MEET THE EXPERTS
Mariam Alimi is one of the first ever female professional photographers in Afghanistan. She was born in Kunduz Province in 1980. Her career as a photographer began in 2006 when she got the chance to join photography training conducted by Travis Beard, a professional Australian photographer. In 2008, she was able to go overseas to train at the Munish Kanna Academy in New Delhi. She has also had the opportunity to learn tips about photography under the supervision Tim Page, a famous photographer, on his visit to Kabul. As a freelance photographer, she has worked with different organizations and press inside and outside of Afghanistan. On October 2009, she worked on a pictorial documentary for the ICCO Dutch donor organization. She’s also worked with organizations like the Danish Demining Group (DDG) in Bagram and with GTZ for some years on their AGF exhibition in Badambagh Kabul. UNAMA used her photos in an exhibition called Transitional Justice in 2008 and showed in various provinces in Afghanistan. She’s also worked for private sector clients, including Maiwand Bank, Habibullah Haseeb Printing, Adv. Company (their 2009 calendar), a Danish youth magazine, on a Tourism guide book to Afghanistan in Australia, and for Afghan Scene magazine where she contributed a photograph for the cover.
Directors and Producers, Frame By Frame
Alexandria Bombach & Mo Scarpelli
When Alexandria and Mo first landed in Kabul in 2012, they were struck by the beauty, hope and complexity of a country that is often represented as war-torn and hopeless. With collective experience shooting non-fiction stories in more than 20 countries around the world, they teamed up to raise $75,000 for the film on Kickstarter, and then returned to Afghanistan in 2013 to find more in-depth perspective of Afghanistan through the eyes of local photojournalists.
President, American Promise
Jeff Clements is President of American Promise, a fast-growing, cross-partisan network of Americans working locally and nationally to win a 28th Amendment so people, not money, govern America. He is an attorney and the author of Corporations Are Not People. His articles and opinion pieces have appeared widely, including in US News & World Report, The Boston Globe, Salon, The Hill, Fox News and many others. Jeff also is Managing Partner of Whaleback Partners, LLC,, which invests in entrepreneurial businesses building a sustainable local food economy.
Jeff has helped to start and been a board member of many non-profit organizations and businesses. An attorney, he has been a partner in the Boston law firm of Mintz Levin, and in his own firm. He also has practiced in Portland, Maine. In public service, Jeff served as Assistant Attorney General and Chief of the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office from early 2007 to 2009. As Bureau Chief, he led more than 100 attorneys and staff in law enforcement and litigation in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, healthcare, insurance and financial services, antitrust and consumer protection. Jeff also served as an Assistant Attorney General in Massachusetts from 1996 to 2000, where he worked on litigation against the tobacco industry and handled a wide range of other investigations and litigation to enforce unfair trade practice, consumer protection and antitrust laws.
International Spokesperson, Bereaved Member, The Parents Circle Families Forum
Robi is the Israeli spokesperson and member of the Parents Circle – Families Forum (PCFF), a group of 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost close family members to the conflict and who work together for reconciliation and a just resolution to the conflict. Robi Damelin’s son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper in March of 2002 while he was guarding a checkpoint near a settlement during his army reserve service. Since becoming active in the Parents Circle, Robi has spoken to hundreds and thousands of Israelis and Palestinians and people all over the world to demand that reconciliation be a part of any peace agreement. Robi was named as a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World. In 2014, Robi was selected by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice as one of four Women PeaceMakers. She is the protagonist featured in the documentary, “One Day after Peace”.
Journalist, Foreign Policy
Amie Ferris-Rotman is a British-American journalist, and currently Foreign Policy’s Moscow correspondent. Prior to joining FP, she was senior correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Moscow. In addition to two extensive tours in Afghanistan and Russia with Reuters, Ferris-Rotman has reported from over a dozen countries for The Atlantic, Haaretz, Politico and other publications. In 2013, she was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University, where she developed Sahar Speaks, a new program that trains, mentors and publishes the work of Afghan female journalists in collaboration with the Huffington Post — for which she won the 2015 Georgina Henry Women in Journalism Award. Amie holds a B.A. and M.A. in Russian Studies from University College London.
Journalist & Documentary Filmmaker
Sahar Fetrat is a young independent documentary filmmaker, journalist and a women’s rights activist. Sahar’s short film about street harassment won the first prize in Elba film festival and she was awarded for extreme courage of reporting on harassment. Sahar’s journey of filmmaking started in 2011, she started to do films as part of a training project called “Global Video Letters” under the mentorship of Norwegian film producers Anders Somme Hammer and Christoffer Naess. “Kabul Cards”. The film was screened at the Noble Peace Center Exhibition in Norway and at the “Kabul Fresh” category of films at the “14th Mumbai Film Festival” (MAMI), which showcased eight different films in an attempt to highlight new voices in Afghan cinema in 2011. “Tark”, is her first documentary as a director in 2013 about the addiction problems in Afghanistan and how a brave afghan woman started a camp to help addicts recover. Since then Sahar has been prodding documentaries for World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, UN Women and UNESCO projects in Afghanistan. Sahar Studies Business Administration at American university of Afghanistan and she has recently founded a film production company “Alakain” in Kabul and she hopes to provide more employment opportunities for female filmmakers and storytellers through this initiative.
Executive Director, Bioneers
Joshua Sheridan Fouts
Joshua Sheridan Fouts is a globally recognized media innovator and social entrepreneur known for his visionary work paving new inroads for meaningful understanding between cultures.
An anthropologist, Joshua studied art and documentary film production. He began his career in Washington, DC in the 1990s where he worked at the US State Department and began to experiment with new ways to use radio, television and Internet technology for cultural collaboration. He went on to launch two first-of-their-kind think tanks focused on digital media innovation and cultural relations at the USC Annenberg School in Los Angeles where he founded the first-ever blog about digital journalism and later created a new master’s degree in public diplomacy.
During his 20-plus years career in international and cultural relations, Joshua has personally worked with the peoples of Malaysia, Africa, and indigenous tribes of the Amazon. He has led or directed various intellectual projects in collaboration with governments and universities in over 20 countries on the planet.
Joshua was raised in the world of arts and social good. His parents spent their entire career running a non-profit dedicated to defend the rights of animals. He has deep familial roots focused on holistic development and the courage to rethink a better future for the world as a whole. Joshua brings this to his work as an executive, social entrepreneur, and a communicator for peace between the diversity of cultures, peoples and living beings on the planet.
