ESD Global envisions a world where people can live safe, violence-free lives.
Board and Staff:
Dr. Gal Harmat
Board Member, Secretary
Director of Program Development, Continuing Education & Instructor Training
Program Officer LGBTQ
Regional Program Manager Africa
Regional Programs Manager for Latin American, Caribbean & People on the Move
Director of Engagement
Program Officer Europe
Maeve Porter Holliday
Media & Communications Assistant
College Level Certification
Online Program Administrator
Clara Porter, MSW
ESD Global Fellowship Program
ESD Global Fellows:
ESD Global is dedicated to making Empowerment SelfDefense (ESD) accessible around the world through increasing public awareness of its profound benefits, providing instructor trainings to leaders who teach ESD in their communities, supporting research and providing program grants.
President and Founder
Yehudit (Yudit) Zicklin-Sidikman, Founder and President of ESD Global Inc. – a US non-profit organization, is a thought leader, speaker, and educator on Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) with over 20 years of experience in the field. She is a fourth-degree black belt in Judo and holds an MBA with a background in psychology.
Yudit is committed to making Empowerment Self-Defense training, a proven Violence Prevention Education program, accessible worldwide. She is also co-founder and CEO of El HaLev, an award-winning Israeli non-profit organization dedicated to providing Empowerment Self-Defense and martial arts training to thousands of women and girls, that has reached over 80,000 people, and is the director of IMPACT Self-Defense in Israel.
In 2019, El HaLev received Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council), in recognition of its authority as an expert resource.
A speaker on all that is Empowerment Self-Defense, Yehudit regularly presents at international conferences on the importance of bringing ESD to all women and girls, as well as men and boys.
In February 2020, Yudit spearheaded the very first International Violence Prevention Education Conference, which took place at El HaLev. The conference was an opportunity for experts in a variety of fields to collaborate on developing methods of primary prevention in which education is key.
Her many past appearances include an ESD workshop at the Girl Up Leadership Summit, a speech at the 3rd Annual Conference on Domestic Violence in Oslo, Norway, entitled “The Role of Empowerment Self-Defense as a Method of Sexual and Domestic Violence Prevention,” and a panel discussion at the 2018 Women Moving Millions Summit.
In the role of executive producer, Yehudit partnered with author Ellen Snortland in the production of the documentary “Beauty Bites Beast," a provocative call for women to take charge of their bodies and learn Empowerment Self-Defense.
Yudit was also instrumental in bringing the Every Woman Treaty to Israel for a ceremonial signing.
She has won various awards, including the Israeli Ministry of Social Equality’s award for prevention of violence against women, the Colleen Gragen Award of Inspiration by the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation, Jerusalem Woman of the Year (WIZO) award, the Woman of Valour Award from the Ambassadors' Club of Israel and she was counted among Nashim Magazine’s top 50 women in Israel.
Yudit’s work to eradicate violence against women - one of the world’s largest health issues - revolves around Violence Prevention Education. Under her leadership, ESD Global and El Halev have trained thousands of people, including women, children, and other vulnerable populations in Empowerment Self-Defense.
Dr. Gal Harmat
Board Member, Secretary
Dr. Gal Harmat holds a PhD in Gender Analysis of Peace Education and Dialogue encounters from Nitra University (Slovakia) and a M.A. in Gender and Peacebuilding from the UN-Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. She was a resident professor at the Gender and Peace Building Programme, and the head of the Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies at UPEACE. Dr. Harmat is senior gender adviser to peace mediation processes and human rights organizations. She was a lecturer at the conflict transformation, peace education and gender and Co-Director of the Social Justice and Peace Education Teachers Training Program, Kibbutzim Teachers College in Tel Aviv, Israel. She is teaching in the World Peace Academy (University of Basel), UN University for Peace, and the Arts and Social Change College in Israel.
