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Conference Speakers

BIOs OF SPEAKERS

Meet the speakers that will take part on Days 1 and  2 of the conference, and get to know them better.

DAY 1

Meet the speakers for DAY 1

Volker Türk

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

Volker Türk has devoted his extensive career to advancing universal human rights, notably the international protection of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Prior to this, Mr. Türk was the Under-Secretary-General for Policy in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General where he coordinated global policy work. Over the course of his career, he held several key positions, including at UNHCR headquarters. 

Cristina Flesher Fominaya

Professor of Global Studies, Aarhus University

Cristina Flesher Fominaya (PhD UC Berkeley, Sociology) is Editor-in-Chief of Social Movement Studies Journal, a Founding Editor of Interface Journal, and author of Social Movements in a Globalized World (2020) and Democracy Reloaded (2020). She is Professor of Global Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. She publishes widely on European and global social movements, hybrid parties, digital politics and media, collective identity, democracy, autonomy, and political participation. She contributes frequently to media on social movements, democracy, and European politics and is always happy to speak on these issues to audiences around the world.

Olena Shevchenko

Human Rights Defender, LGBTQI+ activist, Chairperson of Insight 

Olena Shevchenko is an educator from Ukraine whose focuses are LGBT rights and women’s rights. Her organization, Insight, is unique among other LGBTQI organizations because of its inclusiveness and feminist approach. Before founding Insight, Olena volunteered for 3 years in a feminist-lesbian organization. Today, Insight, under her leadership, has become a visible and significant player for advocacy both nationally and internationally. 

Jennifer Lasimbang

Indigenous Rights Activist 

Jenifer Lasimbang, an Indigenous Rights activist is actively involved as an advocator for women, children and the indigenous peoples’ rights movement in Malaysia through community development and empowerment. She has served as the Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation, Sabah.

Chanu Peiris

Special Assistant to the Global Director for Advocacy, Open Society Foundations

Chanu focuses on developing new tools to inform and advance advocacy. Prior to joining Open Society Foundations, Chanu was Assistant Director of the International Law Programme at Chatham House. 

Abiud Onyach

Digital Communications Specialist Activist

Abiud Onyach is a digital communications specialist using online platforms and creative storytelling to spotlight the environmental and socio-economic risks of the proposed East African Crude Oil Pipeline. With a background in communications, Abiud is committed to using digital media to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and mobilize action on sustainability issues.

Gorm Nissen

Activist, the Danish green Youth Movement 

Gorm Nissen is a climate justice activist, part of the Danish Green Youth Movement where he has been pivotal in its international solidarity work and COP process participations. 

Antonia Recinos

Community Activist and Defender

Antonia has participated in national and international spaces to denounce the mining industry and its impact on the environment and the communities of El Salvador. In this framework, she actively participated in the struggle of the communities of El Salvador that resulted in the Metallic Mining Prohibition Law. She is currently Leadership Coordinator at ADES their Organization and Advocacy program, from which she leads a work team that accompanies communities in El Salvador in processes of vindication of their human rights and defense of the territory.

Gina Cortes

Colombian Activist

Gina is working towards climate and gender justice with a focus on the intersections between feminism, decoloniality, and degrowth. She is one of the co-Focal Points of the UNFCCC Women and Gender Constituency, Advocacy and Campaigns coordinator at WECF, and a member of the collective of Colombian migrants in Germany, Aluna Minga. 

Svitlana Romanko

Environmental Lawyer and a Climate Justice Activist

Ms. Romanko is the Founder and Director of the Ukrainian organization Razom We Stand, which grew out of the successful #StandWithUkraine campaign to end the global fossil fuel addiction that feeds Putin's war machine. She launched and coordinated both groups once the Russian war against Ukraine began. She has been an environmental lawyer for over twenty years and a high-impact climate justice campaigner for a decade. In 2022, Svitlana was awarded the Rose Braz Award for Bold Activism.

Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan

Global Human and Environmental Rights Activist

Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan is a seasoned activist, mentor, coach, development programmer, passionate Pan Africanist, and an environmental and human rights campaigner. He led the largest Pan African movement in Africa and the Diaspora called “Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity” for almost six years.  Currently, he works with the Climate Action Network International as Head of Building Power Department.

Mohammed Al-Maskati 

Digital Security Helpline Director, Access Now

Mohammed was shortlisted for the Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Awards 2019 and Security Serious Unsung Heroes Awards 2020. He was a member of the panel of experts for the Dutch Government Tulip Prize for Human Rights 2021. He also discovered the phone hacking of human rights defenders and journalists in Palestine, Bahrain and Jordan. 

