Meet our Esteemed Panelist for This Week's Cyber Conferences


Disarmament and Human Rights

December 10, 2020, 10 AM EST

From the conditions of workers in arms production to the implications of the arms trade, to the use of weapons themselves, the impact of the global arms trade on human rights is extensive. The worst-affected countries in the Covid-19 pandemic are also those with the largest military budgets, showing that national security is not a simple matter of having the most guns. Military spending too often comes at the expense of funding for other vital public services such as health and welfare. 

This Human Rights Day, join us for the latest Cyber Conference in our series Building Back Better for a discussion on the relationship between human rights and disarmament. Bringing together speakers from different stages in the arms trade process, we examine how the promotion of human rights without work towards disarmament is meaningless and the need for a new paradigm of security to build a just and peaceful future.

Confirmed Speakers: 

  • Kelly Smith, Poor People’s Campaign

  • Carlos Umaña, IPPNW

  • Akmal Ali, UN Association of Fiji

  • Sumeya Osman Abdi, Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU)  

Molly McGinty, Nuclear Programs Associate, IPPNW 

Registration Link:

Kelly Smith, National Organizer for the Poor People’s Campaign

Kelly Smith currently serves as a National Organizer with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Most recently, her work focused on the M.O.R.E (Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering and Educating People for a Movement that Votes) Campaign. She also works with states around the country helping them build out their committee and organizing structures. She is also a member of the National PPC Faith Team staff, where she assists with national faith initiatives and helping states launch and improve existing faith outreach efforts. In addition, she is on the New York State Coordinating Committee and New York City Regional Committee.

Prior to working with the Poor People’s Campaign, Kelly was the Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at the large international law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, where she worked for 21 years.  She left that position in July of 2018, feeling called to get in some “good trouble” by volunteering with the Poor People’s Campaign and doing political and voter mobilization work in the months leading up to the midterm elections.

Carlos Umana, IPPNW Regional Vice President of Latin America

Dr. Umana is a general practitioner, former local health director, and epidemiological surveillance officer with the Costa Rican Ministry of Health. Acting Regional Vice President for Latin America, he is also on the ICAN International Steering Group. He is the current president of IPPNW Costa Rica,  founder of Artists for Peace (2014) in Costa Rica, and president of the activist group “Peace and Diversity”. He is also the recipient of the 2018 “Alan Turing LGBTIQ Visibility Award” for Social Organization.

Since 2013, he has worked by campaigning and lobbying for awareness on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons (HINW) and support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). He has worked closely with governments as part of the Costa Rican delegation in the 2014 NPT PrepCom and the 2015 NPT Review Conference and has worked with the network of regional peace organizations to organize conferences and roundtables on the HINW and the TPNW.

Akmal Ali, President | UN Association of Fiji

Akmal Ali is the founder and the President of the United Nations Association of Fiji (UNAF). The purpose of founding UNAF was bringing at least one non for profit becoming the voice of multilateralism in Fiji and capacity-strengthening the people of Fiji with Diplomacy. He is also the President of the Royal Commonwealth Society Fiji Branch. He is also employed full time with the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO). 

Akmal has over 20 years of experience in the civil society sector at the local, national, regional, and international levels. A passionate and well-known activist in the Pacific region; not only in the circles of civil society but also amongst decision-makers. Who advocates for raising Pacific voices with a strong ‘grassroots’ focus and the motto of ‘leaving no one behind’.  

Akmal is a full homegrown Pacific Islander with Indian heritage (5th generation Fijian of Indian descent). He is a proud alumnus of the University of the South Pacific, he credits his career development to holding several leadership positions. Amongst others: as the Founder and Secretary-General of the USP Students’ Association (USPSA).

Sumeya Osman Abdi, Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU)

Sumeya Osman Abdi is a Gender Officer for the Federation of Somali Trade Union (FESTU). She promotes and is working for equal rights between genders in the workplace. Through FESTU Sumeya is able to raise the voices of many workers, especially women workers, and help improve their working conditions in a bid to tackle gender-based biases and violence in a wide range of economic sectors.

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There’s Still Hope and Here’s Why Part 2
Thursday, December 10, 2020, 1 PM EST

From Tulsa to Hiroshima, from Auschwitz to the Trail of Tears, the scenes of death and destruction are the same. The root causes of these atrocities are the same too: cultures of violence fueling systems of oppression. 

What can the people do to reclaim their rightful democratic power when corrupt governments fail to honor the contracts that ensure we live in a civil society that has a sustainable future?