As a Gender and Peace Education Specialist, she has extensive experience in training, conflict analysis, dialogue facilitation, capacity building, peace education, research, gender empowerment and gender mainstreaming since 1998 in various countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, and West and South East Asia. Her consultancies include intergovernmental organizations (e.g. OSCE, UN Women, UNDP, Swiss Peace and the Council of Europe), and various international and regional NGOs (e.g. Non Violent Peace Force, Friends of the Earth Middle East; Peres Centre for Peace).
In the last few years she researches emancipating educational practices and facilitating experiential learning ‘sexual harassment prevention’ and diversity workshops for organizations and companies.
Boozhoo, Asin Manitou ikwe indow, also known by the western name of Sara Davis, is from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, located in Belcourt, ND. Raised by loving parents who worked at a local school, Sara grew up in a nurturing home that was actively involved in education and sports, cultivating her love for school. Sara wanted to become a teacher ever since graduating high school and believes that education has the power to bring communities together.
After graduating from college as a surgical technician, Sara was keen on helping her community and moved back to her reservation where she worked as a school nurse at her local school. Sara absolutely loved her role and has been a 4th/5th grade paraprofessional in Special Education for a little over 10 years. Sara describes the Native American children in her community as “exceptional, sincere, thoughtful and remarkable in so many ways.”
Sara found her calling to empower people as soon as she began working with members of her community. Bearing witness to the unfortunate circumstances her people suffered fueled her ambition to help not only one person or family, but the entire community.
Sara’s journey with ESD began in 2015, after experiencing a sense of healing firsthand during a self-defense class she took with a friend at the University of North Dakota. She attended the NY Boot Camp in August 2017 and trained with Boston Impact over the following 2-3 years. Sara fell in love with the empowerment aspect of ESD and was keen on bringing this movement to her own community as well as other Indian Country communities. She began working with her friend to create their own women's empowerment and self-defense classes with an emphasis on MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women). MMIW is an epidemic of violence, disproportionally affecting Indigenous women across the United States and Canada based on their race.
Sara is committed to helping her people with the healing process of Generational Trauma and Colonization, both of which are still endured today, by learning about her traditional culture. Her path to self-love and culture was paved by a mission to prevent MMIW, something she never imagined to be possible. The work she’s been doing to help Indigenous women and girls has been welcomed with proactivity and has created everlasting bonds of sisterhood.
Molly Singer has over twenty five years of experience building effective strategies, programs, and teams to achieve ambitious goals to expand opportunities in communities. She comes to ESD from Washington DC where she was the executive director of Capitol Hill Village, a model and leader among the Village movement in the United States. During her time, she tripled revenues, services and clients in providing social and educational programs, civic engagement practices, volunteer coordination and care services for seniors.
She has worked as a small business owner, in the private-, government-, and non-profit sectors. Singer was the CEO of Dexterity Management, a consulting firm that partnered with organizations to help them be more productive and effective in achieving their missions. Dexterity accomplished this through focused support, collaboration, and systems change. Dexterity’s work was distinguished by its depth of thought, thoroughness of approach, and distillation of next steps to support clients in advancing their efforts. Singer has also worked in response to the HIV epidemic in Washington DC and special assistant to the chief of disaster during Hurricane Katrina.
Singer has a graduate degree in applied anthropology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Drew University. She has served on a number of community and international non profit boards. Singer lives in Boston MA US with her family. Singer loves to bake, is a mediocre knitter and has lots of household, personal and world-changing projects that she never gets to.
Beth Capotosto is the Program Director for ESD Global, an ESD Global Instructor Training Alumni and Master Instructor. She is a Shodan in the art of Shaolin Kempo Karate and is an enthusiastic martial arts instructor at her local Dojo. As an educator she has taught for over 20 years and in 2011, decided to focus her teaching exclusively in the martial arts and Empowerment Self-Defense. When not at ESD Global, Beth works as an Empowerment Self-Defense Consultant in the Greater Boston area through her program Tenacity: Women’s Self-Defense.
