Dr. Nora Berra
Member, European Parliament
Nora Berra is the former French Minister of Health and a Member of the European Parliament, representing South East France for the Union for a Popular Movement. From 2001 until 2008, Berra was a municipal councilor in Neuville-sur-Saône, at which point she was elected to the Municipal Council of Lyon. In the June 2009 European elections, she was elected to the European Parliament. In June 2009, she entered the government of Prime Minister François Fillon as Secretary of State for the Elderly, under the authority of Xavier Darcos, Minister of Labour, Social Relations, Family and Solidarity. She holds an M.D. from the University of Oran, Algeria and completed her training as a medical doctor in Lyon.
Dr. Fatma Bouvet de la Maisonneuve
Psychiatrist, Addiction Specialist, Author and Women’s Rights Advocate, Moreau de Tours Hospital Sainte-Anne, Paris
Dr. Bouvet de la Maisonneuve, a native of Tunisia, is a psychiatrist specializing in addictions and mental health at work at the Hospital Sainte-Anne in Paris. She is the author of The Choice of Women and was given an Award of Achievement by the Women’s Association France-Euro-Mediterranean. Dr. Bouvet de la Maisonneuve is an author and women's rights advocate who supported the Tunisian uprising through Facebook postings and articles in her home country of France.
Professor Robert Dorit
Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College; Director, Smith College Junior Year Abroad in Paris, 2012–13; Director, WPSP Women’s Leadership, Public Service and Global Health
A native of Mexico City, Robert Dorit is professor of biological sciences and one of the founders of the Concentration in Biomathematics. He received his undergraduate degree in human biology at Stanford, his M.E. in environmental engineering at Stanford and his Ph.D. in organismal and evolutionary biology at Harvard. After a postdoctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology at Harvard, he joined the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, where he remained until 2001. On the Smith faculty since, his research interests include the search for novel narrow-spectrum antibiotics, the genetics and epidemiology of antibiotic resistance, the origin of novel functions at the molecular level and, more recently, the interaction between urbanization and human health indicators. In addition to his specialized publications, he is a regular contributor to American Scientist, where his Marginalia column can be found. He teaches courses in Genetics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Evolution, Antibiotic Resistance and Design and on The Biology and Policy of Breast Cancer.
Dr. Angel Foster
Echo’s Endowed Chair of Women’s Health Research, University of Ottawa; Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dr. Foster is a member of the steering committee of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, and serves or has served the boards of directors of the American Institute of Maghrib Studies, Backline, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health and Medical Students for Choice. In 2004 Dr. Foster was named one of Choice USA’s 30 Under-30 Activists for Reproductive Freedom and in 2009 she received the American Public Health Association Population, Sexual, and Reproductive Health Section’s Outstanding Young Professional Award. She holds degrees from Oxford, Harvard and Stanford universities.
CEO, HRA Pharma
Before she joined HRA Pharma, Erin Gainer's career path flowed though a range of public health projects and academic tenures. From her assignment in Zimbabwe with the Peace Corps to working on Genomic Research in the U.S. she didn’t think that the corporate pharmaceutical world would fit her aspirations. HRA Pharma’s involvement in women's health and socially conscious approach caught her attention. She has defined and managed the company's global R&D program and led cross-disciplinary project teams in preclinical and clinical development, regulatory affairs and marketing. In 2007 she became a member of its board, before assuming the CEO role in 2009. She received her Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of Paris XI.
After earning a B.A. from Smith, an M.A. from Middlebury and a diploma from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, Lois Grjebine was assistant editor-in-chief at the monthly Réalités, moving on to become editor-in-chief of the weekly English-language edition of Le Monde. She then worked as a consultant book editor and rewriter at the OECD Development Center. Grjebine served on the executive board of the French pro-abortion organization “Choisir,” where she was named delegate to the UN International Women’s Year meeting in Paris. An activist in American politics overseas, she was elected committee woman to the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. She is presently president of the Smith College Club of France.
