#StrengthBeyondAllOdds Female leaders who defy the odds

Intersectionality and Inclusion series

'Strength beyond all odds' was the theme for this year's International Albinism Awareness Day.

We believe that business must play an integral part to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion that will alter the future for generations to come.
In this Intersectionality and Inclusion series, we explore the necessary but difficult work of individuals and organisations engineering a more equal and inclusive world.

We are bringing together leaders and activists who are already making an impact in our new vodcast series, Intersectionality and Inclusion. Hear how they start to tackle these issues and learn how to bring much needed changes to your organisation.

The theme was chosen to:

  • Highlight the achievements of people with albinism around the world.
  • Show that people with albinism can defy all odds.
  • Celebrate how people with albinism worldwide meet and exceed expectations in all domains of life.

Our guests only asked for real inclusion and not for a community that values the illusory. There may be hundreds of ways to put inclusivity into practice. In the end, however, inclusivity is not a concept to be debated, but an experience for all to live. In the third episode of Intersectionality and Inclusion, our panellists will discuss all this and more with host Bridget Kustin.

Watch on demand

Event speakers


Carol Prendergast

Trained as a lawyer, Carol Prendergast began her career as an appellate attorney representing death-row defendants in state and federal courts. Her interest in protecting constitutional rights grew to encompass the protection of human rights as an integral part of national and international policy. 

From witnessing the impact that human rights violations had on individuals and communities, Carol then focused her energy on recovery efforts for victims of torture.

In the past decade, she was involved with the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Federation of UN Associations, and the Aspen Institute. She is currently concentrating on promoting the initiatives of refugees in the Middle East on economic, artistic and cultural projects and on advocating with private-sector leaders to commit to the needs of victims of force migration. She is an advisor to the NYDG Foundation on its Colorful Campaign & the development its partnership with the UN OHCHR and Sesame Street in the joint effort to eliminate discrimination and promote societal inclusion of people with albinism.


Ikponwosa 'I.K' Ero 

Ms. Ikponwosa Ero (Nigeria) was designated in June 2015 as the first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. The vision of Ms. Ero’s mandate is driven by the cross-cutting principle of the UN Sustainable development goals:  'leaving no one behind…starting with the furthest behind first.' Ms. Ero has over a decade of experience in the research, policy development, and practice of human rights concerning persons with albinism. She has advised organizations and governments around the world on human rights concerning persons with albinism.

As the International Advocacy and Legal Officer for Under the Same Sun - an international organization with a focus on albinism - she developed strategic initiatives involving regional and international human rights mechanisms, prepared guiding documents, and oversaw the implementation of recommendations made by the UN and other human rights organizations.


Xueli Abbing

“I'm not going to accept that children are being murdered because of their albinism. I want to change the world”. 

Xueli was born with a rare genetic condition known as albinism and abandoned as baby outside an orphanage in China.  Named Xue Li, meaning snow and beautiful by the orphanage staff, she was adopted at the age of 3 by a Dutch family and moved to the Netherlands. She fell into modelling by chance at the age of 11 when a Hong Kong designer approached her mother about a campaign she was producing, ‘Perfect Imperfections’ to highlight prejudices that other children with physical disabilities and conditions faced. This opportunity led to Xueli joining a modelling agency.  She is now taking the industry by storm and has featured in Vogue Italia, has worked with Kurt Geiger and Etnia Barcelona and is using her success to raise awareness of albinism.

“In modelling, looking different is a blessing not a curse and it gives me a platform to raise awareness of albinism…. I want other children with albinism - or any form of disability or difference - to know they can do and be anything they want”.