WESTMINSTER

WOMEN ON FIRE at CENTRAL HALL, WESTMINSTER

Easter 2011

 

How often do grand daughters and grannies, wild women, lovely women, uncertain and assured women, intellectuals  and artists, women living love, hope, curiosity, passion or just their beautiful, bruised and tender womanliness listen to scientists, singers, poets, visionaries, activists,  and then sashay hips together to the sound of women beating drums?

Scroll down to read profiles of our inspirational speakers and contributors.The grace, humility and light touch of Hafsat Abiola-Costello (whose parents died for democracy) left many weeping. Peace campaigner Scilla Elworthy truly generated a "Me too, I can do it" response across the audience and Camila Batmanghelidjh had us spellbound with her clarity, the breadth and depth of Kids Company's remit and tales of turnaround in children who had never known a stable, loving parent. 

 

 
 
 
 

We saw the power of film in bridging the gap between different sections of society, in giving "voice" to the voiceless like the great apes that flee the loggers' chainsaws or the innocent women astonishingly branded by men as witches because of the men's superstitions, ignorance or fear of ungovernable misfortune.  


 
 
    

We danced to the beat of drums, we fell silent and still in honour of all the women in the world who have no voice in how they live, and many of us made new friends. It was, we hope, really inclusive, not just a sit back and listen event. 

That seems to have worked. The documentary celebrates a much the audience as the women on stage. Together with full length speeches it's available in our SHOP. Some of you told us it was a life-changing day. We've shared some of the feedback under YOU WROTE 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
  

 

SPEAKERS at Westminster, 2011

 

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Camila Batmanghelidjh

Founder of children charities - The Place 2 Be and Kids Company

Camila currently works with some of the most traumatised young people living in London. Kids Company was set up in 1996. It employs more than 550 staff, benefits from 7,600 people volunteering annually and reaches 14,000 children a year with therapeutic and social work support in three centres based in Southwark, Lambeth and a newly opened centre in Camden, as well as working in 37 inner-city schools. Camila and her team have raised £60 million over the years to help London's most vulnerable children.

She trained as a psychotherapist, engaged in 18 years of psychoanalysis and has become an advocate for vulnerable children. In 2009 she was named Business Woman of the Year for the Dods and Scottish Widows Public Life Awards. Camila has also been awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, and Coutts and the Most Admired Chief Executive by Third Sector Magazine. She has also received 10 honorary degrees. Kids Company has been awarded the Human Rights Awards by Liberty & Justice.

Camila considers herself very privileged to be working with what she describes as extraordinarily courageous and dignified children.

For more information see: www.theplace2be.org.uk and www.kidsco.org.uk

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Elisabet Sahtouris PhD

Evolutionary Biologist, Futurist

Elisabet is an internationally known evolution biologist, futurist, author and speaker living in Spain. With a post-doctoral degree at the American Museum of Natural History, she taught at MIT and the University of Massachusetts, contributed to the NOVA-Horizon TV series, is a fellow of the World Business Academy, and a member of the World Wisdom Council. Her venues include the World Bank, UN, Boeing, Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, South African Rand Bank, Caux Round Table, Tokyo International Forum, the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, Sao Paulo business schools and State of the World Forums. Author of EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution; A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us; and Biology Revisioned with Willis Harman.

For more information see: www.sahtouris.com

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Judith Seelig 

Shaman, Changemaker

Founder Women on Fire

Formerly a journalist, editor and travel writer, Judith has a long established practice in facilitating change in people from almost all walks of life. She promotes peace person by person, using her extraordinary vocal range to encourage self-awareness. She teaches yoga with sound and, for those disinclined to a physical practice, the art of listening with the whole body. She has recorded albums in collaboration with award-winning composers Kuljit Bhamra and Tom E Morrison.

Judith founded Women on Fire to faciliate a fundamental strengthening of confidence and companionship among women worldwide.

