Humphrey Fellows Lead New Conference on Gender Equality in the ‘Global South’

Humphrey Fellows Carolina Rudnick and Shirin Batshon believe that strong solidarity and collaboration among committed and empowered men and women in the “Global South” can promote gender equality and end gender-based discrimination and violence. That belief led them to organize the inaugural Humphrey conference on gender equality, which recently took place at American University’s Washington College of Law (WCL). This was the first time Humphrey Fellows conceived, organized, and brought to fruition an event of this magnitude while on the program in the United States. 

Ms. Rudnick, the executive coordinator of Chile’s Committee Against Trafficking in Persons, and Ms. Batshon, a Palestinian attorney from Israel who specializes in family law, are both determined to work for gender equality in the Global South; a region which includes Africa, Latin America, and the developing countries of Asia and the Middle East. Just a few months ago, they decided to organize the conference on gender equality, inviting Humphrey Fellows from around the world, officials from the State Department and USAID, and other high-profile stakeholders to speak about their experiences and proposals to end gender-based discrimination in their regions.

The conference, “Gender Equality: Voices from the Global South,” included discussions about important gender-related issues in developing or transitional countries. The event covered issues ranging from child marriage in Yemen, rights for teen mothers in Zambia, mental health for women in developing countries, gender and the law, women’s political participation and power, and trafficking in women and girls.  

Panelists at the “Gender Equality: Voices from the Global South Conference” held at American University’s Washington College of Law pose for a group photo on April 6, 2016. [State Department photo]

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs Mala Adiga, who oversees the Humphrey Program; USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator David Yang; and the Dean of WCL Claudio Grossman addressed these issues on panels throughout the day, as did 12 current Humphrey fellows.

“We are delighted to be able to support this conference, and we’re proud of the fact that women make up 49 percent of this year’s Humphrey class,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary Adiga. “I am proud to say that we reached that level of representation because we have made it a priority and targeted our outreach efforts.”

The conference concluded with the establishment of an organizational charter signed by conference participants to create the Gender Equality Network

The event organizers, Ms. Rudnick and Ms. Batshon, observed that working with “women experts from the Global South talking about promoting gender equality in the Global South” was the “most powerful aspect of this conference.” The two Fellows added that “the presentations were well-documented, inspiring, empowering and very authentic.” Reflecting on the importance of this momentous gathering and the exchange program that made it possible, Ms. Rudnick and Ms. Batshon described the conference and the Humphrey program as “an empowering experience, both on the professional and the personal level.” 

To learn more about the conference, check out the @auwcl and @GHDatState Twitter handles and the hashtag #HHHSDG5.

About the author: Jennie Maibor serves as a Public Affairs Support Specialist in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). 

For more information:

  • Visit for more about the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program.
  • Read more more about education and exchange opportunities on and DipNote.
  • Follow the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs @ECAatState on Twitter.



Angela W.
October 25, 2016
I am the Cultural Affairs Officer in Ankara, Turkey and found this to be very informative and I would like to learn more about these and other such efforts. Thank you. Angie Williams
Participants at the “Gender Equality: Voices from the Global South Conference” hosted by Humphrey Fellows Carolina Rudnick and Shirin Batshon Hold Global Goals Related to Gender Issues and Gender Equality. [State Department photo]
Posted by Jennie Maibor
May 11, 2016


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