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Farhat Asif

Farhat Asif is the founding President of Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies and the Co-Founder Editor of Pakistan’s first multilingual Monthly Magazine 'The Diplomatic Insight'  having theme objective of peace through informed dialogue. She has over 12 years of experience working in academic, research and development sector, and earned MSc in International Relations and MPhil in Defense and Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. She is researcher, analyst, writer, publisher, media planner and diplomatic relations professional. Her research interests are peace, conflict and development studies. She is author and co-author of several books. Farhat is federal member of Aman-o-Nisa: Pakistan Women’s Coalition Against Extremism and is Pakistan’s representative of Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE), a project by Women Without Borders. 


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.


Abha Bhaiya

Abha Bhaiya has been active in the women’s movement for nearly 50 years, as an activist, researcher (action research) feminist trainer and campaigner on various issues related to women’s empowerment through her association with many organisations. She has been on the board of many national, regional and international organizations. She is the India Coordinator for One Billion Rising and founder member of Women's Regional Network for a decade.  She is one of the founder members of two feminist organizations; Jagori Delhi and Jagori Rural Charitable Trust, working with the most marginalized people. She works and lives in a small village in the midst of the lower Himalayan mountains in India.


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.


Nimalka Fernando

Nimalka Fernando of Sri Lanka is a prominent human rights defender, lawyer and activist with over 30 years of peacemaking experience. She is a co-chair of South Asians for Human Rights and the president of the International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) — an organization dedicated to eliminating discrimination and racism, forging international solidarity among discriminated minorities, and advancing the international human rights system. Nimalka has been a founding member of several organizations, including a network of women’s organizations and activists committed to peacebuilding, known as Mothers and Daughters of Lanka. In 2011 she received the Citizen’s Peace Award from the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka. Fernando was former commissioner for the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). She is a member of the Democratic People’s Movement in Sri Lanka, which is a coalition of people’s movements, NGOs and trade unions initiating action and dialogue for alternative development paradigms.


Rita Manchanda

Rita Manchanda is an author and human rights advocate, specialising in conflicts and peace building in South Asia with particular attention to vulnerable and marginalised groups -women, minorities and forcibly displaced persons. She has been influential in shaping the regional Women Peace and Security scholarly and policy discourse through her multiple publications, lectures, working with women’s collectives in conflict affected areas and in interaction with policy influencers. Presently, she is Consulting Research Director at SAFHR after serving as Executive Director of South Asia Forum for Human Rights and a professional journalist, with stints as Gender Adviser, Commonwealth Technical Fund, Consultant: UN Women, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogues, and SAFERWORLD. She is among the founders of the Women’s Regional Network and on the Board of several associations including Pak-India Forum for Peace and Democracy and the International Journal of Transitional Justice.


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.  


Zarqa Yaftali

Zarqa Yaftali is a peacebuilder and an advocate for women’s rights, protection, and participation in Afghanistan. Since 2007, she has served as Executive Director of the Women and Children Legal Research Foundation (WCLRF). She was recognized for her tireless advocacy as the recipient of UNDP’s prestigious 2019 N-Peace Award, which highlights the contributions of peacebuilders toward implementation of the WPS agenda. She was member of international delegation for meetings on Afghanistan peace process. She s also member of various national civil society organizations and advocacy groups, including the Secretariat of the Civil Society Joint Working Group, board member of Women Living under Muslim Laws WLUML, Champion of girl’s education in Afghanistan, Co-Chair of the WPS Working Group, and board member of the Women Regional Network.




Clare Lockhart

Clare Lockhart is the co-founder and director of the Institute for State Effectiveness. ISE focuses practical approaches to transformation of societies from instability to stability and prosperity, through balancing state, market and civil society dimensions. ISE’s Market Building Program focuses specifically on concepts for regenerating economic growth and creation of job and enterprise opportunities. From 2001 through 2005, Clare was UN Adviser to the Bonn Agreement in Afghanistan and subsequently served as adviser to a number of organizations and governments. Prior to 2001, she managed a program on Institutions at the World Bank. Clare is the co-author of “Fixing Failed States” and writes and lectures on these topics and is a frequent contributor to the media including the BBC, CNN, PBS, Sky News, the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times and Prospect. The World Economic Forum and one of the Top Global Thinkers of 2009 and 2010 selected Ms. Lockhart for the 2011 Forum of Young Global Leaders by Foreign Policy magazine.