Saniye Gülser Corat
Director, Division of Gender Equality, Office of the Director-General, UNESCO
Before joining UNESCO in 2004, Saniye Gülser Corat pursued a dual career in academia and international development. Her academic work included research and teaching in the field of political economy. As an international development practitioner, she was a senior development adviser for various bilateral development agencies, for multi-lateral lending institutions (the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank), UN agencies (UNDP and UNCTAD) and for civil society organizations, especially in Asia and Africa. She also has private sector experience as the CEO of an international consulting company (ECI Consulting, Inc.) in Canada.
Caroline De Haas
Adviser, Ministry of Women’s Affairs, France
Caroline De Haas is a policy adviser at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Formerly, she served as a communications specialist and spokesperson for the Socialist Party. She founded the Dare Feminism activist network and held the position of general secretary of the National Union of Students of France from 2006 to 2009. She has a master’s degree in history from the University Paris X Nanterre.
Dr. Selma Hajri
Reproductive Health and Rights Activist
Dr. Selma Hajri is a Tunisian medical doctor and a reproductive health and rights activist. She is well known at the global level and is the head of a Pan-Africa coalition seeking to increase access to safe abortion. She recently founded a post-revolution NGO in Tunisia, Tawhida Ben Cheikh (named after the first female physician in Tunisia), whose objectives include advocating for and promoting access to reproductive and sexual rights for Tunisian women, and the training of advocates and practitioners who can contribute to improved maternal and child health.
Former Egyptian Ambassador to South Africa and the Czech and Slovak Republics and the Former Minister for Family and Population, Egypt
Ambassador Moushira Khattab is the former Minister of Family and Population of Egypt. As a career diplomat, she served as ambassador to South Africa during the Nelson Mandela era, the Czech Republic during Vaclav Havel’s presidency, and Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs for International Cultural Relations. Since December 1999 Khattab has been working as an activist for the human rights of children and women. As an expert on the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2002–10), her activities extended beyond Egypt. Khattab initiated and led the most comprehensive rights based legal reform crowned by the adoption of Egypt’s Child Law 126/2008, which introduced widespread legal reforms from criminalizing FGM to raising the age of marriage to 18. Among other human rights initiatives, she has worked to close the gender gap in Egyptian schools through Egypt’s Girls Education Initiative, or GEI, and championed a rights-based approach to legal reforms for women and children. Khattab holds an M.A in political sciences from the University of North Carolina, USA, and a Ph.D. in human rights law from Cairo University. She has been honored as Knight of the Republic and Commendatore della Repubblica by the President of Italy, and received the Order of Good Hope from the President of South Africa. Khattab is currently a visiting scholar with Woodrow Wilson Institute and a visiting professor at the University of Perugia in Italy on Gender issues and human rights.
Assistant Director-General for Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research, World Health Organization
Marie-Paule Kieny was appointed to her current post at the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010. Previously, she directed WHO’s initiative for vaccine research. Major successes under her leadership were the development and licensing of new vaccines against meningitis and measles, and against pandemic influenza in developing countries through pioneering the transfer of technology and know-how. She received the Ph.D in microbiology from the University of Montpelier in 1980, where she was also awarded a University Diploma in Economics, and the Diplôme d’Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches from the University of Strasbourg in 1995.
Ambassador David T. Killion
U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO
David T. Killion was nominated as U.S. permanent representative to UNESCO with the rank of Ambassador by U.S. President Barack Obama and was sworn into office on August 12, 2009. Prior to his appointment, Killion served as a senior professional staff member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and was the committee’s top expert on international organizations and State Department operations. He served as top United Nations adviser to the previous chair and ranking member of the committee, the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA). In this capacity he worked on legislation that Lantos introduced and passed in 2001 authorizing the U.S.’s re-entry to UNESCO. He holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Country Program Manager, USAID President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
Valerie Koscelnik has more than 20 years of experience designing, managing, and implementing reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programs in the United States and in developing countries. Prior to her present post, she served as senior implementation director overseeing HIV programs in nine African countries for the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She established the CDC Global AIDS Program in Rwanda and provided the U.S. government strategic leadership for PEPFAR’s successful rapid expansion in that country. After Rwanda, she continued to be involved as a PEPFAR coordinator in Vietnam, an acting PEPFAR coordinator in Ethiopia, an OGAC point person for the Southern Africa Prevention Initiative, and a strategic planning consultant for PEPFAR in Cote d’Ivoire. Koscelnik has also worked for USAID as a Regional Program Manager for the West Africa Regional Program based in Abidjan and as a technical adviser at USAID/Washington, D.C., in the Office of Population. Koscelnik has a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Sandra J. Laney
Global Health Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Sandra Laney started at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2012. She just completed an AAAS Science Diplomacy Fellowship at the U.S. Department of State in the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her signature accomplishment was the conception, development and implementation of the NeXXt Scholars Initiative, a State Department partnership with 38 U.S. women’s colleges and the New York Academy of Sciences supporting opportunities for young women from 47 countries with a Muslim-majority population to earn high-quality U.S. science, technology, engineering and math degrees. Prior to the State Department, Sandra was a research scientist at Smith College and a consultant for the Task Force for Global Health working both in the field and the laboratory on the Global Program to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis. Sandra earned her Ph.D. from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences from Smith College.
