WCDC 2018 will host a range of high level speakers from the community development sector and will appear here as they become available over the coming months.
Mary Robinson is President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. She served as President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is a member of the Elders and the Club of Madrid and the recipient of numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. She sits on the advisory board of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) and is also a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. Between 2013 and 2016 Mary served as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy in three roles; first for the Great Lakes region of Africa, then on Climate Change and most recently as his Special Envoy on El Niño and Climate.
A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002-2010 and served as Honorary President of Oxfam International from 2002-2012.
Mary Robinson serves as Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business, is an honorary member of The B Team, in addition to being a board member of several organisations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. She serves as Chancellor of the University of Dublin since 1998. Mary’s memoir, Everybody Matters was published in September 2012.
Dr Peter Westoby
Peter Westoby is an Associate Professor in Social Science-Community Development at Queensland University of Technology, Australia; a Visiting Professor at the University of Free State, South Africa; and a Director of Community Praxis – a non-profit cooperative based in Australia. Peter has over 28 years of experience in youth, community and organizational development work, based in South Africa, Australia, PNG, Vanuatu, Uganda and the Philippines.
His research focus has been on conceptual frameworks guiding community development practice. A few of his most recent books include: Westoby, P. (2016) Soul, Community & Social Change; Westoby, P. & Dowling, G. (2013). Theory and Practice of Dialogical Community Development: International Perspectives; and Westoby, P. & Shevellar, L. (eds.) (2012). Learning and Mobilising for Community Development: A Radical Tradition of Community-Based Education and Training.
Anita graduated in Sociology followed by a Masters in Social Work from Delhi University, India in 1979. Since then she has been working in the social sector, involved directly with community development programs, when she joined the National Dairy Development Board at Anand, Gujarat as the first woman spearhead team member to promote participation of women-in-dairying in Operation Flood, the largest anti-poverty program in the world.
In 1992, she co-founded Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, a voluntary organisation which promotes sustainable mountain development strategies through active engagement of communities in the Indian Himalayan Region. For the past three decades, she has been passionately advocating the inclusion of mountain agenda in the global discourse of sustainable development.
Anita has been engaged in planning and implementing gender inclusive community-led programs in water, sanitation and domestic energy sectors with the view of reducing drudgery and adding an iota of dignity in the lives of mountain women – leading to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals. She has been involved in organizing networks of community based organisations and empowering them to harness their energies and engage in bringing forth holistic change by adopting appropriate measures for facing the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.
Bernadette McAliskey is a leading political activist who played a key role in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland. She studied Psychology at Queens University and was a priminent member of the student-led civil rights organisation People’s Democracy. At age 21 Bernadette became the youngest woman to be elected to Westminster in 1969, serving as an Independent Unity member for Mid-Ulster. She was a leading spokesperson for the Smash the H-Block Campaign which supported the hunger strikes by prisoners in 1980 and 1981.
Throughout her career she has courageously campaigned for justice and equality for marginalised people, with a particular focus on class and gender. Her most recent work now focus on migrant workers rights.
Professor Jim Ife is a well-known and internationally respected author, teacher and conference presenter on social work, community development and human rights. He was Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at The University of Western Australia andCurtinUniversity, before being appointed the inaugural Professor of Human Rights Education atCurtinUniversity, a position he held until his retirement in 2006. He now lives in Melbourne, where he has an honorary professorship at Victoria University, and is actively engaged with community development through Borderlands Cooperative. He is the author and editor of several other books including Human Rights from Below: Achieving Rights through Community Development (2010) and Human Rights and Social Work: Towards Rights-Based Practice 3rd Ed. (2012).
Lynne Segal has been engaged in community activism and feminist politics since coming to London from Sydney in the early 1970s. She is currently Anniversary Professor at Birkbeck, University of London, in Psychosocial Studies. She has written many books on feminism, gender and politics, including Is the Future Female? Troubled Thoughts on Contemporary Feminism; Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing Men; Straight Sex: The Politics of Pleasure; Why Feminism? Gender, Psychology & Politics; Making Trouble: Life & Politics, Out of Time: The Pleasures & Perils of Ageing.Her latest book is Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy, addressing what remains after the commodification of happiness and well-being.
Jose Francisco Cali Tzay
Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, is a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). He was the first Indigenous person to become leader of a UN Treaty Body as the Chairperson of CERD from 2014-2016. A Mayan from Guatemala Francisco has been a key figure in the global campaign for recognition and rights of Indigenous Peoples over the past four decades and he continues his personal association with this work.
Francisco has been part of a number of Indigenous organisations and Community Development Initiatives in Guatemala, a member of the Presidential Reparation Commission and a founder of the Guatemalian Commission on Racism against Indigenous Peoples as well as an advisor on Ingigenous issues. He is currently Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala to Germany.
Dr Yaser Alashqar
Yaser Alashqar is an adjunct assistant professor in the International Peace Studies MPhil programme at Trinity College (the University of Dublin) in Ireland. He completed his PhD in civil society and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Trinity College. Born in Gaza, he holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Coventry in England and a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Palestine. His expertise includes civil society role at the national and political level, Middle Eastern issues in international relations, conflicts and political movements in the Middle East, mediation processes, peacebuilding, comparative politics Northern Ireland and Palestine, Gaza and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He is an associate academic member of the Center for Palestine Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He also works as a training consultant with the Glencree Reconciliation Centre in Ireland.