About Us
Film Festival
The WVoice
Follow Us


Women’s Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights.
Our Story +

The Opportunity

In Muslim-majority societies where extremist political groups wield increasing influence over political, social, and economic institutions, women face both legal and cultural impediments to their basic freedoms and civil rights. Yet, these are the very women who possess and exercise an incredible capacity for transforming their communities from patriarchal societies to more open and tolerant societies, accepting of diverse religious, political, and social standpoints. No group is better equipped to present the issues facing women of Muslim-majority societies than the women who live them each day.

At the same time, the world is waking up to the fact that women are at the forefront of challenging abusive and limiting political, religious, economic, social, and educational environments, that eventually affect us all. Global awareness of the benefits of investing in women and in those who challenge systems perpetuating gender inequality are becoming more widespread in the search for sustainable solutions to our shared challenges.

We believe that amplifying women’s voices—and those of the men who support gender equality—is a guaranteed way to contribute to a more equitable and just world. For lasting change, women’s voices calling for full and free expression must be heard, their humanity must be recognized, and their ideas and contributions must be implemented. Women’s Voices Now is our contribution to a global women’s rights movement in which women and their supporters are setting the agenda for change.

Where We Come In

Women’s Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights. We carry out our mandate by providing free, online platforms for film, art, writing, and social-media technology. In doing so, we connect people and resources striving for these common goals.

The keystone of our work is our bi-annual online short-film festival in which we award $30,000 to filmmakers (women and men), in the categories of fiction, documentary, experimental, and student. Prize money is often used by these artists and activists to support their ongoing women’s rights-focused projects.

Through our inaugural project, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival (2011), we brought 98 short films from 40 countries to the global community. This first installment of short films became the largest existing collection focused on women living in Muslim-majority societies anywhere in the world, all of which continue to be available for instant viewing on our website. Because of WVN, scores of women and men now speak directly to each other and to a global audience, helping them become catalysts for change in their societies and beyond. 

Our second online short-film festival, Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against the Violence (summer 2014), focuses on the issues of sex trafficking, slavery, domestic servitude, forced marriage, sexual harassment, sexuality, and sexual freedom. These types of human rights violations have become increasingly common on a global scale, largely because victims lack support, oppressors are not held accountable, and individuals too often turn a blind eye. Through the 40 entries submitted to this festival, WVN hopes to display the role of men and women in Muslim-majority societies, in eradicating such injustices and to develop the extending network committed to achieving awareness and justice.


What We Do Between Festivals

Through the platforms of written and visual expression, and community activism, we foster and enhance the international dialogue on women’s rights and encourage engagement from a worldwide audience.

* The nature of our online film festivals allows us to showcase our films on our global tours and university tours. The global and university tours are where WVN’s volunteer team makes an impact on the ground, as we reach audiences and facilitate conversations about women’s issues that may not usually have a platform for discussion. Our events take place in community centers, refugee camps, universities, private homes, and anywhere else we are invited. This is also how we network with aspiring filmmakers and local women’s rights activists from Muslim-majority societies. Our global tours and university tours, thus far, have brought us to Lebanon, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, West Bank, Turkey, Morocco, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

Visit our Travel Blog to read about some of our experiences abroad.

* Each month we publish a new issue of The WVoice, a publication of Women’s Voices Now, that features written articles and audiovisual entries produced by a range of individuals—from academics to on-the-ground activists—whose research and work will receive more support, the wider the circles in which they are read.

Please consider contributing to these projects via our Donate page.


We Believe, Promote and Support

• that the equality of each human being, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or religion, is innate and immutable.

• that no faith, religion, race or culture is a basis for one group to claim and act superior to another group.

• that women and men are both entitled to basic human rights and free expression. 

• that no group, majority or minority, should force its opinions and beliefs on any other.

• that the only acceptable intolerance is that which is directed towards intolerance itself.

• that adherents of all faiths have the right to arrive at, and practice, their personal beliefs without fear of reprisal, repression or persecution.

• that violence, or the incitement thereto, is never an acceptable response to the free expression of critical thinking, alternative views, peaceful protests, and opposing media, literature and discussion.

We invite all those who share our vision, beliefs and goals to join us.

Women’s Voices Now
46-E Peninsula Center
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274-3562
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

For general questions, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Staff +

Heidi Basch-Harod - Executive Director             heidi@womensvoicesnow.org Heidi Basch-Harod - Executive Director         heidi@womensvoicesnow.org Heidi's career as a human rights activist and professional began with her involvement as a volunteer coordinator and project manager for the U.S. office of the Tibetan Nuns Project. In 2003, she served as an intern in the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (previously the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus) in Washington D.C., and was then hired as a congressional staff assistant for Rep. Tom Lantos.

