London Conference 2019 – speaker biographies

We look forward to welcoming this excellent group of speakers to our 2019 Annual Conference:

Jessica Gavron is a UK barrister and Legal Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre. She has extensive experience of litigating human rights abuses before the European Court of Human Rights, CEDAW and the UN Human Rights Committee against Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Her cases include terrorism and inter-state conflict, right to life, torture, persecution of human rights defenders and LGBT and gender-based discrimination.  She has a particular focus on gender-based violence and has litigated cases concerning domestic violence, femicide, honour crimes, rape and trafficking.

Charles Walker is a trustee of the BEARR Trust, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Southampton, and an Honorary Member of the Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Birmingham. Charlie’s research has explored class, gender and spatial (rural-urban) inequalities in Russia and Ukraine, focusing on young people’s transitions to adulthood and, more recently, men’s wellbeing.

Marina Pisklakova-Parker started the first helpline for ‘battered’ women in Russia at the beginning of the 1990s. Now known as the Center for the Prevention of Violence “ANNA,” it coordinates a network of about 150 organizations across Russia and advocates on the issue of violence against women in Russia and other countries in the region. Marina and ANNA are developing and implementing a system of responses to violence against women. She has a PhD in Sociology and does research in the area of gender equality and violence against women. A member of the Global Council of the Vital Voices Global Partnership and former Board member of WAVE, she has received many awards and is featured in the documentary play SEVEN.

Oxana Alistratova heads “Interaction”, an NGO in Tiraspol (Transnistria, Moldova) working since 2003 to prevent trafficking in human beings and domestic violence. Living in the post-conflict territory of Transnistria she works as a trainer-expert at local, regional and international level. In 2016 she started her doctoral thesis on “Prevention of trafficking in human beings in Eastern Europe (case study Republic of Moldova)”. Since 2017 she has coordinated the NGO-Partnership “Women. Children. Elderly” of more than 30 civic organisations and initiative groups. Since 2018 she has been a member of the Civil Society Advisory Group established by UN Women Moldova to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Elmar Khalilov is a founder member of the Civic Engagement and Activism Center, an NGO working on human rights, gender equality and civil integration in the Kvemo-Kartli region of Georgia. He is a social and women’s rights activist, works for the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia (AVNG) and is Youth Ambassador from Georgia in the WAVE Step UP project. He is a student at the Faculty of Law and International Relations of the Georgian Technical University.

Halyna Skipalska is the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health, an NGO funded by HealthRight, a global NGO dedicated to empowering marginalized communities to live healthy lives. She has 16 years of experience working in and leading non-governmental organizations in Ukraine working with women, children and youth. Under her leadership UFPH and HealthRight in Ukraine have become a respected service provider and advocacy organization that builds sustainable access to health and other vital services for vulnerable people, with a special focus on women and youth. She has degrees from the Universities of Lviv and Kyiv.

Subhiya Mastonshoeva is an independent researcher and practitioner focusing on the intersection of gender, peace and security. Most recently she obtained a Masters in Global Affairs and International Peace Studies at Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, USA. She has been working with International Alert’s Tajikistan and London offices since 2015 as staff member and independent researcher leading the research component of the gender-based violence prevention programme in Tajikistan funded by DFID’s ‘What Works’ Programme. Most recently she conducted research on the intersection of disability and violence in Tajikistan commissioned by International Alert’s London office. She is also engaged with UNFPA Tajikistan conducting an evaluation of the gender and youth components of the organization`s country programme. She has also worked with the OSCE and Counterpart International in Tajikistan, and International Civil Society Action Network in Washington, DC.

Tahmina Hakimov-Rees is a freelance consultant and activist with more than 15 years’ experience in gender and development issues, including women’s economic empowerment (access to finance); equal opportunities in the workplace; domestic violence and violence against women, and women in agriculture. In her native Tajikistan she worked for USAID on women’s rights and gender issues. She wrote her MA thesis in Gender and Peacebuilding on “Violence against women in the Northern part of Tajikistan: Can Islam stop suicides among Tajik women?”, and a second MA in Political Science from the Central European University focused on trafficking in women from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Colette Harris is Reader in Gender and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. She is a micro-political scientist whose research is reflected through a gender analytical lens, with a particular focus on the relational aspects of masculinities and femininities. She specialises in grass-roots pedagogies for social change, particularly in relation to violence reduction during and after conflict situations. Her main areas of expertise are Central Asia and East and West Africa. Before joining SOAS, she was at the University of East Anglia’s School of Development Studies, and a fellow at the Institute of Development Studies.

Dilmurad Yusupov is a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex. His PhD thesis is on “Exploring the potentials of community-based inclusive development with disabled people in Uzbekistan”, aimed at empowering disabled people through participatory action research and evidence from ‘the bottom up’ to improve disability policies and development interventions. With a group of disabled leaders he co-founded a local NGO “Sharoit Plus” (“Opportunity Plus”) in Tashkent to promote an inclusive society for all. Dilmurad has an MA in Economics (with a specialisation in Development Economics) from Waseda University in Tokyo, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Moscow State Institute of International Relations.[:]

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