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Ariana Leon Rabindranath is Chief Operating Officer for Women’s Learning Partnership for Rights, Development and Peace, an organization dedicated to women’s leadership and empowerment. At its essence, WLP is a builder of networks, working with 20 autonomous and independent partner organizations in the Global South, particularly in Muslim-majority societies, to empower women to transform their families, communities, and societies.
From 2011-2013 she served as Associate Director of the Global Gender Program in the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, where she was co-Principle Investigator for the U.S. Department of State-funded project, “Women and Water in South and Central Asia: Building International Social Capital for Sustainable Peace and Development.” She was Project Director for “Women and Healthy Sustainable Societies,” a research grant focused on gender and environmental policies in East Africa, funded by a conservation organization. As part of a team of faculty and staff, Ariana conducted an evaluation of a psycho-social program in Thailand for Burmese migrant worker and refugee women. As a follow-up, she organized a symposium and wrote the following report on “Migrant Women Workers in Southeast Asia: Challenges, Programs and Best Practices.”
Ariana has 15 years of global experience in research, strategic engagement, and project management on social development issues including gender inequality, sustainable development, and culture, with a focus on Asia.
She wrote a report for the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on “Finding a Voice: Pathways Women Take to Politics in the Asia-Pacific Region,” and presented her research at the UNDP Asia-Pacific regional conference on political equality in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and at the 3rd Annual European Conference on Politics and Gender in Barcelona, Spain.
From 2000-2011, Ariana worked at Asia Society as Associate Director and Head of Women’s Initiatives in Washington, DC, where she designed, implemented, moderated and raised funds for symposia on women’s empowerment and human rights (many of them listed here). She conducted research on violence against women in Asia and developed an extensive database of stakeholders working to empower women.
Ariana earned an M.A. in International Affairs with a focus on Women in Development and Southeast Asia and a B.A. in International Studies, both from Ohio University.
She is co-founder of The Bindi Project, an NGO with a mission to reduce violence and discrimination against girls and women in India by engaging men and boys.
Ariana is also a founding member of Friends of Prajwala USA, a chapter supporting the Indian anti-trafficking organization Prajwala, and she is served on the Board of the Malaysia-America Society from 2004-2012. Ariana has lived, worked and traveled throughout Asia and parts of Europe.