For more information see: www.judithseelig.com

 

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Polly Higgins

International Environmental Lawyer

Polly Higgins is a barrister, author and international environmental lawyer advocating a different approach to preventing the destruction of our planet. Instead of our laws protecting the property rights of the few, we can shift to laws that impose responsibilities, duties and obligations for the benefit of the many. In 2010 she proposed to the United Nations a law of Ecocide, a 5th Crime Against Peace. The Ecologist voted her one of the "Worlds Top 10 Visionary Thinkers" and the Guardian one of their "Green Heroes, working for the right kind of environmental change"

For more information see: www.pollyhiggins.com

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Scilla Elworthy 

Peace Campaigner

Scilla founded Peace Direct in 2002 to fund, promote and learn from peace-builders in conflict areas, and the Oxford Research Group in 1982 to develop effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers worldwide and their critics. Awarded the niwano Peace Prize in 2003; three times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Adviser to Peter Gabriel, Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson in setting up 'The Elders', member of the World Future Council, the International Task Force on Preventive Diplomacy, author of numerous books, programme director for the World Peace Festival to be held in Berlin, August 2011. 

For more info see: http://www.scillaelworthy.co.uk

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Arundhathi Subramaniam 

Poet

Arundhathi Subramaniam is a poet, writer, curator and editor. She is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Where I Live: New and Selected Poems and co-editor of Confronting Love, an anthology of contemporary Indian love poetry in English. Her poems have been widely translated and anthologised. Her prose works include The Book of Buddha and a biography of a contemporary mystic, Sadhguru: More Than A Life. She has been the Editor of the India Domain of the Poetry International Web since 2004 and has written extensively on literature, dance, culture and spirituality for leading national newspapers. She curated an interdisciplinary arts forum at Bombay's National Center for the Performing Arts for many years. She now divides her time between Bombay and a yoga centre in southern India. 

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Jay Griffiths

Writer

Jay Griffiths is a British writer, living in Wales, and author of Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time and Wild: An Elemental Journey.

Winner of the Barnes & Noble Discover award for the best new non-fiction writer to be published in the USA.  Shortlisted for both the Orwell prize and for the World Book Day award.  Winner of the inaugural 2007 Orion Book Award in the USA. Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time argues that Time has been enclosed as surely as land, and explores how Time is a political issue. Wild: An Elemental Journey is a seven-year-book about indigenous peoples’ views on their lands, about the wildness at the heart of the human spirit, about necessary nomadism and the truant heart.

For more info see: www.jaygriffiths.com

 

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Zoe Young 

Writer, researcher, educator and film maker

Zoe is a widely published writer and film maker on edgy and neglected issues in human development. Navigating international economy, ecology, spirit, science, activism, security, gender and politics, she works to give voice to the voiceless in a techno-globalising world. She has a MSc from Sussex University in Science and Technology Policy.

For more info see: www.zoeyoung.net

 

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Hafsat Abiola-Costello

Human and Civil Rights Campaigner

Hafsat Abiola-Costello is a Nigerian human and civil rights campaigner. She is founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which seeks to strengthen civil society and promote democracy in Nigeria. She comes from a family of dedicated Pan-Africanists and courageous fighters for freedom and justice. Her father, Chief Moshood Abiola, won the Presidential election held in Nigeria in 1993 but served out his term in solitary confinement, incarcerated by the military. He died in prison, on the eve of his release in 1995. Her mother, Kudirat, was a democracy leader who organized major strikes, marches, and fought assiduously against the military. In 1996, she was assassinated in the streets of Lagos.

With the end of military rule, KIND now offers organizational support, leadership development and skills training opportunities to women, youths, and community based organizations in Nigeria as well as other countries in Africa.

Ms. Abiola is also involved in the global movement to empower youth and women and to strengthen democracy. She was a founding member of the State of the World Forums Emerging Leaders Program and Global Youth Connect. Currently, she is a Fetzer Fellow and serves on the Boards of Youth Employment Summit, Educate Girls Globally, Womens Learning Partnership, Hewlett Packards World e-Inclusion Project, and the Global Security Institute. She travels around the world to speak about justice issues and writes articles featured in the international and Nigerian press. 

