Session 2 Panel 5

Faith, Family and Development: The Witness of Women in Leadership.

11:30 - 12:30    Panel 5: Faith, Family and Development: The Witness of Women in Leadership. 
(Hall 3) – EN 馃帶 IT, ES

Moderator: Dr. Carolyn Woo, (Retired) CEO and President, Catholic Relief Services

•    Jestina Mukoko, Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zimbabwe
•    Finola Finnan, Deputy Executive Director, Tr贸caire, Ireland
•    Sr Bridget Tighe, Executive Director, Caritas Jerusalem
•    Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone 
•    Sally O’Neill, Human Rights Defender, Honduras

“A society without mothers would be dehumanized, for mothers are always, even in the worst of times, witnesses to tenderness, dedication and moral strength” (AL, 174). This is a panel of experts and partners of Tr贸caire (Caritas Ireland) who will speak to the theme of how women are the key to unlocking the potential of developing countries around the world. Tr贸caire's Women's Empowerment programme strives to ensure that the women and girls they work with around the world have a voice in decisions that affect their lives, within their homes, communities, and beyond, and that they are free from violence. 


Dr. Carolyn Woo, (Retired) CEO and President, Catholic Relief Services

Dr. Carolyn Yauyan Woo was raised in Hong Kong, and immigrated to the USA to attend Purdue University, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, and joined the faculty.   She serves as the Distinguished  President’s Fellow for Global Development at Purdue. Carolyn served from 1997 to 2011 as dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. Prior to this, she was associate executive vice president for academic affairs at Purdue University. She served from 2012 to 2016 as President/CEO ofCatholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the Church in the USA. Carolyn was one of five presenters in Rome at the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si. She is the author of Working for a Better World, published in 2015 by Our Sunday Visitor. Carolyn is married to Dr. David E. Bartkus. They have two sons, Ryan and Justin, and live in Baltimore. 

Jestina Mukoko, Zimbabwe Peace Project, Zimbabwe

Jestina Mukoko is National Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project.  A victim of state sponsored violence, Jestina details her experience as a victim of human rights violations in her book ‘The Trial and Abduction of Jestina Mukoko: The Fight for Human Rights in Zimbabwe’ (April 2016). A political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, she holds a postgraduate certificate in Defending Human Rights from the University of York.  Studying towards a Masters degree in Managing Peace and Security in Africa with the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, she is a newly accredited FemWise Africa mediator. A 2010 honoree of the US Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award Jestina was in 2010 and 2012 a Draper Hills Summer Fellow at Stanford University and a Fellow of the Oak Institute at Colby College respectively. She is a Centre for Applied Human Rights fellow at the University of York.  

Finola Finnan, Deputy Executive Director, Tr贸caire, Ireland

Finola Finnan is Deputy Executive Director of Tr贸caire, the official overseas development of the Catholic Church in Ireland. She joined Tr贸caire in 2005 and held a number of roles before her appointment as the Director of Strategy, Programmes and Advocacy in 2015. Finola has a particular interest in gender equality and HIV/AIDS. She served on the Government’s consultative group that developed Ireland’s first National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security and has chaired a number of networks including the Irish Joint Consortium on Gender Based Violence and the Catholic HIV and AIDS network. Previously Finola worked with Oxfam Ireland, Irish Aid and Trinity College Dublin and with Ministries of Health in Zambia and in Micronesia. 

Sr Bridget Tighe, Executive Director, Caritas Jerusalem

Caritas Jerusalem, founded in 1967 in the aftermath of the Six Day War, is a humanitarian and development organization representing the socio-pastoral services of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land. It is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 members working at the grassroots in almost every country of the world. Caritas Jerusalem serves the poor and marginalised, regardless of religious or political affiliation, in Jerusalem, West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  In addition to emergency relief it works in health and psychosocial care, social assistance, job creation, micro-finance, food security, youth work, and drug abuse prevention. 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE became Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, in May 2018. She has spent over two decades serving Sierra Leone locally and internationally. She advocated for ending the Sierra Leone civil war and in 1999 co-founded the Sierra Leone War Trust (SLWT) which today continues to support disadvantaged children there.  In recognition of her contribution to the Ebola response efforts, she was awarded a Gold Medal by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in December 2015 and an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in January 2016. From January 2016 to September 2017, Yvonne served as the Delivery Team Lead for Sierra Leone’s post-Ebola economic recovery programme.  She is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College.  She is married with two children. 

Sally O’Neill, Human Rights Defender, Honduras

Sally O’Neill worked on the frontline during some of the most significant global humanitarian crises in her role as Head of Programmes and later as Regional Director  for Latin America with Trocaire – The Irish Catholic Agency for World Development. She has lived and worked in Latin American since 1995. She was a member of the Advisory  Board of Irish Aid  from 2001- 2004.  Sally was appointed by the President of Ireland as a member of the High Level Panel for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad in 2012 and awarded the Hugh O´Flaherty Humanitarian Award in 2011. She was granted an honorary Doctorate in Law from University of Ulster in 2017. She is   currently a member of the board of the Washington Office on Latin America and  is an adjunct professor of development studies at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. 

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