Barriers. Borders. Boundaries. So many lines continue to divide us, which is ironic considering how globalization is intended to bring us closer together. While globalization has done a great deal to transform both the notion and practical realities of borders, panellists will share insights on how women are leading the charge for a redefining of boundaries – political, geo-political, economic, sexual/gender, academic – in ways that promote women's equality, leadership, and security. In their own valuable work and around the world, these women are breaking barriers in innovative and transformative ways. Using a uniquely engaging format, this session will frame up a day around this theme.


Mary Simon – Canada

AMBASSADOR. Born in Kangiqsualujjuaq in Northern Québec, Mary's life has been devoted to advocating for the rights of Inuit and other Aboriginal peoples. As the first appointed Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs, Mary led the negotiation of the eight-country Arctic Council. Her strategic and cultural leadership has garnered Mary numerous honours, including the Order of Canada, National Order of Québec, the Gold Order of Greenland, and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Mary was elected to the position of President Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami in July 2006 and just last month, became the first Inuk inducted into the International Women's Forum.

Judith Heumann – USA

ADVISOR. Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, Judith is an internationally recognized leader in the disability community and a lifelong civil rights advocate for disadvantaged people. She served as the World Bank's first Adviser on Disability and Development and served in the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education from 1993 – 2001. She previously worked with numerous disability rights organizations including co founder of the World Institute on Disability.

Raewyn Connell – Australia

NORM CHALLENGER. One of Australia's leading social scientists, Raewyn is dedicated to making social science relevant to social justice. Best known globally as one of the founders of the research field on the social construction of masculinity, her book "Masculinities" is the most-cited in the field. A transsexual woman, Raewyn teaches at the University of Sydney and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. Along with research and theory, Raewyn's approach to sociology involves social critique and biographical interviews. She has written or co-written 21 books and over 150 research papers, Raewyn's work has been translated into 15 languages.

Malika Hamidi – Belgium

CATALYST. An internationally renowned voice on the issue of women and Islam, Malika Hamidi is part of a surge of women's leadership toward the changing of Islam. Head of the European Muslim Network (EMN) – a think tank working on issues related to Muslim identity in Europe – Malika is also vice president of the International Study Group of Reflection on Women in Islam and sits on the Advisory Committee of the 2014 Parliament of the World's Religions. Malika's Ph D research in sociology explores "the emergence of a transnational Islamic feminist movement of thought and action in the West".

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