In her work with the U.S. Congress (2003-06), Heidi served as an non-immigrant visa specialist in the Lantos District Office (CA-12), as well as assisted with international human rights casework. In 2007 she began working with the Palestine-Israel Journal in East Jerusalem, where she launched the Journal's first online blog. Heidi is the author and editor of numerous print and online articles and op-eds examining the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and women in the Middle East and North Africa, and is a co-editor of The WVoice. She lived, worked, studied, and traveled in the Middle East for half a decade before returning to her home in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MA in Middle Eastern and African Studies from Tel Aviv University (2013), an MA in Public Policy from New England College (2007), and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley (2003), with a double minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, and Religious Studies.
Molly Lower - Project Manager                           molly@womensvoicesnow.org Molly Lower - Project Manager                   molly@womensvoicesnow.org Molly holds a BA in Classical Civilizations, with minors in Archaeology and Theology, from Loyola Marymount University (2010). She has studied Arabic extensively at Loyola Marymount, UCLA, and Tel Aviv University, and is currently pursuing an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University with a focus on Jordanian foreign and domestic policy.

She has authored several op-eds and edited many articles appearing in news outlets and academic journals, and is a co-editor of The WVoice. Her studies at Loyola Marymount brought her to the Middle East twice on archaeological expeditions, first to Jordan in 2007 and then to Israel in 2008. It was on these expeditions that she first tapped into the socio-political currents of the modern Middle East and developed the passion to begin a career as a women’s rights activist. Having studied ancient cultures and witnessed the continuing marginalization of women in her travels, she firmly believes that a society that does not acknowledge the voices of its women can never reach its full potential.

