Advisors - New York and Afghanistan
WAW's Advisory Committees are made up of individuals who draw on their experience and expertise to guide and mentor WAW' work, particularly our advocacy for women's rights. WAW's advisors do not necessarily endorse WAW's position on all issues. Similarly WAW may not agree with positions or statements made by our advisors.
WAW Advisory Committee
Rina Amiri currently serves as senior advisor on Afghanistan for the Office of the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before joining SRAP, Rina served as the director of the Soros Foundation's Afghanistan and Regional Policy Initiative. Rina has been intricately involved in peace efforts in Afghanistan. From 2002 to 2006, she worked with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and served as a member of the Special Representative of the Secretary General's team responsible for the implementation of the Bonn Peace Accords. Prior to 2002, Rina worked closely with Afghan political leaders in Rome toward finding a political settlement to the Afghanistan war. She has provided analysis on Afghanistan and the region at major institutions, including the United Nations, Harvard University, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the State Department, the Council of Foreign Affairs as well as news publications, television, and radio programs, including, CNN, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
Valerie Begley, a lifelong feminist and human rights advocate, currently works with the State Dept. She recently served at U.S. Embassy Kabul focusing on human rights, child protection, and labor issues. A former gender studies professor, she has lived and worked in Turkey, the Philippines, and Singapore teaching, writing, and editing on a range of subjects. She holds an Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dr. Anarkali Honaryar is the only non-Muslim Member of Afghanistan’s Senate. She was raised in an open-minded family in Baghlan province. She studied at Balkh Engineering University and later Social and Educational University of Baghalan. She worked as a teacher at her own high school. Then, when the Taliban invaded Afghanistan, Anarkali took Vaccinations Courses at the ICRC and worked as a Vaccinator with the great People of Afghanistan. After the defeat of Taliban, Anarkali resumed her higher education at Stomatology Medical University and attained her medical degree with high honors. She then joined the Afghanistan Human Rights commission was Director of Development. Her focus was women’s rights. When Anarkali nominated herself for election to the National Assembly of Afghanistan, President Karzai himself gave her his vote, and she became the first Sikh member of Parliament. Anarkali currently serves in the National Economic Commission in the Senate of Afghanistan.
Fawzia Koofi is a veteran Afghan parliamentary lawmaker, accomplished author, and internationally known outspoken advocate for the rights of women and children, democracy, and moderate Islam. She is the first female in the Afghan parliament to be elected as Second Deputy Speaker, and she heads the parliament's Women Affairs Commission. Not only has Fawzia humanized the otherwise faceless international discussion of the struggles and abuse of Afghan women, she is on the forefront of educating the international community as to the consequences for her, and other advocates of reform should the international community and their security forces be withdrawn. Fawzia started her political career in 2001 when she began to promote a "Back To School" campaign targeted at the rights of women in Afghanistan to an education. By 2002 she took employment as a Child Protection Officer with UNICEF, and in 2005 she was elected as a parliamentary representative for Badakhshan province, her native region in the rural mountains of northern Afghanistan. While Fawzia was still young, her father and brothers were killed in political unrest throughout the country, and Fawziai herself has been the target of a direct assassination attempt. She was nearly killed in an incident between her soldiers and Taliban opponents, and receives regular credible death threats. Fawzia stands fast to her ideals of the rights of women and children, rule of law, moderate Islam, and no compromise to the Taliban for the sake of peace at the expense of the safety and security of all the citizens of Afghanistan. She is married and has two daughters. Fawzia is a contender in the upcoming presidential elections in 2014.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a Fellow and Deputy Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her first book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, tells the story of a young woman whose business created jobs and hope for 100 women in her neighborhood during the Taliban years. In 2004 Gayle left a career covering presidential politics at ABC News to earn her MBA at Harvard, where she began writing about women entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Rwanda. Her reporting on entrepreneurs in these countries has been published by the New York Times Global Edition, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, CNN.com, and the Daily Beast as well as The World Bank and Harvard Business School. She has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain and a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany. She speaks German, Spanish, French and intermediate Dari and lives in Los Angeles, California, where she spent the last several years at the investment management firm PIMCO while writing The Dressmaker of Khair Khana. She is a member of the International Center for Research on Women’s New Leader’s Circle and the Vital Voices’ Los Angeles Leadership Council.
Kimberly Otis is a consultant in philanthropy and social change. She is currently Senior Advisor to the Center for Partnership Studies and Director of its Caring Economics Campaign. Kim has held various leadership positions with private foundations, non-profits, and associations primarily focused on the rights and empowerment of women and girls for over twenty-five years. From 2006 to the present, she is a consultant for philanthropy and social change through organizational, program, and fund development and strategic planning. Kim is the former Executive Director of the National Council of Women’s Organizations and President & CEO of Women & Philanthropy, a membership and advocacy organization of grantmakers. Kim was also Executive Director of the Rauch Foundation, and was the founding Executive Director for nearly ten years of The Sister Fund, both private family foundations. During the challenging aftermath of September 11, 2001, Kim was Chair of the Board of Directors of the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers, where she served two terms as a Board member. She is a past Board member of the National Women's Hall of Fame and of the Women's Funding Network, and is a recipient of the “Changing the Face of Philanthropy” award.
Homira Nassery Originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, Homira Nassery has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Georgia, and a Master’s degree in International Development from the American University. Ms. Nassery won the Myra E. Barrer Award for Journalism in 1992 for “The Forgotten Population of Refugees: Afghan Women and Children” and was one of the authors of Afghanistan’s first National Human Development Report. For ten years, Homira Nassery worked on health and gender in post-conflict situations for the World Bank, specifically, Rwanda, Pakistan, Eritrea, Mozambique, and Sri Lanka. In 2003, she took a 4 year leave-of-absence from the World Bank to work in the provinces of Afghanistan for Save the Children/U.S., UNDP, NATO, the Government of Afghanistan, and Chemonics/USAID. Her last year in Afghanistan was spent living and working in Lashkargah for the Alternative Livelihoods Project South, covering the three provinces of Helmand, Kandahar, and Uruzgan. This role provided broad exposure in the constraints of developing women’s livelihoods in an active combat zone and the relationships between civilian and military reconstruction activities. Currently she is the Health, Nutrition, and Population Knowledge and Learning Coordinator, as well as the focal point for Fragile States at the World Bank. Her most recent work has been in Southern Sudan, Malawi, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan, and she is working on publishing “Health Systems Strengthening and Statebuilding in Mid-Conflict States”.
Asila Wardak is a human rights and women's rights leader from Afghanistan and a co-founder of Afghan Women's Network (AWN). She is Minister Counselor to the Permanent Mission of Afghanistan to United Nation in New York. She was also elected Human Rights Commissioner at the Permanent Human Rights Commission of Organizational Islamic Cooperation (OIC) representing Afghanistan. She was formerly held positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Afghanistan, World Bank, UNDP, Asian Development Bank, UNAMA, CARE and Canada Fund. She has worked as a consultant with various UN agencies, York University and Fredric Ebert Steffting. Asila was a candidate from Wardak Province in the 2005 Parliamentary election.
Asila was a delegate and participated actively in the Bonn 1 and Bonn 2 conferences, the Emergency Loya Jirga, Constitutional Loya jirga, Afghan–Pak Peace Jirga and Peace Consultative Jirga. She raised women's voices in all these meetings. Asila lost her father in in the 2002 Jirga, but she never stopped her fight for human rights in Afghanistan.