This action-driven conversation, co-sponsored by PEAC Institute, General Board of Church & Society with support from Every Woman Matrix, NGO Committee on Financing for Development Working Group on Climate Finance, will explore the challenge of dismantling cultures of violence. Through both historical and contemporary lenses, we will highlight some of the terrifying consequences we're facing due to not fixing our culture of violence while also offering examples of nature-based solutions that people are successfully executing today.

The SDGs are officially out of reach, and our window of opportunity to switch from economies that prioritize money to economies that prioritize people and the planet is closing.


  • Roberto Borrero, chair of the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Carmen Atzert, Watershed Foundation
  • Leon Kaulahao Siu, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Hawaii

Moderators and Support:

  • Rebecca Irby, PEAC Institute
  • Quinn Wonderling, General Board of Church and Society, UMC
  • Aimee H. Hong, General Board of Church & Society, UMC
Registration Link:

Roberto Borrero

Roberto Múkaro Borrero has a distinguished and diverse background in policy & program development and human rights advocacy, including in specialization on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He retains over 20 years of experience actively engaging the United Nations system in thematic areas such as Sustainable Development; Climate Change; the Information Society; and the Organization of American States; among others. He has served on the staff of the International Indian Treaty Council and the American Museum of Natural History, as well as an independent contracting consultant for UNESCO, PBS, and other notable institutions. A published writer, an accomplished artist, and musician,  Borrero is a member of the Taíno Tribal Nation, an Indigenous Peoples whose traditional homelands extend through the Greater Antilles to the Southern tip of Florida in the U.S. In 2012, he was traditionally sanctioned a kasike (chief) of the Guainía Taíno tribal community.  He has an educational background in communications and cultural studies. In 2013, Borrero was awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree, Philosophy in Humanities, from Kayiwa International University, Kampala, Uganda.

Carmen Atzert

With a background in engineering, I recently joined the humanitarian sector with the goal of working toward sustainable humanitarian aid work in the MENA countries. For the last nine months, I have been volunteering in Camp Moria, Greece, one of Europe’s most challenging refugee camps. After a tragic fire following a COVID-19 outbreak, I was part of the collaborative effort to distribute food to the thousands of displaced refugees. I have been continuing my work as a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) technician within the compounds of the new emergency camp. I am also studying for a Master’s of Science in Humanitarian Action in the School of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of London, one of the world's leading universities in Development Studies

Leon Kaulahao Siu

H.E. Leon Kaulahao Siu, is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Hawaiian Kingdom and prominent strategist and advocate for Hawaii’s independence and is thus engaged in normalizing relations between the Hawaiian Kingdom and other sovereign states. Minister Siu is a founder of the Decolonization Alliance based in New York City, a co-author of the book, Modus Vivendi Situation of West Papua, and was nominated for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

Quinn Wondering | Moderator

Quinn Wonderling serves as Senior Coordinator of United Nations and International Affairs for the General Board of Church and Society. She's an active member of the NGO Committee on Financing for Development, CoNGO, and the Every Woman Matrix. Quinn's early career as a journalist allowed her to cover global issues including democratic elections, LGBT civil & human rights, gender justice, addiction, fossil fuels and biofuels, and poverty. She holds an MPAP from American University and believes every member state should divert its entire military budget into the green climate fund immediately.

 Rebecca Irby | Moderator

Rebecca Irby is the Founding Partner and President of PEAC Institute. Over the last ten years, Rebecca has served as an education and technology consultant on diversity and cultural awareness initiatives with the NJ Department of Education, Rutgers University, the National Liberty Museum, Nagoya University, and many others. Rebecca also sits on an advisory board incorporating social skills training into the core programs of schools around the United States. PEAC has organized, trained, and facilitated youth forum to the NPT PrepCom in 2018, 2019, and 2020 as well as a High-Level forum in conjunction with the New Zealand Foreign ministry. Rebecca has spoken about nuclear abolition and heart-centered leadership at Harvard Law School, the Yale Policy Conference, The PyeongChang Global Peace Forum; the Free Minds Free People; Busan Democracy; and will be at Barger Leadership Institute (BLI) at the University of Michigan in 2021.

Aimee H. Hong | Support

Senior Executive Director of Education & Engagement
General Board of Church & Society, UMC. 

Aimee facilitates and custom designs seminars for diverse groups on issues of justice and peace. She loves working with students of all ages but has a soft spot for engaging with young people. 

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