Advisory Board

Alaa Murabit

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Alaa Murabit is a medical doctor, Canadian Meritorious Service Cross recipient, one of 17 Global Sustainable Development Goal Advocates appointed by the UN Secretary General, and a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth.. In 2016 she founded a global Mentorship Programme for emerging leaders and co-founded The Omnis Institute , an independent non-profit organisation committed to challenging critical global issues through the empowerment of emerging local leaders, and became the Executive Director of Phase Minus 1, which provides thought leadership in conflict resolution and inclusive security. Alaa previously founded and spearheaded The Voice of Libyan Women at the age of 21.

An MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow and International Deliver For Good Influencer, Alaa serves as a board member for The Malala Fund, International Alert, Malaria No More and Women’s March Global.

Her efficacy in security, health policy and sustainable development was most recently recognized as one of Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Women in 2018 by Women of Influence. She also received the 2018 Nelson Mandela International Changemaker Award by The Nelson Mandela Family and PTTOW and the BlogHer 2018 Voice of the Year Award by Sheknows Media.

In 2017 Alaa was named a Forbes 30 Under 30, Aspen Institute Spotlight Scholar, and Bay St. Bull Canada's 30x30. Her leadership in global policy and in elevating the role of women, particularly young, minority women, on global platforms was recognized by Harvard Law who named her the youngest 2017 Woman Inspiring Change.

Yasmeen Hassan

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Yasmeen became the Global Executive Director of Equality Now in 2011 after serving as Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs for three years. Previously, she was with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women where she worked on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Secretary-General’s study on violence against women. Yasmeen clerked on the D.C. Court of Appeals (1994-1995) and practiced corporate law at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and California (1995-2003). In 1999, Yasmeen edited Equality Now’s first report on discriminatory laws. She has served on the Council on Foreign Relations’ Advisory Board on Child Marriage, provided expert guidance to the U.N. Trust to End Violence Against Women, and advocates for women’s rights through appearances in numerous media outlets, including CNN, Al Jazeera, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Yasmeen holds a J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School where, among other subjects, she studied Islamic law and women’s rights. She also holds a B.A., magna cum laude, in Political Science from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, USA.

For Yasmeen, the law makes a critical difference; it is a statement of your worth as a citizen and influences the direction your life will take. Growing up in Pakistan, her defining moment came at age 10 when her country’s laws were ‘Islamacized,’ treating women as second class citizens. Advocating for women’s rights became a major part of Yasmeen’s education and career, ultimately leading her to author the first study of domestic violence in Pakistan which became the nation’s submission to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Julienne Lusenge

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Julienne Lusenge is a native of Eastern Congo and a staunch militant for justice, peace, and human rights and in particular a fervent women rights activist. Since 2001, Ms. Lusenge has been the President of the Board of Directors and co-founder of SOFEPADI (Women’s Solidarity for Peace and Integrated Development), an NGO that promotes women’s and girls’ rights in Beni (North-Kivu) and in Bunia (the Eastern province). Since 2003, SOFEPADI has focused more specifically on sexual violence and socio-cultural crimes providing comprehensive, holistic support to women victims of sexual violence as well as promoting their access to justice.

Through its program to fight against impunity and sexual violence in Beni, Bunia, and all Eastern DRC, SOFEPADI is now involved in assisting victims of sexual violence to navigate the judicial system and bring perpetrators of rape and sexual assault to national and international courts. Under her leadership SOFEPADI has built a solid reputation both nationally and internationally. SOFEPADI is an NGO member of CCJT (Congolese Coalition for Transitional Justice) and the lead organization of ESSAIM, a coalition of forty women’s groups set up in 2003 to defend and protect women’s rights in the Eastern provinces of DRC. In addition, SOFEPADI is the focal point of the International Coalition of Women in Situations of Conflict.

Catalina Escobar

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Catalina Escobar graduated in 1993 from Clark University with a degree of Business Administration, studies she combined with other academic programmes in economics in Europe and at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. She later completed a M.B.A. at the INALDE Business School in Bogota. She began her career in the banking and private fields, when in 2001 she created what would become her passion: The Juanfe Foundation (Juan Felipe Gomez Escobar Foundation).

Catalina is a globally recognized social entrepreneur. Granted the National Merit Order Award by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in 2011, she joined the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women's Mentoring Partnership and became a CNN Hero in 2012.

Being the recipient of numerous awards, including 21 Leaders of the 21st Century by Women eNews in New York, Top 10 Best Colombian Leaders 2013, the Poder Business Awards (together with Former President of Brazil, Fernando Cardozo), and the Lewis Institute Award from Babson College, Catalina was recognized as Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 by the World Economic Forum and Schwab Foundation. In 2015 she won the World of Children Humanitarian Award. In 2016 she was given the Honorary Doctorate Degree from Clark University. She was also selected as Women Leaders in Global Health Fellow 2017 by Stanford University.

Catalina is an international speaker. Some of her interventions have been in the Colombian Senate, Georgetown University, Standard Chartered Bank, TEDWomen, Citibank, Aspen Institute, Fortune Most Powerful Women, UN Women, Nobel Peace Prize Summit, and Babson College, among others.

Betsy Scolnik

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Betsy Scolnik has had the opportunity to work for the world’s leading commercial and philanthropic organizations. She is a communications and content strategist that focuses on measurable change and impact.

Prior to launching her own business, Betsy was the Director of Content and Distribution for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There she was in charge of the foundation’s content and distribution strategies and production efforts, as well as the foundation’s digital presence. Scolnik developed the foundation’s innovative approach to audience targeting and measurement of its cross-platform media efforts. She helped raise awareness of the foundation’s mission and the issues it focuses on.

Prior to the foundation, Scolnik was the President of Digital Media for National Geographic. There she oversaw National Geographic’s digital operations, NationalGeographic.com. She also managed the National Geographic digital film archive and short-form video programming, production, and distribution. Additionally, she led National Geographic’s initiatives in the wireless, gaming, broadband, and education markets.

Scolnik also held a wide range of multi-platform content development, operational, communications and strategy roles, including senior roles at AOL Time Warner and Xerox. At AOL she led their digital entertainment programming and promotion outside of the US and was the lead producer of the Live 8 global concert.

Scolnik was the co-producer of TEDWomen from its beginning in 2010 through 2016.

Betsy’s expertise and experience in the connection of audience targeting, distribution, and measurement has given her the breadth of knowledge and passion required to have impact in a multi-platform world.

Betsy earned her degree in International Relations from the University of California, Berkeley and attended New York University’s graduate school. Betsy is also fluent in Spanish and conversant in Portuguese, French, and Italian.

Jenna Arnold

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Jenna is the co-founder of ORGANIZE, a non-profit focused on ending the waitlist for organ transplants in America. ORGANIZE was awarded an Innovator in Residence position in the Secretary's Office of Health and Human Services and co-hosted the 2016 White House Organ Donation Summit, which, in addition to other initiatives, launched $300 million worth of commitments across multiple sectors. For her work at ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE was featured in the New York Times as one of 2016’s "Biggest Ideas in Social Change" as well as on on the May 14, 2017 episode of HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Jenna has been named to the Inc. Magazine 35 Under 35 List as well as Inc’s 20 Most Disruptive Innovators of 2016, Oprah’s 100 Super Soul Influencers, and was named a Young Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, and in 2017 she became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Previously, Jenna founded PressPlay, a boutique content creation firm that comes up with cool ways to make people give a sh*t, was the Creator and Executive Producer of one of MTV’s hit TV shows, ‘Exiled!' and was the youngest American to work at the United Nations. Additionally, she served as the Director of Strategic Engagement for the Women’s March and was awarded one of Glamour’s Women of the Year.

She lives in New York with her husband and two young children, who are anti-sleep.

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

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Dr. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess is an interdisciplinary scholar and Associate Professor of Practice at Columbia University's Teachers College who leverages fields of economics, sociology, and political science to address the questions of radicalization, social mobility, corruption, and exclusion of women. She works on concrete ways to facilitate women’s social mobility through better financial inclusion and access to financial services. Her work also examines the role of informal educational practices and formal institutions in creating new societal dynamics, norms, and behaviors. Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess’ current research examines how ultraconservative groups leverage education, both informal and formal, to instigate changes in social norms, values, and behaviors. Salafism, in particular, has developed innovative and transformative educational capacities that inject new social norms and ultraconservative beliefs into previously unreceptive societies. Even initially unreceptive populations are often transformed into supporters and eventually self-conformers to the new ideological platform and belief system. How education aids this path towards radicalization is at the core of Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess’ current work.

She has taught, researched, and published on a range of issues in education, including questions of social mobility, exclusion, radicalization, elite formation, corruption, education leadership and organization, transitional justice, teacher quality, and others.

Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess is a recipient of multiple awards, including grants from the United States State Department; Smith Richardson Foundation; Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Kennan Institute; International Research and Exchange Board and Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European Studies. Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess has worked in various capacities for Columbia University, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNDP, IFES, IMC, OSCE, UNICEF, ICTJ, foreign Ministries of Education, and other globally renowned institutions.

She served as a Board Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice and Tuxedo Park School. Currently, she is a Board Director of the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation and Board Director of Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess is also a Member of the World Association of International Studies and the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies.

Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess obtained her PhD and Master of Philosophy in Comparative and International Education with Specialization in Economics from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as Masters in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a BA in Economics from Brown University. Dr. Sabic-El-Rayess was born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She is a Bosnian war survivor.