Past Press Releases


For Immediate Release: January 3, 2010

WELLESLEY, MA Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, SJD, a human rights lawyer and scholar who works to advance the rights of women across cultures and borders, has been named the inaugural Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). This award is presented to a researcher whose work places women’s perspectives at the center of the inquiry while addressing critical issues growing out of a global understanding of the lives of women and recognizing the importance of linkages and new insights inherent in an interdisciplinary approach.

The Director of International Human Rights Policy Programs at WCW, de Silva-de Alwis leads several WCW initiatives on women's rights issues in China and within the Muslim world, on Asia regional law reform, and within international legal and social policy communities. She also serves as a faculty member in the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute winter session program at Wellesley College. A well-known human rights lawyer, de Silva-de Alwis earned her LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a research fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“Rangita’s work exemplifies a commitment and passion on behalf of women around the globe,” said Susan McGee Bailey, Ph.D., WCW Executive Director, in announcing the award. “Her newest work, engaging advocates for women, children, and persons with disabilities under one umbrella, with the goal of working collaboratively on issues of importance to all, has created a model for others to emulate.”

The Susan McGee Bailey Women’s Perspectives Fund was established in honor of the Centers’ 35th Anniversary (2009-2010) and named for Bailey who is retiring after 25 years leading the premier research-and-action organization. Income generated from the fund provides financial support for a Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar. This position is awarded on a rotating basis to WCW staff or outside scholar brought in for the duration of the award; de Silva-de Alwis will hold the post for an 18-month term, beginning January 1, 2011.

“I am deeply honored by this award named for a woman whose visionary leadership and influence have tremendous meaning to me both personally and professionally,” says de Silva-de Alwis. “Susan values the voices of women from all corners of the world and the far-reaching contributions they make on behalf of all people. I am motivated by her commitment to not only sharing our knowledge with others, but learning from the diverse perspectives and experiences from our colleagues and partners around the world. I look forward to working with my colleagues at WCW to expanding Susan’s life work and legacy to the global platform.”

Work at the Centers addresses three major areas: the social and economic status of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights both in the United States and around the globe; the education, care, and development of children and youth; and the emotional wellbeing of families and individuals. Since 1974, scholars at WCW have presented new knowledge and offered solutions to pressing social policy issues, generating changes in attitudes, practices, and public policy.


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