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Engender's International Advisory Council

Epifania Amoo-Adare - Ghana

Dr Epifania Amoo-Adare conducts academic and policy-based research in support of ROTA's mission to provide quality basic education, engage youth as leaders, and conduct advocacy within the Middle East and Asia. She is a social science researcher, educator and writer with over 25 years experience working in places like Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ghana, Qatar, the UK, and the USA. Dr. Amoo-Adare has a Ph.D. in Education from UCLA and is also a RIBA part II qualified architect with diverse and transdisciplinary interests in areas such as 'Third World' Feminisms, Cultural Studies, Migration Studies, International Educational Development, Urban Studies, Critical Pedagogy, and Critical Spatial Literacy.

Laura Balbuena - Peru

PhD candidate in Political Science from the New School for Social Research of New York. She holds a MA in Political Science from the same university and a BA in Philosophy from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Ms Balbuena is a researcher and consultant on gender issues, having published articles and given keynote addresses on the subject in different countries. She is currently a professor at the Political Science Department at PUCP and director of Peru Programs at the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University. Ms Balbuena has also taught at the sociological department of Ramapo College and has been a Minority Scholar in Residence at the Political Science department of the Illinois State University at Normal. Ms Balbuena is Secretary General of the Latin American Peace Research Association and a member of the Board of the International Peace Research Association Foundation and of the Executive Council of the Peru Section of the Latin American Studies Association.

Shelley Barry

Shelley Barry holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film degree from Temple University in the USA. Her films have screened at major festivals and events around the world and been acquired by television stations in South Africa and the USA. Awards include an Audre Lorde award for media and Best film awards at many international festivals. Her film “Inclinations” was acquired by MTV and made the top ten best click list on their online site.

Born and raised in the Eastern Cape, Shelley completed graduate studies in English and Drama at the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape. She became a disability rights activist after a shooting in the Cape taxi wars of 1996 that resulted in her being a wheelchair user. She has held positions as Media Manager in the Office on the Status of Disabled Persons in the Presidency and as the National Parliamentary Policy Coordinator for Disabled People South Africa.

Shelley studied video with filmmaker Mira Nair and worked in television as the Program Compliance Advisor for South Africa’s first independent TV station, e.tv. She also worked with the BBC’s Disability Production Unit in London. Shelley has held positions as Chief Examiner of the South African Film and Publications Board and also served on the boards of Mediaworks, and Broadcasting Foundation for Africa. She is associated with Gun Free South Africa and addressed the UN in 2006 on gun violence during the UN review on small arms. She was Carnegie scholar in residence at the University of the Witwatersrand where she made new films and taught experimental cinema and short fiction production.

Shelley served as Programme Manager at Cape Town TV (CTV) - a community television station advocating human rights and social justice. Shelley is currently the founder and director of twospinningwheels productions – a production company that explores new languages in cinema and gives marginalised voices access to filmmaking. Shelley's poetry has been published widely.

Priscilla de Wet - KhoeSan, South Africa

Anastasia de Vries - KhoeSan, South Africa

Anastasia de Vries grew up in Ravensmead, Cape Town, the place that anchors her in her journey through life. She is currently employed by Media24 as book editor and journalist at the Sunday newspaper Rapport. A collection of her stories which have their roots in Ravensmead appeared last year with the title "Baie melk en twie sykers". Anastasia is fascinated by the "untold story", the stories of those, especially women, who do not make the headlines, but from whose quiet wisdom and unconditional giving of the self we grow into the humans we are meant to be.

Angela Dolmetsch - Colombia

I was hatched from my mother's very last ovum when she was 45 years old. I never really learned to comb my hair, nor to tell the difference between my right shoe and my left. Shortcomings attributed to lack of logical prowess. This, however, was well compensated by a good dose of intuition. Attributes that served me in good stead to obtain a law degree, a Master's degree in Latin American Studies from London University and a PhD in Government with a thesis on Colombian Women in Politics. Those same attributes have also enabled me to write a few books.


Zillah Eisenstein - USA

Zillah Eisenstein is Professor of Politics at Ithaca College in New York. Throughout her career her books have tracked the rise of neoliberalism both within the U.S. and across the globe. She has documented the demise of liberal democracy and scrutinised the growth of imperial and militarist globalisation. She has also critically written about the attack on affirmative action in the U.S., the masculinist bias of law, the crisis of breast cancer and AIDS, the racism of patriarchy and the patriarchal structuring of race. Her most recent books include Sexual Decoys, Gender, Race and War in Imperial Democracy.
For more, see: www.ithaca.edu/zillah.