Kishwar Sultana

Kishwar Sultana is a peace activist, trainer, researcher, an artist, advisor and founder of several bodies working on women’s rights, improved governance, gender equality and peace and security. In her professional career of 16 years she has managed several projects and programs as a director. Currently, she is working as a Director of an NGO, Insan Foundation Trust whose programs mainly focus on women’s empowerment and youth leadership in peace building. Kishwar is member of the Steering Committee of the Women’s Regional Network (WRN) on Security and Corruption-a network of women peace activists from Pakistan, India and Afghanistan; Women Waging Peace Network; Afghanistan/Pakistan Peace Dialogue Forum, Provincial Board of Governors (BoG), Local Council Association of the Punjab (LCAP), Kishwar has served as a member of the International Working Group on Women, Peace and Security during 2011-2012.  She is also member of the Provincial CEDAW Committee of Civil Society Organizations and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Alliance (EVAWGA). Kishwar is the author of numerous booklets. She is also an artist and illustrator of children’s books on account of her natural talent. She holds a master’s degree in geography from the University of the Punjab. She is the first female of her family who pushed her way through to college education and then employment.






Masouda Kohistani

Massouda Kohistani had complete Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Maiwand Higher Education University. I have got more than years of research experience, and involved to different project. That AREU envisions an Afghanistan where policy decisions are made on the basis of evidence, open debate, and widespread public awareness in the belief that this will better reflect the priorities of the Afghan people and give rise to more informed policies and programs.


Lima Anwari

Lima Anwari did her bachelor’s degree in Islamic law of Kabul University and obtained her master’s degree from Kardan University in the specialized filed of leadership and management. she is equipped with almost 9 years’ work experience devoted to management, policy development, gender issues, human rights, juvenile justice, training/mentoring and legal affairs with various national (Afghan Women Network) and international organizations (Justice Sector Support Program, UN Women, USAID Promote Project, and International Development Law Organization).


Forozan Rasooli

Ms. Forozan Rasooli is a civil society and peace activist. She is currently working as the Deputy Director at Equality for Peace and Democracy (EPD). She completed her postgraduate studies through UK’s prestigious Chevening scholarship in 2016. Ms. Forozan holds master degree (with merit) in Public Administration from Portsmouth University of United Kingdom. Ms. Rasooli has more than 10 years of working experience on different projects with national and international organizations including United Nations (UN), Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), International Relief Development (IRD), Deloitte and Bearing point.  Besides, she is the member of USAID Promote: Musharikat’s peace and security coalition, member of advocacy committee on women political participation and member advocacy group for resolving the challenges faced by the civil societies. Ms. Rasooli has expert knowledge in the subjects of women empowerment, good governance, human rights, humanitarian assistance and building peace and security. She has advocated and raised the awareness of women and youth on their rights and tirelessly struggled to increase women, youth and CSO engagement at the community level for improving local service delivery. Besides, she is one of the officially assigned delegate for representing the CSOs at the Geneva Ministerial Conference on Afghanistan.


Nabila Noori

Nabila Noori is working with EQUALITY for Peace and Democracy (EPD) as Program Specialist. Ms. Noori has academic and professional background holding a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Human Resource Management) and she has more than nine years of professional work experience in the field of Management, Human Resources, Public Relation, Advocacy, Program and Evaluation. She has also experience in Sales and Marketing for organizing and conducting the events. She has also done her BA in Business Administration & Economic Faculty at Rana University of Afghanistan in 2013. Recently, she is doing Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) at American University of Afghanistan. Before that, she worked in managerial positions at national and international organizations. Furthermore, Ms. Noori is a well-known women's rights and civil society activist in Afghanistan.In addition, Ms. Noori is the member of Afghan Women Network, Women Regional Network and member of women committee for Aga Khan National Council in Afghanistan. She has also attended many international conferences in different countries such as Pakistan, India and Tajikistan.


Amina Mayar

Amina Mayar is an Afghan journalist with experience of more than a decade in journalism and civil movements. She has acquired her higher education in Literature from Kabul university and is currently Chief editor of Mursal weekly magazine, news broad caster and Killid Sobh producer and announcer. Ms Mayar has represented Afghanistan in different national and international platforms. She speaks Dari, Pashtu, English, Urdu and Russian.