Betsy Laikin - Outreach Coordinator                                       betsy@womensvoicesnow.org Betsy Laikin - Outreach Coordinator                           betsy@womensvoicesnow.org After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Latin American studies and Spanish, Betsy moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, where she worked as an English teacher and grant writer/translator for several non-profit organizations. Receiving a fellowship, she moved to Israel and worked as a mentor for Spanish speaking immigrants, while teaching in Arab schools with the Jaffa Institute. Betsy developed a strong passion for film while working with the Tel Aviv Cinemateque. She then moved to New York City, and after interning for the Havana Film Festival, she joined the incredible team of Women's Voices Now. She is elated to be part of an organization that connects and empowers women throughout the world by utilizing film and art.
Michelle Liu - Website Manager                          michelle@womensvoicesnow.org Michelle Liu - Website Manager                 michelle@womensvoicesnow.org Michelle currently attends Cornell University where she is pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Information Sciences and a Business Minor. She hopes to utilize her technical skills to improve the website and communication capabilities of Women's Voices Now. Having had great independent women as role models in her life, Michelle wants to contribute as much as she can to a cause that supports women's voices.
Srabana Guha - Website Manager                                  srabana@womensvoicesnow.org Srabana Guha - Website Manager                       srabana@womensvoicesnow.org Srabana is a graduate student at California Lutheran University, pursuing a Master's degree in Computer Science. She received her Bachelor's degree in Software Engineering at a university in her hometown, Kolkata, India. Currently, she is a graduate assistant at California Lutheran University. Srabana hopes to utilize her skills and knowledge to help develop, manage, and maintain WVN's public-facing websites and online initiatives.
Gabé Hirschowitz - Fundraising Member Gabé Hirschowitz - Fundraising Member In 2008, Gabé Hirschowitz graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Psychology from the University of Southern California. During her four years at USC, she became very involved with the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and graduated as a member of Lambda Pi Eta: USC Annenberg Honors Society for Communication, Journalism, and Public Relations. Throughout college, Gabé undertook a myriad of internships, including Carolina Herrera Public Relations, Italian Vogue, Teen Vogue, and BWR Public Relations. Fascinated by travel and discovering new places and cultures from an early age, Gabé’s passion for the arts - photography, fine art, film, theater, and ballet - continues to flourish in her current work as Public Relations Manager and Social Media Director at Leslie Sacks Fine Art. An avid philanthropist, she divides her spare time between the fundraising board of Women's Voices Now, as well as teaching art and creative writing to young children at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. She stands as a strong advocate for keeping the arts alive in daily school curricula as well as in everyday life to encourage free expression.
Şevin Sağniç - Global Tour Coordinator          sevin@womensvoicesnow.org Şevin Sağniç - Global Tour Coordinator       sevin@womensvoicesnow.org Şevin Sağniç studies Political Science and International Relations at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, from where she will soon graduate. Currently, she works for the TUİC Akademi Magazine, a non-profit student magazine that represents the International Political Academy (UPA) at Marmara University. She served as an intern with the European Union Ministry (Ankara) and with TESEV (Turkey Economical and Social Studies Foundation), Turkey's leading think tank.
Dana Blackburn - Partnership and Outreach Coordinator   dana@womensvoicesnow.org Dana Blackburn - Partnership and Outreach Coordinator   dana@womensvoicesnow.org Dana graduated in 2010 from Brigham Young University with a major in Anthropology. Her studies took her to Petra, Jordan, where she participated in an archaeology field school and lived in a Bedouin village. She also lived and studied in Jerusalem through BYU's Center for Near Eastern Studies; here her passion to become an advocate for peace and equality really blossomed. After graduation, Dana served a full-time volunteer mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in San Fernando, California, where she learned Spanish and worked among Latino communities. She is currently studying for her Masters in International Development from the University of Birmingham in Birmingham, England. She is especially thrilled to take part in furthering the mission of Women's Voices Now.
Kelsey Cherland - Film Festival Coordinator kelsey@womensvoicesnow.org Kelsey Cherland - Film Festival Coordinator kelsey@womensvoicesnow.org Kelsey attends Claremont McKenna College where she is pursuing a B.A. in International Relations. She has focused her education on the Middle East and its relations with the United States. During Spring Break 2012, she traveled to Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., for the 2012 Women as Global Leaders Conference to present research on female Arab-American identity in the Greater L.A. Area. Since studying abroad in Jordan and visiting Istanbul, she has gained a passion for women’s rights and admires the women she has met during her travels. She worked for Save the Children in Washington D.C., during summer 2012, where she gained practical work in public policy and advocacy. Throughout her education, Kelsey has been aware of the power of news media and film in evoking ideas of women, Islam, and the Middle East. She hopes that in supporting the voices of Muslim women, together they can begin creating a more nuanced and empowering image of women as autonomous actors of change. Kelsey will be tracking her internship and research on her blog.
Soizic Pelladeau - Outreach Intern, France soizic@womensvoicesnow.org Soizic Pelladeau - Outreach Intern, France soizic@womensvoicesnow.org Soizic is studying International Relations at Sciences-Po Lyon, France. She will graduate in 2014 with a Master's degree in Critical Globalization Studies. Over the past few years she has specialized in Middle East Studies. In 2012, Soizic attended UC Santa Barbara where she focused on Gender Studies, and gained practical experience in the field as an intern for the French think tank, IRIS, in Paris. Her interests in feminism, Muslim societies, sociology, and art motivated her to work with Women's Voices Now. She is familiar with the Arab-Israeli City of Haifa and hopes to live in the Middle East to conduct fieldwork.
Arielle Moss - Community Organizer                arielle@womensvoicesnow.org Arielle Moss - Community Organizer           arielle@womensvoicesnow.org Arielle is a student at Indiana University double majoring in Biology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures with a minor in Chemistry. Her interests in global health and the status of women within Islamic society have brought her to Morocco, where she is currently working at a medical clinic and helping with the Women’s Voices Now Global Tour. Arielle is honored and thrilled to join WVN in creating a platform that elevates and empowers women while still respecting and embracing the vibrant cultures of Islam and the Middle East.
Evon Babcock - Community Organizer                 evon@womensvoicesnow.org Evon Babcock - Community Organizer           evon@womensvoicesnow.org Evon Evelyn Babcock graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in May 2013 with a degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice. She just finished interning in Meknes, Morocco with the Association Initiatives pour la Promotion des Droits des Femmes (Meknes group) since June 2013. The association strives to promote gender equality and full citizenship of women through the development of public policies and laws in regards to women’s human rights. She was also engaged in promoting Women’s Voices Now during our global tour in Morocco and continues to do so from Corpus Christi, Texas. Evon’s ethnic and religious background in being Coptic Orthodox has inspired her to eventually work in the MENA region to promote inter-faith platforms as well as gender and religious equality as a whole.
Hannah Keisker - Community Organizer               hannah@womensvoicesnow.org Hannah Keisker - Community Organizer           hannah@womensvoicesnow.org Hannah Keisker is from St. Louis, Missouri. She is a journalism and music double major at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She was introduced to Women’s Voices Now when she studied abroad in Meknes, Morocco this summer. Her experience in Morocco inspired her to get more involved with the Middle East and North Africa. She wants to help others gain awareness on women’s issues in Muslim-majority countries. She is thrilled that her experience abroad created an opportunity to raise awareness on an important social issue.

Advisory Board +

Amy Logan Amy Logan A global women’s human rights activist, Amy Logan is the author of The Seven Perfumes of Sacrifice, a suspense novel about the search for the ancient, lost origins of honor killing in the Middle East. Amy is featured in and the Consulting Producer for “The Price of Honor”, an award-winning documentary film about an unsolved double honor killing case in Texas from 2008 that premiered in 2014 and hits film festivals worldwide in 2015.

She recently gave a TED talk on global female empowerment at TEDxSacramento, and presented her research at UN Women, Oxford University, NYU, USC and Gediz University, Turkey. Amy’s essays, letters and journalism have appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Good Men Project and The International Museum of Women, among many others.