For more info see: http://www.kind.org/

Angela Saini

Science Journalist/Broadcaster 

Angela Saini is an award-winning independent jounalist based in London. Her work focuses on science, technology and their impact on society. She is the author of Geek Nation, published in March 2011, a jouney through India to find out whether the country is set to become the world's next scientific superpower.Angela's writing has been published in New Scientist, Science, Wired and The Economist, and she's a regular reporter on BBC radio science shows, including Digital Planet.

Angela was sortlisted for the best feature award from the Association of British Science Writers in 2010 and named Junior Science Writer of the Year by the Euroscience Foundation in 2009. 

Before freelance work, she was a reporter for BBC News in London, where her investigation into bogus universities won the Prix Circom Award for European television journalism. She started out as a newspaper journalist in New Delhi before joining ITN in London. 

For more info see: http://www.angelasaini.co.uk

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Fran Moscow  

Executive Coach, Supporter of Women on Boards

Coach and facilitator to numerous high-ranking business people and organisations, Fran supports women aiming for the boardroom with the kind of guidance and advice we could all do with.

Her client list has included NFT Distribution, Forth Ports plc, Marks & Spencer, British Land, Land Securities, Ascent Media, Schroders, HSBC, Westhouse Securities, GE, BDO Stoy Hayward.

Fran heads her own leadership and team coaching consultancy.

For more info see: www.FM-Consultancy.com

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Tamsin Omond  

Activist, Climate Rush

Tamsin Omond is an environmental activist who has campaigned for the UK government to take action to avoid man-made climate change. Members of Climate Rush, the activist group Tamsin is a founder member of, agree that there is a need to take responsibility now to prepare for the future. She has organised a number of high profile protests including scaling the roof of the House of Commons to protest against aviation. Tamsin's activism has been inspired by the Suffragettes, who had campaigned using direct action for Women's suffrage at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Tamsin stood in the 2010 General Election in the newly created Hampstead and Kilburn constituency. She has created a new independent party, The Commons, to engage young people in voting and to promote sustainability in the local area.

For more info see: www.climaterush.co.uk

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Madelaine Westwood

Filmaker

Nutshell Productions specialises in natural history and conservation based filmmaking. Owned and managed by producer Madelaine Westwood, Nutshell produces documentaries, initiates and co-ordinates global film based conservation projects, and actively trains the next generation of wildlife filmmakers in many aspects of their chosen profession.

Madelaine is also Founder of GAFI, an innovative, grass-roots based organisation that promotes great ape conservation by engaging and inspiring people to create local and sustainable solutions to the problems facing great apes and their environments around the world, using fil and pedal powered cinema, particularly in Africa. 

For more info see: http://www.gafi4apes.org/ and http://www.nutshellproductions.co.uk/

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Clare Dakin 

Founder/CEO of Tree Sisters

Clare is the founder and vision holder of Tree Sisters, a women’s movement designed to accelerate global reforestation and the shift towards sustainable living. She is a lover of trees and people and carries a deep faith that we do have what it takes to wake up and save the day. Clare has worked internationally for 18 years within the personal growth sector; facilitating groups, coaching business leaders and exploring change processes that lead to lasting shifts in behaviour. She is a Be the Change Symposium facilitator and freelance writer who has worked for three years as the UK co-ordinator for a massive agro-forestry initiative in Southern India called Project GreenHands (PGH). Through her work with PGH she has distilled the social mobilisation strategy deployed with great success in India, and turns it towards the mobilisation of women within Tree Sisters.

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Louise Burfitt-Dons 

Humanitarian, Hot Women Campaign

Louise has spent the past ten years promoting a range of humanitarian issues. Her pro-social projects include children’s charity Act Against Bullying which she founded in 2003; raising awareness of the consequences of our warming planet and empathy. Her environmental initiatives have included spearheading the international Hot Women Campaign to encourage more participation from women in combating climate change. The campaign on behalf of the environmental group Global Warming Alliance focuses on raising awareness amongst the female community of their influence as major decision makers and consumers. She is co-founder of Kindness Day UK in affiliation with the World Kindness Movement which launched in 2010. Louise is frequently on the radio and TV and has contributed to various magazines and newspapers on all the above issues.

