Sona Jobarteh: Multi-instrumental Musician, singer, composer and producer
Sona Jobarteh is the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a West African Griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is a modern day pioneer in an ancient, male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries.
The Kora is a 21 stringed African harp, and is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa. It can be found in Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The kora, along with a handful of other instruments, belongs exclusively to the griot families of West Africa. Only those who are born into one of these families have the exclusive right to take up these instruments professionally. Sona, who was born into one of the five principal West African Griot families, has become the first in her long family line to break from tradition by taking up this instrument professionally as a female.
The years spent working as a musician in the UK training in classical institutions such as the Royal College of Music and Purcell School of music has allowed Sona to become immersed in a world of musical diversity. Sona was able to work alongside internationally acclaimed artists such as Oumou Sangaré, Toumani Diabaté, Kasse Mady Diabaté and The BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Sona has an effortless ability to blend different musical styles, not just between the West and Africa, but also between West African musical genres. She uses her innovative stance to talk about issues to do with cultural identity, gender, love and respect whilst still referencing and rooting herself firmly in her traditional cultural heritage.
Sona alongside her father Sanjally Jobarteh, has founded the first school dedicated to the study of Manding Music in the Gambia. In January 2014 the school was launched, showcasing what the school has to offer to the local children, as well as international students later this year. Kora, balafon, dance, percussion and singing are amongst the classes offered.
She also recently featured as a solo vocalist in the Hollywood Mandela movie featuring Idris Elba and Naomi Harris.
Coumba Toure: Co-founder Chez Sogoba Production
Born and raised between Mali and Senegal, Coumba Toure is the coordinator for Ashoka Africa Empathy Initiative. She is currently working on transforming education systems to raise a new generation of changemakers. She is the co-founder of the Sogoba production, a social entreprise based in West Africa where she designs education material for children. She is a also a writer and storyteller. She has extensive experience in facilitating meetings, engaging young people, and designing and implementing and evaluating training programs to promote human’s rights specially for women.
She has worked with many organizations such as the Institute for Popular Education in Mali http://iepmali.org, the 21st century youth leadership movement in Selma Alabama, and the Youth for Environmental Sanity in Santa Cruz California (http://www.yesworld.org). She is a board member for the Urgent Action Fund for Women Africa. She also serves as an advisor to the Global Fund for Women, the New Field Foundation and IDEX.
Sir David King: Foreign Secretary's Special Representative for Climate Change and Science Advisor to the President of Rwanda.
The UK Foreign Secretary appointed Sir David King as his new permanent Special Representative for Climate Change in September 2013. Sir David was previously the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor from 2000 – 2007, during which time he raised awareness of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the Energy Technologies Institute. He also served as the Founding Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at Oxford; was Head of the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University 1993-2000 and Master of Downing College at Cambridge 1995 -2000.
Sir David has published over 500 papers on science and policy, for which he has received numerous awards, and holds 22 Honorary Degrees from universities around the world. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and knighted in 2003, Sir David was also made an Officier of the French Legion d’Honneur’ in 2009, for work which has contributed to responding to the climate and energy challenge.
Lanre Akinola: Editor, This is Africa (Financial Times)
Lanre Akinola is Editor of This Is Africa at the Financial Times, which focuses on the policy and the business environment across the continent, as well as Africa’s strategic relationships with other world regions.
Lanre is also a Trustee and Director at Tutudesk, a South Africa based charity. With Archbishop Desmond Tutu as its Patron, Tutudesk offers a practical and highly effective solution to chronic desk shortages for kids across Africa.
He is a sought-after speaker and commentator on Africa. Some of the organisations and companies he has and continues to work with are the World Economic Forum, the Financial Times, the German Development Bank, The European Commission, The Rockefeller Foundation, The OECD, the Brookings Institute, IBM, Eversheds, as well as Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge University. He has appeared as a commentator on Bloomberg TV and the BBC.
A native of Lagos, Nigeria, he holds a degree in politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London.
