Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi is the Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and a prominent voice of the feminist movement in Africa advocating for gender equality, voice and participation of women and girls. Abiola unapologetically advocates for gender re-balancing in resources, legal rights and participation, as well as equally social relations. She emphasizes the specific needs of women to promote gender justice in her multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural context. Abiola is currently the Chairperson of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), the largest civil society coalition on elections in Nigeria and Acting Secretary West African Law and Religion Society (WACLAS). A former student leader, she received the 1999 Defenders’ Day Award in December 1999 on the 1st anniversary of UN Human Rights Defenders’ Declaration. Abiola specializes in peace and security, gender and the law, human rights and democratic governance. She has undertaken several national assignments on the review of relevant laws and constitution affecting elections and good governance in Nigeria. As a prominent member of the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) movement, she leads the campaign for safe and secure schools in North East Nigeria and belongs to several boards of organizations in and around Africa. Abiola lectures at the University of Lagos with several academic publications to her credit.
Shukti Anantha is 17-year-old student at Vidhyaashram High School in Mysore, Karnataka, India. She is a passionate youth advocate on issues of adolescent health. She strongly believes in the principles of youth-led accountability in policy processes to make them more youth informed. Shukti is affiliated with a nationwide autonomous youth network on adolescent health advocacy called PWG-STEPS (Policy Working Group - Stepping Towards Enhancing Policy Structures) through which she engages in initiatives to inform India's national adolescent health programme and other relevant programs and policies for young people. Shukti enjoys reading and writing about different issues of social relevance, especially around mental health and well-being.
Pauline Bridget Atieno Anyona is a 28-year-old adolescents and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights advocate and a health budget advocate in the campaign for good governance at the Organization of Africa Youth Kenya. She serves as the Advocacy and Accountability Officer for the PMNCH’s Adolescents and Youth Constituency. As a member of the FP2020’s Youth Advisory Group, she spearheaded the development of the FP2020 accountability framework that was rolled out at the London 2017 FP Summit. She is also part of the secretariat of the Kenya Adolescents and Youth SRHR/ HIV Network. Pauline is passionate about advocacy for improving the delivery of adolescent and youth friendly SRH services and policies, their economic empowerment and how both can be made instrumental in the achievement of the global SDGs.
I am an advocate for women’s health and their empowerment. Strengthening and amplifying women’s voice is my core value in advocating for quality, equity and dignity in maternal health care at national, South Asia and global levels. I have spearheaded several campaigns on maternal health and rights, the most recent being the What Women Want campaign, which amplified the voices of more than 6,000 women of Rajasthan for quality maternal health services. I have spearheaded the White Ribbon Alliance Rajasthan since its launch in 2002. As an executive member of the White Ribbon Alliance India, I contribute to national advocacy for quality and respectful maternal and newborn care.
Naina was appointed CEO of the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network in 2013 and Chair in 2018. Naina’s leadership over the past 7 years has nurtured the AVPN community, growing the membership base by more than 4x and elevating the organization into a truly regional force for good. Under her direction, the organization has grown from focusing only on Venture Philanthropy to supporting the entire ecosystem of social investors, from philanthropists to impact investors and corporate CSR professionals. In 2019, Naina was awarded one of Asia's Top Sustainability Superwomen by CSRWorks. She is also serving as Director of the Global Resilient Cities Network and Trustee at Bridge Institute. Naina’s work on Covid-19 has been important. Under her leadership, In the first half of the 2020, AVPN matched more than $10 Billion of investment to opportunities into COVID-19 recovery along the philanthropy - social finance spectrum.
Ana Claudia Carletto is the Secretary for Human Rights and Citizenship of the city of São Paulo since December 2019. She is a journalist graduated from Faculdade Cásper Líbero and post-graduated in Political Marketing from the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo. She is currently a master's student in the postgraduate program in Smart and Sustainable Cities (PPG-CIS) at Uninove. From 2018 to 2019, she served as Executive Secretary for Policies for Women at the Secretariat for Human Rights and Citizenship of São Paulo. Between 2017 and 2018, she was chief of staff at the São Paulo City Council. In the following years, she was Communication Director of the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo. She began to exercise political activity in the newly created Municipal Secretariat for People with Disabilities and Reduced Mobility of the São Paulo City Hall from 2005 to 2007.