Sokari Ekine - Nigeria

Sokari Ekine is of Nigerian British heritage and grew up in Lagos Nigeria. She is a community organiser and social justice activist with an interdisciplinary background in education, technology, gender and queer studies. She is founder of Black Looks blog, in which she writes critically on Africa and the African Diaspora focusing on intersecting forms of oppressions, marginalisations and discriminations. She has published and spoken on a wide range of issues such as intersecting forms of violence against women in the Niger Delta; Mobile phone activism in Africa; community organising among grassroots women in Haiti and is presently in the process of co-editing a "Queer African Reader" .

Gudrun Frank-Wissman - Germany

Since 1994 for several years shared life with matriarchal people like the Cunama in Eritrea, the Garo in Northeastern India and the Palauan on the Island of Palau. These are the films she has produced: “An Anthropology of the Said and the Unsaid”, “Celebrating the Year of the Earth”, “The most sacred ritual on Palau: Initiation of a mother after first-child-birth”, "Societies in Balance", “Societies of Peace”, “The Andina – Fearless beyond Death”, “Living for Modern Matriarchal Studies – Heide Göttner-Abendroth”, a film-portrait.


Malika Grasshoff - Kabyle, Algeria

Malika Grasshoff, indigenous historian and gender researcher, grew up in a village in the Kabyle Mountains of Algeria inhabited by Berber. With her research that is streaked with her own experience, she presents new, hitherto unpublished insights into rites and myths of the extraordinary life of Berber mothers. She published two books with the name MAKILAM: The Magical Life of Berber Women in Kabylia & Symbols and Magic in the Arts of Kabyle Women (Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 2007) und was a presenter at the first and at the second World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies (2003 in Luxemburg and 2005 in Austin/Texas).


Helen Hye-Sook Hwang - Korea/USA

Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Ph.D. (Korea and USA), is a scholar, teacher, and activist for Goddess Feminism. Hwang earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. degree in Women’s Studies in Religion (Claremont Graduate University, CA) and currently completing her second M.A. degree in East Asian Studies at UCLA. She has reconstructed Magoism, a pan-East Asian gynocentric cultural matrix that venerates Mago, the Great Goddess of East Asia. Hwang advocates Magoism as a historical framework in which women of the world can realize alliances across differences. Previously, she was a member of Maryknoll Sisters in Korea, New York, and the Philippines. Encountering Mary Daly’s Radical Feminism led her to pursue graduate studies.

Vidya Jain - India

Vidya Jain is a Professor of Political Science and Director, Centre for Gandhian Studies, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur (INDIA)
She is APPRA (Asia Pacific Peace Research Association) Deputy-Secretary-General and also a member of the Non-Violence Commission & Global Poltical Economic Commission of IPRA. She is at the Indian Council Of Gandhian Studies and on the advisory committees of many centres for Gandhian studies, centres of women's studies and centres for social exclusion. A widely travelled scholar, she has published 50 publications and made presentations at many international forums. Her area of research are Gandhian studies, peace and non-violence and gender studies.

Linda M. Johnston - USA

Linda M. Johnston is the Executive Director of the Siegel Institute at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research interests include sports-related violence, ethics, bullying, racial and ethnic conflict, and health-related conflict. She has received grants from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a Fellowship from Hands Along the Nile. She has done work in Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Barbados, Nigeria, Egypt, and in the U.S. Dr. Johnston is the President of the International Peace Research Association Foundation and is on the Board of Hands Along the Nile.

Kaarina Kailo - Finland

Kaarina Kailo, Ph.D. is a peace, women's issues and environmental activist of long standing. She has worked as a women's studies professor and in related positions in both Canada and Finland (interim principal of Simone de Beauvoir Institute in Canada, l997) and was nominated European Chair of the International Order of the Helen Caldicott Prize for Women in l999. She is a municipal politician and an adamant promoter of the gift economy, indigenous peoples' rights and solidarity work. She has published numerous books and articles on topics ranging from peace, culture of violence, honor crimes, ecofeminism, gift economy and imaginary, northern women's culture and literature, Sami people and ecomythology. She also creates political patchwork art on Finnish and Finno-Ugric goddesses.

