• Portrait Photo
  • Krishanti Dharmaraj
  • Executive Director

Krishanti Dharmaraj, executive director, is a feminist and human rights activist with over 25 years of experience working to advance the rights of women and girls. She is the founder of the Dignity Index, a human rights measurement tool utilized to ensure equity and inclusion to reduce identity-based discrimination. Previously, Ms. Dharmaraj was the Western Regional Spokesperson for Amnesty International USA. She is also the co-founder of WILD for Human Rights (Women’s Institute for Leadership Development) and the Sri Lanka Children’s Fund.

Ms. Dharmaraj serves on the Steering Committee for the Feminist Alliance for Rights and the Board of Directors of IDEX; is a member of the Spotlight Civil Society Global Reference Group; a Trustee of THIRST (The International Roundtable for Sustainable Tea) and the North East Women’s Network in Sri Lanka; and is on the Advisory Boards of Amnesty International, the Human Rights Project of the Urban Justice Center, South Asia Democracy Watch, and Machik (an organization enhancing the wellbeing of those living in Tibet). She has also served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International; Women, Law and Development; Horizons Foundation; and the Center for Asian Pacific Women.

Under her leadership, San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to pass legislation implementing an international human rights treaty. As a result of passing CEDAW in San Francisco, the city implemented a gender analysis in departments that assessed employment, programming and service delivery, and resource allocation. Currently, this public policy strategy is being implemented in cities across the United States. She has received numerous awards for her cutting-edge work, conducted training and lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad.

Ms. Dharmaraj has an MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, at Berkeley.

  • Portrait Photo
  • Ousseina Alidou, Ph.D.
  • Faculty Director

Ousseina D. Alidou is a Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Languages and Literature and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is Rutgers University Academic Director of the Mandela Washington Young Fellowship/YALI-Civic Leadership (2016-present); Professor Alidou is a theoretical linguist, gender, and cultural critic whose research focuses on women’s agency in African Muslim societies in the Sahel and East Africa (Kenya); gendered discourses of citizenship and rights; gender, education, politics, and leadership.  She is the author of Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, a runner-up Aidoo-Schneider Book Prize of Women's Caucus of the Association of African Studies) and Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, Political and Social Change (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2013); Alidou co-edited Writing through the Visual and Virtual: Inscribing Language, Literature, and Culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean with Renée Larrier (Kentucky: (After the Empire: The Francophone World and Postcolonial France) Lexington Book, 2015); Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Africa with Ahmed Sikainga ( (Trenton: Africa World Press, 2006) and A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities, Co-edited with Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2000);. In addition, she has published over 50 book chapters and articles which appear in Research in African Literatures, Sprache und Geschichte in Afrika (SUGIA); Comparative Literature; and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East; and Africa Today

Professor Ousseina Alidou is the recipient of several national and international scholarly and service awards including the Obafemi Awolowo Center for Gender and Social Policy Studies Distinguished Visiting Scholar Service Award (2015); Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Award (2015); Newark Women-in-the Media Distinguished Community Service Award (2015); Rutgers University 2011 Warren I. Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching; Africa America Institute (AAI)’s Distinguished Alumni Award (2010) and serves currently as AAI Board Member;  Ford Foundation Human Rights and Social Justice Grant Award (2005); Rutgers University Board of Trustee’s Scholarly Excellence Award (2005); University of Hamburg, GERMANY, Visiting Professor Fellowship, Department of Linguistics and African Studies and Graduate Faculty of Intercultural Education (2003) ; and University of Lueneburg Graduate Faculty in Postcolonial Cultural Studies Visiting Scholars’ Writing Fellowship Award (2002).

Professor Ousseina Alidou has been a member of the ASA since 1994. Her other previous appointments and services include Chair of the All African Studies Programs (USA) (2009-2011). Director of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers University (2009-Spring2015); She taught in several American Universities including  (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; The Ohio State University; Ohio University; Cleveland State University) and was a visiting Professor at the University of Hamburg in Germany and the University of Lueneburg (Germany); a visiting Professor at Université Abdou Moumouni (Republic of Niger); She served as external doctoral thesis reviewer University of Winneba (Ghana); She serves as a Senior Faculty Advisor to UNESCO BREDA’s Gender and Transformative Leadership Curriculum Design for African Universities and Civil Society.