United Nations

Baha'i UN Representative elected to head NGO women's committee in New York

NEW YORK - Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative of the Bahá'í International Community to the United Nations, has been elected to chair the main committee of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with women's issues at the UN.

Ms. Dugal will serve for two years as Chair of the non-governmental organizations' Committee on the Status of Women in New York. She was elected by acclamation at the Committee's annual meeting here on 12 June 2003.

As Chair of the Committee, Ms. Dugal will work with all departments at the United Nations to promote the advancement of women and girls and the equality of women and men.

"Each of the UN agencies has a person assigned as a 'gender focal point,' and our goal is to work closely with them to ensure that gender concerns are mainstreamed into all policies," said Ms. Dugal.

"In particular, we want to focus on promoting the concept of partnership between women and men, and the role of men and boys in the advancement of women and girls," Ms. Dugal said.

"Another issue we hope to focus on is peace and security and post-conflict resolution," Ms. Dugal said. "We want to see women represented at the peace table, and in the post-conflict work, in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries."

Ms. Dugal previously served as the Committee's vice-chair. The Committee is composed of about 200 international non-governmental organizations, and networks with hundreds more around the world.

In March, Bani Dugal was appointed Principal Representative of the Bahá'í International Community to the United Nations. Ms. Dugal had been serving as interim Principal Representative, since Techeste Ahderom completed his duties in 2001.

Ms. Dugal came to the Bahá'í International Community in 1994, and for many years served as Director of the Community's Office for the Advancement of Women. A native of India, where she practiced law before coming to the United States, Ms. Dugal holds a Masters in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law in New York.

The Bahá'í International Community has long been active in the Committee's work. Mary Power, who was director of the Community's Office for the Advancement of Women until her retirement in 1997, served as the Committee's chair from 1991 to 1995. In that position, Ms. Power also served on the Global NGO Facilitating Committee, which organized the NGO Forum on Women, held in Huairou, China from 30 August to 8 September 1995, in parallel with the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995.