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Family Planning: Why Do We Need a London Summit?

LSE Health and PSI public discussion

Date: Tuesday 10 July 2012 
Time: 5.30-7pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speakers: Dr Ernestina Coast, Gary Darmstadt, Karl Hofmann, Ashley Judd, Nina Muita
Chair: Dr Sara Seims

On July 11, the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will launch the London Summit on Family Planning. The unprecedented event will bring world leaders together to catalyze political and financial commitments to reach the needs of an additional 120 million women who lack access to modern, voluntary family planning methods. 

One day prior on July 10, LSE Health and PSI (Population Services International) will co-host a public discussion about the summit's relevance to health, economic, and environmental challenges facing every country - and why everyone, in every sector, has a critical role to play.

Ernestina Coast is a Deputy Director of LSE Health and Senior Lecturer in Population Studies in the Department of Social Policy. Her current research, funded by ESRC-DFID, focuses on the socio-economic consequences of unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan Africa. She is a member of the Poverty and Reproductive Health Network and her research in sexual and reproductive health has been funded by the ESRC, Wellcome Trust, the Nuffield Foundation and DFID. She has acted as adviser to a number of organisations, including UNAIDS, Marie Stopes International and DANIDA, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the African Population and Health Research Centre. She supervises PhD students with research projects related to sexual and reproductive health in China, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Cambodia, India, and the Maldives.

Dr. Gary L. Darmstadt leads the Family Health Division at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, comprised of the Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH), Family Planning and Nutrition Strategic Project Teams. He joined the Global Health Program at the foundation as Senior Program Officer, Newborn Health in February of 2008 and became Team Lead for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) and Interim Deputy Director of Integrated Health Solutions Development in October 2008.  He is also an active member of the Global Health India Team.

Karl Hofmann is the President and CEO of PSI (Population Services International), a non-profit global health organization based in Washington, D.C.  PSI operates in 67 countries worldwide, focusing on family planning, HIV/AIDS, barriers to maternal health, and the greatest threats to children under five, including malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. Prior to joining PSI, Mr Hofmann was a career American diplomat for 23 years, serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Togo, Executive Secretary of the Department of State, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the National Defense University.

Celebrated actress and humanitarian Ashley Judd has served on the Board of Directors for PSI since 2004, after serving as Global Ambassador for PSI’s HIV education and prevention program, YouthAIDS, since 2002. Ms Judd has visited legislators on Capitol Hill, addressed the General Assembly of the UN, spoken at the National Press Club, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations and at the Condé Nast World Savers Congress, and served as an expert panelist at the Clinton Global Initiative. In addition to her role with PSI, Ms Judd serves on the Board of Directors of Defenders of Wildlife and the Advisory Councils of the International Center for Research on Women, Demand Abolition, and Apne Aap Worldwide. Most recently, she released her first book, a memoir entitled All that is Bitter and Sweet which speaks to her deep commitment for global health.

Nina Muita is a Master’s student at the LSE. Prior to coming to the LSE she worked with Carolina for Kibera, an NGO that focuses on the sexual and reproductive health of young people living in Kibera, the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa. Nina is passionate about improving the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women, a field that she will return to after her completing her studies here at the LSE.

Dr Sara Seims is a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and a Senior Advisor to the Packard Foundation. Her work analyses the development assistance policies and practices of the major European donors in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Previous positions held by Dr. Seims include Director of the Population Program of the Hewlett Foundation, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, and Associate Director of the Population Sciences program at the Rockefeller Foundation. She is currently on the  board of directors of DSW/Germany, RutgersWPF/Netherlands, and EngenderHealth/USA. She has a doctorate in demography from the University of Pennsylvania.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #nocontroversy


A podcast of this event is available to download from Family Planning:  Why Do We Need a London Summit?

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