Sunday, January 3, 2021

Ronni Komarow's latest Galatea exhibit: "Paths Well Traveled"

 From Ronni's Exhibit Handout:

Photo by Eric West

"All my life I have walked for solace, for socializing, for nurturing my soul. I have always believed that spaces, both indoors and out, are powerful, spiritual protagonists in our lives.

Growing up, I frequently strolled on South Broadway in Yonkers, NY with my best friend, Sonia. We met classmates all along the way. As an undergraduate in Philadelphia I walked through Center City and later as a graduate student I hiked over silent deep-woods trails in rural Vermont.

Here in Boston I walk along the banks of my beloved Chandler Pond. I take runs along the Charles River, and walk there with my husband and with close friends. Both Chandler Pond and the Charles River are constants in my life, and yet both are constantly changing, continual sources of wonder.

During the pandemic the outdoor spaces in my personal world have taken on epic proportions, nurtur- ing and healing, as I walk through them almost every day. The regular sharing of these spaces is key to my sense of connection to others in a world of social distancing.

This exhibition, 'Paths Well Traveled,' is my tribute to those spaces.

Many of the works here involve monotype, a technique where ink is painted on a non-porous surface and then transferred to paper. To evoke the feeling of traveling over a path, I used scroll-format printing, working with images that are perhaps eight or ten inches high — and as many as ten feet long. Even with drawing, this is an unwieldy format — and an exciting creative challenge."

On Gerry's Balcony, Trouville
Photo courtesy Ronni

to Run, to Become
Photo by Brenda Gael McSweeney

Our Next Addition to 'Women & UN Origins' Series, Dr. Marilyn Carr's "Women, the League of Nations and the UN: A Story 3 Parts!"

A message from UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Director, Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney:

Hello Friends,

Hope you’ve been having a pleasant Winter Solstice season -- despite these trying times!

We're excited to announce the next addition to our new "Women & UN Origins" series of the BU-based UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture, and People-Centered Development! Joining us once again in shaping and publishing the series is the Buenos Aires-headquartered Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender led by Gloria Bonder.

Our latest in the series is an article by Marilyn Carr entitled "WOMEN, THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS AND THE UNITED NATIONS: A STORY IN THREE PARTS" -- see link below. Dr. Carr established UNIFEM’s Regional Office for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) based in Harare, and carried out many other trailblazing UN functions!

This feature provides Marilyn's point of view on "how the work of earlier generations of women formed the basis of future work on gender equality in the UN." It is indeed hard to imagine women having successfully gained the roles and influence that they did over time in the United Nations System, without being able to build on the foothold established during the League of Nations era.

We're grateful to Marilyn for her clear presentation of insights into women's priorities, and the intensity of their struggles, during this foundational chapter.

As Gloria has noted, "we want particularly to encourage young researchers and activists to know and value what has been done and achieved." Both our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network and the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender wish to highlight the importance of sharing accounts on the creation of key international institutions and pathbreaking initiatives, for today’s social justice activists, academics, students, and policymakers.

Happy reading! Article here:

Wishing you a bright 2021!
Be super well--Brenda

Brenda Gael McSweeney on behalf of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture, and People-Centered Development;
with Gloria Bonder on behalf of the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender


 League of Nations Pioneer

 Rachel Crowdy, circa 1932, University of Bristol, special collection, DM1584/1

Gathering at the African Training and Research Centre for Women, Ethiopia in the1970s
L to R: Marilyn Carr, Nellie Okello, Mary Tadesse, Brenda Gael McSweeney

 "One of my Regional Science and Technology Meetings while working at ATRCW. Note because of subject matter Governments sent men! Only women there were me and my young Ethiopian Assistant!" - Marilyn Carr

"Regional Meeting in Kathmandu co-organised by UNIFEM, IDRC (International Development and Research Centre) and WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing). Nancy Spence from IDRC in centre. Ela Bhatt {Founder, Self-Employed Women's Association, India - pictured to her left}, Nepali Government dignitary {at far left}, myself {Marilyn at right}, and Marty Chen {of WIEGO at far right}"- Marilyn Carr

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Mei-Mei Ellerman is featured in UVA's latest exhibit event as a Storyteller!

UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Affiliate Unbound Visual Arts (UVA) is hosting a new series called New Narratives: Reclaiming Asian Identity Through Story. Long active in our Network, Mei-Mei Ellerman is featured as a Storyteller in UVA's latest exhibition event with several NGO Partners. Congratulations to UVA, the Artists, and Storytellers engaged in this creative work!

