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School of Social Work

Meet the Speakers

Social Work Day at the UN


Meet the Speakers for 2019


Mr. Ambassador Georgi Velikov Panayotov

The Honorable Ambassador Georgi Velikov Panayotov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United Nations Organization

Mr. Panayotov is a career member of the Diplomatic Service. Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1995, Mr. Panayotov has held various positions in Sofia and abroad, including Head of the NATO Department from 2014 to 2016 and from 2007 to 2010; Political Officer and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Bulgaria in Washington, D.C. from 2010 to 2014, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Bulgaria in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2002 to 2007; Deputy Head of the “Multilateral Co-operation in South-Eastern Europe” Department from 2000 to 2002; Political Officer at the Embassy of Bulgaria in Tirana, Albania, from 1995 to 2000.

Mr. Panayotov has an M.A. in Politics from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations. He speaks English, German, Russian and Albanian.


Mr. Anirudda Kulkarni

Anirudda Kulkarni, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Headquarters. As a Child Protection Specialist at the Programme Division, UNICEF Headquarters, New York, Aniruddha (Ani) contributes to international policy and programme development on child protection systems, social service workforce for child protection, care reform, child labour, and coordinates UNICEF’s protection work for . Aniruddha also works closely with and supports UNICEF’s Regional Offices and Country Offices to set and implement the child protection agenda in these workstreams. Prior to joining the Headquarters in 2018, Aniruddha worked with UNICEF in Bhutan and India for over 11 years. Aniruddha has also worked for over four years as a researcher on child protection with the College of Social Work at the University of Mumbai, where he also graduated with a master’s degree in social work in 2002.


Ms. Bushra Husain

Bushra Husain, Director of Non-Residential Services at Sanctuary for Families.

Ms. Husain graduated from Columbia University with a Master of Social Work in 2007 with a focus on clinical practice and International Social Welfare Policy. In addition to overseeing the Non-Residential Program, Ms. Husain provides therapeutic counseling, case

management, outreach, and advocacy services to South Asian survivors of gender based violence. She is a founding member of the South Asian Taskforce against Domestic Violence at Sanctuary for Families. In that role, Ms. Husain has conducted research and outreach about domestic violence in the South Asian community and facilitated the creation of an inter-disciplinary tool for interviewing South Asian victims of domestic violence called the South Asian Power and Control Lotus. This Lotus is a supplement to the well-established Duluth Power and Control Wheel. Recently, Ms. Husain is the founder of the New York State Coalition to End Forced and Child Marriage and has presented on the issue of forced and child marriage nationally.


Ms. Griet Cattaert

Griet Cattaert is Policy Officer at the ILO New York Office. She is working with the ILO since 2006. She worked for the organization in the offices in Geneva, New York and Brussels. Her expertise is on social protection and migration. She was closely involved in the negotiation process leading to the adoption of the social protection floor recommendation and in advancing effective inter-agency cooperation to enhance global coordination on social protection issues. The last 2 years she worked as ILO secondee for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration to support the negotiation process that had led to the adoption of a Global Compact for Migration. She is back at the ILO NY office since January.


Ms. Mariama Diallo

Mariama Diallo is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York. She received her Masters of Science in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University. Mariama has a Bachelor in Public Law from Guinea, and a post graduate degree in Conflicts Resolution from the Catholic University of Paris. Ms. Diallo is doing her DSW at Rutgers University.

Mariama began her career at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France. In that capacity, Ms. Diallo designed and proposed educational programs on human rights, with a focus on over 50 African countries that are UNESCO member countries. The purpose of the educational programs was to assist and encourage member countries in educating the youth on human rights issues, particularly the rights of women and girls.

Currently, Mariama is a Program Director at Sanctuary for families. Her primary role at Sanctuary for Families is to provide trauma-informed individual and group therapy to survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, civil wars/genocide, and other types of gender violence including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage. Develop curriculums and other training materials, conduct community outreach/education on the issues of FGM, forced marriage, and domestic violence through professional trainings to doctors, nurses, social workers, and school teachers. Provide expert knowledge and testify in courts in the area of FGM, forced marriage, and domestic violence. Facilitate a leadership group training for African girls’ survivors or at risk of experiencing gender violence. Ms. Diallo is the founder and Chair of the New York Coalition to end FGM, a member of the UN working group on Girls. Ms. Diallo is an Adjunct Professor at the Metropolitan College of New York and a guest lecturer at Columbia University.


Ms.Wenyan Yang

Ms. Wenyan Yang is the Chief of Global Dialogue on Social Development Branch in the Division for Inclusive Social Development of UNDESA. She is the Division’s focal point supporting the work of the Commission for Social Development and supervises the preparation of the publication Report on World Social Situation. . She has many years of experience in social and economic policy analysis, and in providing substantive and technical support to UN inter-governmental bodies. Her recent work has focused on poverty, inequality, decent work and social protection, and inclusive development. She started her UN career as an economic affairs officer in the Macroeconomic and Development Policy Analysis Division, where she contributed to the major departmental publication World Economic and Social Survey and was part of the Secretariat to the ECOSOC expert body Committee for Development Policy.