Rauna Kuokkanen - Sami, Finland/Canada

Rauna Kuokkanen is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Aboriginal Studies at the University of Toronto where she teaches Indigenous politics and law in Canada, global Indigenous movements and globalization. She is the author of Reshaping the University: Responsibility, Indigenous Epistemes and the Logic of the Gift (UBC Press, 2007) and Boaris dego eana: Eamiálbmogiid diehtu, filosofiijat ja dutkan (As Old as the Earth: Indigenous Knowledge, Philosophies and Research, 2009) and editor of the anthology on contemporary Sami literature Juoga mii geasuha (2001). Her current research, funded by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is a comparative study of indigenous women in the intersection of self-determination, human rights and structures of violence. She is Sami from Northern Finland.


Rashid Lombard

Rashid Lombard is an internationally renowned photographer and jazz fundi, and CEO of ESPAfrika, the Cape-based company responsible for the largest jazz multi-event in the southern hemisphere, the Cape Town Jazz Festival. Please visit www.espafrika.com for more info on espAFRIKA, or www.capetownjazzfest.com for the latest on the Cape Town Jazz Festival (former North Sea Festival, Cape Town).

Rozena Maart - SA, Canada

Rozena Maart, PhD, born 1962, is a South African writer, and recently head of Gender Studies at the University of Kwazulu Natal. She was born in District Six, the old slave quarter of Cape Town, from where her family was forcibly removed during 1973. With four other women during the 1980s, she started the first Black feminist organisation in Cape Town, Women Against Repression (WAR). She published her first book of poetry in 1990, Talk About It!. She won the Journey Prize in 1992 for her short story "No Rosa, No District Six", which later appeared in her collection, Rosa's District Six. Her novel The Writing Circle (2007) is being made into a feature film.


Haneen Maikey - Palestine/Israel

Based in Jerusalem, Haneen Maikey is a thirty-two-year-old Palestinian queer activist. In late 2001, Haneen worked as the Palestinian Project Co-ordinator for Jerusalem Open House, which began her involvement in the Palestinian queer community and instigated a long process of self-discovery and community development. This period, which began as merely a service-oriented project under the umbrella of a Jewish-Israeli organisation, grew into alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society - independent, grassroots, politically active LGBTQ organization working within Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories. Since 2008, Haneen has been the director of alQaws. Haneen has a first degree in Social Work - specialised in Community organizing - and MA degree in NGOs and Community Organizations Management, both from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Website: www.alqaws.org

Barbara Alice Mann - Iroquois, USA

Barbara Alice Mann, an Ohio Bear Clan Seneca, is a Ph.D. scholar and Assistant Professor in the Honors College at the University of Toledo, in Toledo, Ohio, USA. She has authored nine books, the latest of which is The Tainted Gift (2009), on the deliberate spread of disease to Natives by settlers as a land-clearing tactic. She is currently working on an international project examining historical massacres around the world. Her internationally famous Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas is in its third printing. Two other internationally known books include George Washington's War on Native America (2005, 2007), Daughters of Mother Earth (2006, as Make a Beautiful Way, 2008). Her "'Where Are Your Women?' Missing in Action" (2006) has been anthologised.

Layli Maparyan - USA, Liberia

Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She is the author of two books, The Womanist Reader (2006) and The Womanist Idea (forthcoming). Her passion is spiritual activism and the transformation of social/ecological movement praxis through the incorporation of spiritual practices, methods, and understandings. She is currently working with the University of Liberia to assist with the development of its inaugural Gender Studies Program. Beyond Liberia, her travels in Africa include South Africa, Ghana, and Uganda.

Madeleine Memb - Cameroon

Madeleine Memb was born in Cameroon on 14 July 1957. Memb has been a journalist at Cameroon Radio Television since 1992, focused on women's issues. Since 2006 she coordinates a project aimed at eradicating Female Genital Mutilation in Cameroon. She is also involved in peace building and human security related activities, through TV educative and sensitisation programmes. She lives permanently in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon.


