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 known and respected globally as a key leader in North of Ireland, and a lifelong human rights campaigner and worker with people and communities for justice and equality. She was elected as a Northern Ireland Member (MP) to the British Houses of Parliament at Westminster in 1969 becoming, at twenty one years of age, the youngest ever MP, sitting in both Labour and Conservative led parliaments. (1969-1974).
She has remained an active human rights campaigner spending much of her time in grass roots organising. In 1996 she co-founded S.T.E.P. (South Tyrone Empowerment Programme), a community owned resource, learning and development organisation of which she is currently CEO. Having been asked to leave Queen’s University in her final semester in 1969 and refused permission to sit her final examinations, she graduated from Judge Business School at University of Cambridge in 2007 obtaining a Master’s Degree in the philosophy and management of community enterprise.