MEET OUR 2018 NOMINEES
Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation has been awarding women and men for their work against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and other types of violence against women and girls since 2015. In 2017, a special international nomination committee was appointed to nominate such candidates, and the committee cast their votes and determine the winners. As the nominees come in from the committee they are posted to this page.
Our Mistress of Ceremony - Awards Evening
Ashley Nicole Johnson is a dynamic and energetic public relations and marketing professional recognized as one of The Top 25 African American PR Millennials to Watch by The Huffington Post. Johnson obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Howard University’s School of Communication and Masters in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University. Ashley is the CEO and Publicist of ANJPR Consulting, LLC, a public relations agency specializing in entertainment, lifestyle and non-profit organizations. As the Multicultural Marketing & Communications Consultant for the nation’s largest non-profit advocacy organization, AARP; she drives brand awareness of the organization’s social impact areas to include health, financial resilience, and personal fulfillment. She manages national partnerships, brand campaigns, advertisements, digital content and event activations, specifically targeting African-American/Black, Hispanic Latino, and LGBT 50+ adults. Ashley has provided public relations, brand strategy, and event consulting to BET Networks, Walt Disney World Resort, non-profit organizations, faith-based, small businesses and consumer brands/influencers. She has worked with talent to include Holly Robinson Peete, Donnie Simpson, Regina Belle, Kim Coles, Tina Knowles and Vivica Fox to name a few.
Dr. Ranit Mishori - Medical / Health
Dr. Ranit Mishori is a physician and writer whose twin careers in family medicine and international journalism create a unique perspective on the many issues involved in delivering healthcare here and abroad. From an early start covering wars and the plight of refugees for a global news organization, Dr. Mishori went on to study medicine and public health, earning an MHS in International Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine. A graduate of the Georgetown University/Providence hospital Family Medicine Residency, she is currently director of the Department of Family Medicine's Global Health Initiatives, where she has initiated and lead the Global Health Scholars Track at the residency and various collaborative projects internationally (in Latin America, Haiti, Africa and the Middle East). As a clinician, Dr. Mishori sees patients regularly and serves as an attending physician at the Georgetown University/Providence Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program, precepting residents in the outpatient office and supervising the family medicine inpatient service on a rotating basis. Dr. Mishori’s main areas of interest and expertise are health and human rights and the care of vulnerable populations, particularly forced migrants (refugees and asylum seekers). She has created curricula, given talks and presentations nationally and internationally, written articles and conducted research on topics related to asylum and refugee care, human trafficking, female-genital mutilation, torture and human rights in medical education. Dr. Mishori is the faculty advisor for Georgetown’s Asylum Program.
Dr. Mawaheb El-Mouelhy - Medical / Health
Dr. Mawaheb El-Mouelhy is an Independent Consultant in Reproductive Health and Population in Cairo, Egypt. She also works in the field of women’s health as a clinician, researcher, trainer and advocate. Dr. El-Mouelhy regards FGM as a violation of a woman’s rights and is a harmful practice, causing complications and misery to a woman. She conducted an investigation on women’s sexuality in relation to female genital mutilation in Egypt. The objective for the study was to understand and document the local constructions and experiences of sexuality among Egyptian women in relation to FGM. Also investigated were the linkages between marriage ability, gender roles, sexual pleasure and FGM. As a principal investigator of a World Health Organization-funded study, Dr. El-Mouelhy believes that physical and psycho-sexual complications of FGM is something doctors should be taught in medical school. She strongly objects to doctors performing FGM, since it is not a surgical operation included in medical textbooks, and there is no guide to performing such an operation, in addition to its harmful implications. Dr El-Mouelhy started her work against FGM and child marriage and advocating for family planning over 30 years ago.
Dr. Christina Pallitto - Medical / Health
Christina Pallitto has been a Research Scientist in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization in Geneva since 2008. She is currently the focal person for female genital mutilation, (FGM) where she oversees the research portfolio and development of health systems, strengthening activities on FGM. She previously worked on gender-based violence research in the same department. Christina has a Ph.D in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, as well as a background in Anthropology and International Development. In addition to her 20 years of research experience, she also has extensive experience in advocacy, counseling, and health education on a variety of topics related to women’s rights and reproductive health.