Amy’s mission is to empower women to co-create a world with men where everyone thrives. Visit Amy at www.amylogan.com.
Zainab Zeb Khan Zainab Zeb Khan Visual artist, activist, and humanitarian, Zainab Zeb Khan works proactively to address global social justice issues to remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, or disability. Her projects and works have been exhibited internationally, and have been featured on Huffington Post, The Tavis Smiley Show, National Public Radio, The Guardian, Economist, FOX News, and the International Museum of Women. She is also in the groundbreaking film, Honor Diaries, the first film to break the silence about honor-based violence against women.

Zainab was awarded the Racial and Social Justice Award from YWCA Chicago 2014. Her art has been used by various organizations to help facilitate progressive change. She recently gave a TED talk on the power of art and activism at TEDxNaperville. Zainab’s art addresses the historical and current complexities of social justice, women’s rights, and gender equality. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Psychology and Social Work from Loyola University Chicago.
Ouafae Bouzekri Ouafae Bouzekri Dr. Ouafae Bouzekri has taught in the English Department of the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences of the Université Moulay Ismaïl in Meknes, Morocco, for over a decade. She is the executive member of a research group focusing on women’s issues called TANIT. Ouafae is a member of L'Association pour la Protection de la Famille Marocaine, which offers literacy programs in Arabic and English, and cooking and sewing lessons to help women improve their social background and to become financially independent. L'Association also offers one-day seminars to help women become aware of new legislation and reforms concerning women in Morocco. The second association to which Ouafae belongs is the Initiative for the Protection of Women (IPDF), an organization serving victims of domestic violence by offering psychological and legal support to these women. Ouafae is the founder of a Community Service Club at the American Language Center in Kenitra, Morocco, whose goal is to recruit young Moroccans to carry out community service work, and to be concerned with social and economic justice. Her interests include gender studies, cultural diversity, and slam poetry.
Shireen Qudosi Shireen Qudosi For over a decade, Shireen Qudosi has been involved in efforts highlighting a progressive Islam. Her work focuses on bringing a greater understanding of Islam to non-Muslims and encouraging fellow Muslims to partake in the various ongoing dialogues. Harnessing the power of digital and social media, Qudosi has become a leading voice for reformation and is recognized as one of the top 10 North American Muslim reformers. She’s the founding editor of Qudosi Chronicles, a blog on Islam in the 21st century, and a content director at Qudosi Creative Partners, a creative freelance content and design boutique agency.
Lata D’Mello Lata D’Mello Lata D'Mello is the assistant director of Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa, an organization serving victims/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Iowa. She works primarily as a multilingual advocate, providing direct services to API victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as produces and updates Monsoon’s communications materials, and participates in outreach activities through community involvement. In addition, she has coordinated an oral history project on sexual assault among older API women in Iowa. Lata hails from Mumbai, India. She also has had about 22 years of experience as a journalist in newspapers in India, Singapore and the United States. Her interests are social and economic justice, gender studies, community health, and arts and culture.
Raheel Raza Raheel Raza Raheel Raza is President of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, author of the book Their Jihad – Not My Jihad, award winning journalist, public speaker, activist for human rights, gender equality, and dignity in diversity. She is recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. In her pursuit for human rights, Raheel is accredited with United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva through the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). She has received many awards for her work on women’s equality including the City of Toronto’s Constance Hamilton award. She is the first Muslim woman in Canada to lead mixed gender prayers. Raheel has made a documentary film called Whose Sharia is it Anyway? dealing with the Sharia debate in Ontario, Canada. She runs a Forum for Learning for youth to educate them about the dangers of radicalization and terrorism, and continues to write and speak about the subject.
Nafisa Abdullah Nafisa Abdullah Nafisa Abdullah was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, and earned her medical degree from Kabul University in 1968. In 1969, she came to the United States and began her specialization in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Presently, she is an Executive Member of the Afghan Medical Association of America (AMAA) and a board member of the Afghan Women's Association of Southern California (AWASC). After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah made several trips to Afghanistan to share her skills as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in various hospitals in Kabul, Panj Sheer and Mazare Sharief, including surgery and lectures in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She continues to be active in the Southern California Afghan community raising funds for medical and educational efforts in Afghanistan. From 2004 to the present, she has been a volunteer, spokesperson, and board member for the Los Angeles Chapter of Emergency USA, an Italian humanitarian organization, which seeks to provide life support for civilian victims of war and poverty. From 1998 to 2003, she was a member of the Women’s Health Advisory Committee of Kaiser Permanente while also serving as director of the Education Program on Perimenopause and Menopause. She has also served as a board member for International Orphan Care (1993-2001).
Hafsa Oubou Hafsa Oubou Hafsa Oubou is currently a Ph.D. student and a teaching assistant at the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona). In 2006 she earned a B.A. degree in English Linguistics from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir and in 2009 an M.A. degree in Communication Studies from Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco. Hafsa started her career in international and local journalism where, for two years, she wrote political stories and social articles about gender equality and social media. Hafsa also worked in human development field with the NGO Dar Si Hmad in Sidi Ifni, Southern Morocco, which implements several development projects to empower rural women and promote local culture. Hafsa is interested in the region of North Africa and issues of minorities, gender, and Islam.
Christina Asquith Christina Asquith Christina Asquith has been an award-winning journalist for over 14 years. She has written for The New York Times, The Economist, The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian and was a staff writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her book, “Sisters in War: Love, Survival and Family in the New Iraq” is based off of the 18 months she lived in and reported from Baghdad, Iraq. Christina received her BA in Political Science from Boston University and her MA in Philosophy and Policy from The London School of Economics. She is a board member of ASUDA-USA, an organization that empowers female immigrants and refugees of Iraq descent, that are either victims of violence or vulnerable to violence, to attain economic independence and judicious social adjustment. Christina currently lives with her husband and daughter in Burlington, Vermont, where she is senior editor of The Solutions Journal and adjunct professor at the University of Vermont.
Amina Ahmed Amina Ahmed Amina Ahmed was born in Africa and is a Kutchi Turk Indian. She grew up in England and has lived in Iran and the USA. Amina is a graduate of Winchester School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art. She received her MFA from the Royal College of Art (1991), where she studied Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts and was awarded the Barakat Trust prize for excellence. A visual artist, educator, curator and activist, Amina’s projects are inspired by her interests in human rights and coalition-building. She has worked with several non-profit art institutions in the US and UK. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at the Africa Centre UK, Queens Museum NY, Lincoln Center NY, The National Building Museum DC, The Jersey City Museum NJ, The RCA UK, The 2010 Slick Art Fair, Paris and The 2011 India Art Summit. Ahmed is currently a member of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts NY. Her wisdom and support has been an integral contribution to WVN's mission.
Elena Dumitru Elena Dumitru Human rights activist and art lover, currently residing in Toronto. Elena is always searching for opportunities to make a difference, to speak out, to take action as a way to affect change. She is a strong believer in the power of "ordinary" people working together to achieve extraordinary results and fascinated by the power of film to reach across cultures, languages, and even time itself to influence millions of people in the language of our daily lives. Background in law and cross-cultural conflict resolution, Festival Coordinator for the annual Reel Awareness – Amnesty International Toronto Human Rights Film Festival.
William Huffman William Huffman William Huffman is an arts administrator, curator, educator and writer with a history of extensive involvement on both local and international cultural fronts. Huffman is currently the Associate Director of Toronto Arts Council and Toronto Arts Foundation. He has worked with a number of visual arts organizations in Ontario such as Blackwood Gallery, Arts Toronto and Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.

