Global Mentors for Youth Leaders

Our vision is to continue to facilitate the friendship, support and mentorship between generations of gender equality activists. We hope to encourage a mutually supportive learning relationship with youth and experienced advocates and foster an ongoing conversation where together we can create a community and inclusive culture that facilitates the emergence of a strong intergenerational movement of activists for gender equality.

See the list of Global Mentors and some information about them below.

José Alberto Chanona

Program Coordinator for Latin America
Mexico City, Mexico

José is a multi-disciplinary experienced young professional from Mexico City. From 2015-2019 he was head of the UN-Women movement for gender equality “HeForShe” at UNAM. He has been a delegate at the UN and has participated in several international forums and projects. As an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, he is passionate about development, gender, and partnerships. He believes in the power of people, and considers himself an ally to everyone in the fight to end inequalities and injustice. Currently, José works as Program Coordinator for an international NGO and is an active member for the YLYP of the NGOCSW/NY.

Lopa Banerjee

Executive Coordinator Generation Equality & Director, Civil Society Division
UN Women
New York City, USA

Lopa Banerjee is the Executive Coordinator of the Generation Equality Forum and Director of the Civil Society Division at UN-Women. She leads UN-Women’s work on the Generation Equality Forum, the global, multi- stakeholder partnership initiative launched to accelerate the achievement of gender equality commitments. Lopa helms UN-Women’s strategic engagement and partnership initiatives with women’s and human rights groups and civil society networks, youth groups and social justice actors to promote intersectional partnerships for gender equality. Her work focuses on allyship with diverse stakeholders to influence global action on gender equality, in particular related to standard setting, policy discussion and stakeholder accountability. She supports UN-Women’s convening role in engaging diverse stakeholders for influence and support for the gender equality agenda. A gender and human rights thematic expert, Lopa’s long career in international development has focused on advocacy and partnership building in support of gender equality. Prior to joining the United Nations, she worked with the private sector in India in advertising and the media. She has lived in India, South Africa, Iran, Bangladesh, and the United States of America. Lopa’s areas of specialization include feminist policy advocacy and inclusive partnership engagement. She has one daughter and lives in New York City.

Mabel Bianco

Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mabel Bianco MD, MPH, specialist in Epidemiology and Medical Statics. President of Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer since 1989. Co-coordinator of Women Won’t Wait, a global campaign to eliminate VAW and HIV and Coordinator of the International Women AIDS Caucus. Board member Latin American and the Caribbean Women Health Network (1991- 1999). In 2000/2001 she was Chief of the HIV/AIDS National Program in MOH and Coordinator of WB Project. UNAIDS Reference group on HIV and HR member (2002-2011), and representing LAC NGOs in UNAIDS PCB. Civil Society Regional Advisory Committee UNWOMEN, member 2012/16. CoNGO CSW LAC Co Chair since 2012. W20 Argentinian Delegation Chief since 2018. WMG member elected OP for LAC 2019-20. She is author and editor of 10 books and more than 150 papers and articles.

Beth Blissman

UN Representative
Loretto Community
Cleveland, Ohio and New York City, USA

A western Pennsylvania native, Beth currently lives in both Cleveland, OH, and New York City, NY, as she serves as a representative to the United Nations for the Loretto Community (see She's a certified permaculturist with over 20 years of experience in higher education community engagement work, as well as a deep interest in regenerative agriculture, spirituality and shifting worldviews. As the former director of both the Bonner Center for Service & Learning at Oberlin College and the University of Denver’s Service Learning Program, Beth has developed models for student leadership, community service work-study programs, and a variety of faculty / curriculum development processes that build connections, increase resilience and inspire creative thinking. Outside of the office, Beth enjoys organic gardening, exploring NYC, singing with Lavender Light (the Black and People of All Colors LGBTQ Gospel Choir), creating eco-bricks and helping to lead the Cuyahoga River Community Lab (CRCL).

Yu Ping Chan

Senior Programme Officer,
SG Office on Technology,
United Nations
New York City, USA

Yu Ping Chan is a Senior Programme Officer in the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology at the United Nations. She coordinates and oversees the team’s work on follow-up to the Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and High-Level Panel; as well as advocacy, engagement and coordination efforts to strengthen global digital cooperation and work on other emerging technologies. Yu Ping previously led the Policy and Regional Support teams in the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism. Prior to this, she worked in the UN’s Department of Political Affairs, and in the New York Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Before joining the UN Secretariat, Yu Ping was a diplomat in the Singaporean Foreign Service. She served at the Singapore Mission to the United Nations in New York and before this posting, in the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ department handling the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and regional political and strategic issues. Yu Ping has a Bachelor of Arts (magna cum laude) from Harvard University, and a Masters of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Winifred Doherty

NGO Representative to the United Nations,
Congregation of Our lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
New York City, USA

Winifred Doherty is a Good Shepherd Sister from Ireland and NGO Representative to the United Nations for the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Sisters, and Partners-in Mission since 2008. She is a social worker by profession and worked in Ethiopia for 16 years prior to coming to New York. As NGO representative she collaborates with other NGO’s including NGOCSW in efforts towards poverty eradication, ending prostitution and human trafficking, ending violence against women and girls with specific focus on the promotion of the girl child. She served as a Director of the Working Group on Girls for 8 years.

