2017 conference



The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau was elected as the Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead in October 2015, and a few weeks later, she was appointed Minister of International Development and La Francophonie by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Before entering politics, Minister Bibeau began her career at the former Canadian International Development Agency. She went on postings to Morocco and Benin. Minister Bibeau is calling for actions and programs geared to the empowerment of women and girls, whose rights she defends unfailingly. She places women and girls among the top of her political action priorities. The Minister currently has a seat in the High-Level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child, an initiative put in place by the UN Secretary-General. She also heads up Canada’s strategy for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objectives both here at home and around the world.

Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. She was Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from November 2015 to December 2016, where she steered the country’s efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development. Prior to this, she served as Special Adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 Development Planning, where she was instrumental in bringing about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals. Before joining the UN, Ms. Mohammed worked for three successive administrations in Nigeria, serving as Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, providing advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating programmes worth $1 billion annually for MDG-related interventions. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, and serves on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, Girl Effect, 2016 African Union Reform and the ActionAid International Right to Education Project. Ms. Mohammed began her 35-year career in the private sector with architects and engineers responsible for the project management of health, education and public sector buildings. Born in 1961, and educated in Nigeria and the UK, Ms. Mohammed is married with six children.

HRH Princess Sarah Zeid is an advocate for the health and well-being of women, children and newborns in fragile and humanitarian settings. Princess Sarah is co-Chair of Every Woman Every Child Every Where, a movement championing prioritization of, and innovation for, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in humanitarian and fragile settings as the Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health and Agenda 2030 move into implementation.  Princess Sarah is on the board of the Women’s Refugee Committee, a member of the advisory board for the Women’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; UNHCR’s Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection; and, the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health Advisory Committee. She holds a BA in International Relations from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and a MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Marc‐André Blanchard was appointed as Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to  the United Nations in New York in April 2016. Prior to this nomination, from 2010-2016 he was Chairman and CEO of McCarthy Tétrault, one of the largest Canadian law firms, and also  advised companies on strategic issues and public policy issues. From 2003 to 2010, he was the Quebec  Managing Partner for McCarthy Tétrault while practicing as a litigator.  He has been involved in some of  Canada’s landmark cases and transactions.  During his tenure as President and CEO of the firm, he made  significant changes, including by implementing a growth agenda focused on industry groups and client  teams and by providing an innovative service delivery model. Canadian Business identified Mr.  Blanchard amongst Canada’s top 50 most powerful business leaders for 2016. In 2014, McCarthy  Tétrault was named the most innovative law firm in Canada and the second most innovative in North  America by the Financial Times. In 2013, Mr. Blanchard was named among the 25 most influential  lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, and Catalyst Canada awarded him the CEO  Recognition Award for his leadership in diversity. Mr. Blanchard has received many other awards and  accolades highlighting his expertise and leadership.  In 2016 he was awarded the distinction of  Advocatus Emeritus by the Quebec Bar Association. Mr. Blanchard is actively involved in his community  in various capacities. He is a Board member of the Conference Board of Canada. He has been a board  member of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has been the chair of the Institute for  Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), an institute affiliated with Université de Montréal.  He has  been a board member of the WoodGreen Foundation and the Montreal Board of Trade.  He has been a  member of the Advisory Board of Glendon College and Catalyst Canada. He has been an active member  for United Way campaigns in Montreal and Toronto, and the Young Presidents’ Organization. He has  been the Chair of the Quebec Liberal Party and a member of many transition teams for the governments  of Canada and Quebec.    Mr. Blanchard holds a Bachelor of Law (LL.B), from the Université de Montréal, a Master (LL.M) in Public  International Law, from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Master of Public  Administration (MPA) and a Master of International Affairs (MIA), from the School of International and  Public Affairs at Columbia University. He was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1992. Mr. Blanchard is  married to Monique Ryan and they have two children, Laurent and Adrien. 

Flavia Bustreo
is the Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization. She represents WHO on the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, where she became vice-Chair in 2014, being re-appointed in 2016. Dr Bustreo played a leadership role in the development and implementation of the United Nations Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health in 2015, as well as its predecessor in 2010. She was previously the Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, and has worked in many countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. 

Helga Fogstad is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. She has 30 years of working experience in public health and has worked many years in developing countries at sub-national and national levels, as well as at international level within multilateral and bilateral agencies. A health economist, she has co-authored several publications related to public health. Ms. Fogstad has been central in providing technical guidance on Norway’s health, education, research and development portfolio, both through the bilateral programs, as well as global initiatives. She chaired several global processes aimed at forging consensus and increasing global mobilization for RMNCAH, including the development of the first UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women’s and Children’s Health.

Anuradha Gupta is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since joining Gavi in 2015 Anuradha has been leading efforts to better integrate support to countries within Gavi’s strategy. In particular she has played a pivotal role in setting up a new model of country-level Alliance support through the establishment of a Partners’ Engagement Framework. At the same time, she has helped improve country ownership and leadership of Gavi-supported programmes through the development of new country-focussed approaches. Prior to joining Gavi, Anuradha served as Additional Secretary at the Indian Ministry of Health, and Mission Director of the National Health Mission where she ran the largest – and possibly most complex – public health programme in the world with an annual budget of US$ 3.5 billion. During this time Anuradha played a leading role in India’s efforts to eradicate polio transmission. She also led efforts to pioneer free care for more than 165 million pregnant mothers and children; to introduce universal child health screening for 270  million children, and to design an innovative health programme for 350 million adolescents. A passionate and influential advocate of women, young girls and children, Anuradha has assumed an important role in a number of global health initiatives including CoChairing the Partnership for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (PMNCH), serving as a member of the Steering Committee of the “Child Survival Call to Action” at the invitation of Secretary of State Clinton, Co-Chairing the Stakeholder Group for the London Family Planning Summit 2020, and as a member of the Family Planning 2020 Reference Group. 

