Board Of Advisory
Donna M. Hughes
Professor Donna M. Hughes, Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island is a leading international researcher on trafficking of women and children. She has completed research on the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Korea. She was a research consultant to the Council of Europe on the use of new information technologies in the trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation.
She has worked with pro-democracy activists to collect information on trafficking and prostitution of women in Iran. She has gathered information about the trafficking of North Korean women refugees from activists in the Korean underground railroad. Her recent scholarship has focused on the demand side of sex trafficking.
She has testified before the U.S. House International Relations Committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Moscow Duma, and the Czech Parliament. She has participated in government policy conferences in Mexico and Bulgaria. Her research has been supported by the U.S. State Department, the National Institute of Justice, the National Science Foundation, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the International Organization for Migration, the Council of Europe, the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, and the University of Rhode Island Foundation.
She teaches advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on human trafficking, international women’s issues and human rights.
Antonia Felix is a bestselling author, educator and musician with fifteen nonfiction books to her credit including Sonia Sotomayor: The True American Dream (Berkley 2010), the first hardcover biography of the first Hispanic and third female Supreme Court justice. Her other political biographies include Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story, Wesley Clark: A Biography and Laura: America’s First Lady, First Mother. A frequent speaker on women’s political topics, she has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, PBS, SkyNews and many other TV and radio media networks and delivered lectures at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, Columbia-Montour Women’s Conference, Ozark Writer’s Conference and other venues.
Ms. Felix has reported on the state of women’s rights in Iran at briefings in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and also writes a column on energy and sustainability issues for the historic Emporia Gazette. She received an M.A. in English from Texas A&M University-Kingsville and in 2010 will earn an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Wichita State University. A soprano who has performed in opera and recital throughout the United States and Europe, Ms. Felix lives with her husband, Stanford Felix, an opera singer and music professor, in Kansas.
Dr. Aminah McCloud is the founder and chair of the Islamic World Studies Program at DePaul University, and she is one of the preeminent scholars on Islam in America. Her research, writing, and teaching focus especially on global Muslim cultures, Islam in America, Islamic law, African American Islam and Muslim women in the United States. Among her many published books and articles, she has most recently edited a multi-author volume entitled An Introduction to Islam in the 21st Century (published by Blackwell, 2012). McCloud is currently editing The Handbook on African American Islam (pending publication from Oxford University Press in 2014). McCloud founded the Journal on Islamic Law and Culture in 1995, and she remains its Editor-in-Chief. She serves on various editorial and community boards including as an American Editor for Brill, a board member of the Center for Feminist Ethics at Brandeis University, a member of the Advisory Council for the American Islamic College, and a board member at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), among others.
Barbara Forster currently sits on the boards of the Minnesota Medical Foundation (past chair), Los Cabos Children’s Foundation, University of Minnesota Medical School Dean’s Board of Visitors, Center for Victims of Torture, University of Minnesota Cancer Center Advisory Board (past chair), the Tandem Project (chair), the Bravewell Collaborative and the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. She also has just completed 20-plus years of service with the American Refugee Committee (past chair).
Forster’s past philanthropic and community service volunteer positions include, in part: the One Percent Club founding director, St. John’s University Board of Regents member, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management Board of Overseers member, Guthrie Theater Foundation Board of Directors member, the Domestic Abuse Project founding director, Metropolitan State University Foundation president and the Minneapolis Junior League vice president.
Judy Patacsil is a Counselor/Professor and International Education Coordinator at San Diego Miramar College. At Miramar College she initiated Filipino Studies and Filipino Language courses to serve the large Filipino community of San Diego. She is a professor of Filipino Studies and also is a licensed psychotherapist who leads Mental Health Services at Miramar College and has worked in the field of counseling for over 20 years. Judy is the current President of the San Diego Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) and a FANHS National Trustee Board Member. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling from San Diego State University.
Carole R. Fontaine
She is the Taylor Professor of Biblical Theology and History at the Andover Newton Theological School since 1979.
An internationally recognized feminist scholar in Hebrew Bible, Carole Fontaine brings her expertise into the classroom with lively use of digital and art resources to make the Bible come alive. She is the authorSmooth Words: Women, Proverbs and Performance in Biblical Wisdom, and is co-editor of the biblical ‘classic’ text, A Feminist Companion to Reading the Bible: Approaches, Methods, Strategies as well as several volumes of the Feminist Companion to the Bible series. She was a recipient of a Henry Luce III Fellowship in Theology for the 2008-2009 academic year.
A long time Human Rights defender, she has served extensively on governing boards of Women’s Human Rights NGOs that study the impact of religion on women’s status, rights and freedom, especially in Muslim theocracies. She has written extensively on feminist theological topics, including disability. Her most recent publications are a book on war captives and torture in biblical times, entitled With Eyes of Flesh: The Bible, Gender and Human Rights (2008), and a collection of her own poetry, Only When Women Sing: Poems on Human Rights (2009). She has numerous media credits (BBC; C-Span; Discovery Channel; National Geographic, and Arts & Entertainment Networks) and serves on the Editorial Boards for Journal of Biblical Literature, Women in Judaism, and the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. She is Religion Editor of the World Book Encyclopedia, and her translations and study notes have appeared in the HarperCollins Study Bible and the New American Bible, Revised Edition.
Linda C. Prendergast
Pastor Linda Prendergast began her leadership work in human rights even before she was 18 years old; volunteering first as a teenager – and later teaching – in Detroit’s inner city programs. She went on to become a Medical Consultant and initiated well- received programs that brought about a more human-centered experience to both physicians and parents regarding Cesarean Birth. Her subsequent Counseling Psychologist M.A. degree allowed her to build upon empowering and healing skills, leading to a calling as a United Methodist Church pastor (M.Div.). In her “retirement”, and utilizing her vast experiences, she volunteers her time to support the issues of international women’s rights and human rights with an emphasis on the issues of women and youth in the Middle East.
Soolmaz Abooali is a scholar and practitioner who brings the dimension of sport to social change. She is a PhD Candidate at George Mason University, studying the ways in which sport is used for conflict resolution with women and men; youth and adults. Ms. Abooali is an 11-time US National Karate champion and international medalist, representing the USA around the world. She serves as an Athlete Ambassador for the American Amateur Karate Federation, and the Shirzanan organization. Ms. Abooali designs programs related to sport diplomacy and conflict resolution for diverse audiences including government, non-profit, and philanthropic figures.
David Matas is a lawyer working in refugee, immigration and international human rights law. He practises law in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is an adjunct professor teaching Immigration & Refugee Law, at the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba. He is a member of the Order of Canada and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for 2010.
He was a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly 1980; a member of the Canadian delegation to the United Nations Conference on an International Criminal Court 1998; a member of the Canadian delegation to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research Stockholm 2000, Prague 2007, Linz and Vienna 2008; and a director of the International Centre for Human Rights & Democratic Development which became Rights and Democracy 1997-2003, 2009-.
He has written a number of books including Justice Delayed: Nazi War Criminals in Canada with Susan Charendoff; Closing the Doors: The Failure of Refugee Protection with Ilana Simon; No More: The Battle Against Human Rights Violations”, 1994; Bloody Words: Hate and Free Speech 2000, and Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for their Organs, 2009, with David Kilgour.