Attorney Ayodele Gansallo - Legal
Ayodele Gansallo has been practicing immigration and human rights law since 1992, both in the U.S. and in the U.K., the country where she grew up. Her entire career in this field has been in the non-profit world. She believes that a person's financial status should not determine the quality of service she/he receives. She is committed to providing the best service that she can and she truly loves the work she does. Attorney Gansallo was vigilant in assisting immigrants at the airport during the travel ban in 2017. She was one of the first attorneys to rush to the Philadelphia International Airport to offer her assistance. In 2016 she assisted Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation to help file asylum papers for a Liberian FGM survivor whose life had been threatened in her native country.
Attorney Asuncion Cummings "Sunny" Hostin - Legal
Asunción Cummings "Sunny" Hostin is an American lawyer, columnist, multi-platform journalist and a social commentator. Hostin is the Senior Legal Correspondent and Analyst for ABC News as well as a co-host on ABC's morning talk show The View. She has reported on women’s issues, including the #MeToo movement. As a prosecutor, Sunny presented hundreds of cases before the grand jury, and she never went back to her office without an indictment.
Dexter Dias, QC - Legal
Dexter Dias, QC is a barrister of the Queen’s Counsel who has been instructed in some of the biggest cases of recent years involving human rights, murder, crimes against humanity, terrorism, war crimes and genocide. Additionally, he has played a pivotal role in public inquiries and inquests that are watersheds in the developing law of the land. His distinctive rights-based style of advocacy, marked by a passionate commitment to fundamental freedoms and social justice, resulted in his winning the TMG award for Outstanding Contribution to Advocacy and Justice, and being finalist in Liberty and JUSTICE’s prestigious Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award, short-listed by a panel of judges including Baroness Hale of the Supreme Court. He has been instrumental in changing the law to better protect young women and girls at risk of FGM and works internationally on human rights with victims and survivors of abuse of institutional power and harmful social practices. He is ranked by the Legal 500 and Chambers U.K. as a Leading Silk in Crime and Civil Liberties, which recommend him as being “An unstoppable force of nature in court”. He chaired and co-wrote the influential Bar Human Rights Committee Report to the Parliamentary Inquiry into FGM and was instrumental in changing the law to strengthen the national protective mechanism; has had his research cited in both Houses of Parliament; had his work paid tribute to by the Home Affairs Select Committee for its critical analysis of the defects in the UK’s rights protections; has written reports to the United Nations and briefed the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls.
Hazel Barrett - Education / Training
Hazel Barrett is a human geographer who obtained her degree at the University of Sussex in the School of African and Asian Studies in England. She then moved to the University of Birmingham and received her Master’s and PhD in West African Studies. Her main areas of research are the socioeconomic aspects of development, in particular gender, health and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last decade her research has been directed at the social and economic aspects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and The Gambia as well as among migrant groups in the U.K. More recently her research has focused on the traditional harmful practice of FGM in Africa and among the African diaspora in the European Union countries. She is an internationally recognized expert on FGM. Hazel is a specialist on participatory action methods and community-based participatory research and has published a number of referred papers on this methodology. She has published books and chapters on health and development issues and has over 40 referred articles to her name. In 1998 she was promoted to Reader in Development Geography and in 2006 she was conferred a Chair in Development Geography. She has been Associate Dean for Applied Research in the Faculty of Business and Law since 2010. She was President of the Geographical Association from 2013 until 2014.
Dr. Karen A. McDonnell - Education / Training
Karen McDonnell is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Dr. McDonnell is a public health program evaluation and implementation specialist with over 15 years’ experience working with community groups, public health agencies, and health care systems both locally and globally. Dr. McDonnell’s expertise lies in using mixed methods to look at complex public health issues and programs. Her most recent work is leading a team to evaluate gender based violence in immigrant communities, development and testing of a community-centered FGM prevention project, evaluating the National Domestic Violence Hotline/love is respect Helpline, taking a public health approach to gender based violence and HIV, and evaluating multi-systems changes in the Clinical Translational Science Institute with Children’s National and GWU. Dr. McDonnell has conducted trainings in public health policy, gender equity, and women’s leadership and teaches coursework in Program Evaluation, Maternal and Child Health, and works with undergraduate and graduate students, medical residents, and community groups to further the exploration of methods to meet our current complex public health challenges. Dr McDonnell is the recipient of the 2009 ASPH Early Career in Public Health Teaching Award, ASPH Academy of Distinguished Teachers, and the 2011 Milken Institute SPH Excellence in Teaching Award. Karen has been vigilant in her work against FGM, including teaching, training and facilitating workshops.