Toyin Chukwudozie is a young woman who is passionate about amplifying the voices of young people in her community, and for the last nine years has continued to push for sustainable social change for young people, especially other young women and girls. She joined Education as a Vaccine (EVA) in 2013 as a sexual and reproductive health and rights counsellor, providing SRHR counselling and information for adolescents and young people via different technology platforms. She is currently the team leader for advocacy and policy influencing at EVA, coordinating the development and implementation of advocacy and policy influencing programmes to uphold the rights of adolescents and young people especially adolescent girls and young women.
Helen Clark was Prime Minister of New Zealand for three successive terms from 1999 to 2008. She was the first woman to become Prime Minister following a General Election in New Zealand and the second woman to serve as Prime Minister. Throughout her tenure as Prime Minister and as a Member of Parliament over 27 years, Helen Clark engaged widely in policy development and advocacy across the international affairs, economic, social, environmental and cultural spheres. She advocated strongly for a comprehensive programme on sustainability for New Zealand and for tackling the challenges of climate change. In April 2009, Helen Clark became Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. She was the first woman to lead the organization and served two terms there. At the same time, she was Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of all UN funds, programmes, agencies and departments working on development issues. As Administrator, she led UNDP to be ranked the most transparent global development organization. She completed her tenure in April 2017. Helen Clark came to the role of Prime Minister after an extensive parliamentary and ministerial career. Prior to entering the New Zealand Parliament, Helen Clark taught in the Political Studies Department of the University of Auckland, from which she earlier graduated with her BA and MA (Hons) degrees.
Dr. E. Osagie Ehanire is Nigeria’s Minister of Health. A specialist in general surgery and orthopaedic trauma surgery by training, he attended Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany and completed his medical residency in North Rhine. He also holds a diploma in anaesthetics from the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland. Dr. Ehanire worked with University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin City, Nigeria, with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria as Divisional Surgeon at the Company Hospital in Warri (Niger-Delta), Nigeria and as a private consultant trauma surgeon. He was appointed to President Buhari's cabinet as Nigeria's Minister of State for Health in 2015 and to the President's second cabinet in 2019 as Minister of Health. He is passionate about advancing universal health coverage and emergency medical services.
Helga Fogstad is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). Strongly committed to human rights, public health and gender issues, Ms Fogstad has extensive experience in forging partnerships and consensus building to promote the health and well-being of women, children and adolescents. She is a health economist with more than 30 years of public health experience, including many years in developing countries at subnational and national levels, as well as at the global level within multilateral and bilateral agencies. Prior to her time at PMNCH, Ms Fogstad was Director of the Department of Global Health, Education and Research at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), a post she held since 2014. In this and other roles at Norad, she guided Norway’s efforts to promote the rapid scale-up of proven cost-effective interventions, with a special focus on the health MDGs for women and children. In this capacity, she was actively engaged in political mobilization and advocacy initiatives, particularly surrounding the implementation of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and related UN commissions on information and accountability, and on life-saving commodities for women’s and children’s health. Helga remains involved in many boards and committees, including the Alliance for Health Policy Systems Research, the Global Health Workforce Alliance, UNITAID, GLOBVAC research programme, the Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction, the Special Programme of Research in Tropical Disease and the Global Fund’s Strategy, Investment and Impact Committee.
Dr. Shannon Hader joined UNAIDS in March 2019 as the Deputy Executive Director, Programme, and Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). She leads UNAIDS’ efforts in promoting an expanded and integrated UN system response to HIV at the country, regional and global levels. A public health physician, her career has reached across research, programme, policy and politics. In 2014, Dr. Hader was appointed Director of the Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to that position, Dr. Hader served as Vice-President and Director for the Center for Health Systems and Solutions at the Futures Group (now Palladium). Dr. Hader brings to the position more than 20 years of international experience in global health, from responding to HIV and infectious diseases to strengthening health systems.