President and CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding
Melanie Cohen Greenberg
Ms. Greenberg is President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a network of 106 organizations working to create peaceful, just and inclusive societies in 153 countries. Before joining AfP, she worked in philanthropy (president and founder of the Cypress Fund for Peace and Security, and Conflict Resolution program director at the Hewlett Foundation) and academia (associate director of the Center on International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, and visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins SAIS). In her work on international conflict resolution, Ms. Greenberg has helped design and facilitate public peace processes in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the Caucasus. She has taught advanced courses in international conflict resolution, multi-party conflict resolution and negotiation at Stanford Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and George Washington University. She was lead editor and chapter author of the volume Words over War: Mediation and Arbitration to Prevent Deadly Conflict (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), and co-editor of Civil Society, Peace and Power (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). Ms. Greenberg is a frequent writer, lecturer, teacher and trainer in a broad range of areas related to international law, international security, and peacebuilding, and has served on numerous boards of peacebuilding and security organizations. Ms. Greenberg holds an AB from Harvard, and a JD from Stanford Law School.
Director, In Utero
Kathleen Man Gyllenhaal
Kathleen Man Gyllenhaal was born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii and currently lives in Los Angeles. Kathleen studied at Yale and Iowa and was a Fulbright Scholar in Paris. She is the writer/director of a diverse body of award-winning dramas and documentaries, including “In Utero”, a feature documentary about in utero life and its impact on human development and society and “Lychee Thieves”, an Academy-qualifying short and local favorite in Hawaii. Kathleen taught at the University of Colorado-Boulder, then Vassar College, where she obtained tenure. She then moved to Hollywood and co-produced “Grassroots”, starring Jason Biggs, Cedric the Entertainer and Lauren Ambrose, released by Samuel Goldwyn Films. She is the writer of “The Kennedy Detail”, a feature film based on the New York Times bestseller, and develops dramatic content for television. Kathleen was nominated for the prestigious ‘Talented New Director Award’ at the International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema for her film, In Utero.
Producer, In Utero
Stephen Gyllenhaal was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Virginia Lowrie (née Childs) and Hugh Anders Gyllenhaal. Gyllenhaal directed titles such as Paris Trout, Family of Spies, an episode of Twin Peaks, and episode of The Warden as well as several CBS series Numb3rs, The Mentalist, Hawthorne, Army Wives and Blue Bloods. His works have been nominated for numerous Emmys as well as Golden Globes. His directorial work on Girl Fight earned Gyllenhaal a DGA Nomination for outstanding directorial achievement in movies for television.
Pulitzer Prize Winning Photojournalist, Agence France-Presse
Massoud Hossaini was born in Kabul on December 10, 1981, during the occupation by the Soviet Union. His family fled Afghanistan to Iran when he was six-months old after his father, a supporter of the opposition to the occupation was arrested by the communist regime. Hossaini finished high school in 1996 when the “Reformists Movement” was born in Iran, and he joined them as a political activist. As an activist, Hossaini realized that it was important to record events he was witnessing. He chose photography. The dangers of of carrying a camera in the streets of Tehran forced Hossaini to travel to Masshad, a city he had traveled through when fleeing Afghanistan, to photograph Afghan refugees. After the 9/11 attacks and after the U.S. War on the Taliban, Hossaini returned to Afghanistan in the beginning of 2002 and joined Aina org. which was a cultural center funded by National Geographic photographer, Reza Deghati. He furthered his photographic education under award-winning photographer Manoocher Deghati, and was soon being hired for professional assignments. In 2007, Hossaini joined the Agence France-Presse and has been covering the War on Terrorism since.
Creative Founder of Eco-Life Cambodia
Srey Neang Krech
Srey Neang is one of the creative founders of Eco-Life Cambodia, a project run by young Cambodian people to learn more about environmental problems and ways to tackle the issues through various activities. Srey Neang believes “creativity and innovation is a key to opening the gate of green business.” After her camping trip from Prey Lang, she fell in love with nature and she believes the youth can bring consciousness of consuming back to life by promoting sustainable lifestyle through eco-products and establishing more eco-businesses in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
Director, Out Of The Darkness
Stefano Levi, Ph.D. is a world citizen who speaks four languages, has traveled to over forty countries and lived in Italy, the Netherlands, and Germany. He obtained a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and worked as a scientist and business development manager in the corporate world before diverting his full attention to visual storytelling.
Stefano has supported PR and advertisement campaigns for multinational enterprises as well as renowned nonprofit organizations. Stefano currently works as a documentary / commercial photographer and film producer on worldwide projects, to support corporate firms and NGOs in their storytelling and their fundraising campaigns. He is the co-owner and managing director at Human Touch Pictures, an independent film production company, and in 2016 Stefano founded Charicomm Authentic Impact, a company solely dedicated to helping charities create a bigger impact in the world. Stefano also leads small and exclusive Photography Workshops in the heart of Africa each year as a photography coach, guiding other photographers to one of the most beautiful regions on Earth: A lifetime experience.
Director of A River Changes Course
Award-winning filmmaker, lawyer, and born storyteller, Kalyanee Mam, is committed to combining her passion for art and advocacy to tell compelling and universal stories. Born in Battambang, Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge Regime, she and her family fled the refugee camps at the Thai-Cambodian border and eventually immigrated to the United States in 1981. Even to this day her mother recounts stories of their flight through jungles laden with land mines. A graduate of Yale University and UCLA Law School, Kalyanee has also worked as a legal consultant in Mozambique and Iraq.
Founder and Senior Advisor, Search for Common Ground
John was until 2014 the President of Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a peacebuilding NGO he founded in 1982 that now has 600 staff with offices in 36 countries. He also founded Common Ground Productions (CGP) and produced and/or executive-produced TV series in more than 20 countries. He remains a Senior Advisor to both SFCG and CGP. In addition, he is Visiting Scholar in Peacebuilding and Social Entrepreneurship at Leiden University in the Netherlands. With his wife, Susan Collin Marks, he is a Skoll Awardee in Social Entrepreneurship, and, additionally, he is an Ashoka Senior Fellow. A best-selling, award-winning author, he was a US Foreign Service Officer, Executive Assistant to the late US Senator Clifford Case (R-NJ), a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School.
Community Engagement Manager, Thousand Currents
As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Whittier College, Verónica Moreno has always been committed to amplifying the voices of underrepresented peoples in both academia and her own community. Verónica was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina, where she designed and taught a syllabus focused on social issues in media and pop culture and organized video production workshops for both teachers and students. She joined the Thousand Current team in 2014. She brings an eclectic set of skills to the team, ranging from operational support to creative communication output. She looks forward to building a future where no one gender, race, sexual orientation or other protected characteristic is the standard for all of humanity but instead a future rooted in a deeply connected and nuanced respect for our multi-faceted communities.