Katja Iversen is the President/CEO of Women Deliver and a fierce advocate for gender equality, youth engagement and the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women. Katja, an internationally recognized expert on development, advocacy and communications, has more than 20 years of experience working in NGOs, corporates and UN agencies. Previously, she held the position as Chief of Strategic Communication and Public Advocacy with UNICEF, a position she came to after almost six years of leading the team responsible for advocacy and communication on maternal and reproductive health at UNFPA. She holds a master’s degree in communications, bachelor’s degree in public administration and a management degree from Columbia University. Katja has had 20 years in global development and has counseled and trained multiple Fortune 500 executives on cross cultural management. She is a program adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative, on the advisory board of Graca Machel’s Women in the Media Network and an International Gender Champion.

Helen Scott led the creation of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health and is currently the Executive Director. She leads this innovative partnership of Canadian experts who collaborate to advance effectiveness, leadership and results for the improvement of women’s and children’s health. She holds a doctorate in epidemiology with a focus on maternal and child health, and a postdoctoral fellowship in childhood disability rights. Helen has managed a variety of program development, evaluation, health policy and health care delivery systems projects. These include a World Health Organization project on adolescent injury prevention across 49 countries, as well as projects focused on food fortification with folic acid, a universal influenza immunization initiative, early obstetrics discharge, and community-wide preterm birth prevention programs./p>

Gerda Verburg is the Assistant United Nations Secretary-General and Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Coordinator. She works with 56 country governments that lead the SUN movement, united with UN agencies, civil society, business and donors, in a common mission to defeat malnutrition in all its forms. Since 2011, Ms. Verburg has served as Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN Organizations for Food and Agriculture in Rome (FAO, WFP and IFAD) and in 2014 she was appointed Chair of the Global Agenda Council for Food and Nutrition Security of the World Economic Forum (WEF). From 2013 until 2015, Ms. Verburg served as Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), a multi-stakeholder committee where governments, civil society, private sector, research institutions and others addressed food and nutrition issues. From 2007-2011, Ms. Verburg served as speaker in the Dutch House of Representatives on economics, energy and innovation and as Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. In 2008 she was elected Chair of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development.



Bridget Aidam has over 15 years’ experience leading and supporting research and programmes implemented in Africa, Latin America and Asia. She is currently the Senior Research and Evaluation Advisor for Nutrition within the Evidence and learning Unit of World Vision International. There she provides technical support and coordination for implementation research in maternal and child nutrition in collaboration with Northern and Southern Academic Institutions including Emory, McGill, John Hopkins and University of Ghana. In her previous work, she supported design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation for USAID, OFDA, UNICEF and WFP funded programs, spanning food security, health and nutrition sectors to improve maternal child health and nutrition. Bridget has been published in peer reviewed journals and also serves as a reviewer for these journals. She holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut and a BSc in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Ghana.

Bethel Aklilu, is a bilingual (French and English) Ethiopian-Canadian from Toronto, Ontario, and is a member of the Conference Youth Council. After receiving a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), she completed her Masters of Public Health degree in Health Promotion with a Global Public Health Emphasis from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) of the University of Toronto. During her studies, she engaged in a variety of activities focused on youth advocacy and adolescent health. Bethel co-founded and was the Co-President of the Anthropology and Health Studies Association at UTSC and due their many achievements they received the Scarborough Campus Student’s Union Award for Best New Departmental Students Association. Bethel was a member of the DLSPH Student-Led Conference and co-developed and co-facilitated a workshop with the Wellesley Institute regarding racial health disparities for the conference. In response to global issues, she went to Ethiopia the summer of 2013 to work with youth. She co-led a two-day empowerment workshop for about twenty female youth who received donated clothes, food and academic and medical services from a local youth centre in Debre Berhan. As the Health Promotion Assistant at the UTSC Health & Wellness Centre, Bethel’s primary role is to coordinate the Wellness Peer Programs. These peer education programs allow students to share information on health topics to promote a healthy campus community. These topics include nutritional health, sexual health, mental wellness, smoking cessation, drug and alcohol use and general health services. Furthermore, she maintains outreach data, contributes content to the monthly newsletter and updates social media pages. As of June 2017, Bethel will be a Global Health Corps Fellow and will carry out her fellowship year as the Wellness Coordinator at DotHouse Health in Boston, United States.

Abdulah Al Naser is a dental student in 2nd year at Baghdad University. Born in 1996, he was the youngest student in Iraq to work in the local radio station when he was 16 years old. Al Naser has been Selected by UNDP Iraq as one of 23 young people to be trained in conflict analysis and peace building program to be certified peace builder from Eastern Mennonite University. He was the only Iraqi who was selected to participate in the Regional Conference Of Adolescents Health and Welbeing in the Arab Region. He is the founder and president of the Iraq Dental Students Association-IDSA.

Sarah Anderson is the Gender Program Officer at CARE Canada. Sarah has been working as a women’s rights activist for the past decade, mostly with grassroots, feminist organizations in Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as different parts of Canada including rural Nova Scotia and Toronto. Her main areas of expertise include education, women’s rights, and health, but she has a special interest in sexual and reproductive health rights and its educational and advocacy components. Besides managing the CEFM project at CARE, Sarah works with the Global Health team to ensure that gender is mainstreamed into CARE’s health projects, while also conducting capacity building on feminist and gender transformative approaches. She has recently completed a Master’s in Adult Education and Community Development with a special focus in global and women’s health at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.