Lisa Hilmi is Executive Director of the CORE Group. She has over 30 years of global health experience in 20+ countries, employing both human rights and community-based participatory approaches to address health disparities for women, children and communities. As a nurse, researcher and public health expert, Lisa has worked for global health in policy, research, emergency relief and response, development, workforce development and health systems strengthening, and from local to global levels. She has worked in development settings, led responses to HIV/AIDS/STIs/GBV in refugee and conflict settings, and developed policy for outbreaks, disasters and epidemics in multiple countries. She has led development, relief and rehabilitation efforts with a combined budget exceeding US$ 180 million. Clinically, Lisa has worked in a paediatric hospital as well as community, academic and crisis settings, and has held leadership positions at the UN, Sigma Theta Tau International, international NGOs and foundations.
David was President of the National Association of Medical Students in Ecuador and General Assistant for the Americas Region at the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA). As a medical doctor, he worked for a year in a rural community in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest in a primary care facility, working with indigenous communities in remote locations. Currently, David is a PMNCH Board Member representing the Adolescent and Youth Constituency and Vice-President for Development at the International Youth Health Organization. David holds an MD and is also an MPH candidate at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona.
Kersti Kaljulaid graduated from the University of Tartu in 1992 and completed master's studies in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in 2001. From 1994 to 1999, she worked in various Estonian companies. From 1999 to 2002, she was Prime Minister Mart Laar's Economic Advisor. From 2002 to 2016 she worked in different sectors, focusing on auditing processes at national and international levels. Kersti Kaljulaid has been a co-author of the social-political radio talk show Keskpäevatund (Midday Hour) in radio station Kuku from 2002 to 2004 and the editor of the Eurominutid (Euro-minutes) radio show from 2007 to 2016 in the same station.
Professor Margaret Kobia is currently the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Government of Kenya. She is a Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship and holds a PhD in Human Resources Education from the University of Illinois. She served as the first woman Chairperson at Public Service Commission from 2013 to 2017. She was the founding Director General of Kenya School of Government and served for five years as Chief Editor of a refereed African Journal of Public Administration and Management. Professor Kobia was a winner of the Commonwealth Gordon Draper Award 2010. In recognition of her exemplary role in public service, she received the Highest Head of State Commendation (MGH) in 2016. At the international level, she is a member of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), was Co-chair Effective Institutions Platform, and was Vice President of the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration Management (CAPAM) from 2010 to 2017.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee is a forceful and progressive voice in Congress, dedicated to social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights. Congresswoman Lee is the Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highest ranking African American woman in the U.S. Congress.
Dr. Ahmad Jawad Osmani graduated from the School of Medicine, Balkh University in 1998 and he got a Master’s Degree in International Health Policy and Management from Brandies University in 2011. Dr. Osmani has more than 20 years of professional experience in academia and public health. He has played an instrumental role in advancing strategic initiatives and public policy changes at national and international organizations, and is committed to bringing more comprehensive changes in the delivery of primary and hospital healthcare services in Afghanistan.
Joy Phumaphi is the Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, an alliance of 49 African Heads of State and Government. In this role, she has overseen the introduction of an accountability and action mechanism for malaria and women’s and children’s health across the African continent. She was a member of the UN High-Level Panel on the Global Response to Health Crises and the UN Reference Group on Economics, and a UN Commissioner on HIV/AIDS and Governance. Ms Phumaphi served the people of Botswana as Principal Local Government Auditor and as a Member of Parliament. She later joined WHO as the Assistant Director-General for Family and Community Health and then served as Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank. Ms Phumaphi sits on boards of several international organizations and is an advisor to a numerous global health initiatives.
Dr Hugo Lopez-Gatell is a medical specialist in internal medicine, holds an MSc in medical sciences and PhD in epidemiology, and has extensive experience in academia and government. He has served as Director General of Epidemiology, as National Focal Point for International Health Regulations at the Ministry of Health, as Director of Innovation in Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control of the Research Center on Infectious Diseases, and as Director of National Health Surveys at the National Institute of Public Health. He was appointed as Vice Minister of Prevention and Health Promotion on 1 December 2018.
Dr. Jennifer Requejo is a Senior Advisor in the Data and Analytics Unit within the Division of Analysis, Planning and Monitoring at UNICEF Headquarters. She serves as the lead of Health and HIV, coordinating the activities of the immunization, HIV, and maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health teams. Prior to joining UNICEF, Jennifer served as an Associate Scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and as the Technical Deputy Director of Countdown to 2030 for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.
