The AWWP Advisory Board

Susanne Dunlap is the author of historical fiction for adults and teens. Prior to her career as an author, she was director of development at Connecticut Opera, where she was responsible for raising more than fifty percent of the annual operating budget of $2.1 million through grants, annual fund, major gifts, and special events. A PhD in music history from Yale University in 1999, Dunlap was a visiting assistant professor at Columbia University, and has had a career writing advertising copy in major New York and London agencies.
Belquis Ahmadi is a human rights lawyer and activist. She has over seventeen years of experience in international development and relief programs focusing on human rights, women’s rights, civil society, rule of law and governance.
Vivian van de Perre has served in the United Nations since 1994, currently as Chief of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management, a department responsible for managing finance and budget, human resources and support operations for the UN Secretariat. She has previously served in a variety of managerial positions in UNHQ, notably in the Capital Master Plan (a $2 billion renovation project); the Department of Safety and Security; the Department of Internal Oversight; the Peacekeeping Financing Division; the Department of Peacekeeping, and she has had the opportunity to travel to various UN missions around the world. Ms. van de Perre also was an Army Officer commissioned by the Dutch Queen in 1989, retiring with the rank of Captain. She held positions in the Royal Dutch Army as Advisor to the Minister of Defense on gender policy, and as Chief of Internal Auditing of the Royal Military Hospital organization during a major reorganization. She successfully completed the Green Beret combat survival training. Ms. van de Perre holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in Cambridge, United States of America, and an undergraduate degree from the Dutch Royal Military Academy, majoring in finance and auditing. Born in Venlo, in the Netherlands, and now living in Brooklyn, NY, Ms. van de Perre is married with two children.

Darlene Friedman is an award-winning communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience serving in the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as Senior Director of Membership Marketing for Soroptimist, an international women’s organization devoted to improving the lives of women and girls. In that capacity, Darlene oversees the comprehensive membership and communications programs for the organization. Darlene is committed, through her work and personal life, to supporting women and girls in their efforts to achieve peaceful lives and parity with their male counterparts. She is the author of Star of the Week, A Story of Love, Adoption and Brownies with Sprinkles, a children’s book she did with her illustrator husband, Roger Roth, based on their experience adopting their daughter from China.

valerie-wallace Valerie Wallace is a poet, teacher, and administrator whose work appears in many literary journals and anthologies. She is the author of the poetry chapbook The Dictators’ Guide to Good Housekeeping and her work was chosen by Margaret Atwood for the 2012 Atty Award. She is an editor with RHINO Poetry and leads poetry workshops throughout Chicago. Valerie has worked with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project since 2009, first as a communications coordinator, and now on the advisory board as well as a poetry editor and mentor.
Stephanie Tait has been a part of AWWP since April 2010, starting as a Creative Outreach Coordinator and moving on to become the Assistant Creative Outreach Director before joining the Advisory Board. Before moving to Los Angeles, she lived in the United Kingdom, where she earned an MA at the University of London and a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. While in Scotland, Stephanie organized and curated several film festivals pertaining to the Middle East and worked on both the Afghan Reel Film Festival and the acclaimed Edinburgh International Film Festival. She is currently working on a collection of short stories and faerie tales, and an article on Ahmad ibn Fadlan’s travel accounts and the portrayal of the “other.”
Lynn Harris is a former PR Director for the Boston chapter of NOW and an award-winning journalist, author, and comedian. She is now the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a global human rights organization that uses the power of pop culture and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action for dignity, equality, and justice. She is also also co-creator of the award-winning website A graduate of Yale University, she lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their two young children.
Fiyola Hoosen Steele is a diplomat, lawyer, and human rights activist working in the field of international relations and foreign policy. She has served as a South African diplomat at the United Nations in Geneva and the United Nations in New York, where she focused on human rights, the advancement of women, and social development. Her commitment to human rights, especially the rights of women, children, and other vulnerable groups, extend beyond her professional work. She has volunteered her services in the African National Women’s League, the Women’s National Coalition of South Africa, and the Advice Desk for Abused Women, and she participates in a mentorship program on Women and Foreign Policy. Fiola also writes articles about human rights, social development, and cultural diversity.
Vic Getz is an independent consultant who has been living and working mostly fulltime in Afghanistan since January 2005. She founded The Afghan Gender Café in 2006 and the Afghan Women’s Rights List (AWRL) in 2009. Her work in Afghanistan spans multiple sectors and locations, although always with a gender focus. Her academic background is in environmental sociology, gender and political participation, and gender and development. She says, “This combination of interests allows me to move about fairly seamlessly among what some might see as disparate areas—political participation, governance, democracy, agriculture, energy, livelihoods, and sustainable development. However, I am a strong believer in the first law of ecology—you can never do just one thing. Each of these areas is interconnected, and certainly, in the Afghan context, this is fairly evident. To me, at least.”
Lorraine Adams is a novelist, critic, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. She is the author of two novels: Harbor (Alfred E. Knopf, 2004), winner of the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award and a finalist for the Guardian First Book and the Orange Prize; and The Room and the Chair (Knopf, 2010). She has researched her novels in places such as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Israel, and the West Bank. Her work has been critically acclaimed in such publications as Harper’s, Bookforum, NPR, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian, The Times of London and translated into Turkish, German and Dutch. She is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting, and most recently, a Guggenheim grant for a novel she is currently writing set in Lahore, Pakistan. She has been a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review since 2005 specializing in reviewing foreign fiction, often from the Muslim world. She lives in Harlem with the novelist Richard Price and their backyard posse of feral cats.
Nancy Pearl speaks about the pleasures of reading to libraries, literacy organizations, and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR’s Morning Edition. She’s the author of Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers and several other best-selling books. Among her many honors and awards are the 2010 Margaret E. Monroe Award from the Reference and Users Services Association of the American Library Association, “presented to a librarian who has made significant contributions to library adult services”; the 2004 Women’s National Book Association Award, given to “a living American woman who… has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation”; and the 1998 Library Journal Fiction Reviewer of the Year award from Library Journal.
Melissa Pritchard is the founder of the Ashton Goodman Fund and the acclaimed author of four short-story collections, three novels, and a biography. Her work has been translated into Spanish and Italian. She’s received numerous awards for her fiction and nonfiction, including a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. She teaches at Arizona State University, has taught in London, and has also taught writing workshops in Calcutta and in Delhi for survivors of trafficking. In addition to her books, she has published in O, The Nation, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune, among others. She’s also received fellowships from Brown University and Hawthornden in Scotland.
Gayle Brandeis is the author of six books, including The Book of Dead Birds, which won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change. She is on the national staff of CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and is a founder member of the Women Creating Peace Collective. She holds a BA in “Poetry and Movement: Arts of Expression, Meditation and Healing” from the University of Redlands and an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from Antioch University. She currently teaches writing at Antioch University, and is mom to one college student, one high school student, and one baby boy.
Ted Achilles first paid Afghanistan a “reality-check” visit in 2002 and returned the following year to live and work there. In 2004, he helped launch the first Afghan students on a US exchange program in 30 years, and then served as the Country Director of American Councils for International Education. He founded SOLA—School of Leadership, Afghanistan—in October, 2008. A Yale University graduate who earned his MA from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Ted is a former Oregon state legislator and international banker and as well as a retired CEO and entrepreneur who specialized in start-ups and turnarounds.

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