Benjamin

Human Rights Defender

Benjamin is a human rights defender from Hong Kong whose work focuses on the freedoms of assembly, association and expression, legal rights, and digital security. He has been both a witness to, and an active participant in, social movements in Hong Kong for over a decade. He firmly believes that upholding human rights values, preserving human rights discourse, and supporting the resilient civil society are essential steps to counter the erosion of human rights in Hong Kong

Sergio Balladares

Lawyer, Activist and Civil Society Practitioner

Sergio Balladares from Nicaragua is the co-founder of Puente, a movement focused on changing political culture. Puente has an active program in Nicaragua with high school students and universities, promoting democratic values and human rights in a deeply authoritarian environment. Sergio has also participated in electoral processes in Latin America as observer and as a political communications advisor. He's also been part of the board of the Latin American Network for Democracy.

Véronique Dudouet

Senior Advisor in the Conflict Transformation Research Department - Berghof Foundation

Véronique is a seasoned conflict resolution expert with a track record of managing collaborative research projects on peace processes, meditation, and post-was peacebuilding since 2005. She plays a key role in promoting inclusivity and participation in peace negotiations, offering policy advice, peer exchange, and training seminars in conflict-affected regions. Holding a PhD from the University of Bradford and degrees in political science and international relations, she’s a prolific author with several publications in conflict transformation.  

Sylvain Saluseke

Activist and member of LUCHA

Hailing form Kolwezi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he’s an active member of #LUCHA, promoting non-violent youth engagement for good governance and social change in the DRC and Africa. He also serves as steering committee member and Operation Team Lead at AFRIKKI, a network of activists from Africa and its diasporas with an objective to unite the thought and action of social movements in Africa and its diasporas around a common pan-African agenda. 

Njoki Gachanja

Pan-African Political and Social Justice activist

Njoki is passionate about equity, equality, and class consciousness. She is an organic intellectual invested in movement building, ideology, and political education for social movements. Her dream is to experience an egalitarian society in his lifetime. 

Stella Nyanzi

Ugandan Anthropologist 

Stella Nyanzi is a Ugandan anthropologist, feminist, dissisent poet, social justice activist, and politician belonging to Uganda’s opposition political party called Forum for Democratic Change. She is passionate about LGBTIQA+ rights, menstrual poverty, digital democracy, free expression and climate justice.

Mahmoud Nawajaa

Palestinian Activist

Mahmoud Nawajaa is a palestinian activist and skilled strategist. Committed to nonviolent advocacy, he tirelessly advances Palestinian rights and amplifies the cause on the global stage. He serves as the General Coordinator for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee (BNC), board member of Stop the Wall Campaign, co-founder of the Independent Youth Movement Palestine.

DAY 2

Meet the speakers for DAY 2

Maryam Al-Khawaja

Human Rights Defender and Advocate

Maryam is a leading Danish-Bahraini human rights defender and advocate. She has been influential in shaping responses to human rights atrocities around the world. Maryam leads the #FreeAlKhawaja Campaign, advocating for the release of her father, who has been unjustly detained in Bahrain since 2011.
 

Nalishebo Sinyama

Activist

Nalishebo Sinyama is a community organizing specialist and a radical feminist and political activist. She also is a Global Organizing and Leadership Development associate trainer in Zambia. 

Olivera Singleton

Social Movement Learning Specialist at ActionAid Denmark

Olivera is a Social Movement Learning Specialist at ActionAid Denmark and engaged with the Global Organising and Leadership (GOLD) programme with the MOVE team. She is passionate about intersectional feminism, LGBT rights, and all things learning. 

Rosarie (Ro) Tucci

Deputy Assistant Administrator at USAID  
 

Rosarie Tucci, a dedicated human rights advocate, leads the USAID Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance. With a global impact, her career spans roles at the U.S. Institute of Peace and USAID, focusing on policy, human rights, and vulnerable communities.  

Minna-Liina Lind

Undersecretary Global Affairs Estonia

Mina-Liina Lind is an expert in digital diplomacy, human rights, and climate policy. With a career since 2004, she as excelled in UN diplomacy, serving as Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN.

Fuad Sayed Issa

Activist and founder, the Syrian refugee-led organization Violet Organization

In 2011, aged sixteen, Fuad initiated a community-based response to the beginning of the humanitarian crisis in Northwest Syria. What started as a group of youth supporting their community with their own resources, grew into a local humanitarian organization with a 20 million USD annual budget. Currently, Fuad dedicates his time on developing Violet’s emergency volunteer team and youth-focused community resilience approach. One of his means to do so is harnessing the power of media to advocate for his belief in young people as change makers in the Syrian crisis. 

