Fulbright Forum – Combatting Human Trafficking: What’s New, What You Can Do!

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Date(s) - 05/05/22
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


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In what may be the comprehensive approach to combatting human trafficking, we’ll be talking about efforts to eliminate trafficking in one country, Bangladesh. The project draws on the world’s expertise, whether in combatting poverty, improving education, strengthening law enforcement, or any of the other approaches to ending human trafficking. The goal is to learn from this and share it with the world. Bangladesh was chosen because of government support for the project and a strong and committed civil society. The speakers will have suggestions for what you can do to help.

Nalini Tarakeshwar, the Head of Programs for the UBS Optimus Foundation. She oversees the Foundation’s programs in Child Protection, Health, Education and Environment. She has previously worked for the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation as Executive Director, Evidence, Measurement and Evaluation and for Big Win Philanthropy as Director, Strategy and Programs. Nalini has 20 years’ experience in managing and evaluating programs benefiting children and families in the US, Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. She has published academic articles and chapters on how families cope with medical and psycho-social problems. Nalini has a PhD in clinical child psychology and psychology of religion, a post-doctoral degree in public health, and an undergraduate degree in civil engineering. She has served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University and briefly worked for the Global Health Institute at Duke University.


Nancy Economou, founder and CEO of Watts of Love, a global nonprofit with a mission to bring solar light to the nearly 1 billion people living without electricity. Watts of Love was founded in 2012 after Nancy went on a business trip to the Philippines and witnessed the devastating effects of burning kerosene. As a mother of five boys, Nancy was compelled to equip vulnerable families with a tool to raise themselves out of a continuous cycle of poverty. Nancy saw that the solar products available did not meet the needs of the environment and that they were not designed with disabled individuals in mind. She set off to design and patent a unique solar light that is inclusive, high quality, durable and long-lasting. Combined with a curriculum and education model that teaches how that light is the key to unlocking self-worth and freedom and can provide poverty alleviation in one generation, Nancy has seen that this simple empowerment model has proven successful in communities around the globe and has had radical impacts on families. Nancy’s incredible vision, never-ending curiosity, commitment to excellence, and bold refusal to accept the status quo has resulted in the delivery of the Watts of Love program to 46 countries, distribution of over 40,000 lights and 280,000 lives forever changed.


Mitzi Perdue holds a BA with honors from Harvard University and an MPA from the George Washington University. She is a past president of the 40,000-member American Agri-Women, and as a former syndicated columnist, her Scripps Howard column, The Environment and You was the most widely syndicated environmental column in the US. Her television series, Country Magazine, was syndicated to 76 stations. Currently she blogs for the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents and for Psychology Today. She’s written 27 books and been on close to 200 podcasts.  She is donating to anti-trafficking efforts the expected royalties from the book she’s finishing now, a biography of Mark Victor Hansen, the Chicken Soup for the Soul Guy who’s in the Guinness Book of Worlds Records for selling half a billion non-fiction books.

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