Fariha Easar

Fariha Easar has done her Bachelor in Law and Political Science (BA) faculty of Kabul University, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Management and Leadership at Kardan University. She works with US Embassy, International Narcotics Law Enforcement (INL) as Project Management Specialist and as a Gender, Child and Human Rights Section Lead at Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP) / INL.She has also worked as a Legal Advisor, Senior Legal Advisor and a Team Leader at JSSP/ INL. In addition, she worked as a Legal Trainer at Hamida Barmak's Foundation and a Legal Fellow at Global Rights.  She has been a teacher at a number of schools for girls and she has been involved in different cultural and social activities in Afghanistan.  Easar is a member of Consultancy Board of Solidarity of Afghan Women Activists Organization and she was a member of Afghan Youth Parliament.  She has conducted field research on Women and Leadership and gender issues and is a human rights activist.


Freshta Karimi

Freshta Karimi is the Founder and Director of Da Qanoon Ghushtonky (DQG – Seeker of Law), one of the largest legal aid service organizations in Afghanistan.  She received her Law degree in 2011 from Payam-e-Noor University in Kabul. She has dedicated her career to improving access to justice and promoting women and children’s rights.  She is also a member of several groups advocating policy changes and has traveled extensively internationally representing her organization and promoting various women’s rights issues and highlighting the concerns of Afghan women.As an activist from the ‘new generation’ of Afghan women, Ms. Karimi has already affected change within her own organization and is committed to building a more secure and safe country for vulnerable groups.Ms. Karimi has worked to increase communities’ legal public awareness at the district and provincial levels, utilizing the publication of a variety of popular legal awareness materials. her commendable efforts to promote gender equality and to empower women were recognized when the Danish Government awarded her a Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG 3) Champion Torch in 2010. MDG 3 aims to address gender equity in education, to increase the share of women in employment and to increase the role of women in leadership roles including in Parliamentary and Government roles.


Humira Saqib

Humira Saqib has done her bachelor in Psychology from Kabul University, she is a leading Afghan journalist and a women's human rights activist. Her writings have been published in the magazine Negah-e-Zan (A Vision of Women) and in Afghan Women's News Agency. She has also worked in several key positions in various media and developmental organizations.Humira holds membership at Afghan Civil Society Election Network, Peace and Security Committee in UN-WOMEN, Media Assistance Compliance and researches commission, Women Peace and Security In South Asia, Entrepreneur Women, Women Journalist Association, Afghanistan Women Political Corporations, Women Leadership Assembly, Afghan Women Coordination Network, Management Board Of Afghan Women Coordination in EURO. She has received several awards and certificates. She has also attended many conferences all over the globe such as IVLP World Youth Leadership Program in USA, Women and Peace Conference in Sri Lanka, Bonn Conference and Peace Conference in Thailand.


Maryam Rahmani

Maryam is a well known women's rights activist and civil society leader in Afghanistan.  In 2002 she established the Afghan Women’s Resource Center’s Afghanistan office in Kabul. Under her leadership, the office has grown from a staff of eight in 2002 to a current staff of 140, 80% of whom are women.


Najla Raheel

Najla Raheel is a well-known lawyer in Afghanistan at the Law Services Office Firm. She works from a gendered perspective and defends various cases against women many times in a pro-bono capacity. Most recently she is best known as one of the youngest lawyers for the Farkhunda which shocked the world in which a violent mob falsely accused a young woman of burning a Koran and beat her to death. Ms. Raheel was appointed by Mr. Ghani to lead the team representing Farkhunda’s family in the appeal to the Supreme Court. She noted there was discrimination against women and “some government officials didn’t want 49 men punished for the death of one woman.”


Rangina Hamidi

The Founder and President of Kandahar Treasure, the first women’s private enterprise in Kandahar, Rangina Hamidi is a women’s rights activist who has pioneered women’s meetings, social activities and networks.  She believes social change must come about through economic independence of women.  In 2003, she returned to Afghanistan from the United States to begin her work in Kandahar Treasure and serve as the Manager of Women’s Income Generation Project with Afghans for Civil Society, a grassroots organization dedicated to the social development of southern Afghanistan.

Adila Ahmadi

Adila Ahmadi is a young woman who brings more than 10 years of experience in different governmental and non-governmental sectors. Born in 1990, she holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Kardan University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Her extensive work experience with local and international organizations has enabled her to garner a broad understanding of the ongoing political and social developments in Afghanistan. She has also earned reliable indigenous knowledge about the political dynamics, traditions and social circumstances of Afghanistan. Adila, youth & women rights’ activist, has rightly advocated for the inclusion of youth and women in previous presidential and parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, and encouraged women to vote as she believes in equal rights and opportunities as the core of the human rights vision. Adila Ahmadi and a group of Youth recently organized National Youth Consensus for peace with coordination of more than 200+ NGOs across 34 provinces for the purpose of coordination and consensus among the youth in the peace process. She has been a key organizer of many events on elimination of violence against women and gender equality through various organizations including the Chadari Foundation. She represented Afghanistan in the 2017 South Asian Young Women Leaders Dialogue in Sri Lanka and India, organized by the Canadian diplomatic missions. She has received the Young Ambassador for Peace award by Universal Peace Federation/Youth Federation for World Peace.