Tabitha Mutinda Munene

Senator, Kenya

Senator Tabitha is an environmental ideologue and an early exponent to women and gender mainstreaming.  She is the vice chairperson of the Kenya Women Senators and the Vice Chair of the Senate Finance and Budget Committee. She also seats in service as a member of the Senate Business Committee, Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Committee and oversights the County Public Investment and Special Funds. Additionally, she is Director and Chief Executive Officer, Novamont Kenya Limited and vice-President of the World Scout Parliamentary Union (WSPU). Senator Tabitha a Master's Degree in Business Management and anon a PhD in Business Development. She describes herself as “people centric but pulled politically leftist”.

Kizito Byenkya

Director of Campaigns, Open Society Foundations

Kizito Byenkya also serves as co-director of Open Society’s Washington Office. Previously, he served as Open Society’s U.S. Policy Advisor for Africa and led a global grant-making portfolio on engaging new allies ─ inside and outside the human rights movement - to foster new tools and networks to safeguard activism, advance meaningful participation, and defend civic space. 

Marianne Møllmann

Director of Regional Programs, Fund for Global Human Rights

Marianne Møllmann currently oversees five regional programs. Her extensive career includes pivotal roles at renowned LGBT+, women’s, and international human rights organisations like Human rights watch, Amnesty International, and Outright International.  Marianne's social justice work also extends to smaller organizations, such as Flora Tristan in Peru and NISGUA in Guatemala. She actively participates in Showing Up for Racial Justice NYC, contributing to accountability processes and fostering a more just society.   

Anders Storgaard

City Councilor of Frederiksberg, Radiohost and co-founder of the Danish China-Critical Society. 

Anders Storgaard is a city councilor of Frederiksberg, radiohost and co-founding member of the Danish China-Critical Society. He has been involved in politics since the age of eleven in various positions including president of Young Conservatives Denmark. In 2020 together with three other Danish politicians he helped activist and parliamentarian Ted Hui flee from Hong. He has been a vocal critique of inadequate climate policies and European countries relations with authoritarian regimes, especially in the case of China.

Nawa V. Sitali

Social Movement Specialist and Political Activist

Nawa V. Sitali is a Social Movement Specialist and Political Activist from the territory of Barotseland in Zambia. Growing up in rural Nampundwe, a small village west of the Capital City, Nawa developed a passion for politics but was never given an opportunity to meaningfully engage in politics due to his age. In 2018, he co-founded the social movement called Youth4Parliament as a response to the exclusion of youth in politics.

Mostafa Fouad

Egyptian human rights lawyer and Researcher, Columbia University-NYC Legar

Mostafa Fouad is an Egyptian human rights lawyer, and Columbia University-NYC Legar Researcher, shapes justice through extensive research, including co-authoring the "Advocacy from Exile" guide. With a decade in MENA civil society roles, he leads as HuMENA's Head of Programs, fueling impactful change.

Noorulain Masood

Educator of organizing and leadership

Noorulain Masood is an educator of organizing and leadership. She has taught and coached 1000+ activists and non-profit leaders how to make their campaigns and initiatives more effective and people-centric. She has taught through Harvard University, Leading Change Network, AktivAsia, and her organization CSIDC.

Assala Mdawkhy

Tunisian LGBTQI+ advocate and Human Rights defender

Assala Mdawkhy is a Tunisian LGBTQI+ advocate and Human Rights defender deeply engaged in civil society, social, and political movements. She is currently dedicated to legal reform, with a focus on decriminalization of LGBTQI+ individuals, strategic litigation, and advocacy at national and global levels.

Rasha Sansur

Palestine Activist

Rasha Sansur has extensive experience in communications and resource mobilization. She is passionate about communications for social change and has centered her education, career and activism on that, influencing positive social change in Palestine, and working on shifting the negative narratives often associated with Palestine and Palestinians. She joined Visualizing Palestine as the first outreach specialist in 2022.

Bryan Sims

Director Peacebuilding and Partnerships, Humanity United

Dr. Bryan Sims leads Humanity United’s strategies on non-violent collective action and inclusive peace processes. He has 18 years-experience supporting programming to promote peace in countries affected by authoritarianism and violent conflict. By blending support for collective action and peacebuilding, HU seeks to include marginalized groups at the negotiation table.

