CAMPAIGN LAUNCH: SPEAKER BiOS
On May 13, 2015, a group of celebrated experts will join AIDS-Free World to launch Code Blue, a campaign to end immunity for sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeeping personnel. Speakers include:
- Ms. Graça Machel, founder, Graça Machel Trust, author of landmark UN study The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, co-founder of The Elders
- L.Gen. Romeo Dallaire, (Ret'd) Force Commander for UN mission during Rwandan genocide, founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
- Amb. Anwarul Chowdhury, former Ambassador of Bangladesh to the UN, former Under-Secretary General and High Representative of the UN
- Ms. Theo Sowa, CEO, African Women's Development Fund
- Ms. Paula Donovan, co-director, AIDS-Free World, former UNICEF Executive Officer, NY and Regional Advisor, East and Southern Africa
- Mr. Stephen Lewis, co-director, AIDS-Free World, former Ambassador of Canada to the United Nations and UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa
Full biographical information and high-resolution images are available below:
Ms. Graça Machel
Ms. Graça Machel is a renowned international advocate for women's and children's rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. She is a former freedom fighter and was the first Education Minister of Mozambique. Her contributions to the Africa Progress Panel, the United Nations Secretary-General's Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group and the High-Level Panel on Post 2015 Development Agenda, have been widely appreciated. She is a member of The Elders, Girls Not Brides, Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, African Ambassador for A Promised Renewed, President of SOAS, University of London, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Board Chair of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, President of the Foundation for Community Development, founder of the Zizile Institute for Child Development.
As Founder of the newly established Graça Machel Trust, she has focused more recently on advocating for women's economic and financial empowerment, education for all, an end to child marriage, food security and nutrition, and promoting democracy and good governance.
L GEN. ROMÉO DALLAIRE
Romeo Dallaire is a retired Canadian Senator, a retired Canadian Army Lieutenant-General, a devoted humanitarian, and an outspoken advocate and champion of human rights.
During his distinguished military career, General Dallaire commanded the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide. His courage and leadership during this ill-fated mission has earned him recognition, affection, and admiration from around the globe.
A graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, General Dallaire holds honorary doctorates and fellowships from over three dozen universities in Canada, the United States and abroad.
He is author of two best-selling books: Shake Hands with the Devil – the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda and They Fight Like Soldiers; They Die Like Children – the Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers.
General Dallaire is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec, a Commander of the Order of Military Merit, recipient of the Pearson Peace Medal, the Meritorious Service Cross, the United States Legion of Merit, the Aegis Award on Genocide Prevention, the Harvard Secular Society Humanism Award, the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Elie Wiesel Award. General Dallaire is now dedicating his time to humanitarian causes.
Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury has devoted many years as an inspirational champion for sustainable peace and development and ardently advancing the cause of the global movement for the culture of peace that has energized civil society all over the world.
As a career diplomat, Permanent Representative to United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of UNICEF Board, UN Under-Secretary-General, the Senior Special Advisor to the UN General Assembly President, and recipient of the U Thant Peace Award, UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal for Culture of Peace, Spirit of the UN Award and University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor’s Medal for Global Leadership for Peace, Ambassador Chowdhury has a wealth of experience in the critical issues of our time - peace, sustainable development, and human rights.
In March 2003, the Soka University of Tokyo, Japan conferred to Ambassador Chowdhury an Honorary Doctorate for his work on women's issues, child rights and culture of peace as well as for the strengthening of the United Nations. In May 2012, he received a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa degree from the Saint Peter’s University of the United States.
Ambassador Chowdhury’s legacy and leadership in advancing the best interest of the global community are boldly imprinted in his pioneering initiative in March 2000 as the President of the Security Council that achieved the political and conceptual breakthrough leading to the adoption of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which for the first time recognized the role and contribution of women in the area of peace and security. He is currently a member of the UN High-Level Advisory Group on the Global Study for 15-year review of the implementation of UNSCR 1325.
Equally pioneering are his initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 for adoption of the landmark Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and in 1998 for the proclamation of the “International Decade for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010)”.
He served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York from 1996 to 2001 and as the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, responsible for the most vulnerable countries of the world from 2002 to 2007.
Ambassador Chowdhury is a member of the Advisory Council of IMPACT Leadership 21 and is the first recipient of the IMPACT Leadership 21’s Global Summit Frederick Douglass Award Honoring Men Who Are Champions For Women's Advancement in October 2013.
He is one of the 12-member Asia-Pacific Regional Advisory Group on Women, Peace and Security hosted in Bangkok and also a member of the UN High Level Expert Advisory Group for the Global Study on the 15-year implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).
He has been the Chair of the International Drafting Committee on the Human Right to Peace; an initiative coordinated from Geneva and was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the New York City Peace Museum.
Ambassador Chowdhury is the Founder of the New York-based the Global Movement for The Culture of Peace.
He is a founding Co-Chair of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organisation (IESCO) with headquarters in China and is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Peace Academy in US.