Ian Askew has been the Director of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) at WHO since 2016, including the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP). As Director RHR/HRP, he plays a leadership and reference role among United Nations agencies and partners in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights through developing innovative approaches in sexual, reproductive, maternal and perinatal health, coordinating and promoting relevant research, developing evidence-based best practices and providing technical support to countries. Previously, Dr Askew was the Director for Reproductive Health and Research at the Population Council, when he lived and worked in several African countries for 25 years, and was Deputy Director at the Institute of Population Studies at the University of Exeter, UK. Askew has a PhD in sociology and reproductive health from the University of Exeter, UK, and degrees in geography from the University of Exeter, UK and York University, Canada.

Amany Abu Awad is a Communications Intern at World YWCA from Palestine. She is a graduate of Bethlehem University with a BA in English Language and Literature and a minor in Translation. She was a member of the Student Ambassador Program where she spoke to foreign groups visiting the university about Palestine. Through the same program, she was able to complete an internship in marketing and communications at Catholic Social Services, Columbus, Ohio, USA. She contributed an article to the Reality Magazine, Ireland titled “Born in Bethlehem” tackling life in Palestine and the daily struggles living under occupation. She is a member of the local YWCA of Bethlehem and a board member of the National YWCA of Palestine. She is also a former member of Young Arab Voices Debate Club run by the British Council and Youth for Change Program run by Palestinian Animal League. She can be contacted at amany-abuawad@hotmail.com.


Nidhi Bansal is the Director of Gender Equality and Child Protection with Plan International Canada. She works to strengthen and support Plan International Canada’s capacity and expertise in the thematic areas of gender equality and child protection. She provides guidance, technical expertise and leadership to ensure gender transformative program design and implementation of current and future projects, as well as support policy and research development in the sector. Ms. Bansal has over 20 years of experience in International Development in several overseas project locations, supporting diverse sectoral programs focusing on sustainable livelihoods, education, governance and humanitarian response issues. Ms. Bansal is an expert on women and girls’ rights, addressing gender based violence, women’s economic empowerment and women’s political participation.


Sabine Baunach is the Technical Adviser, Reproductive Health in Emergencies, Save the Children. Sabine works as Reproductive Health Adviser for Emergencies for Save the Children supporting various country programs of protracted and acute crisis as general medical backstop and particularly for technical advice in the field of reproductive health (e.g. Syria, Somalia). In the past, Sabine she has gained broad expertise in the humanitarian sector working as Technical Advisor, International Health Consultant, Medical Coordinator, and Medical Doctor for multiple organizations in various countries before joining Save the Children.
Sabine has a Medical Degree from the Technical University in Munich/Germany, a PhD and a Master Degree in International Health.

Josh Berman’s work has concentrated in Southern Africa. For the last two years Josh has been based in Zomba, Malawi as Dignitas International’s Research and Knowledge Translation Manager where he oversaw the development and implementation of operations, clinical and social science research related to HIV, TB and non-communicable diseases. Beginning in 2012, Josh has supported the Malawi Ministry of Health in the development of a knowledge translation platform aimed at improving the utilization of research evidence in national health policy and practice. Josh has previously worked with Boston University in Lesotho managing health systems quality improvement programs.

Theresa S. Betancourt is Associate Professor of Child Health and Human Rights in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity (RPCGA). Her central research interests include the developmental and psychosocial consequences of concentrated adversity on children, youth and families; resilience and protective processes in child and adolescent mental health and child development; refugee families; and applied cross-cultural mental health research. She is Principal Investigator of an intergenerational study of war/prospective longitudinal study of war-affected youth in Sierra Leone (LSWAY). This research led to the development of a group mental health intervention for war-affected youth that demonstrated effectiveness for improving emotion regulation, daily functioning and school functioning in war-affected youth. She has written extensively on mental health and resilience in children facing adversity including recent articles in Child Development, The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Social Science and Medicine, JAMA Psychiatry, AJPH and PLOS One. Her work has been profiled in the New Yorker, National Geographic, NPR, CNN.com and in an interview with Larry King on the program PoliticKing.

Zulfiqar A. Bhutta is the Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University; the Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health & Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health; and Chairman of The Coalition of Centres in Global Child Health. Dr. Bhutta holds adjunct professorships at several Schools of Public Health including Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Tufts University, the University of Alberta and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Dr. Bhutta obtained his MBBS from the University of Peshawar and his PhD from the Karolinska Institute. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He heads a large research team working on maternal, newborn and child survival and nutrition regionally and globally.

Olivares Bonilla was born in Puerto Rico and is a youth representative on the Board of Directors at IPPF Member Association Profamilias, a community-based organization focused on sexual and reproductive health services and rights especially for low-income women and young people. Olivares began at Profamilias as a peer educator delivering comprehensive sexuality education when she was twelve years old. Olivares is completing her bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Foreign Languages, and Gender and Women Studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. In 2016, she studied communications and theatre in Milan, Italy, as part of a six-month exchange at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Olivares has worked as a journalist and collaborator in several media outlets. She is also co-founder of the Puerto Rico’s Student Chapter of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, NLGJA.

Melanie Boyds life-work has been in international development, a field in which she has worked for over twenty years. During her sixteen-year career with Global Affairs Canada (formerly CIDA), Ms. Boyd led program teams in Canada, Egypt, Afghanistan and Kenya. She also spearheaded key department-wide policy initiatives including a cross-agency working group on human rights-based approaches and Canada’s $3.5 B commitment to maternal, newborn and child health. Since joining the non-profit sector, Ms. Boyd has served with the Aga Khan Foundation in Afghanistan, first as the Director of Policy and Partnerships and subsequently as Interim CEO. In February 2016, Ms. Boyd joined World Vision Canada as the Program Director for Born on Time, a public-private partnership which is seeking to reduce neonatal mortality in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Mali. Ms. Boyd has Masters in International Affairs and in Philanthropy and Non-profit Leadership.