Alisa Amupolo: Founder/Executive Director at Information.na
Alisa Amupolo is a techpreneur, running with digital start-ups and Internet ventures in Namibia. She founded Nation Technology Solutions (http://www.natechso.com) in 2013, a social enterprise designing digital products for the end user market to bring Namibia online. Her passion for ICT begun in 2001 when she enrolled for undergraduate in Media Studies and came face to face with computer languages as she learned to code. Little did she know she would venture into this industry and broaden her knowledge of digital media over the forthcoming decade.
Today she has numerous achievements behind her name. She successfully managed the ICT sector transformation process in Namibia between 2009 and 2012. Prior to that she worked various local and international institutions, including the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) as well Namibia Broadcasting Corporation.
Alisa currently serves as a non-executive Director at the largest mobile operator in Namibia, MTC. She is also a TEDxWindhoek curator for 2013/2014 and was named as one of MISA Women to Watch 2014. She continues to advise public, private and civil society stakeholders on ICT policies and ICT sector transformation.
She holds an MA in International Communications from University of Leeds, BA in Media Studies University of Namibia and is also a graduate of the London Business School’s Emerging Leaders Programme.
Jessica Horn: Writer & Women's Rights Consultant. Founding member of the African Feminist Forum
Jessica Horn is a women’s rights activist and writer passionate about the struggle for African women to live autonomous, healthy lives in their bodies. Over the past 12 years, she has worked with organisations to develop the analysis, expand the funding infrastructure, review and strengthen models for change, train activists and grow movements around the intersections of women’s health, human rights and freedom from violence. Given the historical moment, this work has necessarily been framed by HIV/AIDS and the impacts of armed conflict.
A believer in grounded interventions, Jessica’s professional engagement intentionally spans policy and community spaces. This means working with a spectrum of change-agents, from activists in socially and economically marginalised communities to decision-makers in foundations and governmental agencies.
Jessica is a founding member of the African Feminist Forum, board member of women’s funds Urgent Action Fund –Africa andMama Cash, and Commissioning Editor on OurAfrica which profiles African women’s voices on openDemocracy’s 5050. She is currently working as Senior Advisor for AIR (African Institute for Integrated Responses to Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS) at the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Jessica has published on issues of women’s rights to bodily integrity and autonomy, sexual rights, peace and security, religious fundamentalisms and social movements. She also has a published volume of poetry. Jessica holds an MSc (Distinction) in Gender and Development from the London School of Economics and a BA in Anthropology from Smith College.
Adama Ndiaye: Fashion Designer, Adama Paris Fashion
Adama Amanda Ndiaye is the talented designer and entrepreneur behind the promising brand Adama Paris. Born in Kinshasa, Congo, from Senegalese parents, the well-travelled young woman embodies the multi-cultural designer of the new millenium.
Adama made her home in several international cities allowing her to witness a great variety of cosmopolitan trends throughout the years. This global fashion odyssey inspired the birth of the spirit of the brand Adama Paris.
Adama lives between Dakar, Los Angeles and Paris. Urban megapolis are the sources of inspiration for this Young 21st century Afropolitan World citizen.
Not only a dynamic and stylish way of dressing, Adama Paris also reflects the spirit of young contemporary women. Adama Paris bridges cultures and walks along all women who refuse to be defined by one limited image too often controlled by one brand and one culture.
Fueled by her desire to share fashion and create multicultural bridges, Adama launched many events throughout the World such as Dakar Fashion Week, Black Fashion Week Prague, or Afrika Fashion Awards who became « Les trophés de la mode Africaine « (TMA).
