Rabat Roundtable Participants
Ms. Salma Ali is the Executive Director of the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA). She has helped draft many gender-sensitive laws including the domestic violence law, anti-acid throwing law and the trafficking law in Bangladesh and has spear headed several ground breaking initiatives on anti- trafficking against women.
Ferdous Ara Begum
Ms. Ferdous Ara Begum is an expert member on the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee. She served as former joint secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, Bangladesh and as a member of the Board of Directors Grameen Bank, the bank that pioneered microcredit for women. As a CEDAW Committee member, she chaired the drafting of the CEDAW General Recommendation on Older Women.
Hon. Moushira Khattab was the former Minister for Family and Population and the Special Representative of the President of Egypt on children’s issues. She served as Vice Chair of the U.N. Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Minister Khattab was the architect of Law 126 in 2008, a landmark rights based legal reform for children. She has served as an Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs in Egypt as well as Egypt’s Ambassador to Czech and Slovak Republic and to South Africa where she received the Order of Good Hope from President Nelson Mandela. Recently, she received the Order of Merit by the President of the Italian Republic.
Siti Musdah Mulia
Dr. Siti Musdah Mulia is the first woman to receive a research professorship from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and the first to do her dissertation on Islamic political thought. Musdah has written numerous scholarly works focused on women’s roles in Islamic culture. She is a recipient of the International Women of Courage award from U.S. foreign minister Condoleezza Rice. As a senior researcher at the Religious Affairs Ministry and an adviser to the minister, her meticulous examination of gender bias in the Islamic law and drafting of a replacement counter law draft (CLD) has spread new ideas about the critical reinterpretation of the Koran.
Iran / USA
Dr. Haleh Esfandiari is the Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In her native Iran, she was a journalist, served as deputy secretary general of the Women's Organization of Iran and was the deputy director of a cultural foundation. She has taught at Oxford University (Persian language) and Princeton University (Persian language, contemporary Persian literature and the women's movement in Iran). Her memoir, My Prison, My Home, based on her arrest in 2007 by the Iranian security authorities and subsequent 105 days in solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin Prison, was published in September 2009.
Eman Al Hussein
Dr. Eman Al Hussein is Professor of Education at Al-Balqa'a Applied University in Jordan. From 2003-2007, Dr. Hussein was a councilor on the Greater Salt Municipal Council. As head of the Jordanian National Forum for Women, Amman Governorate Branch, she was active in encouraging women to run for elected office at the municipal and parliamentary levels in the 1997 and 2003 election cycles. Dr. Al Hussein has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Amman Arabian.
Ms. Hayat Arslan is a strong defender of women's rights and a spokeswoman for women's empowerment and participation in political, economic and social life. Her husband, the Emir Faysal Arslan’s family played a vital role in the political life of Lebanon. Currently, Ms. Arslan serves as the President of Society of Lebanon the Giver, a nongovernmental organization which she established in 1983. She is also the founder and President of the Economic Task Force for Lebanon. Ms. Arslan founded the women’s political Empowerment Committee, the Lebanese Artisanal Cooperative, for which she organized 43 international artisanal exhibitions and the Sofar Festivals for which she organized summer festivals. Ms. Arslan is known for her philanthropic sense and spirit of serving her community. She established the New Generation School in Hasbaya and the Hasbaya Infirmary for Women. She also served as chair Lebanese Women Leadership Consortium. She holds a degree in political studies and public administration from the American University of Beirut.
Zarizana Abdul Aziz
Ms. Zarizana Abdul Aziz was Deputy Chairperson, Bar Council Human Rights Committee and partner of a law firm in Penang, Malaysia. She helped draft the Gender Equality Bill for Malaysia. She is currently engaged in a project for the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. Her work at Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) questions the discrepancy between Islamic finance, fiqh and financial markets and the way Islamic laws are deemed immutable when it involves women. Ms. Aziz is also deeply concerned not only with the impact of the law on Muslim women, but also on non-Muslim women. Ms. Aziz has a Masters in Law from Columbia Law School.
Dr. Najat Zarrouk was appointed by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to join the U.N. Committee of Experts on Public Administration, where she is one of 24 members on the global panel. Dr. Zarrouk has over 30 years of experience in the Ministry of Interior (MOI) of the Kingdom of Morocco which she served for 17 years as the Secretary General and also served as Division Chief for organization and connections and Director of Legal Affairs. Currently, she is the Director of Training for administrative and technical staff.