Maureen A. Mahoney
Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life, Smith College
Maureen A. Mahoney is a senior administrator and a member of the Department of Psychology at Smith College, where her scholarly work focuses on women’s development, particularly women’s sense of agency. She currently oversees Smith’s global leadership initiative, which includes leadership programs for Smith students and research on the pathways they take at the college to acquire leadership skills. She leads the development of the new Wurtele Center for Work and Life and co-directs the Women’s Narrative Project, which provides opportunities for students and alumnae to reflect on their aspirations and the challenge of balancing life goals. Her administrative duties as dean of the college and vice president for campus life include oversight of admission, financial aid, student activities, residence life, health and counseling services, international study, class deans, registrar, religious life and career development. She holds a B.A. from the University of Californa, Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.
Dr. Zied Mhirsi
Media Entrepreneur and Global Health Professional
Zied Mhirsi is a Tunisian medical doctor and global health professional who has been a board member of the Tunisian HIV Association since 1998. A former president of the Tunisian Medical Students Association, he was the coordinator for the eastern Mediterranean region within the International Federation of Medical Students Associations. He is currently the executive director of Global Network of Researchers on HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa Region (GNR-MENA) and recently founded the Tunisian Center for Public Health. At a time when state-controlled media was the only form of Tunisia’s news, he responded with the co-founding of “Tunisia Live,” a post-revolution local media outlet that connects the people of the country with the English-speaking world. Dr. Mhirsi holds an M.D. from the University of Tunis, El Manar; a Master of Public Health degree from the American University of Beirut, where he was a scholar of the Arab Fund for Social Development; and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, Department of Global Health, where he was a Fulbright scholar.
Director General of Fondation Mérieux
Benoît Miribel has been director general of Fondation Mérieux, which specializes in infectious diseases, particularly in developing countries, since January 2007. Previously, between 2003 and 2006, he was director general of Action Contre la Faim, a non-governmental organization whose nutrition, water, health and food security programs have been established in 40 countries across the world. He began his career in 1987, at St Exupéry International Airport in Lyon, as a marketing and development manager. He is a member of the Haut Conseil de la Coopération Internationale (HCCI) and in this capacity chairs the emergency and post-crisis commission. Miribel has a postgraduate diploma in International Relations from the Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and a doctorate from the Université de Grenoble 2 for a thesis on the governance of humanitarian NGOs.
Director of Executive Education, Smith College
In leading Smith College’s executive education programs for women, Iris Newalu oversees a portfolio of consortial, custom and open-enrollment programs for high-potential women at all levels of their organizations. She leads the selection of faculty, coordinating a team of internationally renowned educators from top tier business schools, consultancies and speakers from industry. She works closely with talent development officers of Fortune 500 corporations in designing and developing strategic leadership programs for their high-potential women. She brings over ten years of best practice experience in creating women-only executive learning environments. In 2012 she served on the steering committee for the inaugural Women in Public Service Project summer institute, held at Wellesley College.
Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Department of State
Farah Pandith was appointed to her State Department post in 2009. Her office is responsible for executing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision for engagement with Muslims around the world on a people-to-people and organizational level. Prior to this appointment, she was senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Before joining the Department of State, she served as the director for Middle East regional initiatives for the National Security Council. She received a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and an A.B. in government and psychology from Smith College, where she was the president of the student body. She is one of the founding leaders of the Women in Public Service Project.
