Barbara Ferris' Biography
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
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
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.