Pramada Menon - India

Pramada Menon is a queer feminist activist, based in India, who has been working on issues of sexuality, gender, sexual rights, women's human rights and many other issues for ever so long that she has now quite forgotten what else she works on and for how long she has been doing it. She does many other things too - daydreams; writes occasionally; performs Fat, Feminist and Free - a performance examining issues of body image, identity and gender; talks and advises incessantly. She is the co-founder of CREA, a feminist human rights organization based in the global South that promotes, protects and advances women's human rights and the sexual rights of all people by strengthening feminist leadership, organizations and movements, influencing global and national advocacy, creating information, knowledge and scholarship, changing public attitudes and practices, and addressing social exclusion. She travels extensively - both within her country of residence as well as internationally and is amazed at the similarity of violations and struggles the world over.

Prachi Murarka - India/USA

Prachi Murarka is guided by a mission of reclaiming and transforming personal and group herstories. As a yoga teacher, healer, performer, and writer, she seeks to underwrite institutions with her pen and work towards liberation of all people. Utilizing a methodology that is both spiritual and pragmatic, her work has included the plays "Yoni Ki Baat” and "Stories We Cannot Tell," and the upcoming book "Even Monks Carry Cell Phones." Prachi is an Indian-American woman, born in Ahmedabad, India, and now living in Oakland, USA. Being on this Council is a strong affirmation, an honor, and a privilege.


Valentina Pakyntein - Khasi, India

Valentina Pakyntein is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, India, for the past 15 years. She researches her people, the Matrilineal Khasi of Meghalaya, and a number of her insightful articles relating to the Khasi Society has been published.



Leena Parmar - India

Professor Leena Parmar is former head Department of Sociology, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. She did her M.A. from Rajasthan University, securing First Position in order of merit. Her doctoral thesis is on Military Sociology (first Ph.D. in the country in Military Sociology). Professor Parmar has presented research papers at several international seminars. Professor Leena Parmar has done research on various social aspects of Indian Army. She has been awarded AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE by Universal Peace Federation and "YOU INSPIRE US" award from Women's Peace-power Foundation, Inc. Florida, USA, for her research. Professor Leena Parmar has written 6 books and more than 50 articles.

Ena Pena - Peru

Rodney Plimpton

Rodney Plimpton has more than 30 years of hands-on experience in management consulting, senior team facilitation, and human resources with both Fortune 500 clients, and smaller firms. He holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth, with High Distinction, and a Ph.D. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is certified as a Senior Human Resource Professional by the Society for Human Resources Management, and has been a member of the Organization Development Network since 1971. He is currently on the Boards of The Household Goods recycling Ministry in Acton, MA, and The Camden Yacht Club.

Alejandra Sardá-Chandiramani - Argentina/Netherlands

Alejandra Sardá-Chandiramani is a sexual rights activist from Argentina trapped in the body of a grantmaker living in the Netherlands. An activist since the early 90s, she coordinated the Latin American and Caribbean Programme of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC); represented the Sexual Rights Initiative in lobbying for sexual rights at the UN Human Rights Council; and was among those drafting the Inter-American Convention on Sexual Rights and Reproductive Rights, a civil society initiative that is currently being negotiated in the Inter-American human rights system. Since 2010, she is the Senior Programme Officer for Women’s Funds in Mama Cash.

Sobonfu Some - Burkina Faso

Sobonfu Somé is a respected author, lecturer, activist and one of the foremost voices in African spirituality. She travels the world on a healing mission, sharing the rich spiritual life and culture of her native land Burkina Faso, West Africa. She is the author of The Spirit of Intimacy, Welcoming Spirit Home, Falling Out of Grace and the CD set Women's Wisdom from the Heart of Africa. Visit Sobonfu.com or Wisdomspringinc.org.

Ursula Oswald Spring - Mexico

Úrsula Oswald Spring is a full-time professor and researcher at the National University of Mexico, in the Regional Multidisciplinary Research Centre and the first MRF-Chair on Social Vulnerability at United National University Institute for Environment and Human Security. She was elected President of the International Peace Research Association in 1998, and between 2002 and 2006 she was General Secretary of Latin-American Council for Peace Research. From 1992 to 1998 she was also the first Minister of Environmental Development in Morelos. She has written 48 books and more than 320 scientific articles and book chapters. She founded the Peasant University of the South in Mexico and is an adviser of women and environmental movements. Since 2009 she has been establishing a national network of water researchers.

