Prof. Ní Aoláin Appointed to International Women's Program Advisory Board
DECEMBER 7, 2010—Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin has accepted a two-year appointment to the International Women's Program (IWP) Advisory Sub-Board of the Open Society Institute. The IWP works worldwide to reduce discrimination and violence against women and girls and to increase their access to justice and their role in leadership positions. The board makes recommendations on strategies and programs to further these objectives. Ní Aoláin was invited to join the board because her "extensive background in international, human and women's rights law would complement the strategic vision of the IWP."
The IWP strives to strengthen institutions that include women and are responsive to their needs, and it sponsors and supports efforts to provide legal aid and legislation that advances women's rights. It uses grantmaking, advocacy, capacity and coalition building, and meeting and exchange organization to create conditions allowing women to control their own futures. It is particularly sensitive to locations where conflict has weakened respect for the rule of law and endangered women's rights.
Among its 2009 initiatives were a three-day gathering in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing together women from across the country to discuss women's rights and develop national action plans. Another initiative, in Nepal, provided backing for a community radio program that allows survivors of violence to tell their stories and raise awareness of women's rights.
The Open Society was established in 1984 by investor and philanthropist George Soros to help countries make the transition from communism to democracy. Its activities to build vital, tolerant governments that are accountable to their citizens have grown to encompass hundreds of countries around the globe. Its boards are composed of eminent leaders and citizens who offer their expertise in determining the agenda for specific initiatives based on local priorities.