Gillian D'Souza Nazareth

Representative to the United Nations,
Red Dot Foundation
NGO CSW/NY Member-at-Large
New York City, USA

Gillian D’Souza Nazareth the current Director of Global Partnerships and Principal Representative to the United Nations for the Red Dot Foundation. As the current vice-chairperson of the NGO Committee on Social Development, she works on expanding advocacy in the virtual space, as a way to educate and energize people to rally the cause of social protections. In addition, Gillian is currently pursuing dual certification in Sustainable Development and Mindfulness.

Bani Dugal

Principal Representative to the UN,
Baha'i International Community
New York City, USA

Bani Dugal is the Principal Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the UN. As part of the community of international NGOs at the UN since 1994, she is currently serving on the Steering Committee of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council. She has served as President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, as co-facilitator of the NGO Working Group on UN Access, co-facilitator of the GEAR campaign (Gender Equality Architecture Reform), Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, and Chair of the Global Forum of the NGO Committee on UNICEF and member of the Steering Committee of the NGO Committee on UNICEF’s Working Group on Girls, Convenor of the NGO Committee on UNIFEM and Convenor of the Advocates for African Food Security.

Victoria Edmonds

Main Representative to the UN,
Salvation Army
New York City, USA

Victoria Edmonds was born in Brooklyn, New York, and is a Native American of the Tuscarora Nation. Victoria is a Salvation Army Officer who has served in other parts of the world and within the United States. Prior to Victoria becoming an Officer in The Salvation Army, she served 10 years in the United States Navy She currently serves as the Main Representative to the United Nations for the Salvation Army. Victoria along with her husband are both Majors in The Salvation Army and are ordained ministers. She has one adult child.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa

GWL Member and Fellow,
Former President of the General Assembly

Maria Fernanda Espinosa is an Ecuadorian academic, diplomat, politician and poet. A linguist and with graduate studies in Amazonian Studies and Environmental Geography. Ms. Espinosa has more than 30 years of professional experience in academia, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and high-level government positions. In Ecuador, she served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in two occasions, Minister of National Defense and as advisor for the constitutional process of 2008. With a vote of two thirds of its membership, her most recent appointment was to serve as President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2018 - 2019), becoming the fourth woman in history and the first from Latin America and the Caribbean to be elected to preside this body since its foundation in 1945. Currently Ms. Espinosa has several advisory roles in the areas of global governance, health diplomacy and multilateralism. Among other responsibilities, she is a member of the Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion, member of The Lancet Commission on COVID-19, The Science Panel for the Amazon and a fellow at the Bosch Academy in Germany.

Suchi Gaur

Director-Global Engagement and Impact,
World YWCA
Geneva, Switzerland

Suchi (she/her) carries with her over 11 years of experience working at the confluence of gender, public health and communications technology in the NGO, non-profit, startup, parliamentary and research sectors. Originally from India, Suchi joined the World YWCA in 2018, where she is combining her expertise in behaviour change, social marketing and community mobilization into her passion for engagement and mobilization of women and young women around the world. Currently overseeing the World YWCA’s daily engagement and communication, programmatic and mission impact activities, Suchi has actively led many innovative changes at World YWCA. Passionate about feminist storytelling and innovating advocacy for rights-based policies for women and youth, smashing patriarchy comes naturally to her. She is an active volunteer with a number of organisations and initiatives along with being member of a number of expert advisory groups. A researcher by training, she was awarded a gold medal and the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship (2012-13) for her doctoral work in participatory community communications in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and United States. Currently she is working as the Director of Global Engagement and Impact at World YWCA.

