Speaker Biographies

LAURA BATALLA ADAM

Laura Batalla Adam is the Secretary General of the European Parliament Turkey Forum, a cross-party, non-partisan platform composed of sixty members of the European Parliament which promotes high-level discussions between European and Turkish officials, decision-makers, civil society and business actors. The aim of the forum is to advance a well-informed debate on issues related to EU-Turkey relations while serving as a bridge between Turkey and the EU. Ms. Batalla is a political analyst and commentator specializing in European affairs and EU-Turkey relations. She has published policy and research papers for renowned think tanks, specialized publications and academic journals, as well as opinion pieces for European and Turkish newspapers. Ms. Batalla is a member of the EU-Middle East Forum at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) and the Turkey Europe Future Forum, a project of the Mercator Program Center for International Affairs (MPC) in cooperation with TÜSIAD, as well as a recipient of the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the flagship leadership development program of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

KAFILAT ADEOLA NAOMI ADEREMI

Ms. Aderemi is a Nigerian-Greek artist, scholar, activist, and healer. An MPH candidate at the Birmingham City University working as a curator, yoga therapist and creative director, she currently works on raising awareness among the general public on issues concerning human trafficking, gender equality, women's health and equal representation for voices of women of African descent in the global media. She is the elected coordinator of the Gender Equality Working Group of the Alliance Europe Network and works as a consultant on gender-based conflict resolutions. Her work in various mediums has been featured in publications such as Women Under Siege, New York Times, Ms. Magazine, New Museum New York, Forbes, E-flux, Elle, and Vogue. Adeola is the founder of ‘Distinguished Diva’, a collective that fosters community building, communication, outreach and global accessibility for women of African descent with a focus on telling and amplifying stories told by these women.

HELEN ALI

Helen Ali is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2017, Copen-hagen Fellowship). She holds a Master's Degree in Cross-Cultural Studies and Human Rights from University of Copenhagen. In her spare time, Ms. Ali spends a lot of time volunteering at different organisations. She is an Community Organizer at Medborgerne, a citizen-alliance working on empowering the local communities of Nørrebro and Nordvest in Copenhagen, and has also been active when it comes to Human Rights and Women Rights, having recently founded her own organization called EmpowHERment to empower women in Denmark.

CAROL ANDERSON

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. As a writer, she has authored Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955, which was published by Cambridge University Press and awarded both the Gustavus Myers and Myrna Bernath Book Awards. Her second book, Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960, was also published by Cambridge. Her most recent publication, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide, won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, is a New York Times Bestseller and Editor’s Pick and has been named one of the best books for 2016 by the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Globe and Mail. Dr. Anderson’s research has garnered substantial fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, National Humanities Center, Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (The Big Ten and the University of Chicago), the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and recently, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She has served as a member of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee and earned her PhD in History from the Ohio State University.

FOLASHADE AJAYI

Folashade Ajayi holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from Humboldt University Berlin, where she is also currently completing her MA in the same subject focusing on anti-discrimination including a particular interest in anti-racism, gender equality and migration policies. These are topics that are close to her heart and that she applies in her long-standing activist work. Based in Berlin, she is a member of the Initiative Black People in Germany (ISD). In this role, she co-organized the first European Network Meeting for People of African Descent in 2014 and represented the organization at various events in Brussels, Vienna and New York. Ms. Ajayi expanded her knowledge in the field of anti-discrimination both on the national and European level, interning at Germany’s Federal Antidiscrimination Agency as well as the European Network Against Racism in Brussels. Since 2013, Folashade has worked as a research assistant in the Humboldt University’s Diversity and Social Conflict Department, where three years later she became an elected member of Humboldt University’s staff committee, pushing for more inclusive hiring processes and working conditions. Ms. Ajayi is a fellow of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. She has lived and worked in Germany, Belgium and South Africa and speaks German, English and French. Folashade Ajayi is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2016, Copenhagen Fellowship).