More on UVA's latest exhibition Storyteller event here:

Mei-Mei's full story in UVA's link above:

Storyteller Artist Statement

A brief account of my decades-long search for identity and belonging. 

Though I still consider myself a world citizen, having lived in many countries I consider "home," it was only by attempting to weave together the endless threads of my families' tapestry (adoptive and biological), that I developed a full sense of my identity. 

According to my Maman, grandfather use to say, "Wherever you hang your hat is Home." That is how she felt as she spent decades living on different continents until she gently slipped away at the age of 94. I followed in both their footsteps, and never felt out of place, no matter what the country, even if I didn't speak the language. And yet, did I fully belong? Was I able to close my eyes and feel that I was surrounded by "my people?"

Photo courtesy Mei-Mei Ellerman

Mei-Mei also currently chairs the Gender and International Development Initiatives (GaIDI) at Brandeis University. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Glimpse at Environmental Heritage in Brighton!

Here's a message from DB Reiff about Lisa Hirsh of the Board of the Friends of Faneuil Library, a UNESCO/UNITWIN Affiliate, and Lisa's artwork, which resonates with our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network interests in Environmental Heritage. Brava to Lisa!

Hi all,

Some of you know that Lisa is a watercolor painter.

Recently she submitted a painting to the Newton Watercolor Society to be considered for its show "Nature in Watercolor." Not only was the painting, Vernal Pool in the Rain, accepted, it was awarded First Prize in the "Most Creative and Imaginative" category.

Here is the commentary by the judge, Barry Van Dusen, about the painting:

"Not only is this piece whimsical and FUN, it also shows a sophisticated use of repeated patterns and rhythms, and employs a gestural application of paint that provides great variety and movement. I could look at this for a long time, and still make new discoveries!"

I thought you'd enjoy this 90 second video of Lisa discussing what inspired her to paint the pool and the materials she used. It is shot on location in Brighton, Mass.

[Watch Video Here!] Vernal Pool in the Rain

Also, The Newton Festival of the Arts will broadcast its festival online this October and all of the art groups in Newton have been asked to participate, so you can see Lisa's painting and many Newton artists' work there.

Good September to all,


Photo of Lisa Hirsch’s painting Vernal Pool in the Rain: courtesy Newton Watercolor Society

Sunday, September 6, 2020

100 Years (and Counting), Artist Ronni Komarow's Installation in Galatea's new live Exhibition!

100 Years (and Counting), Artist Ronni Komarow's latest installation in Galatea's "Light From Above: Emerging Out of Isolation" Exhibition

Ronni Komarow's 100 Years (and Counting)
Photo by/© Eric West

Dates: September 4 through October 31, 2020
Location: Galatea Fine Art, 460 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118
Description: 100 Years (and Counting) is a tribute to the centennial of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote. It is also a fund-raising project for Fair Fight, an organization founded by Stacey Abrams and dedicated to promoting voting rights for all qualified citizens. There are 100 gloves in Galatea artist Ronni Komarow's installation, signifying the centennial; white was the color worn by suffragists and is symbolic of the cause. Jennie Loitman Barron, one of the 100 women honored by Ronni, is also featured in "Women of Vision: The Brighton Allston Women's Heritage Trail Guide" of the Brighton-Allston Historical Society (BAHS), a UNESCO/UNITWIN Affiliate, at
and in the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail organization‘s recently-launched Suffrage Trail at
Artist Ronni Komarow is affiliated with the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture & People-Centered Development anchored at Boston University's Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program, an officer of the Board of Directors of Galatea Fine Art and of the BAHS, and an Alumna of Brandeis University's Women's Studies Research Center.
More Info:

Ronni talk: video by Brenda Gael McSweeney

Ronni exhibit: video by Brenda Gael McSweeney

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Announcing our new 'Women & UN Origins' series first entry by Margaret (Peg) Snyder!

A message from UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Director, Dr. Brenda Gael McSweeney:

Hi Everyone,

Hope you had a nice weekend!

We're writing to confirm the launch of our new UNESCO/UNITWIN Network "Women & UN Origins" series! Joining us in shaping and publishing the series is the Buenos Aires-based Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender led by Gloria Bonder.

First in the series is an article by Margaret (Peg) Snyder entitled "THEY CAN MOVE US BUT THEY CAN’T STOP US: Surviving the Early Years of 'Women and Development' in the United Nations," attached below. Dr. Snyder, long affiliated with our BU/WGS-based UNESCO/UNITWIN Network, is the Founding Director of UNIFEM (1978-89) as well as a co-founder of the African Centre for Women in 1971. This feature provides a firsthand view, in Peg’s words, of the "... history on the vagaries of establishing the women’s center in Addis and UNIFEM."

