Dr. Rangita de Silva de Alwis argues that it is time to retire traditional notions of transitional justice that disregard women’s experiences.
Rangita de Silva de Alwis, S.J.D., WCW senior scholar and associate dean of International Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, was appointed an Advisor to the United Nations (U.N.) Strategic Development Goals (SDG) Fund. In November 2017, she highlighted the potential impact of a new report for the SDG Fund, Business and SDG 16: Contributing to Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, via Inter Press Service news agency.
Wellesley College has joined the U.S. State Department and its sister colleges in presenting the inaugural Women in Public Service Summer Institute on Wellesley’s campus June 11-22, 2012. An integral part of the Women in Public Service Project, the pilot institute is a first-of-its-kind, two-week program that is training the next generation of women leaders.
Interview by Susan Lowry Rardin
A lawyer armed with the law in the form of three UN Human Rights Conventions, Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D. seeks to amplify women’s efforts on behalf of equality and justice. One of her recent leadership events, organized with Morocco’s Ministry of the Interior, was the “Rabat Roundtable: Women Leading Change in the Arab and Muslim Communities,” which was held late in the 2011 Arab Spring and involved women leaders from the Middle East/North Africa region. Her strategies, which focus especially on Asia and the Muslim/Arab communities, feature the building of networks of women’s organizations and the linking of interest groups—especially through the power of those international human rights Conventions, as she describes in this interview.
Research & Action Report, Spring/Summer 2011
by Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D.
Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D., the director of international human rights policy programs at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), partnered with the Moroccan Ministry of the Interior, The Kingdom of Morocco, to present a seminal program, “Rabat Roundtable: Women Leading Change in the Muslim World,” May 16–17, 2011, in Rabat, Morocco. This critical Roundtable was originally organized in partnership with the Hon. Dr. Moushira Khattab, the former Minister for Family and Population of Egypt, to be held in Cairo under the auspices of the Ministry of Family and Population, Egypt with whom de Silva-de Alwis has partnered with in her work with the Legislative Reform Initiative along with UNICEF. The political changes sweeping Egypt and other countries propelled WCW and its partners to seize the transformative potential of these historic movements and to reconvene the program in Rabat this May. The Roundtable brought together leading women’s rights advocates from the Muslim World for high-level discussion and debate to ensure that women are part of the important reformist and decision making processes. Over two dozen local, women government officials from Morocco joined the Roundtable initiating a global-to-local exchange.
Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2006
Rangita de Silva-de Alwis joined women leaders from across the world in Washington DC at the inaugural conference launching the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Women’s Democracy Network (WDN) to foster relationships and help the leaders advance as their countries make the transition to democracy.
Research & Action Report, Spring/Summer 2011
In February, Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D. served as a panelist on the program, “Expanding Access to Education and Employment Opportunities for Girls and Women with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) —Strategy for Action!” during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York, NY. Her presentation was on “STEM: Expanding opportunities for women and girls with disabilities in education and employment.” Also in February, de Silvade Alwis presented her paper, “Examining Gender Stereotypes in New Work/ Family Reconciliation Policies,” accepted for publishing in the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, during the Duke University Law School spring symposium.
Women in a Changing China—March 8, 2010
Below is an excerpt of a testimony offered by Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D., director of international human rights policy programs at the Wellesley Centers for Women. [The hearing was convened March 8, 2010, pursuant to notice, at 2:00 p.m., in room B-318, Rayburn House Office Building, Douglas Grob, Co-chairman’s Senior Staff Member, presiding.] Also present were Charlotte Oldham-Moore, Staff Director; Kara Abramson, Advocacy Director; Abigail C. Story, Manager of Outreach and Special Projects; Anna Patella, Congressional-Executive Commission on China; and Lindsey Purdy, Lagai Research Foundation.
At this CECC Roundtable, a panel of experts explored the Chinese government’s progress and challenges in addressing women’s rights issues. China ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1980. Thirty years later, what has been the impact of this commitment? What progress has been made at the central and local level toward greater protection of women’s rights? What specific challenges remain?
March 8, 2010
Letter to the Editor submitted by Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, S.J.D., to The New York Times Magazine in response to their special issue, "Why Women's Rights Are the Cause of Our Time"; published August 23, 2009. (unpublished)
August 24, 2009
Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2009
In November, Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, LL .M., S.J.D., served as a moderator at the Conference on Legislative Reform to Achieve Human Rights held in New York, NY. Presentations provided an opportunity for representatives of participating organizations to showcase their current work on legislative reform and discuss challenges and opportunities to achieve human rights, specifically those of children, and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Earlier that month, her work was presented at the Dialogue on National Monitoring of Human Rights Treaties, also in New York, NY.
In January, de Silva-de Alwis traveled to Bangladesh and Nepal for the disability rights conferences outlined in the previous article. The following month, she presented a discussion on Women’s Rights Advocacy in China at The Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations: Social Policy: Culture, Belief, andGender in a Changing Asia program in Cambridge, MA. As a member of the advisory board of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG), de Silva-de Alwis attend the Workshop on Gender Equality and Human Rights Evaluation Guidance held in February in New York, NY. In April she attended the Geneva meeting held on Mainstreaming Disability and MDG Policies, Processes and Mechanisms. The UNEG is a professional network that brings together the units responsible for evaluation in the UN system, including the specialized agencies, funds, programs and affiliated organizations, decided to develop guidance on integrating human rights and gender equality perspectives into evaluation within the UN system. In March, de Silva-de Alwis attended the International Conference on Violence Against the Girl Child held in The Hague. The conference focused on violence against the girl child in the home and family. In May, she traveled to Cambodia for work to build disability rights coalitions before then traveling to India for the Asia Cause Lawyer Network Steering Committee Meeting and Seminar on Disability Rights for Women.
Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2009
Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, LL.M., S.J.D., director of International Human Rights Policy Programs at the Wellesley Centers for Women, reflects on ways the Universal Declaration of Human Rights informs the Centers’ newest international work.
Global Connections: U.S.-Saudi Women's Forum on Social Entrepreneurship and Women's Leadership Network
October 15, 2008
August 15, 2008
June 15, 2008
The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
May 21, 2008
UNICEF and the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) convened a seminal Asian regional conference, Women and Children: the Human Rights Relationship, December 9-10, 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand. This conference was conceptualized by UNICEF’s Global Policy Section as part of a major initiative on human rights-based approaches to women’s and children’s rights. Rangita de Silva-de Alwis, senior advisor for international programs at WCW, led the organizing of this innovative and dynamic conference that had as its aims and goals an exciting agenda for change on the intersections of women’s and children’s rights.
Research & Action Report Fall/Winter 2007
Rangita de Silva-de Alwis made a presentation on new developments in women’s rights lawmaking and judicial decision making in Asia, within a human rights framework, to the Private Sector Team at Oxfam America, headquartered in Boston, MA, in May.
Research & Action Report Fall/Winter 2008
Research & Action Report Spring/Summer 2008
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.