Houry Geudelekian

UN Representative,
Unchained At Last
New York City, USA

Houry Geudelekian was the previous Gender Program Coordinator at NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY and the UN Coordinator of Unchained At Last, an ECOSOC accredited US based organizations that fights to stop early marriage in the US. She recently ended her term as Co-Chair of Working Group on Girls and Co-Chair of NYC4CEDAW. Born in Beirut, Lebanon into an Armenian family, she moved to New York City in the late 70’s with her husband and together they started a business that grew to over 30 employees and 2000 clientele in the competitive market of Manhattan. Her professional expertise is in Project Management, Marketing and Public Relations with a passion for Human Rights. Houry has been involved with many non-profits and academic institutions, chaired major events and fundraised for special events. In her capacity as UN Coordinator for Armenian Relief Society (2011-2016), she served as Executive Committee member of NGO CSW NY for two terms, Co-Chaired NGO CSW Forum Planning Committee, MC’d two Consultation Days and Chaired Women of Distinction Award for CSW57/58. As a board member of NGO CSW NY she was a founding member of the Cities for CEDAW campaign as well as Beijing Platform for Action+20, working closely with UN Women. She is always actively looking to partner with international organizations to bring gender equality to global attention while mentoring young adults to be inspired and care about Human Rights. She has also facilitated and partnered with UN Member States, UN Women, UNDP to bring about positive change globally through panel discussions and projects.

Erica Higbie

Representative to the United Nations
Chautauqua, USA

Erica Higbie serves as the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW) Advocacy Research Group Co-Chair and the NGO CSW Women’s Human Rights Teaching, Learning and Advocacy Resource Coordinator. She has been a Representative to the United Nations for FAWCO for 11 years, during which she has served as NGO CSW Treasurer, a Director on the UN NGO Department of Public Information Board, and Advocacy Co-Chair and Internship Supervisor for the Working Group on Girls. She has also been an Instructor for an open-access education initiative, building public health capacity in developing countries, People’s Uni, since 2007.

Terry Ince

Managing Director,
TDI and Associates
NGO CSW/NY Member-At-Large
USA/Trinidad & Tobago

Terry Dale Ince has managed territories which included private and public sector accounts and has volunteered with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developed and developing countries and underserved communities during a career in business and community development, business technology and social activism. She is the Managing Director of TDI and Associates, a Change Management consulting practice, and Convener of CEDAW Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (CCoTT), a non-governmental organization committed to stakeholder advocacy for the sustainable implementation of the CEDAW convention mandates and committee recommendations through collaboration, education, development, and knowledge sharing. She holds a Master of Science in Organizational Development and Behaviour from John Hopkins University, Project Management certification from Columbia University, and IBM Leadership Executive training from Harvard Business School.

Azza Karam

Secretary General,
Religions for Peace International
New York City, USA

Dr. Azza Karam serves as the Secretary General of Religions for Peace – the largest multi-religious leadership platform with over 90 Interreligious Councils, as well as grassroots Interfaith Youth and Women’s networks. She also holds a Professorship of Religion and Development at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) - of which she is a citizen. She has served in intergovernmental, international and non-governmental organisations since the early 1990s and has lectured in various academic institutions in Europe, North America (including the United States Military Academy/West Point), and in the Arab region. She has published widely on transnational political dynamics, including development, gender and religion.

Ivy Koek

Representative to the United Nations,
Soka Gakkai International
NGO CSW/NY Vice Chair
New York City, USA

Ivy Koek is a Representative to the UN for Soka Gakkai International (SGI) based in New York. Engaged in SGI’s work in the fields of gender equality and women’s empowerment, sustainability and climate change, peace, disarmament, and human rights mainly through its nonformal education approach since joining in 2013. She has served on the NGO CSW/NY Executive Committee since 2014; currently Vice Chair of the Committee and former Co-chair of the Young Professionals Subcommittee. Ivy is passionate about young women’s leadership, building the culture of peace, creating inclusive civil society spaces and interfaith collaboration.

Rosa Lizarde

Global Director,
Feminist Task Force
NGO CSW/NY Treasurer
New York City, USA

Rosa Lizarde is a Mexican-American feminist advocating for economic, environmental, gender and racial justice. She is the current Co-Chair of the NGO CSW66 Forum where she strives to ensure youth, young women and girls’ participation in the CSW. She is the Global Director of the Feminist Task Force (FTF), a global women’s rights coalition calling for gender equality to end poverty, founded under the auspices of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) in 2005. Her advocacy, policy and campaigning experience has been honed at the UN and through global processes focusing on Financing for Development (FfD), women’s economic justice, poverty eradication and inequalities. She is a founding member and the current Co-Convener of the Women’s Working Group on (FfD) and , a network which advocates for financing for gender equality, systemic reform and global governance. Rosa began her international development work as a youth in Central America where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She later worked at the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) having landed that job after pitching her “elevator speech” to WEDO president and feminist movement leader, Bella Abzug. She has mentored many young people who were interns or volunteers at the UN, and emphasizes the informational interviewing technique to build a network for youth. Rosa is involved also in social justice actions at the US/Mexico border and supporting many LGBTQI causes. Rosa is a graduate of the School of International and Public Affairs or Columbia University.

