Urgent Action Fund is led by an activist Board of Directors, who represent communities around the world. Urgent Action Fund’s decision-making is grounded in an international, feminist framework. Board members play a critical role in advising the Rapid Response Grants program as well as guiding the strategic direction of the organization.
Patricia is the Special Advisor on Sexual and Gender-based Violence to the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College at the University of Oxford. Ms. Sellers is widely published on sexual violence in armed conflict and advises governments, international organizations, and civil society groups on international criminal law. From 1994-2007, she served as Prosecutor and Legal Advisor for Gender at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She was the chief legal strategist in the landmark cases of Furundzija, Akayesu, and Kunarac—cases that recognized rape and sexual violence as war crimes. She was honored with the American Society of International Law’s Prominent Women in International Law Award. Recently, she consulted on the PBS series, Women, War and Peace.
Paulette has worked in the progressive movement for three decades on women’s rights, economic development, and philanthropy. She has worked for foundations and nonprofit organizations, owned a philanthropic consulting practice, and served on many nonprofit Boards. She founded and chaired Women’s Initiative for Self Employment for 15 years, a San Francisco nonprofit that has trained and financed over 12,000 low-income women to start microenterprises—together they’ve added 40,000 net new jobs to our economy. Paulette has also served as Chair of the Women Donors Network and as Chair of Equal Rights Advocates.
She currently serves as Chair of the Fund for the Center for Community Change and as a member of the Alliance for Justice Board, both national organizations based in Washington, DC. She also manages a family foundation in San Francisco where she lives with her spouse, David Friedman, and two yellow labs. They have three adult children.
An activist, author, and organizer in women’s and human rights movements for over four decades, Charlotte is the Founding Director and Senior Scholar at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University. She is the author of numerous essays and books, and has edited or co-edited nine anthologies including the Center’s reports on the UN Beijing Plus 5 Review and the World Conference Against Racism. Charlotte’s contributions to the women’s human rights movement have been recognized by many. She is a recipient of the White House Eleanor Roosevelt Award, a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and was one of the “1000 Women Peace Makers” nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ruth Baldacchino is a trans, queer and feminist activist from Malta with extensive experience in community organising, international LGBTIQ activism and LGBTIQ research. Their human rights work started with the Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement. Ruth is currently ILGA World Co-Secretary General and has served on a number of boards including IGLYO, ILGA World and ILGA-Europe.
Ruth leads the Intersex Human Rights Fund at the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Prior to joining Astraea, Ruth worked on passing the groundbreaking global comprehensive law banning intersex ‘normalising’ surgeries and treatments (including intersex genital mutilation) Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC Act). Ruth also worked on trans, intersex, migrants integration in Malta and co-developed an education policy for trans, gender diverse and intersex children in Malta, making Malta the first country in Europe to publish a comprehensive education policy focusing specifically on trans and intersex children. Ruth holds an M.A. in Women’s Studies from University College Dublin and a B.A. (Honours) in Sociology from University of Malta. They are a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology/Gender Studies and lecture Queer Studies at the University of Malta.
Dorianna Blitt is a graduate from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she concentrated in the intersection of neoliberalism and human rights. During her time at NYU Dorianna conducted research internationally on women’s human rights Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with a focus on economic rights. This has informed her current involvement in the field of impact investing. Dorianna had an internship with Urgent Action Fund in 2014 and she currently serves on the UAF investment committee.
Paola Salwan Daher is the global advocacy adviser at the Geneva Office of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal advocacy organisation that uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right. Her work focuses on advocacy with the Human Rights Council and on issues of sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and girls affected by conflict. Prior to joining the Center for Reproductive Rights, Paola worked on human rights in the MENA region as a UN Advocacy Representative at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and as a Policy Officer at the Collective for Training on Development- Action in Beirut.
A feminist activist, Paola was a member of the Feminist Collective Nasawiya in Lebanon, where she worked on many initiatives pertaining to sexual and reproductive rights, violence against women, and refugees and migrant women’s rights in Lebanon. She is also a writer and has contributed to many outlets such as Sawt Al Niswa, Young Feminist Wire, Solidarités, Al Akhbar and others. Paola has also published two novels.
Roshmi Goswami is a leader in the feminist movement in South Asia and was also part of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) monitoring network in the region. She co-founded the North East Network, a women’s rights network, in North East India. Roshmi is well known for her pioneering work with women in the conflict-affected regions of India, including documenting and analyzing the impact of war and conflict on the lives of women. She is associated with several organizations working on human rights including Human Rights Ahead, a Madrid based human rights resource group, and core group member of SANGAT, a South Asian feminist network. Rohsmi is also a member of the Asia Pacific Women’s Alliance on Peace and Security (APWAPS).
