The WILPF International Board (IB) is composed of 17 members: the President, two Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer, one Regional Representative and one alternate Regional Representative from each of the six regions – Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia – and the Secretary-General.
The IB plays a key role in the overall leadership of WILPF by ensuring that the organisation achieves its aims and principles and meets its legal and financial obligations. As part of the IB, the Regional Representatives provide two-way communication between the National Sections and the IB, including by sharing national and regional experiences and facilitating cooperation between the regions.
In the period 2018 – 2021 the International Board consists of:
Joy Ada Onyesoh is a passionate feminist peacebuilder. She is the Director of WILPF Nigeria and was an International Vice-President of WILPF between 2014 and 2018. Previously, Joy worked in different capacities across several organisations developing expertise that span from management and organisational development to advocacy for a feminist political agenda. She has over a decade of experience working as a consultant on Women Peace and Security as well as five-year of experience in transformative leadership. Joy is also the founder and President of a foundation that provides support to indigent communities and people living in Nigeria. In her role as WILPF International President, Joy sustains movement building, by embracing the transformation of gendered power structures and engaging Sections in content sharing through various medium.
Margrethe Kvam has been a member of WILPF for more than 30 years. Already International Vice-President from 2015 to 2018, she was re-elected for three more years in 2018. Since 2000 Margrethe works as a full-time Adviser in research management at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA). In addition to her continuous dedication to WILPF’s vision, she is a Council Member at the Nansen Peace and Dialogue Centre and at The Hardanger Academy for Peace, Development and Environment, both located in Norway. Margrethe also serves as a magistrate in the municipal arbitration board in her local town. In her role as Vice-President, Margrethe works towards developing an even bigger footprint of WILPF’s work and vision through an increased and improved mobilisation, coordination and communication. She also contributes to WILPF’s increased focus on the environmental impact of militarism.
Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations. She holds a PhD in Social Work and currently works at the University of Texas as the Director of Human Trafficking Research at one of the university’s think tanks. Of Mexican descent, born on the US and Mexican border, and raised between the two countries, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. She is also involved with the American Red Cross as a volunteer, trainer, and researcher focused on post-disaster aid distribution and work with undocumented Latinxs. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.
Kerry McGovern has been a member of WILPF for more than 10 years and served as WILPF International Treasurer from 2015 to 2018. Among her roles in WILPF, she is also a member of the Standing Finance Committee and the convener of the Standing Committee on Risk Management. Kerry has worked as a consultant to the public sector for twenty-five years and has expertise in governance and in working with organisations to strengthen their capability including designing and implementing internal controls, monitoring, reporting and risk management. In addition, Kerry is also the Treasurer of the Australian Chapter of the Eastern Regional Organisation for Planning and Human Settlements (EAROPH). As International Treasurer, her primary role is to strengthen the financial management of WILPF, support the implementation of WILPF’s International Programme 2018-2021 and to work with Sections to improve their financial management capabilities.
Africa Regional Representative
Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo has been involved in WILPF since 2012 and has been a member of the International Board between 2015 and 2018. Prior to her election as Africa Regional Representative, Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo was WILPF Cameroon Section President and co-coordinator of the African Working Group. Her first contact with WILPF was in 2012 at the AWD Forum in Istanbul, where she got fascinated by the amazing work done by WILPF all over the world to end war and build sustainable peace. Sylvie is a teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations. She has 20 years of experience advocating for the political and social rights of Cameroonian and African women. Before joining WILPF she created the organisation Women’s Peace Initiative in 2008 and she also supported the establishment of a network of women in media in Central Africa. Sylvie is also a member of the African Union Steering committee for the Fund for African Women. As Africa Regional Representative, Sylvie plans to expand WILPF’s vision in Africa by building regional cooperation, coaching WILPF Groups to become Sections and amplify African women’s voices globally.
