October 29, 2020
A Call for a New Humanity:
Wonder Womanism and the Power of Love
"Art, when inspired by love, can uplift consciousness."
All over the world, women—for no other reason than being who they are—are left behind in the call for justice. It took George Floyd’s death to raise an outcry over the unjust violence of Breonna Taylor’s death, even though her murder occurred months earlier. When 16 mothers were killed with their newborn babies this summer in Afghanistan, the world did not rise up. Why?
Together with change-makers and award-winning artists from Mexico, Nigeria, India, South Africa, and Afghanistan whose exhibitions and narratives put into question the status quo in their countries and speak the unspeakable, Women Forward International will bridge the gap between the heart and the mind, demanding real change at this momentous turning point.
During this “fireside” chat, the artists and activists will share exhibitions of their work on screen and tell personal stories that, when brought to the fore, free women: the largest, broadest, oldest, most omnipresent, and eternally oppressed group in human history.
The world cannot transform until justice is rendered to all human beings. There is no New Creation without “re-creating” women.
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi
CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is an international speaker and the CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), an organization she founded in 1995 in response to the lack of education and health care that the Afghan people faced after decades of war and strife. She is also the co-founder and President of Creating Hope International (CHI) and is a member of the U.S. Afghan Women's Council. Dr. Yacoobi has established four schools, a hospital, and a radio station in Afghanistan, and is the recipient of six honorary doctorates including from Princeton University. She serves on the advisory boards for Feftzer, Kratitz, Women's Refugee Commission, and the Social Impact Lab at Lynn University. Dr. Yacoobi was honored in 2017 with the Sunhak Peace Prize, and, in 2016, was the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education awardee, the 2015 WISE Prize for Education Laureate and the 2013 recipient of the Opus Prize. Dr. Yacoobi is a Skoll Social Entrepreneur, Schwab Social Entrepreneur, and Ashoka Fellow, and was nominated as one of 1,000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Jenevieve Aken is an award-winning Nigerian photographer and story-teller who focuses on social documentary photography, images and representation, and often adopts self-portraiture in her artistic practice. Through her work, she explores personal experiences and contemporary social issues of identity, sexuality, gender and social roles. Ms. Aken is the latest recipient of the Wellcome Photography prize for her Monankim series. She currently lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.
Photographer and Story-Teller
Born in Rio de Janeiro and a nationalized Mexican, Vera André is a plastic artist who comes from the design discipline. Various institutions committed to the arts have been the hosts of what today is her performance in a variety of artistic expressions. Since 1994, she has dedicated her life to painting, sculpture, and engraving. Passionate about life and its mystical origin, Vera's work is a mapping and immersion of the micro and macro cosmos, a journey through the unconscious of being. Her work is a primary way to process and abound the human experience in space, as a whole, where we are all united, where we are the universe.
Women’s Rights Activist and Author, India
Manasi Pradhan is an Indian women's rights activist and author. She is the founder of Honour for Women National Campaign, a nationwide movement to end violence against women in India. In 2014, she was conferred with the Rani Laskhmibai Stree Shakti Puraskar by the President of India. She is the founder of Nirbhaya Vahini, and has served on the panel of Central Board of Film Certification for India and the Inquiry Committee of the National Commission for Women. Born to a poor family in a remote village of Odisha, she fought successfully the widely prevalent social taboo against educating women, walked 15 km daily amidst hilly terrain and swamp to the only high school in the entire region to emerge as first woman matriculate of her village and subsequently the first woman law graduate of her region. The life story of Manasi Pradhan has been adopted as documentaries in United States and Israel.
Born in post-Apartheid South Africa to a Ghanaian mother and French father, Chloé Bertrand grew up passionate about African history, art, development and gender equality. Curious about the lack of visible policy action against socio-spatial economic disparities in South Africa, she decided, at the age of 13, to fundraise for an all-female urban micro-farming community project, which operated in one of Cape Town’s largest townships.
Master in International Public Management
Paris School of International Affairs, SciencesPo
Since then, she has been active in her community through volunteering for international organizations, and supporting a leadership program for marginalized young women based in London, United Kingdom. Ms. Bertrand is currently a Master’s degree student in International Public Management at SciencesPo Paris with a background in International Relations and Economics and a specialization in Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London). Most recently, Ms. Bertrand participated in a WFI sponsored project to research gender and feminist dynamics in West Africa for a nonprofit called Equipopulation.
Ambassador Sharon Wilkinson
Diplomat and Foreign Service Officer
Ambassador Wilkinson is a retired Foreign Service Officer with service in Mexico, Brazil, The Netherlands Antilles, Portugal, and Ghana. President Clinton appointed her as Ambassador to Burkina Faso, and later to Mozambique. Following that, she served as Diplomat in Residence, then Assistant Dean for Global Engagement at Arizona State University, where she developed plans for meaningful international experiences for Global Studies students. At Meridian International Center in Washington DC, where she was the Diplomatic Advisor, she examined strategies for engaging the local Washington DC community to “think global” and participate in activities with a global reach. She has been a speaker on foreign policy issues and greatly enjoys mentoring aspiring young Foreign Service Officers; additionally, she tutors individuals preparing for their US citizenship interviews. Ambassador Wilkinson holds a BA in International Relations from Brown University and a MAT/Social Science from the University of Chicago.