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FINDA KOROMA (Sierra Leone)
Lawyer. Management and Development consultant. Negotiator in the Extractives Sector (petroleum and mining).
Studies: international law and international trade (LL.M.); business development (M.B.A.)
Experience in government, development (United Nations) and private sector (B.P./Amoco and BHP Billiton).
Work experience: United Nations, Vice President of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Commission since 2018: strengthening partnerships and promoting cooperation and integration with the aim of creating an economic and monetary union in West Africa.
GABRIELA MONTAÑO (Bolivia)
Bolivian politician and medical doctor by training.
2010-2015: Senator of Bolivia.
2012-2013: President of the Bolivian Senate.
2015-2018: President of the Chamber of Deputies of Bolivia.
2019: Minister of Health of Bolivia.
GERTRUDE IBENGWE MONGELLA (Tanzania)
Tanzanian teacher, politician and diplomat. 1985: Vice-President of the World Conference on Women.
1989: Represented Tanzania at the Commission on the Status of Women and was head of the information commission set up to work on the elimination of discrimination against women.
1990s: Senior United Nations official. Role of women in politics.
1991: Tanzania High Commissioner to India
1995: key conference on women’s rights in Beijing.
1993-1995: UN Assistant Secretary General and Secretary General, Fourth World conference on Women – Beijing, China.
2004-2010: First president of Pan African Parliament. Member of the African Women Leaders Network.
GRAÇA MACHEL (Mozambique)
She is a former freedom fighter in Mozambique’s FRELIMO movement and that country’s first Minister of Education.
Machel produced a ground-breaking UNICEF report “The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children” that changed the way the United Nations and member states respond in conflict zones. Machel is a founding member and Deputy Chair of The Elders, and played a key role in establishing Girls Not Brides. She is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Advocacy Group.
She serves as Board Chair of the Africa Child Policy Forum, Board Chair of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, Board Chair of United People Global as well as Executive Chair of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies. Machel is a Board Member of the South African Future Trust (SAFT), Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Kofi Annan Foundation, and Education Above All. She is Board Chair Emeritus for the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and is a UNICEF Young People’s Agenda Global Advisory Board Member.
HAFIDA BENCHEHIDA (Algeria)
Former Senator, Vice-President of the Legal, Administrative and Human Rights Committee of the Senate.
Founding member of the Network of Arab Women Parliamentarians for Equality and Equity.
Founding member of the Network of Mediterranean Women Mediators.
Consultant to the International Peace Centre of Toledo (CITPAX).
Co-author of the study on Maghrebi Women Returning from Conflict Zones.
HIBAAQ OSMAN (Somalia)
Founder and CEO of Karama, a network of women’s rights organizations working in 13 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Hibaaq’s work focuses on building and supporting grassroots movements to end violence against women and girls, and increase women’s meaningful participation in peace and all forms of decision making.
Co-founded the Strategic Initiative for the Horn of Africa (SIHA), Hibaaq subsequently helped the formation and sustainability of civil society movements including the Arab Regional Network on Women, Peace and Security, the Network of Women Judges under the Marrakesh Declaration, and the Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace.
Named one of the world’s 500 Most Influential Muslims, Hibaaq has served on UN Women’s Civil Society Advisory Group, the board of Donor Direct Action, and as a senior fellow at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at Churchill College, University of Cambridge.
INÉS PARÍS (Spain)
Inés París is a film and television director and screenwriter.
As a screenwriter, she has extensive experience in television and film, and has worked for many years alongside Daniela Fejerman.
She was the founder and president for 6 years of CIMA (Association of Filmmaker Women and Audiovisual Media) and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. From this position, she continues to fight to improve the visibility of women in the audiovisual sector, a subject on which she has written several articles and contributed to books on the subject. She is very committed to social causes, through her role as advisor to the Women for Africa Foundation. She has also made several documentaries on the problems of integration of the immigrant population at their arrival in Europe.
She is president of the SGAE Foundation (General Society of Authors and Writers). She is the author of the essay “Toreando unicornios” in the book Género y cine (2009) and of the short story “El amante pasivo” in Cambio de agujas (2009).
IRATXE GARCÍA PÉREZ (Spain)
She currently holds the position of President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and First Vice-President of the Party of European Socialists.
Committed to social, women’s and gender equality rights, she is a member of several NGOs, such as Solidarity International and the Association of Friends of the Saharawi People.
Over the years, she has held numerous relevant positions, including the presidency of the Spanish Socialist Delegation to the European Parliament and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.
IRMA ALICIA VELASQUEZ NIMATUJ (Guatemala)
Of Mayan-K’iche descent, academic, journalist, writer and anthropologist. She is director of the Augsburg University program in Guatemala, Yucatan and Chiapas.
Advisor to several United Nations agencies on issues of racism and rights of indigenous peoples, including UNICEF, UN WOMEN and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Recognized academic by indigenous and non-indigenous groups and communities. She has been a professor at universities in the U.S. such as Stanford, Duke and others. Involved in grassroots and regional organizations in the Americas, including UN Women. In 2020, for her work, she received the Martin Diskin Memorial Lectureship award from LASA/Oxfam America.
