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Activist Bios:

Fartuun Adan (Somalia) – Fartuun A. Adan is a Somali/Canadian humanitarian. She and her three daughters fled Mogadishu, Somalia at the height of the civil conflict and sought refuge in Canada and has since returned to Somalia. Fartuun is a recognized and leading expert in the reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers. In 2011 her organization was recognized for its relentless efforts since 1991, in providing children involved in armed conflicts with alternative livelihood by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. In 2011 Fartuun also established the first rape crisis center in Mogadishu, Somalia. In the same year she addressed Prime Minister David Cameron at the conservative party in Manchester, England as a keynote speaker where she demanded international attention and support to the rapidly increasing number of victims of sexual violence in South and Central Somalia. Fartuun coordinated OBR in Somalia enabling women to RISE and DANCE on the streets of Mogadishu for the first time ever.

Suad Amiry (Palestine) ­ Suad Amiry is a Palestinian writer, a conservation architect, and a political and social activist. 

Suad Amiry is the author of the internationally acclaimed Memoirs Sharon and My Mother in Law (Random House, 2005) which uses humor and irony to describe the absurdity, and cruelty, of living under a prolonged Israeli Occupation. The book has been translated into 20 languages and has won the prestigious Italian Literary Award “Premio Viareggio” 2004. 

Amiry is also the author of Nothing to Lose But Your Life: an 18 hour Journey with Murad (Bloomsbury, 2010) in which Amiry disguises as a male worker and accompanies a group of Palestinian workers “the illegal laborers in their homeland” across the “Separation wall” in search for a job in Israel. Her latest book Golda Slept Here (Bloomsbury 2015) which describes what it means to lose ones home and not to “feel at home” ever again, won the Italian Nonino Prize (2014).

Amiry who says she had became a writer by pure accident at the age of 50, is a conservation architect. She is the Founder of RIWAQ:  Centre for Architecture Conservation. An NGO based in Ramallah, Palestine, which has won many international awards (the Prince Clause Award, the Carry Stone Social Design Prize, and the Aga Khan Award for architecture 2014). Riwaq has succeeded in transforming the concept and process of Rehabilitation (and gentrification) of historic centers and buildings into a vehicle of poverty elevation, job creation and a tool for social and economic development for marginalized groups (women and children) in rural Palestine, what Amiry refers to as “Public Spaces and buildings for Social Change.” RIWAQ has so far provided more than 100 community and cultural centers, revitalized and brought life back to 15 historic centers for the use and benefit of the impoverished rural communities (www.riwaq.org). 

To get to know Suad Amiry watch her TED Talk “My Work my Hobby: Simply Look Inside You Never at Others”

Kimberle Crenshaw (USA) ­ Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, is a leading authority in the area of Civil Rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law.  Her articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, National Black Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, and Southern California Law Review. She is the founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory Workshop, and the co-editor of the volume, Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement. Crenshaw has lectured widely on race matters, addressing audiences across the country as well as in Europe, India, Africa and South America.

Crenshaw has worked extensively on a variety of issues pertaining to gender and race in the domestic arena including violence against women, structural racial inequality, and affirmative action. A specialist on race and gender equality, she has facilitated workshops for human rights activists in Brazil and in India, and for constitutional court judges in South Africa. Her groundbreaking work on Intersectionality has traveled globally and was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution.

Crenshaw is the co-founder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, a gender and racial justice legal think tank, and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is a leading voice in calling for a gender-inclusive approach to racial justice interventions, having spearheaded the Why We Can’t Wait Campaign and co-authored Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, and Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women.

Eve Ensler (USA) – Eve Ensler is the Tony Award winning playwright, activist and author of the theatrical phenomenon, The Vagina Monologues, which has been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries. Eve’s plays include Necessary Targets, The Treatment, The Good Body, and Emotional Creature. Her books include Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir; the New York Times bestseller I Am An Emotional Creature, and her latest critically acclaimed memoir In the Body of the World.  She is founder of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls which has raised over 100 million dollars to end violence and One Billion Rising, a global mass action campaign in over 200 countries. She was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Changed the World” and The Guardian’s “100 Most Influential Women.” Her play O.P.C. recently had it’s world premiere at  A.R.T. at  Harvard where she will also debut, In the Body of the World, based on her memoir in Spring of 2016 , directed by Diane Paulus. Her newest play Avocado premiered at The West Yorkshire Playhouse in May. 

