Celebrating UN Women: The Way Forward, in conjunction with CSW55

Event Details

  • Time


  • Date

    26 Feb, 2011

  • Location

    • John Tishman Auditorium at The New School
    • 66 West 12th Street New York, NY
  • Contact


Mahnaz Afkhami

Founder and President of Women’s Learning Partnership, Executive Director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies, and former Minister for Women’s Affairs in Iran

Lina Abou-Habib

Executive Director of the Collective for Research and Training on Development–Action (CRTD-A)

Leila Ahmed

Victor S. Thomas Chair at Harvard Divinity School, previously professor of Women’s Studies and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst

Karima Bennoune

Professor of Law at Rutgers University, member of board of trustees of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and board member of Council of the Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws

Charlotte Bunch

Founding Director and Senior Scholar the Center for Women's Global Leadership, Rutgers University

Radhika Balakrishnan

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

Yakin Ertürk

Professor of Sociology at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Director of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) from 1997-1999, and most recently, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

Asma Khader

Lawyer and human rights activist, General Coordinator of Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI/J), Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, former Minister of Culture and Government Spokesperson for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and former President of the Jordanian Women’s Union

Frances Kissling

Former president of Catholics for a Free Choice and a visiting scholar at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania

Sindi Medar-Gould

Executive Director of the Nigeria-based organization BAOBAB for Women's Human Rights

Thoraya Obaid

Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Sakena Yacoobi

Executive Director and founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)

Women’s strength, women’s industry, women’s wisdom are humankind’s greatest untapped resource.
Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women

WLP, in partnership with The Center for Public Scholarship & Gender Studies Program at The New School, will present a symposium in conjunction with the 55th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to celebrate the launch of UN Women, the most significant structure yet devised by the community of nations to address the challenges and strategies for bringing about fundamental and all-encompassing change in gender relations. Women leaders from across the globe will provide insight into challenges women face, and offer visions, hopes, and strategies for the new entity.

View full program for Celebrating UN Women: The Way Forward

We begin the second decade of the 21st century facing grave challenges around the world. At the heart of these challenges - environmental degradation, extremist ideologies, poverty, income disparity, violence, crises in government, dilemmas of globalization, and expansion of information technology - we find gender inequality as the issue cross-cutting race, ethnicity, religion, and class. 

In addition to WLP representatives, the following individuals contribute:

Michelle Bachelet (Chile) will give the keynote address. Michelle is the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Dr. Bachelet is the former President of Chile, served as Defense Minister and Minister of Health, and on the Political Committee for the country’s Socialist Party.

Mallika Dutt (India/USA) is the president and CEO of Breakthrough, and has authored several articles and essays including "With Liberty and Justice for All: Women's Human Rights in the United States." Previously, Mallika was Program Officer for the Human Rights & Social Justice Program at the Ford Foundation's New Delhi office. 

Farah Karimi (Iran/Netherlands) is the Executive Director of Oxfam Novib. Ms. Karimi served as a member of the House of Representatives with the GreenLeft party in Netherlands and is Founder and President of Bridging the Gulf, a foundation for human security in the Middle East. 

Arien Mack (USA) is Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, where she has edited Social Research: An International Quarterly since 1970. Professor Mack is also the founder of Journal Donation Project and the Endangered Scholars Worldwide initiative.

Ann Snitow (USA) is a feminist activist, writer, and Director of the Gender Studies Program at The New School, where she is also a professor of literature and gender studies. Dr. Snitow is a co-founder and Board Member of the Network of East-West Women and co-founder of Take Back the Future.

June Zeitlin (USA) currently serves as the Director of the CEDAW Education Project at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).


9:30 am - 9:45 am

Welcome: Arien Mack (USA), Editor, Social Research Journal
Introductory remarks: Mahnaz Afkhami (Iran/USA), Founder & President, Women’s Learning Partnership

9:45 am - 10:15 am

Keynote Address: Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Executive Director, UN Women

10:15 am - 12:15 pm 

Panel 1: Our Vision for UN Women: Views from the Field

Wajeeha Al Baharna (Bahrain) – Executive Director, Bahrain Women Association
Sindi Medar-Gould (Nigeria) – Executive Director, BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights
Asma Khader (Jordan) – General Coordinator, Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan
Mallika Dutt (India/USA) – President & CEO, Breakthrough
Sakena Yacoobi (Afghanistan) – Executive Director, Afghan Institute of Learning

Lina Abou-Habib (Lebanon) – Executive Director, Collective for Research & Training on Development-Action

12:15 pm - 12:45 pm 

Reflections on Regional and Global Work with the UN: Thoraya Obaid (Saudi Arabia) – Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations & Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund

12:45 pm - 2:00 pm  Lunch break

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm 

Panel 2: Culture, Religion, and Human Rights: Applying What We Have Learned

Leila Ahmed (Egypt/USA) – Victor S. Thompson Professor, Harvard Divinity School
Karima Bennoune (Algeria/USA) – Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law
Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka) – Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
Francis Kissling (USA) – Visiting Scholar, Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania

June Zeitlin (USA) – Director, CEDAW Education Project at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Education Fund

3:30 pm - 4:45 pm 

Panel 3: Where Do We Go from Here?

Yakin Ertürk (Turkey) – Professor of Middle East Technical University, Member, European Committee on the Prevention of Torture
Charlotte Bunch (USA) – Founder & Former Director, Center for Women's Global Leadership, Rutgers University
Farah Karimi (Iran/Netherlands) –  Executive Director, Oxfam Novib
Mahnaz Afkhami (Iran/USA) – Founder & President, Women’s Learning Partnership

Ann Snitow (USA) – Professor of Literature and Gender Studies, Director of the Gender Studies Program, The New School

4:45 pm - 5:00 pm  Concluding Remarks


Celebrating UN Women
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