Women Leaders

The following women have confirmed their attendance at the International Women Leaders’ Summit on Security through Economic and Social Development.

All participants are well-known women leaders who have been successful in advancing social and economic development in their respective countries. This includes work on areas such as education, healthcare, human rights, conflict resolution and social justice. The women are from countries with which UMass Lowell has a formal Memorandum of Understanding or they are affiliated with a pre-existing partnership or program at UMass Lowell.

Women Leaders from Africa

Barbara Hogan (doc) (South Africa)
Barbara Hogan is a former MP, the former Minister of Health and the former Minister of Public Enterprises in the Cabinet of South Africa.  Hogan, an anti-apartheid leader, was included in the 2009 Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Leymah Gbowee (doc) (Liberia)
Leymah Gbowee is the Liberian peace activist featured in the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. In 2006 she co-founded Women, Peace and Security Network Africa, a women-focused, women-led Pan-African Non-Governmental Organization with the core mandate to promote women’s strategic participation and leadership in peace and security governance in Africa.

Janet Johnson Bryant (doc) (Liberia)
During the Liberian Civil War, Johnson Bryant was a radio journalist assigned to the beat of the executive mansion occupied by President Charles Taylor. Her determination to expose corruption within his regime, even as he exerted a stranglehold on all forms of media, earned her the nickname "Iron Lady of Media."


Women Leaders from Colombia

Rosa Jiménez Ahumada (doc)
Rosa Jiménez Ahumada is currently directing the Center for Internal Displacement at the University of Cartagena and she coordinates the Bolívar chapter of the Caribbean Citizens’ Reconciliation Commission (CCRC).

Marta Ines Romero (doc)
Marta Ines Romero is the Latin American and the Caribbean coordinator for Pax Christi International, a Catholic organization for peace.

Laura Taylor (doc)

Laura Taylor is pursuing her doctorate in peace studies and psychology at the University of Notre Dame and will provide translation for Rosa. Laura has conducted field research on the impact of political violence on mental health, civic participation and attitudes toward transitional justice in Colombia in collaboration with the CCRC.  

Women Leaders from Egypt

Dr. Salwa Bayoumi El-Magoli (doc)
Dr. Salwa Bayoumi El-Magoli is dean of the faculty of Agriculture and vice-dean of Environmental Affairs & Community Development at Cairo University. She is the head of the National Committee for Quality Assurance and Accreditation (QAAP), and a member of Al-Shura Council, the Upper House of Egypt’s Parliament.

Mona Makram-Ebeid (doc)
Mona Makram-Ebeid is a founding member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights; Egyptian Council for Foreign Relations. From 1990 to 1995 she was a Member of Parliament in the People's Assembly of Egypt.


Women Leaders from Massachusetts

Jessica Andors (pdf)
Jessica Andors is Deputy Director of Lawrence Community Works (LCW), a nonprofit community development corporation dedicated to the revitalization of Lawrence. She has served on the boards of the Lawrence Teen Coalition, the Hope Street Youth Center, and the Essex Art Center (current member and past president); she is also chair of the MA state-wide asset-building collaborative, MIDAS.

Linda Sou (pdf)
Linda Sou is Director of Lowell Community Health Center’s Teen Coalition. Linda and her team lead substance abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS, and teen pregnancy prevention, awareness and education initiatives to build bridges that enhance adolescent services internally and throughout Lowell.

Josefina Vazquez (pdf)
Josefina Vazquez is Executive Director of the Boston Women’s Fund, an organization that supports community-based organizations run by women in the Greater Boston Area. Boston Women’s Fund works with low-income women, women of color, women with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, immigrant women and elder women who are working to create a society based on racial, economic, and social justice.


Women Leaders from Northern Ireland

Bronagh Hinds (doc)
Bronagh Hinds is a senior associate with DemocraShe, an organization she co-founded 10 years ago in the wake of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement to advance women’s leadership in politics, civic society and peace-building at home and abroad.

Monica McWilliams (doc) 
Monica McWilliams is the chair of the National Irish Human Rights Commission.

Margaret Ward (doc)
Margaret Ward is the Director of the Women’s Resource and Development Agency in Northern Ireland and Chair of ‘Hanna’s House’, an all-Ireland women’s peace building project named in memory of Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, a leading figure in the Irish suffrage movement. Ward has previously worked as Assistant Director at the Democratic Dialogue think tank in Belfast and as a research fellow in history at the Bath Spa University.  Dr. Ward was a member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and worked as policy advisor for the party in the 2003 Assembly elections.

Women Leaders from Israel

Gila Svirsky (doc)
Gila Svirsky is an Israeli peace and human rights activist for over 25 years. She has been with Women in Black since its inception in 1988 and was a co-founder of the Coalition of Women for Peace, which brings together nine Israeli feminist peace organizations. Until recently, she served as chair of B’Tselem, Israel’s foremost human rights organization in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Robi Damelin (doc)
Robi Damelin works for The Parents’ Circle, a group of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families supporting reconciliation and peace. Robi lost her son when he was killed while serving in the Israeli army.

Seham S.A. Ikhlayel (doc)
Seham S.A. Ikhlayel works for The Parents’ Circle. Her brother was killed by an Israeli soldier and her mother was imprisoned for political activities. She and Robi travel together to share their message of peace.

Rula Deeb (doc)
Rula Deeb is executive director of Kayan, a group of feminist who aim to advance the status of women in the Israeli-Palestinian society.