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Our keynote speakers will open each day by sharing their work, progress, and success while offering insight into some of the key challenges we face.


March 5th


Marleigh Austin (she/her)

Manager, Programs & Development

Partners in Health Canada

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Marleigh Austin is a health development professional who is passionate about advancing the right to health in low- and middle-income countries. In her current role as Manager, Programs & Development at Partners In Health Canada, she oversees projects focused on child malnutrition and gender-based violence in Haiti. Previously, she consulted for CARE International on a novel intervention aiming to delay the timing of first birth among child brides in Niger and Bangladesh; and worked for a member association of the International Planned Parenthood Federation in Swaziland, where, among other responsibilities, she provided technical support to the Swazi government throughout the development and costing of a 10-year national action plan to end all forms of violence.

Partners in Health Canada

Partners In Health is a nonprofit global health organization that fights injustice by bringing the benefits of modern medical science first and foremost to the most vulnerable communities around the world. PIH focuses on those who would not otherwise have access to quality health care. PIH partners with the world’s leading academic institutions to create rigorous evidence that shapes more sound and inclusive global health policies. PIH also supports local governments’ efforts to build capacity and strengthen national health systems.

Day 2 Keynote

March 6th



Dr. Gaya Gamhewage (she/her)

Head of Learning and Capacity Development, Health Emergencies Program

World Health Organization

Dr. Gaya Gamhewage is a medical doctor and public health expert with three decades of experience in the public health sector. She has worked with the World Health Organization for 19 years, mostly leading capacity building initiatives for health emergencies, including for COVID-19 trainings. She is currently Head of Learning & Capacity development for WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme and is leading the development of the first-ever global strategy to frame the contribution of education and learning to achieve Health For All. 


Dr. Gamhewage also holds Masters Degrees in International Health and in International Policy-Making and Negotiation. She is skilled in supporting countries to build up their own capacity to protect the health of their populations. She is a passionate advocate for and creating fair and sustainable environments and ecosystems where women and men grow and thrive in the service to other. Her areas of expertise include education & learning for health; public health programming; negotiation & advocacy; knowledge networks & ecosystems management; and community engagement and risk communications. She is also an experienced trainer, facilitator and certified coach.

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