RENÉ-HENRI ARNAUD

René-Henri Arnaud, French registered Architect (D.P.L.G.), graduated from the Paris La Villette School of Architecture in 1985 and is now one of the fourteen partners of Architecture-Studio. Founded in Paris in 1973, Architecture-Studio has grown throughout the years and developed offices in Paris and Shanghai. Today, the studio is composed of 150 architects, urban planners, landscape and interior designers of 25 different nationalities. Architecture-Studio also owns an exhibition venue in Venice, called CA’ASI, and has completed several major projects Photo: Gaston Bergeret over the years, such as the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France), the Arab World Institute in Paris, the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens (Greece), the Rotana Hotel in Amman (Jordan), the Bahrain National Theatre in Al Manama and more recently the Symphonic Hall of the Maison de la Radio in Paris. René-Henri Arnaud is involved, as are the other Architecture-Studio partners, in the design of all AS projects, with a particular focus on China. The master plan of the World Exhibition 2010 and the Office Park for Wison headquarters in Shanghai; the Regional Cultural Center in Jinan, China; the European Parliament in Strasbourg and the Fort d’Issy-les-Moulineaux, France stand among his most notable achievements.

ZINOVIA ASSIMAKOPOULOU

Zinovia Assimakopoulou studied Political Science at the University of Athens, Greece and holds a PhD from the European University Institute, Florence, Italy. Her academic and research work have been in European welfare and social protection, women’s participation in the labour market and small business policies. She taught European Social and Economic History at the Greek Open University (2001-2010) and has published on the role of the state and patronage politics. Ms. Assimakopoulou has worked within the Ombudsman milieu since 1998, and joined the European Ombudsman in 2010. She initially served as Senior Investigator in the Greek Ombudsman and was active in a joint project with the Council of Europe aimed at solidifying newly established ombudsman institutions in the Western Balkans. With the European Ombudsman, she started as Head of Cabinet and later Advisor to the Ombudsman until 2015, when she began working as an investigator. Ms. Assimakopoulou currently works as the Head of the Human Resources sector for the organization.

OSCAR BAEZ

Oscar Baez is a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State. He has served in the Executive Secretariat’s Operations Center, the State Department’s 24-hour nerve center, where he prepared briefings for the Secretary and supported crisis-response task forces. Overseas, he has served as Human Rights Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Brazil, as Vice Consul in China, and on temporary assignments in Angola, Belgium, and Haiti. Prior to his work in the State Department, Mr. Baez worked on communications in the Obama White House, on education and foreign policy in the US Senate and for various nonprofit organizations focused on immigrants’ and minority rights. A polyglot himself, Mr. Baez has researched the intersection between language and social inclusion worldwide. Oscar's family immigrated to Boston from the Dominican Republic, and he became a naturalized US citizen in college. He has a BA in Political Science from Amherst College and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University. Mr. Baez is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2008, Berlin Fellowship).

SETH BERGESON

Seth Bergeson is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Amsterdam, 2008) and co-chairs the Senior Fellow Leadership Council. He recently completed an MBA/MPA at the University of Washington and has a background in social impact consulting and global development. A Seattle native, he graduated from Whitman College where he studied History with a focus on Africa. After college, Mr. Bergeson researched children’s games and childhood experiences in seven countries through a Watson Fellowship. He later lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina during a Fulbright Fellowship and helped coordinate the 2012 International Conference in Sarajevo. As a Lantos-Humanity in Action Fellow, he worked for U.S. Representative Jim McDermott from Washington State and focused on human rights and foreign affairs. Mr. Bergeson later consulted for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on global development and health projects in Africa. This fall, he will work as a consultant at PwC Strategy, serving clients in the technology sector. He is also interested in social entrepreneurship, politics, and leveraging technology to create social impact.