Beth Schlachter is the Executive Director of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), a global partnership working together to ensure that women and girls can decide, freely and for themselves, if, when and how often they have children. Beth provides strategic leadership of FP2020, which brings together partner countries, donor governments, civil society, multilateral institutions, foundations and private sector partners to advance rights-based family planning. Prior to FP2020, Beth was a career foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State, serving in positions including Senior Population Policy Advisor overseeing U.S. priorities in multilateral organizations and negotiations related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Mohamed’s story is one of resilience. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, he witnessed the Revolutionary United Front murder his family when he was only five years old. For the next four years, Mohamed was forcefully conscripted to be a child soldier for the same men that murdered his family. In 2002, aged 10, he became homeless and, through the help of UNICEF Sierra Leone, was enrolled in school for the first time. After moving to the United States in 2007, Mohamed completed high school, and went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs. Today, aged 27, Mohamed is an internationally recognized voice for children in armed conflict. He is a member of the High-Level Reflection Group on Strategic Transformation, which advises the Director-General of UNESCO. He is the Education Champion for the Global Partnership for Education and co-hosted the 2018 GPE Replenishment Conference.
Internationally known as Africa’s “Iron Lady,” President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a leading promoter of peace, justice and democratic rule. She grew up in Liberian capital of Monrovia, where she married and had four sons. President Johnson Sirleaf holds an accounting degree from the Madison College of Business and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In her efforts to bring justice to her people in Liberia, she has spent more than a year in jail at the hands of the military dictatorship of General Samuel Doe and had her life threatened by former President Charles Taylor. She served as the Chairperson of the Governance Reform Commission of the National Transitional Government of Liberia until she resigned in March 2004 to accept the nomination of the Unity Party of Liberia as the party’s leader.
Oriana López Uribe (she/her/hers) has been a feminist activist for sexual and reproductive rights and health since she was 15 years old. Based in Mexico, she has worked for the Ministry of Health, and in various organizations and networks to develop strategies to disseminate and promote sexual rights and sexual and reproductive health for women, youth and adolescents. Since 2007 she has been advocating for sexual and reproductive justice at the national, regional and international levels. Since 2010 she has specialized in training abortion doulas and since 2012 in reducing abortion stigma at the individual and community levels. In 2017, she became Balance's Executive Director. Ms Lopez is a member of RESURJ, a Global South-led transnational feminist alliance, and a member of Vecinas Feministas, a Latin American network of feminists for sexual and reproductive justice. She is part of the Supervisory Board of Mama Cash and represents Latin America in the Bisexual Committee of ILGA. In 2011 she received the Omeccihuatl medal from the Women's Institute of Mexico City, due to her commitment to women's autonomy as the manager of the MARIA Fund. In the same year, the World Association for Sexual Health recognized her work in the field of sexual health and youth.
One year into his second term as the Health Minister of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan continues to craft bold plans for his country's future. Not only he is initiating radical reforms in healthcare in his second stint at the Health Ministry, but he also continues to hold fort at the Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, where he dreams of making India as the “Innovation Capital of The World.” Dr. Vardhan was instrumental in enactment of legislations against tobacco and drug abuse. His backing for WHO’s Essential Drug Programme has revolutionised governments’ attitudes towards public healthcare. Dr Vardhan received several awards including the Lions International Service Award, the WHO DG’s Certificate & Commendation Medal for his contribution towards a tobacco-free society, and the Rotary International’s ‘Polio Eradication Champion Award’ to mention a few.
Since August 2016, Ms Gerda Verburg (The Netherlands) has served as UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement, working with the 61 country governments that lead the SUN Movement, united with UN agencies, civil society, business and donors, in a common mission to defeat malnutrition in all its forms. She was appointed by the UN Secretary-General based on her extensive experience in politics and international cooperation. Prior to her appointment, she served as Chair of the Agenda Council for Food and Nutrition of the World Economic Forum, 2014; was elected as Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security, 2013; and served as Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the UN Rome-based agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP) from 2011. Ms Verburg was elected as Chair of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) in 2008, following her appointment the previous year as Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands.
