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Members of the International Board

Kamla Bhasin

Kamla Bhasin passed away on 25 September 2021. Read Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold's obituary for her friend and co-president here.

For almost 50 years, Kamla Bhasin has been building the capacities of activists and networking civil society organisations on issues related to gender, human rights, peace and sustainable livelihoods, internationally, in South Asia and in her native India. After studying economics and sociology, she began working on these issues at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, where she spent 27 years. Since 1998 she has been active with Sangat – a Feminist Network that she currently coordinates. She also conducts workshops and training courses on gender, peace and sustainable development for women’s groups, international and regional NGOs, senior government officials, parliamentarians and various UN agencies. Kamla Bhasin is also the South Asia coordinator of One Billion Rising, a global campaign to stop violence against women. She has authored several books for activists on patriarchy, gender, feminism, masculinity and pluralism as well as songs for children and for the women’s movement. Kamla Bhasin has been co-president of PeaceWomen Across the Globe since 2003.

Vested interests: board member of the following organisations: Jagori Rural Charitable Trust and the NGO Nishtha, Himachal Pradesh, India; SWAYAM, Kolkata India; Action Aid International, New Delhi, India.

Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold

The politician and ethnologist Ruth-Gaby Vermot Mangold launched the initiative "1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005", taking over the co-presidency of the successor association PeaceWomen Across the Globe in 2006. From 1995 to 2008, she was a member of the Swiss Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, for which she was, among other things, spokesperson for the improvement of the refugee situation in the South Caucasus, conducted investigations into femicide in Mexico and investigated cases of organ trafficking in Eastern Europe. She also co-authored the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. After studying ethnology and sociology, she worked for several years in various African countries on women's and human rights. In Switzerland, she headed the "Schulstelle 3. Welt" in the 1980s, wrote development and peace policy teaching materials and conducted training for teachers. In 1988 she founded the Hekate office; she still coaches women in difficult professional situations. Today, her focus is on the role of women in conflict transformation and their concrete participation in peace processes.

Vested Interests: President of the Swiss Monitoring Centre for Asylum and Immigration Law, Bern, Switzerland; President of the Somazzi Foundation, Bern, Switzerland; Board member, Geneva Call, Geneva, Switzerland; Board Member, Freedom and Human Rights Foundation, Bern, Switzerland.

Sandy Fong

Sandy Fong has been involved with PeaceWomen Across the Globe since the start of the initiative in 2003. She served as the PeaceWomen Across the Globe regional coordinator for the Pacific region prior to joining the International Board. She has worked with various NGOs internationally and in Fiji, including setting up the Dialogue Fiji secretariat and briefly as the Programme Manager for the Citizens Constitutional Forum before moving to Switzerland. Sandy Fong is Fundraising and Donor Coordination Manager for the CHS Alliance in Geneva.

Vested Interests: None

Sidonia Gabriel

For more than 15 years, Sidonia Gabriel has engaged in peace, reconciliation and human rights work. Her focus lies in conflict and risk analysis, supporting peace processes, dialogue facilitation and strategic networks for political engagement. She also is actively engaged in strengthening women’s participation and decision-making in political processes. She has worked for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the European Union, the United Nationa as well as for local and international civil society organisations in various conflict and post-conflict countries. She developed new approaches to working in networks in her function as the director of KOFF, the Swiss platform for peacebuilding, and as the Head of the Policy and Platform team at swisspeace. Her training modules, both online and live, on conflict sensitivity have gained international recognition. She is currently a Human Security Advisor at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  

Vested interests: The FDFA, one of PeaceWomen Across the Globe’s donors, is informed and gave the green light for the mandate as PWAG board member.

Anna Hess Sargsyan

As Senior Program Officer in the Mediation Support Team at the Center for Security Studies at the ETH Zurich Anna Hess Sargsyan has spent the past 10 years working on mediation support and peace process design with a regional focus on the OSCE area. Through inclusive process design and relevant research, her work has been focusing on dialogue facilitation, women’s participation in peace processes, multitrack peace mediation and civil society-academic exchanges in contexts ranging from the post-Soviet space to South East Asia. Alongside peace process support, Anna Hess Sargsyan has been developing educational programs in conflict settlement and peace mediation, from a week-long course to multi-module training programs offered to a broad scope of professionals both from the public service sector, as well as civil society. Anna’s research interests evolve around challenges to peace mediation in protracted conflicts, particularly in contexts where geopolitics overshadows ongoing peace processes.