Ikenna Azuike: Video blogger, Founder of What’s Up Africa
Ikenna is a Nigerian-British and currently living in the Netherlands. He worked as a lawyer in London and New York with Clifford Chance LLP and Shearman & Sterling LLP but left in 2008 to set up Strawberry Earth, a foundation devoted to promoting awareness about
Sustainability, and he also started working part time as a journalist at Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
In February 2011, frustrated by the unbalanced and often inaccurate portrayal of Africa in Western media and inspired by the work of Jon Stewart (presenter of The Daily Show, a satirical American TV Programme), Ikenna created a video blog called What's Up Africa, a provocative and entertaining programme about African news, initiatives and people. He set up the blog because coverage of his home continent was either on the one hand too focused on presenting images of war and famine, or, on the other hand providing over the top, saccharine reports of Africa's progress. He also felt that media was not speaking effectively to the digital generation of young Africans eager to be informed. In the time since Ikenna launched What's Up Africa, the blog has attracted a loyal fanbase of nearly 80,000 fans on Facebook and more than 500,000 views. In June 2013, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post featured articles about him and episodes of the show which had gone viral.
Ikenna’s ambition is to create a truly pan-African show in which he can work with many of the talented comedians and satirists from all over the continent, including Anne Kansiime, Herve Kimenya, Tiago Costa and Mollie Balogun. In the meantime, Ikenna enjoys making episodes of What’s Up Africa, speaking and hosting Africa related events and doing voiceover work.
Rainatou Sow Rai: Founder & Executive Director of Make Every Woman Count
Rainatou is the founder and executive director of Make Every Woman Count (MEWC), which is a U.K-based non-profit organisation with mission to offer information, resources and guidance to women’s organisations, grassroots and activists. The organisation monitors women’s rights in every African country and publishes an annual report as an audit of the status and conditions of women in each African country.
Rai is an advocate of human rights, women's issues and social justice. Rai holds a MA in International Relations as well as a MA in Law, she has worked with several organisation such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, PeaceWomen and grassroots organizations in areas of peace, development and human rights focusing on women and youth.
Rainatou’s inspiration started way back when she was only 13 years old. Her efforts in promoting women and girls’ rights have been recognised over the years. Apart from featuring on CNN’s African Voices, and being awarded as the “Most Inspirational Woman” by Women4Africa in 2012, Rainatou was named as one of the “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2012″ by Forbes Magazine. She was also named as one of the 20 African women with powerful and inspiring voices by Applause Africa.
In March 2014, she was also named one of the "20 young builders of Africa of tomorrow" by Forbes Magazine. She was also one of 4 finalists for the first-ever African Digital Woman of the Year Award
Amadou Mahtar Ba: CEO Africa Media Initiative (AMI)
Amadou Mahtar Ba is the Chief Executive of the African Media Initiative (AMI), an unprecedented pan-‐African effort aimed at providing the continent's media owners and practitioners with the tools they need to play an effective role in their societies. AMI aims to strengthen the media sector in Africa to ensure the accountability of governments and other institutions and to promote democratic governance, human development as well as economic growth and transformation.
Mr. Ba is also a co-‐founder and Chairman of AllAfrica Global Media, Inc – owner and operator of http://allafrica.com -‐ an international multi-‐media content service provider, systems technology developer and the largest distributor of African news and information worldwide. Prior to starting AllAfrica, Mr. Ba served from 1996 to 2000 as Director of Communications and Marketing for BICIS Bank, a subsidiary of the French banking group BNP Paribas. From 1993 to
1996, Mr. Ba helped lead the successful restructuring and privatization of the Panafrican News Agency (PANA).
He sits on several boards and participates in a number of working groups including the World Economic Forum's Global Council for the Future of Media, the Africa Democratic Institute, the Africa Policy Advisory Board of ONE, the African Digital Advisory Board of SANOFI and serves as a member of the Panel of Judges for the CNN African Journalist Award.
In 2008, he convened the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) for the first time thanks to support from the World Bank Group, the Coca Cola Company and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. AMLF has become the largest gathering of African media owners and operators.
For three years in a row, the New African Magazine has selected Mr. Ba as one of the 100 most influential Africans in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2014, Forbes listed him among "the top 10 most powerful men in Africa". He is also listed in the top 500 Africans contributing to the rise of the continent by the Africa24 Magazine published in March, 2011. In 2012, EXPO 2015 and Afronline awarded him the African Media Prize acknowledging his "outstanding
contribution to African Media and his skills on promoting innovation among African Media".
