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Our Board

Shirin Heidari


Founder and President

Dr. Shirin Heidari is Senior Research Fellow at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a Senior Technical Consultant on gender to WHO Gender, Equity and Human Rights Unit. Most recently, Dr. Heidari was the Executive Director of Reproductive Health Matters, and Editor-in-Chief of its academic journal. Prior to that, she oversaw the Research Promotion Department of the International AIDS Society in Geneva and was the Executive Editor of the Journal of the International AIDS Society. Dr. Heidari has been a trusted board member of Amnesty International in Sweden. During her time as a member of Council of European Association of Science Editors, she established and co-chaired a Gender Policy Committee, leading the development of the widely cited SAGER guidelines, encouraging researchers to address the sex and gender bias in research. She has also presented a TEDx talk on the topic.  

As a gender-equality and human rights advocate, Dr. Heidari has served as member of several international expert and scientific committees and engaged in various efforts advancing the integration of sex and gender in the production of knowledge and evidence. 

Olivia Mettler



Swiss national born in 1975, Ms. Olivia Mettler studied International Hospitality Management at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and graduated in 1999.


With more than 18 years of financial experience in multinationals and international non-profit companies, she is a Finance & Administration executive, member of the board of directors of the International AIDS Society (IAS). More recently, Ms. Mettler graduated in Enterprise Risk Management at the University of Geneva.

Bernard Kadasia



Mr. Bernard Kadasia is a senior level professional who brings together close to forty years of experience in technical, managerial and leadership positions in government, civil society, private sector, and international non-governmental organizations.

Until March 2015 Mr. Kadasia was employed by the International AIDS Society (IAS) Geneva as Deputy Executive Director and Director of Policy and Advocacy, Research Promotion and Communications. Prior to joining the IAS, he worked for 17 years for the International Co-operative Alliance as Director of the Regional Office for East, Central and Southern Africa, in Moshi, Tanzania and in Nairobi, Kenya. 


Since 2012 he is the President of the Geneva-based Alliance for Health Promotion, an international NGO in Official Relations with the World Health Organization. The Alliance has official UN ECOSOC Status. Mr. Kadasia is also a member of the Supervisory Board of North Star Alliance.  North Star Alliance provides quality healthcare across Africa to mobile populations and the communities they interact with.

Maria Halkias



Dr. Maria Halkias received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in Scotland in the History of Art. She has worked in the field of arts for more than seven years, supporting the promotion and advancement of women in the art world, working primarily with socially engaged artists and art networks. Since then she has contributed to numerous articles and book chapters on the subject.

Dr. Halkias worked as Communications Manager at Reproductive Health Matters, before joining a start-up team as Project Manager.

Former Board Members

Emily T. Blitz


Ms. Emily T. Blitz is the director of public health focused conferences with twenty years of experience in public relations, multicultural team leadership and stakeholder engagement. She has intimate knowledge of all programmatic and logistical aspects involved with implementing conferences and events for 25 to 25,000 participants. Ms. Blitz has worked for UNAIDS, UNICEF, Gavi – the vaccine alliance, the International AIDS Society, World Heart Federation and the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Ms. Blitz is passionate about health and development issues, particularly HIV, TB, NCDs, vaccines, sustainable agriculture, women's health and children's rights. Her early career included communication services for an international research institution, grass-roots health improvement projects and stage management.

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