Heidi serves as the executive director of Women's Voices Now. Her career as a human rights activist and professional began with her involvement as a volunteer for the Tibetan Nuns Project in Berkeley, CA. In 2003, she continued on to to serve as an intern in the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington D.C., and was then hired as a congressional staff assistant for Rep. Tom Lantos, former chairman of the Caucus. In her work with the U.S. Congress (2003-06), Heidi served as an non-immigrant visa specialist in the Lantos District Office (CA-12), as well as assisted with international human rights casework. In 2007 she began working with the Palestine-Israel Journal in East Jerusalem, where she launched the Journal's first online blog. Heidi is the author and editor of numerous print and online articles and op-eds examining the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and women in the Middle East and North Africa. Academically, she specializes in the changing roles of Kurdish women in Turkey from the 1980s to the present day. She lived, worked, studied, and traveled in the Middle East for half a decade before returning to her home in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MA in Middle Eastern and African Studies from Tel Aviv University (2013), an MA in Public Policy from New England College (2007), and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley (2003), with a double minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, and Religious Studies.
Christopher J. Boughey
Chris Boughey is a Detective in the Criminal Investigations Division's Major Crimes Unit of the Peoria, Arizona Police Department and has been working in law enforcement for 25 years. In 2009, Chris was assigned as the Lead Detective in the Noor Al-Maleki murder investigation, and was instrumental in forming the trial into the first US trial to use honor as the underlying motive. The case inspired Chris to focus on combatting honor violence in the United States, and he has since become a national law-enforcement specialist for cases of forced marriage and honor violence, educating, training and consulting with local police departments and social services. In 2012, the AHA Foundation recognized Chris’ work and presented him with the Honour Award. The FBI, Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Maricopa County Attorney’s Office have also recognized Chris’ dedication and accomplishments. Chris has received a number of awards and commendations, including Officer of the Year, Police Service Excellence Award, Meritorious Service Award, Distinguished Service Award, Life Saving Award and multiple Unit Citation Awards.
In 1985 Linda co-founded and served as President of VCI Communications where she was responsible for all of their operations. She later founded Cellular Solutions LTD, a TeleSciences that developed a state of the art Cellular Automation Support Software (CASS). Her clients induced Cellular One, GTE, Motorola, McCaw Cellular, Bell South Mobility and many other global GSM operators in Europe, Asia and South America. Linda continued on to co-found Nika Water, a social enterprise that donates 100% of its profits to clean water and alleviation projects around the world. Since its founding in 2009, Nika has brought clean water to more than 28,000 people through initiatives in the United States, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nicaragua. Linda and her husband Jeff Church co-wrote and published the book, "A Thirst for Change", which narrates their approach of how social entrepreneurship is key to taking responsibility in healing the world – Tikkum Olam.
While having a strong background in business, Linda is extremely involved with giving back to her community and to the world at large. She has spent the last 18 years assisting numerous nonprofits by raising over ten million dollars to build schools, daycare centers, health clinics and educational programs to help alleviate poverty and elevate humanity. Linda works closely with the Jewish community and service on the board of the Jewish National Fund. Additionally, Linda serves on the advisory board for Honor Diaries, is an avid supporter of Angel Babies, Children's Hospital, ACT, Free the Children and Project Concern International. As a parent, Linda co-chaired La Jolla Country Day School’s annual Gala/fundraising event, and took the initiative to create a special fund for community service to ensure all students would be able to participate in global service trips regardless of family income. While Linda appreciates being a successful business woman, she considers her greatest achievement to be raising four kind and loving children ages 15, 16, 19 and 20. Each cares deeply about their school, their friends, the community and the world.
Leyla is a trained Psychotherapist and a multi-award winning campaigner on FGM and gender rights. She has been awarded such honors as Cosmopolitan Ultimate Campaigner Women of the Year Award, Emma Humphrey Award in 2011, and the Lin Groves Special Award for her work in raising awareness of violence against women and children. She was included in the BBC 100 Women list of 2013, recently voted 6th in the Woman’s Hour 2014 Power List, and is currently RedLine Magazine’s Woman of the Year. She co-founded Daughters Of Eve, an organization that works to protect girls and young women at risk from FGM. Her documentary “The Cruel Cut” with Channel 4 on FGM in the UK was nominated for a Bafta award in 2014, the Amnesty Media Awards and Best Onscreen Talent category for the CDN & Broadcaster Award.
