You are here

Day 2: Closing Plenary

23 August 2018
Closing Plenary | 4:30 - 6 P.M.
Conference Room 4 | Overflow Rooms: Conference Room 1, 3 
[ Watch online]

Welcoming Remarks

Ms. Winnie Byanyima
Chair of 67th UN DPI/NGO Conference, Executive Director, Oxfam International

Winnie Byanyima is Executive Director of Oxfam International, a confederation of 20 organizations working in more than 90 countries empowering people to create a future that is secure, just and free from poverty. Ms. Byanyima is a global women’s rights leader, human rights defender and a global authority on economic inequality. Prior to Oxfam, Ms. Byanyima led the directorates on gender and development at the UN Development Programme and the African Union Commission. She served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament. Ms. Byanyima led Uganda's first parliamentary women's caucus and co-founded Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a leading women’s rights organization in Uganda. Born in Mbarara, Uganda, her activism was first inspired by the courageous women in her village and of her family. She continues to support women’s rights and social justice movements around the world. Ms. Byanyima currently serves on the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency in 2018, and the Global Commission on the Future of Work established by the International Labour Organization. She is Chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Regional Strategy Group, and has previously served as Co-Chair of the WEF Annual Meeting in Davos. She has recently served on the United Nations (UN) High-Level Panels on Access to Medicines and on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She serves on numerous public boards and global advisory bodies, including the World Bank’s Gender Advisory Board.

Ms. Alison Smale
Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications

Ms. Smale was appointed the Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, United Nations Department of Public Information by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on 9 August 2017. At that time, Ms. Smale was Chief of Bureau of The New York Times in Berlin, having been a journalist FOR almost 40 years. She has a proven track record as reporter, editor and senior leader. Appointed Executive Editor of the International Herald Tribune (IHT) Paris, in 2008, she is the first and only woman to have held that post. Ms. Smale went to the IHT in 2004 as Managing Editor from The New York Times, where she had been Deputy Foreign Editor since 2002, having joined The Times in 1998 as Weekend Foreign Editor. Earlier in her career Ms. Smale reported for United Press International and The Associated Press as Bureau Chief for Central and Eastern Europe, Vienna (1986-1998) and Correspondent, Moscow and Bonn (1983-1986, 1978-1983). Ms. Smale studied in Bristol, Munich and at Stanford University and holds a BA in German and Politics, and an MA in journalism. In 2009 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Bristol University.

Ms. Kim Quarles
Vice President, NGO/DPI Executive Committee

Ms. Quarles, vice chair of the DPI/NGO Executive Committee, has been in the insurance business for 25+ years, having practiced law before joining the insurance industry as a Claims Attorney. Additionally, she is the Senior Vice President of the Global Insurance Brokerage, Willis. She focuses on Professional Liability exposures and the unique cyber risk insurance needs of Professionals. Ms. Quarles is a frequent speaker on law firm issues, professional liability, Cyber, TRIA and Global Warming.  Most recently she presented at the World League on Freedom and Democracy on Democracy’s impact on Sustainable Development;  NOHLGA Conference, on Cyber issues, the World Jurist Association Cyber Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on Ethical Issues for Law Firms in a Cyber world, the Arbitration and Investment Summit for the Caribbean and the ACI Conference regarding Cyber Issues for Lawyers. Ms. Quarles other professional affiliations include: member of the American Bar Association, ABA Foundation Fellow, Member of the World Jurist Association [WJA], WJA Representative to the United Nations, Member of Claims and Litigation Management Alliance [CLM], Member of the Defense Research Institute [DRI], Vice Chair of DRI’s Insurance Law Subcommittee on TRIA, Editor in Chief of the TRIA Resource Data Base, and Association of Professional Insurance Women [API]. 

Mr. Edafe Okporo
NGO Youth Representative to DPI, UUA

Edafe Okporo is the youth co-chair of the Roundtables sub-committee, a UN youth representative for the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office and the executive director of RDJ Refugee Shelter, which provides housing for homeless asylum seekers and refugees in New York City. He is a Nigerian LGBTQ refugee, opinion writer and advocate for human rights of LGBTQ, immigrants and minorities. Edafe is the author of “BED 26: A Memoir of an African Man's Asylum in United States,” and he founded EO Consulting, which promotes LGBTQ and refugee access and integration into the job market. Edafe has over 7 years of experience working for leading nonprofits, and he serves as a board member of First Friends of New Jersey and New York and the International AIDS society (IAS).