In William's words: "Women's Voices Now works within the particularly complex area of advocacy; whether gender equity, ethnic intolerance, or the upholding of human rights, the organization is strident in its unique commitment to women's issues within the layered context of the Muslim world. Building awareness around these issues is an onerous but important responsibility - I am pleased to contribute to the momentum of this organization and it's dedicated team."
Justine Hardy Justine Hardy Justine has been based as a journalist on the Indian side of Kashmir for most of her adult life. She is the author of seven books about India, three of which are about Kashmir. Justine has also been working in the field of conflict and trauma for the past ten years. She is currently running a mental health and conflict trauma therapy project in Kashmir, combining conventional and alternative therapies and medicine, with the help of both Kashmiri and foreign doctors, psychiatrists and therapists. WVN is eternally grateful for Justine's invaluable advice and is looking forward to her upcoming blog contributions.

Fundraising Board +

Founding Board of Directors +

Leslie Sacks - Board Chair in Memoriam Leslie Sacks - Board Chair in Memoriam It was the vision of Leslie J. Sacks, the founder and seed funder of Women's Voices Now, that sparked our first project, Women's Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival. Leslie was a Los Angeles-based art dealer and an active fundraiser and promoter of charitable organizations and causes, in particular those areas promoting moderate Islam, including the advancement of women’s rights.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mr. Sacks earned degrees in both psychology and computer science from the University of Witwaterstrand, South Africa. Leslie was integral in the development of WVN not only through his generous donations, but also through his invaluable support, advice, and encouragement.

Sadly, Leslie Sacks died in 2013 at the age of 61, following an extraordinarily valiant decade-long battle with cancer. Women's Voices Now is honored to carry on in his stead.