Ms. Khawar Mumtaz has a long and distinguished career in the field of environment, gender issues and human rights. Educated at the University of Karachi, Ms. Mumtaz obtained her M.A. in International Relations and has been working in the international arena ever since. She has served as a member of the National Core Group for Beijing follow up; the UNFPA Advisory Panel on Gender Development; Steering Committee of the International Irrigation Management Institute and was the regional councilor for West Asia and Member Bureau of the IUCN. Recently, Ms. Mumtaz was the Chair of the Pakistan National Committee of IUCN Members and is currently the Senior Coordinator of Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre and the Project Director of the Women and Sustainable Development Program of Shirkat Gah, an NGO in Pakistan dedicated to women’s rights which combines advocacy and capacity-building. Ms. Mumtaz is a widely published researcher and writer. She has recently co-authored the Pakistan Poverty Assessment National Report and won the Prime Minister’s Award for her co-authored book, Women in Pakistan: Two Steps Forward One Step Back? Ms. Mumtaz has also helped shape national and international policy in the area of women’s employment, reproductive health and the environment, through reports to the UNDP, FAO, IUCN and UNICEF.
Hon. Zahera Kamal is the General Director of Palestinian Women’s Research and Documentation Center, a UNESCO project. She was the first Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Palestinian Cabinet and established the first Gender Planning and Development directorate at the ministry of Planning. She is a board member of several organizations, including the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling, Palestinian Business Women's Association-Asalla and the International Women's Commission for Just Peace between Palestinian and Israeli people. She was one of the three women in the early 1990’s negotiations with Israel. From 1992 to 1997, she served as coordinator of the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee. Ms. Kamal was a founding member of the Palestinian Federation of Women’s Action and has also served on the boards of several women's organizations including Jerusalem Link and the Jerusalem Center for Women. Ms. Kamal has written a number of articles and studies on Palestinian women, women’s empowerment, peace and the Israeli Palestinian conflict, women and citizenship and enhancing the role of women. She received a bachelor’s degree in physics and chemistry from Ain Shams University, Cairo, and high diplomas in education from Jordanian University and Leicester University.
Selen Lermioglu Yilmaz
Ms. Selen Lermioglu Yilmaz focuses on increasing women's political participation through her work in KA-DER (The Association for Support and Training of Women Candidates). She has been an active member of WINPEACE (Women's Initiative for Peace between Greece and Turkey) promoting peace between the two countries and proposing grass roots methods for peace. Her work is supported by the UNDP in implementing UN SCR 1325. Ms. Yilmaz has held various posts in women's platforms which worked on reforming Turkey’s Civil Code (2000-2001); Penal Code (2004-2005) and acted as the coordinator of the Women's Platform for a New Constitution (2008). Since 2008, she has been working in Cyprus as a consultant in an EU funded Technical Assistance project called The Civil Society Support Team.
Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College
Susan McGee Bailey
Dr. Susan McGee Bailey served as Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor Women’s and Gender Studies and Education at Wellesley College from 1985 until her retirement at the end of 2010. She serves as an International Advisory Board Member at the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese American University. A Wellesley graduate, Dr. Bailey earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and held a postdoctoral fellowship in public health from Johns Hopkins University. Before coming to Wellesley, she directed the Resource Center on Educational Equity at the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, DC, the Policy Research Office on Women's Education at Harvard University and held various posts at the Connecticut State Department of Education. She has taught elementary and secondary school in the United States, Asia and Latin America and has worked in a variety of capacities with community organizations addressing the needs of disabled children. Dr. Bailey has written and lectured extensively on issues of gender equitable public policy in education and employment. She was the principal author of the 1992 Report: How Schools Shortchange Girls. Following the NGO Forum at the Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing, China, she coauthored a guide for junior and senior high school teachers, Shaping a Better World: Global Issues/Gender Issues and in 2003 she coauthored Unsafe Schools: A Literature Review of School-Related Gender-Based Violence in Developing Countries, a publication of USAID
Sri Lanka / USA
Rangita de Silva-de Alwis
Dr. Rangita de Silva-de Alwis is the Director of International Human Rights Policy and the Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She has lectured at the Madeline Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley College and at China Law Center, Yale Law School. Her work focuseson using the international human rights framework to guide law reform initiatives on behalf of women, children and persons with disabilities. Dr. de Silva-de Alwis has worked globally with a vast network of civil society and government organizations to carry out innovative human rights initiatives around the world including, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mexico, Georgia, Egypt, Russia, Kenya, Argentina and Turkey. At WCW, she has developed a Women’s Leadership Network in the Muslim World bringing together change agents at the cutting edge of reform in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. She helped convene the Asia Cause Lawyer Network in India and the Women’s Watch-China and the Gender and Law Expert Working Group in China. She has testified twice before the Congressional Executive Commission on China on the status of women’s rights in China. She also advises UNICEF, UNFPA and the U.N. Secretariat on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is on the Advisory Group brought together by UNIFEM and UNDP to develop United Nations Evaluation Guidelines. Currently, she is a gender adviser UNDP’s efforts to strengthen the Rule of Law in Vietnam. Dr. de Silva-de Alwis has lectured widely in the U.S. and around the world and has published widely in law journals including journals at Yale Law School, Texas University School of Law, Pennsylvania University School of Law and Duke University and United Nations publications. She has a Doctorate in Law (S.J.D.) from Harvard Law School and was a Teaching Fellow with the European Law Research Institute at Harvard Law School and a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.