He is the Honorary Chair of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN, New York and Chairman of the Global Forum on Human Settlements, both since 2008. He has been a part of the 12-member Wisdom Council of the Summer of Peace for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, a world-wide participatory initiative to advance the Culture of Peace.
He has been decorated by the Government of Burkina Faso in West Africa with the country’s highest honour “L’Ordre National” in 2007 in Ouagadougou for his championship of the cause of the most vulnerable countries.
Dr. Chowdhury has structured curricula and taught courses on “The Culture of Peace” at the Soka University of America and the City University of New York in 2008 and 2009. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Diplomacy, Seton Hall University of the United States.
He is an Honorary Patron of the Committee on Teaching About the UN (CTAUN), New York.
Public speaking and advocacy for sustainable peace keep him engaged at the present time.
Ms. Theo Sowa, CBE
Theo Sowa is an independent advisor and consultant, specialising in international social development with a particular emphasis on children’s rights and protection issues. She is currently the CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund.
Born in Ghana, she has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, as well as the UK, Europe, and the USA. Her work includes advisory roles to African and other international women and children’s rights activists and leaders, plus policy development and advocacy with a variety of international agencies and organisations. She was Senior Programme Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led the five year review of the report.
Theo is a board member of various national and international civil society organisations and grant making foundations, including being a trustee of Comic Relief (a multimillion grant making foundation) and Chair of Comic Relief’s International Grants Committee; a member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; a Patron of Evidence for Development; a member of the UBS Optimus Foundation and a board member of the Graça Machel Trust.
She has authored many publications, including being a contributing editor to ‘The Impact of War on Children’; a contributing author and co editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti publication on ‘Children and Transitional Justice’; and co-author of ‘Groupwork and Intermediate Treatment’.
Theo was awarded a CBE in June 2010.
Ms. Paula Donovan
Paula Donovan is the co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World.
Before co-founding AIDS-Free World in 2007, Paula Donovan served as senior advisor to the UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from 2003 to 2006. Between 2000 and 2003, she was posted in Nairobi as UNICEF regional advisor on HIV/AIDS for eastern and southern Africa, and then as UNIFEM's Africa-wide gender and AIDS advisor.
Ms. Donovan worked for UNICEF at its international headquarters throughout the 1990s; she started her work in international relations as director of communications at the US Committee for UNICEF in the late 1980s.
The uncompromising application of feminist analysis is the common theme of all the projects led by Ms. Donovan throughout her career.
One of her early roles at UNICEF was to manage the communication and global advocacy for the joint UNICEF/World Health Organization campaign to end the illegal promotion of infant formula and protect women’s rights to breastfeed.
In 2003, she independently organized Africa’s first all-women long-distance road race, the "International Women's AIDS Run," in Nairobi, which raised awareness of women’s HIV care-giving roles and became an annual event.
Ms. Donovan was the first to call for a UN agency devoted to women. Her 2006 position paper, Gender Equality: Now or Never, set out the need and the rationale for the agency; it became a key document in the advocacy effort to have an agency created. UN Women was ultimately established in 2011.
Among her accomplishments with AIDS-Free World, Paula Donovan forced the World Health Organization to re-examine the connection between contraceptive injections and the transmission of HIV; forced UNICEF to abandon a dangerous and ill-conceived HIV scheme called “The Mother-Baby Pack”; successfully demanded UNAIDS, WHO, and UNICEF stop the use of single-dose Nevirapine; championed the quest for justice for Zimbabwean women raped during the elections of 2008; joined the fight to overcome child marriage by making it an issue of child labour; and initiated and led the campaign of eliminating immunity for sexual violence committed by UN peacekeeping personnel.
Paula Donovan holds a master’s degree in Corporate and Political Communication from Fairfield University.
Mr. Stephen Lewis, C.C.
Mr. Stephen Lewis is the co-founder and co-director of AIDS-Free World.
Stephen Lewis’ work with the United Nations spanned more than two decades. He was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from June 2001 until the end of 2006. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organization’s global headquarters in New York. From 1984 through 1988, he was Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations.
In addition to his work with AIDS-Free World, Mr. Lewis is a Professor of Practice in Global Governance at the Institute for the Study of International Development at McGill University and a Professor of Distinction at Ryerson University in Toronto. He recently served as a Commissioner on the Global Commission on HIV and the Law; the Commission’s landmark report was released in July 2012
Mr. Lewis serves as the board chair of the Stephen Lewis Foundation in Canada, and he is a Senior Fellow of the Enough Project. He is an immediate past member of the Board of Directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and Emeritus Board Member of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
Stephen Lewis is a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest honor for lifetime achievement. In 2005, Mr. Lewis was named by TIME magazine as one of the ‘One hundred most influential people in the world’ (he was cited in the category which included The Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela). In 2007, King Letsie III, monarch of the Kingdom of Lesotho (a small mountainous country in Southern Africa) invested Mr. Lewis as Knight Commander of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe. The order is named for the founder of Lesotho; the knighthood is the country’s highest honor.
Mr. Lewis is the author of the best-selling book, Race Against Time. He holds 37 honorary degrees from Canadian universities, as well as honorary degrees from Dartmouth College and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.