women’s Regional Network (WRN), and Board Member of WANA, AREU and AEPO, and Steering Committee Member of Tawanmandi. Ms. Ayoubi has two MA degrees: one on Law and Politics from State University of Tajikistan and another on Post War Recovery and Development Studies from York University of United Kingdom. She is former Deputy Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, Afghanistan Office. Najla Ayoubi has also been appointed as the 2015 Peacemaker at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego.


Patricia Cooper

Patricia Cooper has over 45 years of private and public sector experience. She served for eight years as a senior executive appointee to advise the Canadian government on the effects of Federal legislation on women and children, while managing two offices in Western Canada. She was a founding member of The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund to achieve equality for women through education and litigation under a new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. Pat was Executive-Director of the Children’s Museum of Denver, leading a major financial turnaround while redirecting the mission to focus on early childhood education. Pat served 10 years as Director of Pathfinders International, providing reproductive health and rights in over 30 countries.  Pat currently serves on the Board of Capital Sisters International, a micro-finance innovation and the Advisory Board of the Colorado Women’s College at the University of Denver. She serves on the Leadership Board for the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard University. Pat founded the Women’s Regional Network: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and has been the sole pro-bono convener since 2010. Pat has been guiding the expansion of this network model among 7 countries in Latin America and now 5 countries in East Africa with a focus on peace and security. Pat also conceived and co-authored the initial concept paper to establish the Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative at the Korbel School for International Relations at DU. This initiative focuses on women’s role in non-violent civil resistance movements. Ms. Cooper has two Masters Degrees in Public Administration and Global Studies and is a Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.


Rukhshanda Naz

Rukhshanda Naz is an activist in the Pakistani women’s movement since the early 1990s. A lawyer by profession, worked with several NGOs on issues of violence against women and children including women’s empowerment programs. Her work for peace started with issues of Afghan Refugees and peace movements for India and Pakistan. In her volunteer capacity, she is a member of the Pakistan India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy and UN Women (Civil Society Advisory Member), and Women Regional Network. She  obtained LLM (Int. Law) and Master in Peace and Reconciliation Studies from the Coventry University. As a professional, she served one of the country’s leading civil society organizations for women’s rights, Aurat Foundation, and run the Global Human Rights Field office(Afghanistan/Pakistan) as head of the Field Office from Nov 2000-Mar 2001. Her last formal job was as head of UN Women Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa/Federally Administered Tribal Areas division. In 2019, she was appointed as the first women ombudsperson-KP for the Protection of Women against Harassment at Workplace for Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Her work has been acknowledged by several awards from the government and non-government organisations.  


Saumya Uma

Prof. (Dr.) Saumya Uma is a Professor at Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, India and heads its Centre for Women’s Rights.  She has over 28 years’ combined work experience as an academic, law researcher, lawyer, trainer, writer and campaigner on gender, law and human rights. She has served as a research consultant on human rights, with international agencies such as the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP), United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).  Additionally, she worked as the National Coordinator of ICC-India: the anti-impunity campaign on International Criminal Court and its relevance to India – from 2000 to 2010.  She is a life member of Indian Association of Women's Studies and is closely associated with non-profit organisations working on gender and human rights issues in India and South Asia.  


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