A brilliant orator, a master of words, Leslie will be remembered for his giving nature, his optimism, his sense of humor, his laugh; his strong opinions always with good reasoning, his unwavering devotion to solving the problems of others, his sensitivity and compassion; his resolute moral compass, his courage and conviction to improve, his generosity and kindness, his untiring quest for justice; and all of humanity. Through his galleries which continue to house his profound and impassioned collection of art, through his writings, and through memories in the hearts and minds of all those he loved, his legacy shall last forever.
Gina Sacks - Successor Board Chair Gina Sacks - Successor Board Chair Gina was born and raised in South Korea where she attended the prestigious Yewon School of Arts in Seoul. At the age of 15, she and her family emigrated to the United States. After winning a piano competition, Gina won a full scholarship to the University of Illinois, where she earned a degree in Classical Music with a minor in Business. She has worked as a medical administrator/manager, oversees the management of two successful art galleries in West Los Angeles, and is a co-founder of the ALS Research Fund.

Gina is actively involved in numerous philanthropic causes, specifically those which support medical and humanitarian endeavors. Growing up in South Korea, she witnessed cultural, economic, and gender inequality firsthand. As Leslie Sacks’s widow, she intends to carry on his legacy as the successor chair of the board of Women's Voices Now, and to continue his fight for the equal rights of all women. She oversees and advises on all aspects of WVN’s projects, networking, and fundraising.
Qanta Ahmed, MD - Director Qanta Ahmed, MD - Director Qanta is the author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom. She is a board certified sleep disorders specialist at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York. She is Associate Professor of Medicine at the State University of New York (Stony Brook). Dr. Ahmed is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She practices sleep medicine exclusively in Garden City, Long Island. Previously, she has practiced in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, in the National Guard Health Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. Dr. Ahmed holds an Honorary Professorship at the School of Public Health at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland. She is the first Muslim woman and the first physician to be selected to be a 2010 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science and Religion at the University of Cambridge, England. Dr. Ahmed’s advice, guidance and insight as a woman of the Muslim world is considered an invaluable resource at WVN.
Photo courtesy of Jack Alterman Studios, Charleston SC
Mark Rosenberg - Director Mark Rosenberg - Director Mark is a UC Berkeley-educated political economist specializing in emerging and frontier markets, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa. After completing his PhD, Mark was hired as an Africa Analyst at the political risk firm Eurasia Group. Now a director, his primary focus at Eurasia Group is Southern and sub-Saharan Africa, but his expertise covers the intersection of politics and markets throughout emerging and frontier markets. He also helped build Freedom House's well-known democracy index and edited the organization’s flagship Freedom in the World publication and continues to serve as Southern Africa analyst. Mark is also an experienced analyst of Israel and Palestinian affairs. His op-eds have been published in The New York Times, Project Syndicate, Business Day (South Africa), The Jerusalem Post, The National Interest and The New York Sun. He is a frequent commentator for CNN and CNN International, BNN, Bloomberg News, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, Barrons, and The Financial Times, among other outlets.

Beyond political and economic analysis, Mark is the co-founder of the technology start-up Myne.com, where he led product development and served as the company’s President.

Partners +

Join Our Network
At Women's Voices Now, we're inspired by the way individuals and organizations apply their passions, resources and talents to make our global community a kinder and more peaceful place. Our network is a group full of activists, entrepreneurs, artists, as well as international and grassroots organizations, that are tirelessly working towards expanding human rights and making gender equality a norm in all corners of the world. Below is a list of those people and groups that help us make Women's Voices Now possible. We are grateful to each of them and look forward to building further relationships to support our common humanitarian goals.