Hossai Wardak

Huma Safi

Palwasha Hassan

Sajia Behgam

Wazhma Abdulrahimzay

Nooria Sultani

Judge Homa Alizoy



Neelum Hussain

Farzana Ali

Farhat Asif

Farhat Parveen


Huma Fouladi

Mangla Sharma

Nadia Ibrahim

Romana Bashir

Rukhshanda Naz

Sadia Chaudhary

Saima Jasam

Zahida Munir

Zohra Nawaz




Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal

Nusrat Sultanpuri

Rakhee Kalita

Richa Singh

Rita Manchanda

Sahba Hussain

Sarika Sinha

Saumya Uma

Swarna Rajagopalan

Sudha Verghese

Suvarna Damle

Zainab Akhtar





Abdul Wahed (Zia) Moballegh

A human rights activist since 1992, Abdul Wahed Zia Moballegh has been at the forefront of the movement urging for equality-based legal reforms. He is now Senior Advocacy and Research Officer at Open Society Afghanistan. After the Taliban regime was ousted, he worked as a women’s rights activist at Afghan and international non-governmental organizations, including UN Women. Prior to that, he was at the helm of International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development as Country Director. He is resolute in his conviction that women’s participation and women’s rights will pave the way for sustainable security and peace, and has been calling for equality in laws such as the juvenile code, family law, elimination of violence against women law, and labor law. He has also been campaigning unwaveringly for the reform of Shia Personal Status Law and Family Law. He has been a board member of Afghan Civil Society Forum, and a member of Musawah (a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim community), and Peace Jirga. He is currently the Country Director for Heinrich Böll Foundation.


Bushra Gohar

Bushra Gohar has been a Member of the Pakistan Parliament from 2008-2013, and is a Central Member of the Awami National Party's (ANP) interim organising committee & intra party elections commission. The ANP has a long history of supporting women’s rights and she was twice elected as Central Vice President of the party.  She was also elected chair of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Women's Development and chaired the committee to appoint a chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW). As a long-time development and human rights activist she served as the Chair of the South Asia Partnership International and as a Global vice Chair of the Inter-nation Council on Social Welfare. She is a founding member of the newly formed National Organisation of Women in Parliamentary Politics. Ms. Gohar has served on the Advisory Council of the Women, Peace and Security Research Institute (RIWPS). She is a Member of the Parliamentarians Network for Conflict Prevention and at the forefront advocating for the inclusion of women’s voices in the peace processes taking place in Pakistan. She pioneered one of the first all-women Jirgas (Elders Council) on peace and security to address women-specific issues and bring them to the mainstream decision making forums.


Chelsea Soderholm

Chelsea served for a number of years as the Chief Operating Officer overseeing all programming of the Women’s Regional Network. She previously served as a Project Coordinator for the South Asia Forum for Human Rights in Delhi, India. She has lived and spent extensive time in South Asia including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka organizing large scale conferences, advocacy initiatives and field research on women, peace and security, focusing on militarization, protection of women human rights defenders, access to justice and women’s role in peace-building. Previously, in Brussels, Belgium she served as a consultant for Mary Robinson’s organization Realizing Rights and the UN Civil Society Advisory Group on Women, Peace and Security conducting high level European advocacy.  She has worked in the Balkans on health care issues and in Seoul, South Korea as a human rights advocate for North Korean women defectors. Chelsea works with a number of grassroots organizations in South Asia and serves as a Special Ambassador for the Maitreya Foundation for Tibetan children (India) and Janakpur Handicrafts (Nepal) as well as a member of Canassist at the Canadian High Commission, India. Chelsea has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Kent in Brussels and undergraduate degree in Psychology from Dalhousie University in Canada. She is currently studying with the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.