Emanuele Capobianco is the Deputy Executive-Director of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. He joined the Partnership from the Global Fund: as Senior Policy Advisor, he led the development of the 2017-2022 Global Fund Strategy and the first policy on Global Fund’s engagement in fragile settings.
Before moving to Geneva, Emanuele was the Chief of Health and Nutrition in UNICEF Mozambique, where he worked for four years to advance health outcomes for Mozambican children and women. Previously he was at the World Bank as Senior Health Specialist, managing a large portfolio of grants, particularly in South Asia and Eastern Africa. He also worked in Somalia to support the EPI, Polio and Tuberculosis programs; and at the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.
Emanuele holds an MD from Pavia University, an MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a MSc in Humanitarian Assistance from Rome University.

Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli works on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) in the World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (which includes the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Human Reproductive Programme). His work includes building the evidence base on ASRH, and supporting countries to translate this evidence into action through well-conceived and well-managed policies and programmes. His experience in generating knowledge and taking knowledge to action is global in scope and spans 30 years. Dr Chandra-Mouli joined WHO in early-1993 and worked on HIV/AIDS prevention till mid-1996. Since then, his work has focussed on adolescent health. Before joining WHO, he worked in Zambia, India and Zimbabwe for 12 years – providing primary care services (with a private Zambian company), preventing childhood malnutrition (with a Zambian NGO – Kitwe Nutrition Group), preventing HIV and responding to people with HIV (with another Zambian NGO – Copperbelt Health Education Project), setting up a regional training and mentoring initiative – ‘School Without Walls’ (with the Canadian Public Health Association); and funding HIV/AIDS related work – ‘NGO AIDS Cell’ (with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation). For nearly 2 ½ decades in WHO:

  • He has led or contributed substantially to a number of the World Health Organization’s publications including evidence reviews, policy and programmatic guidance, advocacy documents, training and self-learning materials and evaluation tools.
  • He has travelled to countries around the world, where he has contributed to – and drawn from – the work of national level bodies and front-line organizations, in many different social, cultural and economic settings.

Building on these experiences, he has authored/co-authored nearly books, book chapters, newsletter articles, blog pieces and 65 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Mariam Claeson is the Director of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child at the World Bank. She was previously the Director for the Maternal Newborn and Child Health team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since July 2012. She served as Program Coordinator for AIDS in the South Asia Region of the World Bank (2005- 2012), living three years in India. Before that, she was the Lead Public Health Specialist in the Health, Nutrition and Population, Human Development Network of the World Bank (1998- 2004). Prior to joining the World Bank, Dr. Claeson worked for the Global Program for the Control of Diarrheal Diseases, World Health Organization (1987-1995). She has worked in clinical practice at the rural district level (Tanzania, Bangladesh and Bhutan); in national immunization and diarrheal disease control (Ethiopia 1984-1986); and, for the World Bank in health sector development programs including in Egypt, Jordan, Uzbekistan, China and the Philippines.

Jamie Ahksistowaki Medicine Crane is an activist, advocate, educator and artist. A Blackfoot woman from the Kainai and Piikani in Southern Alberta, she was raised with traditional ways of knowing and spirituality, which have given her strength and understanding. Her traditional name, Ahksistowaki, means “brave woman.”.A life-long activist, advocating for Indigenous rights, women’s rights, human rights and justice. Her work and leadership have enhanced several national advocacy initiatives including the Idle No More movement, Sisters in Spirit and Stolen Sister rallies that raise awareness of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Deeply engaged in her community, she has been involved with the YWCA for over 12 years, serving on the boards of YWCA Canada and YWCA Lethbridge. She represented Canada at the World Council in Kenya (2007) and Thailand (2015), where she was elected to the World YWCA Board, as the first Indigenous woman from North America.


Marion Cosquer is currently Youth Engagement and Advocacy Assistant at UNICEF France. She is a young graduate from Paris-Dauphine University where she completed a Master’s in International Affairs and Development. She also holds a Master’s in International Relations and Politcal Science from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University.



Luz Maria De-Regil has more than 15 years of international experience in maternal and infant nutrition, public health research, and policy making. As the Director of Global Technical Services at Nutrition International, Luz Maria is responsible for Nutrition International’s surveillance, implementation research, and program evaluation strategies . She also leads on the translation of new evidence to influence policy and practice globally, including the provision of technical assistance mechanisms for scaling-up nutrition.
Luz Maria is an award-winning technical expert with multiple publications and is currently a member of the Cochrane Collaboration, the American Society for Nutrition and the Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition. She acts as Peer Reviewer, Editorial Board Member and Advisor for several publications including the Global Nutrition Report. Her work as Co-chair of the Micronutrient Forum and as a Board Member for the Iodine Global Network and Food Fortification Initiative has been instrumental in facilitating communication between nutrition actors and across nutrition-sensitive sectors.

“Boozhoo, Debigo’giizhigook ndizhnikaaz. Makwa ndodem. Obishikokaang ndoonjibaa.”
Reina Foster is from Lac Seul First Nation, an Ojibway nation located in Treaty #3 (Northwestern Ontario). She graduated with the largest graduating class in her high school’s history in June 2016. Reina has a diverse First Nations youth leadership background that stems from being the former Lac Seul First Nation Youth Chief. She has experience with youth advocacy by being involved with two Feathers of Hope Youth Advisory Committees on Justice and Juries and Culture, Identity and Belonging. Reina also was a Youth Ambassador for the Plan International Canada: Girls Belong Here Campaign in October 2016. She met with the Honourable Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs for a day. Reina Foster is currently employed at a law firm and is developing a deep interest in law and social policy.


Mark Gachagua is the founder of Young people Advocating for Health (YAH) and an Advocacy Officer at Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW). He is a Kenyan youth advocate with six years of advocacy covering Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). Mark has worked with more than sixty policy makers through advocacy campaigns. He was instrumental in the launch of the global “All in Campaign” which aims to scale up the fight against HIV/AIDS among adolescents. Moreover, Mark is a Women Deliver Young Leader and currently working with young people, institutions, and the media to create a movement of young people a who are aware of their sexual and reproductive health rights.