Her Film Project Her Film Project Her Film Project is a global project to support women filmmakers. Our mission is to serve as a global advocate for women filmmakers and their work. In accordance with our mission, we engage in a variety of endeavors to promote filmmakers as well as encourage and empower audiences to support films made by women.
filmanthropos filmanthropos filmanthropos is a creative agency headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, that specializes in multi-platform storytelling for philanthropies, causes, and corporate CSR initiatives.
Honor Diaries Honor Diaries Honor Diaries is a film focused on women’s rights and gender inequality in honor-based societies. Through the voices of some of the world's leading women’s rights activists, the film demonstrates the depth of human rights abuses women face. Honor Diaries is more than just a movie: it's a movement to ensure that women's voices - no matter the religion or background - are heard. Culture is no excuse for abuse.
Citizen.tv Citizen.tv Citizen.tv is a video platform for the change we want to be. By focusing on talent and creativity, Citizen.tv fosters a community that enhances the online landscape with quality content. Citizen.tv is excited about the power that unfurls with use of the free collaboration tools available on the site, where artists, philanthropists, and creators join together, creating an international talent pool for anyone to access. Inspired by the freedom of speech, Citizen.tv is a safe space for brilliant ideas to be nurtured by industry experts and flourish on their own. With our crowd-sourced funding and donation applications and supported by our own dedicated Women’s Issues channel, Citizen.tv is proud to be the exclusive video platform for Women's Voices Now.
Films for Action Films for Action Films For Action is a community-powered alternative news center and learning library for people who want to change the world. Films For Action uses the power of film to raise awareness of important social, environmental, and media-related issues not covered by the mainstream news. Our goal is to provide citizens with the information and perspectives essential to creating a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.
The Policy Studies Organization The Policy Studies Organization The Policy Studies Organization (PSO) is a publisher of academic journals and book series, sponsor of conferences, and producer of programs. It seeks to disseminate scholarship and information to serve those making and evaluating policy. It was founded as an outgrowth of the American Political Science Association, for those in a variety of fields who were interested in how public policy and organizational policy were being studied and discussed.
International Museum of Women International Museum of Women IMOW is an innovative online museum that showcases art, stories and ideas to celebrate, inspire and advance the lives of women around the world. IMOW gives voice to women who too often go unheard. IMOW provides tools for expression and sparks engagement on behalf of global women’s issues.
The Cedar Network The Cedar Network CEDAR’s major pan-European mentoring, role modeling, and inspirational activities aim to broaden perspectives and career options of young Europeans of Muslim and ethnic-minority background by building their capacity for professional involvement and social mobility. CEDAR mentoring brings together young people with professionals of Muslim heritage, from a diversity of professions, to nurture aspirations, build self-confidence, develop skills, and inspire attainment of goals.
United Nations Association Film Festival United Nations Association Film Festival The 16th UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival) from October 17-27, 2013 Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, San Francisco and Stanford University celebrates the power of documentary films dealing with human rights issues, the environment, racism, women’s issues, universal education, war and peace. The theme for this year is INDIVIDUAL TO UNIVERSAL.
Isuroon Isuroon Isuroon is a Minnesota-based nonprofit building a world where there is more widespread knowledge among Somali women and their families concerning health issues, cultural beliefs, and women’s health concerns as well as widespread adoption of good health practices. Isuroon’s mission is to provide health education, communication and advocacy to promote health equity and literacy, and help Somali women build and maintain self-sufficiency and live healthy lives.
The Domari Society The Domari Society The Domari are one of the minorities in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The Domari Society of Gypsies in Jerusalem was founded in 2000 and the Community Center opened in 2005. The Domari Community Center aims at empowering individuals, with a focus on women and children by providing literacy courses and school supplies for the poor as well as offering after-school tutoring. It supports the community by teaching women how to make a living producing and selling different handicrafts so they can gain security and independence. In addition, it strengthens culture by preserving the traditional typical gypsy handicraft and the Domari language and by fostering cultural pride and education through participation in cultural events at the Domari Community Center.
HRWF International HRWF International Human Rights Without Frontiers International (HRWF Int’l) monitors, researches, and analyzes the field of human rights as well as promotes democracy and the rule of law on the national and international level. HRWF Int’l monitors human rights in more than 50 countries. Its priority thematic issues are: freedom of religion or belief, ethnic and linguistic minorities, and trafficking in women for sexual exploitation. HRWF Int’l publishes several electronic newsletters and develops advocacy in EU institutions, at the OSCE, and at the United Nations.
Los Angeles Film School Los Angeles Film School The art of storytelling has evolved, and today the only limit to the movies, games and media we make is our imagination. The Los Angeles Film School (LAFS) is committed to providing the best possible education to storytellers looking to start their careers creating animation, film, video games and audio. In February 2011, the Los Angeles Film School will be housing and co-organizing the physical incarnation of the WVN Short-Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA. The LAFS film festival expertise and resources are invaluable and WVN is forever grateful for LAFS's contribution.
One Long House One Long House Based on a global network of talented designers, writers, photographers, programmers, filmmakers, and thinkers, this creative cooperative solves problems beautifully. One Long House graciously partnered up with Women's Voices Now to create our visual identity and this Web site. Their ideas and implementation of all of our ideas has been invaluable to our mission and we thank them for their continued support.