ISATA KABIA (Sierra Leona)
Isata is the CEO of AFRiLOSOPHY, a social enterprise focused on education, mentorship and financial inclusion for women.
She is the Founding Director of Voice of Women-Africa, which aims to increase women’s political participation and leadership.
She has served as a government Minister for Gender, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and was the first woman elected as Member of Parliament from her constituency 050, the Port Loko district in Northern Sierra Leone.
She holds an Honors degree in Biochemistry, an MBA in Global Business and Impact Entrepreneurship. She is an Acumen West Africa 2019 Fellow, an AWEC (African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative), 2019.
Vital Voices VVEngage Fellow 2020, and currently on the leadership program Amujae Initiative Fellow 2021, by the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Development Center.
JESTINA MUKOKO (Zimbabwe)
Zimbabwe Human Rights Defender.
National Director of Zimbabwe Peace Project: monitors and documents human rights abuses as well as political and/or electoral violence and keen on exposing abuses affecting women and girls, young people, persons with disability and other vulnerable groups.
A Political scientist by training, has worked as a broadcast journalist and is a former news anchor.
One of ten women human rights defenders honored at the 2010 International Women of Courage Awards.
Was abducted in 2008 and was incommunicado for 21 days. She was later detained on charges that were to be permanently stayed in 2009, when the Constitutional court unanimously agreed her rights had been violated by state security agents.
Objective: to collate a litany of human rights abuses committed against citizens, political activists, trade unionists and members of civil society.
JULIA DUNCAN CASSELL (Liberia)
Board Chair, Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL). Board Chair, Teach for Liberia.
As a further demonstration of love and commitment to her country and the vulnerable population, Mrs. Cassell played a critical role in helping shape and coordinate Liberia’s National Gender Policy, mainstreaming gender to achieve gender parity and equality as Liberia’s Gender Minister in early 2012 after her appointment.
Most satisfactorily, with her desire and dedication to empower women across Liberia and prevent the occurrences of gender and sexual based violence, she strengthened the Rural Women Structures, Cross Border Women Traders and Adolescent Girls Networks across the 15 counties to empower women businesses and adolescent girls.
Former Minister of Gender and Development. Former Minster of Gender, Children and Social Protection. Former Superintendent, Grand Bassa County.
MACHÉRIE EKWA B. EKWEEN (DR Congo)
Machérie was born in Kisagani (Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1993. She is trained through various film and screenwriting workshops while studying law and starts working in the production department of different films: Kimpa Vita: La mère de la Révolution africaine (2014) and Felicité (2015). In 2016, he writes the scripts for six episodes of the series Ndakisa: Lobi Mokola ya sika, funded by the NGO Search For Common Ground.
Maki’la (2018) is her first work as a director, an intimate portrait of poverty, femininity and survival of street children in Kinshasa. Maki’la is an authentic depiction of the sad reality experienced by some 200,000 children in Kinshasa, a film that acknowledges both the brightness and darkness of a life in struggle.
In 2019 she released her second film, the medium-length film Sema (‘express yourself’ in Swahili), which gives voice to survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the process of healing from the traumatic experience through, among other things, art.
MAISOUN BADAWI (Sudan)
Maisoun Badawi is currently a Senior Private Sector Development Consultant for the World Bank Group in Khartoum-Sudan. Working at the intersection of injecting influence on structural reforms targeting social and economic inclusion in fragile, conflict and post conflict environments, Maisoun’s calling covers a range of plateaus ranging from spearheading initiatives at the grassroots level with civil society organizations, structuring and advising governments as a consultant and technical specialist at regional and multilateral organizations.
Her inspired journey for the past two years was invested in Sudan. Inspired by the recent Sudanese-youth led call for political change, in 2018, she co-founded together with friends, the Sudanese-American Coalition for Democracy- an initiative that was instrumental in bridging voices of the Sudanese youth and other stakeholders to influence and educate policy and decision makers on Sudan’s revolt and to join the collective efforts of channeling documented violations committed against protesters and more particularly women internationally and locally.
MAKALE TRAORE (Republic of Guinea)
Lawyer and Economist.
Professor, entrepreneur, former Minister of Public Service and Administrative Reform;
President of the Party of Citizen Action through Work (PACT) and candidate in the last presidential elections in 2020 in the Republic of Guinea;
Honorary President of the Network of African Women Ministers and Parliamentarians of Guinea;
Honorary President of the Coalition of Women and Girls of Guinea for Dialogue, Peacebuilding and Development;
Recipient of numerous awards including the 100 Persons who moved Guinea award in 2020, the Performance Award in 2021 and the FEMINIA D’OR award in March 2022.
Committed for several years to the empowerment of women, the fight against violence against women and girls, the rape of young girls, the employability of young people and the promotion of peace.
MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA (Ecuador)
Former President of the UN General Assembly, fourth woman in history and first Latin American to preside over the body since its founding in 1945.
