LAFF Society


News about Former Foundation Staff


Radhika Balakrishnan, faculty director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University, is the recipient of this year’s Chancellor’s Excellence Awards for her work with New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity.
Ms. Balakrishnan, who also is a professor in the university’s Women and Gender Studies program, was named one of 13 commissioners of the New York agency when it was created in June 2015.
Its purpose is to advise the mayor on initiatives and methods to reduce inequality, and to “advocate for women, girls, transgender and intersex residents and support programs that have been created to remove barriers to full participation in all areas of women’s personal and work lives”.   
CWGL, which was founded in 1989, promotes women’s leadership in human rights through leadership institutes, international mobilization campaigns, strategic planning activities, publications and a resource center.
It is also a member of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), a consortium of women’s programs at Rutgers created to study how and why women lead, and to develop programs to prepare women of all ages to lead effectively.
Ms. Balakrishnan has been executive director of CWGL since 2009, and has expanded its programming to include a focus on economic rights and justice from a female perspective. It is one of the leading organizations working in the “area of economic rights to broaden and deepen the capacity of women leaders and social justice organizations to analyze, comment on and create alternatives to policies shaping the lives of women and girls”.
She has a doctorate in economics from Rutgers and has written and edited several books, including Policy and Human Rights: Holding Governments to Account.
She worked at the Ford Foundation from 1992 to 1995.
Natalia Kanem has been appointed Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director (Programme) of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
In making the announcement, the organization noted that Ms. Kanem has “more than 25 years of strategic leadership experience in the fields of medicine, public and reproductive health, social justice and philanthropy”.
Of special import was her work at Ford from 1992 to 2005, where she “funded pioneering work in women’s reproductive health and sexuality as the Foundation’s representative for West Africa. She then served in the Foundation’s headquarters, becoming Deputy Vice President for its worldwide peace and social justice programs across offices in the United States, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe”. 
After leaving Ford, Ms. Kanem was the founding president of the ELMA Philanthropies, a private institution focusing primarily on children and youth in Africa. In 2012, she  became a senior associate of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, which works on development issues in the Caribbean region. She went to work for the United Nations in 2014 as the UNFPA representative in Tanzania. 
She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a major in history and science, earned a medical degree from Columbia University and has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington, with a specialty in epidemiology and preventive medicine. 
Gowher Rizvi, an adviser to the prime minister of Bangladesh, recently warned of a growing water crisis in that country during a conference in Dhaka on “good governance and the way forward”, as reported in The Dhaka Tribune.
“If we were to pinpoint the crises the country is likely to face in the days ahead,” he said, “water would be the biggest.
“Many civilizations have been destroyed due to lack of water. We are especially in danger because we do not yet have any concern about our environment. We have to prevent the misuse of water and conserve it. Lots of things should be worked out at many levels if we want to conserve water.”
Rizvi worked at the Foundation from 1996 to 2002 as a program officer in the Asia Programs and in Governance and Civil Society, and as the Representative in the New Delhi office.
Steven Solnick is the new Head of School of the Calhoun School, a co-educational, independent school on the Upper West Side of New York City that is committed to “progressive education and diversity, equity and social justice”. He will assume his duties in July.
In making the announcement of his selection, the school said that Solnick “has shown an innate understanding of Calhoun’s progressive approach to education, informed by his own early educational experience, and further enhanced by his extensive experience teaching students at some of the world’s most dynamic colleges and universities”. 
Solnick has been president of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., since 2012, when he left Ford after working since 2002 as its representative in Moscow and New Delhi. Before then he was an associate professor at Columbia University.
He received a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981 and then studied politics and economics at Oxford University in England as a Marshall Scholar. He was a consultant for NASA for two years before earning a doctorate from Harvard University in 1993.



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