Vested interests: none

Margret Kiener Nellen

Margret Kiener Nellen is a lawyer and former member of the Swiss parliament (National Council, 2003-2019). From 1982 to 1984, she worked as rapporteur in South East Asia for the International Commission of Jurists. The focus of her assignment was the former Philippine military dictatorship. At that time, she was also involved as a lawyer in developing the first social clause for fair labour conditions between Migros in Switzerland and Del Monte in the Philippines. Her political focus is on equal opportunities and women’s rights, improved conditions for employees and social justice for everyone. She is committed to social and ecologically sustainable fiscal policy. As a member of the Swiss parliament, she is a member of the Finance and Legal Committee, the delegation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and its Committee for Human Rights, as well as the parliamentary delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Margret Kiener Nellen has been an active Board member for PeaceWomen Across the Globe since 2010.

Vested Interests: former National Councillor (SP), Bern, Switzerland; partner in law firm Kiener & Nellen, Berne, Switzerland; Member of the syndicom Social Policy Commission, Berne, Switzerland; Foundation Board Member of the tilia Foundation for Long-term Care, Köniz, Switzerland; Foundation Board member of the Swiss Greina Foundation for the Conservation of Alpine Watercourses, Zurich, Switzerland; Member of the Cantonal Conference for the Disabled, Berne, Switzerland; President of the Bolligen Women's Gymnastics Association, Switzerland; Member of the Executive Committee of the Interparliamentary Union, Berne, Switzerland; President of the Berne Sports Association, Berne, Switzerland; Member of the Swiss Women's Football Council; Member of the Diemtigtal Regional Nature Park.

Kin Chi Lau

Kin Chi Lau is a professor of comparative literature, critical pedagogy, global culture, local governance, and negotiating violence. She lectures at the Department of Cultural Studies at the Lingnan University in Hong Kong. In addition, she is the co-chair of the Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA), a network of scholar-activists in Asia; vice-president of the World Forum for Alternatives; and a founding member of the Global University for Sustainability. She has written on modernisation, rural regeneration, resurgent patriarchy, and alternative practices in China, and she has produced documentary films on women and peace in China. Kin Chi Lau has been a member of the International Board of PeaceWomen Across the Globe since 2003 and is the regional coordinator for East Asia. 

Vested interests: Board Member of the World Forum on Alternatives, Dakar, Senegal; Board Member of the Global University for Sustainability, Hong Kong, China; Board Member of ARENA, Hong Kong, China.

Christine Menz

Christine Menz has been a member of the board since 2003 and is one of the founding members of PeaceWomen Across the Globe. In this capacity, she actively contributed to the establishment of the organisation. As an "ambassador" of PeaceWomen Across the Globe she carried out important mediation and integration work in various regions of the world. Since then, Christine Menz supports PeaceWomen Across the Globe in a wide range of strategic issues and extraordinary situations. She is an entrepreneur and company founder. Prior to that, she has held executive positions in various international companies. As a researcher and lecturer in research methodology, she led research projects in the field of cognitive psychology at several Swiss universities.

Vested Interests: None

Alejandra Miller Restrepo

Alejandra Miller Restrepo, an economist and political scientist, lives and works in Bogotà, Colombia. She was elected to the official National Truth Commission of Colombia in November 2017 and is one of five women on the eleven-member panel. The Truth Commission is interviewing survivors of the armed conflict between the FARC and the Colombian government for three years. Alejandra Miller Restrepo is a researcher and teacher of gender issues at the University of Cauca. She focuses on the impact on women of the armed conflict in Colombia. From 2003 to 2015, she was the coordinator in Cauca Department of the PeaceWomen Across the Globe partner organisation, Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres. She has had a seat on the PeaceWomen Across the Globe International Board since 2013.