In addition to receiving Empowerment Self-Defense training through ESD Global, she actively trains each year with the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) for Martial Arts and Empowerment Self-Defense certification. She holds memberships with both NWMAF and the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors (AWMAI).
Director of Program Development, Continuing Education & Instructor Training
Aude Mulliez Aude Mulliez is our Programs Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Programs Manager focusing on People on the Move. She is passionate and driven by grassroots and community-led initiatives and thoroughly enjoys connecting and supporting women-led initiatives.
For the last 12 years, she has had the privilege of learning from women in West Africa, Haiti and Central and South America, primarily through community-led, non-formal education initiatives. She is not a martial artist (she does love a good kickboxing class) and holds a Masters in International Peace Studies, with a focus on Gender and Peacebuilding from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace. She is also a certified Class V White Water raft guide.
She first heard of Empowerment Self Defense from a Trans-rights activist in Costa Rica and proceeded to train as an Instructor at the first ESDG Instructor Training in 2017. She has been motivated ever since to share these tools and the opportunity to become an instructor with her communities and other experts in Gender Based Violence and Empowerment.
Regional Programs Manager for Latic America, Caribbean & People on the Move
Clara Porter, MSW has over 20 years of experience in the field of violence prevention. She is the founder of Prevention. Action. Change. (PAC) a violence prevention, intervention, and response program in Portland, Maine. Her work is grounded in Empowerment Self Defense, a feminist approach to safety training which incorporates awareness, verbal and physical skills, community change, and healing.
Clara has extensive experience in campus-based issues and Title IX compliance and is co-author of a chapter on the subject in Eliminating Gender-based Violence published by Routledge in 2017. She is certified in Empowerment Self Defense with the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation and Center for Antiviolence Education and in Advanced Trauma First Aide.
Clara Porter, MSW
Regional Programs Manager Africa
Federica Lacava is the ESD Global Regional Program Manager for Africa. She is an intersectional feminist and activist for the LGBTIQ+ community rights, holding a MA in Gender and Peacebuilding from the UN University for Peace and a second MA in International Relations from the Catholic University of Milan. She is Italian and currently based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Federica has 10 years of international professional experience working with the United Nations and INGOs in development and humanitarian contexts across Africa, Latin America and South Asia in the programmatic areas of women economic empowerment, SGBV, migration, food security and HIV/AIDS. Her areas of expertise include partnership, policy analysis and program development and management.
In Africa she worked on the IDPs Emergency Response North-East Nigeria, on restorative justice for Sexual Gender-Based Violence victim-survivors in conflict-affected areas in Eastern DR Congo and on HIV/AIDS prevention for women's groups in Mozambique. In Pakistan, Brazil and the Caribbean she managed development projects for climate change-affected populations, increasing resilience of rural women employed in the agriculture sector. She authored an advocacy paper on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SH/SEA) and the current gaps in the UN system under the UN Office of the Executive Co-ordinator on sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.
Federica is also a certified ESD Global Women Self-Defense Instructor, raising awareness with her work to end all forms of gender-based violence and challenging all the power inequality structures that allow gender inequality to exist in our societies. Her life goal is to build a world that works for women!
Rachel Collins is a self-defense instructor currently based in the Pacific Northwest United States who has been organizing for access to empowerment-based self-defense and martial arts training since 2013. She brings a background in sexual assault crisis response, violence prevention advocacy, public health education, and grassroots feminist organizing to her work, gained through more than a decade of experience in social justice movements and organizations. She currently serves as the Director of Engagement at ESD Global Self-Defense. She is a dedicated student of martial arts and combat sports, and made her amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) fight debut in May 2021.”
