Structure, People and Programmes

Organisational structure

The main bodies of WILPF consist of the International Congress, the International Board, the
National Sections and Groups, and the International Secretariat.

Click on the circles in the illustration to learn more about the different parts of WILPF, their role, and how they are interconnected.

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The International Congress, which meets every three years, is the highest decision-making body of WILPF. It is composed of all members of the International Board and delegates and alternates representing the National Sections.

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The International Board is responsible for the overall leadership and governance of WILPF, sets direction on culture and values, and ensures WILPF achieves its aims and principles between International Congresses. It ensures that the decisions adopted by the International Congress to further the aims and principles of WILPF are implemented and that the organisation meets its legal and financial obligations as a constituted body. The International Board is composed of the President, two Vice-Presidents, the Treasurer, and one Regional Representative and one alternate Regional Representative for each region, together with the Secretary-General.

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The National Sections and Groups are currently active in six regions: Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia. National Sections and Groups use the International Programme as a guide for the development of their own strategies, which respond to their own contexts; they then implement their strategies through a national action or operational plan.

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WILPF has a number of formal Standing Committees (such as the Standing Constitution Committee, Standing Committee on Risk Management, and Standing Personnel Committee), and Working Groups. Committees comprise a limited number of members and their purpose is to provide guidance in key functional areas and advise the International Board. Working Groups focus on specific thematic issues and are open to all interested members.

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WILPF has a number of formal Standing Committees (such as the Standing Constitution Committee, Standing Committee on Risk Management, and Standing Personnel Committee), and Working Groups. Committees comprise a limited number of members and their purpose is to provide guidance in key functional areas and advise the International Board. Working Groups focus on specific thematic issues and are open to all interested members.

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Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the International Secretariat’s role includes the implementation and reporting on policies, resolutions, and programmes as adopted by the International Congress and the International Board; managing financial operations; recommending and developing new initiatives in response to emergency and/or emerging issues of primary concern for WILPF; and the provision of administrative support to the International Congress and International Board.

Standing Committees

Standing Finance Committee (SFC)

Rosien Herweijer

Convenor

Standing Constitution Committee (SCC)

Marianne Laxen

Convenor

Standing Personnel Committee (SPC)

Catia Confortini

Convenor

Standing Committee on Risk Management (SCRM)

Rosien Herweijer

Convenor

Working Groups

Environment Working Groups (EWG)

International Secretariat

Under the direction of the Secretary-General, the International Secretariat’s role includes the implementation of WILPF’s International Programme and reporting on policies, resolutions, and programmes as adopted by the International Congress and the International Board; managing financial operations; recommending and developing new initiatives in response to emergency and/or emerging issues of primary concern for WILPF; and the provision of administrative support to the International Congress and International Board.

The International Secretariat currently consists of two offices, one in Geneva (GVA), and one in New York (NY). It runs three global programmes.

Disarmament Programme

Total and universal disarmament is one of the founding goals of WILPF. Through Reaching Critical Will, our well-known disarmament programme, we advocate for disarmament and the achievement of human security – all while highlighting the gendered aspects of weapons use, production, and trade. 

Learn more: Reaching Critical Will

Human Rights Programme

Through submissions, statements, and other engagements with the UN’s human rights bodies, WILPF’s Human Rights Programme advocates for States to comply with their human rights obligations. The Programme also supports the efforts, engagement, and safety of women human rights defenders around the world.

Woman holding a sign reading "Redefine Security".

Women, Peace and Security Programme

WILPF’s Women, Peace and Security Programme ensures that international peace and security efforts work for women. The Programme, also known as PeaceWomen, advocates for women’s participation in peace processes, transforming gendered power, and bridging local experience with global efforts.

Learn more: PeaceWomen

Staff at the International Secretariat

Want to work with us? Have a look at our job page to check WILPF opportunities to work on feminist peace.

