Members of the Global Sisters Leadership Council
The Board of the International Convocation of Unitarian Universalist Women is pleased to announce the appointment of the Global Sisters Leadership Council to help provide expertise and guidance to the board for current and developing programs. They will be assisting in the recruitment of new partners to help expand our international connections. Supporting the organizational mission, the GSLC members are leaders in their organizations and represent diverse regions of the world.
Below are brief biographies of each member of the Global Sisters Leadership Council.
Ms. Olga Flores Bedregal has been part of student struggles for democratization in Bolivia since her youth. As a human rights activist, she is especially known for her fight for the declassification of military archives. In recent years, she has devoted her energy to the defense of indigenous peoples in Bolivia who oppose the construction of a road that will damage a National Park and indigenous homeland. A professional educator, Ms. Bedregal has worked in project development using education as a resource in the fight against poverty. She has taught at the University of La Paz and is currently an educational director at Utasawa Ecological Education Center. Since finding Unitarian Universalism in 1994, she has been working to organize emerging Unitarian Universalist groups in Latin America. Deeply convinced that the region needs a new religious paradigm to release women from patriarchal religious practices, she has hosted meetings to encourage the formation of a liberal religious community in Bolivia.
Renee Hills has led the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Brisbane, Australia, for the past four years, frequently presenting services to the lay-led congregation. She has worked as a teacher, journalist and school counsellor and is currently writing children’s picture books and presenting creative writing sessions. Renee’s concern for the well being and education of young women deepened while counselling in a girls’ school. She and her family ‘adopted’ a teenager from a Ukrainian orphanage and helped her complete school and diploma qualifications in Australia. Renee and husband James currently support two UU Filipino girls completing education degrees. Renee is now working with the Australian and New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association to bring training in OWL (Our Whole Lives – a lifespan sexuality education program) to Australia. It is hoped that this program could become part of a badly needed cultural shift in contemporary youth male/female relationships where violence is increasingly being accepted. For example, recent Australian research shows that 26 % of young people aged 16-24 agree that partner violence can be excused if the perpetrator regrets it afterwards and 24% agree that violence can be excused if the perpetrator was so angry they ‘lost control’.
Cecilia Hofmann is a Filipina leader and activist with a long history of work on behalf of women. While living in Europe in the 1980s she became involved in work on behalf of Filipina migrant women. When she moved back to her home country, her work as both NGO administrator and Board Member took her into a broad range of issues, including human trafficking, violence against women, prostitution, reproductive rights, education, and other rights for women. She currently lives on Negros Island in the Philippines. During our IWC Gathering in the Philippines, Cecilia spoke with us about the way that CEDAW (the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) has served to bring real improvement in the lives of women in the Philippines. She also hosted us at her home in Valencia for the last few hours of the Gathering after we were displaced from Dumaguete by an earthquake.
Dr. Rica Lamar is a member of the Unitarian Church, Madan Laban, Shillong, India. She is a social activist, focusing her energies on issues relating to drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and the health and welfare of women and children. As co-founder and Chief Functionary of Manbha Foundation, an organization working in the field of Drug Abuse, HIV and Women/children, she has worked in several projects under the United Nations Office of Drugs & Crimes (UNODC), Tear Fund, Australia and National AIDS Control Society (NACO). She was Vice-Chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women, member of the Board of Visitors for monitoring the functioning Standard of Service and capacity utilization of Meghalaya Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS), Shillong, member of the State Level Coordination Committee on Prohibition of Drug Abuse and member of the Committee on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Women in Workplaces.
Dr. Kathy R. Matsui is Professor at the Department of Global Citizenship Studies, Seisen University, Tokyo, Japan, and teaches courses on conflict resolution and peace related subjects. She works with peace researchers and educators internationally in the International Institute on Peace Education and Global Partnership for Prevention of Armed Conflict. She is currently an advisory board member for Hague Appeal for Peace, Global Campaign for Peace Education, and board chair of Oxfam International, Japan. As president of the International Association for Liberal Religious Women (IALRW), a council member of the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF), and a member of the Women’s Executive Committee, as well as the Peace Education Task Force of World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP). Dr. Matsui plays an extremely active role in inter-religious dialogue.
Ms. Krisztina Pall, a biology teacher, member of the board and the project manager of a rural school close to SzÃ©kelyudvarhely/Odorheiu Secuiesc, Transylvania, Romania, has become an expert in grant writing in support of her primary interests of environmental protection and community development. She is also the president of a village non-profit organization, Ittre Foundation, BencÃ©d. As a trained local development agent, Ms. Pall facilitates and conducts meetings and workshops and is the coordinator of the Global Sisters Program in Transylvania and Hungary, in partnership with the International Convocation of UU women and the Unitarian Women’s Association of Romania (UNOSZ). She serves as chair of the Partner Church Committee of the Unitarian Church of Bencéd and is a current member of the Social and Church Society Committee of the Hungarian Unitarian Church.
The Rev. Dr. Renee (Maurine) Waun was ordained in 1981 and currently serves four small Unitarian Universalist churches in three states. She has a B.A. in French from Eastern Michigan University; M.A. in Linguistics from Univ. of Pittsburgh; M.Div. and D.Min. from Pittsburgh, PA Theological Seminary. An active AIDS advocate, she speaks on behalf of disenfranchised groups through various community groups and boards of directors. A long-time world traveler, in 2003 she decided to become a volunteer in a faraway place where she had never been before, ending up in Uganda. She was so touched by the AIDS orphans that in 2005 she became the Founding Sponsor of the African Rural Schools Foundation-USA, which supports the New ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda. The school now has 410 children-about half are AIDS orphans and many live at the school. Recent developments include a new brick classroom block, a clinic with an HIV treatment center, and a microfinance project.
- Seeds of Power: Women’s Gathering in Bolivia, Feb. 20, 2016
Recordings of 2013-2014 Webinars
Click on the play button below to hear a recording ICUUW Micro Finance in Africa Conference Call, Sat, Sep 7, 2013
Click on the links below to view and hear the webinar broadcasts: