Board of Directors

We have six members on our Board of Directors who are authorised to make the final decisions on all legal, policy and financial matters pertaining to our operations. They are:

Shanthi Dairiam

Shanti is IWRAW Asia Pacific’s founding member and former Executive Director. She has had extensive experience managing women’s rights programmes, having been involved in capacity building for women’s rights advocacy for over 20 years, within Malaysia, as well as regionally and internationally. Shanti has served as an expert assisting key UN agencies such as APGEN, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and UNIFEM. She holds a Masters in Literature from the University of Madras, India, and a Masters in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. From 2005 until 2008, also served a four-year term as an expert member of the CEDAW Committee.

Noor Farida Ariffin

Dato’ Farida was the former Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands. She is a founding member and former Vice-President of Women’s Aid Organisation in Malaysia, and a former council member of the National Advisory Council for the Integration of Women in Development (NACIWID). She was formerly a part of the Steering Committee member of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), the former Director of the Women and Development Programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London, and the former President of the Association of Women Lawyers in Malaysia. Dato’ Farida is currently a member of the Regional Council of APWLD.

Lesley Ann Foster

Dr Lesley Ann Foster is the founder and Director of Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre in 1995 as a crisis support centre for women and girl children survivors of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault in the Eastern Cape. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Fort Hare University in 2006 in recognition of her contribution to end violence against women. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize through the 1000 Women’s Nobel Peace Prize Initiative, an Ashoka fellow, and was the first African president of Amanitare, a Pan African network of organisations operating in 28 countries on the African continent.

Dr Foster has contributed to the development of women’s groups in the MENA regions and is part of a Middle Eastern Task Team addressing the trafficking of women and girls. She was appointed to the South African Moral Regeneration Movements National Board of Directors (2013), a Board Member of the Eastern Cape AIDS Council (2012) and the Deputy Chairperson of the Civil Society forum within the AIDS Council, Chairperson of Capraway Development Agency (2013).

Dr Foster had received awards from Women’s Southern African Social Entrepreneurship, Eastern Cape award for Excellence in Health Promotion, Metropolitan Eastern Cape Award for Humanitarian work, Katlego Spirit of Hope award by the South African NGO Coalition, and Joan Harris Rotary international Award

Amal Hadi

Amal is the founding member of New Woman Foundation, Egypt. Her organisation also coordinates the Coalition for Equality Without Reservation (EWR) from 2010 to 2013, which has since moved to Lebanon. This Coalition is one of IWRAW Asia Pacific’s regional CEDAW partners in the Middle East North Africa region. Amal was also on the Planning Committee of Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family from 2007 until 2010. Amal has published and conducted extensive research and advocacy in the field of women’s rights, particularly with regard to reproductive health, violence against women, and female genital mutilation.

Noraida Endut

Dr Noraida Endut is Associate Professor and Director at the Women’s Development Research Centre (KANITA), Universiti Sains Malaysia. She has a law degree from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and LLM (Law and Development) and PhD degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom. She is currently involved in academic and advocacy-related research projects on the socio-legal aspects of women’s issues and sits on the university’s Sexual Harassment Committee. She was a Regional Consultant (Asia Pacific) for the Due Diligence Project on Violence Against Women ( between 2011 and 2013. She coordinated training programmes on violence against women for the NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women (NIEW) between 2007 and 2009 and also coordinated the drafting of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Policy and Protocol on Sexual Harassment that came into effect in July 2009.

Maria Herminia Graterol

Maria Herminia Graterol is an expert in international women’s human rights law, as well as gender and development. In recent years she has been focusing on women’s economic and social rights, with a special interest in the right to education for women and girls around the world. She regularly provides training, research and program evaluation support for women’s rights and human rights organizations. She is the Executive Director and co-founder of HOLA NYC, a Spanish Immersion Program that integrates a progressive, creative curriculum with the pedagogical foundations of the Montessori philosophy. HOLA NYC is a not for profit organization that offers opportunities to migrant latinas to work in a pre-school setting in their native language.

Chee Yoke Ling

Yoke Ling is the Director of Third World Network (TWN) and works on sustainable development issues, with a focus on social justice and equity issues and the effects of globalization on countries of the South. TWN is a non-profit international research and advocacy organisation involved in sustainable development issues, the South and North-South relations.Her current focus areas are: public health (especially access to affordable medicines), agroecology and farmers’ rights, the impact of trade agreements on sustainable development and human rights, and developments on these issues at key United Nations bodies and treaties. She is a member of the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is also on the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation Board of Trustees. Yoke Ling is trained in international law, with degrees from the University of Malaya (Malaysia) and Cambridge University (UK). She was formerly a law lecturer at the University of Malaya and the Honorary Secretary of Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth, Malaysia).