Author, speaker Cheryl Jefferson is a passionate advocate for human rights who uses the arts to raise consciousness as the first step toward change. The creator/executive producer of The Art of Influence: Breaking Criminal Traditions©, she uses all artistic genres to promote awareness of honor killing, FGM, child marriage and more throughout the United States. Her efforts in this regard include a fine art exhibit currently traveling the US and booked through 2015; commission of original choreography for a full length dance performance; a music incubator; and additional projects.. A multi-year participant in the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Cheryl has worked as a staff writer/producer for ABC-TV, PBS, J. Walter Thompson, Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, and USG Corporation. Her freelance clients include Deloitte Consulting, the American Bar Association, Ernst & Young; and other high profile organizations. As a writer, Cheryl has been awarded Wurlitzer and Ragdale Foundation residencies, first place in the Red Dress Ink and Transformational Author Experience writing competitions, and more. As a producer/director she has been recognized with the Best of Festival from the Milan International Medical Film Festival; fourteen Golden Eagles from the American Industrial Film Festival; and numerous other awards. She is the co-author of Use Your Anger: A Woman's Guide to Empowerment; Writing Your Authentic Self; and numerous other non-fiction and fiction books. She is also a highly sought after, award winning TEDxIIT 2013 speaker who has appeared on National Public Radio, WYCC-TV's In the Loop; at the United Nations; and in numerous other national venues, all with the ultimate goal of creating positive change.
Janice Kovach won election as Mayor of Clinton NJ in November 2011. She was sworn in to a four-year term on January 2, 2012. Janice’s decision to run for Mayor was two-fold. She loves the Town of Clinton and wanted to play a role in how the town was going to move forward. She brings her business savvy approach to municipal government. Her second reason came after watching the results of the 2010 midterm elections and how women were portrayed by the media and other women. She realized that until women became part of the decision-making process and “had a seat at the table”, they would forever be under-represented. Janice spends volunteer time training and mentoring women who want to run for office, giving them the resources necessary to play in the political arena.
Previously, Janice had been appointed Director of the New Jersey Division on Women in August 2006 and served until September 2010. As the former Director, Ms. Kovach was a member of the New Jersey Commission on the Status of Women, Domestic Violence Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Assault, Governor’s Advisory Council on Domestic Violence, Gender Parity Council and the NJ Commission on Women Veterans.
Janice has, in addition to her role as Mayor, taken the passion for her work at the Division and parlayed it into a non-government role. At various events Janice speaks about the “Real Women in NJ”. She tells their stories, what drives their passions and their hopes and dreams – using these stories to inspire other women. Janice reminds women that they are phenomenal individuals and every day ordinary women do extraordinary things. She continues to speak about empowerment and works with women’s organizations and individuals to assist women interested in public participation, whether civic, government or political, and encourages women to use their voice to drive public policy.
Ida Lichter M.D. is the author of Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression, published by Prometheus Books. She is a clinical and research psychiatrist who has spent most of her working life in Australia and the UK, and is married with two children. She writes on Muslim women, reform and politics for The Huffington Post and other publications.
Ida was inspired by the number of Muslim women around the world, who were speaking up and attempting to reform discriminatory laws. Many also rejected extremist Islamist ideology. Ultimately, they would have the opportunity to make social, political and economic contributions to their societies.
Some of the reformers were medical doctors, dedicated to their patients and community but also politically active, working to reform government and religious policy in favor of women’s rights.
For a liberated Western woman, the reformers appeared to be challenging a medieval environment of cultural restriction and misogynistic regulation scripted by patriarchal and religious authorities.
Her book aimed to amplify the voices of these courageous women, and was dedicated to those who died in the service of reform.
A global women’s human rights activist, Amy Logan is the author of The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice, a suspense novel about the search for the ancient, lost origins of honor killing in the Middle East, which she researched for a decade to uncover. As an independent scholar, Amy has presented her research on honor violence against women at New York University’s Global Secularisms conference, Oxford University’s Women’s Leadership Symposium, The International Feminist Journal of Politics’ Gender and Crisis in Global Politics conference at the University of Southern California, and the Gender and the Law conference at Dokuz Eylul University and Gediz University in Izmir, Turkey.
Amy was a featured speaker at the U.S. National Committee for UN Women - Los Angeles’ “Women, Art & Social Change” event and the U.S. National Committee for UN Women – San Francisco’s screening of “Honor Diaries”. Amy’s essays, letters and journalism have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times and The Good Men Project, among many others.
Amy is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, with advanced training in the neuroscience of human transformation, and works as an Executive Coach for Learning as Leadership, a thirty-year-old leadership training and culture change firm. She also coaches young women leaders for The Coaching Fellowship and UNICEF. Amy is featured in and the Consulting Producer for “The Price of Honor”, a documentary film about an unsolved double honor killing case in Texas from 2008 that premieres September 7, 2014. Amy’s mission is to empower women to co-create a world with men where everyone thrives. Visit Amy at www.amylogan.com.
