April 12

Dickinson Law to Host Conference Addressing Female Genital Mutilation Locally and Internationally

Female genital mutilation (FGM), the alteration of female genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a prevalent worldwide practice currently impacting 200 million women and girls globally. An estimated three million girls in the United States and abroad are at risk of being subjected to this practice each year. The United Nations has recognized FGM as a human rights violation, but comprehensive international protections do not exist and domestic protections are limited. While there is a federal law criminalizing FGM, Pennsylvania—along with several other states—do not have protections in place.

Hosted by Dickinson Law’s FGM Legislation Project and featuring experts from Penn State College of Medicine, “Crafting Legislative and Medical Solutions to Address Female Genital Mutilation Locally and Internationally” will be held April 12-13, 2018 in the Apfelbaum Family Courtroom and Auditorium at Dickinson Law, 150 South College St., Carlisle. This conference will educate the public, lawyers and medical professionals about the legal, social, psychological and medical consequences of FGM. Experts and practitioners will address the medical implications for victims, the need for legislative action, and cultural competencies and prevention. Once drafted, FGM legislation is difficult to execute, and experts will address effective implementation. Additionally, victims will speak out against this dangerous human rights violation. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about FGM, participate in important discussions and help develop solutions.

This event is free to attend. Registration is required.

This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for 4.0 hours of substantive law, practice, and procedure credit and 1.0 hour of ethics, professionalism and substance abuse credit. Attorneys seeking credit in states other than Pennsylvania will receive a uniform certificate of attendance to self-report after the program’s conclusion. Those seeking CLE credit from outside the Dickinson Law community may register for a fee of $45.

AHA Foundation LogoThank you to the AHA Foundation, an organization dedicated to combating FGM, honor killings, and forced marriage, for the immeasurable support provided to the FGM Legislation Project.


Conference: Apfelbaum Family Courtroom and Auditorium, Lewis Katz Hall
8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
9:00 to 9:15 a.m. Welcome Address
  • Alexia Tomlinson '18, FGM Legislation Project, Dickinson Law
  • Gary S. Gildin, Dean, Dickinson Law
9:15 to 10:15 a.m. What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
  • Ishraga Dousa, M.D., Case Manager and Peer Counselor, African Family Health Organization
    Public Health Consequences and Cultural Overview
  • Lori Frasier, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Child Protection Program
    Medical Overview
10:15 to 10:30 a.m. Break
10:30 a.m. to Noon Drafting FGM Legislation: Advocacy and Provisions
  • Moderator: Carla Pratt, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Nancy J. LaMont Faculty Scholar, Professor of Law, Dickinson Law
  • Tiffany Jeffers, Assistant Professor of Legal Writing, Dickinson Law
    Criminal Considerations and Solutions
  • Amanda Parker, Senior Director, The AHA Foundation
    The Need for Comprehensive FGM Legislation
  • Patricia Sellers, Special Advisor for Prosecution Strategies, International Criminal Court
    International Criminal Law Considerations
  • Alex Still, Research Assistant, The Hoover Institution
    Navigating Legislative Bodies
  • Joanna Vergoth, Executive Director, forma 
    Psychological Consequences
Noon to 12:10 p.m. The State of Pennsylvania Legislation
Thomas P. Murt, Representative, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
12:10 to 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 to 2:15 p.m. Developing Holistic Responses to FGM Legislation
  • Moderator: Carlesha Halkias, Executive Director, Office of Social Equity, Shippensburg Uniaversity
    Services Implementation
  • Dina Baky, Forced Marriage Initiative Project Associate, Tahirih Justice Center
    Immigration and Cultural Competence, and Intersections between FGM and other Practices
  • Ishraga Dousa, M.D., Case Manager and Peer Counselor, African Family Health Organization
    Community Outreach, Prevention, and Education
  • Chris Jason, Deputy Attorney General, PA Office of Attorney General
    Prosecutorial Discretion and Law Enforcement
  • Lucy Johnston-Walsh, Professor of Clinical Law and Director, Children's Advocacy Clinic, Dickinson Law
    Mandated Reporting, Child Protective Services, and Juvenile Law Considerations
  • Sandra Wolf, M.D., Executive Director, Drexel University Women’s Care Center
    Services for Impacted Women and Families
2:15 to 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. Effective FGM Prevention and Survivor Advocacy
  • Moderator: Medha Makhlouf, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, Dickinson Law
    Combining Medical and Legal Services
  • Lori Frasier, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Child Protection Program
    Proactive Medical Solutions
  • Christian Levesque, International Law Trial Attorney, Human Rights and Special Prosecutions, Department of Justice
    Current State of U.S. FGM Legislation and Federal Initiatives
  • Angela Peabody, Executive Director/Founder, Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation
    Grassroots Advocacy and Intelligent Donation
  • Mariya Taher, Co-Founder, Sahiyo
    Effective Organizational Advocacy and Survivor Perspectives
3:45 to 4:30 p.m. Keynote Speaker
  • Introduction: Lindsay Daniels '18, FGM Legislation Project, Dickinson Law
  • F.A. Cole, Author, Speaker, Anti-FGM Activist
4:45 to 5:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
  • Erin Varley '18, FGM Legislation Project, Dickinson Law
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Reception



If viewing the conference via live stream, we encourage you to submit questions via email: Please click here to view and download the presentation handouts.

The Thursday, April 12 event will be webcast live. Click on the buttons below approximately ten minutes prior to the start time to join the live webcast.




Protocol Working Group Sessions — Room 114, Lewis Katz Hall
A working group will create and revise an optional protocol to the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Legal professionals from around the world have given their comments to a preliminary draft, and this meeting will foster discussion on their feedback. Please note that participation in this working group is limited by invitation; however, members of the public may attend and observe.
8:00 to 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
9:00 to 9:15 a.m. Remarks and Materials Distribution
  • Erin Varley '18, FGM Legislation Project, Dickinson Law
9:15 to 10:30 a.m. FGM Protocol Working Group Session 1
Drafting: Protocol Language
10:30 to 10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. to Noon FGM Protocol Working Group Session 2
Drafting: Protocol Language
Noon to 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 to 2:15 p.m. FGM Protocol Working Group Session 3
Strategy: Separate Convention or CEDAW Protocol?
Strategy: Protocol Promulgation
2:15 to 2:30 p.m. Break
2:30 to 3:45 p.m. FGM Protocol Working Group Session 4
Drafting and strategy discussions to be held as needed
3:45 to 4:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
  • Robert Daniell '18, FGM Legislation Project, Dickinson Law

Over the past year, Professor of Law Dermot Groome has supported the work of third-year law students Robert Daniell, Lindsay Daniels, Alexia Tomlinson and Erin Varley in their effort to address the problem of FGM, including the drafting of an international protocol to address this violation, which will be used during the working group session.

Back to List