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UNA-USA Members Attend the 57th Commission on the Status of Women
March 14, 2013
UNA-USA members attended the 57th Commission on the Status of Women as UNA-USA Delegates at the United Nations in New York, March 4-15. Delegates came from Chapters in California, Iowa, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, D.C. and New York to participate in the international civil society conversation on Violence Against Women and Girls. The delegates, each possessing a unique perspective, brought something entirely fresh and new to UNA-USA’s engagement with the UN. It was an amazing opportunity for UNA-USA members.
Blog Posts from UNA-USA Members at CSW 57
Meet the AttendeesAyesha Aslam, born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Pakistan, has recently graduated with a Public Administration (MPA) degree from Kennesaw State University, GA. She also holds an MBA from Lahore School of Economics, Pakistan. Given the cultural context of Pakistani society, sending girls abroad is not a common norm. Ayesha is the first woman in her family who came abroad for professional education. Because of her keen interest in the issues of the women empowerment and violence against women, she always wanted to work for United Nations. She is on her way to achieve her goals. During her studies in the United States, she did internship with International Rescue Committee, American Red Cross, and United Nations.
Peg Byron is a board member of the Southern New York State Division and vice president of the Brooklyn Chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA. Also as part of the UNA, she is helping to develop a project to support women and recovery in Haiti. She recently received a master’s degree in media arts, completing a thesis on social media theory; prior to that, with research on the maternal health crisis in Sierra Leone, she earned a master’s degree with a United Nations graduate advanced certificate. She has a professional background in journalism and public relations for non-profit organizations and has received awards for coverage of AIDS and women’s health issues. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Michele Cantos is a Master of Arts Candidate in International Relations at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, and an aspiring international development professional focusing on women, refugees, education, and post-conflict issues. For the last three years, she has worked supporting integration programs in New York State for refugees and migrants, particularly in the areas of language instruction, civic education, and women’s reproductive health.
Alice Dahle has a long-time interest in international affairs and the human rights of women. She has been a member of the United Nations Association-USA since 1993 and is a past Treasurer and President of the Linn County Chapter. She served on the Iowa Division Board from 2005 - 2012. She is currently a member of UNA-USA's Advocacy Group and one of three Co-chairs of UNA Women. Alice has also been an active member of Amnesty International for the past 30 years. From 1993 to 1995, she acted as Midwest Representative to Amnesty International USA’s national Committee on the Human Rights of Women, and in connection with that position, she attended the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. She was Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women Campaign Coordinator for Iowa from 2004 - 2010 and is now one of five women on Amnesty International USA’s Women’s Human Rights Coordination Group.
Barbara Felton is a native of Queens, NY, married with a daughter. A member of UNA-USA Queens for 15 years. Presently, pursuing a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership at Nyack College. She is very concerned about the status of women all over the world. We work hard to take care of our families and loved ones. We deserved to be treated with respect in all areas of our lives, regardless of race, religion or social status.
Vanessa Francis is an experienced professional gained from her varied experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Currently, Vanessa serves as the Associate Director of Community Affairs for The Johns Hopkins University. In this role, she is the liaison to university senior leadership for the communities nearby Johns Hopkins’ Homewood campus. Before joining JHU, Vanessa spent eight years working in urban planning and public policy and consulting roles in the Baltimore and Washington, DC Metro Areas. Although currently working in community development on the local level, Vanessa’s first love is international development and sustainability. A Baltimore City native, she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University.
Sarah Hoffman has a bachelor’s degree from the George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. A 2011 graduate, she studied International Development and International Economics and has gained experience in her field through a number of internships with non-profits including the National Women’s Law Center, InterAction, and The Hunger Project. Currently, she is the Project Administrator at the Family Online Safety Institute where she helps manage A Platform for Good, an initiative which seeks to promote technology as a means for advancing social good and making a difference.
Kathryn Horvat, of Salt Lake City, Utah, has long been an active member of women’s and peace organizations. IA long-time member of the Utah chapter of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, she recently completed five years of serving on the Steering Committee of the Council of Chapters and Regions of the national association. From 2009-2012, she served as a Regional Director and Secretary of the Council. She has also served as president, program director, treasurer and publicity chair of her local chapter.
Sophia James has over five years’ experience of public service at the state and local level and has helped guide significant initiatives and policies that address the coordination and efficiency of education and health services for children and families. Sophia has been dedicated to opening the dialogue on educational and juvenile justice issues. As a 2008 Fellow with the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, she recognized how policy can affect the lives of young people, and how it must be more responsive to their needs. She has also trained at the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University, a leadership program that seeks to increase the number and influence of women in elected and appointed office in the United States and around the globe.
Tanya Naiken is an accomplished young professional whose passion and dedication of service to Humanity, is highlighted through her devoted allegiance in working for a prosperous society. Through purposeful action, she has demonstrated her commitment to civic and social responsibility by working and serving the City of New York, the United Nations, UNICEF, UNA-USA and Academia, respectively. Ms. Naiken's experience and education in the areas of International Relations, Government Administration and Journalism has provided her with the opportunity to engage with civil society, government officials, leaders, and advocates who share equally in a common cause; to not only raise awareness but to create positive change through committed actions and efforts that improves the livelihood of women, men and children.
Mignon Smith, PhD, RN, is the President and Founder of the Global Associates for Health Development, Inc. She retired from Nursing Education (public health nursing), and is presently a health administrator for her adopted Bomaa Village, located in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. She is the recipient of the Community Human Rights Award by the Council of Organizations,a member of the Executive Committee of the Council of Organizations, and a founding member of The Grace Dodge Society, Teachers College, Columbia University (Inducted 2003).
Kimberly Weichel is CEO of Peace X Peace, an international women’s peacebuilding organization that lifts and multiplies women's voices, strengthens women's capacity to connect across divides, promotes leadership and gender equity, and nurtures our global network of peacebuilders in 125 countries. Kim is a global development and peacebuilding expert with 30 years' experience directing international projects, conflict resolution, leadership projects, women’s initiatives, community development programs, education programs and media campaigns. Kim has led training programs on conflict transformation and transformative leadership in various countries. She has extensive experience in Russia, South Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Germany, Canada and Australia. She has worked on UN projects and was former president of the UNA San Francisco Chapter and is co-chair of the UNA NCA peace and security committee. She is a published author, TV correspondent and radio producer. www.peacexpeace.org.
Also in attendence: Omoy Lungange, Oneater Sinclair, and Michelle Thompson