Voices from GLAC
Meet inspiring GLAC community members
Members of the Global Leadership Academy Community (GLAC) are social impact leaders around the world working towards achieving the Agenda 2030 on critical issues, including human trafficking, sexual violence prevention, climate change mitigation, peace building and more. Each one is a leader in his or her field of expertise.
Voices from GLAC was started as a capacity development program honing GLAC Members’ skills in the art of storytelling and public speaking over a period of several weeks through online workshops and mentoring in 2020. It was initiatied and facilitated by ElsaMarie D'Silva and Melanie Cheary and cumulated in a public event on 19th December 2020 in a TEDstyle format.
Ms ElsaMarie D’Silva is the Founder of Red Dot Foundation (India) and President of Red Dot Foundation Global (USA). Its platform Safecity, crowdsources personal experiences of sexual violence and abuse in public spaces. Since Safecity started in Dec 2012, it has become the largest crowd map on the issue in India and abroad.
Among a number of fellowships she is a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She is listed as one of BBC Hindi’s 100 Women and has won several awards including Government of India Niti Aayog’s #WomenTransformingIndia award and The Digital Woman Award in Social Impact by SheThePeople. In 2017, she was awarded the Global Leadership Award by Vital Voices in the presence of Secretary Hillary Clinton. Her work has been recognised by the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations through the Intercultural Innovation Award, SDG Action Festival and the UN Foundation at the Solutions Summit 2016.
Prior to Safecity, she was in the aviation industry for 20 years where she worked with Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. Her last portfolio was Vice President Network Planning & Charters where she oversaw the planning and implementation of 500 daily flights.
Ms Melanie Cheary was a foreign correspondent and news editor for Reuters News Agency and wrote extensively about economics, geo-politics and humanitarian issues. She now works as a media and communications coach, helping people find their unique presenter and public speaking profiles to ensure they achieve the impact they seek.
Melanie has considerable experience in developing and delivering programmes for the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), the IMF, the World Bank, the Global Leadership Academy (facilitating the Unveil the Hidden Presence - Trafficking in Women and Children Lab), and the Global Fund. She produces written analyses on sustainability and climate change, while also producing case studies that document financial inclusion and economic development in Africa.
A South African and British citizen, Melanie holds a BA in Classics and an MBA.
This first round of Voices from GLAC featured Dunja Bonacci Skenderović, Mome Saleem, Banu Pekol and Shirley Gunn, four women with inspiring life and work stories and the impact they make. See and hear their stories for yourself (approx. 2 minutes each):
Ms Dunja Bonacci Skenderović is an independent consultant in the field of elimination of violence against women. Her work currently focus on sexual harassment at workplace. Thus, in February 2020 she founded Project Frida which deals with the issue of prevention of sexual harassment at work. In May 2021 she published her research on sexual harassment at work in Croatia. She is very much involved in understanding consequences of violence against women on the victims and society as whole.
Dunja has more than 15 years of professional experience working for NGOs and international organizations on the issues of elimination of violence against women and combatting trafficking in women. In 2017 she became independent consultant. She provides consultancy in the field of elimination of violence against women by doing analysis, writing strategies, doing researches, and providing training and workshops.
Dunja is one of Global Leadership Academy member and she participated in the Unveil the Hidden Presence - Trafficking in Women and Children Lab. She is also a member of UN WOMEN Regional Civil Society Advisory Group - Europe and Central Asia. She is the Vital Voices Peace Fellow (2021 -2022) and alumni of U.S. State Department of State; The International Visitor Leadership Program.
Dunja Bonacci Skenderović holds a Master's degree in Political Science from Central European University.
Ms Mome Saleem is the GLAC regional lead for South Asia. Mome is one of our members who successfully participated in the Unveil the Hidden Presence - Trafficking in Women and Children Lab. Mome is also a member of the Global Diplomacy Lab. She takes care of 49 regional members from 6 countries namely: Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Academically an Anthropologist and a practicing policy researcher and program manager, Mome Saleem has been working in the development sector -local and international think tanks- for the last 14 years. She is the Founding Executive Director of Institute of Urbanism - a think tank focused on studying urbanization and its impacts on human life and environment. She is also working as a technical and planning specialist (Consultant) for Generation Unlimited program for youth development at UNICEF since November 2019. Previously, she has been associated with (2015-2019) German Green Foundation, Heinrich-Boell-Stiftung (hbs) and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom as Program Coordinator. She has been associated with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) as Senior Research Associate and coordinator from 2009-2015. Her research interest revolves around resource equity, climate change, peace and security and gender issues. She has worked and published on related subjects.
Mome Saleem is a member of the Prime Minister's Climate Change Council of Pakistan and has developed a Green Youth Movement for the youth development program of the Prime Minister of Pakistan called Kamyab Jawan.
Dr Banu Pekol’s work focuses on peacebuilding and conflict transformation in relation to contested cultural heritage. Her work spans cultural heritage research on difficult pasts and projects that develop creative and research-based results, specializing in cultural diplomacy, contested heritage interpretation and management. She has over a decade of experience with different cultures at numerous multicultural heritage sites.
Banu currently works at the Berghof Foundation, on intercultural and interreligious conflict transformation and peace education. She was previously a Historical Dialogue and Accountability fellow at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.
She is a co-founder of the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (KMKD), which was established in order to respond to the urgent need to protect and preserve cultural heritage at risk. She has worked as cultural manager at KMKD where her work included managing creative as well as research–based strategies to preserve heritage especially of contested heritage sites, and to find concrete ways for communities to embrace and preserve heritage, regardless of the ethnic or religious community that built it.
Banu Pekol holds a BA from the Courtauld Institute of Art and PhD from Istanbul Technical University. She was a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow on Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-building and the Arts; was awarded the Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art Award; a Hellenic Ministry of Culture Grant; the Otto Gründler Award; and grants from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and Bodossaki Foundation.
Shirley Gunn began her working career as a community social worker, activist and trade unionist while serving in the African National Congress (ANC) political and military underground structures. She trained in Cuba and Angola, and served in the command structure of the Ashley Kriel Detachment that was operational until 1992.
Shirley testified to a special women’s hearing of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SATRC) in 1997 and was found to be a victim of gross human rights violations. She’s a founder member of the Khulumani Support Group in the Western Cape, and serves as a national board member.
Shirley is the director of the Human Rights Media Centre, which is a member of the South African Coalition for Transition Justice. She participated in both Mandela Dialogues 1 and 2, supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and GLAC.