Executive Producer, PAY 2 PLAY
Holly Mosher is an award-winning filmmaker who brings socially-conscious films to the public. Holly graduated with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2004 she made her directorial debut with her award-winning documentary, Hummingbird, about two nonprofits in Brazil that work with street kids and women suffering domestic violence. Afterwards, she produced two films on the pharmaceutical industry: Side Effects, starring Katherine Heigl, and Money Talks: Profits Before Patient Safety. She co-produced Maybe Baby, and executive produced Vanishing of the Bees, FREE FOR ALL, and Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes. The second film she directed, Bonsai People – The Vision of Muhammad Yunus, aired on American Public Television. The Hollywood Reporter named her an up-and-coming producer.
Filmmaker and Former Environmental Activist at Mother Nature Cambodia (MNC)
Mr. Kimry Mot is a filmmaker and former environmental activist at Mother Nature Cambodia (MNC). As co-founder of Mother Nature Movement for MNC since 2014, Mr. Mot served as a media coordinator and liaison between the local community and MNC to develop strategies and advocacy through film for a national media campaign to protect their local environment. Through a local and international advocacy campaign, he was able to provide support and assistance to grassroots communities in Areng Valley, through which, they succeeded in averting the construction of hydro dam. Mr. Mot has also been involved, with communities in Koh Sralau, in a campaign to stop sand dredging and the exportation of sand abroad. Recently, he’s been involved with media training and assisting filmmaker Kalyanee Mam with her upcoming feature documentary “The Fire and the Bird’s Nest” about a young mother in Areng Valley, whose mythical stories bring magic to life. Mr. Mot holds an associate degree in economic planning at Planning and Statistic Training Center.
Programs Officer, Tostan
Daniel joined the Tostan team in January 2015 as Assistant to the Regional Coordination in Kaolack, focusing on social mobilization activities and preparatory work for a declaration by 52 communities of their abandonment of female genital cutting and child marriage, and a ceremony of commitment held by 50 communities to promote early childhood development and to abandon violence against children. In November 2015, he became Assistant to the Prison Project, working alongside the Project Coordinator to support Community Empowerment Program classes, mediations and income-generating activity trainings in six prisons in Senegal in order to improve prisons conditions for detainees and to facilitate reintegration. Since September 2016, Daniel has been a Programs Officer at Tostan International, supporting project cycle management and strategic planning, conducting research on key issue areas, and assisting in the organization and planning of trainings for development practitioners from all over the world at the Tostan Training Center, where they learn and exchange on Tostan’s program content, human rights approach, participatory methodology, and social mobilization strategy. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics) from the University of Western Australia.
Former Deputy Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
Daniela is a social change educator, who has taught classes on social entrepreneurship and leadership around the world and spent the last five years worked at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in Oxford’s Saïd Business School. As the Deputy Director of the Skoll Centre, she designed new student programming initiatives including a Leading for Impact programme, “apprenticing with a problem” funding, and The Global Challenge, which now runs at 24 universities around the world. She also taught MBA courses at Oxford including the core Entrepreneurship Project course and a course on high-impact entrepreneurship. Daniela is a graduate of Saïd Business School’s MBA programme and was a Skoll Scholarship recipient.
Her thought leadership on social change education has been featured in many global conferences, and in key articles read by the social sector, including Stanford Social Innovation Review’s third most read article of 2016 called Tackling Heropreneurship. Her report on the same topic continues to be downloaded and, along with her TEDx talks, are used in education programs globally. She designed a tool called the Impact Gaps Canvas which is used in universities around the world to help students learn about and map their challenges of interest and help them find gaps where they might add value.
Prior to coming to Oxford, Daniela spent six years in Cambodia where she grew a youth leadership organization, PEPY, an educational travel company, PEPY Tours, and an advocacy organisation, Learning Service. Daniela is co-authoring a book advocating for a ‘Learning Service’ approach to philanthropic and volunteer travel and has worked as a consultant to other social impact organizations, typically supporting their strategy redesign by incorporating her experience in social marketing and user-centered programme design.
Researcher, Health and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch
Katharina Rall is a Researcher with the Health and Human Rights Division at Human Rights Watch where her current work is focusing on human rights violations in the context of climate change and environmental health. She also researches economic, social and cultural rights more broadly with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law. Her experience prior to joining HRW includes collaborating with human rights lawyers and communities affected by extractive industries in Haiti, the protection of human rights defenders in the Inter-American human rights system, litigation and advocacy seeking accountability from the U.N. for its role in Haiti’s cholera outbreak, and advising members of the German Parliament on human rights and international law issues. Katharina holds a law degree from the University of Goettingen School of Law and graduated from New York University School of Law with an LL.M in International Legal Studies. Katharina speaks English, German, French, Spanish, and some Haitian Creole.
Director, Omo Child: The River and The Bush
John Rowe was born and raised in Los Angeles. He enlisted in the Navy Reserve during the Vietnam war and was sent to the U.S. Navy School of Photography, Florida. Returning to civilian life, he studied management at the University of Southern California and afterwards John worked for SNK Games, a major Japanese video game publisher, launched his own company, Tradewest, serving as co-founder and president and in 2001 John founded and served as president of High Moon Studios.
After working in the entertainment industry for 25 years, John sold High Moon Studios to Vivendi Universal in 2005. Having taken photos his whole life, John was now able to devote all of his time to his passion of photography. John’s journey to South West Ethiopia to photograph the tribes of the Omo Valley dramatically changed his life’s direction and narrowed his focus to this region, which has been called “Africa’s last frontier” by National Geographic. On that first trip to the Omo Valley, Lale Labuko (from the Kara tribe) was John’s guide and translator. After Lale shared with John the secret practice of Mingi (infanticide in the Kara and Hamer tribes) and asked for his help in caring for the Mingi children he had rescued, John & Lale co-founded OMO CHILD in 2010. He since went on to produce and direct OMO CHILD: THE RIVER AND THE BUSH.
Himalayan Cataract Project Co-founder
Sanduk Ruit, MD
Himalayan Cataract Project Co-Founder Dr. Sanduk Ruit’s soul mission has been, and continues to be, to bring eyesight back to anyone who needs it, regardless of his or her ability to pay — and to do so with pre- and post-operative care that rivals the highest quality healthcare throughout the world. A masterful surgeon, he can perform dozens of flawless cataract operations at eye camps over the course of a 12-hour day. Working tirelessly at the operating table, he says “the surgical chair is the most comfortable place on Earth that I have.”
