Event: Youth Activism for Gender Equality in Nationality Laws - Speaker Bios

Twitter 2 Event Youth Activism Achieving Gender Equality in Nationality Laws 1

Shayma AlQahs holds an LLM in International Human Rights from the National University of Ireland, Galway, wherein her research interests revolved around statelessness, women's rights, and law, religion, and state-making. She currently works as a researcher at SALAM DHR focusing on the Kuwaiti stateless issue.

Niveen Atheel has Iraqi nationality, though her mother is Jordanian and she grew up in Jordan for most of her life without being able to obtain Jordanian nationality. She fully understands the suffering and the injustice many women, their children and whole families are facing as a result of the Jordanian nationality law. She has suffered as a result of being denied Jordanian nationality, including being charged a high cost for university as a “foreigner”. She wishes to pursue a Masters Degree but the cost for “foreigners” is extremely high and Niveen has been denied jobs because of her lack of Jordanian nationality. “I wish I can get my rights like every Jordanian young women and to reach my ambitions.”

Naomi Xu Elegant is currently working as a journalist in Hong Kong. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied history, wrote for the student paper, worked at the college’s Women’s Center, and volunteered for a hospitality worker labor union. Naomi is 23 years old, hails from Malaysia and the U.S., and spent her childhood in Kuala Lumpur.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa. From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programmes to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. Prior to this, she served as Minister of Minerals and Energy and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry. She was a Member of Parliament as part of South Africa’s first democratic government. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality. She has completed her PhD on education and technology at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

Sakhile T Shabangu is a skilled Social Worker who holds a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from the University of Eswatini and is also an awardee of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI - 2021). Sakhile currently works as the Monitoring and Evaluation personnel at Women and Law in Southern Africa Education and Research Trust-Eswatini. Layered by advocacy, public speaking, gender equality and mental health subjects, Sakhile is known for his work in promoting women’s rights, gender equality and breeding innovative solutions for social issues affecting both the young and old of Eswatini. His visionary perspective has earned him opportunities to work on national projects focusing on social development in Eswatini. At the age of 24, Sakhile has established himself as a dynamic and versatile social work leader.

Melinda Anne Sharlini is a gender justice campaigner and is the programme manager of Family Frontiers, the umbrella body for the Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG) and the Malaysian Campaign for Equal Citizenship. She manages various portfolios and the operations for Family Frontiers that focuses on the advocacy for the reform and review of Malaysian citizenship laws and Immigration policies concerning binational and transnational families of Malaysians. Melinda is also an advisor for FRIDA Fund, and was on the Strategic & Design Planning Team for the With & For Girls Collective housed at Purposeful; both global young feminist funding organisations. Nationally, she is also part of the strategic team of the 111initiative (powered by Undi18) that advocates for increased women’s political participation in Malaysia.

Nawafel Shehabi is a public policy researcher focusing on political and economic developmental issues in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East. She currently works as a Research Assistant at the International Institute for Strategic Studies-Middle East. Prior to that, she worked as part of the Civil Society and Public Policy in the Arab World programme at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs. Nawafel holds a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from both the American University of Beirut and the American University in Washington DC.

Abbas Taleb has a Bachelor of Laws from La Sagesse University in Beirut, and Master’s in International and European Law from Radboud Universityin the Netherlands, with his dissertation focusing on the role of NGOs in international lawmaking and norm setting. Currently working as a Policy and Advocacy officer for Salam DHR,Abbas has worked and volunteered with Make Every Woman Count, Consortium for Street Children and UNHCR, focusing on different human rights issues.

Mpumalanga Zwane is a Spoken Word Poet and BA Social Science (Hons) graduate from the African Leadership University who is passionate about gender equality and the upliftment of Africa. She uses her poetry as a form of "artivism" to shed light on various social issues. Through her continuous commitment to creating a positive social impact in her community, Mpumalanga was selected among 150 Southern Africans to attend the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Residential Fellowship in 2019.