Muluba Habanyma is journalist, researcher, student, and activist from the Toronto area. Muluba was born with HIV almost 24 years ago. After losing both her parents to the virus and battling stigma, she publicly shares her health with the world and has become a vibrant activist with a goal to decrease stigma and increase prevention. Muluba, educates, engages, and empowers individuals across the world through her many health awareness initiatives including extensive volunteer and advocacy work.



Tsedey Haile is a youth representative working to implement adolescent nutrition programming in Ethiopia. As Project Coordinator at Addis Ababa University, she helps to deliver weekly iron and folic acid supplementation and nutritional education programming for adolescent girls in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia, where he oversee projects in 38 schools, 29 health posts and seven health centres. Tsedey holds a Masters in Public Health nutrition from Addis Ababa University where my research focused on identifying patterns in diet related to Type 2 diabetes.



Malayah Harper joined the World YWCA as the General Secretary in 2016, a global social movement working for the empowerment, leadership and rights of women, young women and girls in 120 countries and 20,000 communities.  Malayah has worked for 20 years internationally in the area of social justice and equality. Prior to joining the World YWCA, as the UNAIDS Global Chief for Gender Equality and Diversity Division, Malayah led and elevated global political commitment for Women, Girls and HIV, and worked across UN Member States resulting in new commitments at the Commission on the Status of Women.  Malayah is a Canadian and British national and holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Development with a major in Anthropology from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Health Policy, Planning and Financing in the Developing World from the London School of Economics (LSE) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSTHM).

Saima Wazed Hossain is a Specialist in School Psychology, nationally certified in the United States. A graduate from Barry University in Florida, she is an expert on neurodevelopmental disorders and mental health and an accomplished speaker whose efforts has led to international awareness, policy and program changes, and the adoption of three international resolutions at the United Nations and World Health Organization. She is currently the Chairperson of the Bangladesh National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders as well as a Member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health. Recently, she has been chosen as WHO’s regional champion for autism in South Asia. She is also the chairperson of her own NGO – Shuchona Foundation – a not-for-profit advocacy, research and capacity-building organization based in Dhaka. She is the daughter of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and the mother of one son and three daughters.

Tikhala Itaye is a Malawian, global youth health advocate who is passionate about social justice and development. She is a vibrant youth leader whose voice seeks out to advance the needs of young people at global, regional and national level. She co-founded a youth led organisation called Her Liberty in 2012 in Namibia. Her Liberty aims to advocate and demand accountability for the needs of socially disadvantaged young women and girls and has recently established a branch in Malawi. Under her leadership as President of the African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) she has developed and demonstrated skills to co-ordinate 21 youth country networks that embody different youth led organisations. She is a board member of the Partnership on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, representing the Adolescent and Youth Constituency. Additionally, she is a member of the UNAIDS African Regional Think Tank Committee on Social Justice, has produced a 13 episode TV Drama series on HIV and GBV targeting young people, aimed to change behaviour patterns and attitudes, hosts her own TV Youth Talk show in Malawi and has worked as a Country Director in Malawi for a Global Fund Key Population (KP REACH) regional program.

Mtisunge Kachingwe is Board President of the YWCA of Malawi. Dr Kachingwe works to advance human rights and leadership of women, young women and girls with a focus on education and sexual and Reproductive health and rights. As board President she has led various programs in Malawi to improve the status of women and girls. She works with grassroots young women and Girls, building their leadership, ecouraging girls to stay in school and ensuring girls and women have access to SRHR services.



Brad Kerner has over 16 years of experience working on ASRH, Brad has provided ASRH program technical assistance for Save the Children’s since 2005 and has provided strategic and management leadership of the ASRH team since 2014. While at Save the Children, Brad has led our strategic focus on very young adolescents, created a gender norms package for this life-stage, and created a toolkit for ASRH in emergencies. He previously worked as a Health Educator in a school-based clinic in Harlem, New York, counseling adolescent boys. Brad served in the Peace Corps in Gabon, Africa. He holds an MPH from Columbia University.



Shyama Kuruvilla is Senior Strategic Adviser, Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. She has over 18 years’ experience in global health working in over 25 countries with governments, UN agencies, academic institutions and a range of multi-stakeholder partners. She was lead author on the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030), launched by the UN Secretary-General and world leaders as a frontline implementation platform for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to which over 7000 organizations and individuals contributed. Her work focusses on strategy, policy research and accountability. She previously worked at the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Boston University, Cornell University and the Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore. Her PhD. from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is titled: “Seeking Scientific Sense and Democratic Sensibility”.

Anthony Lopez is the official social media committee chairman of the ACT!2030 Alliance working on the sustainable development goals, focused on HIV and AIDS. In January of 2014, he was part of the International Steering Committee as the chairman of the Youth Volunteer Committee of the 7Th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights. A member of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders initiative, Anthony is a peer educator on reproductive and sexual health and rights with a focus on HIV and AIDS. He works with BALUTI o Batang Laging Umiiwas sa Tiyak na Impeksyon as well as Y-PEER Pilpinas. Anthony has also served as a Junior Reporter at the Kabataan News Network, a youth oriented news program funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and implemented by Probe Media Foundation. He also writes for mulatpinoy.ph about young people’s health and rights issues. Currently, Anthony is one of 200 advocates and young people to join the 2016 class of the Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Only 4 were selected in the Philippines. He is now the Project Manager of Capiz Youth for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

Zanele Mabaso is an ardent policy advisor & social justice writer, current Girls Globe Regional Advisor for Southern Africa and Youth Advisory to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) South Africa. Ms Mabaso is an elected Youth Representative (South Africa) of the UNFPA SYP Program’s Regional Steering Committee and serves on The Partnership on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health’s (PMNCH) Adolescent and Youth Constituency, it’s SO1 Country Engagement Working Group as Team Leader and AYC Youth Representative on the SO1 Steering Group Committee. Passionate about the health development and empowerment of adolescents & young people across Southern Africa; meaningfully engaged youth leadership and advocated youth prioritisation and participation on countless national, regional and global consultations and high-level engagements She’s a Women Deliver Conference Scholar, Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) and a youth leader notably recognised by M&G Top 200 Young People & Top 100 Brightest Young Minds Africa.

