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This article was originally published on November 16, 2022.

The Tahirih Justice Center is a Bahá’í-inspired national, non-profit organization that supports immigrant women, girls, and other survivors of gender-based violence seeking safety and justice. Tahirih envisions a world where justice is accessible to all, irrespective of borders, gender, race, or wealth. Equitable justice will enable humanity to recognize its inherent oneness, realize gender equality, and achieve unity.  

Tahirih’s mission, vision, and values are inspired by the Bahá’í Faith, although most of its leadership and staff are not Bahá’í. Tahirih’s Chief Executive Officer, Archi Pyati, in consultation with its founder, Layli Miller-Muro, and its Board Chair, Douglas Henck, has now created a new Bahá’í Advisory Council. This council of prominent Bahá’ís will provide information and guidance to the CEO as requested  relating to issues of significance to Tahirih’s mission, vision, and values.  

This body complements the Board of Directors, which has overall responsibility for the governance of Tahirih Justice Center, establishing our strategic direction, ensuring our mission integrity, and maintaining our financial health, and the Permanent Members, who appoint Board-nominated candidates as members of the Board of Directors and approve any changes to the Articles of Incorporation where our Bahá’í-inspired mission is codified with State authorities.  

The five individuals selected to form the inaugural Baháí Advisory Council are respected for their expertise in social justice movements, philanthropy, and thoughtful, inspired leadership. We are grateful to each of them for providing their time, wisdom, and energy to help Tahirih continue to support immigrant women, girls, and other survivors of gender-based violence.  

 

Bahá’í Advisory Council Members

 

Eric Dozier

Eric Dozier (co-founder at Oneness Lab and One Human Family Music Workshops) is a music educator, cultural activist, and recording artist who uses music to engage communities in dialogue about racism. He has served as the musical director for the World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir, developed curriculum for the National Museum of African American Music, and has been a featured artist at the United Nations, sharing the stage with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Angelique Kidjo, Raffi, and even Nelson Mandela.

He is the historian and co-composer of the internationally award-winning production Henry “Box” Brown: A Musical Journey (Best Musical Nominee Award 2019/20-Fringe International UK) and a founding director of the award-winning Children’s Theatre Company of NYC, where he currently serves as Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

A graduate of Duke University and Duke Divinity School, he is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Tasmania researching the effects of Black Gospel Music on communities outside of the Black Church.Through his wealth of experience working with groups of all ages and his unique blend of Down and Dirty Blues, Socially Conscious Soul, and Spirit-Fueled Gospel Music, he continues to demonstrate a deep commitment to “Showing the World What Community Sounds Like.”4

 

Leila Milani

Leila Milani is the Program Director for Global Policy and Advocacy for Futures Without Violence, where she leads their work on global violence prevention, with a focus on women and children. In this capacity, she is instrumental in developing innovative policy solutions, driving advocacy efforts, securing resources, and influencing the agendas of national coalitions such as Girls Not Brides, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, the US Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace, and Security, End Violence Against Children Task Force, and the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls Globally, for which she serves on the executive committee.

Milani serves on the Board of Directors of Soccer Without Borders which aims to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, and Too Young To Wed which works to empower girls and end child marriage globally, and Women’s Refugee Commission, which catalyzes transformative change to protect and empower women, children, and youth displaced by conflict and crisis.

Milani is a lawyer and human rights advocate with special expertise on women’s rights, religious freedom, and conditions in Iran. She earned her JD from Wake Forest University, an MA from University of Virginia Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, and a BS from Auburn University.

 

Layli Maparyan

Layli Maparyan, PhD, is Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Wellesley College.

She is also co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women. She is the author of two groundbreaking books on womanism, The Womanist Reader (2006) and The Womanist Idea (2012), which focus on Black women’s perspectives about social and ecological change.

Born into an interracial Bahá’í family, and as a graduate of an Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Spelman College, Layli’s interest in race and racism, as well as the solution of racial issues, has been lifelong. Her forthcoming book, co-edited with Loni Bramson, is The Bahá’í Faith and African American Studies: Perspectives on Racial Justice (Lexington).

 

Layli Miller-Muro

Layli Miller-Muro is a mother of three and founded and served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Tahirih Justice Center for over 20 years. Tahirih is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting immigrant women, girls, and other survivors from human rights abuses. She led the organization in its service to over 31,000 women and girls.

In recognition of its sound management and innovative programs, under Layli’s leadership, Tahirih won the Washington Post Award for Management Excellence and its innovative use of pro bono attorneys to quintuple its resources was featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Layli was included in Goldman Sachs’s 2012 inaugural list of the Top 100 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs and named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the 150 Most Fearless Women in the World.

 

Roy Steiner

Roy Steiner, PhD, is the Senior Vice President for the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he leads a team focused on creating access to nourishing food for millions of people in the U.S. and around the world and supporting scientific advances in dietary quality and regenerative food systems.

Roy comes to The Rockefeller Foundation from the Omidyar Network, where he served as Director of the Intellectual Capital team since 2015, focused on helping Omidyar achieve its strategic objectives at all levels including in the agriculture space. He dedicated nearly a decade of his career to leadership positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was a founding member of the Agricultural Development initiative. His work for Gates was central to the creation of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency, or ATA, which helps accelerate the growth and transformation of Ethiopia’s agriculture sector, the Human Centered Design Toolkit and dozens of other partnerships that are critical to the fight against food insecurity around the world.

Before the Gates Foundation, Roy spent eight years in Africa where he was founder and CEO of Cyberplex Africa, one of the largest web development and knowledge management companies in southern Africa. Early in his career, he was an original founder and managing director of Africa Online, which pioneered the delivery of Internet service in Zimbabwe. Additionally, he was a founding member of CH2MHill’s Strategies Group and has consulted for McKinsey & Company in the areas of technology innovation, growth strategies and international development.

Roy holds a PhD and a Master of Science in agricultural and biological engineering with minors in economics and international development from Cornell University, as well as two bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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