Mary Luke

Vice President,
UN Women USA Board of Directors
New York City, USA

Mary Luke is Vice President of the UN Women USA Board of Directors and Senior Advisor to UN Women USA NY board. She is Vice President of PowHerNY, a coalition promoting gender and racial justice in New York State; Advisor to Women of Color (WOC) in Fundraising and Philanthropy, and former Co-chair of NYC4CEDAW Act. Luke is a global leader in women’s reproductive health and rights. She was Executive Director at Planned Parenthood San Francisco and then went on to a 25 year career in women’s health where she designed and managed programs in 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

Pamela Morgan

Zonta International
NGO CSW/NY Member-At-Large
New York City, USA

Pamela Morgan, chair of Zonta International’s United Nations Committee leads teams in NY, Bangkok, Geneva, Paris, and Vienna. A tireless worker, she is an activist dedicated to uplifting the status of women. Pamela serves on the Executive Committees of NGOCSW/NY and the NGO Committee on Migration. A retired instructional technologist, Pamela is also the founder and Executive Director of Woman in Media-Newark, a not-for-profit organization that educates the public about global issues facing women using film, video and new media as its platform.

Carl Murrell

Principal United Nations Representative
Baha'is of the United States United Nations Office
New York City, USA

Carl Murrell has worked with the Baha’i International Community at the United Nations in various capacities for over 30 years. Currently, he is the Principal Representative to the UN of the US Baha’i Community. He has been a longstanding member of the NGO CSW-NY and supports the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign by organizing an annual event. He has a long association with CONNECT NYC that helps communities prevent interpersonal violence and promote gender justice. Carl is on the Advisory Board of A CALL TO MEN which works to transform society by promoting healthy, respectful manhood.

Susan O'Malley

International Federation of Business & Professional Women
NGO CSW/NY Past Chair, Ex-Officio
New York City, USA

Susan O’Malley is the Main Representative to the UN (NY) for the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW). She has chaired NGO CSW/NY since 2015 and was vice-chair for the previous four years. Last year she was instrumental in organizing the Rural Women’s Study Group Subcommittee with Winifred Doherty and Jourdan Williams to prepare the members of NGO CSW/NY for the priority them of CSW62 on the challenges and opportunities of rural women. She is co-chair of the Global Coordinating Committee for the NGO CSW/NY Advocacy Grant. She plays cello in the UN Orchestra. Previous to joining NGO CSW/NY, O’Malley served as the Faculty Trustee and Chair of the 22-campus Faculty Senate of the City University of New York and taught English Literature and Liberal Studies (Women’s Studies) at CUNY (Kingsborough and the Graduate Center) for 36 years. She holds an AB from Smith College and a PhD from Tulane University.

Saphira Rameshfar

YLYP Co-Chair
Representative to the UN,
Baha'i International Community,
New York City, USA

Saphira Rameshfar currently serves as a Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Her areas of work include gender equality, youth empowerment and peace and security. Saphira currently serves on the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in New York and as Co-Chair of the Young Professionals NGO CSW. Ms. Rameshfar has worked for over a decade on projects aimed at the empowerment of young people in Australia as well as in communities throughout the Asia Pacific region and North and South America. She has worked at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in New York and for the Australian Federal Government in Canberra.

Åsa Regnér

Assistant Secretary-General, Deputy Executive Director for Policy, Programme, Civil Society and Intergovernmental Support
UN Women

Ms. Åsa Regnér was appointed Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women in March 2018. Ms. Regnér served since 2014 as Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality of Sweden, where her focus was on concrete results in the implementation of Swedish gender equality policies as well as a shift towards prevention of violence against women and the involvement of men and boys in gender equality work. She has extensive experience in the area of gender equality and women’s empowerment, having held various leadership positions in government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the United Nations. She has led important processes and campaigns as a leading advocate for feminism and gender equality in Sweden and beyond. She has built and managed strong partnerships with a range of key stakeholders, including women’s movements and civil society, both at the global and in country contexts. She previously served as UN Women Country Director in Bolivia (2013-2014) and Secretary-General of Riksförbundet för sexuell upplysning, Swedish International Planned Parenthood Federation branch. She also served as Director of Planning, Ministry of Justice (2004-2006) and as Political Adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office (1999-2004). She began her career in women’s rights as a volunteer for a Swedish NGO in La Paz, Bolivia (1990-1991) and moved to the Ministry of Labour working on Gender and labour market issues for several years in the 1990s. Ms. Regnér holds a Master’s Degree in Democratic Development from Uppsala University. Born in 1964, she has two children.