Mduduzi Mbuya is a Senior Technical Specialist: Monitoring, Learning and Research at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). In this role, he is involved in the development and operationalization of implementation research relevant to GAIN’s strategic programming areas, with particular emphasis on large scale food fortification.


Danait Mehreteab is a passionate advocate for social justice and community development. Currently the Community Engagement Officer at RESULTS Canada, Danait mobilizes youth across Canada to use their voices to eradicate global poverty.

A graduate of McMaster University’s Health Studies and Peace Studies program, Danait is also passionate about understanding how systemic inequalities impact the social determinants of health for marginalized communities. 

Danait is a co-founder and the Director of Public Relations for the Young Leaders Advisory Council; a local non-profit community organization that works to situate young people of racialized communities in positions of leadership and influence by promoting diversity and inclusion within the National Capital Region and across Canada.

Michael Messenger is the President and CEO of World Vision Canada and a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health. Before taking on this role, he was the agency’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer giving oversight to the senior leadership team and to all operations, including sponsorship activities that benefit over 480,000 children, emergency response in a variety of crises, and revenue of more than $415 million. Mr. Messenger has traveled regularly to take part in World Vision’s efforts around the world. This has included on-the-ground assessment during Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and an extended visit to Zimbabwe in 2013 to participate in community development and humanitarian relief programs. Outside of his professional role, Mr. Messenger is a board member of The Meeting House church and Tyndale University College and Seminary. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts and a law degree from the University of Toronto. He practiced law for nine years in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a partner at Cox & Palmer, he developed a broad litigation practice and served as chief counsel to a high-profile public inquiry on issues of youth justice. Mr. Messenger maintained his connection with World Vision during his law career, serving on the Canadian Board of Directors for more than three years.

Cassandra Morris works with the HealthBridge Foundation of Canada as a Project Manager for their Gender Equality and Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health program. Before moving to Ottawa, Cassandra was a Program Officer for Gender and Reproductive Health at the HealthBridge Vietnam office, an opportunity provided through the Government of Canada’s International Youth Internship Program (IYIP).Cassandra studied International Development Studies at Dalhousie University, which gave her the opportunity to participate in the Students for Development program, managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). She has an MSc in Global Health and Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh, where her research focused on strategies to improve access to safe abortion services in Nepal. She is a Youth Champion with the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP) and has previously volunteered with Amnesty Scotland to respond to changes in the SRHR legislative landscape.


Emilia Nimatuj is the Project Coordinator for the “Promotion and Protection of the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Children and Adolescents” initiative in predominantly Indigenous Maya K’iche’ communities in Guatemala. This project has seen Emilia work for more than 8 years on Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs with students, teachers and parents in primary and secondary schools – programs that have benefitted over 20,000 students, 500 teachers and more than 2,400 parents. The lessons learned by Emilia, unique in delivering rights-based and culturally-relevant sexual and reproductive education in a setting where the topic is considered taboo, now form part of our maternal, newborn and child health project in Guatemala, which is transforming the lives of Indigenous women, children and families in the department of Totonicapán.


Vikram Patel is the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is an Adjunct Professor and Joint Director of the Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries at the Public Health Foundation of India, Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (where he co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health in 2008), and is a co-founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO which won the MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2008 and the WHO Public Health Champion of India award in 2016.



Gogontlejang Phaladi is a 22 year old philanthropist, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and development practitioner from Botswana. She is a community mobilizer and an active agent of change with vast experience in communications as a former Radio Presenter, also a Human and Social Development expert having worked with various global and regional institutions on these issues. Her main focus priorities on human rights are on sexual reproductive health and rights, governance and young people and women’s empowerment and inclusion. She leads a community based youth led NGO called the GGP Pillar of Hope project which is mandated in humanitarian work, civic education and human rights advocacy. She is currently a Board Member of the global PMNCH and chair of the Adolescent and Youth Constituency. In her part time she studies law, enjoys farming and has embarked on a mentorship programme for young women.


Haytham Qosa is the Health Recovery Manager, Global Health Unit, International Operations, Canadian Red Cross. “Dr. Qosa manages health recovery projects initiated by the Canadian Red Cross in countries affected by different kinds of disasters or crises. He develops, advises, and supports specific programs/activities targeting people affected by humanitarian crises with a special focus on the reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (RMNCAH) sector. As an active humanitarian worker Dr. Qosa has a special interest in topics of health and nutrition in emergencies, health information systems, and disaster preparedness and response. In his capacity as the focal point to support projects in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region he has conducted many field trips to conflict zones including visits to Syria and Palestine. Dr. Qosa has more than four years of experience in clinical practice in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Emergency Room (ER) and Anesthesia departments. Dr. Qosa has authored many publications based on his work in medical research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He has a medical degree from Sana’a University, Yemen, a Master’s of Medical Education from University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Arun Ravindran is a Full Professor and Director of Global Mental Health and the Office of Fellowship Training for the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. He is cross-appointed as Graduate Faculty in the Institute of Medical Sciences, and is also a Senior Scientist in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is also Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Ravindran’s clinical and research interest is in the area of mood and anxiety disorders and youth mental health. He is also actively involved in global mental health capacity-building and humanitarian projects. He has held or currently holds grant funding from several national and international agencies for both areas of work. He is also a recipient of the Donald A. Wasylenki Award for international partnerships, education and social responsibility from the University of Toronto.