Sanduk Ruit was born in Olangchungola, a remote village in Eastern Nepal — so remote the nearest school was a week’s walk away. And there were no health posts. Ruit’s sister died of tuberculosis when he was 17. This experience led him to become a doctor. In 1980, while working on a Nepal Blindness Survey, Ruit met the incomparable Fred Hollows, an Australian eye surgeon who soon became his mentor. Hollows helped Ruit choose his life’s path: to restore eyesight to people who are unnecessarily blind. While in Australia, Ruit learned about a cataract micro-surgery technique using implanted intraocular lenses. He wanted to take this technique and help the poorest of the poor. Ruit was the first Nepali doctor to perform cataract surgery with intraocular lens implants and the first to pioneer a method for delivering high-quality microsurgical procedures in remote eye camps.
As a tribute to his remarkable achievements, Dr. Ruit has received a number of prestigious awards in the field of international health. In 1994, Dr. Ruit helped found the Tilganga Eye Center. On average, Tilgaga treats 2,500 patients a week, waiving surgery fees for those unable to pay. Because many of the poor and blind cannot make it to Kathmandu, Dr. Ruit still reaches out to them by trekking into remote parts of Nepal and throughout the Himalayas. Dr. Ruit and colleagues from Tilganga have worked as far afield as North Korea, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Ghana.
Both Kimry and Mala worked with Mother Nature Cambodia, a local grassroots environmental organization, to rally local and international support to end a government plan to construct a hydro dam in Areng Valley, located at the foot of the Cardamom Mountains in Southwest Cambodia. They are also active in fighting against sand dredging and protecting the mangrove forests in Koh Kong province. Mala was imprisoned for ten months, along with two other co-activists for their valiant efforts. Mala and Kimry are now working with the local community in Sesan to avert the impact of a hydro dam that was recently built there.
Research Director, MN Prison Doula Project
Dr. Rebecca Shlafer
Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the UMN and serves as the Research Director. Shlafer’s research focuses on understanding the developmental outcomes of children and families when parents are incarcerated.
Himalayan Cataract Project Co-founder
Geoff Tabin, MD
Dr. Geoff Tabin is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Himalayan Cataract Project and the John A and Marva M Presidential Endowed Chair and Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of the Division of International Ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center and University of Utah. He has published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, two books and a dozen book chapters related to his work in ophthalmology and the developing world.
Dr. Tabin is the fourth person in the world to reach the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. His passion for mountain climbing directed him to his professional career in eye care. After summiting Mt. Everest, on one of his expeditions, he came across a Dutch team performing cataract surgery on a woman who had been needlessly blind for three years. It was then he understood his life calling.
Tabin graduated from Yale University and then earned an MA in Philosophy at Oxford University on a Marshall Scholarship. From there, he took his interest in moral philosophy and health care delivery to Harvard Medical School where he earned his MD in 1985. After completing an ophthalmology residency at Brown University and a fellowship in corneal surgery in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Tabin returned to Nepal to work with Dr. Sanduk Ruit.
The Himalayan Cataract Project has since expanded beyond the Himalayas to encompass Sub-Saharan Africa as well. Dr. Tabin spends a considerable part of the year working abroad throughout the Himalayas and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tabin is a leader in both the national and international ophthalmic community. He is a member of the International Education Committee for the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and teaches a course on cataract surgery at both the AAO and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ASCRS).
COO, Organic Animal Nutrition
Andy has spent 11 years working in social enterprise, from healthcare to agriculture, Ecuador to India. Currently he is COO of Organic Animal Nutrition based in Boulder CO. Andy’s formative experience in the sector was 8 years at AfriKids, a child rights organisation that operates in northern Ghana; here he was a Director focussed on working with an all local team in developing and running Ghanaian social projects and social business. AfriKids’ founding project is Operation Sirigu, where a local team work on changing the traditional belief system around the ‘Spirit Child Phenomenon’, a practice where children are divined as not of this world, which in many cases leads to the children being killed. Before joining AfriKids Andy worked in the private sector in project management. Andy holds a BA in International Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham and an MBA from the University of Oxford where he studied as a Skoll Scholar.
Director of ELEMENTAL
Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is a filmmaker, musician and composer. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, exhibited at The Smithsonian and screened at festivals worldwide. He has directed and produced numerous award-winning films including Isle de Jean Charles (2014) Yukon Kings (2013), Elemental (2012), A Thousand Suns (2009), What Would It Look Like (2009), A Game For Life (2008), and Barrio de Paz (2007). He also the founder and director of The Global Oneness Project, a Webby Award-winning media and educational platform. Prior to his work in film, Emmanuel performed with some of the biggest names in Jazz, as well as releasing two critically acclaimed records under his own name Previous Misconceptions (2002) and Borrowed Time (2005). He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music where he studied improvisation and composition. He lives in a small coastal town in Northern California with his wife and two children.
Co-Producer, POVERTY, INC.
Mark Weber (@markrweber) is a Fellow at the MIT Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship and a project manager at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, a research group focused on decentralizing trust and disrupting power structures with cryptographic peer-to-peer exchange and distributed systems. Focused on financial inclusion, Mark leads the DCI’s research on blockchain asset registries and has developed a prototype for inventory-based lending. Mark also manages DCI’s working groups, cross-functional teams of students from across MIT hacking on pressing issues connected to cryptocurrencies and related technologies.
Prior to MIT, Mark co-produced the critically acclaimed documentary, “Poverty, Inc.” (available on Netflix), which has earned over 50 international film festival honors, the $100,000 Templeton Freedom award, TV broadcast deals in 12 countries, and praise across the political spectrum, from Michael Moore to Nobel laureate Angus Deaton. Drawing on over 200 interviews from 20 countries, the film critiques the Western development establishment and its tendency to undermine local markets, cultures, and governance. Learn more and see Mark’s post-screening Q&A’s at www.povertyinc.org.
Mark has served as a guest speaker at over 100 organizations including Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, Stanford University, NYU (hosted by Bill Easterly), Cornell School of Management, Copenhagen Business School, Entrepreneurs Without Borders Annual Leadership Summit, Global Health Corps (hosted by Barbara Bush), IBM Watson Research Headquarters, and the MIT Tech Review.
Mark is a graduate of the “Great Books” program at the University of Notre Dame, an intensive curriculum heavy in philosophy and theology, history, economics, science, and literature. His recreational joy is ultra marathon mountain running.
