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Gender and Violence Expert Joins the Colin Powell School as a Visiting Professor

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Gender and Violence Expert Joins the Colin Powell School as a Visiting Professor

February 13,2015

Nimmi Gowrinathan, noted human rights specialist, brings initiative examining the politics of sexual violence to the Colin Powell School.

Nimmi Gowrinathan, a leading researcher, analyst, and commentator on international gender and violence issues, has joined the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at The City College of New York as a visiting professor. She will direct the Politics and Sexual Violence Initiative, funded by a grant from the NoVo Foundation. The NoVo Foundation works to transform global societies from cultures of domination to ones of equality and partnership. 
The three-year initiative focuses on the political impact of sexual violence in six conflict or post-conflict countries: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Colombia, Ivory Coast, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically, Gowrinathan will examine the experiences of women who have been militarized or politicized. Gowrinathan is also collaborating with Vice Media on a documentary news series spotlighting a woman from each country. In addition to her research, Gowrinathan will engage students and community members through guest lectures and workshops. She also plans to host a large-scale initiative-related event at City College in the Fall 2015 semester.  
Gowrinathan says her decade of work as an international aid and human rights worker, particularly in Sri Lanka, motivates her new project. “I kept coming back to the questions of ‘What are we missing?’ and ‘Why aren’t we improving the situation for women?’” she said.. “"A large number of programs addressing survivors of rape take a "livelihood" approach, using microloans or direct programming through sewing machines or chickens and cows to offer women some independence. However this minimal economic independence, rarely translates to the political power required to stop sexual violence." 
Gowrinathan plans to critically examine this approach and document women’s thoughts on sexual violence "If women are mobilized politically we can begin a conversation on the root causes of violence, addressing women's evolving opinions on justice and equality," she said.
It was the high degree of engagement among faculty, students, and staff that inspired Gowrinathan to bring the Politics and Sexual Violence Initiative to the Colin Powell School. “You really get the sense that everybody is concerned with some major question of social justice,” she said. “This creates a feeling on campus that is quite distinctive from any other intellectual space that I’ve worked in.”
Gowrinathan is a former fellow of the Center for Conflict, Negotiation and Recovery, and the Gender Expert for the UN National Human Development Report in Afghanistan. For more than seven years, she served as director for South Asia Programs at Operation USA, overseeing disaster relief programs. Gowrinathan’s research interests include gender and violence, female extremism, social movements, issues of asylum, ethnic conflict, and the impact of militarization, displacement, and race in Sri Lanka. She is author of the blog Deviarchy and a frequent contributor to national media outlets including Foreign Affairs and CNN. Gowrinathan received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
About the Colin Powell School 
Inaugurated in 2013, the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership comprises the five departments of Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology and dynamic interdisciplinary programs including International Relations, International Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Mental Health Counseling, Pre-Law, Public Service Management, Women’s Studies, and the Skadden, Arps Honors Program for Legal Studies. The School offers a wide variety of traditional and interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degrees and houses the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology offered by the CUNY Graduate Center. The Colin Powell School’s hallmark values of service and leadership permeate every aspect of its work and animate City College’s unflagging and historic commitment to access and excellence.
About The City College of New York 
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.