Mr. Ba was educated in Senegal, France and Spain and is fluent in French, English, Spanish, Fulani and Wolof. He holds a Masters degree from the Ecole Française des Professionnels de la Communication in Paris and a Bachelors Degree in Foreign languages and International relations from the Paris 7 University (Jussieu).
Noella Coursaris Musunka: Model & Founder/CEO of George Malaika Foundation
Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Noella Coursaris Musunka is an international model and the founder of the Georges Malaika Foundation. GMF’s mission is to empower girls and their surrounding communities through education. It has built and operates the Georges Malaika School for Girls, a free accredited school in Kalebuka, DRC, that provides a comprehensive education to 180 girls and is expanding every year. GMF has built three fresh-water wells in Kalebuka that are improving the health of 8,000 people. In 2013, GMF partnered with FIFA to open the Kalebuka Football for Hope Center, a community center that uses football, education, and health programs as development tools. Noella is a fierce activist who has spoken at the UN and at the Clinton Global Initiative on the importance of women’s education to a nation’s socioeconomic advancement. Noella has been featured on a variety of media, including the BBC, CNN, and Vanity Fair.
Noella has been featured on three CNN programs and was interviewed by the BBC’s Focus Africa program. She has participated in many international panels and attended the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in 2012 where she addressed President Bill Clinton during the Opening Plenary. She also hosted the recent Cinema for Peace Gala where Ben Affleck was awarded for his work in the Congo. Just last month, Noella also spoke at the TEDx Société Générale, advocating for awareness on the importance of education and empowerment.
To learn more about Noella, visit www.noellacoursaris.com
To learn more about GMF, visit www.gmfafrica.org
Louisa Kiwana: Writer, Researcher and Editor of Afroblush Culture and Lifestyle blog
Louisa is a Ugandan currently living in Britain and the founder and Editor of the fashion, culture and lifestyle blog Afroblush. Louisa also works as a writer, researcher and consultant for businesses and brands growing within Africa’s sub-Saharan countries, and in 2010 started Afroblush which houses a vibrant mix of contemporary culture between the African and European-diaspora.
She often talks a lot about the concept of the ‘Afropean’, a term she uses to describe herself, referring trans-cultural influences of members of the African and Afro-Caribbean diaspora living in Europe. Having been born in Uganda, and brought up in the UK, she has collaborated with leading fashion brands to uncover and showcase topics on cultural identity and the cultural appropriation of African tradition and design.
Louisa's experience in market research and consumer analysis has enabled her to host conversations and workshops for creative business from Diageo to Unilever who are focusing on growth and pipeline development in Africa, as well as smaller businesses establishing themselves within Africa’s arts and design industry.
African fashion and design is creating its own mainstream, setting its own standards, opening its own doors and is no longer being influenced, but is now the influence. Afroblush continuously promotes Africa as having provided one of the richest sources of imagery for designers. Going as far back as the 19th century, Africa remains a source of traditional and contemporary style and inspiration, expressive in the vitality of modern life within both urban and rural environments.
Afroblush prides itself in providing entertaining and insightful interviews from leaders of FABA (For Us By Us), a concept that promotes innovation entrepreneurship and thought leadership in the form of fashion, music, design, technology, travel and business.
Louisa holds a degree in Journalism is also a freelance contributor on innovation from Africa’s brands and businesses for Impact Magazine, Arise News, Dazed and Confused, BBC Radio 2, BBC Three and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Brigitte Sesu Tilley-Gyado: Artist, Writer, Entrepreneur, Winner of National Art Competition, Founder / CEO Africa Heritage Group and Venture Afrika
Sesu Tilley-Gyado is the 2013 winner of the National Art Competition in Nigeria. She is also founder and CEO of two companies that promote cultural heritage appreciation and investments in Africa - Venture Afrika and Africa Heritage Group.