Craig is the Founder and CEO of PCDN, the go-to hub for global social change (pcdnetwork.org). Since its founding in 2007, Craig has grown PCDN to over 37,000 members representing more than 180 countries. From 2005 to 2016 he served as professor the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University before stepping down in June 2016 to work on PCDN full time. Craig has dedicated his life to being an entrepreneur and to creating a more peaceful world. Before creating PCDN, Craig also helped to co-found two NG0s – the Alliance for Conflict Transformation and the TEAM foundation in Hungary. Craig serves on a number of boards and advisory boards including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the Inzone Project, Tech Change, Move this World, Amani Institute, and several others. He spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia.
He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
Global Education Consultant, Zeitgeist Creations
Jennifer Geist is a global education consultant with a strong background in using film and digital storytelling in the classroom. She helps teachers, schools, foundations, and students to bring global perspectives into their education work. She specializes in online collaboration, virtual exchange, curriculum development, and project-based learning with international partners, primarily in Latin America and the Middle East. All of her work aims to facilitate learning and working together for a healthier planet.
Producer, A World Not Ours
Born and raised in Dublin, Patrick has been working in film since 2007 freelancing as
a production manager, line producer and producer on pilots, shorts, and features. He
is an alumnus of Berlinale Talents and the Binger Film Lab as well as a BAFTA
In 2010 Campbell and director Mahdi Fleifel formed the production company Nakba
FilmWorks to produce feature documentary A World Not Ours which went on to
screen at over 100 festivals worldwide, collecting over 30 awards including the
Yamagata Grand Prix and the Berlinale Peace Prize. Their 2016 short documentary, A
Man Returned, had its international premiere at the 2016 Berlinale where it won the
Silver Bear and their latest short film, A Drowning Man, premiered in competition at
the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 and was nominated for a BAFTA in 2018.
Patrick has also engaged in collaborations with other directors including with his
brother Duncan Campbell to produce The Welfare of Tomás Ó Hallissy in 2016.
Projects in development include Mahdi Fleifel’s debut feature, Men In The Sun,
Siofra Campbell’s kidnap/thriller, The Price, and Ian Waugh’s drama feature As He
Director, Refugee Program at Human Rights Watch
Bill Frelick, director of Human Rights Watch’s refugee program, monitors, investigates, and documents human rights abuses against refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons, and advocates for the rights and humanitarian needs of all categories of forcibly displaced persons around the world.
Before joining Human Rights Watch, Frelick directed Amnesty International USA’s refugee program and the US Committee for Refugees (USCR), which he served for 18 years. He was the editor of USCR’s annual World Refugee Survey and monthly Refugee Reports. Frelick has traveled to refugee sites throughout the world and is widely published. He taught in the Middle East from 1979-1983 and was co-coordinator of the Asian Center of Clergy and Laity Concerned from 1976-1979. Frelick has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.A. from Columbia University.
Director, Burden of Peace
Joey was born in 1984 in Amsterdam, and studied political science (BSc.) and International Development Studies (Msc., University of Amsterdam 2009, cum laude). Combining independent films with branded productions, the types of projects he works on vary between documentaries, campaigns and journalism. His specialities are directing, researching, photography and editing.
Director for Gender, Women and Democracy
Sandra Pepera is a career diplomat and international development professional. Before joining NDI as its director for Gender, Women and Democracy in 2014, she spent thirteen years as a senior officer at the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), including leading programs in the Caribbean, Rwanda-Burundi and Sudan. Prior to joining DFID, Sandra spent time in British domestic politics; lecturing in political science and international relations at the University of Ghana; and as a political analyst in the Political Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat. She has a portfolio of skills and experience which include strategy development, political and risk analysis, diplomacy, general management and corporate governance.
Much of Sandra’s career has been spent working in or on transitional economies, focusing on the building of resilient and inclusive institutions. She led work on women and politics at the University of Ghana and in outreach public policy during the period of intense and unstable political transition in the early 1990s. This included participating in a program that supported the ANC Women’s League during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to majority democratic rule in 1993.
Sandra is a member of the Cambridge Sustainability Leaders Network, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the Global Board Ready Women initiative, and the International Advisory Board of the Commonwealth Journal for International Affairs (the Round Table). She holds the Financial Times Diploma for Non-Executive Directors, and serves as a trustee for the pension fund of an intergovernmental organization.
Special Advisor for Gender, Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
Patricia Viseur Sellers, Esq.
Ms. Sellers is an international criminal lawyer. She is the Special Advisor for Gender for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Ms. Sellers is a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College of the University of Oxford where she teaches international criminal law and human rights law. She was the Legal Advisor for Gender, Acting Head of the Legal Advisory Section and a prosecutor at the Yugoslav (ICTY) Tribunal from 1994 until February 2007. She developed the legal strategies and was a member of the trial teams of Akayesu, Furundzija, and Kunarac. These landmark decisions remain the pre-imminent legal standards for the interpretation of sexual violence as war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, torture and enslavement.
Ms. Sellers advises governments, such as Colombia, Guatemala, Libya, and Kenya, international institutions, such as the UN and OSCE, and civil society organisations on international criminal law and humanitarian law. Her expertise focuses on the strategic investigation and prosecution of sexual violence. As such, she has been a Special Legal Consultant to UNWomen, to the Gender and Women’s Rights Division of the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Secretary’s General’s Special Representative to Children in Armed Conflict. In 2012, she was a member of an expert panel to review the UN Office of Internal Oversight that has initial investigative jurisdiction over UN Peacekeepers. She has testified as an expert witness before the Spanish national courts on issues of genocide. She testified before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2013, in the case J. v. Peru on issues of conflict-related sexual and in 2016 in the case of Favela Nova Brasilia v. Brazil on matters concerning international obligations to investigate sexual violence. She is currently a sworn expert witness in two criminal cases concerning sexual violence related to the armed conflict in Colombia.
She has lectured extensively on humanitarian law and international criminal law. She is the author of numerous articles including; Wartime Female Slavery: Enslavement? Cornell University Journal of International Law, Vol. 44:1 (2011); Rape and Sexual Violence, in the critically received, A NEW COMMENTARY TO THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS, (Oxford University Press 2015) and; (Re)Considering the Gender Jurisprudence in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF GENDER AND ARMED CONFLICT (Oxford university Press 2017).
She served as a story consultant to WNET-13/WIDE ANGLE, the producers of the PBS series, Women, War and Peace and currently is an advisor on, ‘The Prosecutors’ a documentary film project as well as being featured in the acclaimed documentary, ‘The Uncondemned’.
