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Sexual Health and Human Rights at the Intersections: Global Norms and Local Realities

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Event description

This webinar will explore the challenges and opportunities for sexual and reproductive health and rights in the current moment of global social and economic upheaval. In an era of progress and immense challenge in sexual and reproductive rights, panelists will bring their insights on the role of human rights for sexual health at global and local levels. This one-hour virtual event will include discussion with panelists and Q&A with the audience. 

This Zoom event builds on a recent anthology, “Human Rights at the Intersections: Transformation through Local, Global, and Cosmopolitan Challenges,” edited by IIGH Director Sofia Gruskin and colleagues and published by Bloomsbury. 

The dialogue will be moderated by Professor Sofia Gruskin, Director, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health.

The webinar is a collaboration between the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, the United Nations University International Institute on Global Health, and the World Health Organization Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research — Human Reproduction Programme and co-sponsored by the Occidental College John Park Young Initiative on the Global Political Economy

The event will be held on Tuesday, April 18th at 9:00 am PDT. 


 Dr. Pascale Allotey is the Director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research including UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction and a globally recognized expert in sexual and reproductive health and rights. She most recently served as Director of the United Nations University’s International Institute for Global Health in Malaysia. Dr. Allotey is a leader in gender, equity, health and human rights, currently co-chairing the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health. Her recent work includes challenging the boundaries of global health, advocating for accountability in the decolonization of global health and international development, and expanding opportunities to diversify the voices of contributors to global debates and decision making – particularly in evidence generation, policy and programme implementation within the UN system, with governments, NGOs and the academic community. Dr. Allotey is a triple-certified nurse, midwife and public health nurse with a multidisciplinary background in clinical health sciences, implementation research, anthropology, and epidemiology. She holds a PhD in Public Health and a MMedSci in Community Health from the University of Western Australia, and a BA in Nursing and Psychology from the University of Ghana, Legon.

Former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prof. Kate Gilmore is Chair of the Board for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Honorary Professor at Essex University’s Human Rights Centre and Professor-in-Practice at London School of Economics and Political Science. She is Vice Chair of Interpeace, co-Chair of the WHO Gender and Human Rights Advisory Panel on Human Reproduction and a member of the WHO Immunization Agenda 2030 Partnership Panel. Previously a Fellow with Harvard University’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy, Prof. Gilmore was Assistant UN Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director/Programmes with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), having been Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. Prof. Gilmore started her career in Australia, working to combat violence against women.

Elorm Ama Ababio (popularly known as Ama Governor) is a Ghanaian YouTuber, social media influencer and lawyer-in-waiting. In November 2022, she was denied the call to the Ghana Bar even though she completed the law program, passed her exams, and scaled her interview session. This happened because a ‘concerned citizen', whose identity to this date has not been disclosed, petitioned the General Legal Council to suspend her call to the Bar indefinitely on an umbrella ground that she is unfit to become a lawyer. This controversy sparked a wave of activism in support of Ms. Ababio and her right to private life, and freedom of speech and expression. Ms. Ababio studied law at the University of Ghana and then pursued her BL at the Ghana School of Law. She is a popular YouTuber in Ghana, with videos ranging from pranks to life experiences, chit-chats, and story-time, among other topics. She started Youtubing in 2016 and has amassed 71.1k subscribers and nearly 5 million views. She has also been teaching swimming for over 10 years, and her business, Swim with Ama Governor, has been commercialized for over 6 years.

Rajat Khosla is the Director of the International Institute on Global Health (UNU-IIGH). Director Khosla works on global health and inequalities through the intersections of research, policy, and practice. Over the last twenty years his research has focused on global health, development, gender equality, health equity, and human rights. He has published widely in academic publications and writes regularly on global health issues. His present research commitments include racism and global health; social justice; accountability; and gender and digital health governance. Prior to his appointment at UNU-IIGH, he served as Senior Director for Research, Advocacy, and Policy at Amnesty International. He previously worked at the World Health Organization and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights where his work focused on research and normative development for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals related to health and in particular on issues related to sexual and reproductive health. He helped develop policy frameworks on the integration of women’s rights in humanitarian emergencies. Previously Director Khosla has served in a variety of research and policy roles at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, the International Environmental Law Research Centre, and other organizations, and worked as an independent research and policy consultant for such organizations as UNDP, UNICEF and UNFPA. Director Khosla is an Adjunct Research Professor at the University of Southern California Institute on Inequalities in Global Health and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex Human Rights Centre. He is an alumna of University of Delhi and University of Essex.

Dr. Momin Rahman is a Professor of Sociology at Trent University in Canada. His current research is on the conflicts between LGBTQ2S identities and Muslim cultures, and the experiences of LGBTQ2S Muslims, including a funded research project on LGBTQ Muslims in Canada. He has presented this work at international academic conferences and at private policy meetings such as the United Nations Human Rights Council. He has published over 35 chapters and articles and four books: The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics (2020, co-edited with Michael Bosia and Sandra McEvoy, Oxford University Press), Homosexualities, Muslim Cultures and Modernity, (2014, Palgrave Macmillan), Gender and Sexuality (2010, with Stevi Jackson, Polity) and Sexuality and Democracy (2000, Edinburgh University Press). Dr. Rahman also served as the co-chair for the Equity committee for the national academic union in Canada, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, from 2018-2022. In this role he has focused on developing a web-based resource of action plans for faculty to address systemic inequalities in the profession, particularly around the systemic under-representation of racialized faculty. 

Moderated by Professor Sofia Gruskin, Director, USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health: 

Prof. Sofia Gruskin directs the USC Institute on Inequalities in Global Health (IIGH). She is Professor of Preventive Medicine and Chief of the Disease Prevention, Policy and Global Health Division at the Keck School of Medicine, and Professor of Law and Preventive Medicine at the Gould School of Law. Sofia currently sits on numerous international boards and committees including the PEPFAR Scientific Advisory Board, the Lancet Commission on Gender and Global Health, the IUSSP Steering Committee to Strengthen Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems, and the Lancet Commission on Health and Human Rights. Sofia has published extensively, including several books, training manuals and edited journal volumes, and more than 200 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics.  

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