Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., is the Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women and Professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. Previously, she held academic posts at Georgia State University in women’s studies and the University of Georgia in psychology and African-American studies. She has published three groundbreaking books on womanism: The Womanist Reader (Routledge, 2006), The Womanist Idea (Routledge, 2012), and Womanism Rising (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming). Her scholarly research has focused on social identities, social movements, and spirituality. She has served as a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Liberia, helping to build a gender studies curriculum, as well as a Contemplative Practice Fellow with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society focused on womanist spiritual activism.
Layli has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women since 2015. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the Governance Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee. She also serves as International Board Chair for the Sustainable Market Women’s Fund (formerly the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund), supporting market women in Liberia. She is an active member of the Baha’í Faith, serving in many capacities at the local and national levels. Her next book project focuses on Baha’í perspectives on social transformation.
Born in New York, raised in Georgia and Florida, and currently residing in Massachusetts, Layli has traveled extensively in Africa and has strong ties with Liberia in particular. She has also spent considerable time in Ghana, Cape Verde, and India. Her passion is fostering human wellbeing on a global scale in ways that advance equality, justice, peace, and the oneness of humanity, and she loves the Global Fund for Women’s for supporting grassroots women’s genius worldwide.