Ms. Rose Strauss
Representative, The Sunrise Movement

Ms. Venus Ilagan
Secretary General, Rehabilitation International

Venus Ilagan is the Secretary General of Rehabilitation International, New York, since 2008. She is the first person with a disability, and the first from a developing country, to serve in this position. Ms. Ilagan also holds the distinction of being the first woman Chairperson of Disabled Peoples’ International, a post she held from 2002-2007. She was earlier Project Director for a national rehabilitation programme for children with disabilities in the Philippines.  Ms. Ilagan has actively participated in the elaboration of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and in various initiatives for the empowerment of leaders of persons with disabilities. She has extensive experience in disability rights promotion and advocacy, organisational development and management, and fund-raising, with particular interest in rehabilitation and empowerment of women, children and young adults with disabilities. Ilagan holds a Bachelor’s Degree  in Journalism from the Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Mr. Roberto Borrero (Taíno)
International Mechanisms Director, US Human Rights Network

Roberto “Mukaro” Borrero is a Programs and Communications Coordinator for the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), whose primary portfolio includes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Development Agenda along with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. On behalf of the IITC, Borrero serves as a co-convener for the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He is a member of the Taíno Tribal Nation, an Indigenous Peoples whose traditional homelands extend through the Greater Antilles and the Southern tip of Florida in the U.S.. In 2012, he was traditionally sanctioned as a kasike (chief) of the Guainia Taíno tribal community. Borrero has an educational background in Communications and Cultural Studies and was presented an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Humanities from Kayiwa International University, Kampala, Uganda in 2013.

Ms. Frances Zainoeddin
Representative, International Federation on Ageing

Ms. Frances Zainoeddin left Australia in 1970 to work at the United Nations, New York – initially in the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs – and ended her career, 31 years later, as Deputy Budget Director of the United Nations Programme Planning and Budget Division. Upon retirement, Ms. Zainoeddin joined the NGO community in order to further promote the ideals of the United Nations, with specific interest in gender and ageing issues. Her knowledge of the United Nations system, policies and procedures, has been particularly useful to NGOs that participate in deliberations in intergovernmental meetings. Ms. Zainoeddin is currently an elected Member-at-Large of the NGO Committee on Ageing and is also a member of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women. She was a key participant in the establishment of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing in 2013, as part of the Major Groups and Other Stakeholders involved, as civil society participants, in sustainable development issues and was actively engaged in the United Nations intergovernmental negotiations leading up to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring inclusion of the concerns of older persons. She is the UN Focal Point in New York for the Stakeholder Group on Ageing. Ms. Zainoeddin is also actively involved in issues concerning the rights of older persons, particularly in the context of efforts being made by the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing at the United Nations to elaborate a convention to protect and promote the rights of older persons.

Mr. Levi C. Bautista
President of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations

Levi draws from more than 35 years of experience in denominational, ecumenical and international affairs as our representative at the United Nations. He studied history, politics and international affairs at the University of the Philippines. His doctoral studies in Christian social and political ethics were at Drew University. Levi is a deacon in the Northern Philippines Annual Conference. Before moving to the US, Levi studied and worked in the Philippines at a time of political turmoil. That context shaped his outlook on how people might join God’s action for justice and peace in the world. Activism against martial law while holding responsible national and international church and ecumenical positions shaped his thinking. That includes doing critical analysis alongside practical action. He asserts that the local and the global are simultaneous realities. Whether in the Philippines, in New York, or anywhere, churches and faith-based groups can live their faith, seeking justice and pursuing peace.



Cobu, based in New York City, was created as a Live Rhythm Performing Arts Group in 2000. Yako Miyamoto, the founder of Cobu is a current member of the off broadway-hit STOMP. Cobu combines elements of the Japanese traditional Taiko drumming with rhythmic Tap dancing. The extremely positive impact of the performance has received rave reviews from The New York Times and The Chicago Sun Times and has touched audiences through major festivals in Boston and Chicago. “Dance Like Drumming, Drum Like Dancing”, Cobu’s motto, is inspired by the combined sounds of New York and traditional Japanese culture. Their signature sound is created organically through acoustic instruments, rather than digital transcription. This juxtaposition of traditional modernity makes them one of the most unique and original mind-blowing groups of our time. In 2001, Cobu received “Choreography Award” by an organization Mann & Entertainment. Cobu is now the spotlight of entertainment accepted not only in United States but other countries such as Japan, Europe and all across Asia.  

Full List of Speakers Biographies