Women’s health and human rights authority, Adrienne Germain, speaks about a new global agenda for health, March 25, 2009

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-Adrienne Germain, noted for her pioneering work for women's equality in the 1970s and 80s to help reshape global policy on women's health and human rights, will speak at Vassar College on Wednesday, March 25. Free and open to the public, her lecture, "A New Global Agenda for Girls' and Women's Health and Rights," will begin at 5:30pm in Main Building's Villard Room.

Following President Obama's inauguration, Germain was interviewed by the Washington Post about hopes held by advocacy groups of the end an era emphasizing abstinence-only sex and where funding for abortions in developing nations was blocked: "The American people have been stifled by the loud and well-organized views of a minority, legitimized by the White House . . .This is a restoration of the majority view, which is that most people want to see the separation of church and state."

Under her leadership, as president of the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC), Germain has created international policy innovations, led global advocacy for sexual and reproductive rights and health, and helped build local organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the mid-1980s, with Joan Dunlop, a longtime advocate for women, Germain joined and revitalized IWHC, turning it into a leading international advocate for women's sexual health and rights.

After training in sociology and demography at Wellesley College and the University of California, Berkeley, Germain worked at the Population Council and the Ford Foundation. While at Ford, she designed and managed programs that supported women's work and credit opportunities and advanced girls' and women's health and educational needs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

A skilled strategist and negotiator on U.S. government delegations to world conferences on population, women, and development from 1993 to 2000, Germain helped revolutionize the way the world views population policy and funding by making women's sexual and reproductive rights and health central.

A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the editorial board of Reproductive Health Matters, the board of BRAC-USA, two Human Rights Watch Advisory Committees, Programme Committee of the 2008 Global Ministerial Forum on Research for Health, and UNDP's Expert Group on Gender and AIDS Responses, Germain also served on the Millennium Development Goals Project Task Force on Child Mortality and Maternal Health. She received an honorary doctorate from Bard College in 2001 and was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York in 2005.

The World Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley is presenting this program with co-sponsorship from departments, programs, offices, and student organizations at Vassar College. These include the Vassar College Economics Department, Health Service, Health Education Office, International Studies and Women's Studies Programs, Vassar College Amnesty International, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Operation Donation, P.E.A.C.E., UNICEF, and the Vassar Uganda Project. Co-sponsors from the Hudson Valley community include the American Association of University Women, Poughkeepsie Branch; Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill; Hudson River HealthCare; League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region; and Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, February 27, 2009