Director of Engagement
Nina Wennink is an empowerment coach, Krav Maga instructor, social entrepeneur and all-rounder with an international background and a passion for people, culture and interpersonal communication. She has an academic background in Language & Literature and Political Science, and have a professional background in financial services, start-up management and education. Her aim is to contribute to social change through education, and she believes that self defense should be available to every child and teenager. As an alumni of the Leadership Development Programme provided by the organisation Teach for Belgium, she has kickstarted projects such as Audace Bxl, teaching ESD in high schools. Her goal in life is to contribute to social change by enabling people locally and gobally to define and stand up for what they find important, while building connections across differences (cultural, political, religious, etc) through interpersonal communication. Nina is a graduate of the 2019 ESD Global Instructor training program and the 2020 ESD Global Master Instructor training program.
Program Officer Europe
Maeve Porter Holliday is the Media & Communications Assistant for ESD Global and an ESD Global Level 1 graduate. With ESD Global, she mainly assists with social media, the library projects, logging, editing and translating clips from the ESDG community. Maeve teaches Empowerment Self-Defense through Prevention. Action. Change in Portland, ME and has been teaching ESD in different capacities for 10 years. Maeve grounds her work in intersectional feminism and mediation and strives towards making ESD even more inclusive in its goal to end gender-based violence.
Maeve has a BA in Anthropology from Smith College and has a background in documentary filmmaking. She is proficient in Spanish and utilizes this in her video work for ESD Global as well as in volunteering at a local non-profit.
Maeve Porter Holliday
Media & Communications Assistant
Program Officer LGBTQ
Luis Jimenez graduated with a Bachelor´s degree in International Relations in 2009, with a specialization in International Trade, after participating in an exchange program at East Carolina University in the U.S. in 2007, along with completing university courses in Anthropology.
Luis participated in international programs such as Sweden World Youth (2006), One Young World in Zurich (2011), Ship for World Youth Leaders in Japan (2017), Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (2017) and Changemakers, Trust Conference, Thompson Reuters (2019). After being elected President of the Scout Youth National Council and prior to being nominated to become a World Youth Advisor for the World Scout Organization., he started working with volunteer programs and international cooperation projects in 2007.
In 2009, he started freelancing as a workshop facilitator and group leader. Shortly after in in 2010, he worked as an interpreter, leader of volunteers and as Community Outreach Coordinator for a non-profit. From 2013 to 2016 Luis became an Administrative Assistant and Accounting Manager for the Embassy of Chile in Costa Rica. In 2017, Crece Costa Rica a project with homeless people and recycling and two other initiatives have taking most of his time, meanwhile developing projects and working as a consultant.
Luis has a Master's Degree in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development at University for Peace.
Dez Shallenberg (she/her) is the Curriculum Development BIPOC Liason, a Suited Instructor with Impact Personal Safety of Colorado, and an Empowerment Self Defense Instructor. She was drawn to the work of self-defense and self-advocacy when she noticed an uptick in violence against vulnerable communities in America, several years ago.
As a member of a marginalized group, she determined that the best way for her to feel safer in this world was to help create safety for others. Her favorite part of this work includes the "a-ha" moment when others find their voice and remember that they are worth fighting for. Her "day jobs" include teaching Massage Therapy at a local community college, and doing and teaching Reiki and energy work in her private practice, Black Lotus Healing Arts, in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Daniel Goldberg was born in the US and raised in Israel. He is passionate about living in a gender equal world, where both men and women are fully respected and feel safe from both physical and sexual abuse. Where the education system includes proper sex education and raises tough and taboo subjects such as pornography, gender, healthy sexual activity, intimacy etc.
Daniel is a two-time sexual assault survivor and for the past few years has been speaking up and telling his story. He believes that by speaking up it will help other survivors feel they are not alone and that unfortunately, they are only normal. Especially boys and men.
Prior to joining the ESDG team Daniel studied for his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture (B.Arch) at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem which he received in 2015. Following his studies, he worked at a large landscape architecture firm until making a shift into the financial world. He began working as a PA to the CEO at a global venture capital firm while moving his way up to the Portfolio Management team where he stayed for three years.