Dr. Elham Manea
Dr. Elham Manea is of dual nationalities, Yemeni and Swiss. She is an associate professor specialized on the Arab Middle East, a writer, and a human rights activist. She has published academic and non-fiction books in English, German, and Arabic in addition to two novels in Arabic by Saqi Books. Her latest academic publication was a book entitled The Arab State and Women’s Rights: The Trap of Authoritarian Governance, London: Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Politics, June 2011. She works at the Political Science Institute at the University of Zurich and as a consultant for Swiss government agencies and international human rights organizations. In 2010, she was appointed by the Swiss Federal Council as a member of the Federal Commission for Women Affairs. Elham Manea is the author of “Ich will nicht Schweigen: Der Islam, Der Westen und die Menschenrechte”, Freiburg: Herder Verlag, 2009. The book is based on a series she wrote in Arabic about the concept of a humanistic Islam and women’s rights.
During her 22 year career as an Attorney, Zohreh Mizrahi has appeared before numerous Appellate Courts arguing on behalf of many immigrants faced with deportation.
Ms. Mizrahi is a liaison to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department where she also serves as a Reserve Sheriff. She is a frequent lecturer at the University of Southern California as well as an active member of various think-tanks and community groups such as Pacific Council on Foreign Relations and a founding member of the Iranian-American Lawyers Association.
An active Human Rights advocate, Ms. Mizrahi has been, and continues to be highly active in the establishment of numerous charitable and non-profit organizations in the United States, benefitting the immigrant community. In collaboration with the Iranian Political Education Committee, she has assisted in the naturalization of hundreds of Iranians in Southern California. She is a frequent media commentator and lecturer on Immigration as well as a wide host of other issues.
Ms. Suraya Parlika, born in Kabul, Afghanistan, is one of the 1000 PeaceWomen nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005, was a speaker at the International Women’s Day at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and a participant in the 10th Anniversary of the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women. She was elected chairman of the Democratic Organization of Afghan Women, and is the former head of the Afghan Red Crescent. Suraya is the Director of the All Afghan Women’s Union which has spent years educating women as well as advocating for access to jobs and health care. Suraya has raised international awareness for the plight of Afghan women, having suffered beating and imprisonment for her work. She is credited with being one of the pioneers of Afghan women’s public service in parliament.
In 2003, she pushed for the incorporation of an article in the Afghan Constitution that ensures gender equality in all rights.
After receiving an M.A. in French from Columbia University, Clare taught French in Boston, Lagos, and Bangkok. While in Thailand, she co-authored Ten Lives of the Buddha: Siamese Temple Paintings and Jataka Tales and began her journey into Eastern Philosophy and Meditation.
A second Master’s degree, this time in Social Work placed Clare in settings with emotionally-challenged families. She created a private practice centered on tools for self-healing (www.contacthealing.com).. She now presides over a non-profit (www.globalhealingfoundation.org) which focuses on meditations for healing self, the planet, and all of life and offers classes in self-care while caring for the world.
She loves to connect with women from all backgrounds and sees them as powerful and loving agents of transformation in this world. She wants to see them thrive. She supports university education for Asian women in Bangladesh (a.u.w.,www.asian-university.org), and non-profits which focus on girls’ education, micro-financing, reproductive rights, and prevention of maternal mortality, issues her late husband, Dr. Allan Rosenfield, was committed to as dean of the mailman school of public health at Columbia Medical Center for 22 years.
Clare is a Harpist, poet and artist who has written and illustrated five books of poetry. She has two adult children and six grandchildren.
Clare blogs at www.inspiredponderingsbyclare.wordpress
As President and CEO of Lifeway Foods, Julie Smolyansky oversees the company’s growth trajectory including creative product development and marketing. Julie also serves on the board of directors for several welfare and aid organizations and has participated in panel discussions on a variety of topics ranging from entrepreneurshipto increasing women’s participation and leadership roles in society. Recently, Julie joined Christy Turlington Burns as a maternal health advocate. Together they travel to Bangladesh with Every Mother Counts and participate in film screenings and panel discussions for the film “No Woman No Cry”.
In 2013 Julie co‐founded the non-profit, Test400k, an organization dedicated to advocating ending the backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the United States. Julie is frequently invited to speak at the White House and advocates for violence against women issues in the Vice President’s Office. Julie has been featured on multiple media outlets including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune and was named to Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40”. Julie was the recipient of the Anti-‐Defamation League 2013 Woman of the Year Award.
Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996, where she studied psychology and women’s studies. After graduating, Julie began her career in social work, soon after leaving the field to support her father at Lifeway Foods in 1997. Julie resides in Chicago and is the mother of two girls. She is never without crayons, baby wipes or her iPhone. Follow Julie on Twitter at @JulieSmolyansky.