Executive Committee

Chair: Susan O’Malley is the Main Representative to the UN (NY) for the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW). She is also Communication Chair and editor of Action for Girls for the Working Group on Girls. She was co-chair of the Planning Committee for the NGO Forum 59 and co-organizer of the monthly NGO CSW/NY meetings based on the 12 areas of action of the Beijing Platform for Action, 2014-2015. In addition to serving as the elected Faculty Trustee and Chair of the 22-campus City University of New York (CUNY) Faculty Senate, Dr. O’Malley was a professor of English and Women’s Studies at CUNY (Kingsborough and the Graduate Center) for 36 years. She has published articles and books on early modern women’s literature, Shakespeare, higher education, disability and civil rights. She holds an AB from Smith College and a PhD from Tulane University. She is currently involved in Cities for CEDAW to get CEDAW ratified in NYC.

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Vice Chair: Bette Levy is a Permanent Representative to the United Nations/New York Centre for Soroptimist International and is actively involved with a number of NGO committees. Bette is the Treasurer of the NGO Committee for Social Development, a member of the Core Committee of the Poverty Eradication subcommittee, the co-facilitator of the European/North American CSW Caucus, and an active member of the Women’s Major Group (Sustainable Development). She is also co-convener of the Trauma work group of the NGO Mental Health committee and a member of the Working Group on Girls.  Prior to retiring in 2011, she worked for the NYS Office of Mental Health for 38 years with an expertise in children/ families and disaster mental health. Currently, she is a Management/Culture Change Consultant with agencies that provide mental health and foster care services.

Treasurer: Erica Higbie is the UN Representative in New York for FAWCO (Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas), a global women’s organization founded in 1931 with over 12,000 members in more than 30 countries. Born in the US, she spent most of her adult life living in Australia, where she has dual-citizenship, and Germany. She completed a semester of her undergraduate degree in International Relations at the University of Zambia and has done volunteer work in Ghana and Cambodia. With graduate degrees in International Health and Business Administration, she worked for many years in healthcare delivery management and business development. Erica is currently the Co-chair of the Working Group on Girls Advocacy Committee, a Director on the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, Chair of the Women’s Political Empowerment Committee of the FAWCO Human Rights Task Force, and Preventing Child Mortality Tutor for People’s Open Access Education Initiative (Peoples-uni).

Ivy GabbertRecording Secretary: Ivy Gabbert is the Program Coordinator for Soka Gakkai International’s (SGI) UN Liaison office in New York and is engaged in SGI’s work in the fields of sustainable development, peace and disarmament, and human rights mainly through its informal education approach. Ivy served as co-chair for the Beijing+20 Communications for Change Task Force and is actively engaged in raising awareness on Beijing +20. Prior to her current position, Ivy’s work has taken her to Venezuela, Boston, and Japan in the fields of international education, study abroad, editing and translation. She has taken part in projects concerning the empowerment of female peace builders, child labor, and women’s leadership. Ivy holds a MA with a concentration in Sustainable Development from the School for International Training and received her AB in Japanese and Spanish minor from the University of Georgia.

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Communications Secretary: Rosalee Keech represents the League of Women Voters of the United States as Chief Observer to the United Nations (UN) since 2011 and has developed multiple programs to increase women’s leadership and participation in democratic political processes, promoting democracy around the world, and preventing violence against all women and girls. Elected in June, 2014, she served on the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and the Board of Trustees of the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) until June 2016. She formed the NGO Coalition for ILO’s Alliance 8.7 to stop the demand for forced labour and trafficking by working with UN agencies, member states, academia and the private sector. Additionally, she has developed a comprehensive strategy for preventing exploitation of women and children at major events. By working in conjunction with the UN, the strategy has been adopted and implemented by governments, both foreign and domestic. It was as a result of this that Ms. Keech currently serves as a member of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force and chair of its Outreach and Awareness Committee. Additionally she is a governor appointee to the NJ Board of Professional Planners and member of the Boards of Directors at the Jewish Home at Rockleigh. Ms. Keech is a retired Information Officer with more than 30 years of experience in developing and executing system strategies for the private sector. Ms. Keech graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Economics and Education and a MBA in Finance from New York University.

