WCW Researcher Participates in International Women's Day Conference

Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2008

tinyglobe  Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, senior advisor on international programs at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), participated in the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) International Women’s Day conference on March 6-8, 2008 in Washington, DC. The conference, organized by the International Republican Institute, brought together more than 30 women from around the world to continue the important discussions regarding the progression of the WDN. Over the past two years, participants have introduced the WDN to women from dozens of countries as well as connect women from different regions through bi-regional conferences and the WDN website. In March, the Advisory Council gathered with WDN Country Captains and U.S. Delegates to discuss the goals of the Advisory Council and further plan the current activities of the WDN around program areas, including a mentoring program, legislative caucus, and training programs.

In April 2008, de Silva-de Alwis was a panelist for “International Disability Lawyering and Advocacy” at the University of Washington (UW) Symposium, “Framing Legal and Human Rights Strategies for Change: A Case Study of Disability Rights in Asia.” The program, presented by the UW Disability Studies Program, Asian Law Center at the UW School of Law, and the UW School of Law, examined the emerging field of disability human rights law, and its relationship to an already developing statutory, constitutional, and administrative legal framework being created to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities around the world. The Washington Law Review will publish articles related to the program.

The Asia Cause Lawyers Network (ACLN), a Network of lawyers, legal academics, and activists committed to the skilled usage of law in effecting change for gender equality, established in January 2007 with support from the Ford Foundation in partnership with WCW, will conduct its second pilot training program for cause lawyers in Asia this June. This year ACLN aspires to expand its reach to five new countries in the region in addition to the existing 11 countries, and to address the larger issue of gender equality. WCW’s de Silva-de Alwis, the main initiator of the program, will travel to Kathmandu, Nepal in early June 2008 for this second pilot training.

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