For the past year and a half Daniel has been travelling in the far east with his life partner, while spending most of their time in India.
He is currently working to build the ESD Boys curriculum.
Kendall Trelegan is a Junior Administrator for ESD Global. She holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science with minors in International Relations and Social Enterprise from Northeastern University. Previous to joining ESD Global, she interned with the Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, an organization that strives to get more women elected into office. She dedicates her free time to youth activism; she’s a Young Rapporteur for the Environmental Peacebuilding Association, she co-chairs an anti-racist youth project in her hometown, and she was selected to attend the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Paris 2020 Forum. She considers herself a global citizen and has studied in the US, Ireland, Spain, and India. Kendall is interested in all aspects of gender and security work, from climate action to peacebuilding to gender-based violence prevention.
Online Program Administrator & Mentorship
Kim Craig brings over 20 years of bookkeeping and office management experience. Her passion is helping businesses use their bookkeeping data to organize and grow because she believes that knowledge is power and gives you the freedom to follow your joy.
Stephanie Cyr is the Program Manager responsible for the team developing a University Accredited Minor Degree in ESD. Currently, she is a lecturer at San Francisco State University (SFSU) where she has been teaching martial arts and empowerment self defense since 2007. She is a member of the SFSU Sexual Violence Prevention Committee and an instructor at the Mashouf Wellness Center on campus. She also serves as a consultant to the San Francisco Unified School District and has written self defense curriculum for the K-12 physical education department. Stephanie is the founder of Edge Self Defense and the author of The Weekly Edge and Moves of the Day. She has been featured at WorldWideWomen’s Girls Festival SF 2019 and runs private workshops for individuals and organizations in the Bay Area including Downtown Streets Team, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness. Stephanie serves on the Tamalpais Union High School District Wellness Board and is a member of the Joyful Heart Foundation SF Committee.
Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science and a Juris Doctor with Honor. She is a 5th Dan in Taekwondo with AAU, Kukkiwon, Chang Moo Kwan and S.Henry Cho certification. She was a state and national champion as well as a coach and instructor. She holds rank in Krav Maga, Brazilian Jujitsu, and Zen Budokai Jiujitsu and continues to work on her boxing skills. She is currently completing her certification in trauma-informed yoga instruction.
College Level Certifications
Krista Hanley (she/her) earned instructor certification with IMPACT Personal Safety of Colorado (IPSCO) in 2017, before which she was an assistant instructor from 2012. Hanley's instructor certification includes teaching teens, adults, advanced, defense against the armed assailant, family courses, and bystander. Some of her specialized training includes ALERRT Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events certification, Trauma Informed Certification, ESD Speaker School, and non-violent communication courses. Hanley is currently also the Program Director with IPSCO.
In addition to self-defense teaching, Hanley is an art management professional, handling art collections and curating exhibitions. She has twenty plus years of experience in non-profit administration in the arts sector. She has a Masters in Gallery Management from Western Colorado University, and a BFA in photography from the College of Santa Fe. In her spare time, she is a writer, painter, and photographer. Kristahanley.com
Program Manager Canada & US
Antonella Spatola is a certified Kung Fu instructor at her school Intuitive Wing Chun Kung Fu. Ms. Spatola has B.A. in psychology, is a professional mediator in conflict resolution, cofounder of Modern Wisdom, a training organization providing insights into how you think, feel and behave based on your neuropsychology.
She has her Level 1 accreditation in Empowerment Self Defence and trains women and girls with a holistic approach in a safe environment. Her instruction provides tools and practice for the students to protect themselves emotionally, verbally and physically, should the need arise.
Recently back from New York and London to develop her skills in ESD, Antonella is dedicated and passionate about unifying the principles of martial arts, ESD, positive psychology, neuro programming, and meditation. Antonella also coaches and mentors through transformative and profiling techniques to give empowering insights so clients step up and make inspiring changes in their lives.