http://www.eveensler.org and https://www.onebillionrising.org

Nimmi Gowrinathan (Sri Lanka) – Dr. Gowrinathan is an expert on gender and violence, and the creator of deviarchy.com. She is currently a Visiting Research Professor at the Colin Powell Center for Global and Civic Leadership at City College New York, directing the Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative, a global study examining the impact of rape on women’s political identities. She is also the Executive Producer of the Vice News Women in/at War Series. 

She has recently been the Gender Expert for the United Nations Human Development Report on Afghanistan, a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Conflict, Negotiation, and Recovery and a policy consultant and analyst for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the International Crisis Group, researching and analyzing gender inclusion in peace-building and women’s insecurities in conflict zones.  She was formerly the Director of South Asia Programs and UN Representative for Operation USA.  

Dr. Gowrinathan received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, which received the Jean and Irving Stone Award for Innovation in Gender Studies. She provides expert analysis for CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, and has published both academic articles and journalistic pieces on humanitarian intervention, militarization, gender, and political violence. Her  most recent articles are featured in Foreign Affairs, (“The Women of ISIS” & “The Missing Women in the U.S. Torture Report”), Outlook Magazine (“Artful Democracy”), Guernica Magazine (“Narrating Crisis in Sri Lanka”) and Vice News(“I Don’t Know Why I Come: Inside the UN Commission on the Status of Women”)

Yanar Mohammed (Iraq) – Yanar Mohammed is the co-founder of the Organisation for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, which works to promote women’s rights and liberties in Iraq (OWFI). Eight years after emigrating to Toronto, Canada in 1995, Yanar returned to her native country to begin her advocacy work and help establish OWFI, whose office was first housed in an abandoned bank in Baghdad. 

One of OWFI’s primary projects is to house women who have suffered domestic violence, honor killings, sex trafficking, and prostitution in secret shelters, located in places like Baghdad and Kirkuk. According to Yanar, as of 2008, an estimated 35 women have been spared death thanks to these shelters. Another OWFI initiative is the Women’s Prison Watch program, through which Yanar interviewed some 200 incarcerated women and shed light on their living conditions. Starting in 2005, Yanar began teaching courses on how to deal with local traditions and religious intolerance in Iraq to activists. She also operates a radio station and newspaper by the name Al Mousawat, meaning “equality” in Arabic. 

Yanar received her bachelor’s degree in 1984 and her master’s degree in Architecture in 1993 from Baghdad University. In 2008, she was one of three recipients of the $500,000 Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation’s Women’s Rights Prize.

Lu Pin (China) – Lu Pin is program manager of Media Monitor for Women Network and chief editor of Feminist Voices. She has been working for women’s rights and promoting gender equality more than 20 years. She used to be a journalist reporting women’s rights issue and  volunteer of  women’s organizations focusing on media and gender equality, violence against women, gender and development etc.  In 2009 she established Feminist Voices, an alternative media agency to raise awareness and develop advocacy for anti-discrimination and violence against women, as well as to support young feminist activism around all China.

Monique Wilson (Philippines) –Monique Wilson is one of the Philippine’s veteran theatre and film actresses – having acted professionally since the age of nine. At 18 she starred as the lead role in the original London West End production of Miss Saigon. In 1994, at 24 years old, she went back to the Philippines and founded the New Voice Company (NVC) theatre group, with a vision to awaken, inspire and transform Philippine audiences with socially provocative and innovative political theatre work. Her theatre group has produced The Vagina Monologues in the Philippines since 2000 and V-Day events since 2001, and helped change the laws on sex trafficking and domestic violence with performances in the Philippine Senate and Congress. Monique recently left a five year post as head of the MA/MFA Acting International course, which she spearheaded, at the East 15 Acting School in London – where she trained postgraduate international actors from over 45 countries, and where she organized V-Day events and directed political plays, to become Director of the One Billion Rising campaign.

Zoya (Afghanistan) – ZOYA is a women’s rights activist who has worked extensively in refugee camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.