Member-at-Carol HeadshotLarge: Carol Bangura is the Founder and Permanent Representative to the United Nations for GIRLS! Project, a 501c3 organization that provides books to girls impacted by trauma in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Since 2008, the GIRLS! Project, has provided over 200,000 new books to girls in the Greater Philadelphia area and Sierra Leone, West Africa. Carol led the 2015 Ebola Orphans Project which provided over 5000 books for survivors and orphans in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Carol has created culturally and linguistically appropriate education and social integration for immigrant and refugee women and children for school districts in the Greater Philadelphia area. Carol is an experienced researcher in the area of gender-based sexual and intimate partner violence inclusive of immigrant and refugee communities. Carol is a published author of the children’s book Sallymatu’s Soup focused on tolerance and diversity. Carol holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Development, a Master of Science degree in Education.  Carol is is an advocate for trauma informed care and she is the Chair of the Children and Youth Committee on Mayor’s Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs in Philadelphia and has served in this position since 2010 and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Member-at-LargeMary Ann Tarantula is currently the Chairman of the Zonta International United Nations Committee, wherein she is responsible for overseeing UN Committee members in New York, Geneva, Paris and Vienna. In addition to her new role with NGO/CSW/NY, Ms. Tarantula is a member of the Human Rights Committee (CoNGO), the Working Group on Girls, and is the Treasurer of the NGO Committee on UNICEF. She is also dedicated to helping plan the annual CSW events, having done so for both CSW 55 and CSW 56.

 

 

 

Member-at-LargeDr. Padmini Murthy is an OB/GYN and Certified Health Education Specialist who has practiced medicine in several countries and holds Master’s degrees in both Public Health and Management. She is currently an Associate Professor and the Global Health Program Director at New York Medical College School of Public Health. Additionally, Dr. Murthy is a Representative to the United Nations for the Medical Women International Association. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Sojourner Truth Pin and the Marie Catchatoor Oration Lecture. She was named Women of the Year for 2012-2013 by The National Association of Professional Women, USA. Her book, Women’s Global Health and Human Rights, was published in 2009.

 

 

 

Member-at-Large: Saphira Rameshfar is a Representative of the Baha’i International Community’s UN Office in New York. Prior to this, Saphira was at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs headquarters in New York working on capacity development policy. As an Australian, she worked for the Australian Federal Government Department of Agriculture on international trade negotiations and market strategy for Australian agricultural exports. Ms. Rameshfar dedicated three years to projects aimed at the empowerment of youth in Australia as well as in communities throughout the Asia Pacific region and North and South America. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Economics, Research Degree in Ecology, Postgraduate qualifications in Public Administration, and Governance as well as a Masters of International Law (Australian National University).

 

Jackie Weatherspoon, pictureMember-at-Large: Hon. Jackie K. Weatherspoon is the Northern New England Coordinator for US Women Connect a White House Initiative to access the progress of Women and Girls every five years according to the National Platform for Action protocols since, 1995. Jackie served six years in the NH House of Representatives. Jackie has worked for the US State Dept. during the Clinton Administration, served on three US Delegations with First Lady Hillary Clinton, the “Northern Initiative” in Iceland, Estonia and Lithuania. Jackie was in Beijing, China, 1995 representing UNA/USA as a reporter when First Lady Hillary Clinton gave her famous speech, “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights”. Jackie’s first piece of legislation was the UN CEDAW Resolution which passed both Houses: The UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Jackie has also worked for the United Nations as the Senior Election Officer and International Gender Expert to the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council Elections in Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania. Jackie has served on the UN Roster of Electoral Experts.  Jackie lives at Phillips Exeter Academy with her husband and is co-faculty advisor to the  PEA Democratic Club and has served as a Luminary Circle Member and Mentor with Step UP Women’s Network. Jackie has served on multiple boards including New Hampshire Public Radio and the Harvard Alumni Association as Co-Chair to the University Wide cluster. Lastly Jackie serves on the NH Democratic Party Executive Committee and was a super volunteer in NH for @Ready for Hillary.

Past Chair, Ex-OfficioSoon-Young Yoon (former Vice-Chair) is the UN representative for the International Alliance of Women and works as a consultant for the World Health Organization. She was one of the organizers of the NGO Forum during the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and was a columnist for the EarthTimes newspaper. Ms. Yoon currently serves as a board member of the International Advisory Council at the Harvard AIDS Initiative and of the International Foundation for Ewha Womans University. A former Fulbright Senior scholar, she holds an AB with honors in French literature and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. www.soon-young.com