Further, Tilley-Gyado has two publications out this year: Sounds of Nigeria (100 Years of Nigerian Music) and a historical fiction novel on the destruction of the Ancient Benin Empire and the creation of Nigeria.
Tilley-Gyado sits on the Executive Committee of The Oxford and Cambridge Club of Nigeria and writes for The Huffington Post in her spare time.
Richard Mkoloma: Fashion Designer and Creative Consultant
Richard Mkoloma is a dynamic multi-category Fashion Designer and Creative Consultant with over 14 years of professional international experience, which has led to him living and working in the UK, Europe and the USA. He works for global brands, forward-thinking niche collections and start-up companies across consumer markets & categories that includes Napapijri, Hussein Chalayan, Puma, Fila, MO SAIQUE, Michiko Koshino, Sean John & Levi’s to name a few, often with a focus of creating innovative concepts, brand and creative direction and commercially viable design that bridge the gap between Fashion, Lifestyle and Sportswear.
An independent thinker with a technical foundation in tailoring and attuned to the aesthetic fusions that mark 21st century life and cosmopolitan culture, Richard is able to interpret, conceptualise and develop an idea from a spark of imagination through to the finished product, with a high taste level and the patience for perfecting the details that mark the difference between good and excellent design/concepts across a range of industries.
Through his consultancy, Richard utilises his expertise, experience and knowledge to a diverse portfolio that includes clients in the creative industries as well as social and charitable organisations such as the Africa Fashion Guide, Art Rules Aruba & The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, (designing and delivering fashion-based training programs) ROK (Reach Out to Kids) and FORWARD UK (where he recently played a key role in creating and developing their latest youth focused campaign ‘These Are Our Friends,’ which encompasses poetry, graphic design and illustration as a thoughtful and positively-disruptive way to address the issue of FGM). This work demonstrates Richard’s commitment to supporting new generations of creators and transforming young people’s lives through creativity and design.
Badiaa Bouhrizi: Tunisian composer and singer
Justina Kehinde: Poet, Jazz Singer, Actress, and Director
Justina Kehinde is an award winning poet, jazz singer, actress and director. She made theatre history in 2012 by directing, acting and co-producing the first all black female production on a Cambridge stage, before taking the show to London for a sell out performance. She is a creative editor and contributor for Independent Women's magazine, Magnify and was twice voted as one of the top ten black students in the UK in 2013. Her poetry ranges from concerns surrounding diasporic identity to human trafficking, Justina Kehinde is also studying English Literature and Social Anthropology at Cambridge University.
Lord Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE: Global Head of Corporate Citizenship, KPMG International.
Michael John Hastings, Baron Hastings of Scarisbrick, CBE (born 29 January 1958) is KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship. He was previously the BBC’s Head of Public Affairs and then the first Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (2003-2006).
Michael is a Trustee of the Vodafone Group Foundation and was previously also a non-executive Director of British Telecom (BT) on the Board for Responsible and Sustainable Business. He first represented KPMG International on the Global Corporate Citizenship Committee of the World Economic Forum (2008-2010) and was a Board Director of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) (2010-2012). In 2009 he became a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Council on Diversity and Talent; in 2010 served on the 'Global Agenda Council on the Next Generation'; and in 2011 became a member of the 'Global Agenda Council on the Role of Business'. In 2012 he led the WEF Agenda Council - The Future of Civil Society, as Vice Chairman. Given the impact the group has had over the year that led to the launch of the WEF report (The Future of Civil Society) in January 2013, he has been invited to lead the Council for the second consecutive year until July 2014.
Michael is Chairman of Millennium Promise UK and a member of the global Millennium Promise Board and was previously Vice Chairman on BiTC's (Business in the Community) International Leadership Board.
In 2010 he was a leading advisor to the Chatham House enquiry into the Future Role of the UK in Foreign Affairs. Michael sits on the Council of the Overseas Development Institute in the UK and previously on the Partners Council of the Center for Global Development in the USA. In 2011 he became a Vice President of UNICEF.
