Harriet Hope Lewis, PhD,
Advisor & Special Representative at the United Nations
Harriet H. Lewis, PhD is a civil society expert with significant experience facilitating change that resulted in greater inclusion and equity. A business and management consultant, she is the Founder/CEO of Konesens Development, a social enterprise that supports community and economic development, tourism, and civil society capacity building through services and strategies that foster diversity, inclusion, and equity through capacity-building training and research for NGOs, small businesses, and governmental entities in the areas of social inclusion, impact assessment, strategic development and operations, and market research for tourism and international trade. Konesens Development grew from the global market research firm she co-founded, Konesens Research, where she provided the strategic direction for the consultancy and implemented projects that supported small businesses in Belize, South Africa, Namibia, and Florida.
Dr. Lewis began her career as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, first training in Cabo Verde and later serving in Guinea-Bissau. After serving as an English teacher she returned to the U.S. and went on to teach radio and produce media with high-risk court- and gang- involved youth in juvenile detention, alternative school, and community-based settings. Leveraging her inter-cultural experience, and commitment to human rights and our shared humanity, Dr. Lewis was hired as director of a refugee resettlement center in Kansas City, MO.
In 2000, she co-founded the International Women’s Institute, an organization that was established to provide outreach and education to Somali, Sudanese, Vietnamese, Bosnian, and Iraqi women regarding domestic/gender violence and reproductive health. From there, she moved to Waltham, MA to lead the domestic violence organization, REACH, that serves 27 towns and cities in West Suburban Boston. She was recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' House of Representatives for her work on behalf survivors.
A serial entrepreneur herself, over the years she has supported other entrepreneurs and small businesses, including as the Executive Director of the Holly Hill Chamber of Commerce in Florida, where she expanded membership and created new ways in which to engage and promote members. Later, she accepted an opportunity in Chicago to champion global volunteerism as the executive director of the international volunteer association, Altrusa International. In 2013, she presented in Cabo Verde at the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program Forum, a U.S. State Department initiative.
Having the desire to connect children to volunteerism and the world at a young age, she and her children developed the Malik and Friends Book Series. The books are authored and illustrated by her children, and the topic for the third book, "Malik and Friends: Long Legs and Small Arms" was inspired by a former First Daughter of Cabo Verde, who was nine years old at the time. The foreword of the book was written by the former First Lady of Cabo Verde, Lígia Fonseca. This particular book addresses children's access to guns and child soldiers.