Urooj Arshad is the Director of International LGBTQ Youth Health and Rights at Advocates for Youth, where she builds the capacity of organizations working on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the global south. She has also designed a project that addresses the reproductive and sexual health needs of Muslim youth. She is the co-founder of the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD), which addresses the intersectional impact of islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia. Urooj has presented at the International HIV/AIDS Conferences; the European Science Foundation’s conference on Religion, Gender and Human Rights; the White House’s LGBT Pride and Heritage Event; the National Press Club, Capitol Hill, the State Department, Funding Forward and at national convenings of Muslim thought-leaders including one organized by the Harvard University’s Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program. Urooj was a member of the Center for American Progress’ Women’s Health Leadership Network and its Faith and Reproductive Justice Institute and a fellow with the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute. She is on the board of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Urooj is the recipient of the Latino GLBT History Project’s annual Mujeres en el Movimiento award, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance’s Community Catalyst Award, and the Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition’s We Speak award. Urooj served on the U.S. delegation to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2015.
Paisley Currah, Ph.D. is a professor of political science and women’s and gender studies at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He also occasionally works as an adjunct professor for the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Currah has written widely on the topics related to transgender rights rights, sex reclassification policies, and feminism. With Susan Stryker, he was the founding editor of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, the flagship journal of transgender studies. Currah co-edited, with Shannon Minter and Richard Juang, Transgender Rights, which won the Sylvia Rivera Award in Transgender Studies and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. As a founding board member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute Currah has advocated for transgender rights at all levels of government. He also serves on the board of directors Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE). His book, Sex is as Sex Does: Transgender Identity and the Politics of Classification, is forthcoming from New York University Press. Currah received his B.A. from Queen’s University and his Ph.D. from Cornell University.
Currah also consults as a content editor for book projects related to GLBT studies, gender studies, and transgender studies.
Ahmed El Hady, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized neuroscientist and a revolutionary activist. Ahmed was one of the co-founders of both the Egyptian Women’s Union, an organization which protects women's rights in Egypt and the recently formed Egyptian Coalition for Freedom and Justice which is concerned with human rights in Egypt. He is particularly interested in creating a safer environment for LGBTQ+ Egyptians and framing their political aspiration as an integral part of the struggle for freedom in Egypt. He has written and lobbied extensively on behalf of the Egyptian LGBTQ+ community. His interest in social change goes beyond activism to also policy and the scientific sphere. An Adler scholar, alumni of the Aspen Seminar and a member of the Egyptian Chapter of Pugwash organization on Science and World Affairs, he has participated and presented at world renowned international conferences on science policy and social responsibility.
As a neuroscientist, Ahmed is one of the world leaders in closed loop methodologies in neuroscience, editing the first ever reference work on the subject and innovating novel approaches to studying the brain. He holds a B.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Cairo University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self Organization (Goettingen, Germany). Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute where he is studying the neural basis of decision making.
Eduardo Hernandez was appointed to lead the first foreign desk of the Canadian-based Rainbow Railroad in 2017 where he champions efforts in the United States to fund a pathway to safety for those who are facing life-threatening violence, persecution and terroristic harassment simply for being LGBTQ+. Honoring the historic legacy of the Underground Railroad, the organization is inspired to provide resources, information, safe transit and supportive networks to people from all over the world. To date, more than 600 people have travelled with the support of Rainbow Railroad, escaping from one of more than 70 countries where people face criminalization and unspeakable violence just for loving who they love or how they express their gender.
Ping (Hoping) Hou is currently working as a global public service fellow at OutRight Action International, LGBTQ+ rights organization headquartered in New York City. She practiced law in private sector for several years in China. At the same time, she founded the first LGBTQ+ and women’s rights community-based group in her home province in 2010, working on community empowerment, public education, and advocacy. She was then selected as the 2015–16 international legal fellow with PILnet: the Global Network for Public Interest Law. In 2017, she obtained the Human Rights LL.M. scholarship to study at Columbia Law School. Her work and interests cover international law, human rights, gender equity, and social entrepreneurship. She is passionate with exploring innovative strategies to promote equality and social change. She was awarded the Global Public Service Fellowship by Columbia after graduation.