Keynote Speaker Bios


Judy Dushku

Judy Dushku, Associate Professor of Government at Suffolk University, is founder of THRIVE-Gulu, an organization that addresses issues of child soldiers, sex slavery and other post-conflict concerns in Uganda. Her writing and teaching focus on comparative politics, particularly in the Global South and in nations in a state of transition. She has also focused on the causes and consequences of the breakup of Yugoslavia. She is particularly interested in the ways that both policy and international economic trends affect the lives of women, and to that end has been a participant in the United Nations Conferences on Women, and a frequent speaker on women in rural development, and women and health.

Dushku has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist and a Suffolk University Professor of the Year, lecturing in courses as diverse as “Women in African Politics,” “Politics of Post-Communist Transition” and “Re-integration and Healing for Former- Combatants and Abductees in Violent Conflict Zones in Uganda.” A selection of her presentations includes “Politics in the DRC and the Role of the US and Uganda” and “Resource Exploitation in Africa,” and among her working papers are “Oral Histories of Romanians in the Post-Communist Transition.” From 2001-2003, Dushku was the Dean of the Dakar Campus of Suffolk University in Dakar, Senegal. It was while teaching students coming from war-affected parts of Liberia and Sierra Leone that Dushku determined to get involved in teaching about, and participating in some direct way, in supporting rehabilitation efforts working with primarily women affected by war in Africa.

Eliza Dushku

Over the last 22 years Eliza Dushku has starred in numerous well-known film and television projects, including roles as Faith in TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and rebel cheerleader Missy in the film Bring It On. Most recently she produced and starred in Fox’s Dollhouse TV series, created by Joss Whedon. Eliza is currently starring in the soon-to-be-piloted television reboot of The Saint, Roger Moore’s international espionage classic. Through her production company, Boston Diva Productions, she is producing a biopic of famed photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and Dear Albania, a documentary about her father's homeland. Eliza is involved with a number of charities, including THRIVE-Gulu, a trauma, healing and reflection center for former child soldiers and victims of the war in Northern Uganda, which was founded by her mother Judy in 2009; as well as Camp Hale, a camp for inner-city Boston children.  Traditionally an all-boys camp, Camp Hale established an all-girls program in 2012 to provide inner-city girls with the unique opportunities that Camp Hale has to offer. With over 1.3 million followers on Twitter (@ElizaDushku), Eliza is a strong advocate in areas such as LGBT, women's and civil rights, and shares her unique commentary on political, health, entertainment, tech, gaming, fashion and environmental issues.