The Institute serves as a hub for cross-sectoral, cross-movement and transnational organizing, research and scholarship.

Our Team

Leymah Gbowee, Founding Executive Director

Leymah Gbowee headshot

Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is a peace activist, trained social worker, and women’s rights advocate. She serves as the Executive Director of the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace. Ms. Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace—which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003—is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She is the founder of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, the founding head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, and the co-founder and former Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She previously served as Executive Director of the Women, Peace, and Security Program at Columbia University. She is also a founding member and former Liberian Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). A global thought leader and international facilitator for peace, Ms. Gbowee has been named one of the 100 Most Influential African Women by Avance Media, one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy, by Apolitical, and one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, Fortune Magazine. In 2020, Ms. Gbowee was honored with the Martin & Coretta King Inaugural Peace & Justice Award. She advises numerous organizations working for peace, women’s rights, youth, and sustainable development, and currently serves as a Member on the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation, as a Juror for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Hilton Humanitarian Prize, and as a Trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Ms. Gbowee holds an M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University, and has received a number of honorary degrees from universities around the world. See her full bio.

Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, Ph.D., Senior Director

Dr. Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland headshot

Mikaela Luttrell-Rowland, Ph.D. serves as the Senior Director of the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace. The Institute works to reimagine policymaking from the perspective of social movements, bringing those most impacted by crisis and conflict into the process of policy development. She previously served as Director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University, where she worked closely with grassroots changemakers from around the globe and probed new methods for listening to, and disseminating, lessons from their everyday activism. Having held leadership roles in varied and complex settings, Luttrell-Rowland  brings years of strategic vision, leadership, and program design experience. Luttrell-Rowland holds a Ph.D. in International Development from the University of Bath, and an M.Sc. in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford. She has scholarly expertise in the areas of economic justice, participatory practices, human rights, and Latin America. Her research has been supported by numerous fellowships, including the United Kingdom’s British Council, Harvard Law School’s Institute for Global Law and Policy, the Law and Society Association, the Harvard Kennedy School, Society of Latin American Studies, as well as a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2018, she served as a Delegate to Canada’s G7 Presidency, where she supported the work of Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee on the Gender Equality Advisory Council (2018-19). Her latest research and teaching have been in the areas of gender justice, participatory methods, inequality, and social movements. Her book Political Children: Violence, Rights and Labor in Peru was published with Stanford University Press in 2023. See her full bio.

Molly Bangs, Program Manager

Molly Bang headshotMolly Bangs (she/her) is the Program Manager at the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace, where she previously served as the Program Officer. She has nearly a decade of work experience as a writer, researcher, and advocate in human rights, intersectional gender equity, and sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice. Molly previously served as the director of the reproductive rights organization, Equity Forward. She is an alum of The Century Foundation, the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, and the New York City Council. Molly’s written work on domestic and foreign human rights policy has been published in news outlets including VICE, Truthout, and the Huffington Post. Molly graduated cum laude from Connecticut College with a B.A. in government and a minor in Hispanic studies; she holds an M.A. in political science from Columbia University, where her research focused on international human rights law and women, peace, and security. See her full bio.

Our Advisory Board

Prof. Lisa Davis, Co-Chair

Lisa Davis headshotProfessor Lisa Davis serves as Advisory Board Co-Chair for the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace. Lisa Davis is a Professor of Law; Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court; Founding Faculty Chair of the Institute on Gender, Law and Transformative Peace, and; Co-Director of the Human Rights & Gender Justice Clinic (formerly named International Women’s Human Rights Clinic). Professor Davis has written and reported extensively on gender-based crimes and human rights issues in conflict and other crisis settings, including on women’s rights and LGBTQI+ rights. Davis has testified before U.S. Congress, European Parliament, U.K. Parliament, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and several international human rights treaty bodies. Serving as the first Special Adviser on Gender Persecution to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor, Professor Davis drafted the first-ever policy on the crime of gender persecution.
See Professor Davis’s full bio.

Prof. Paisley Currah, Co-Chair

Paisley Currah headshotProfessor Paisley Currah serves as Advisory Board Co-Chair for the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace. Professor Currah is a Professor of Political Science and Women’s & Gender Studies at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Currah has written widely on transgender issues, including on topics such as discrimination and sex reclassification, and the transgender rights movement. He is the author and editor of over 30 articles and books and co-founder of the leading journal in transgender studies, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. Currah’s newest book is Sex Is Sex Does: Governing Transgender Identity. You can find out more about his work, read articles and watch interviews at

Madeleine Rees, O.B.E

Madeleine Rees, O.B.EMadeleine Rees, O.B.E, is a British lawyer and Secretary-General of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), a role she has held since 2010. For most of her adult life, Rees has worked nationally and internationally to advance human rights, eliminate discrimination, and remove obstacles to justice. In addition to her work specializing in discrimination law with a major firm in the United Kingdom, she has also held various roles with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)—including as Head of the OHCHR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she helped expose human rights abuses and the involvement of UN peacekeepers in sex trafficking As Secretary-General of WILPF, Rees is leading the organisation’s efforts to work through national and international legal frameworks to advance a future of human security and justice for all. Passionate about connecting women across borders to share experiences and organise for action, she is committed to building a true global movement for feminist peace. In 2014, Rees was awarded the O.B.E for her services to human rights, particularly women’s rights and international peace and security.

Yifat Susskind

Yifat SusskindYifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, partners with women’s human rights activists from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to create programs in their communities that meet urgent needs and create lasting change. A lifelong promoter of human rights, Yifat leads MADRE’s combined strategy of community-based partnerships and international human rights advocacy. Under Yifat’s leadership, MADRE has enabled thousands of local women’s rights activists in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Colombia, Haiti, Sudan, Nepal, the Philippines, and beyond to survive and recover from war, climate breakdown, and their aftermath. In partnership with MADRE, women around the world rebuild their lives and communities, making their voices heard in the halls of power—from village councils to the UN Security Council. Yifat’s debut 2019 TED Talk, “Think Like a Mother,” has reached over 2,000,000 views. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Harvard International Review, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, N.Y.U. Journal of International Law and Politics, and others. Yifat has been a featured commentator on CNN, NPR, and BBC Radio.

Our Fellows

Shelby Logan-Reese, 2022-23 Fellow

Shelby Logan-Reese Shelby Logan-Reese was a Fellow at the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace in 2022-23. A Juris Doctor and proud alumna of the CUNY School of Law Class of 2022 and its Human Rights and Gender Justice (HRGJ) Clinic, Shelby served as Executive Director of the International Law Society and founded CUNY’s first International Law Journal. Prior to law school, Shelby earned her Bachelor’s Degree from George Washington University where she published her dissertation on her research in Gulu, Uganda on post-conflict generational trauma and gender-based violence. She has worked at the Global Justice Center, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Her passion lies in the international gender justice field and has been published in spaces like Ms. Magazine, advocating for accountability of international crimes. When she is not working, she is an avid photographer and baker which she enjoys sharing with her family and friends. See her full credentials and publications.

Mira Naseer, 2023-24 Fellow

Mira Naseer, Mira Naseer was a Fellow at the Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace in 2023-24. She most recently worked at an international human rights organization in London, UK, focusing on financial accountability and reparations for human rights abuses. Mira also has experience in asylum and immigration law, and international strategic litigation. Mira holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an MPhil in Public Policy from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.