Barbara Ferris is the founder and president of the International Women's Democracy Center (IWDC), which was established to ensure that women worldwide have the necessary tools and skills to participate in politics, policy and decision-making within their own democracies.
Prior to establishing IWDC, Ms. Ferris served as the Women in Development Director for Peace Corps for five years where she designed, managed, monitored and evaluated economic development programs in over 90 countries. Her major accomplishment was to institutionalize program designs in all sectors of the economy with a gender perspective to ensure that women worldwide had access to the resources that Peace Corps Volunteers bring to a country. Additionally, Ms. Ferris facilitated workshops and seminars for women in leadership, management, credit, health, small business, agriculture, natural resource management, and organizational development.
Ms. Ferris served as the advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for three years. In June 1990, she presented a paper on at the First Sino-American Conference on Women's Issues in Beijing, China. She has consulted in management, training, program design and evaluation in over 100 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East where she also designed financial management models for the public sector.
In 1980, Ms. Ferris served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco working in education and primary health care. Prior to her Volunteer service, she worked as a legislative assistant to a member of Congress where, at the request of the Speaker of the House, she was a member of a fact-finding mission to Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Before her service on Capitol Hill, she worked for the Ohio Youth Commission as an activity therapist.
Ms. Ferris has addressed universities, colleges, civic organizations and appeared on numerous radio and television programs worldwide providing information, resources and expertise on how governments, organizations and communities can ensure that women are equal partners in the economic, social and political development of their own countries. She serves on the board of directors to numerous international non-profit organizations focusing on improving the quality of life for women and their families. She Chaired the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Peace Corps (2001), was the Founding President of Gilda's Club Greater Washington and is a Co-Founder of the Peace Corps Fund.
Ms. Ferris holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology from Ohio State University and a master's degree in Public Administration from the American University.