Gail Pheterson is currently associate professor of psychology at the University of Picardie in Amiens, and researcher/director of doctoral research at the Paris Center for Sociological and Political Research, CNRS/University of Paris 8. She received her doctorate in psychology at the University of California, and then became associate professor at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands from before moving to France. Her research focuses on gender power relations, health, pregnancy, prostitution and the “whore stigma.” She is founder of the Feminist Alliance Project and co-founder of the International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights (ICPR) with Margo St. James, the Caribbean Initiative on Abortion and Prostitution with Yamila Azize-Vargas, and the Middle Africa Network for Women’s Reproductive Health: Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea (GCG) with Aimée Patricia Ndembi Ndembi. Her publications include The Prostitution Prism, Amsterdam University Press, 1996 (Le prisme de la prostitution, Harmattan, 2001); and, with Yamila Azize, “Abortion practice in the Northeast Caribbean: ‘Just write down stomach pain’” (2006), Reproductive Health Matters; « Avortement sécurisé hors la loi dans le Nord-Est des Caraïbes. » Sociétés Contemporaines.
Provost and Dean of Faculty; Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Smith College
Professor Schuster earned her B.A. in French from Mills College and her M. Phil. and Ph.D. in French language and literature from Yale University. She joined the Smith faculty in 1971. She is a founding member of the Program for the Study of Women & Gender and has been a member of the French Studies Department and the Comparative Literature Program. Among her publications are Women’s Place in the Academy: Transforming the Liberal Arts Curriculum (with Susan Van Dyne) and Marguerite Duras Revisited.
International HealthCare Social Media Consultant, President, Basil Strategies
After an earlier career in pharmaceutical marketing strategy and medical advertising, Denise Silber became a pioneer in the use of the Internet in healthcare in Europe and the US. Her company Basil Strategies is both a digital health consultancy and the founder of the Doctors 2.0 & You series of healthcare social media conferences. A graduate of Smith College and the Harvard Business School, Denise was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2011 for her work in bringing together international healthcare communities through the use of new technologies.
Director, AMI-American Media Inc.
From 1990 to 2010, Susan Tolson worked as an analyst and portfolio manager at Capital Research Company, a subsidiary of the Capital Group Companies, Inc., one of the world’s largest investment management organizations. At Capital Research, she served as a senior vice president, specializing in the high-yield bond market. She serves on the boards of American Cinémathèque, the American University of Paris, the Fulbright Commission and Group Lagardere. She also serves on the investment committee of the American School of Paris. She resides in Paris with her husband, Charles Rivkin, the U.S. Ambassador to France. Ms. Tolson holds a B.A., cum laude, in economics from Smith College and an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
Country Officer, Africa Department, French Development Agency (AFD)
Marie-Odile Waty has spent her entire career in the health sector: from 2009 to 2011, she was seconded from AFD to work as a principal health specialist on the IFC/World Bank “Health in Africa Initiative.” Before joining IFC, she was the head of the Health and Social Protection Division at AFD (2003–09). Before AFD, she was a senior health adviser at the Council of Europe Development Bank in Paris, and a senior health economist at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Before joining the World Bank, she was co-managing a Paris-based consulting firm specialized in the health sector in developing countries. She has an M.B.A. from HEC School of Management in Paris, a graduate diploma in development from EHESS, Paris, and a diploma in health economics from CEPE, Paris.
Deputy Director, Office of Global Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Holly Wong is deputy director of the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She has primary responsibility for developing policy and strategy for the agency on global health issues. Holly leads departmental efforts on the intersection of international trade and public health, particularly in the areas of intellectual property, access to medicines, and tobacco control. Previously she was vice president for public policy at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a public-private product development partnership encompassing both scientific activities and policy and advocacy in the areas of innovation, R&D policy, access to medicines and health financing. Wong has significant global health experience in both public and private sectors: she spent six years in the pharmaceutical industry focused on a broad range of policy issues; three years with the Inter-American Development Bank as a health economist, leading teams to design and implement health policy reform programs, and six years with a private consulting firm, conducting technical assistance and research assignments in health financing and health policy reform in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She has worked in more than 40 countries, and holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard University and an undergraduate degree from Stanford.