Previously, Roshmi was a Program Officer with the Ford Foundation, New Delhi office for several years supporting cutting edge work on women’s rights in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, regional women’s human rights networks in the Asia Pacific region and collaborative cross-regional programs with colleagues from Latin America. In addition, she previously worked with UN Women South Asia to set up their regional program on Women, Peace, and Security.
Dr. Val Napoleon is a Faculty of Law at the University of Victoria where she established and directs the Indigenous Law Research Unit, and dual JD and Indigenous law degree program. Val’s current research focuses on Indigenous legal traditions, legal theories, feminisms, citizenship, self-determination, and governance. Val is a Provost’s Engaged Community Scholar, Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, and from Saulteau First Nation (BC Treaty 8). She is also an adopted member of the House of Luuxhon, Ganada, from Gitanyow (northern Gitxsan).
Val works with Indigenous community partners across Canada on a range of Indigenous law research projects ranging from Indigenous water law, harms and injuries, gender in Indigenous law, and lands and resources. She also works with several national and international Indigenous law research initiatives. Val is an internationally published and acclaimed author, artist, and lecturer on Indigenous feminist legal studies, transsystemic property, Indigenous legal theories, and Indigenous legal methodologies.
Wanda Nowicka is a Polish activist in the field of women’s rights and health, especially human rights since the beginning of the 1990s. During 2011-2015, Nowicka served as an elected Member of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) and its Deputy Speaker. Since 2012, Nowicka has been a member of the High-Level Task Force for the UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), co-chaired by former Presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Tarja Halonen of Finland.
She is a co-founding member of the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning – a pro-choice Polish NGO advocating for reproductive rights. Currently, she is the Honorary President of the Federation. Nowicka is also a founding member of ASTRA – Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. She is the author of many articles and papers on women’s rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights published in Poland and internationally. In 2008, Nowicka was awarded the University-in-Exile Award by the New School in recognition for her engagement in the struggle for women’s reproductive rights. In the academic year, 2017-18 Nowicka studied bioethics, medical law, and philosophy at Warsaw University, where she also lectures, and at Sorbonne, Paris.
Milena Abrahamyan is a feminist peace and justice activist based in Armenia. In the past she has worked with a number of civil society organizations focusing on women’s rights and advocacy, peace-building, conflict transformation and philanthropy. She has published research on topics related to feminist peace, culture of peace, women’s NGOs and militarized masculinity. Some of the projects she is most passionate about including the feminist solidarity and trust-building initiative she co-founded in 2012 with Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian peers and all previous projects she has been involved in, which used performance art, healing modalities and body movement as methods to build a more collective context. Milena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies and a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Research and has been the recipient of the Rotary Peace Fellowship as well as the Atlantic Fellowship for Social and Economic Equity.
Sunila Abeysekera, former Urgent Action Fund Board Chair
Chela Blitt, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member
United States of America
Ariane Brunet, Urgent Action Fund Co-founder
Kamala Chandrakirana, former Urgent Action Fund Vice Chair
Hope Chigudu, former Chair of the Board Urgent Action Fund-Africa
Jelena Dordevic, former Urgent Action Fund Board Secretary
Eleanor Douglas, former Executive Director Urgent Action Fund-Latin America
Marta Drury, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member,
Amalia Fischer, former Urgent Action Fund Board Vice Chair
Terry Greenblatt, former Urgent Action Fund Executive Director
Xiaopei He, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member
Anissa Helie, former Urgent Action Fund Board Vice Chair
Algeria and France
Rachel-Alouki Labbé, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member,
First Nations of Canada – Abenaki
Kaari Betty Murungi, former Urgent Action Fund-Africa Executive Director
Nadine Moawad, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member
Vahida Nainar, current Board Member Urgent Action Fund-Africa
Indai Lourdes Sajor, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member
Margaret Schink, Urgent Action Fund Co-founder
United States of America
Julie Shaw, Urgent Action Fund Co-founder and former Urgent Action Fund Executive Director
United States of America
Rita Thapa, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member
Rachel Wareham, former Urgent Action Fund Board Member
“An activist fund is one that speaks truth to power, and is able to prioritise and represent trends and colours from women who are often excluded from being heard because of language/culture/class/ethnic differences.”
-Rachel Wareham, Former Board Member