Barbara I. Nowak, DNP, RN, FNP-C - Education / Training
Barbara Nowak received her BSN from Seattle University, her MSN from University of Texas, her Certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner from George Washington University, and her DNP from George Mason University. She is currently working as the Health Services Coordinator for Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) in Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. Nowak is a strong advocate for school nursing and believes having a registered school nurse in every school provides a foundational solution to the health care issues facing our nation today. She is actively involved in finding solutions to common school health problems including supporting innovative solutions to poor oral health and access to quality health care for uninsured students. Dr. Nowak also believes school nurses need to be well educated in health issues that evidence demonstrates impact students in school, including her work with childhood obesity and FGM-C. She serves on the Public Health Advisory Board for the City of Alexandria, the School Health Advisory Board for ACPS, and the Virginia Oral Health Commission’s subcommittee for children. She is a member of NASN, AANP, ANA, and Sigma Theta Tau.
Susan McLucas - Advocacy
Susan McLucas has devoted years of her life towards ending the practice of FGM, working with a group in Mali, West Africa called “Sini Sanuman”, with which she is a founding member. When she first heard of the practice of FGM, Susan was heart-broken, and became obsessed with ending it. She established the “Pledge Against Excision”, an online campaign in Mali, which amassed more than 75,000 signatures. Her colleagues in Mali are utilizing those signatures to help press for a law criminalizing FGM in that country. Sini Sanuman means “Healthy Tomorrow”, which is a partner association in the United States. Susan produced a music CD titled Stop Excision and 5 music videos, which continue to play on the airwaves of Mali, which prompted her to use songs in her movement against FGM in Mali. She worked with 12 villages in Mali, and convinced them to stop FGM. She also influenced the Women’s Ministry in Mali to maintain a list of all the villages which NGOs had convinced to end the practice of FGM. There are currently more than 1,400 villages on that list. Between 1997 and 2009, Susan made 12 trips to Mali, adding up to three and a half years, during which she participated in the struggle against FGM in that West African nation. She was the Keynote Speaker at the Netherlands conference, “Uniting Europe and Africa to Fight Female Genital Mutilation”, hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
Musician Bafing Kul (Issa Coulibaly) - Advocacy
Born in November of 1975 in Bamako, Mali, West Africa, musician Bafing Kul was appalled when he discovered FGM during his youth. He compares FGM to slavery of young girls. Bafing Kul wrote the songs, “52 Bamako” and “Exciser c’est pas bon” to denounce such treatment imposed on girls. But soon, he was forced to flee his native Mali to France to avoid the anger he has stirred among the Islamists, who accused him of betraying his own tradition. Bafing launched the Nomade Reggae Festival to raise funds to build a Health and Education Center for women in the village of Sanankoroba. It is his goal that the center will encourage women to abandon the harmful practice of FGM.
Tony Mwebia - Advocacy
Tony Mwebia is the founder of Youth for Women Empowerment (YOWE), a community based organization that engages youth, especially boys and men in the fight against FGM and other harmful cultural practices. He is a global citizen activist against FGM and other practices as well as SRHR advocate. He has worked on ending FGM and child protection with government and NGOs in Kenya for over 5 years. He works with several NGOs in Kenya and around the world on a freelance basis as a consultant on effective use of social media to advocate for SDGs with specific focus on ending FGM and other harmful cultural practices. He has successfully run several hashtag online campaigns. On February 6, 2018 he was honored by the Anti-FGM Board of Kenya with the END FGM Social Media Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution within End FGM movement in Kenya. Tony is also the pioneer of the online campaign, #MenENDFGM on Twitter that rallies NGOs and policy makers to engage boys and men in the fight against FGM and other harmful cultural practices. Tony holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from the University of Nairobi and is a qualified CPA.
