Dr Valli Pillai-Batchelor is an educator and creative artist with combined expertise in applied finance and intercultural arts. She advocates for economic justice, community health and multi stakeholder partnerships. Sustainable development, eradication of poverty, violence prevention, gender equality, diversity, cultural norms and faith-based issues are integral to her work.
Her Australian doctorate research on interest-free banking and finance led to academic positions in 5 countries and invitations for contribution at international and ecumenical platforms – including UN Commission on Status of Women for financing for gender equality (2008) and elimination of violence against women (2013); post Global Financial Crisis formulation of alternative financial model (2012); peace dialogues with Muslim and Christian scholars from Islamic Financial Services Board to World Council of Churches.
Valli initiated and edited ’When Pastors Prey’ – to address clergy sexual abuse of women in churches worldwide – by negotiated collaborative partnerships over 5 regions. The book published by World Council of Churches, included prologue from former US President Jimmy Carter and is now recommended resource at theology colleges.
Valli is also an intercultural community dance artist/choreographer trained in Indian classical as well as African, Indonesian, Latin American and Middle Eastern cultural dancing under various mentors; with professional certifications in mindfulness tools (University of Massachusetts Medical School), group exercise leadership (American College of Sports Medicine) and yoga trainer (India and London). Her arts workshops and productions mainly included marginalized women and youth, enabling accessibility to healing arts.
Valli co-founded Journey Towards Hope Arts Projects with her husband Dr Andrew Batchelor, in 2002 using intercultural arts (dance/movements, music and theater) to engage and educate participants from diverse backgrounds, and facilitate process of transformation. Through development of partnerships with multi-stakeholders, her workshops and performances traversed 19 countries within Europe, Middle East, the USA, Latin America Caribbean and Asia –and engaged general population as well as special groups of cancer survivors; paraplegics; indigenous communities; widows from post-war-zones; victims of domestic violence, survivors of stroke, HIV, cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder; the blind/ deaf and women prisoners.
To date her work received The Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award; Western Australian Multicultural Services award; Mover of Just Peace from Geneva; collaborative partnerships with global organizations such as UN Women, and International Women Judges Association; and was acknowledged as a Promising Practice in the Database of Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Valli lived in Saudi Arabia with her family from 2010 to 2016, where she worked as Assistant Professor providing American tertiary finance education for local women; and also as a community health artist who successfully negotiated accessibility to healing arts programs for women and local residents.
Valli is currently based in Melbourne Australia with her husband and 3 children; yet will continue to work internationally.