Sushma Barakoti has been a leader in the international development and nonprofit sectors for more than two decades. Most recently, Sushma has been the Clarkston Program Coordinator for Emory University’s Start: ME Accelerator Program, where she facilitates entrepreneurs in starting, sustaining, and growing their small businesses. In this role, Sushma has become deeply connected with the refugee and immigrant community in Georgia and throughout her career – whether in an official or volunteer capacity – she has worked closely with refugees in the U.S.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, Sushma served as Assistant Director at the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) in Scranton, PA – a nonprofit dedicated to ending gender-based violence in northeastern Pennsylvania. Sushma has also held leadership roles at the United Nations Development Programme and PLAN International, where she worked on issues ranging from micro-credits and gender mainstreaming to HIV/AIDS.
Sushma holds a BS in Agriculture from India and Masters in Social Work from Marywood University in PA. She believes in feminist philosophy and practices participatory approach of community development to empower women, men and children. She served as president of Nepali Women's Global Network, North America from 2008 to 2010. She currently sits on the board of Asia Pacific American Council of Georgia (APAC- GA) and is also APAC’s former General Secretary.
AWAZ JABARI, SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT & LEADERSHIP PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Awaz Jabari, is from north of Iraq, has lived in the United States since 1997. She worked as Senior Case Manager/Victim Advocate for the Refugee Family Services Domestic Violence program from 2001 through 2013. She worked as a Self-Sufficiency Manger for Partnership for Community Action. Awaz has managed microenterprise program and employment program. She has received two awards for her outstanding contributions to ending violence against women in Georgia.
Awaz has more than 17 years of experience working in nonprofit sector. She has received extensive training on providing domestic violence services, including Refugee Women’s Network leadership training, Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence Legal Advocate and Domestic Violence Advocacy training, GMAAC training for court interpretation, DeKalb Rape Crisis Center training on working with victims of sexual assault, and Client Services and Sensitivity. She has served on different board and committee: she has served as a member of the Policy Team of SAVE (Stop Adolescent Violence and Exploitation), The Interfaith Committee of the DeKalb County Task Force Against Domestic Violence, board member for Partnerhsip for Community Action. Awaz holds a degree in Education from Erbil Community College and a diploma as a Business Office Specialist from DeKalb Technical College. She holds a Certificate of Nonprofit Leadership and a Certificate of Supervision & Management from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.
Prior to joining Refugee Women’s Network, Esra worked as an academician specializing in international mobility and women’s participation into labor force. She has worked in Atlanta, Istanbul and Brussels in various academic capacities. She has received several awards including National Science Foundation Dissertation Award. Esra published articles in journals such as International Migration and Journal of Education Planning and Administration; and co-authored book chapters on women’s participation into scientific workforce. For more than ten years Esra taught graduate and undergraduate courses such as Evaluation Public Policy, Urban Planning Theory and Research Methodology. She has directed a nationwide study on reverse brain-drain in Turkey, and published on women in academia. Before she moved back to Atlanta in 2017, she worked as a consultant on international mobility to European Commission in Brussels.
Parallel to her academic work, Esra volunteered for organizations empowering girls, specifically encouraging them to participate into scientific fields. She also volunteered to help children in disadvantaged neighborhoods of Istanbul, and refugees in Brussels.
Dr. Tanyildiz holds a doctorate degree in Public Policy from Georgia Institute of Technology & Georgia State University, MA degree in Urban Policy Planning, and BA degree in City and Regional Planning from Middle East Technical University. Esra is also a passionate cook interested in migrant kitchens and traditional cooking. She has completed Istanbul Culinary Institute in Istanbul, and received certifications at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. In her new role at RWN, Esra is working with refugee women towards developing a social enterprise in cooking.