Vested Interests: None

Cecile Mukarubuga

Cecile Mukarubuga is a development leader with over 30 years’ experience working for government, the UN and International NGOs. She served as an International Gender Expert at the Office of the President in Togo. Prior to that she was UNFPA Resident Representative in Togo and UNWOMEN Regional Director for West Africa.

Before joining the UN System, she worked in the private sector and for International NGOs across Africa, including Agency for Cooperation and Development (ACORD) and the Africa office of the International Planned parenthood Federation. For more than 10 years, the main focus of her work was on national and regional initiatives on peace building, including community reconciliation, and the psychological and economic reintegration of women survivors of armed conflict. She has published books and articles on peace and conflict transformation. Throughout her career, she provided representation and advocacy services at international and highest government level as well as in resource mobilization, institutional development and management, strategic planning, international programming, and peace building. Cecile Mukarubuga has been a board member of PeaceWomen across the Globe since 2013.

Vested interests: She is a board member of the following organisations: the Green Village Foundation, USA; the Africa Center for Sustainability, Kenya; Solidarity, Health and Development, Belgium; and the online Global University.

Margo Okazawa-Rey

Margo Okazawa-Rey is the regional representative of PeaceWomen Across the Globe in the USA. She is one of the co-founders of the International Women's Network Against Militarism. The IWNAM educates about and campaigns against militarism and, in particular, the presence and impacts of US military bases and operations in East Asia and the Pacific. Her main areas of research and activism since 1994 are militarism, armed conflict, and violence against women, understood intersectionally. She is involved with feminist activists in East Asia, Pacific, and Palestine. 

She is a member of the International Advisory Board of Durebang - My Sisters Place, in Uijongbu, South Korea, and Board President of the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID). She is Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University. She was also the Barbara Lee Distinguished Chair in Women’s Leadership at Mills College, Oakland, CA, USA, and Feminist Research Consultant at the Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling in Ramallah, Palestine. Margo Okazawa-Rey joined the Board in 2003. 

Vested Interests: President, Board of Directors AWID Washington DC, Toronto, Mexico City, Cape Town.

A nominee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize and renowned human rights advocate, Sima Samar has dedicated her life to humanitarian work and advocating for human rights, equality, access to justice, the reduction of conflicts and the empowerment of women, children and minorities. Sima Samar, a medical doctor, was a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement from 2019-2021 and has held the following positions in Afghanistan: chairperson of the Commission for the Prevention of Torture, Special Envoy for the President of Afghanistan, State Minister for Human Rights and International Affairs, chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (2002-2019), and Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs in the interim government (2001-2002). She also was the chairperson of Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (2017-2018), UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan (2005-2009) and a member of the United Nation Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation (2018-2021). In 1989 she founded the Shuhada Organization, an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to the welfare and progress of Afghan citizens with a focus on the empowerment of women in Afghanistan. She also served on Shuhada’s board. In 2011 she founded and served as chair and trustee of Gawharshad University, one of PeaceWomen Across the Globe’s project partners. She has won numerous awards, including the 2012 Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Since 2017 she serves as a jury member.

In 2021 she moved to the United States where she currently is a Visiting Scholar at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University.  

Vested interests: None 

Susanne Schneeberger

Peace work and women’s empowerment have been the theme of theologian Susanne Schneeberger’s work for many years. In Switzerland she has encouraged women from all age groups to engage in open dialogue and local initiatives through organising discussion forums. With the Lutheran Church of Bethlehem, she has been involved in different dialogue projects with women and young people in the occupied territories of Palestine. At present, Susanne Schneeberger is working at the OeME Department (Ecumenism, Migration and Development Work) of the Bern – Jura – Solothurn Reformed Churches. Justice, human rights, participation, poverty reduction, resource distribution and global responsibility are the focal point of her work. Susanne Schneeberger joined the Board of PeaceWomen Across the Globe in 2016.

Vested Interests: Co-President Guatemala Network, Berne, Switzerland; Member of the Management Committee Berner Pensionskasse, Bern, Switzerland.