Tiyahna Ridley is a passionate advocate on issues disproportionately affecting women and girls. She became a Global Changemaker with the Ontario Council of International Cooperation for her work with RESULTS Canada; meeting with global leaders, organizing monthly sessions and publishing newspaper articles and Letters to the Editor drawing attention to the socioeconomic and health issues that target the world’s most vulnerable. In 2016, Tiyahna mobilized over 18,000 youth in Ottawa to action, during the ChangeTheWorld campaign – a Volunteer Ottawa and Ontario Volunteer Centre initiative to support young do-gooders. She sits on the board of directors for CANHAVE Childrens Centre, an organization that supports the education of children who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS . Tiyahna is pursuing a Masters degree in Public Policy, Administration and Law as she hopes to contribute to the political framework within which change can occur.


Caroline Riseboro leads Plan International Canada’s operations as President & CEO. Prior to joining Plan Canada, Caroline was Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Development at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, where she played an instrumental role in expanding CAMH’s reach among Canadians, pioneering new engagement initiatives, and helping to reduce the stigma of mental illness. Prior to CAMH, Caroline also held several senior executive roles in the International Development sector, most recently as Senior Vice-President at World Vision Canada where she oversaw its advocacy both nationally and globally — as the first and youngest woman in the agency’s history to serve in this senior role. Before joining the non-profit sector, Caroline began her career in advertising and communications.
Caroline’s influence also extends into the sector through her voluntary leadership roles. She sits on the Board of the Humanitarian Coalition, is the President-elect for the Association of Fundraising Professionals GTA chapter and has sat on numerous boards and task forces including Imagine Canada and the Canadian Marketing Association’s Not-For-Profit Council. Caroline has been credited as an innovator and champion of ground-breaking and award-winning campaigns that have engaged Canadians in new ways on some of the world’s toughest issues.

Shekhar Saxena is a psychiatrist by training, working at World Health Organization as the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse since 2010. His responsibilities include providing advice and technical assistance to policy makers on prevention and management of mental, developmental, neurological and substance use disorders and suicide prevention. His work also involves establishing partnerships with academic centres and professional and civil society organizations. He is currently responsible for implementing the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2018 adopted by 194 countries in 2013. He has authored more than 250 scientific papers including in high impact journals.


Dominic Schofield is professional career spans over twenty years in the field of international development serving in leadership positions with the private and not-for-profit sectors, and the United Nations; with assignments in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia. Throughout his career, Dominic has sought to bring good development practice together with good business practice, and has been successful in levering policy advocacy and blended capital approaches to fuel and take innovations to scale. At posts based in Ottawa, Geneva, Washington DC and New York, his work in public health for more than a decade has focused on addressing malnutrition in developing countries through multi-sectoral alliances that combine the strengths of government, private sector, and civil society. Prior to joining GAIN, Dominic served as Nutrition Specialist at UNICEF in New York, and as Partnership and Business Development Manager at the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Ottawa, and later led these efforts at IDRC’s regional office for Southern Africa, based in Johannesburg. Previously, Dominic led business partnership and social impact investment in South Africa through an initiative of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) that was recognized as a key mechanism of the Government of Canada’s Africa Trade Strategy. As a management consultant, based in Montreal and Singapore, he led complex projects in technology transfer and skills development, and has assisted development organizations in strategic planning, resource mobilization and strengthening private sector participation and investment in sustainable development. Dominic currently advises the FTSE for Good Index Policy Committee, the Access to Nutrition Index and serves on several technical expert committees related to nutrition and public health. He also serves as Canadian representative of OneGoal, an initiative of FIFA’s Asian Football Confederation to mobilise youth and adolescent girls for improved nutrition through the power of sport.

Karlee Silver is VP Programs for Grand Challenges Canada. Dr. Silver is responsible for the design and implementation of Grand Challenges Canada’s programs. She is also a thought leader for the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace and sits on the Steering Committee for mhNOW. Dr. Silver has been with Grand Challenges Canada since it launched, and led the process to select its grand challenges. Prior to joining Grand Challenges Canada, Dr. Silver trained in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Kain at the Sandra Rotman Centre in Toronto, where she identified host responses of malaria infection in pregnant women to harness for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Dr. Silver received her doctorate in genetics and immunology in 2006 from the University of Oxford, where she attended as a Rhodes Scholar and trained with Professor Richard Cornall and Professor Sir John Bell.


Nancy Smyth is Director General for Social Development at Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Her Bureau acts as the thematic policy lead for education, gender equality and child protection across Canada’s development assistance programs, provides specialist advice and guidance to programs, and manages Canada’s multilateral and global programming in these sectors. She is also responsible for strategic planning, coordination and reporting for all multilateral development programming and for leading multilateral effectiveness and results-based management. In addition to holding other management positions at GAC in policy planning and corporate change management, Nancy has worked in other Canadian government departments leading international policy coordination for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada and overseeing performance reporting on the delivery of Aboriginal labour market programs with Employment and Social Development Canada. She also spent over 10 years with Canada’s International Development Research Centre in program, partnership and policy positions and held policy and program positions within the non-governmental community before joining government.

Joel Spicer is the President and CEO of Nutrition International. He is an established leader in global health, an innovator, visionary, and a Canadian with significant experience in international development that cuts across borders, sectors and agencies. As an accomplished professional, Joel has achieved results at numerous bilateral and multilateral agencies, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), where he began his career, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, and others. In addition, he has served on the senior management team at the Stop TB Partnership. His far-ranging experience has included postings around the world, from Ottawa to Washington, Senegal to Indonesia, and, most recently, Geneva.  Joel attended the Harvard School of Public Health on a Fulbright scholarship where he obtained an MPH, International Health (Health Policy and Management), and also the London School of Economics and Political Science where he earned an M.Sc. in Development Studies. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia in International Relations.

