Executive Committee members (from left to right, Valerie Bichelmeier, Silvia Perel, Kelly Fitzgerald and Ann Lindsay)
Chair: Kelly G. FITZGERALD
Representative of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
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. She served as Vice Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva prior to her current role as Chair.
Vice-Chair: Ann LINDSAY
Representative of World Federation for Mental Health
Past Chair: Silvia PEREL-LEVIN
Representative of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and The International Longevity Centre Global Alliance (ILC GA)
Silvia is the past chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing in Geneva, Committee she chaired for eight years until April 2022. She currently leads the subcommittee on the Human Rights of Older Persons. Silvia has been working in the fields of human rights, ageing and health for over 23 years at international organisations such as WHO, UNFPA and UICC and as a private consultant. At WHO 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’ and “Discussing Screening for Elder Abuse at the Primary Health Care Level” Before joining that she was a TV, film and theatre producer using the arts as tools for social change.
Silvia represents in Geneva the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance (ILC GA) advocating for a UN Convention on the rights of older persons and for the meaningful inclusion of older persons across the UN.
Treasurer: Valerie BICHELMEIER
Representative of Make Mothers Matter (MMM)
Holder of a Master’s Degree in IT and Telecommunications, Valerie Bichelmeier has worked for 20 years in different countries in Europe and Asia.
Since 2010, she has been MMM main representative at the UN Geneva, working on women’s rights and gender equality and focusing on mothers’ specific discriminations during the life-course. These include the inequitable distribution of unpaid care work as cause of economic injustice – especially in old age, and the need to support parents, especially for ECD including through parental education and implication in formal education.
Valerie is an MMM board member, and its Vice-President. She has held executive positions in the NGO CSW Geneva, and is treasurer of the NGO Committee on Ageing since 2018.
Co-Secretary: Liat AYALON
Liat Ayalon, PhD, is a Professor in the School of Social Work, at Bar Ilan University, Israel. Prof. Ayalon coordinated an international EU funded Ph.D. program on the topic of ageism (2017-2022; EuroAgeism.eu). She is also the Israeli Principal Investigator of the EU funded MascAge program to study ageing masculinities in literature and cinema. Between 2014and 2018, Prof. Ayalon has led an international research network on the topic of ageism, funded through COST (Cooperation in Science and Technology; COST IS1402, notoageism.com). She is on the board of directors of the International Psychogeriatric Association where she also serves as an associate editor. She consults both national and international organizations concerning the development and evaluation of programs and services for older adults.
She was a core group member of the WHO global campaign to combat ageism, member of the WHO Global Network on Long-Term Care, and member of the SAPEA group on Transforming the Future of Ageing report to the European Commission (not UN but global European). She also serves on the advisory council of the Ministry of Social Equality in Israel.
Co-Secretary: Kimberly STOECKEL
Kimberly Stoeckel, PhD, has expertise in gerontology that includes international academic research, international consultancy, and clinical social work. Her entry into the gerontology field was in social work at a continuing care retirement community in the USA. Her academic experience included a postdoctoral research position at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, where she worked extensively with the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). She collaborated with SHARE colleagues throughout Europe in survey development and management. She has numerous publications based on her research about social networks and well-being in later life based on the SHARE data.
She has also done various projects as a gerontologist consultant. This work included developing and conducting trainings for humanitarian organizations working with Syrian refugees about the rights of older people and how to include older people in programming. She has also worked as a tutor for the WHO online course “Health Ageing for Impact in the 21st Century: Global Online Leaders Training” which was developed to support the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing initiative.
Member at Large: Ina VOELCKER
Representative of BAGSO – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Seniorenorganistionen
Ina Voelcker is the Head of the Secretariat for International Policy on Ageing at BAGSO, the German National Association of Senior Citizens’ Organisations. She coordinates BAGSO’s international work which involves representing older persons’ interests in international policy debates and fostering the exchange of senior citizens’ organisations from various countries. Since November 2021, Ina is elected member of the Steering Group of GAROP, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People.
Previously, Ina was technical director with the International Longevity Centre Brazil (ILC-BR) in Rio de Janeiro, where she coordinated among others the implementation of the age-friendly cities project. During this time, she was part of the international affairs committee of the Global Alliance of ILCs.
Before she worked with HelpAge International in London on the global review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) undertaken together with UNFPA. She holds academic degrees in Gerontology (BA) from the University of Vechta, Germany and Public Policy and Ageing (MA) from the University of London, UK.
Webmaster: Kala MADHAV
Kala Madhav has a Masters in Computer Applications from India. She is a part of the communications team at GENDRO and works mainly with the website and related issues. In Geneva she has been working with NGOs involved in a variety of sectors. Some of the NGOs she has been working/worked with include World Federation for Mental Health, SAHFA – Smart Access to Health For All, Action for Development (previously Bhaktar Development Network – Suisse).