MIKE BRICKNER

After studying the US Supreme Court cases involving the ACLU at the Junior Statesmen of America program at Northwestern University in high school, Mike Brickner was inspired to work at the ACLU. He has dedicated his career as Senior Policy Director to mass incarceration issues, particularly the intersection between criminal justice and poverty and the treatment of people in prisons and jail. During his tenure at the ACLU, Mr. Brickner has worked on a variety of critical civil liberties movements. These include coordinating campaigns to expand and protect the right to vote, combating privatization of prisons, and promoting reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system. In 2013, he co-authored two reports focusing on the intersection of poverty and the criminal justice system. The Outskirts of Hope: How Debtors’ Prisons are Ruining Lives and Costing Communities chronicled how courts were illegally imprisoning low-income Ohioans because they could not afford to pay their fines. The report culminated in the Ohio Supreme Court increasing education and training for court personnel and issuing bench cards with clear rules for collecting fines and court costs. The second 2013 report, Adding It Up: The Financial Realities of Ohio’s Pay-to-Stay Policies examined the burden placed on incarcerated people and their families by exorbitant jail fees. Mr. Brickner is a nationally recognized expert on prison privatization. In 2013, he created a timeline documenting the rapid decline of Ohio-based Lake Erie Correctional Institution, the first state prison sold outright to a private company in the nation. He also co-authored and designed the ACLU’s April 2011 report, Prisons for Profit: A Look at Private Prisons. The report highlights the problems faced by other states who have privatized prisons, including: increased costs, safety problems, a lack of transparency, and increased recidivism. He is most proud of his debtors’ prison work and seeing the documentary Prisons for Profit through from beginning to end. Mr. Brickner is an Eagle Scout and enjoys a nice dinner out.

LAURA CAHIER 

Born and raised in the French rural department of Ain, Laura Cahier is studying a dual Master’s Degree in Human Rights law and International Affairs (Paris 2 / Sciences Po Lyon). She also spent a year abroad at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied Sociology with a focus in inequalities and gender. She wrote her first thesis on gender-based violence in France and the legal and political obstacles migrant women face to access justice. As co-founder of an organisation called InterCambio, she shot a documentary about Mayan women’s right to health in rural Guatemala and the importance of local empowerment. Along with Lumir Lapray, who founded the organisation Optimist, they work together to advance equal opportunities in higher education, especially in Sciences Po Lyon. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Human Rights Law about gender-based violence against indigenous women on the American continent and the necessity to take into account intersectionality and local demands for equal rights.

DIMITRIS CHRISTOPOULOS

Dimitris Christopoulos is a professor of comparative politics at the Department of Political Science and History of Panteion University in Athens, where he teaches public law and human rights focusing on migration, minorities, citizenship and freedom of expression. He regularly provides lectures in different universities around the world and publishes in scientific reviews or journals in the field of legal and political theory focusing on issues related to human rights, minorities, migrants and citizenship. In 2016 he has been elected President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) based in Paris. He is frequently interviewed by international or Greek media and writes regularly in the Greek and international press on issues of his interest. His last book with Kostis Karpozilos is titled 10+1 Questions & Answer on the Macedonian Question (Polis Pub, Athens, 2018).

CHRISTINA DEXEL

Christina Dexel is a recent MA graduate in the field of International Relations. She spent many years living in different cities around the world, but for the past six years, Berlin has been her home, where she completed both her Bachelor’s (Political Science) as well as her Master’s degree. She has gained experience on a variety of socio-political topics regarding anti-discrimination and in 2015 was part of the Humanity in Action Berlin fellowship. More recently in her studies and work, she has focused on migration and its social and political implications. In 2016 and 2017, Ms. Dexel did an internship at the International Organisation for Migration in Geneva. During this time, she organised an event on gender equality in the UN system together with the German Permanent Mission and the UN Library. Gender equality and women's rights have been a cross cutting theme throughout her personal and professional life. Together with a friend, she is developing a rhetoric seminar for women* to overcome conservative and male dominated speech structures.