Adriana Kaplan - Advocacy
Adriana Kaplan is a medical anthropologist, Director of Wassu-UAB Foundation and of the Chair of Knowledge Transfer, Professor of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and Principal Investigator of the Interdisciplinary Group for the Prevention and Study of Harmful Traditional Practices (IGPS/HTP) of the UAB. Her research path started in 1987, when she inaugurated a pioneer line of research at the UAB. On the framework of the migratory movements from Sub-Saharan Africa toward Spain, she conducted an anthropological analysis of the processes of acculturation and social integration in the field of sexual and reproductive health, focusing on the study and prevention of FGM from a longitudinal, circular, transnational and gender perspective. Due to her integration in the communities, Adriana Kaplan gained a deep understanding of their beliefs, values, practices and conceptions of the world. She comprehended that FGM was embedded in a complex framework of social and religious symbolisms which grant status, ethnic and gender identities, as well as social recognition and a sense of belonging, and realized that any strategy for prevention should acknowledge this social and cultural meaning. Committed with the conquest of girls and women's rights, she engaged in the development of a sustainable, culturally respectful and evidence-based methodology for FGM management and prevention.
Severina Lemachokoti - Survivor Activist
Severina Lemachokoti is an anti-FGM campaigner, a human rights defender and a gender activist from the Samburu community in Northern Kenya. Severina is currently a student at Wichita State University, Kansas State pursuing a Master’s Degree in Liberal arts, with focus on Community Psychology, Sociology and Women Studies. As a professional trained teacher, she also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and a higher diploma in Psychological Counseling. She recently earned a Master's Degree. As one of the survivors of FGM, Severina uses her own experience to educate young girls from Kenya and her community to say “NO” to FGM and embrace education. She has helped in changing the lives of young girls and women in her community through mentorship programs in schools and churches. As a trained counselor in psychology, she focuses on helping the survivors heal from the traumatizing experiences. Severina worked as a program officer for the ANTI-FGM Board, a government body under the ministry of gender to implement the anti-FGM act of 2011 and the 2010 constitution of Kenya to protect the rights of young girls in Kenya.
Marie Claire Moraldo - Survivor Activist
Marie Claire Kakpotia Moraldo was born on April 24th, 1982 in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She holds a Master's Degree in Commercial Management and Project Management from the Kedge Business School in Marseille, France. Marie was a victim of excision (FGM) at the age of 9. She underwent restorative surgery in 2016. She created the association, The Red Orchids in March 2017, the first association to fight against FGM (excision) and forced marriage in the Department of the Gironde. Marie works for the rights of women and girls. She recently created the group, Happy Business Women, which aims to be a group of mutual help and motivation among business women. She set up projects of long-lasting development in the Ivory Coast, as well as a cooperative to help the women to acquire their financial autonomy, so that they can live as they want without undergoing the traditions and the violence of the men.
Khadija Gbla - Survivor Activist
Khadija Gbla was born in Sierra Leone, spent her youth in Gambia, and as a teenager put down roots in Australia. She uses her cross-cultural heritage to promote understanding in both directions. Khadija was just 3-years-old when the war broke out in her country, Sierra Leone. While her family initially escaped to Gambia, 10 years later they attained refugee status and settled in Adelaide, Australia. She discovered that she had a unique talent - the ability to translate across two very different cultures. Khadija first used this talent as a peer educator for South Australia’s Women’s Heath Statewide program, where she talked to health professionals about female genital mutilation — helping them understand what it is, where it happens, and the cultural beliefs that surround it. She’s since used her multicultural voice to offer advice on policy through South Australian Government Minister’s Youth Council, to organize camps and activities for newly-arrived refugees and to raise awareness about both sexual and mental health issues among her peers. She has represented Australia in the international arena at the Harvard National Model United Nations, Commonwealth Youth Forum and Australian and Africa Dialogue, and speaks regularly at a wide variety of events to make sure that her perspective is heard. Being invited as a keynote speaker at the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting (CHOGM) Women’s Forum in Malta, was a great honor. Even having been invited by the United Nations Population Fund to speak at an event on female genital mutilation as part of the Commission on the Status of Women, was an incredible experience.