Stephanie Tholand oversees new program development and partnership building for Population Media Center (PMC), a US-based NGO. PMC specializes in the use of serial dramas to role model and drive positive social behavior change, addressing reproductive health and rights, gender equity, family planning, and more in prime-time drama programs on radio, web, and TV. She recently managed the design process of PMC’s strategic program expansion plan so that future efforts concentrate on moving the needle on some of the hardest issues in some of the most challenging settings. Prior to joining PMC, she worked and volunteered with American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD). She holds an MPA from San Francisco State University and a BA from Wake Forest University.


Irem Tumer is currently a Youth Innovator Fellow at UNFPA, supporting the Adolescents and Youth portfolio of the Technical Division. She was selected for this position from among 6,000 applicants worldwide to be one of eight UNFPA Youth Innovation Fellows in 2016, and the only one to spend a whole year at our Headquarters in New York. Adolescent health is one of her portfolios and she has recently co-facilitated the session on adolescent health in the ECOSOC Youth Forum. Before joining UNFPA, Irem worked as a lawyer in Turkey focusing mainly on dispute resolution. She is also currently pursuing a Human Rights Law LL.M. at Istanbul Bilgi University Law School. During her studies, she has studied abroad in the University of Strasbourg for a year, taking courses on human rights law and international law. She has been involved in a number of United Nations projects and events, mainly focusing on youth participation. She was a moderator and participant at the UNIANYD Open Meeting in 2012. In addition to being a Contributing Editor for the UNFPA State of the World Population Report 2014, she has also recently participated in the Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security in Amman, Jordan. 

Zila Vela is the vice-president of youth advocacy organization “Yo Tambien Tengo Algo que Decir” (I too have a something to say), based in Huanuco, Peru. Zila is the 2017 recipient of the Premio Gladis Ramos Figueredo award in recognition of her work to promote and defend the rights of women in her region of Peru, and specifically to promote and protect the rights of adolescent girls to participation in advocacy and citizenship, and protection from sexual violence. Under her leadership, the youth organization successfully lobbied 21 regional and provincial authorities to endorse the “Act to prioritize in public management, the protection of girl and adolescent mothers, prevention of child or adolescent pregnancy and protection of girls and adolescents from sexual violence”. In addition Zila helped lead the organization’s campaign in the 2016 General Elections in Peru, to ensure local candidates for the Huanuco Governorship specifically addressed sexual violence, physical and humilitiating punishment, sexual exploitation, online sexual harassment, and teenage pregnancy. These efforts culminated in an Electoral Debate focused on the protection of children and adolescents from violence, and youth civic participation.

Janani Vijayaraghavan is a Health Advisor at Plan International, Canada, and has been working in international public health since 2005 with international NGOs. Her primary focus has been in maternal, newborn and child health program implementation, in South and East Africa and Asia. She has been supporting community based health care programs, with a strong understanding of and experience with health systems strengthening, as well as the larger implications of delivering health care at scale. Janani provides technical support to Plan International Canada’s health portfolio to improve the quality of programs, share best practices and learning from within the sector and provide capacity building support. Janani’s academic background includes a master of Health Science in International Health focusing on Social and Behavioral Interventions from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Yadanar is a passionate advocate for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young women. Dr. Yadanar, holds a medical degree. She previously worked as the Young Women’s Coordinator at YWCA of Myanmar, where she helped developing safe space to equip adolescent girls with SRHR skills and knowledge, empowering young women, ethnic minority women, young key populations including LGBTQI, by equipping them with leadership and SRHR knowledge and skills to become change agents in their community. She volunteered for mobile clinics in remote areas of Myanmar. She is a co-founder of Nyi Ma Lay organization, which aims to promote young women’s access to SRHR knowledge. She has won Australia Awards Scholarship and studying Master of Public Health at University of Melbourne. Her dream is to be part of the health sector reform process and contribute to policy-making in Myanmar to make SRHR services and knowledge accessible to all.


Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu, an Emma Watson Scholar on gender equality and a Women Deliver young leader currently serves on the Youth Advisory Group for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and is a speaker with the Champions bureau program of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. He is a Research Assistant at Ryerson University for a WHO/World Vision Niger funded program on the Use of smartphones by WV trained CHWs in Niger, and how it affects their diagnosis and treatment of malaria, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases. As a Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School and a One Young World Ambassador, Joannes has spent most of his youthful life advocating for access to quality education and working with children living with disabilities and communities orphaned by HIV/AIDS. His work on gender equality was featured as one of UN Women’s first IMPACT stories for the HeForShe Campaign and recently on Vanity Fair. Joannes has received international awards for his work namely; the 2015 HM Queen Elizabeth Young Leaders Award, the 2014 Youth Courage Award from Gordon Brown and the 2015 African Youth Excellence Award for Public Service. which recognizes and honors youth who have personally demonstrated courage and leadership and acted as agents of change for universal education. r Joannes has spoken at several conferences including the UN high level event on “Ensuring the Emerging Leadership of African Women and Girls” and a press conference on “African women and girls speak on peace, security and development” organized by the AU and the UN office of Special Adviser on Africa during CSW59.

Jean-Pierre Zeelie is a Technical Advisor with Save the Children Canada, focusing on health and nutrition programming for primarily the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Prior to joining Save the Children in 2015, he spent 9 years in South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho and Mozambique providing technical assistance in HIV/AIDS programming through producing content on weekly, nationally-broadcast TV and radio platforms aimed promoting treatment literacy for youth living with HIV, in evaluating the role of CHWs supporting young mothers as they navigate the PMTCT care cascade, and in piloting different models of delivering family planning services in schools and communities. Jean-Pierre holds a MPH degree from the University Cape Town’s Health Economics Unit.