Thanks to Peg for her candid presentation of unique insights into these pivotal events --- and Brava for her pioneering contributions decade after decade!

As Gloria notes, we want "... particularly to encourage young researchers and activists to know and value what has been done and achieved." Our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network and the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender both wish to highlight the importance of sharing direct accounts on the creation of key international institutions and pathbreaking initiatives, for today’s social justice activists, academics and students, and policymakers.

Happy reading!

Cheers, & be well, Brenda

Brenda Gael McSweeney on behalf of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture, and People-Centered Development;
with Gloria Bonder on behalf of the Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Gender

L to R: Marilyn Carr, Peg Snyder, Pamela Mboya, Brenda Gael McSweeney:
ATRCW/ECA, Addis (Circa 1975)!
Photo: Collection of Marilyn Carr
Margaret (Peg) Snyder at left, leaving party at ECA in 1977. Tall gentleman with glasses standing in centre is James Riby-Williams, Head of Social Division and Peg’s boss and supporter. At right, ATRCW colleague Marilyn Carr.
Photo: Collection of Marilyn Carr

UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Highlights Reel 2018-2020 Now Published!

The BU/WGS-based UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture & People-Centered Development has just published the Highlights Reel for September 2018-May 2020!

Please enjoy this visual portrayal of some of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network's impressive accomplishments in India, West Africa, and Greater Boston, featuring key special events and publications. The Highlights Reel for this period amplifies grassroots voices for our UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Gender, Culture & People-Centered Development anchored at BU's Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program (WGS), including a new series on a young women's forum.

More here:

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

UNESCO/UNITWIN Network Supports Black Lives Matter

A Message from the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network:

Hi Everyone,

We hope you are well, or as well as one can be, during these devastating times.

Please see the message below from BU/WGS's Director, Dr. Catherine 'Cati' Connell, in support of Black Lives Matter. The UNESCO/UNITWIN Network also supports Black Lives Matter and "commitments to anti-racist action," as Dr. Connell states. Here's the link:

See too the message from Unbound Visual Arts' Board of Directors, a UNESCO/UNITWIN Affiliate, on responding to the reality of racism (below Dr. Connell's message). 