Corinne Kumar

Corinne Kumar is Secretary General of El Taller International, an international NGO committed to international women’s human rights, sustainable development, and both North-South and South-South exchange and dialogue across diverse cultures and civilizations. She was formerly Director of the Centre for Development Studies (CIEDS Collective) in India. She is a founding member of the Asian Women’s Human Rights Council (AWHRC) and of Vimochana, an NGO in Bangalore, India working on issues such as domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, and workplace sexual harassment. A philosopher, poet, human rights theoretician and activist, she is editor of two human rights journals, Sangarsh and The Quilt, and has written and spoken extensively on refugees, violence against women, militarization, and the dominant human rights discourse, critiquing it from a gender and Global South perspective.


Cynda Collins Arsenault

Cynda Collins Arsenault has 40 years of experience in non-profit work including peace and justice, prison, mental health, disability rights and environmental issues. She is co-founder, Chairman of the Board, and President of Secure World Foundation, as well as co-founder of the Arsenault Family Foundation. As a philanthropist concentrating on the empowerment and voice of women, she is part of the Women’s Donor Network and Women Moving Millions. Currently, she is a member of the Women’s Forum and Board Officer of the Association for Community Living. Ms. Collins Arsenault received her BA in Sociology and Psychology at University of California Berkeley and earned her Masters Degree in Education from Colorado State University.


Daisy Khan

Ms. Khan has dedicated herself for six years to elevating the discourse on Islam, improving the lives of Muslims and non-Muslims globally through ASMA and its sister organization, the Cordoba Initiative.  She has received coverage on ABC, PBS, BBC World, CNN, Fox News, National Geographic, Al Jazeera, and the Hallmark Channel, and is active lecturing and debating in the US and internationally.  She launched two cutting edge intra-faith programs to start movements of change among the two disempowered majorities of the Muslim world:  youth and women.  The MLT: Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow and WISE:  Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality programs were launched at an international scale.  She is the recipient of several awards, including the Interfaith Center’s Award for Promoting Peace and Interfaith Understanding and Women’s E-News 21st leaders for 21st. Currently, Ms. Khan is Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement.


Dr. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed

Dr. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed was born in Kashmir and currently resides in New Delhi, India. She holds a BA from Delhi University, an MA from the University of Hawaii, a PhD from the University of Alberta, and, since 1986, has authored more than 20 books and articles pertaining to women’s, religious, and minority rights in South Asia. She formerly served on the Planning Commission of the Indian Government with responsibilities including health, women and children, and minority rights; and currently serves as Chancellor of The Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad – a university committed to providing higher, technical and vocational education to women in the Urdu language. In 2012, Dr. Hameed joined The Hunger Project’s Global Board of Directors. Dr. Hameed’s career demonstrates a long-standing commitment to sustainable development and the education of women. Making it a priority to be at the forefront of development, Dr. Hameed has been a founding member of a great number of rights and education groups including the Muslim Women’s Forum where she advocates for legal literacy of Muslim women who wish to work with government; the Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia – an organization that empowers women as catalysts for a climate of peace through dialogue; South Asians for Human Rights; and the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.


Jane Barry

Jane Barry is a specialist in humanitarian policy and program development in conflicts with an emphasis on human rights and security. She has spent over nine years designing and managing emergency programs, assessments, and evaluations in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and northern Iraq. Her publications include: What’s the Point of Revolution if We Can’t Dance? With JelenaDjordjevic, Rising up in Response: Women’s Rights Activism in Conflicts, and Position Paper on Humanitarian-Military Relations in the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance for the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response. Ms. Barry holds a Certificate from the London School of Economics in International Human Rights Law and Practice and a B.A. in Soviet Studies from Middlebury College in the United States.


Nargis Nehan

Nargis Nehan is currently the Head of the Policy Unit, Office of the President. She was formerly the Executive Director and Founder of EQUALITY for Peace and Democracy (EPD), a non-governmental and civil society organization advocating equal rights and access for all. Previously, she worked with the Afghan Government in senior level positions for more than 7 years since the establishment of the interim Administration of Afghanistan. Nargis has also worked with several non-governmental organizations promoting democracy at the grass roots level. Ms. Nehan was recently appointed as the first female member of the Supreme Council of the Central Bank where she represents civil society. She is also Board member of the Electoral Support Organization of Afghanistan (ESOA). Through EPD, she has been working with community-based civil society groups to make communities aware of their civil rights and of the role and responsibilities of citizens, especially of opinion leaders. Ms. Nehan holds a business degree in Business Management and has received international trainings in peace building, conflict resolution, budgeting, gender budgeting, strategic planning and good governance.


Sima Samar, MD.