In January 2002, Michael was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to crime reduction, including 15 years as Chairman of Crime Concern and 21 as a Trustee. He led the merger of Crime Concern with the Rainer Foundation to create Catch 22. He served on the Commission for Racial Equality for nine years as a Commissioner (1993-2001). He is listed as one of the 100 most influential black people in Britain.
In 2005, Michael was awarded the honour of an independent peerage to the House of Lords by Her Majesty The Queen, taking the title Baron Hastings of Scarisbrick, of Scarisbrick in the County of Lancashire. In the same year he also received the UNICEF award from the then UK Chancellor for his ‘outstanding contribution to understanding and effecting solutions for Africa’s children’. Michael is President of ZANE - a development aid agency focused on Zimbabwe.
Michael began his career as a teacher and then moved into Government service in 1986 supporting policy initiatives to bring employment and development to Britain’s inner cities. In 1990 he moved to work at TVAM on education programming and then GMTV as Chief Political Correspondent and then the BBC in 1994 as a presenter of the weekly Around Westminster programme before joining the BBC Corporate Affairs division in 1996.
Emeka Keazor: Lawyer, Historian and Writer
Emeka Keazor trained and worked as a Lawyer both in Nigeria and the UK until he quit after a series of personal challenges. He redefined his life-goals, focusing primarily on his community and charity work. He transformed his hobby as an amateur historian into his profession, he enrolled in Post-Graduate studies in History. His focus has been unearthing hitherto unknown gems in Nigeria's past, connecting modern day Nigeria to a genuinely glorious past. He acted as Consultant Historian on the Nigerian Government's official centenary documentary and acts as an expert on Nigerian History, for local and International Media. He has published a number of works on Nigerian History and currently sits as the West African Regional Editor for Music In Africa, a Siemens-Goethe non-profit African Music database and information resource.
Fantou Bensouda: Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court
On 12 December 2011, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda of The Republic of The Gambia was elected by
consensus as the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Assembly of States
Parties. Her candidacy for the post was endorsed by the African Union. Mrs. Bensouda was sworn-in
as Prosecutor on 15 June 2012. Mrs. Bensouda had previously been elected as Deputy Prosecutor
(Prosecutions) with an overwhelming majority of votes by the Assembly of State Parties on 8
August 2004, and served as such until May 2012. Prior to her work at the ICC, Mrs. Bensouda
worked as a Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney at the Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha,
Tanzania, rising to the position of Senior Legal Advisor and Head of The Legal Advisory Unit.
Before joining the ICTR, she was the General Manager of a leading commercial bank in The Gambia.
Between 1987and 2000, she was successively Senior State Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General andLegal Secretary of the Republic, then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which capacity, she served as Chief Legal Advisor to the President and Cabinet of The Republic of The Gambia.
Mrs. Bensouda also took part in negotiations on the treaty of the Economic Community of West
African States (ECOWAS), the West African Parliament and the ECOWAS Tribunal. She has been a
delegate at United Nations’ conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity’s
Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and the delegate of the Gambia to the meetings of the
Preparatory Commission for the ICC.
Mrs. Bensouda holds a Masters of Laws degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea
and as such is the first international maritime law expert of The Gambia, as well as honorary
doctorates from Middlesex University and Vrije Universiteit, Brussel respectively.
Mrs Bensouda has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished ICJ
International Jurists Award (2009), presented by the then President of India P. D. Patil and the 2011
World Peace Through Law Award presented by the Whitney Harris World Law Institute, Washington
University, which recognized her work in advancing the rule of law and thereby contributing to
world peace. Mrs Bensouda has been listed by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential
people in the world (2012); by the New African magazine as one of the “Most Influential Africans;”
by Foreign Policy as one of the “Leading Global Thinkers” (2013), and by Jeune Afrique as one of 20
African women who, by their actions and initiatives in their respective roles, advance the African
continent (2014), and as one of the 50 most influential Africans (2014).