TARA DICKMAN

Founded in 2013, Tara Dickman’s organization Le Next Level supports diversity, social justice and civil rights issues in France and across Europe through skills trainings, educational programs and strategy consultancies. A certified trainer for public servants, she also regularly provides trainings on inclusive management and the implications of secularism in the workplace. Ms. Dickman holds an MA in Comparative Politics from New York University, where she studied the 2005 riots in France and their participants from an international minority rights perspective. Prior to her MA, she graduated in Information and Communications at Université Paris 8, studied European cultural and social politics, and attended Brown University on a year-long exchange program. Tara Dickman is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2007, Paris Fellowship). From 2007 to 2012, she worked for the French chapter of Humanity in Action, and in 2011, she set up the first nation-wide, grassroots-lead initiative to address police abuse and profiling at the legal, media and political levels, which has resulted in the first - and successful - class action against the French state, as well as in several bills to get police accountability presented in Parliament. Over the years, Ms. Dickman has been invited to speak on diversity issues within the French constitutional context as well as on new forms of leadership and activism at events, universities, think tanks and NGO seminars across Europe and the United States. She has run community organizing, media training and intercultural workshops for students, professionals, entrepreneurs, activists and non-profits across France and the European Union. Ms. Dickman was the only European 2012 Social Innovation Echoing Green finalist. She was also a 2013 Ariane de Rothschild Social Entrepreneurship and Inter-religious Dialogue fellow, and a 2014 recipient of the Neil Karbank Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Award for exceptional leadership. In 2016, she was invited as Activist in residence on the Castilleja School for Girls campus in Palo Alto, California.

AZRA DIZDAR

Azra Dizdar started playing violin when she was seven years old. She holds a BA degree in Violin Performance from Sarajevo Music Academy. Azra has won several competitions in various categories and frequently performs as a soloist and chamber music player. She also has vast experience as an orchestral musician, having performed with Ricciotti Ensemble, String Orchestra MAS, STÜBAphilharmonie and Mostar Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Dizdar is the Foundation "Karim Zaimović" Laureate prize awardee for her artistic contribution to the city of Sarajevo. For the past four years, she has been devoted to raising and educating the new generation of violinists in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ms. Dizdar currently serves as a Student Senator to the Senate of University of Sarajevo. She is expected to complete her MA studies in September in Sarajevo in the class of Dr. YeonJu Jeong. Azra Dizdar is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2017, Detroit Fellowship).

DARIUSZ DYBKA

Dariusz Dybka is a Humanity in Acton Senior Fellow (2006, Warsaw Fellowship). He is a law graduate from Warsaw University and a previous Humanity in Action Lantos Fellow at House of Representatives of US Congress, a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process Legal Expert and an Alternate Member of the Kyoto Protocol Compliance Committee Facilitative Branch. He also has experience as a Member of the official delegation to the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Poznań, Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and in Marrakech, the supreme decision-making body within the UNFCCC, and he served as a climate attaché within the Polish Presidency to the EU Council. Mr. Dybka was the first secretary in the Permanent Representation of the Representation of Poland to the EU and has negotiated EU directives and regulations on climate change and air quality. Currently, he works as the EU Affairs Senior Advisor for the Polish Electricity Association.

LIBERTAS EZAKO

Born in Bujumbura, Burundi, Libertas Ezako left her country at a very young age and now lives in Namur, Belgium. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences and now pursues her Master’s degree in International Relations with a specialisation in Diplomacy and Resolution of Conflicts at the University Catholic of Louvain-la- Neuve (UCL). In 2015, she discovered the international environment by attending the Model United Nations conferences in Geneva. This experience was so rewarding that in 2016 she started her political involvement in "JeunescdH", the youth organisation of the "Centre Democrat Humanist" (CDH) party in Belgium. Alongside her responsibilities as appointed Secretary General of the Youth Assembly, she was also involved in the youth section in her hometown where she was responsible for the management of local events. Ms. Ezako is also a member of the student's branch, "edH", where she is currently the Inter-national Secretary. As representative of edH, she is responsible for representing and ensuring good relationships and fruitful cooperation with the organization’s partners and other European Institutions. As edH is a Member Organisation of European Democrat Students, Ms. Ezako applied to be part of the EDS Executive Bureau and was elected Vice-Chairwoman in July 2017. In November, she resigned from her position and was appointed Deputy Secretary General where she is responsible for the running of the EDS office in Brussels. Jointly with the Secretary General, she carries out the organisational and event-management tasks, facilitates communication with Member Organisations and officials from EU institutions or EPP family and provides financial administration services. Looking forward, Ms. Ezako would like to pursue her career in public relations and use her rich double backgrounds to improve win-win cooperation between Europe and Africa.

