International Leaders Come to Harvard for 2006 Bridge Builders Conference

Contact: David Scatterday
Phone: 310-625-8357
Date: February 27, 2006

Cambridge MA – Seven acclaimed grassroots development practitioners from across the globe will converge at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Feb. 27 – March 3 to participate in the 2006 Bridge Builders Conference.

The conference is designed to allow participants to "build bridges" with Harvard students, faculty members, development organizations and members of the public by sharing their skills, successes and struggles in international development and community organizing. Attendees will take part in a series of workshops, panel discussions and presentations. Bill Drayton, President and CEO of Ashoka International, will deliver the conference keynote address at 4 p.m. March 3.

The grassroots leaders in attendance include:

? Suraya Pakzad, Afghanistan: A product of underground schools in Afghanistan, Pakzad is the founder of Voice for Women, a dynamic NGO that equips local women with vocational skills and entrepreneurial training and support.

? Silivia Afonso, Mozambique: A community leader in Sussundenga, a remote region of Mozambique, Afonso is the director of Telecentro, a unique communications center that provides educational, informational and entertainment programming to his remote region and connects it to the rest of the world.

? Inés Shiguango, Ecuador: A native of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Shiguango serves as the Vice President, and only female leader of the regional Kichwa organization FONAKIN. In this role, Shiguango has worked with over 100 communities on issues of gender, production, and natural resources.

? Haoua Traore, Burkina Faso: An extremely skilled community organizer and technical expert in cotton production, Traore is the founder of the first ever women’s union of cotton producers in Burkina Faso.

Several public events are on the conference agenda, including:

Panel Discussion “The Role of Religion and Inter-religious Dialogue in Development,” March 1, 5-6:30 p.m., Harvard Divinity School, The Center for the Study of World Religions, Common Room

Spotlight Panel Discussion “Women in Public Policy Program hosts: ‘Women’s Voices Empowered: First Hand Accounts from Afghanistan and Nepal ’” Feb. 27, 4:10-5:30 p.m. John F. Kennedy School, Allison Dining Room

Keynote Address by Bill Drayton, CEO and Founder, Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, “Everyone is a Changemaker, Social Entrepreneurship’s Ultimate Goal” March 3, 4 p.m. John F. Kennedy Jr. FORUM, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge

The Bridge Builders 2006 Conference is cosponsored by The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation; The Center for International Development at Harvard University; The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations; The Center for Public Leadership; Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy; The Women in Public Policy Program; Carr Center for Human Rights Policy; Harvard University Center for the Environment; KSSG (Kennedy School Student Government); Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School; Center for the Study of World Religions, at Harvard Divinity School; and The Harvard Coop.

Journalists interested in attending any conference events should contact David Scatterday at 310-625-8357.

For more information on the conference, access the website: http://bbconference.pbwiki.com/

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