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Shirley Graham, PhD




Dr. Shirley Graham is an accredited trainer, with a PhD from the Adult Education and Community Development Department, National University of Ireland Maynooth. She designed and delivered a lecture series for the Egalitarian World Initiative in the School of Social Justice, University College Dublin. She has an MA in International Relations from Dublin City University and is currently a research fellow in the International Conflict Resolution & Reconstruction Institute in DCU. After a successful corporate career as a Communications Manager for Unilever UK, she re-directed her focus towards social activism and research. From 2008-12 she co-ordinated the all-Ireland Feminist Peace Project Hanna’s House (named after Ireland’s foremost suffragette Hanna Sheehy Skeffington).


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Hello! I am a women's rights activist, researcher, facilitator and writer. I design programmes that create a space for women to step into their power, acknowledge their talents, stoke their passions and courageously leap into new opportunities where they can make a difference.

Women's Rights, Feminism & Empowerment are at the core of what I do and I am inspired by activists such as Eve Ensler, artists like Frida Kahlo, poetry by Kim Rosen and researchers such as Brene Brown.

Compassion is the container through which all my work flows. Compassion is the gentle lens through which we can reflect on our life and envision our future. I am influenced by the writings of Kristin Neff, Pema Chodron, and Thich Nhat Hanh.


I love the creative process, engaging people in conversations about human potential, and developing new projects that have impact by adding value and making a difference in people's lives. My work has been informed by Julia Cameron's book 'The Artist's Way', Ken Robinson's 'The Element' and Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic'.

My Vision... for a world where women and girls are fully empowered to step into as many leadership and decision-making roles as men and where the societal focus is on encouraging and supporting all of our human potential.

...where women and men are equally valued for their feminine attributes as well as those considered masculine.


...where we live in peaceful, fair and just societies.


During a volunteering trip to Nepal in 2003...

...whilst working with disadvantaged and orphaned children, some living under the threat of being trafficked into India for the sex trade, I made the decision to leave my corporate job in London to advocate on behalf of human rights and social justice. 


Since then I...

...enrolled in a university course for the first time as a mature student and completed a Masters Degree in International Relations at Dublin City University to deepen my understanding of world systems and how injustices and inequalities are created and perpetuated. a highly successful cross-border feminst peace project called Hanna's House (named after Ireland's foremost suffragette Hanna Sheehy Skeffington) creating events that brought women together to discuss the legacy of 'the Troubles' in Ireland and their impact on women's lives.


...completed an inter-disciplinary doctoral degree exploring the difference women make to peacekeeping missions, gaining access to peacekeepers in the Irish Defence Forces, travelling to Kosovo to observe a mission and analysing the impact of gender discourses on women soldiers' opportunities to access leadership roles.


...wrote and directed three one-act plays on human rights and justice issues for Amnesty Ireland and Combat Poverty.


...facilitated an island-wide consultation with refugee and asylum seeking women, and women north and south of the border who were impacted by conflict, to inform a government led process (Department of Foreign Affairs) and policy creation on women, peace and security, United Nations Resolution 1325.

...lectured and designed a programme on Gender & Inequalities in the Global Context for University College Dublin (UCD) as part of the Egalitarian World Initiative, funded by the Irish Government.


Earlier in my career I...

...was the UK communications Manager for Unilever PLC, where I developed internal and external communications strategies, led project teams and created marketing and promotional tools (videos, websites, booklets, and events) for clients, customers, partners and employees.


...from Unilever I moved to Bluewave Web Design, a start-up company and became their first Development Director designing their production process, and leading and managing large teams to deliver corporate websites for multi-national corporations.

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