Bonni Curran
Bonni Curran


Each year the Festival presents a lecture by an internationally acclaimed advocate for women and girls.  In 2014, it was named in honor of Bonni Curran, who was tragically killed in an accident in 2013.  Bonni was a physician, loving mother and wife, and not only a prominent local philanthropist, but deeply committed to working on behalf of women and children around the world.  She had been a supporter of the Festival from its inception. In honoring her memory each year, we are reminded of the impact she had on our community and how much we miss her presence.

The inaugural memorial lecture in 2014 was given by Meagan Fallone Carnahan, head of Global Strategy for Barefoot College in India.

Dr. Natalia Kanem

Tuesday, February 26, at 6 PM

The Community Library

*Free to the public

Dr. Natalia Kanem, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations agency for reproductive health and women’s rights, will open the Festival with the presentation of the annual Bonni Curran Memorial Lecture for the Health and Dignity of Women at The Community Library on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. The lecture is free to the public.

Dr. Kanem brings to the position more than 30 years of strategic leadership experience in medicine, public and reproductive health, social justice and philanthropy. She started her career in academia with the Johns Hopkins and Columbia University schools of medicine and public health. While serving as a Ford Foundation Officer from 1992 to 2005, she helped pioneer work in women’s reproductive health and sexuality, in particular through her position as the representative for West Africa. She then served at the Foundation headquarters, as Deputy Vice-President for its worldwide peace and social justice programs in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America.
From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Kanem served as UNFPA Representative in the United Republic of Tanzania, and in July 2016, she was named Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA in charge of programs. She was appointed Executive Director in 2017. 
“The Festival has been a key tool to raise awareness of the work of UNFPA over the years,” said Dr. Kanem. “This year will be no different particularly as the theme, ‘Women Still Waiting for Change,’ is closely aligned to our efforts to advance the unfinished agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development. The Festival is therefore an excellent opportunity to help us build momentum leading into 2019.”