Geneva Office

Telephone: +41 (0) 22 919 70 80

Secretary – General

Madeleine Rees (GVA)
secretariat (a) wilpf.org
+41 (0) 22 919 70 80
+41 (0) 78 763 90 16
+27 73 944 40 80

Deputy Secretary – General

Laila Alodaat (UK) 
laila.alodaat (a) wilpf.org
+44 (0) 20 7250 1968
+44 (0)788 1930254

 

UN Office Manager, New York

Ashish Mahajan (NY)
ashish.mahajan (a) wilpf.org

Senior International Office Coordinator

Jeanine Leaflang
jeanine.leaflang (a) wilpf.org

Human Resources and Operations Associate

Maryna Hlushko
maryna.hlushko (a) wilpf.org

Finance Associate

Cynthia Muputisi (GVA)
cynthia.muputisi (a) wilpf.org

Senior Grants Coordinator

Sandra Spissinger
sandra.spissinger (a) wilpf.org

Grants Coordinator

Maya Dimitrova (GVA)
maya.dimitrova (a) wilpf.org

Contact: secretariat (a) wilpf.org

Head of Communications

Nina Maria Mørk Hansen (GVA)
nina.hansen (a) wilpf.org

Digital Communications Coordinator

Adélaïde Barat-Magan (GVA)
adelaide.barat (a) wilpf.org

Communications and Admin. Associate

Lycelle Bajar (GVA)
lycelle.bajar (a) wilpf.org

Contact: communications (a) wilpf.org

Membership Manager

Jenny Aulin (GVA)
jenny.aulin (a) wilpf.org

Membership Coordinator

Elena Cason (GVA)
elena.cason (a) wilpf.org

Governance Liaison

Live Favre (GVA)
line.favre (a) wilpf.org

Environment Focal Point

Katrin Geyer (London)
katrin.geyer (a) wilpf.org

Contact: membership (a) wilpf.org

Human Rights Programme

Programme Director

Patrizia Scannella (GVA)
patrizia.scannella (a) wilpf.org

Programme Coordinator

Tessa Cerisier (GVA)
tessa.cerisier (a) wilpf.org

Disarmament Programme

Programme Director

Ray Acheson (NY)
ray.acheson (a) wilpf.org

Programme Manager

Allison Pytlak (NY)
allison.pytlak (a) wilpf.org

Women, Peace and Security Programme

Programme Manager

Zarin Hamid (NY)
zarin.hamid (a) wilpf.org

Programme Associate

Genevieve Riccoboni (NY)
genevieve.riccoboni (a) wilpf.org

 

MENA Programme

MENA Interim Director

Salma Kahale
salma.kahale (a) wilpf.org

MENA Manager

Rola Masri (UK)
rola.masri (a) wilpf.org

Syria Associate

Leen Alabed (UK)
leen.alabed (a) wilpf.org

 

MENA Associate

Nihad Kasmi (GVA)
nihad.kasmi (a) wilpf.org

MENA Associate

Sara Dominguez (GVA)
sara.dominguez (a) wilpf.org

Women Organising for Change in Bosnia Project

Project Coordinator

Nela Porobić Isaković (BiH)
nela.porobic (a) wilpf.org

Confronting Militarised Masculinities

Project Director

Dean Peacock
dean.peacock (a) wilpf.org

New York Office

Telephone: (+1) 212 682 1265

Essential reading

WILPF Constitution and By-Laws in English, French and Spanish to come.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo

PRESIDENT

Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

Annie Matundu Mbambi

AFRICA REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Annie Matundu Mbambi is a women’s rights activist in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She is the President of WILPF DRC, and was the consultant for the revision of the National Action Plan (NAP) of UNSCR 1325 and the NAP 2250 in DRC. She has also written
various articles on different themes such as Human Rights, Gender Based Violence, Environment, in Artisanal Mining. Annie is also the author of the Glossary of Terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and its related resolutions of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Ludmila Kwitko

ASIA PACIFIC REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Ludmilla Kwitko is a passionate advocate for Women, Peace and Security and a dedicated member of WILPF since 2013. With over 30 years of experience in academia and civil society, she has an exceptionally broad range of expertise, including social development and inclusion, post conflict development, disaster risk reduction, gender and human rights. She has worked across the Asia-Pacific region and globally, with communities, women and girls, governments and multilateral organisations for gender justice and sustainable peace. Ludmilla is also an expert in Monitoring and Evaluation and Program Development, and speaks English, Ukrainian and French.