Paige Andrew

Co-Manager Grantmaking & Operations, FRIDA - Young Feminist Fund

Paige Andrew is a queer Caribbean feminist working toward sustainable social change through feminist practice, the co-creation of feminist realities alongside other members of the FRIDA community and funding movements in sustainable and joyful ways

Tue Kristoffer Westhoff

Chief Advisor/Team Lead for Civil Society

Tue Kristoffer Westhoff is heading the team for civil society at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. He is a seasoned diplomat with a background in political science, international relations and Middle East politics. He has served as a Political Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon and at the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. His expertise includes analyzing political, security, and economic developments in the Middle East."

Birgit Kainz-Labbé

Head of the Civic Space Unit, Office of the Hight Commissioner for Human Rights

Birgit Kainz-Labbé has worked in the UN Human rights Office in different positions since 2004, most recently on strengthening strategic engagement at the country level to expand the collective space for and protection of human rights defenders (on-line and off-line) and enhance the UN’s work on meaningful, inclusive and safe participation in decision-making. Previously she served as OSCE Human Rights Officer in Central Asia. Birgit studied human rights, political science and Russian language in St. Petersburg, Vienna, Venice und Strasbourg. 

Remberto Ramírez 

Global Platform Coordinator, Action Aid El Salvador 

Remberto Ramírez  is a human rights defender, climate change activist, social educator and nonviolent action trainer. He has designed strategies for activism and advocacy promoting peoples rights. He has work experience with grassroots organization with all ages in rural and urban areas.
 

Chian Yew Lim

Human Rights Officer, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Chian Yew Lim has worked in the UN Human Rights Office since 2012. She supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief before she joined the Civic Space Unit, focusing her work on the protection of civil society actors. Prior to the UN, she worked with several NGOs in Asia and Europe covering death penalty, torture victims, human rights advocacy and capacity building. Chian studied Law, International Studies and Diplomacy in the UK.

Samuel Okulony

Director, Environment Governance Institute - Uganda

Samuel Okulony, an environmental scientist, currently serves as the director of the Ugandan-based NGO, Environment Governance Institute. As a member of the Stop EACOP coalition and Don't Gas Africa, he persistently campaigns against investment in public finance in the fossil fuel sector.

Søren Warburg

Senior Movement Specialist, Action Aid Denmark 

Dad, organiser, social movement strategist and creative direct-action facilitator. Have provided strategic support and coaching to activists globally for two decades, been co-wrangler for Beautiful Trouble in many odd capacities and currently Senior Social Movement Specialist at ActionAid Denmark. No one can eat as much ice cream as him!

Imanga Wamunyima

Law Maker, Zambian Parliament

Imanga Wamunyima jr is a law maker in the Zambian Parliament. He is the youngest Member of Parliament in the 13th National Assembly of Zambia and is the recipient of the 'Wesley Nyirenda Award' recognizing him as one of the most outstanding youth members of Parliament for the year 2023. He is a lawyer by profession and human rights activist. He serves as a member of the Public Accounts Committee and is the Secretary General of the Zambia Youth Parliamentary Caucus. He is also an executive member of the Zambia Parliamentary Caucus on Environment and climate change.

Hardy Merriman

President, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC)

Hardy Merriman is president of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He has worked in the field of civil resistance for over two decades, presenting at workshops, publishing commentary, and developing a range of educational programs and grantmaking. 

Salah S. Hammad

Head of the Aga-Apsa Secretariat Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security - African Union

Ambassador Salah S. Hammad, is the Head of the African Governance, Peace and Security Architectures’ (AGA-APSA) Secretariat and the Senior Human Rights Expert within the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the African Union Commission. Amb. Hammad has also served as ambassador in Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and for the past 25 years, dedicated his life to world development and human rights including through working for a number of international and continental organizations.

Tim Whyte

Secretary General, Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke/ActionAid Denmark

Tim Whyte has led ActionAid Denmark since 2016 and helped develop a strategic focus on popular organizing, youth activism and social movements. He has previously worked in campaigns, civil society organizations and the UN supporting organizing, advocacy and popular education around issues such as bonded labor, indigenous people’s rights and ecological justice.
 

Maryjacob Okwuosa

Intersectional Feminist and Education Advocate

Maryjacob is an intersectional feminist and education advocate, passionately working to bridge gender and accessibility gaps in Education using crude innovative approaches, ARTivism and different forms of creative entertainment. She’s a creative director, gamification enthusiast and writer, exploring the use of art in advocacy and funding sustainability.

Uffe Elbæk

Former minister for culture and former party leader, The Alternative Denmark

Uffe Elbæk is the former minister for culture and former party leader of The Alternative. Today he describes himself as senior troublemaker and solution finder. Before he entered national politics he founded the youth organization The Frontrunners and the entrepreneurial leadership education The KaosPilots.