Who Are We

The Conveners’ Group

Irene M. Santiago

Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Women ’95, is the Lead Convener of the Global Campaign on Women, Peace and Security.

The initiator of this campaign, Ms. Santiago was executive director of the highly successful NGO Forum on Women held in China in 1995. As the parallel NGO for its impact on issues that confronted women at the end of the last century and continue to confront them in this new one. With 30,0000 participants, it was the largest international conference on women in history.

Ms. Santiago is one of the few women in the world with experience in formal peace negotiations, having served from 2001-2004 on the government panel negotiating with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). She brought to the negotiations three decades of experience working with Muslims, especially women, in Mindanao (the second largest island in the Philippines), as well as varied experiences with NGOs and the UN system having served as UNIFEM’s Chief of the Asia/Pacific Section from 1988 to 1994. In  2005, Ms. Santiago was one of the 1000 women collectively nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Chair Emerita and CEO of the Mindanao Commission on Women, and Convener of Mothers for Peace movement in the Philippines, she is well known internationally as strong advocate of gender equality to transform society.

Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director of Oxfam International. As a devoted champion and recognized expert on women’s rights, she served 10 years as a member of the Ugandan parliament and founded the still-living civil society organization. Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE). She advocated for gender mainstreaming as director of gender directorates at the African Union Commission and then, on the global stage, at the United Nations Development Programme. As part of her drive to bring women’s perspectives into core development issues, she co-founded a Global Gender and Climate Alliance and chaired UN-wide task forces on gender aspects of the Millennium Development Goals and Climate Change.

Ambassador Karim Chowdhury

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (2002-2007), Ambassador of Bangladesh to the UN (1996-2001), and initiator of the conceptual breakthrough for UNSCR 1325 as Security Council President in 2000. He has devoted many years as an inspirational champion for sustainable peace and development ardently promoting the culture of peace.

His determined leadership led to UN General Assembly’s adoption in 1999 of the landmark Declaration and Programme of Action on Culture of Peace and to the Security Council’s adoption of its groundbreaking UNSCR 1325 on women’s contributions to peace and security. His empowering words that “Sustainable peace is inseparable from gender equality. When women are marginalized, there is little chance for an open, just, participatory. when peaceful society” have energized civil society mobilization in many corners of the world. He is the founder of the New York-based Global Movement for The Cultural of Peace, a civil society coalition working with UN since 2010.

He is also one of the 12-member  Asia-Pacific Regional Advisory Group on Women, Peace, and Security hosted in UN-ESCAP, Bangkok, and the first recipient of the IMPACT Leadership’s 2013 Global Summit “Frederick Douglass Award Honoring Men Who Aree Champions For Women’s Advancement.

Leymah Gbowee

2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist, social worker, and women’s right advocate. She is Founder and President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, based in Monrovia.

She is best known for leading a nonviolent movement that brought together Christian and Muslim women to play a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s devastating 14-year civil war in 2003. This historic achievement paved the way for the election of Africa’s first female head of state. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. It also marked the vanguard of a new wave of women emerging worldwide as essential and uniquely effective participants in brokering lasting peace and security.

Ruby-Gaby Vermot-Mangold

President and initiator of the association- 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005″ which has now become “PeaceWomen Across the Globe”.

As ethnologist and sociologist, she spent many years in Africa as a researcher and expert in development cooperation. She headed the Global Education Agency in Switzerland and organized advanced training courses on development issues and peace politics for teachers, in 1988 she set up the Büro Hekate, a company offering courses for gender coaching. From 1995 and 2007 she was member of the Swiss parliament (National Council) and member of the Council of Europe and reported on the problems of refugees and displaced people in South Caucasus, Key aspects of her work are migration and refugee policies, combating domestic violence. human trafficking as well as organ trade. Within PeaceWomen Across the Globe. she explores the contribution of women resolving in conflicts.

Ambassador Melanne Verveer

Director of the Institute for the Women, Peace, and Security at Georgetown University. The Institute documents the crucial role women play in peace-building and global security through research and scholarship and by engaging global leaders on the urgent issues of our times relating to this area.

