Films Across Borders: "Girl Rising"

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Films Across Borders: Stories in a Changing World featuring "Girl Rising 5th Anniversary"

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Join us on Tuesday, October 26 at 12 pm Eastern for a live virtual panel discussion about Girl Rising 5th Anniversary. Sarah Menke-Fish, American University (AU) School of Communication Professor and Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include: Macarena Sáez, Exec Dir of Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, Shiraz Chakera, Education Specialist for Gender Equality and Girls' Education, UNICEF; and Naomi Moland, AU School of International Service Professorial Lecturer. Registrants will receive a link to view the film in advance of the virtual discussion.

The fifth anniversary edition of Girl Rising travels the globe to meet nine unforgettable girls, striving beyond circumstance and overcoming nearly insurmountable odds to achieve their dreams. Directed by Academy Award Nominee, Richard E. Robbins, produced by Martha Adams, written by acclaimed female writers, and voiced by celebrated actresses including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway and more, Girl Rising proves that one girl with courage is a revolution.

Meet the Panelists:

Sarah Menke-Fish is a full-time professor of Film and Media Arts. She serves as Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning and Associate Director for the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Menke-Fish launched and directs Discover the World of Communication, a summer program that brings high school students from around the world to AU and U.C. Berkeley for intense, hands-on courses in environmental communication, video production, screen writing and journalism. She received the AU Faculty Green Teaching Award 2019, The Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award, Maryland-DC Campus Compact 2013 and the University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching 2012. In 2005 she was selected Faculty Member of the Year by the AU Student Confederation; in 2002, she received American University's award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Position. Prior to joining the SOC faculty, Menke-Fish coordinated Montgomery County Public Schools' Humanities and Communication Magnet Program. She has won numerous awards for educational documentaries produced with middle school and high school students, including CINE awards for If You Change Your Mind and Remotely Science. She and her students received the Presidential Environmental Youth Award for Trash: What A Waste, a comprehensive look at recycling.

Macarena Sáez, is the Executive Director of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. An internationally recognized expert in gender, sexuality, family law, and human rights, Macarena comes to Human Rights Watch from the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. where she was a full-time faculty member in the International Legal Studies Program teaching Family Law, Strategic Litigation in International Human Rights, Human Rights and Vulnerable Populations. She also was the director of the American University’s Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. Under her leadership the center conducted research projects in the Middle East, Latin America, and South East Asia, empowered activists in human rights, gender and sexuality, and litigated international human rights cases.

Macarena appears regularly as a speaker and guest lecturer in academic and other professional fora around the world. She is a founding member of the Network of Latin American Scholars on Gender, Sexuality and Legal Education ALAS, an organization that provides training to law professors in Latin America on mainstreaming gender and sexuality perspectives in legal education. She is also member of Libertades Públicas, an organization that promotes civil liberties in Latin America. With this organization she was one of the lead counsels for the victims in the first case on sexual orientation before the Inter American System of Human Rights (Karen Atala and daughters v. Chile).

Macarena is a graduate of the University of Chile Law School and Yale Law School.

Naomi A. Moland’s is a Professorial Lecturer at AU's School of International Service. Her research and teaching focus on global media, international education, peace and conflict, LGBT rights, and the globalization of pluralist ideologies. Her recent book (based on her award-winning dissertation) is called "Can Big Bird Fight Terrorism? Children's Television and Globalized Multicultural Education" (2020, Oxford University Press). The book explores the dilemmas of localization, diversity, and tolerance on the Nigerian version of Sesame Street. Dr. Moland’s current research investigates the cultural and religious dynamics of global LGBT rights movements. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Comparative Education Review, Urban Education, and Global Education Review.

Shiraz Chakera is the UNICEF global education specialist focusing on gender equality and girls’ education. Shiraz has twenty years of research, policy and programmatic experience improving education systems working in the UK, his home country, India, Botswana, across the Eastern and Southern Africa region and now in a global capacity to ensure that education systems are oriented so that all children can learn and thrive.

Over his career, he has led reforms in the areas of race, gender and disability equality in education, improving learning for all, and harnessing technology to improve teaching and learning. He has recently published analysis on the likely impact of COVID-related school shutdowns on children’s learning in Africa: Shiraz holds a master’s degree in Education and International Development from the UCL Institute of Education, London.


AU School of Communication

AU School of International Service

AU Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

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