Monique Vledder is the Head of Secretariat and Practice Manager of the Global Financing Facility (GFF). Prior to the establishment of the GFF in 2015, Monique managed the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund, which has committed $436 million in grants linked to $2.4 billion in financing from IDA for 36 results-focused programs in 30 countries. Her expertise in maternal and child health, health financing, and health systems strengthening was built over 20 years of country experience, with a focus on southern Africa, East Asia, and Latin America for the World Bank, the U.K. Department for International Development, and World Vision International.
H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde was elected as the fifth President and first woman President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018. Over the course of her long diplomatic career, she served as Ambassador of Ethiopia to Senegal with accreditation to Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, and the Gambia, Djibouti and France, Tunisia and Morocco. She has also served as Permanent Representative to organizations such as the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), UNESCO and the African Union. President Sahle-Work Zewde joined the United Nations in 2009 and served as Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) thus becoming the first African woman to become an SRSG. In 2011, she was appointed as the first dedicated Director-General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) at the level of Under-Secretary-General. In June 2018, she was appointed as the Secretary- General’s Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU). She was the first woman to hold these two positions.
Nazeem is a prolific singer-songwriter, guitarist, peace ambassador and founding director of his NGO, Dole Ndawi. He uses the transformative power of music to build resilience and positive change within communities and among young people. His music is widely available on digital music platforms and regularly receives national airtime on radio and TV in the Gambia. Since the start of the pandemic, Nazeem has been actively supporting the COVID-19 response within Gambia and on a world stage through regularly performing at global fora. Through his music he builds resilience and hope, reminding us that we are not alone in this.
Titilope Sonuga (she/her/hers) is a writer and performer whose work has graced stages and pages across the globe. Through her practice, she grasps for moments of tenderness and persistent joy at the intersection of blackness and womanhood. She is the author of three collections of poetry: Down to Earth (2011), Abscess (2014) and This Is How We Disappear (2019); and has released two spoken word albums: Mother Tongue (2011) and Swim (2019). Titilope is the writer of three plays: The Six, an intergenerational exploration of womanhood; Naked, a one-woman play; and Ada The Country, a musical. She has facilitated numerous youth and adult poetry workshops locally and internationally. Her writing has been translated into Italian, German and Slovak.
He has a Doctorate in American Studies from the University of Santiago de Chile; and a degree in Journalism from the University National University of La Plata and the University of Chile. He is a specialist in political communication and has participated in various political and academic research groups and is author of books and Hundreds of articles on subjects in his specialty. His latest book is "Squaring the circle: the proposals of solution to the maritime conflict between Chile and Bolivia". He has been responsible for the communication of public and private institutions and organizations internationally.
Mercy Juma is a multi-award-winning broadcast and print journalist with more than eight years of media experience, currently working as a Bilingual Reporter at BBC News, Africa. In 2017, she became the first recipient of the inaugural Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in partnership with ONE and the Elliott family, a continent-wide award that honours journalists in Africa who strives to strengthen people's voices and illuminate the transformational change taking place on the continent. She was also one of the four 2015 United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists Fellows. Mercy is also a strategic communicator, speaker and moderator, and has presented on various platforms including the International Journalism Festival, the United Nations General Assembly and several major global health and science conferences. She holds a master's degree in international relations from United States International University - Africa. One of her biggest commitments is towards creating a culture of equality, inclusion and diversity.
Jane Rabothata is a news person covering a wide range of topics, but strongly passionate about issues around social development and health. She has over eight years of experience as a journalist, working for Channel Africa radio, an external service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Jane has enjoyed working for the station as the platform broadened her knowledge about humanitarian issues that trouble Africa. Some of the stories she has followed closely include: the Ebola outbreak, displacement of civilians in conflict zones, and sexual and reproductive health and rights issues. She is currently closely following the global COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on the repercussions of the pandemic on the lives of children, adolescents and women.
Philomène Djussi Fotso is a radio and web Cameroonian journalist. Holder of a master degree in social and media communication from the university of Douala. She's worked in the field for 10 years and has produced many reports and interviews on social, political and economic topics. Many included the topic of women health. In 2014, she won the prize for best radio reportage at the "Mediations Press Trophies", a national competition open to Cameroonian journalists. Advocate for human rights, Philomène is actively involved in the defence and protection of human rights. She also works daily to enhance the information accessibility regarding reproductive health of the young and adolescents.