She is a corporate and motivational speaker focussing on the differences between the success profiles of men and women and their implications for business, as well as the value of altruistic leadership in the post global economic crisis. Made a Fellow of the RSA in 2008 she initiated and chairs the RSA Women Speaker Network fellowship enterprise. She is married with two daughters and lives in London.

For more info see: www.louiseburfittdons.com

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Kirsty Schneeberger

Campaigner, Director at Think2050

Kirsty Schneeberger was honoured as an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2010 for services to environmental conservation and her work as coordinator of the UK Youth Climate Coalition. She has been involved in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations as a youth advocate and policy analyst for the Youth Constituency since Poznan in 2008, and she led the UK youth delegation to 2009 COP in Copenhagen. During the opening plenary in the interim negotiations at Bonn in 2009 she offered an intervention on behalf of civil society, in which she called for a coherent integration of intergenerational equity in the negotiation process, and launched the "How old will you be in 2050?" global campaign. More recently, Kirsty has joined the Board of Directors for the International Court for the Environment Coalition and coordinated the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Youth Advisory Panel for 2010.  She works as a consult on helping organisations and decision-makers mainstream intergenerational equity in their work.

http://www.think2050.org

 

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Rose Flint

Poet

Rose Flint is a poet and art therapist. She teaches Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes in Bristoland is Lead Writer for the Kingfisher Project, working in the hospital and community of Salisbury. She is a Priestess of Avalon and Ceremonialist for the Goddess Conference in Glastonbury.   An award-winning writer, she has four collections; the latest is Mother of Pearl (published by PSAvalon). Her work can be found in many magazines and anthologies including Poetry Review, Resurgence, and The Rialto and she is also a regular contribuor to the international feminist datebook, We'Moon. Her writing is based in a deep love and care for Mother Earth. 

For more info see: http://www.secondlightlive.co.uk/members/roseflint.shtml

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Azul-Valerie Thome 

Food from the Sky

Azul-Valerie Thome is French-Lebanese with a background in arts and crafts. She helped to set up Embercombe, a sustainability centre near Exeter. Her new venture is FOOD from the SKY a  pioneering initiative growing food on the roof of a local supermarket is a world first. This is a collaboration between Azul's social enterprise, Positive Earth Project, and Thornton's Budgens.

For more info see: http://foodfromthesky.org.uk/

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Rachel Morrison 

Singer

Rachel Morrison with her British band “Bliss” first signed to EMI in 1987 releasing two critically acclaimed albums, ‘Love Prayer’ and ‘A Change in the Weather’. She has supported artists such as Van Morrison,  Paul Simon, Maceo Parker and  Paul Carrack, and toured extensively. A new album from Bliss  “My World Your World”; was recently released. Rachel will perform "Thin GIrls" a song written for a girl who died as a result of anorexia.

For more info see: http://www.blisstheband.com/

Facilitators:

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Pauline Crawford 

Facilitator

Acclaimed as the 'Ambassador of Magical Conversations', Pauline teaches men and women how to tune into their natural best. A sociologist, business psychologist, image consultant and entrepreneur, Pauline Crawford is Founder and Chief Executive of Corporate Heart, an innovative change consultancy that works with FTSE 500, private and public sector organisations and challenges boardroom members to create a new blueprint for business. She delivers a range of transformational programmes on topics such as gender dynamics, image and reputation, behaviour patters and team engagement. 

For more info see: http://www.magicalconversations.co.uk

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Sarah Rozenthuler 

Facilitator

Sarah Rozenthuler is a dialogue consultant with 10 years experience working in large organisations such as the World Bank, the BBC and the UK Civil Service. She energises groups of people to access their collective intelligence so that they contribute as never before. A Chartered Psychologist, Sarah’s forthcoming book, Can we talk? How good conversation will change your life, will be published by Duncan Baird in early 2012. 

For more info see: http://www.anewyouworkshop.com

 

Women on Fire

Women on Fire