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Global Leaders Forum 

Penn Law is committed to providing a forum for today’s Global Decision Makers. These global thought leaders have shaped important laws, policies, and institutions around the world.
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America

    Justice Ginsburg is the second woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, where she has served for 25 years as a powerful advocate for gender equality including the historic Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire dissent and the majority United States v. Virginia rulings.

  • Zainab Hawa Bangura

    Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

    Ms. Bangura has over 20 years of policy, diplomatic and practical experience in the field of governance, conflict resolution and reconciliation in Africa. Ms. Bangura has been instrumental in developing national programs on affordable health, advocating for the elimination of genital mutilation, and managing her country’s Peace Building Commission.

  • Irina Bokova

    Irina Bokova, Former Director-General of UNESCO

    As Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova is actively engaged in international efforts to advance gender equality, quality education for all, and combat terrorist financing by preventing the illicit traffic of cultural goods. Bokova was the first Eastern European to lead UNESCO.

  • Radhika Coomaraswamy

    Radhika Coomaraswamy, Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

    Served as a moral voice and independent advocate to build awareness and give prominence to the rights and protection of boys and girls affected by armed conflict. Formerly the Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission.

  • Asma Jahangir

    Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights to Iran; Former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief; Former UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions

    Jahangir is known globally as Pakistan’s leading human rights lawyer.  Jahangir continues to face death threats for her work on behalf of women, children, and minorities, and her efforts to reform the pernicious Hudood Ordinance (crimes of honor and blasphemy in Pakistan).

  • Hina Jilani

    Hina Jilani, Former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Human Rights Defenders

    Jilani is a pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner, a leading activist in Pakistan’s women’s movement and international champion of human rights. She founded Pakistan’s first all-women law firm; first legal aid centre; and national Human Rights Commission.

  • Moushira Khattab

    Moushira Khattab, former Minister of Family & Population of Egypt, Former Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, and Former Ambassador

    Khattab is a world-renowned human rights activist advocating the rights of children and women and the former Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child based at the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

  • Maria Mejía Vélez

    Maria Emma Mejía Vélez, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations in New York

    Ambassador Mejía has held high government positions for over two decades, dedicating most of her career to peace and Latin-American foreign affairs issues. She played a vital role in negotiating the peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC opposition to end the fifty-year conflict. 

  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

    Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Minister of Finance of Nigeria and Coordinating Minister for the Economy

    A world-renowned economist recently named one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune.  Okonjo-Iweala has also served as Managing Director of the World Bank.

  • Navi Pillay

    Navi Pillay, Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

    In her native South Africa, Ms. Pillay contributed to the inclusion of the equality clause in the country’s Constitution that prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. Her career has focused on children, detainees, victims of torture and of domestic violence, and a range of economic, social and cultural rights.

  • Mary Robinson

    Mary Robinson, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Former President of Ireland

    Robinson was recently named UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoys on El Niño and Climate.  She serves as the Chairman of the Institute for Human Rights and Business; President of the Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice.

  • Melanie Verveer

    Melanne Verveer, Former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues 

    Current Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University. Verveer previously served as Executive Director of People for the American Way, where she was involved in the passage of important civil rights legislation.

  • Penny Wong

    Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Senate

    Wong is the first woman to hold both the role of Leader of the Government in the Australian Senate and, after the change of government in 2013, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. She is an advocate for women’s equality, LGBTI rights, and a multicultural Australia.