NEW YORK (May 7, 2013)– After nearly a decade of extraordinary commitment to the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Ms. Monique Essed Fernandes of Suriname retired from the Board of Directors earlier this year. Chair of the Board for the last two years, Monique previously served as Vice-Chair, Treasurer and briefly as Interim Executive Director for WEDO during a transition in late 2009. She has been an indefatigable mentor, advisor, champion and friend. Her steadfast support to WEDO, its Board, staff and mission, drove the direction of the organization; her passion for mentoring the next generation of women leaders fueled staff, partners and programming alike.

With her extraordinary credentials and commitment, WEDO could not let her get away too easily! Monique will remain close to WEDO in her new capacity as Founding Chair of the Advisory Committee, a new body launched in 2013 to complement the governance functions of the Board of Directors. (Read much more next quarter, when the next WEDO Newsletter shines a spotlight on this great group, including visionaries Thais Corral and Jocelyn Dow, and Irene Dankelman and Wanjira Mathai!) In this role, Monique will continue to work alongside WEDO’s new Board Chair, Dr. Marcela Tovar Restrepo of Colombia.

Marcela joined the WEDO Board in 2011, but her relationship with the organization is years long. Formerly a program coordinator for Sustainable Development, and more recently a consultant on the GEAR Campaign, Marcela’s depth of knowledge on WEDO’s core issues is profound, as is her lifelong commitment to women’s and ethnic minorities’ rights as an activist and scholar.

Marcela earned her PhD in Anthropology at the New School for Social Research (NY, USA,) and her Masters in Urban Development Planning at University College of London. She has served as an international consultant mainstreaming cultural and gender rights into multi-lateral policy-making processes, and she has served as technical advisor and researcher for international cooperation agencies, governments, social movements and NGOs in areas such as gender and ethnic diversity, environment, human rights and conflict. She conducts research on ethnicity, gender and development in Latin America and teaches in New York, Colombia and Chile. She currently teaches at Columbia University, the New School for Social Research and CUNY.

The Board of Directors and staff of WEDO welcome Marcela into this exciting new role and honor Monique as she (semi-)retires!  We promise to not let her work too hard.

For more information, please contact:

Marcela Tovar Restrepo, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors

Monique Essed Fernandes
Chair, Advisory Committee

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