Laurie Richardson

UN Liaison,
Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas
Vienna, Austria

Laurie Richardson is the UN Liaison for FAWCO, leading a team of UN Representatives engaged in advocacy on gender equality, climate change, human rights and migration. She served as Chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women Vienna from 2018 - 2021. Her early career was in international development; she lived and worked in Colombo, Sri Lanka and held assignments in India and Pakistan. She has a Master's degree in non-profit management from Yale University and a Bachelor's in international affairs from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

Saeeda Rizvi

Grants Director,
Mothers Out Front
Detroit, USA

Saeeda is an advocate for the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. She has worked with various South Asian and North American NGOs on issues related to intersectional gender equity and meaningful youth engagement. Saeeda holds a M.A in International Relations from the University of Chicago and was born and raised in Pakistan.

Fred Sullivan

Executive Director and co-founder,
Man Up Campaign
New York City, USA

Fred Sullivan Executive Director and co-founder of Man Up Campaign and international NGO to activate youth to end gender-based violence in their communities and countries. To make this outcome Man Up Campaign's network of youth leaders and organizations are working internationally to develop communities and cultures of peace. One of our methods is to engage youth in this lifelong mission using GenderSMART (Sports, Music, Art, Reflection, and Technology) in a life-long champion's journey to create equality, inclusiveness, and opportunity.

Jackie Weatherspoon

CEO Founder,
Decisions In Democracy International
New Hampshire, USA

The Honorable (Jackie) Jacquelyne K. Weatherspoon served six years in the New Hampshire House of Representatives serving on the Election Law Committee and General Court of New Hampshire. Her first piece of legislation passed, The UN CEDAW Resolution, Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Jackie attended the 4th UN Women' Conference on Women and Development in Beijing, China, 1995. Jackie served as a seconded person with Diplomatic Status at the US State Department, Implementing the Last Phases of the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia -Hercevogina for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Jackie has served with UNDP, UNIFEM and UN Women as the Senior International Election Officer in Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Jackie has served on the UN Electoral Experts Committee and Technical Advisor with Club de Madrid, Former Heads of State on issues of Women, Leadership, Peace and Security in the Greater Horn of Africa with the G-40. At home Jackie has recently completed her political appointment with the US Civil Rights Commission, State Advisory Committee. Jackie serves as a Mediator and Trainer for the Harvard Law School Community Mediation Program under the PON( Program On Negotiation) program. Jackie joyfully supports the Working Group on Girls through her organization, Decisions In Democracy International, DIDI.

Soon-Young Yoon

Chair of the Board,
Women's Environment and Development Organization
Hoboken, NJ, USA

Soon-Young Yoon is Chair of the Board at the Women’s Environment and Development Organization and author of “Citizen of the World: Soon-Young and the UN”. In 2021, she was appointed to the Council on Gender Equality convened by H. E. Ambassador, Abdhulla Shahid, the President of the 76 the UN General Assembly. During her past tenure as chair of the NGO CSW/NY, the committee launched the Cities for CEDAW campaign in the US. She was a Social Development officer for UNICEF in the Southeast Asia office as well as the Social Scientist at WHO/SEARO in New Delhi. She serves as a board member of the International Foundation for Ewha Womans University and on the Global Advisory Board of the Harvard AIDS Initiative. She is also a founding member of the Women Mayor’s Network in association with the National Democratic Institute. A former columnist for the EarthTimes newspaper, she is co-editor with Dr Jonathan Samet of the WHO monograph, “Gender, Women, and the Tobacco Epidemic.” Yoon received her A.B. in French literature with honors, a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan and has a certificate in computer graphics from the Pratt Institute of the Arts. She is married to Richard M. Smith, former Editor-in-Chief and President of Newsweek and current President of the Pinkerton Foundation.

Devan Zingler

YLYP Co-Chair
Program Manager,
New York City, USA

Devan (she/they) is the Program Manager and one of the Co-Chairs of the Youth Leaders & Young Professionals (YLYPs) at NGO CSW/NY. She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor’s degree in Politics & Human Rights and a minor in Religious Studies. During her senior year, she was an intern with NGO CSW/NY where she helped plan for the NGO CSW64 Forum. She became Program Manager at NGO CSW/NY after her internship ended. She was also the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) Coordinator for the Generation Equality Forum (GEF). Devan’s main interests are gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, criminal justice reform, climate justice, and the relationship between human rights and religion.