Hanan Awwad

MENA REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

In addition to being appointed MENA Alternate Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018, Hanan Awwad has been the President of WILPF Palestine since she started the Section in 1988. An academic, writer,editor and cultural advisor by profession, her main expertise lies in various areas including (resistance) literature, human rights and women’s rights. Hanan received a PhD from Oxford University ,has published twelve books and received multiple awards for her work in defending human rights and dignity. Hanan is also a member of the Palestinian National Council and has represented Palestine in more than 700 conferences. 

Jamila Afghani

VICE-PRESIDENT

Jamila Afghani 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). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Edwick Madzimure

AFRICA ALTERNATE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Bio is coming.

Celine Patricia Kearney

ASIA PACIFIC ALTERNATE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Celine Patricia Kearney is an enthusiastic journalist, editor, academic – a writer by nature and training. With over 40 years of teaching experience in Aotearoa New Zealand, Switzerland, and Vietnam, she views learning and education as a lifelong journey. Celine has been the President of WILPF Aotearoa, most recently, from 2016 to 2018 and has been a WILPF member since 1991.Celine’s expertise is in areas including denuclearisation of the Pacific, peace, environmental sustainability, and climate change.

Diala Chehade

MENA ALTERNATE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Diala Chehade is a Lebanese lawyer and human rights defender with over 18 years of experience in legal counselling and litigation, including four years at the International Criminal Court of The Hague. She has designed, conducted and/or participated in dozens of legal outreach events in Europe, Africa and the MENA region. As of 2014, she has been managing a law firm in Beirut with focus on cases of public interest such as corruption, torture, racism, extrajudicial killing, arbitrary detention, freedom of expression amongst other. She has been a frequent guest legal expert on pan-Arab media outlets.

Melissa Torres

VICE-PRESIDENT

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 the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. 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.

Janet Slagter

AMERICAS REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Janet Slagter is an eager feminist theorist and researcher. Since 2018, she is the Americas Alternate Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board and has held several different roles in the Fresno branch of the US Section since 2001. With over 40 years of teaching experience, Janet’s main expertise lies in cross-cultural perspectives on women harassment policy, reproductive technologies and women’s international grassroots organising.

Ariana Durani

EUROPE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Originally from Sweden, Ariana has a law degree from the University of Kent and is now pursuing an MA in International Relations at Uppsala University. Within WILPF, Ariana has been active at the local, national, and now regional and international levels. At the local level, she has been involved in boosting local feminist peace collaboration with other civil society organisations, politicians and members of the public. She is also a board member of WILPF Sweden since 2021. As the Regional Representative for a region which is currently experiencing a war, Ariana sees the need for strong collaboration between Sections and between regions and the IB. Some of her goals as a Regional Representative will be to tackle both internal and external challenges to grow stronger with wider activism around the world.

Pushpa Motiyani

South Asia Alternate Regional Representative

Bio is coming.

Janette McLeod

INTERNATIONAL TREASURER

Janette McLeod has been a member of WILPF for more than a decade. During this time, she has held several roles in WILPF Australia, including Section Treasurer. Prior to being appointed Asia Pacific Regional Alternate Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018, Janette has been and still is a member of the Standing Finance Committee,. She is a member of the Standing Personnel Committee and has been Liaison to the Standing Constitution Committee since 2018. In addition to her involvement with WILPF, Janette has been active in social justice in Australia and worked as a public servant for many years.

Beatriz Schulthess

americas alternate regional representative

Prior to being appointed Americas Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018, Beatriz Schulthess has been a WILPF Costa Rica board member since 2015 and she has recently been elected President of WILPF Costa Rica. In addition to her involvement with
WILPF, she has 40 years of experience in advocacy, strategic planning, project development, and negotiations at the United Nations. Moreover, Beatriz has notable expertise in human rights, social justice, indigenous peoples, and gender equality. She is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and German.

Rosa Logar

EUROPE - ALTERNATE REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Bio coming. 

Madeleine Rees Portrait

Madeleine Rees

SECRETARY-GENERAL

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.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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Demilitarisation

WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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