Ms. Sellers is the recipient of the prestigious Prominent Women in International Law Award by the American Society of International Law. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the City University of New York, as well as an Honorary Fellow for Lifetime Achievement from the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania, her alma mater. Ms. Sellers was also awarded the National Bar Association’s Ron Brown International Lawyer Prize.
Director, Climate Justice Resilience Fund
Heather McGray is Director of the Climate Justice Resilience Fund. Heather previously served as the Director of the Climate Resilience Practice at the World Resources Institute. Under her leadership, Climate Resilience at WRI grew from a one-person project in 2007 to a cross-cutting practice with teammates in India, the US, and Brazil. The team worked on a range of issues, including national adaptation planning, climate finance advocacy, resilience measurement, and adaptation policy within the UNFCCC. Heather also led the creation of a body of work on urban climate resilience.
Prior to taking on WRI’s resilience portfolio, Heather worked with The Access Initiative to promote transparency, participation, and access to justice in addressing environmental problems. This included research and civil society training in China’s Yunnan Province. Earlier professional experience included research on environmental management in China; research and advocacy on ISO 14000 environmental standards; coordination of an urban education and development network in New Haven, CT; and management of educational exchange programs for the Yale-China Association.
Heather speaks Mandarin, and holds a Master’s of Environmental Management from Yale University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Oberlin College.
Listen to Heather speak about resilience in the Paris climate agreement on BBC radio.
Impact Producer (East Africa)
Emily Wanja is a content and Impact producer based in Nairobi Kenya. With a career that spans from theatre acting to TV drama and movies. She creates and markets content based on trends, needs and information for mass consumption at OwNA movie ltd. She is the in-house producer for Docubox (East Africa Documentary film fund) overseeing 12 feature documentaries. She has worked extensively with farmers across Kenya through ‘Seeds of Gold’ a TV show and Newspaper version for youth and agribusiness – Nation Media Group. She has produced TV shows for different networks in Kenya and has worked on international fiction co-productions that include Short films, ‘Burnt Forest’, and ‘A fork a spoon a Night’. She is the East Africa impact producer for the international feature documentary ‘Thank you for the Rain’, Working with National, County governments, Private stakeholders and community using film to build audiences and create impact on climate change adaptation.
Director, Thank You For The Rain | Filmmaker
Julia believes that filmmakers can be changemakers. She is a director and producer in Differ Media. Julia is passionate about character-driven stories that bring attention to social and environmental issues, challenge stereotypes and create a lasting impact. Her first feature film, Thank You For The Rain, has won more than 10 international awards, and in 2015 Julia was included on the Forbes ’30 under 30′ list of young Europeans ‘driving and defining the world media.
Rowaida Abdelaziz is a journalist at Huffpost, where she focuses on reporting on civil rights and social justices issues within the Muslim community. Rowaida spearheads the coverage of Islamophobia and the rising anti-Muslim sentiment across the U.S at Huffpost. Her goal is to provide guidance for diverse coverage of the Muslim community in mainstream media as a hijab-wearing woman in the newsroom.
Last year, Rowaida was a lead reporter for the Islamophobia Tracker, a project that documented the anti-Muslim rhetoric that spiked across the U.S. She also launched HuffPost’s Tomorrow Inshallah, a community Facebook page that targets and amplifies Muslim voices and perspectives. Fluent in Arabic, Rowaida also has written numerous stories on the Middle East and covered the refugee crises in Syria, Yemen and other parts of the Arab world.
Researcher, Global Policy Institute
Qutaiba is a researcher at the Global Policy Institute, analyzing education and security policy in the Middle East. His past research experiences include developing governance and security atmospheric reports for the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command as a Senior Consultant with Pechter Polls, and for USAID Office of Transitional Initiatives as an Associate with Caerus Associates. His experience also included researching governance structures in Syria for Mouaz AL-Khateeb, the founding president of the Syrian National Coalition.
He is a Co-Founder and former Vice President of People Demand Change (PDC) and has extensive refugee experience, advancing national engagement efforts as a Research Assistant with the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services; promoting refugee awareness through speaking engagements across the U.S, acting as Associate Producer for the Red Lines documentary; and volunteering for refugee relief organizations in Lebanon and Egypt. He currently serves as a board member of Paper Airplanes, an organization facilitating online language and skills instruction for refugees across the Middle East.
Qutaiba is completing his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science at Columbia University after he was denied his degree in Damascus for his work as a citizen journalist. He was detained twice by Syrian security officials in 2011 and forced to leave the country.
Managing Editor, Syria Deeply & Peacebuilding Deeply
Alessandria is the Managing Editor of Peacebuilding Deeply and Syria Deeply, as well as chief of News Deeply’s Beirut bureau. Previously, she was the Middle East correspondent for International Business Times. She was a featured author in the 2016 and 2017 editions of “Attacks on the Press” with the Committee to Protect Journalists, and her coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis won a Society for American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) international reporting award. She is a native of Canada and a cat enthusiast. She tweets from @AlessandriaMasi and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Salam Neighbor | Co-Founder, Living on One
Chris Temple is an award-winning filmmaker and humanitarian. He co-directed, produced and hosted the feature documentaries Living on One Dollar and Salam Neighbor. The films are available globally on Netflix and Amazon, and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Variety, and The Atlantic. He’s been honored with the 2016 Muslim Public Affairs Council Annual Media Award, recognized alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as one of the top 100 visionary leaders of 2015 by YPO’s Real Leaders Magazine, and accepted by the U.S. State Department into the American Film Showcase.
From living in a tent in a Syrian refugee camp to working as a radish farmer and surviving on $1 a day in Guatemala, Chris has been on the front lines fighting for human rights. His work has shifted policy and raised over 1.4 million dollars for poverty alleviation and refugee support efforts. Most recently, Chris collaborated with the UN Refugee Agency and Google to create Searching for Syria, an immersive online hub that answers the world’s top searched questions about Syria. The project was featured on the homepage of Google, received over 25 million views, and won a 2017 Webby Award for the internet’s “Best Use of Photography.”
Director, Salam Neighbor | Co-Founder, Living on One
Zach Ingrasci is an award-winning humanitarian, activist, and filmmaker. He co-directed, produced and hosted the feature documentaries Living on One Dollar and Salam Neighbor. The films are available globally on Netflix and Amazon, and his work has been featured in The New York Times, Variety, and The Atlantic. He’s been honored with the 2016 Muslim Public Affairs Council Annual Media Award, recognized alongside Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie as one of the top 100 visionary leaders of 2015 by YPO’s Real Leaders Magazine, and accepted by the U.S. State Department into the American Film Showcase.