Regional Program Manager
Asia & Pacific
Joy Muthanje Mwaniki is the Regional Program Officer for Africa. She is a development practitioner with two Master’s degrees in Development Studies and Development Management. She is passionate about working on development interventions related to livelihoods, ethical fashion and gender. Joy has studied and worked in Kenya, South Africa and Germany, and has conducted research in Kenya and Rwanda on topics such as social entrepreneurship, gender inclusion in innovation hubs, as well as the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Kenyan-Chinese relations. She currently resides in Nairobi, Kenya.
Joy Muthanje Mwaniki
Eimear Breslin Is Project Officer for the People on the Move program. She holds an International Bachelor's degree as well as a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. Furthermore, she had the incredible opportunity to study Political Science for one year at the George Washington University in Washington DC.
Eimear was a research and resource mobilization intern for Western and Central Europe at ESD Global during summer 2020. She thoroughly enjoyed the internship as it provided her with a great understanding of ESD and she was able to do great research into the organizations in the region doing great work.
Eimear has a keen interest in gender, security and peace, from peacebuilding to gender based violence prevention to ensuring women are present and represented during peace talks. She hopes to continue to work towards preventing violence against vulnerable groups and hopes to contribute to bringing ESD to the People on the Move community.
Antonella Cariello is Regional Program Officer for Europe and she has started her fellowship experience supporting the African Regional Team, specifically working in Northern Africa and Eastern Europe regions.
Antonella is LGBTIQ activist and she is keen on researching and fostering the cross-fertilization between feminist stances and SOGIESC rights. Indeed, she has authored a review of the European Gender Equality Strategy focusing on the needs of adopting an intersectional lens to include the specific challenges of trans women.
Thanks to her interests and passion, Antonella has collected different experiences. During her MA in International Cooperation and Protection of Human Rights, she has worked in the Republic of North Macedonia and in Tunisia, where she has researched the experience of LGBTIQ activists in the country. She has also worked as Research Assistant for Tampere Peace Research Institute in Finland and she is currently part of the Working Group on Gender Equality for the EST Think Tank
Carina Aspillaga Bórquez
Carina Aspillaga Bórquez, ESDGlobal LAC Colaboradora/Fellow
From ATALANTA, Autodefensa para el Empoderamiento in Chile, Carina is an ESD Global Level 2 Graduate. Actress, researcher, playwright, writer, and Empowerment Self Defense instructor for women, children, and groups at risk, she currently lives in the territory they call Chile, in the city of Valparaiso. She has organized and facilitated various training workshops in educational institutions since 2013: performing arts and body expression, natural gynecology workshops, interpersonal violence prevention, and feminist self-defense.
"I feel like a mestiza woman, my origin is diffuse, it is in constant movement and therefore I am constantly discovering" Carina is motivated to work in the team of “Colaboradoras” so that the network of ESDGlobal trained instructors from Abya Yala (LAC) ¨is installed in the Latin American social imaginary as a cohesive group that faces the wave of patriarchal violence with seriousness, commitment and from a feminist perspective. Aspiring to be an increasingly broad and strengthened network that provides tools for good living."
Gabriela Rojas-Lozano is an ESDGlobal LAC Fellow/colaboradora. Activist, feminist, and explorer of encounters and spaces through art, she has been working with marginalized migrant communities in different regions where she had the opportunity to live. She is currently completing her Studies in Gender and Diversity and training as a PRT therapist. She has a degree in law and a certificate in International Cooperation.
Gabriela considers herself as the embodiment of contradictions and encounters, in a literal and figurative way. While born with the oppressors and the oppressed's blood, her body carries many privileges while simultaneously experiencing inequalities and disadvantages.
"My passport, degrees, skin color, sexual preference, and other intersections had shaped the way I see and live my reality. Nevertheless, throughout the years, I had been able to find my voice and question what, how, and who defines me. As someone very passionate and curious, I believe that the ESD fellowship is the perfect platform and opportunity to combine my passion and personal fights with my work and continuous learning process," says Gabriela.
