Circle of Honor

The circle of honor recognizes distinguished service to the NGO CSW Geneva and dedication to the promotion of human rights and the empowerment of women and girls. 

Ursula Barter-Hemmerich, International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

Ursula Barter (left) with Carolyn Handschin

An active member for many years, Ursula was elected to serve the Bureau as secretary for three separate terms, totaling 9 years. She has been a vital part of various working groups and task forces as well as the NGO committee on Aging. A professional interpreter, Ursula has continuously and graciously volunteered her skills for simultaneous interpretations at many high-profile Committee events and conferences and translated numerous documents for the Committee. Ursula has been a voice of wisdom and council for the Committee and a beloved and generous friend to its members for decades.

Anne Herdt, International Council of Social Welfare

A long-time dedicated member of the Committee and the convenor of the working group on Women’s health, Anne served as President for two consecutive terms from 1986 to 1991. In 2007 she initiated and led a task force with the purpose of raising awareness for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognizing Eleanor Roosevelt and her legacy as the driving force behind the UDHR. This resulted in a memorial to Eleanor Roosevelt and the UDHR being erected at the Place des Nations in 2008 for the 60th anniversary of the declaration. This initiative was recognized and supported by individual and organizational donors, the city of Geneva and the Swiss government. Anne Herdt passed away September 2023. She will be remembered as a warrior for the vulnerable and the voiceless, a strong woman with a clever wit, natural dignity, and a generous heart that wanted no one left out.

Berhane Ras-Work, United for Equity and Ending Racism (UFER)

Berhane Ras-Work (center)

Besides serving on the Bureau as Vice President, Berhane has remained an active member a of the NGO CSW Geneva even when living in Ethiopia and has a long history of working with the Committee on the issues of violence against women, harmful traditional practices and FGM. She has authored publications and organized and participated in side events on these issues for the Committee and the UN an its agencies. Berhane was the founder and Executive Director of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC). She is well known internationally as an FGM activist, as she has challenged governments and the African Union to play a more vigorous role in the fight against FGM and helping to eradicate it.

Read more about her work here.

Edith Ballantyne, Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

When the Committee on the Status of Women, Geneva was established in 1973 Edith Ballantyne was elected to its first Bureau, representing the Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom.  She served on that first founding Bureau until 1977. In 2008 Edith was again elected to the Bureau as Vice President. Edith has been a constant force throughout the Committee’s history, recognizing that disarmament and peace are very much a woman’s business and advocating for women as peace makers with an important role to play in conflict resolution. She established and became the convener of the NGO CSW Geneva’s working group “Women and Peace”. Edith represented the NGO CSW Geneva at the all-important 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing. In that same year, Edith was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award, established to honor individuals for promotion of international peace and good will. 

As the NGO CSW Geneva celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023, we are pleased to have the continued involvement of a founding member of the NGO CSW Geneva, who is as inspiring today as she was 50 years ago.