From living in a tent in a Syrian refugee camp to working as a radish farmer and surviving on $1 a day in Guatemala, Zach has been on the front lines fighting for human rights. His work has shifted policy and raised over 1.3 million dollars for poverty alleviation and refugee support efforts. Most recently, Zach collaborated with the UN Refugee Agency and Google to create Searching for Syria, an immersive online hub that answers the world’s top searched questions about Syria. The project was featured on the homepage of Google and received over 25 million views.
Evy Bjorn is a producer working in documentary, reality/doc field producing, specifically working for Falling Whistles, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Buzzfeed Pictures; and internationally working for DR2 in Denmark, National Geographic International in Italy and the US.
In the past few years, Evy moved into development, working for TruTV, and then as a Development Executive, in the non-scripted division, for Televisa International, based in Madrid, Spain. She traveled across Europe, to oversee and develop shows in various territories. Recently returned to Los Angeles, Evy has been working as a freelance producer with notable projects including Jennifer Lopez El Anillo, Dua Lipa Lost in Your Light music videos and advertising campaigns for Casio, Coffee Mate and Honda. Evy has curated meaningful relationships with Tribal Elders through her involvement with Tribal Trust Foundation, a contributor to the Conscious Good Network and a volunteer for Nexus Global.
Founder + CEO, Social Impact Media Awards
Daniela Kon is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer and consultant working at the intersection of human rights, global development and impact media for the past decade. Born in Frankfurt, Germany, she completed her BA in Media and Cultural Studies and MA in Documentary Production at The London College of Communications and Royal Holloway, University of London. She moved to New York in 2003 working for Emmy award-winning director Marc Levin at Blowback Productions, and was the researcher and assistant editor for HBO and THINK Film’s “Protocols of Zion,” an Official Sundance Selection. She founded documentary and impact agency, DEEDA, in 2005 and has since worked with filmmakers, NGOs and aid organizations in Cambodia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Israel, Liberia, Senegal, and the US, creating documentaries and impact campaigns on a plethora of social justice issues. Her film credits range from the award winning documentary TALIBE, the United Nations FAO Ending Hunger Campaign and the UN Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD), to collaborations with grassroots initiatives in Education, Voluntourism, Youth Leadership, Girls and Women’s Empowerment, LGBT Rights, Water Management, Children’s Rights, and Modern-day Slavery. Kon is a member of CAP with Creative Visions Foundation, a board member of the HRW Film Committee and the Women’s Rights Committee of Human Rights Watch in Los Angeles. She is the co-founder of humanitarian robotics company, Symbiobotics, a producer and strategist for social issue documentaries, impact media productions, and international advocacy campaigns. Driven by the premise of maximizing responsible impact through creativity, Kon founded the Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) in 2012, dedicated to advancing the culture of impact filmmaking and to supporting filmmakers and change-makers in their work.
Director, The Well | Documentary director, DOP, PhD in Human Geography
Riccardo Russo is an award winning documentary director and DOP, with a specialization in Human Rights and a PhD in Human Geography. As a media-activist, he co-founded in 2005 Esplorare la Metropoli, a research and filmmaking association active in the field of social humanitarian communication. With special attention to minorities and indigenous societies, he has over fifteen years of professional experience in filmmaking all over the five continents. His work has been screened worldwide in festivals and broadcast in many countries. He also collaborates with Universities and NGOs as a freelancer and consultant. He currently teaches Visual Geography at the University of Rome Sapienza (Italy).
Director, Strike A Rock
Aliki is a Johannesburg-based South African documentary filmmaker and photographer. After completing her MA cum laude, in 2015 she started her own documentary production company, Elafos Productions to champion women’s stories, recognising the need to emphasise complex and strong roles for women both in front of and behind the lens. Her photojournalism has been featured in Al Jazeera Online, she has lectured at post-graduate symposiums and has been referenced by Pulitzer winner Greg Marinovich in his book Murder on Small Koppie. Aliki is currently heading up the Impact and Advocacy team in the newly formed Sisters Working In Film and Television Organisation. Strike A Rock is Aliki’s first documentary feature film, and was one of six projects chosen to pitch at Bertha’s Good Pitch Kenya in 2016.
Deputy Director, Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)
Palesa Madi is an acting deputy director at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS). She is an admitted attorney and completed her articles at CALS. Se currently heads the Rule of Law Programme at CALS, which focuses on civil and political rights and strengthening institutions of democracy. She has worked in other CALS’ programmes, including Gender, Basic Services, Environmental Justice and Business and Human Rights. Prior to joining CALS, she interned at Amnesty International, South Africa.
Chris Jordan is a multi-media artist based in Seattle. His work explores contemporary mass culture from a variety of photographic and conceptual perspectives, connecting the viewer viscerally to the enormity and power of humanity’s collective unconscious. Jordan’s work edgewalks the lines between beauty and horror, abstraction and representation, and the visible and the invisible, challenging us to look both inward and outward at the complex landscapes of our collective
Jordan’s work reaches an increasingly broad international audience through his exhibitions, books, website, interviews on radio and television, and speaking engagements and school visits all over the world. He is currently involved in an international tour of his first feature film ALBATROSS, bringing to world the awareness and message of plastic pollution’s devastation effect on the albatrosses of Midway island.
Donna F. Edwards
Donna F. Edwards was the first African American woman elected to represent Maryland in the United States Congress. Congresswoman Edwards was born in Yanceyville, North Carolina, grew up in a military family, and lived in every region of the country and internationally. She earned B.A. degree from Wake Forest University. Edwards completed her final year of study at the University of Salamanca, Spain, in WFU’s study-abroad
program. She is the mother of one adult son, who is the light of her life.
Congresswoman Edwards began her career at the United Nations Development Program. In addition to her service at the UN, Congresswoman Edwards worked for the Lockheed Corporation at as a project engineer with the Spacelab program. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree in 1989 from the University of New Hampshire
School of Law. In her distinguished career, Congresswoman Edwards worked as an attorney in private practice, clerked for a District of Columbia Superior Court Judge, and worked as a public interest lawyer.
As a nonprofit executive, Congresswoman Edwards co-founded and led the National Network to End Domestic Violence, spearheading the effort to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. She was the executive director of the Arca Foundation and Center for a New Democracy and was a tireless advocate for Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy non-profit organization. Congresswoman Edwards has served on numerous nonprofit boards in various capacities from treasurer to chair. She currently serves on the Profiles in Courage Awards Committee of the John F. Kennedy Library and as a trustee of Wake Forest University (hospital board and administration committee).