Suzanne Stevens - USA

Mother, Daughter, Sister, Grandmother, Life Partner,Teacher, Group Home Director, Corporate Executive, International Business Consultant, and Founder of Hope Springs Institute. Her passion is to be a student in her own spiritual healing and to support others on this path. She is a seeker and practitioner of body, mind, and spirit practices that open and heal. For Suzanne, utilizing the land and tending to the body is fundamental to the process of spiritual healing.



Monica Tabengwa - Botswana

Monica Tabengwa is a legal practitioner and enrolled to practise within the courts of Botswana since 1995. Tabengwa a human rights defender and activist and have been actively involved in organising for human rights since 1997, her main areas of interest being women, children and sexual minorities especially LGBTIs. She is the current Chair of LEGABIBO and an active member of the Coalition of the African Lesbians (CAL), and is presently part of a team leading the action against the government of Botswana to decriminalise same sex sexual conduct. Mabengwa has considerable experience litigating for women and children rights and is presently providing legal counsel to LEGABIBO and members.


Carlotta Tyler - USA

Carlotta Tyler, M.S.O.D., Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation has conducted a successful coaching and consulting practice on five continents for three decades. Carlotta’s career has taken her from community development to corporate boardrooms, from parenting to politics, from Boston to Bangkok. A pioneer in developmental coaching, she crafted the Continuous Improvement Career Coaching© Model. She is also an alumna of UNH, American University and National Training Institute in Washington, DC and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. She is certified in Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), is a Gender Reconciliation Trainer, a Reiki Master and trained in RYSE® at the Polarity Institute.


Annine van der Meer - Netherlands

Dr Annine E. G. van der Meer, historian of religion and PhD in theology. She received her Doctorate in 1989 under Professor Dr. Gilles Quispel, who acquainted her with Sophia, the wife of God in gnosticism. She has done a post doctorate research on Sophia and the female side of God in Judaism and Christianity. She has travelled widely to retrace the track of the hidden Mother in her images and symbols. She gives regular talks, lectures and courses. She is founder and president of Academie PanSophia, which is a knowledge centre for matriarchy and oneness awareness. For more, see AcademiePanSophia.nl.


Genevieve Vaughn

Genevieve Vaughan Born in Texas in 1939, Genevieve is an independent researcher who has been working for many years on the idea and philosophy of a gift economy. She founded the all-woman Foundation for a Compassionate Society based in Austin, Texas, which was in operation in many areas from 1998 to 2005. Her book For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange was published in 1997 and is available together with her second book Homo Donans, two edited anthologies and lots of other material free on her website www.gift-economy.com. She now lives part time in Italy. Gift Economy website.


Maria Eugenia Vilareal - Mexico/Guatemala

Maria Eugenia Vilareal is a sociologist with over 15 years of experience in Mexico and Central America in three areas: Human Rights, Peace Education and Child Protection and human security. She has published 15 books about sexual exploitation and the trafficking of children, several articles for specialist publications and video films.


Yvonne Vinson - USA

Yvonne Miller Vinson, Co-Founding Director of The Mindful Community Institute has worked with diverse communities during the past quarter-century to enhance and create educational and learning environments for people. Educated at San Jose State University, Yvonne has a strong foundation of professional experiences in marketing, educational programming and as an events logistics specialist for educational/arts institutions, government, business and community organizations. She worked many years with the Women’s Research and Resource Center at Spelman College on transnational women and gender studies programs in the US, South America and South Africa. Each experience has been a step on Yvonne’s path of service: enhancing community circles.




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EQUALITY...is the thing. It is the only true and central premise from which constructive ideas can radiate freely and be operated without prejudice.

Mervyn Peake



God has chosen what
the world regards as
foolish to shame the
wise, and what the
world regards as weak, God has chosen to
shame the strong, and
what the world regards
as low, contemptible,
mere nothing, God has chosen…

[Bible, First Lesson,
I Corinthians I: 27-28]







Men will never be free until women enjoy full gender equality.

Kumi Naidoo, CIVICUS Secretary-General
International Women’s Day, 8 March 2007









If you have a society of selfish people, combined one-to-one with altruistic people, theoretically the altruists should be wiped out. But altruists can co-operate. Which gives them a strong advantage. That is the cause of hope.

Matthieu Ricard









Abundance is your natural state
Out of abundance g-d took abundance
and still abundance remained.

The Upanishads



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