Africa Alternate Regional Representative
Olivia Oseji has been a member of WILPF since 2007 and an International Board member between 2015 and 2018. Olivia is also the President of WILPF Nigeria and she previously held the position of national coordinator representing the Section at the African regional meetings. Apart from being engaged in WILPF, Olivia is a fashion entrepreneur and has broad experience in fundraising and strategic organising. As Africa Alternate Regional Representative, Olivia is supporting the communication among Sections and Groups in the region and strengthening mobilisation on projects to end violence against women.
Americas Regional Representative
Americas Alternate Regional Representative
Asia Pacific Regional Representative
Kozue Akibayashi has been a member of WILPF for the last 20 years. She was WILPF International Vice-President between 2007 and 2011 and WILPF International President between 2015 and 2018. Since she moved to Kyoto in 2006 she has been an active member of the Kyoto branch of WILPF Japan and has played an important liaison role with the Sections in the region. Kozue is a professor at Graduate School of Global Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto, where her research focuses on issues of sexual violence by the military in overseas host communities, militarisation and demilitarisation, and decolonisation. She also serves on the Steering Committee of Women Cross DMZ, and she is the country coordinator for Japan in the International Women’s Network Against Militarism. In her role as Asia Pacific Regional Representative, Kozue hopes to strengthen the cooperation of Sections in the region and work towards a deeper understanding of the relationship between militarism and patriarchy.
Asia Pacific Alternate Regional Representative
Janette McLeod has been a member of WILPF for more than a decade, during which time she has held a number of different roles in WILPF Australia, including Section Treasurer and member of branch committee. From 2017, Janette has also served as a member of the Standing Finance Committee and she has been on the Standing Personnel Committee since 2018. In her role as the Asia Pacific Regional Alternate Representative, Janette aims to support the work of WILPF in the region, including using her experience on the Standing Finance Committee to assist section treasurers in the region. As well as her commitment to WILPF, Janette has been an activist with social justice and community groups in Australia. She has worked as a public servant in Australia for many years.
Europe Regional Representative
Heidi Meinzolt is a member of WILPF Germany for more than 30 years. She has been a member of the International Board for many years and served as a European coordinator in this period. Heidi was also the coordinator of WILPF’s Middle East Working Group and a member of the Standing Committee on Organisational Development. While being involved in multiple ways in structural and governance issues, Heidi has been working in the past years to intensify WILPF’s political impact bridging theory with practice. Her major concern is raising awareness among the general public about the importance of a feminist analysis of conflicts, highlighting aspects of justice, human security and freedom. Apart from her work with WILPF, she is also involved with the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) as the coordinator of the WG on “women and gender realities in the OSCE region” and she cooperated with the Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) on issues of climate justice and SDGs. For Heidi, being the Europe Regional Representative means strengthening cooperation across WILPF Sections, coordinating WILPF’s impact on political decision-makers and institutions in Europe while fostering dialogue with partner organisations and creating synergies with other world regions.
MENA Regional Representative
MENA Alternate Regional Representative
South Asia Regional Representative
Jamila is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO) founded in 2000. Jamila have experience of working in areas that include education, migration-related issues, gender issues, democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries, GBV. She is also a trainer and has designed and delivered trainings on gender in elections, political participation, leadership, Islam and women’s rights and for civil society gender, human rights, women rights, right of persons with disability management, leadership and gender equality issues. Jamila was a member of the government and represent Afghanistan in high UN, EU level gatherings.
South Asia Alternate Regional Representative
Madeleine Rees is a British lawyer and Secretary-General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), a role she has held since 2010. For most of her adult life, Rees has worked nationally and internationally to advance human rights, eliminate discrimination, and remove obstacles to justice. In addition to her work specialising in discrimination law with a major firm in the United Kingdom, she has also held various roles with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) – including as Head of the OHCHR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she helped expose human rights abuses and and the involvement of UN peacekeepers in sex trafficking As Secretary-General of WILPF, Rees is leading the organisation’s efforts to work through national and international legal frameworks to advance a future of human security and justice for all. Passionate about connecting women across borders to share experiences and organise for action, she is committed to building a true global movement for feminist peace. In 2014, Rees was awarded the OBE for her services to human rights, particularly women’s rights and international peace and security.