Maria Akhter - Student Ambassador
Maria Akhter joined Sahiyo as a volunteer in 2017 after becoming more aware of the activist community working to end FGM. Maria was born in California to a Bohra family, however, her mother, a survivor of FGM, chose to not have Maria undergo it. Maria did not learn of her mother’s decision until two years ago when news broke about FGM happening in the Bohra community more widely. Afterwards, Maria and her mother had an in depth about FGM and Maria felt forever thankful in learning that her mother had not subjected her to the practice. Immediately after their conversation, Maria felt an intense need to become part of the movement working to prevent FGM from happening to future girls. She’s currently a 2018 graduating undergraduate student at the University of California, studying Economics and Literature and passionately enjoys writing. In the past year, Maria has been an essential part of Sahiyo’s U.S. activities. As one of the youngest volunteers at Sahiyo, she helped coordinate the first ever Sahiyo U.S. Activist Retreat in January 2018, and she is largely responsible for organizing logistics around a May 2018 workshop in the Bay Area (California) where U.S. women from all backgrounds affected by FGM came together to create digital storytelling videos. Maria's blog can be found on Sahiyo's website, sahiyo.com.
Fatu I. Drame - Student Ambassador
Fatu Drame is a recent graduate with a Master's Degree from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She was an intern with Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) during her last year at George Washington University. During her internship with GWPF, Fatu researched, compiled and wrote a training manual titled, A Law Enforcement Female Genital Mutilation Training Manual for GWPF.
Christine Hedstrom - Student Ambassador
Christine Hedstrom is a graduate student at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Christine spent the past year as an intern with Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF). During her internship with GWPF, Christine helped build a medical network for the organization. She also helped reconstruct the website of GWPF.
Alimatu Dimonekene is a leading Anti-FGM Campaigner and Women and Girls Rights Advocate and the winner of the True Hero Award 2015 for her work in tackling FGM. She holds a BA Joint Honors in Third World & International Development Studies with Sociology from Middlesex University and gained a Social Policy diploma from Birkbeck College. Alimatu has used her experiences as a FGM survivor in working extensively with key agencies, including UN Women (UK), The Home Office, Metropolitan Police, NHS and the NSPCC. She is increasingly active in Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Liberia - supporting communities with strategies for eliminating violence against women and girls. In December 2015, Alimatu was invited by the African Union to host Youth Panel discussions at the End Child Summit in Lusaka, Zambia - in order to look at ways of combating Child and Early Marriage worldwide. Alimatu is mentoring most of the youth delegates she met at the Summit. Alimatu uses her own resources to support fellow survivors engage with services. Alimatu is keen to extend her work in Africa in developing mobile schools. Alimatu works tirelessly to bringing services and access to women and young girls, especially from the Black Majority and Ethnic communities through active engagements and participation who find it most difficult to engage.
Dr. Beryl Dorsett - Person of Year
Dr. Beryl Dorsett is a lifelong educator who has dedicated her life to global betterment through philanthropy. A distinguished educator, Dr. Dorsett was appointed Assistant Secretary of Education by President Ronald Reagan in February 1987, becoming the first female appointed to that office. During her tenure, she was responsible for the complete oversight of the five-billion-dollar federal program that created national programs and protocols for the United States’ elementary and secondary school systems. Her other positions of leadership in education include being the Assistant Principal (Interim acting) of Public School #22, Principal (Interim Acting) of Public School #73 and Director of the Office of Funded Programs in Community School District Nine. Dr. Dorsett received her Ed.D from Fordham University in 1997.
Sheila Johnson - Person of the Year
Sheila Johnson has a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance and Education. Johnson was a violin teacher at the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. In 2005, she founded Salamander Hospitality, a hospitality and management company through which she owns and manages two resorts and an Inn, among other properties. She is also the Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which includes the Washington Mystics, a Women’s National Basketball franchise, the Washington Wizards, a men’s National Basketball franchise and Washington Capitals, a National Hockey franchise. Mrs. Johnson is the first Black woman with a stake in three professional sports teams. She is also a documentary film producer of acclaimed pictures such as A Powerful Noise (2008) and The Other City (2010), a film about the AIDS epidemic in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama appointed her to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and she also sits on the board of numerous foundations and universities. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, and is a notable philanthropist. Sheila Johnson created a special program in East Africa to teach aspiring African businesswomen to be successful.
