Public Speaker Paula Allen with Speaking Matters, a speakers bureau

our speakers:

Paula Allen


  • Against All Odds: Women Around the World Demand Justice
  • Hurricane Katrina: Witness to the Aftermath
  • Flowers in the Desert: The Women of Calama, Chile and the 40 Year Search for Their Disappeared Relatives

Travels from: New York, NY

Exclusively Represented by Speaking Matters

Paula Allen has been an 'activist with a camera' for three decades. She has concentrated on photographing women around the world in their courageous and often invisible confrontations with violence and oppression. From a 'safe house' in Kenya where girls escape female genital mutilation; to a village in Kosovo in which only the women and children survived the war; from the streets of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico where women march to demand investigations of the murders of young female factory workers, to Asia, where 'comfort women' break silence by telling their stories of military sexual slavery by Japan during World War II — Allen has documented women's determination in the pursuit of freedom, truth and justice.

What makes Allen especially unique is her long-term approach to her subject matter. As much anthropologist as photographer, she has documented many of her subjects for more than two decades, traveling back year after year to people and plights around the globe.

In 2013, Allen published a second addition of her book Flores en el Desierto/Flowers in the Desert (University Press of Florida) which tells the story of a group of women in the northern desert of Chile as they searched for 17 years for their relatives who were 'disappeared' after the 1973 coup. She spent 24 years documenting the women's 40-year search for the bodies of their loved ones, and truth and justice.

Allen works most often for human rights organizations. She has traveled to Chechen refugee camps in the Russian Federation for Amnesty International (2001); to Afghanistan (2002) documenting the return of refugees from Iran and Pakistan and; to Angola (2003) documenting the return of refugees — both for Refugees International. Her images from these assignments have been used as the focus of human rights campaigns throughout the world through books, magazines, calendars, posters, and web sites. In 2010, her images from Africa were used as French postage stamps to bring attention to stopping violence against women around the world.

Allen has made many trips to New Orleans to document the lives of several families devastated by Hurricane Katrina. She is currently completing her book, Homecomings, which weaves together the stories of three families who lost relatives and homes in the aftermath of the storm.

Allen presently teaches a course at the International Center of Photography in New York City called, Why Am I Photojournalist?

Her photographs have been widely published in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The London Independent Magazine, Paris Match, Art in America, Mother Jones, O, The Oprah Magazine, People, and Marie Claire, among others.

View Paula Allen's Slide Show

"Paula Allen gave a memorable talk at the University of Central Florida. Her audience barely moved during her 90-minute program, and asked questions long after she had concluded the public portion. She made human-rights violations in various parts of the world more tangible and inspired new conversations at UCF."

John C. Bersia,
Special Assistant to the President for Global Perspectives