Angel Marie Ysik
Angel Marie Ysik is the ESD Global Fellow for the Asia and the Pacific Region. She is a development professional, intersectional feminist, educator, and peacebuilder from the Philippines. She holds a Master of Arts in Gender and Peacebuilding from U.N Mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica) and a Master of Arts in Political Science Major in Global Politics from Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) as a scholar of the Asian Peacebuilders Scholarship and currently a Fellow in the Asian Peace Innovators Forum at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg, Austria.
Angel has more than seven years of professional experience in the area of program development and management, gender, community development, evaluation, and research with the national government agencies and non-government organizations in the Philippines. She is also a freelance consultant and researcher for program evaluation, module development, and qualitative research relating to human trafficking, migration, forced labor, and social protection for vulnerable groups. Angel dedicates her free time to volunteering and mountaineering.
As she joins ESD Global, Angel hopes to contribute to bringing empowerment self-defense in the region through her knowledge on women and gender issues and linkages in the NGOs, academe, and young leaders in the Southeast Asian Region.
Lucia Isoardi is an ESD Global LAC and POM fellow/colaboradora. ESD Global level 1 graduate, activist and feminist lawyer from Argentina, her passion is to work with groups of women and advocate for gender equality.
Lucia holds a Master’s Degree in Gender and Peacebuilding from the UN Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and a Certification in Human Rights from the Latin American Center for Social Studies. She has been working on Gender-Based Violence and women's empowerment for the last 5 years; as a lawyer assisting and defending GBV survivors in Argentina, as a volunteer with an NGO in India, as an intern with United Nations in Costa Rica, as an ESD instructor and as a consultant for the Ministry of Woman in Cordoba, Argentina.
“I am convinced that retaking the power that has been taken from us is crucial to dismantle oppressions that have historically shaped our lives, allowing us to live freely and fully. ESD has been a turning point in my life, it allowed me to reconnect with my inner strength, set boundaries and know my possibilities, and once you know that you are powerful and that “YOU CAN DO IT” there is no tacking back. ESD made me realize that we are not in this fight alone, we have supporting networks. ¡SE VA A CAER! (Patriarchy is going to fall).
Kamelia Lechani is the Program Officer for Africa. She is passionate about women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship. She is a proud feminist and avid advocate for gender equality and equity. She holds an BA in International business management and an MBA. She is from Morocco and is currently based in the USA.
Kamelia, who speaks 4 languages has been involved with several international organizations, and at 19, was selected to travel to Canada to attend the inaugural Mastercard Foundation Youth Think Tank, to conduct research, collect evidence, and document African youth needs, challenges, and aspirations in order to invest in African lead social entrepreneurial projects. She was also the youngest person chosen to take part in the professional entrepreneurship fellowship at Michigan State University.
These opportunities took Kamelia to several countries, allowing her to see up close how people interested in helping others can do so by founding a nonprofit organization or starting a business where altruism is more important than the bottom line. She worked with several youth lead social entrepreneurial projects in South Africa and Morocco. She was also involved in campaigning for change in Jordan. In addition, she managed development projects for under-privileged communities in Brazil with the majority focusing on rural women. She has 5 years’ experience in program development, strategic management, research and project leading.
“Everybody has a voice, sometimes we simply need a push to use it and empower it, that’s why I was glad to join ESD Global, because its platform will allow me to use my passion and experience in providing longevity tools enabling vulnerable individuals from any background within the African Continent to use their voice through physical and mental confidence” says Kamelia.
Victoria has a passion for strategic thinking and creative communication. She pursues a career in non-profit communication, fundraising, and advocacy, where she supports organizations develop effective messaging and tell their impact story.
As Communications Officer for Africa region at ESD Global, she hopes to play her part in empowering fellow African women physically, mentally, and emotionally by building a vibrant community that embraces empowerment self-defense.