Cambridge, MA — On June 23, Adjunct Professor Rangita De Silva De Alwis was elected to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) for the term 2023-2026. The CEDAW Committee—consisting of 23 experts on women's rights from around the world—is the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Of the 194 UN member nations, 187 countries have ratified CEDAW.
Rangita, who previously served as a non-resident Leader in Practice at Harvard Kennedy School's Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP), will return to campus in the fall of 2022 as an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy. Hannah Riley Bowles, Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management and Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership and WAPPP, commended Rangita's appointment, stating: "We are honored and delighted that HKS will continue to benefit from Rangita’s intellectual energy and role model. In addition to her scholarship on gender in international law, Rangita brings direct experience working with governments and international institutions to bring a gender lens to peace and security.”
Her election to the CEDAW has been met with great enthusiasm by leaders in the U.S. and abroad and by faculty across Harvard University. Martha Minow, the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University and former Dean of Harvard Law School, spoke of Rangita's commitment to realizing the promise of CEDAW: "I know of no one with more expertise, tenacity, and devotion when it comes to advancing women's rights . . . Rangita would be a stellar contributor to the efforts to protect against gender-based violence and to make human rights meaningful regardless of an individual's gender."
Rangita is an expert on matters coming under the purview of the CEDAW, with over 25 years of experience globally advocating for equal representation of women. She currently serves as a full-time faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. She earned her Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Colombo and her LL.M and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School.