Cathy E. Newman - Media
Cathy Newman is an English Journalist and presenter, who began her career as a newspaper journalist, and worked at Media Week, The Independent, the Financial Times and The Washington Post. She has worked on Channel 4 News since 2006, initially as a correspondent and, since 2011, as a presenter. Newman began a television career in 2000. She feels it is her duty, as a woman in media to make sure she reports on women’s issues. When Newman discovered the practice of FGM, she was furious that despite FGM being illegal for three decades, there had been no successful prosecutions. She wondered why it is so difficult to secure a conviction for such a crime against women and girls. She took on politicians for not doing enough about FGM, when it was in every neighborhood in the UK. Men ask Cathy why she only tweets against FGM and not male circumcision. She argues that the two are not equivalent. Cathy uses her Media career to speak out against FGM. Her book, Bloody Brilliant Women, concerning significant, but unheralded, 20th-century women, is due for publication in the autumn of 2018.
David Indeje - Media
David Indeje is a Kenyan Journalist with over six years' experience in journalism, development communication, and public relations. He is the 2013 @COVAW Champion. His specializations are African Markets and Governance. Formers: @2JFJustice @ICJKenya @CytonnInvest. Indeje has a depth of experience providing communications support for multi-sector programs, including business, agriculture and economic growth, education, environment and natural resource management, democracy and governance, health, youth engagement and women's and girls' empowerment. He is a passionate girls' and women's rights activist, always involved in the conversations and giving a sound voice to gender issues. He has developed and coordinated public information campaigns in international development, event and content management, press releases, and communications capacity development. David was instrumental in getting information out of Kenya and beyond about significant events in New York in 2010 and UN Geneva in 2011, including global collaboration partnerships. He helped publish emerging yet marginalized anti-FGM journalists and the tireless work of the Global Alliance against FGM (GAFGM).
Meagan Fitzgerald - Media
Meagan Fitzgerald is a general assignment reporter for News4, an NBC affiliate. Fitzgerald joined News4 in May of 2015. During her first week at News4, she was the first reporter at the scene of a horrific murder scene inside a D.C. mansion. While attending Howard University in Washington, D.C., Meagan was an intern with News4. She is an ardent lacrosse player, and at one time she coached the women’s lacrosse team at the University of San Diego. She returned to journalism in Monroe, Louisiana following her coaching period. While working in Louisiana, Fitzgerald uncovered payroll fraud in the city’s engineering department, and broke the story, which resulted in the indictment of the head engineer and an employee.
Giselle Portenier - Political
Giselle Portenier is a journalist and documentary filmmaker with a focus on human rights, especially the rights of children and women. Her films have helped local activists change minds, hearts and laws. They include the ground-breaking films 'Murder in Purdah' about honor killings in Pakistan, "Let Her Die" about female infanticide and foeticide in India, and "Dying For Sex" about Thailand's indigenous Sex Trade. Since 2015 she has been working on "In The Name of Your Daughter", a film about the most courageous girls in the world, Tanzanian children as young as eight who are risking their lives to escape female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Her goal was to create a hopeful film about young African warriors standing up for their rights that could be used as a tool for change. Since its premiere in Copenhagen in 2018, the award-winning film has taken audiences by storm. Portenier is now devoting her time to create an impact campaign with the film. In the last couple of years, Giselle has spearheaded in her own right, the Anti-FGM Canada-messaging online campaign in 'its own' right, coordinating Canadian anti-FGM activism efforts with poise and bringing the issue forward before ruling Liberal Government officials and all in tandem with international activists.
Rep. Heather W. Sirocki - Political
Heather Sirocki is an American politician who has served in the Maine House of Representatives since 2010 from the 28th District. A Massachusetts native, Rep. Sirocki has lived in Maine since 1970 and in Scarborough since 1984. Rep. Sirocki has also served on the Substance Abuse Services Commission and she will continue to serve on the Maine Children’s Growth Council and the Maine Children’s Justice Taskforce. In the 128th Legislature, Rep. Sirocki has been named to the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee for the second consecutive term where she will continue to play an integral role in helping to map out the state’s spending plan for the next two years. She has been instrumental in getting FGM criminalized in the U.S. State of Maine. Although the Bill to have FGM criminalized in Maine has failed to pass three times to date, Representative Sirocki has been relentless in supporting the Bill each time it has been presented to the Legislature.