Ambassador Verveer most recently served as the first U.S Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, a position which she was nominated by Former President Obama in 2009. As Ambassador, she coordinated foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women. She worked to ensure that women’s participation and rights were fully integrated into U.S foreign policy, and played a leadership role in the Administration’s development of US National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

From 2000-2008, Ambassador Verveer served as the Chair and Co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international NGO that she co-founded to invest in emerging women leaders. During the Clinton Administration, she served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady. She led the effort to establish the President’s Interagency Council on Women and adoption of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000. Ambassador Verveer holds a  B.S and M.S from Georgetown University in 2013, she was the HUmanities Visiting professor at Cambridge University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Bank Advisory Council on Gender and Development.

Ambassador Swanee Hunt

Founder and President of the Hunt Alternatives Fund and Chair of the Institute for Inclusive Security. In 1997, she founded the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she is the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer on Public Policy. She served as the Ambassador to Austria from 1993-1997.

An expert on domestic policy and foreign affairs, Ambassador  Hunt has committed more than $130 million in endowments and grants to provoking social change at local, national, and global levels through the  Alternatives Fund. Operating out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, the fund is focused on strengthening youth arts organizations, supporting leaders of social movements. bolstering women’s leadership in conflict regions, combating the demand for purchased sex, and increasing philanthropy. The Washington-based Inclusive Security (including the Women Waging Peace Network) advocates for the full participation of all stakeholders, particularly women, in peace processes. She has conducted research, training, and consultations with women leaders in some 60 countries.

As Ambassador to Austria, she hosted negotiations and international symposia focused on stabilizing the neighboring Balkan states. Later, she became a specialist in the role of women in post-communist Europe. In July 1997, she launched Vital Voices: Women in Democracy.” a conference convening 320 women leaders in business, law, and politics from 39 countries. The meeting spawned the documentary entitled “Voices” as well as ensuring US State Department Initiative led by Madeleine Albright and Rodham Clinton, and later an NGO with the same name, co-chaired by Senators Clinton (D-NY) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)

Madeleine Rees

A lawyer and current Secretary General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She has spoken out against human rights abuses in Bosnia by Peacekeepers and others working for the United Nations. In 1998, Ms. Rees began working for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the Gender expert and Head of Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Supporting the OHCHR’S extensive work on the issue of trafficking task force of the Stability Pact, this was then known as the Alliance against Trafficking. She has worked in such areas as the rule off law, gender and post-conflict reconstruction and recovery, transitional justice and the protection of social and economic rights.

From September 2006 to April 2010, Ms. Rees served as the Head of the Women’s Rights and Gender Unit for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Gender Unit for the Human Rights. Her work involved describing and outlining how men and women can experience events differently, particularly in post-conflict situations.

Baroness Mary Goudie

A senior member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Goudie is a global advocate for the rights of women and children. She is on the board of Vital Voices, is involved in promoting gender equality with both the G8 and G20 and is also the Chair of the Women Leaders’ Council to Fight Human Trafficking at the United Nations.

She was appointed as a life peer in the House of Lords in 1998. As a senior member of the House of Lords, she works with the UK and USA governments to bring attention to issues including Burma and Muslim refugees, as well as the education of women and protection of children.

In 2012, she was appointed to the Global Advisory Board of WEConnect International, a corporate led non-profit, which facilities inclusive and sustainable economic growth by empowering and connecting women business owners globally.

In recognition for her work, Baroness Goudie was awarded the 2010 Power Award by the Center for Women Policy Studies.

Luz Mendez

A member of the executive board of Union Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas (National Union of Guatemalan Women). She is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Fund for Women.

Between 1991 and 1996, Mendez participated in the Guatemalan peace negotiations as the only female member of the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca delegation, contributing to unprecedented commitments for gender equality in the accords. She was elected in 2004 to represent the women’s movement in Guatemala’s  national commission overseeing implementation of the peace accords.

As a gender expert with experience at the negotiating table, Mendez served on a UNIFEM gender experts team for the Burundi peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2001. She joined the advisory group for the Independent Experts’ Assessment of the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women’s Role in Peace-Building and in 2004 served as vice-chair of the UN Expert Group Meeting on Enhancing Women’s Participation in Electoral Processes in Post-conflict Countries.

During the last 10 years, she has been advocating for bringing to the surface a long-hidden dimension of war: sexual violence against women. She was the coordinator of a women alliance that combined historical memory building, psychosocial healing, and advocacy for justice for women survivors of sexual violence during armed conflict.