Please take great care --

Brenda on behalf of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network

Black Lives Matter

June 3, 2020
Although I am conscious of how such public statements can come off as perfunctory and performative, BU WGS cannot remain silent at a time when every voice needs to be deployed in support of Black lives. Racist violence and murder at the hands of police and other state actors is an inexorable part of our nation’s history. Unfortunately, there is nothing particularly new or specific to this political administration about police murders such as those of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd, about civilians weaponizing the police as in the case of Christian Cooper, or about civilians committing anti-Black murders such as Ahmaud Arbery’s, among the countless others we mourn in the wake of state violence. Nor is there anything novel about the violent suppression of protest we are experiencing in this moment. This is part of a historical pattern, characterized by cycles of radical uprisings and subsequent retrenchment of the unjust status quo. It is our ethical obligation to learn this history, learn from this history, and to seize moments of uprising to agitate for sustained social change. 
As the feminists who founded WGS would remind us, the personal is political. There are ample opportunities, today and every day, to effect change in our personal lives and to use personal experience to drive collective political action. For many of us, this moment is an opportunity to push ourselves into a deeper understanding of and commitments to anti-racist action. It is, crucially, also a time to amplify the voices of and give resources to Black people and Black communities and to push through discomfort or the desire to center whiteness in these conversations.
To that end, I would like to use the remainder of this message to boost a number of projects here at BU, in Boston, and beyond.
I encourage our community members to read the BU African American Studies Program’s Statement and BU Law Dean Onwuachi-Willig’s reflections. I ask that you support the fundraiser organized by UMOJA: The BU Black Student Union and BU student government. I urge you to join and amplify these events organized by the BU Office of Diversity & Inclusion and to keep an eye out for emails coming from BU Diversity & Inclusion for a comprehensive list of events and BU-led direct action.
Black Lives Matter Boston, along with a number of other organizations, coordinates and amplifies local and national direct action efforts. There are many resources available to help connect you with the many opportunities to contribute to anti-racist efforts, for example, this Ways to Help guide or this roundup of places to donate, learn more, and join the protest. How To Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi is an especially valuable, accessible text for those looking to learn more about challenging institutional racism and white supremacy.
I would also like to highlight two BU WGS courses that may be especially useful for your anti-racist education: WS 335: Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender, taught by Professors Saida Grundy & Sarah Miller and WS 393: Technoculture and Horizons of Gender and Race, taught by Professor Takeo Rivera. 
If you have more questions or ideas about the fight for racial justice, if you have events or texts you’d like us to amplify, if you need help accessing resources, please be in touch.  Along with many of my colleagues, I am making a commitment to prioritize students, faculty, and staff who need WGS’s support and partnership in anti-racist action and to center it in our events, curriculum, and co-sponsorships.
Much love and solidarity,
Cati Connell, (Program Director, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Derek Anderson (Lecturer, Philosophy)
Japonica Brown-Saracino (Professor, Sociology)
Arianne Chernock (Associate Professor, History)
Joanna Davidson (Associate Professor, Anthropology)
Shelly DeBiasse (Clinical Associate Professor, SAR Health Sciences)
Sean Desilets (Senior Lecturer, CAS Writing Program)
Bria Dunham (Clinical Associate Professor, SAR Health Sciences)
Sarah Frederick (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)
Kyle Gobrogge (Lecturer, Neuroscience)
Max Greenberg (Lecturer, Sociology)
Samia Hesni (Assistant Professor, Philosophy)
Carolyn Hodges-Simeon (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)
Cheryl Knott (Professor, Anthropology)
Petrus Liu (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)
Lida Maxwell (Associate Professor, Political Science)
Olivia McCargar (Program Coordinator, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Marie Satya McDonough (Lecturer, CAS Writing Program)
Sandy McEvoy (Director of Graduate Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Brenda Gael McSweeney (Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Ashley Mears (Associate Professor, Sociology)
Luis Menéndez-Antuña (Assistant Professor, School of Theology)
Roberta Micallef (Professor of the Practice, World Languages & Literature)
Sarah Miller (Lecturer, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Erin Murphy (Professor, English)
Lynn O’Brien Hallstein (Professor, CGS Division of Rhetoric)
Anthony Petro (Associate Professor, Religion)
Carrie Preston (Director, Kilachand Honors College; Professor, English)
Takeo Rivera (Assistant Professor, English)
Christopher Schmitt (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)
Sophie Seita (Assistant Professor, English)
Merav Shohet (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)
Nancy J. Smith-Hefner (Chair, Anthropology)
Susanne Sreedhar (Director of Undergraduate Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Associate Professor, Philosophy)
Deborah Swedberg (Lecturer, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)
Keith Vincent (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)
Karen Warkentin (Professor, Biology)
Yoon Sun Yang (Associate Professor, World Languages & Literature)

June 11, 2020

 Unbound Visual Arts Responds to the Reality of Racism
Unbound Visual Arts (UVA) is in solidarity with and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests against racial injustice toward Black Americans across Boston and the country have moved many to think about white privilege. Unbound Visual Arts is no different. The Board of Directors and Council of Advisors of Unbound Visual Arts want everyone to know we are committed to seeking ways to contribute towards positive changes for individuals in the Black community.  As an organization, we are reflectively thinking of ways we can contribute a stronger voice so the art we present contributes towards social justice, racial equity and is promoting and highlighting diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusiveness. Some of which can include organizing socially and culturally significant exhibits, partnering with and participating in art-related events, programs and activities offered by others where the message focuses on combating racism and promoting social and economic justice for Black Americans and other marginalized groups in the Boston area. We believe learning and educating one’s self is an important first step that everyone can take. Unbound Visual Arts is committed to helping make that step happen. We’ll keep everyone posted on all of our efforts to be a part of the solution.

Thank you for joining us.

The Unbound Visual Arts' Board of Directors:
Ruth Rieffanaugh, Heidi Lee, Susan Loomis-Wing, Diane Sheridan, John Quatrale, Christine Winship, Jeanne Lin, Anthony Carmoega

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Scholastique Kompaoré: Celebrating Access of Women and Girls to Education!

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2020, a new film on the UNESCO Equal Access of Women and Girls to Education Project was televised in West Africa. Below is the actual television footage of the Project’s National Coordinator, Scholastique Kompaoré, who led this path-breaking endeavor in the 1970s. While the film entitled The Blood of Emancipation (Le sang de l’émancipation) centers on women leaders who tragically lost their lives in a bus accident at that time, the film Director Jules Ouédraogo is paying tribute to their pioneering contributions in lightening women’s workloads and promoting women’s empowerment.