JOHANNES LUKAS GARTNER

Johannes Lukas Gartner serves as the Director of Programs at Humanity in Action Germany. Previously, he worked in strategy consulting for public sector clients at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants after gaining work experience at various other places ranging from the Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social, a press freedom and civil society communications non-profit in Mexico City, to Lilofee, an independent children’s toy store in Berlin- Kreuzberg. He completed internships and research visits at places including the United Nations Development Program in Panama City, the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna, and multinational law firms in Istanbul and London. Johannes is a law graduate of King’s College London as well as Humboldt University of Berlin, and holds a postgraduate diploma in international affairs from SAIS, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. His research endeavors have focused on gender and LGBTQ-related migration issues. Living in Berlin, Johannes was born and raised in Vienna. He is an alumnus of AFS (Panama, 2004-05) and a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2014, Diplomacy & Diversity Fellowship).

KONSTANTY GEBERT

Konstanty Gebert is an Associate Fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations and an international reporter and columnist at Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest daily publication. He also serves as a Special Advisor on International Affairs to Humanity in Action. During the 1970s, he was a democratic opposition activist and organizer of the Jewish Flying University; while in the 1980s, under martial law, he was an underground journalist. He covered the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995 for Polish and international media. He is the co-founder of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews and the founder of Midrasz, a monthly Polish Jewish intellectual publication. Konstanty Gebert serves as a board member for Paideia in Stockholm; for the Einstein Forum in Potsdam, Germany and for the Advisory Board of the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund in Amsterdam, as well as being an associate fellow at the European Council on Foreign Affairs. He has taught across Poland, Israel and the United States. He has authored ten books that examine topics such as: the Polish democratic transformation, French policy toward Poland, the Yugoslav wars, the wars of Israel, Torah commentary and post-war Polish Jewry. His essays have appeared in two dozen publications in Poland and abroad, and his articles have been featured in newspapers around the world.

JOE GLADSTONE

Dr. Joe Gladstone is an Assistant Professor at University College London. Named one of the top 30 people under 30 in Finance by Forbes Magazine, Dr. Gladstone’s research draws from both Behavioural Economics and Consumer Psychology to understand financial decision-making. He is best known for his research investigating when money and spending influence happiness. Joe's research involves active collaborations with companies and government departments, using large-scale transaction datasets and experiments. Joe completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge and was the Fox Fellow at Yale University. Prior to starting his PhD, Joe graduated first in his class in degrees from Oxford and Cambridge University. Joe is a regular guest on BBC World News, where he comments on topics related to consumer behaviour. Joe's research has been profiled in many of the world’s leading news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, The Economist, and New York Magazine.

JUDITH S. GOLDSTEIN

Judith S. Goldstein founded Humanity in Action in 1997 and has served as its Executive Director ever since. Under Judith’s leadership, Humanity in Action has organized educational programs on international affairs, diversity and human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, the Netherlands and the United States. She received her PhD in history from Columbia University and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar for her MA studies. Judith has written several books and articles about European and American history, art and landscape architecture. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and several boards and advisory groups.

