Joia Lewis has been Acting Chair of the Member Representative Board since January 2021. She was Executive Vice-President in 2018 and President of IWP in 2019.
Joia was born in Lisbon in 1954 and lived in Leiria until her family returned to the US in 1964. She later studied violin at Boston Conservatory and Russian at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow, USSR, before traveling throughout Africa, India, and the Middle East. After receiving her PhD in philosophy of science in 1990, she raised her daughter in California, where she taught philosophy in Fresno, San Diego, and in the Bay Area, and later worked in technical publications for a software company. When her daughter chose Chicago for college, she moved back to Minnesota to be near her mother, teaching again and now working also with online education. Diagnosis of a rare form of MS led to medical retirement in 2014. After her mother’s death, she decided that ten years of relative stability with the disease would allow a retirement move back to Portugal, where she hopes for another ten years of independent living. She now serves on the board of SPEM.pt, the Portuguese MS society, and continues to work on her writing projects as well as occasional development editing for Oxford University Press. The pandemic has made it difficult to participate in her much-loved cafe conversations and jazz club outings, though she hopes to revive her IWP Hypatia Cafe as soon as possible.