Board of Directors

IWRAW Asia Pacific has a six-member Board of Directors that has final decision-making authority on all legal, policy and financial matters.


Shanthi Dairiam

Founding member and former Executive Director of IWRAW Asia Pacific. Shanthi has extensive experience in managing women’s rights programmes and has been involved in building capacity for women’s rights advocacy for over 20 years, both with Malaysian organisations and also at the regional and international levels. She has served as an expert assisting key UN agencies such as APGEN, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and UNIFEM. She holds a Masters in Literature from the University of Madras, India and a Masters in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Shanthi served a four-year term (2005-2008) as an expert member of the CEDAW Committee.

Noor Farida Ariffin

Dato' Farida was the former Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands. She is a founding member and former Vice-President of Women's Aid Organisation in Malaysia, and a former council member of the National Advisory Council for the Integration of Women in Development (NACIWID). She was formerly a part of the Steering Committee member of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), the former Director of the Women and Development Programme of the Commonwealth Secretariat based in London, and the former President of the Association of Women Lawyers in Malaysia. Dato’ Farida is currently a member of the Regional Council of APWLD.

Sapana Pradhan Malla

Sapana is the president of the Forum for Women, Law and Development, Nepal , an organisation that is working to implement CEDAW in the National context. A legal advocate and women’s human rights activist, Sapana has extensive experience in women’s human rights, legal advocacy, law reform, public interest litigation and has worked with many international agencies and NGOs in women’s rights implementation strategies. Sapana has also been an Advisory Board Member for IWRAW Asia Pacific since 1998.

Lesley Ann Foster

Dr Lesley Ann Foster is the founder and Director of Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre in 1995 as a crisis support centre for women and girl children survivors of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault in the Eastern Cape. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Fort Hare University in 2006 in recognition of her contribution to end violence against women. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize through the 1000 Women’s Nobel Peace Prize Initiative, an Ashoka fellow, and was the first African president of Amanitare, a Pan African network of organisations operating in 28 countries on the African continent.

Dr Foster has contributed to the development of women’s groups in the MENA regions and is part of a Middle Eastern Task Team addressing the trafficking of women and girls. She was appointed to the South African Moral Regeneration Movements National Board of Directors (2013), a Board Member of the Eastern Cape AIDS Council (2012) and the Deputy Chairperson of the Civil Society forum within the AIDS Council, Chairperson of Capraway Development Agency (2013).

Dr Foster had received awards from Women’s Southern African Social Entrepreneurship, Eastern Cape award for Excellence in Health Promotion, Metropolitan Eastern Cape Award for Humanitarian work, Katlego Spirit of Hope award by the South African NGO Coalition, and Joan Harris Rotary international Award

Amal Hadi

Amal is the founding member of New Woman Foundation, Egypt. Her organisation also coordinates the Coalition for Equality Without Reservation (EWR) from 2010 to 2013, which has since moved to Lebanon. This Coalition is one of IWRAW Asia Pacific's regional CEDAW partners in the Middle East North Africa region. Amal was also on the Planning Committee of Musawah, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family from 2007 until 2010.
Amal has published and conducted extensive research and advocacy in the field of women’s rights, particularly with regard to reproductive health, violence against women, and female genital mutilation.

Noraida Endut

Dr Noraida Endut is Associate Professor and Director at the Women’s Development Research Centre (KANITA), Universiti Sains Malaysia. She has a law degree from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and LLM (Law and Development) and PhD degrees from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom. She is currently involved in academic and advocacy-related research projects on the socio-legal aspects of women’s issues and sits on the university’s Sexual Harassment Committee. She was a Regional Consultant (Asia Pacific) for the Due Diligence Project on Violence Against Women ( between 2011 and 2013. She coordinated training programmes on violence against women for the NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women (NIEW) between 2007 and 2009 and also coordinated the drafting of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Policy and Protocol on Sexual Harassment that came into effect in July 2009.