Elected in a special election in June 2008, Ms. Edwards became Maryland’s first African American woman in Congress, serving 5 terms. In Congress, she served on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Committee on Standards and Official Conduct, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, serving as the lead Democrat on the Subcommittee on Space. Congresswoman Edwards was a member of the Democratic leadership team as co-chair of the House Democrat’s Steering and Policy Committee. Following her service in Congress, Edwards set out on a cross country motorhome adventure, logging 12,000 miles camping, hiking and fishing throughout the United States. Congresswoman Edwards is looking for the next opportunity to lead.
Outreach and Education Director, The Innocence Project
After being wrongly accused of the aggravated sexual assault of a child in 1994, Anna dedicated the next 22 years of her life to proving her innocence. A decade into her confinement, the Innocence Project of Texas took on her case and six years later in 2016, the court of criminal appeals deemed Anna and her friends all innocent.
Anna now works with the Innocence Project of Texas as the Outreach and Education Director. She travels around the world talking about her experience and bringing attention to the organization she truly believes in in its mission to help other wrongfully convicted people.
Film Director, Screenwriter, and Investigative Journalist
Deborah S. Esquenazi
Deborah S. Esquenazi is a film director, screenwriter, and investigative journalist–she recently launched Myth of Monsters Studios in 2018, a mission-driven film and television production company to upend deep-seated myths about women, POC, and gay-identified individuals.
Esquenazi’s first feature, the critically acclaimed documentary Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four, won the Critic’s Choice Award for ‘Best First Feature’, garnered an Emmy nomination for ‘Outstanding Social Issues Documentary’, a Peabody Award, and won a GLAAD Media Award for ‘Outstanding Documentary’, among other distinctions. The film helped exonerate the ‘San Antonio Four’ and is mentioned in the opening passages of the Writs of Habeas Corpus in Ex Parte Anna Vasquez, Cassandra Rivera, Elizabeth Ramirez, and Kristie Mayhugh.
Myth of Monsters is at work on a fictional TV adaptation of Southwest of Salem with playwright and former Mad Menwriter Jason Grote, with Naked Edge Films co-producing.
Myth of Monsters is also in-development on Queen of Wands, a multilingual coming-of-age LGBTQ drama. Set in 1989 during a fictionalized hurricane at the height of the AIDS crisis in Texas, Queen of Wands is a semi-autobiographical account of the writer-director’s own coming-of-age as a young lesbian in a Cuban-Sephardic household. The film plays with themes of gay phantasmagoria, family lore, and biblical allegory.
Esquenazi is also a Rockwood JustFilms Ford Fellow, Sundance Documentary Film Fellow, Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, and a Firelight Film Fellow.
Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program, HRW
Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program, is an expert on LGBT rights. He has conducted research, taught and published extensively on gender, sexuality, LGBT issues, and HIV/AIDS.
Before joining Human Rights Watch in 2011, Reid was the founding director of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of South Africa, a researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research and a lecturer in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies at Yale University. An anthropologist by training, Reid received an master’s from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and a PhD from the University of Amsterdam.
Executive Director, Neda Nobari Foundation (NNF)
Keely Badger is a millennial expert and advocate on international human rights and development issues. She serves as the Executive Director of Neda Nobari Foundation (NNF), a leading philanthropic organization dedicated to championing social and environmental justice through the arts and eduction. Through a bottom-up, community-driven and largely participatory grantmaking practice, the foundation works with over fifty nonprofit groups and leaders each year, pioneering durable solutions for underrepresented voices, communities and causes in alignment with the foundation’s focus areas: Holistic Education, Innovative Arts, Transparent Media, Earth Advocacy and Social Impact Cinema.
Keely is also the Founder and CEO of 360 Media Consulting, a Los Angeles-based full-circle digital marketing agency for storytellers, change-makers, and brands working on the front-lines of social impact and innovation. Previously, Keely worked at internationally acclaimed nonprofit Human Rights Watch (HRW) as Associate of Development and Global Initiatives, documenting and exposing human rights abuses in over 90 countries around the world. She now serves as the youngest member of HRW’s Los Angeles Film Committee and the HRW Los Angeles Network of Young Professionals. Keely is a Next Generation member of the World Affairs Council and was a civil society Youth Observer for the World Programme of Action for Youth at the United Nations (UN).
Keely holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego in Cross-Cultural Anthropology & Political Science, an M.A. from Dartmouth College in Globalization Studies, and an MSt./J.D. in International Human Rights Law from University of Oxford. https://www.linkedin.com/in/keelybadger
Accountant, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)
A professional accountant, Mukasiri Sibanda works with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), a public interest law organisation, as an economic governance officer. He has six years of solid experience mineral resource governance issues. My true passions: listening to reggae music, watching soccer and blogging on topical mineral resource governance issues. Read my blog https://mukasirisibanda.wordpress.com/
Senior Research Fellow, the Mandela Institute, Wits University, South Africa
Dr. Fola Adeleke
Fola Adeleke is a Senior Research Fellow with the Mandela Institute, Wits University, South Africa. He was recently Head of Research of the South African Human Rights Commission. He has a keen interest in transparency in the extractive industry and has produced a number of research outputs relating to ownership, financial and operational transparency in the extractive industry in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He once spearheaded the design and implementation of the access to information monitoring assessment tool on behalf of the Presidency in South Africa and spearheaded the development of a documentary titled Breaking the Steel Wall which tracks the efforts of a community in seeking redress for environmental pollution caused by a steel company. He holds a PhD from Wits University and a LLM degree from the University of Cape Town. He is an Atlantic Fellow on Social and Economic Equity at the London School of Economics and his latest work is a book that explores a human rights based approach to investment regulation in Africa published by Routledge in 2017.
Assistant Professor, School of International Relations USC
Dr. Brett Carter
Dr. Brett Carter is Assistant Professor in the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California and co-PI of the Lab on Non-Democratic Politics. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University, where he was a Graduate Fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. He was previously a fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, as well as the Hoover Institution.
Brett’s research focuses on politics in the world’s autocracies. He is currently working on three book projects: one on autocratic survival in post-Cold War Africa, one that employs computational techniques to understand the political foundations of autocratic propaganda, and one that exploits the Foreign Agents Registration Act to explore the role of autocratic money in American politics.
Brett is a regular contributor to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Power 3.0, African Arguments, and Africa is a Country. He tweets about Central African affairs, autocratic politics, and more at @brett_l_carter. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.