ISF 2013 | Health and Sustainable Development

The International Solidarity Forum is an annual training event for the most dedicated WYA members from all over Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. This year’s theme will introduce participants to the prevailing discourse on health and sustainable development. Participants will be given the opportunity to learn from, and dialogue with a distinguished panel of experts. 

Through the conference, they will acquire a more in depth understanding of health’s indispensable role in the current sustainable development agenda. Past ISF have addressed HIV/AIDS, Good Governance, Population and Development, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Maternal Health, and Population and Economics among others.

Theme and Important Dates

Theme: Health and Sustainable Development
Application deadline: March 15, 2013
Conference dates: April 15 – 18, 2013


Dr. Douglas Noble

Dr. Douglas Noble is a public health specialist who has worked at national and international levels, with  expertise in health policy and health systems.  Douglas initially read medicine at the University of  Oxford. Subsequently he worked as Clinical Adviser to the Chief Medical Officer for England, and as a  Medical Officer for WHO. This involved leading development of several WHO resources for member  countries.  His academic achievements include a master’s degree in Public Health from the Johns  Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, USA, and a Research Doctorate from Queen  Mary University of London.  Douglas’ skills in humanitarian work and with the charity sector have  developed through volunteering for over a decade as medical adviser, trustee, and latterly Chair of the  UK Board of the Jian Hua Foundation, an NGO with approx. 150 fulltime associates in China. This has  involved regular travel with medical teams to China, and work with a related effort, Project Dengke.  Douglas is currently a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice, supported by the  Commonwealth Fund.  Based at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, he is evaluating the population health role of Accountable Care Organizations (a key creation of Obamacare).

More details about Noble’s bio can be found here.

Andreas Widmer

Andreas Widmer is Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship. He is the cofounder of SEVEN Fund,  a philanthropic organization run by entrepreneurs who invest in original research, books, films,  and websites to further enterprise solutions to poverty. He works closely with entrepreneurs,  investors, and faith leaders around the world to foster enterprise solutions to poverty and  promote virtuous business practices, with an emphasis upon developing entrepreneurial  initiatives at the intersection of business and faith.

Andreas is a seasoned business executive with experience in high-tech and international business strategy consulting and economic development. He was an executive in residence at Highland Capital Partners, a venture capital firm. He served as CEO of OTF Group (formerly part of the Monitor Group) and helped lead Eprise Corporation, Dragon Systems and FTP Software. He has worked extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, and has brought more than 100 leading-edge technology products to market. He holds two business degrees from Switzerland, a B.S. in International Business from Merrimack College, and an M.A. in Ministry from St. John’s Seminary in Boston.

Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg

Dr. Henry Schwalbenberg is a member of the Economics Faculty at Fordham University where  he directs Fordham’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy and Development  (IPED).  At Fordham he teaches courses on Economic Development Policy, International  Economic Policy, Project Management and Assessment, and on Emerging Markets.  His  research has recently focused on foreign aid.

Dr. Schwalbenberg has traveled widely in East Asia, Latin America and Africa and he is an active collaborator with Catholic Relief Services.  He has won two faculty Fulbright Fellowships and several teaching awards.

Dr. Paloma Duran

Dr. Paloma Duran holds a Master and PhD in Law as well as a Master and PhD in Political  Science from UNED University in Spain.  In addition she has completed a Certificate in  International Affairs at New York University in New York.  She is a member of the Valencia and  Madrid Lawyers Association and a member of the Legislation and Jurisprudence Academy of  Madrid.

Dr. Duran also has an extensive professional experience in government and international organizations. Her appointments include: Vice Director of the Women’s Institute of Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs; Chief of Staff of the Secretary of State for Social Affairs also part of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs; and Counselor for Social Affairs and Human Rights at the Spanish Permanent Mission to the United Nations.  She has been a member of the group of specialists on Affirmative Action of the Council of Europe; a member of the Committee of the European Union on equality; panelist in the CSW, United Nations; and Vice-President of the Commission for Social Development (UN).

Dr. Duran is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books in the area of human rights, gender issues, development and equality.  Her most recent book, which will go to print this month is entitled Introducing Institutional Strengthening in Development Cooperation. She was born in Valencia (Spain), very close to the sea that she likes very much. She is a fan of Real Madrid.

Ambassador Carlos Enrique Garcia Gonzalez

H.E. Mr. Carlos Garcia was appointed as Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations on February 1, 2013. He is a career diplomat that had served his country in the United Nations since July 1, 1996.

Ambassador Carlos García has been in charge of the economic, financial, social, peace and security, peace building, humanitarian, environmental and human rights issues during his post in New York.

In this regard, he has represented El Salvador in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); the Commission for Social Development; the former Commission on Human Rights; the Commission on the Status of Women; the Commission on Population and Development; the Peacebuilding Commission as well as the Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/ UNOPS; the Executive Board of UNICEF and the former Executive Board of INSTRAW.

Ambassador Carlos Garcia is currently Vice-Chairman of the Commission for Social Development 2013-2014; Vice-Chairman of the Commission on the Status of Women 2012-2013 and served as Vice-President of the Executive Board of UNDP-UNFPA UNOPS in 2011. He also had served as Vice-Chairman of the Second Committee during the 64º session of the General Assembly; Vice-Chairman of the Third Committee during the 56th and 59th sessions of the General Assembly; Vice-Chairman of the former Executive Board of INSTRAW 2004-2006 and as Rapporteur of the Joint Executive Boards field visits to Guatemala (2004) and Azerbaijan (2005).

Prior to joining the Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the United Nations, he worked as Director of Multilateral Affairs (1996) and Chief of the Caribbean Affairs (1991-1995) at the Ministry of Foreign Affair of El Salvador. He holds a Special Course’s degree in International Relations from the Diplomatic Academy of Madrid (Spain) and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of El Salvador. Ambassador Carlos Garcia is married with Ines Elizabeth Oviedo de Garcia and has a daughter, Melanie Elizabeth Garcia Oviedo.