Sarah Champion, MP - Political
Born in Essex, U.K., Sarah Champion attended a comprehensive school and graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BA in Psychology. She was the first in her family to obtain a degree. In 1996, she became the CEO of the Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester, which she ran until 2008. She became heavily involved in promoting diversity and equality, including advising the Arts Council of England on organizations, including print co-operative, Boojum Theatre Company, Creative Capital and Step Out Arts. She convened a group of EndFGM lobbyists across Great Britain and worked hard to ensure their views were heard. In November 2012, she was elected as the first female Member of Parliament for Rotherham. From 2015 to 2016, Sarah served as Shadow Minister for Preventing Abuse and Domestic Violence as part of the Shadow Home Office team. She also served as Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities from 2016 to 2017. She led a cross-party Parliamentary inquiry with Barnardo’s to determine whether existing child protection laws were fit for purpose. She continues to campaign for better child protection and more support for abused survivors, particularly in Rotherham. She has secured increased funding for Rotherham, both to support survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation, and to ensure the police have the resources they need to bring perpetrators to justice.
Rahmah A. Abdulaleem - Literary
Rahmah A. Abdulaleem is the Interim Executive Director of KARAMAH. Ms. Abdulaleem graduated from Duke University with a double major in Religion and Sociology and a Certificate in Markets & Management Studies, and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School. While at Michigan, she was involved in legal research as a member of the Editorial Board of the Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review. Ms. Abdulaleem was a Board Member on the Mohammed Schools of Atlanta Consultative Board from 2005 to 2014 serving as Board Chair from 2009 to 2011. She was also a Board Member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys Foundation from 2011 to 2017. Ms. Abdulaleem is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education programs and an adjunct professor at the University of District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. Prior to joining KARAMAH, Ms. Abdulaleem represented clients in a variety of automotive, pharmaceutical and asbestos actions and as an arbitrator where she provided assistance resolving small claims to parties from diverse backgrounds with varying needs. She has successfully settled numerous cases through arbitration, mediation and negotiation. This year she was involved with the publication of Debunking the Myth that Islam Requires FGM.
Kameel Ahmady - Literary
Kameel Ahmady is British-Iranian who originally hails from Iranian Kurdistan; he is a cultural anthropologist researcher and writes. He has a background in printing and publishing and social empowerment initiatives, and has worked extensively on issues relating to local cultures, minority rights and Middle East affairs. He has traveled widely, most especially taking an interest in the everyday human experience which persists in the face of conflict and poverty - in areas such as Africa, Eastern Europe, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq both before and after the wars and Iran. His study interests are gender, children and social change in the Middle East. He has worked as an independent consultant in Europe, as well as a Middle Eastern media correspondent, and also provided consultation, cultural and political contexts to international groups. His more recent projects include a comprehensive study on Early Child Marriage In Iran, which was launched in Tehran’s National Library and Oxford University. He also has to his credit a book in both English and Farsi, titled Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Iran. He has a post-graduate degree in anthropology and visual ethnography from the University of Kent, Canterbury-UK- where his research dealt with media as a source of identity discourse among youth.
OUR 2017 AWARDEES
Advocacy - Arifa Nasim
Political - Senator Richard H. Black
Survivor Activist - Mariya Taher
Education/Training - Edna Adan Ismail
Literacy - Tobe Levin Freifrau von Gleichen
Legal - Linda Weil-Curiel
Medical/Health - Dr. Pierre Foldes & Ms. Frederique Martz (Shared)
Media - Maggie O'Kane
Student Ambassador - Adama Diaby
OUR 2016 AWARDEES
Literary - Hilary Burrage
Advocacy - Susan Gibbs
Advocacy - Elisabeth Wilson
Advocacy - Sherelle Carper
Media - Andrea Roane
Media - Diane Walsh
Media - Missy Crutchfield
Artistic Advocacy - Godfrey Williams-Okorodus
Artistic Advocacy - Kristin Hoffmann
Legal - Susan L. Masling
Student Ambassador - Amani Sade DeShield
Education - Sarah Sisaye
Survivor Activist - Yatta Donsii
OUR 2015 AWARDEES
Medical - Dr. Marci Bowers
Legal - Shelby Quast
Leadership Advocacy - Fatoumata Kande
Leadership Advocacy - Martha Allen
Survivor Activist - Jaha Dukurah (The Gambia)
Survivor Activist - Aissata Camara (Guinea)
Survivor Activist - Eva Flomo (Liberia)
Survivor Activist - Annie Wright (Liberia)
Survivor Activist - Hibo Wardere (Somalia)
Survivor Activist - Francess Cole (Sierra Leone)
Donor Advocacy - Lisa Bruch