Executive Committee members
What is our goal?
The overall goals and objectives of the Committee:
- To further the United Nations’ mission of building a society for all ages;
- To raise awareness of ageing and intergenerational issues and ensure that they are adequately addressed by the UN System;
- To advocate for a new convention on the rights of older persons; and
- To influence global policy and monitor the implementation of existing commitments.
The Committee will strive to attain its objectives by:
- Strengthening relationships with NGOs and by providing a platform for strategy development;
- Bringing diverse voices from local and national levels to international platforms;
- Drawing on the experience of Committee Members to share analyses on trends, needs and good practices; and
- Maintaining regular communication with the Vienna and New York UN NGO Committees on Ageing and with the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG).
Older persons make wide-ranging contributions to economic and social development. However discrimination and social exclusion persist. We must overcome these biases in order to ensure a socially and economically active, secure and healthy ageing population.
Silvia has worked in different areas of community development, public health, advocacy and communication for 30 years. She has been engaged in ageing-related issues, the rights of older persons, development and global health for the last 15 years at the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Union against Cancer (UICC) and as an independent consultant in Geneva, where she has lived since 1996 and in Budapest, where she resided from 2009 to 2012.
During the years she worked at the WHO she organized in close cooperation with NGO committees global and local events including the International Day of Older Persons and World Health Day within the NGO Forum that preceded the UN Assembly on Ageing in Madrid in 2002. She managed the first multi-country study on elder abuse working with multiple partners and produced the report ‘Missing Voices, Views of Older Persons on Elder Abuse’. This led her to pursue graduate MSc studies at City University London in Society Violence and Interprofessional Practice and adapted her dissertation on elder abuse for a WHO publication.
Currently, Silvia represents the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance at the UN in Geneva. An expert advocate for Elder Abuse and the rights of older persons at the global level, she is the Chair of the NGO Ageing Committee Geneva and engages in research on elder abuse and violence against older women.
Kelly has been active in the field of gerontology since 2001. In 2004 and 2008 she received her Masters of Science and PhD, respectively, in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Professionally, she is a Faculty member of the Center for Gerontology at Western Kentucky University where she teaches online graduate and undergraduate gerontology courses and supports various research projects. She is also a Guest Scientist at the Center for Gerontology at the University of Zurich where she supports various projects. Recently she completed research contracts for the Public Health Agency of Canada and was the Network Coordinator for an ageing research network in Wales.
She has worked with the World Health Organization and provided support to help cities apply to join the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities, link cities with other cities, and identify ways in which cities can become more age-friendly. Currently she is the Co-Chair for the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s (AGHE) Global Aging Committee. She has held several other leadership positions in different ageing organizations including the Gerontological Society of America and the British Society of Gerontology. She has presented on ageing topics in several different countries. She has also conducted research and has published mainly on the topics of disasters and older adults and age-friendly cities.
Kelly has been involved in UN ageing activities since 2010. She began as an NGO representative for the Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) (2010 – 2012) and currently (since 2012) represents the International Federation on Ageing. During this time she has attended various UN meetings including meetings of the Committee on Ageing and the 2012 UNECE Ministerial Conference in Vienna. In May 2014 she was elected as Vice-Chair for the UN NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva.
Katherine Pettus is the Advocacy Officer for Human Rights and Palliative Care at IAHPC. She holds a PhD in Political Theory from Columbia University, and a Masters in Health Policy and Law from the University of California San Diego. Her PhD dissertation appeared as a book, ‘Felony Disenfranchisement in America’, now in 2nd edition with SUNY Press, and her Masters Thesis studied the interface between international law and access to essential controlled medicines.
Katherine trained as a hospice volunteer in 2010 and joined the Leadership Development Initiative at the Institute for Palliative Medicine in 2011 in San Diego and Columbus.
She began her international work in 2012, based in Budapest, and commuting to Vienna for regular meetings of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, raising awareness about the “global pandemic of untreated pain” among government representatives and UN officers.
As IAHPC Advocacy Officer, Katherine travels to meetings around the world, advocating for improved access to internationally controlled essential medicines such as morphine, as a component of the right to health. She also addresses palliative care issues for older persons, for children, in universal coverage, for non- communicable diseases (NCDs), and palliative care medications in national essential medicines lists.
Katherine was appointed to the Civil Society Task Force (CSTF) for UNGASS 2016 (UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem) as representative of “affected populations” with no access to internationally controlled essential medicines. In that capacity she will work with partners at the local, national, regional, and global levels to collect information to be presented to the UN General Assembly on the global issue of lack of access to essential medicines and best practices to ensure provision.
Priska Fleischlin graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work in Lucerne, Switzerland. Her Bachelor and Master theses focused on the ‘Social worker’s empowerment in developing aid’ and ‘Cohesion in transnational transdisciplinary Project-Teams.’ Concerning the latter topic, she also analyzed the conversation of virtual meetings.
As a representative of the IFSW to the United Nations, she focuses mainly on ageing because of her working experience with elderly people for more than ten years. As a home care nurse she worked with physical and / or mental issues within the formal and informal care system.
Those over the age of 60 are the world’s fastest growing age-group, mostly in developing countries. Worldwide, social workers view the elderly as a heterogeneous group: They range from those with great agility and independence to the very vulnerable with high-maintenance needs. As a professional social worker, it is of great importance to Priska to represent the Human Rights of these individuals in a holistic view and in order to protect their dignity and well-being within their society.
Sabine first became involved in the subject of ageing when she partnered with VITALüscher, a Swiss company specializing in lifestyle issues, to present courses on preparing for retirement for employees of public institutions, private enterprises and professional associations, as well as individuals. These courses, a logical extension of her work as a nutritional consultant, covered such subjects as communication, nutrition and health care and led to her keen interest in the phenomenon of ageing and its challenges. “Next to the disabled, older persons the world over are often the most helpless, the most isolated, the most vulnerable,” she says.
Born in Germany, Sabine went to the United States to pursue her language training and wound up studying Marketing and Merchandising at the University of Miami. After returning to Europe and settling in Switzerland, where she raised two sons and was a director in her late husband’s specialized industrial business, she decided to pursue her life-long interest in natural medicine with four years of week-end study in Freiburg/Breisgau, earning German certification as a natural health practitioner (Heilpraktiker).
Sabine has been a representative of Soroptimist International to the United Nations Geneva since 2012 and has been a member of this NGO, occupying various posts, since 1990.