Unity in Diversity: Combatting Racial Discrimination, Stigmatization, and Bias

On the occasion of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Date: March 25th, 2021
Time: 2-3:45pm CAT, 8-9:45am ET

As a continuum of the #AskProfAgnes series, a virtual session on the 25th March will feature a diverse set of prominent leaders and experts who, drawing on professional and personal experiences, will explore the impact and origins of racial bias, discrimination and stigmatization of marginalized and minority groups, and these exacerbations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussions will utilize global and local data as evidence to context the racial bias, discrimination, and stigmatization faced by marginalized and minority groups, and propose strategies and actionable measures for different institutions – private, government, and civil society for the elimination of racial discrimination globally. 



Tsion Yohannes Waka

Chair, Center for Gender Equity, UGHE

Learn more about Tsion Yohannes Waka’s professional profile on the UGHE website here.




Prof. Agnes Binagwaho

Vice Chancellor, University of Global Health Equity (UGHE).

Learn more about Prof. Agnes Binagwaho’s professional profile on the UGHE website here.



Bishop John Rucyahana

Bishop John Rucyahana has a Master of Arts in Religion got from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He is one of Rwanda’s most effective leaders – an evangelist, spiritual, and social entrepreneur. He has contributed to the infrastructural development in Shyira Diocese. Founding of prominent schools, hospital and health centers

He is the Chairman of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission from 2010. His tireless work is in finding peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and other initiatives on reconciliation in denominational Churches and community development. He is author of The Bishop of Rwanda published by Thomas Nelson Publishers on Rwanda History, and The Jesus, Hope for the Nations (Biography) published January 2015 by Zaccmedia. He received awards for Climate of Excellence in Leadership and that of William Wilberforce Award in 2009

Dr. Michelle Morse

Dr. Michelle Morse serves as the Inaugural Chief Medical Officer, NYC Department of Health & Mental HygieneDr. Morse is responsible for leading the agency’s work in bridging public health and health care to reduce health inequities, guiding CHECW’s place-based and cross-cutting health equity programs, and serving as a key liaison to clinicians and clinical leaders across New York City. Dr. Morse is internal medicine and public health doctor who works to achieve health equity through global solidarity, social medicine and anti-racism education, and activism. She is a general internal medicine physician, a part-time hospitalist at Kings County Hospital, Co-Founder of EqualHealth, and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.  EqualHealth builds critical consciousness and collective action globally, in the pursuit of health equity for all.  In 2015 Dr. Morse worked with several EqualHealth partners to found the Social Medicine Consortium (SMC), a global coalition that uses activism and disruptive pedagogy rooted in social medicine to advance health justice.  She served as Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Partners In Health (PIH) from 2013 to 2016 and now serves on the Board of Directors of PIH.  In 2018, Dr. Morse was awarded a Soros Equality Fellowship to launch EqualHealth and the SMC’s global Campaign Against Racism.  From September 2019 to January 2021, she served as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in Washington, DC and worked with the Ways and Means Committee, Majority Staff, in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

Dr. Talia Avrahamzon

Dr Talia Avrahamzon is a social scientist focussing on racism, reconciliation, intercultural understanding and antiracism. Her research focusses on everyday reconciliation and racism in the education system including from the perspectives of young children, and designing and evaluating approaches to address institutional racism in a range of sectors. She has presented at national and international conferences and has been a visiting fellow at Victoria University, Wellington and Queens University, Belfast. She has over 20 years of experience working in social development and social policy, in racially divided communities in both Australia and in Israel. Talia has received numerous awards, including the Joan Uhr award for her contributions to Australian public policy and research. She undertook her PhD as a Sir Roland Wilson Scholar, and currently maintains a role in both the Australian public service as a researcher in residence and at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University.

Dr. Sylvia Karpagam

Dr. Sylvia Karpagam is a public health doctor and researcher based in India. Her education comes from St. John’s Medical College and she holds an MD in Community medicine. Her focus of work is mainly on the social determinants of health rather than only a curative hospital based model of healthcare. Dr. Karpagam is also involved in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) in Karnataka and documented the exploitative working condition of field researchers as well as gaps in data collection. Her interests include nutrition, caste, gender, education, livelihood, shelter etc. She is part of the Right to Food and Right to Health Campaigns in India. She is also the coordinator for the Indian Chapter of the Campaign against Racism. Dr. Sylvia believes that it is vital to have representation from marginalised communities at all levels of the healthcare system as one way of making the health system more responsive to social issues and to combat discrimination. Furthermore, Dr. Karpagam interests include global public health, health systems, & government and civil society, and she holds a certificate of Community Medicine at the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences.