Keynote Speakers



Khin Ohmar is a veteran activist from Burma/Myanmar with over 30 years of experience working for a free and democratic Burma. As a student, she was involved in organizing the nationwide pro-democracy uprising in 1988 and later continued campaigning from exile for democracy, human rights, justice, and accountability in Burma. She is a founding member of a number of civil society organizations including Women’s League of Burma (WLB), Network for Democracy and Development in Burma, Burma Partnership and Progressive Voice. Currently, she chairs the Advisory Board of Progressive Voice, a Myanmar human rights research and advocacy organization that amplifies voices of people from the ground. Ohmar testified before a number of esteemed legislatures and international bodies including the US Congress and UN Human Rights Council. She is the 2008 Anna Lindh Prize recipient and co-recipient of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for Human Rights. In 2012, drawing from her own experience with activism and trauma at individual and community level, she co-authored “Trauma and Recovery on War’s Borders: A Guide for Global Health Workers”, a guide for mental health workers in regions traumatized by war, human rights violations, and poverty across the globe. Since Spring Revolution following the military’s coup attempt on February 1, 2021, Ohmar and Porgressive Voice have been advocating and amplifying Myanmar peoples’ voices to the international community, about their courage and determination to end the military tyranny in defence of democracy and calling for a swift and decisive actions from the international community, including the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to impose global arms embargo and targeted sanctions against the Myanmar military junta and its businesses and refer Myanmar situation to the International Criminal Court.



Mary Racelis is a Research Scientist at the Institute of Philippine Culture, School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University, and its former Director. Her current teaching in the Ateneo’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology (DSA) and the University of the Philippines Department of Anthropology most recently include Engaged Anthropology and the Anthropology of Justice and Human Rights. She served as UNICEF Senior Adviser for Women’s Development, Community Participation, and Family/Child Welfare in New York 1979-83 before becoming the UNICEF Regional Director, Eastern and Southern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya from 1983-92. She returned to the Philippines as the Country Director of the Ford Foundation and in 2000 to the Ateneo as IPC Director until 2003. Notable is her continuing activities with NGOs and organized urban poor people’s organizations. At the invitation of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, she became an active member in 2003—04 of his Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations—Civil Society Relations. Her research has focused on urban informal settlements, community organizing, gender, children, reproductive health, and sociocultural change largely in the context of human rights. She is a strong advocate of knowledge generation as co-production, co-implementation/co-ownership and co-benefits with people through community research partnerships.