In Ecuador, Minister of Foreign Affairs on two occasions, Minister of National Defense, Minister of Culture and Heritage and advisor to the 2008 constitutional process.
She is currently a Member of the Group of Global Women Leaders, Voices for Change and Inclusion, Senior Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy, member and co-chair of the Lancet Commission on COVID-19; Advisor to the World Future Council, Member of the High Level Advisory Council of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, co-chair of the Coalition for the UN We Need and Goodwill Ambassador of the Latin American and Caribbean Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples and the Common House of Humanity.
MARIA IVONE RENSAMO BERNARDO SOARES (Mozambique)
Politician, Journalist and Writer.
1996-1999- Vice-President of UNDE (União Nacional para o Desenvolvimento Estudantil) and from 1999 up to 2010 President of UNDE.
Since 2010 to now Member of Mozambique Parliament.
2015-2020: a) Head of the Mozambique’s National Delegation at Pan African Parliament; b) Vice-President of the Youth Caucus at Pan African Parliament and c) Member of the Permanent Committee on Justice and Human Rights at Pan African Parliament.
2014-2021: Leader of the RENAMO´s National Youth League.
2015-2020: Chief Whip of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) the second biggest party in Mozambique.
2019: Founder of LEDA- A national NGO that stands for Leadership, Education, Democracy, Arts and Environment.
2020-2024: Vice-President of Ethics Committee at Mozambican Parliament.
MARIA-NOEL VAEZA (Uruguay)
UN Women Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
PhD in Law and Social Sciences.
Master in Public Policy.
Effects of the COVID19 pandemic on violence against women and girls.
Topics: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
MARIE LYDIE TOTO RAHARIMALALA (Madagascar)
Former Minister of Employment, Technical Education and Vocational Training (2016-2018).
Former Member of the Malagasy Parliament (2014-2019). President of the Gender and Development Commission.
Vice-President of FAWE Africa (Forum for African Women Educationalists) (2009-2020).
“I have always worked on the education, training and retention of girls in school as well as the empowerment of women and their participation in gender politics, power politics and decision-making and the socio-economic and cultural development of Madagascar. I believe in the strong capacity of women, but we as women must continue to work on this together. Promote lifelong learning by helping each other.”
MEAZA ASHENAFI (Ethiopia)
Chief Justice, Federal Supreme Court of Ethiopia
Women’s Rights Activist: Gender Equality and Participation
Founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA)
Promoter and Board Chair of Enat Bank (Women focused universal bank)
Gender Advisor, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Studies: Human Rights, International Relations and Women’s Studies
Important Recognitions – Honored by Thomson Reuters Foundation “In Justice Ginsburg’s footsteps: seven lawyers fighting for equality around the world” (2020), Women of Courage for Ethiopia Award (2008), African Leadership Prize of the Hunger Project (2003).
MICHELLE BACHELET (Chile)
Doctor and Politician. Subject: World of health.
President of the country (2006-2010 and 2014-2018).
First pro tempore president of UNASUR and first head of UN Women, the UN agency for gender equality.
Currently, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Honorary Chair of the World Health Organization’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health.
MONI PIZANI (Venezuela-Ecuador)
Director of the SEGIB office.
Director for the Andean countries of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), since 2019. She was a member of the United Nations Commission of Experts on Public Administration from 2018 to 2021. Moni was associated with UN Women from 2005 to 2016 holding positions as Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean and East and Southeast Asia and Representative in Ecuador.
Through decades of active advocacy for gender equality, Moni Pizani has acquired a deep understanding of government institutions and civil society organizations through her experience in leadership positions in both sectors. She was Vice Minister of Infrastructure and President of the Foundation for Community Development and Municipal Development (FUNDACOMUN), and Director of the Centre for Social Research, Training and Women’s Studies (CISFEM).
During her career she has led the production of studies, reports and publications on issues of Integration, Civil Society, Women’s Rights, Participation and Public Administration.
MONIQUE NSANZABAGANWA (Rwanda)
H.E. Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa is the Deputy Chairperson (DCP) for the African Union Commission. She is in charge of Administration and Finance and assists the Chairperson in the execution of his functions to ensure the smooth running of the Commission, and acts as the Chairperson in his absence.
She has over twenty years’ experience developing and leading programs that drive financial inclusion and economic prosperity
Dr. Nsanzabaganwa has supported various Gender Empowerment initiatives through her memberships in the Alliance for Financial Inclusion Gender committee, Women’s World Banking African Advisory Council, the Graça Machel Trust Expert Group on women’s financial inclusion and the digital economy in Africa, New Faces New Voices Rwanda chapter, Unity Club amongst others.
Dr. Nsanzabaganwa was elected by the 34th African Union Assembly for a four-year term renewable once. She is the first woman to hold the position of Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
MOUNA GHANEM (Syria)
Coordinator of the Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace.
Vice-President of the Syrian political movement Building the Syrian State.
Senior gender advisor with extensive experience in the Arab region. Former Deputy Representative of UNFPA in Syria and Chair of the Syrian Commission for Family Affairs.
She also served as Regional Director of the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Jordan.
She was Vice-President of the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).