Leslie Sacks Fine Art Leslie Sacks Fine Art Leslie Sacks Fine Art is an art gallery with a heart. Not only does it offer some of the finest quality fine prints, paintings, drawings and sculptures by modern masters, but its owner, Leslie Sacks, is a philanthropist who has dedicated much time and resources to supporting nonprofit humanitarian work. Leslie Sacks was one of Women Voices Now's original donors and contributed the prize money for the WVN Short-Film Festival. The continued contributions of Leslie Sacks have been crucial to building the infrastructure and developing the strategy of Women's Voices Now.
Breathe Breathe Breathe Editing, Inc is the vision of three advertising community veterans: Andy Jennison, Kenny Pedini and Michael Schwartz. The vision is simple: A film editing company that focuses on the relationship between you and your editor. Breathe's clientele include advertising giants such as BBDO, GWhiz, Draft/FCB, Saatchi and Saatchi, Grey Worldwide, Della Femina, Wishbone and Arnold NY and industry greats like Roger Waters, Petra Nemkova, Michael Imperioli and Dave Brubeck. WVN is deeply grateful for Breathe's technical advice and assistance and for the wonderful friendship of the Breathe staff.
Levantine Cultural Center Levantine Cultural Center The Levantine Cultural Center is an independent not-for-profit organization, a 501(c)(3) that presents the arts and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa. They include majority and minority cultures stretching from Morocco in the west to Afghanistan in the east. The Levantine Cultural Center has been providing WVN with invaluable connections to relevant artists and activists and will be bringing WVN Festival Films to their center later this year.
Women in Film & Television—Toronto Women in Film & Television—Toronto Founded in 1984, Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T) is a not-for-profit professional organization that supports women in screen-based media (film, television and digital media) to build, advance and sustain their careers nationally and internationally. WIFT-T achieves this through high quality, hands-on programming, mentoring, networking and industry events that recognize the talents and potential of women. Our mission is to enhance the skills of our members so they can become significant decision-makers at all levels of the industry. WIFT-T has been working closely with WVN to broadcast our message to filmmakers and audiences.
Children’s Rights Institute Children’s Rights Institute The Children's Rights Institute (CRI) was founded in 2007 by its director, Brooke Goldstein, a New York based attorney, activist, author and award-winning filmmaker. CRI's mission is to raise awareness about and legally combat violations of children's basic human rights as occurring throughout the globe. CRI has a special focus on the incitement and recruitment of children to become suicide-homicide bombers, child soldiers and human shields. CRI is working to spread the word about the WVN Festival amongst their constituents and continues to advise on Festival operations.
Women In Film Women In Film Women In Film’s purpose is to empower, promote and mentor women in the entertainment and media industries. WIF recognizes the importance of developing pathways and opportunities to encourage current and future generations of women to explore and pursue careers in all fields of the entertainment industry. WIF has supported WVN since the beginning through strategic planning, partnership opportunities and high-level guidance on the art of organizing a successful film festival. WIF has also been working closely with WVN to broadcast our message to filmmakers and audiences around the globe.
University of Michigan - Dearborn University of Michigan - Dearborn The University of Michigan-Dearborn is distinguished by its commitment to provide excellent educational opportunities responsive to the needs of southeastern Michigan. Shaped by a history of interaction with business, government, and industry of the region, the University of Michigan-Dearborn has developed into a comprehensive university offering undergraduate and master’s degrees in arts and sciences, education, engineering and computer science, and management. The University, as well as the city of Dearborn, has one of the highest populations of Muslim-Americans in the United States and will be a top resource for WVN film Festival submissions, audiences and educational screenings. We look forward to upcoming events at UM-Dearborn in January 2011.
Global Grassroots Global Grassroots Global Grassroots is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2004 that supports conscious social change, driven by and for vulnerable women at the grassroots level. They target the world's most vulnerable women. They contend that wisdom exists at the grassroots level among those directly impacted by certain social issues. Women represent both those most invested in serving their community's needs and those in greatest need of support to manifest their solutions. Global Grassroots has partnered with WVN to work towards the common goal of encouraging healthy dialogue on women's rights which stimulates and challenges people to think beyond the traditional paradigm. Global Grassroots has provided us with insightful advice and introductions to partners who will further the reach of our project.
American Islamic Congress American Islamic Congress The American Islamic Congress (AIC) is a non-religious civic initiative challenging increasingly negative perceptions of Muslims by advocating responsible leadership and ‘two-way’ interfaith understanding. The 40 AIC chapters around the world work to combat stereotypes and promote inter-faith understanding on college campuses. AIC promotes tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslim and non-Muslim students alike. AIC has teamed up with WVN to publicize the WVN Short-Film Festival to their constituents across college campuses around the world.
Prosperity Candle Prosperity Candle Prosperity Candle celebrates women as a global force for peace and prosperity. They invest in enterprising women living in distressed areas of the world who are excited to start their own businesses producing distinctive candles for local and international markets. We focus on places that are torn by conflict and social unrest, devastated by natural disaster, and trapped in never-ending poverty. Places like Afghanistan, Haiti and Rwanda. Currently we are working in Iraq where our pilot project is well under way. WVN and Prosperity Candle will be working together to promote pro-women voices and bring light to the work being done for women and by women in Muslim majority countries.
Libby Patterson Organics Libby Patterson Organics Libby Patterson aka The Perfume Doctor, works with celebrities, finance and business people to design couture parfums and quantum alchemy for personal growth and vibrational energy alignment. She brings over 35 years of experience as a master perfumer and quantum alchemist Libby works with clients to fine tune and create new parfums, serums and regimens that will support new neurological pathways in the brain, which trigger memories through the use of scent, anchoring positive ideas and form there in people's lives. WVN thanks Libby for her support and generosity in providing scents for the WVN Festival.