Dr. Simar obtained her degree in medicine in 1982 from Kabul University, the first Hazara woman to do so. She practiced medicine at a government hospital in Kabul, but after a few months was forced to flee for her safety to her native Jaghoori, where she provided medical treatment to patients throughout the remote areas of central Afghanistan.In 1984, the communist regime arrested her husband, and Samar and her young son fled to the safety of nearby Pakistan. She then worked as a Doctor at the refugee branch of the Mission Hospital. Distressed by the total lack of health care facilities for Afghan refugee women, she established in 1989 the Shuhada Organization and Shuhada Clinic in Quetta, Pakistan. The Shuhada Organization was dedicated to the provision of health care to Afghan women and girls, training of medical staff and to education. In the following years further branches of the clinic/hospital were opened throughout Afghanistan. After living in refuge for over a decade, Samar returned to Afghanistan in 2002 to assume a cabinet post in the Afghan Transitional Administration led by Hamid Karzai. In the interim government, she served as Deputy President and then as Minister for Women’s Affairs. She was forced into resignation from her post after she was threatened with death and harassed for questioning conservative Islamic laws, especially Sharia law, during an interview in Canada with a Persian-language newspaper. During the 2003 Loya Jirga, several religious conservatives took out an ad in a local newspaper calling Samar the Salman Rushdie of Afghanistan. She serves as head of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).






Stephen McCormick

Stephen McCormick is Senior Associate of Skillful Means. He has spent the last 20 years focused on helping organizations, communities and multi-stakeholder partnerships bring clarity to goals, strategies, processes, organizational structures and professional relations in order to accomplish critical tasks. From 1996 to 1998 Stephen was Director of Organizational Development at the Open Society Institute, resident in Budapest; he oversaw the establishment of the Department of Training and Development and the institutionalization of training programs for the 1000+ employees and board members within the network of foundations and institutes established by George Soros, and served as OSI's main organizational troubleshooter. Prior to this, he was the Central European representative of the National Civic League and a Managing Director of Chautauqua International, Inc., an international consulting partnership working in the field of democratic governance. From 1989-1991 he was resident in Kenya, as manager of a USAID-funded school renovation effort. Stephen has worked as an consultant, facilitator and trainer since 1979 and as the director and supervisor of training programs since 1984. Stephen holds a Masters degree from Yale University and a Diploma in Organizational Behaviour from London University.


John McCann

John McCann has more than 25 years experience in helping leaders work more effectively. His clients have ranged from the American Association of Retired Persons to the New York Youth Orchestra. In the area of innovation and strategy, McCann has worked with more than 300 of the nation’s leading cultural institutions. McCann has assisted in the formation of unique partnerships and strategic alliances including Latino New South, a coalition of the Levine Museum of the New South, Atlanta History Center, and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute; and the Global Artist Network involving the Museum of International Folk Art, International Folk Art Alliance and leading folk artists from Rwanda, Afghanistan, Ghana, and seven other nations. At the graduate level, he has taught management and leadership at Drexel University and Virginia Tech, where for ten years he served as the Director of the Institute for Cultural Policy and Practice. He has delivered guest lectures at Duke University, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His pro bono work includes engagements with the Clinton Global Initiative, New Orleans Recovery and Rebuilding Coalition, and the Women’s Regional Network (Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan). McCann is co-founder and currently a board member of EmcArts, a nonprofit social enterprise for learning and innovation in the arts.



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Country Coordinator-Pakistan

Shad is the Founder and Executive Director of the Association for Behavior and Knowledge Transformation, an organization working toward the economic and political empowerment of Pakistan’s underserved communities. To encourage women at the grassroots level, Shad contested local elections in 2001 as an independent candidate and served as councillor for five years in Dir Lower. An Ashoka Lifetime Fellow and Regan-Fascell Democracy Fellow, Shad is also the recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s International Woman of Courage Award and the Prize for Creativity in Rural Life awarded by the Women’s World Summit Foundation, Geneva. Shad is a TED speaker and has given her first official TED talk in 2018.



Country Coordinator-India

Ananya K is a youth peace advocate, feminist researcher and writer based in India. She is the Co-Chairperson of the Climate Change Working Group at WCAPS (Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation) and researcher working to dismantle harmful digital media narratives at the Civic Media Observatory of Global Voices. She is also a member of the Indian Coalition on Youth, Peace and Security. Ananya has rich experience working with women in conflict, marginalized communities to document and analyze gender based violence in the context of conflict and militarism. She holds a Masters in Women's Studies and a Bachelors in English Language and Literature.

Global Advisors
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