JOSUA GRÄBENER

Josua Gräbener is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2010, Lyon Fellowship) and a 2011 Humanity in Action Pat Cox Fellow. He has worked for various NGOs, holds a PhD in Political Science ("What's the point of socializing wage? A political economy of training taxes in France and Italy") and has been junior lecturer at the universities of Lyon, Grenoble, and Lille. Interested in ecology, feminism, human rights, the politics of market economy regulation and the capitalism/debt nexus, he has participated in the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM) campaign defending the Belgian Law against speculative funds. He lives in Brussels, where he is now looking for new professional opportunities.

THOMAS HUDDLESTON

Thomas Huddleston coordinates the Migration Policy Group’s (MPG) comparative research on European and national policies in areas such as integration, citizenship, political participation, family reunification and labour migration. He coordinates the VoteBrussels campaign to inform and encourage non-Belgians to register to vote in the local elections. He also oversees the European Citizens Initaitive for a Welcoming Europe a community petition to reclaim the right to help and right to solidarity with those fleeing persecution. Mr. Huddleston chairs the EU’s policy network on migrant education (SIRIUS) and the quarterly migration subgroup of the NGO Platform on EU Migration and Asylum (EPAM). Tom Huddleston is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2005, Berlin Fellowship).

BARBARA JOANNON

Barbara Joannon is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2013, Lyon Fellowship) and a 2014 Pat Cox Fellow working as an independent consultant. Barbara’s fields of expertise are asylum and migration policies in the French and European contexts as well as migration and development interrelations. She is currently working for the French Development Agency, supporting their strategic thinking and framework on migration and developing a French joint Action plan on migration and development. Previously, she was Head of EU Affairs at Forum réfugiés-Cosi, a French NGO that supports asylum seekers and refugees. A graduate of Lyon’s Institute of Political Sciences, she built upon her experience in Brussels working with the European Parliament, the Joint Migration and Development Initiative and the European Migration Network.

LENA KAMPF

Lena Kampf is an investigative reporter based in Brussels, Belgium and Berlin where she works for a joint investigative unit of the public broadcasters WDR and NDR television and the newspaper "Süddeutsche Zeitung". Her focus is mostly on international and national security and migration, political extremism and criminal justice as well as European Union politics. She is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2006, New York Photo: Philipp Boegle Fellowship). Lena graduated from Freie University Berlin with an MA in Political Sciences and finished journalism school in 2012. Previously, she worked at the investigative team of the German weekly "Stern" and has lived in South Africa, the Netherlands, France and the US. In 2016 she was an "Arthur F. Burns" Fellow with the Miami Herald, Florida.

DŽENETA KARABEGOVIĆ

Dženeta Karabegović holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick. Her wider research interests are rooted in international and comparative politics with a particular focus on transnationalism, diaspora, migration, democratization, human rights, transitional justice, and the Balkans. She is an Assistant Professor at the International Burch University and has done consulting work on diasporas and development, returnees, education, and civil society. She works with multiple non-profit organizations focused on genocide education and prevention, peacebuilding, and youth engagement. She was a U.S. Fulbright Fellow at the Hugo Valentin Centre at Uppsala University in Sweden, holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago and completed her B.A. (Hons) at the University of Vermont in Political Science and German with a Holocaust Studies minor. Her academic work has been published in multiple peer-reviewed academic journals and she has written multiple shorter non-academic pieces focused on issues of migration, genocide prevention, and remembrance. She was born in Banja Luka, BiH, grew up in Germany and the United States, has lived in Sweden and England, and has recently returned to live in Sarajevo, BiH.

NARKU LAING

Narku Laing works as a Diversity-Trainer in Western Europe. Aditionaly, he is employed as Junior Lecturer and Research Associate at LMU Munich, where he pursues his PhD in Political Theory. He holds an MA in Politics, Administration and International Relations from Zeppelin University and a BA in Sociology and Law from the University of Frankfurt. He was invited as a “Leader of Tomorrow” to the St. Gallen Symposium, was a Hans-Boeckler-Foundation Fellow and a recipient of the “Young Leaders Bursary”. He is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2014, Berlin Fellowship), a member of the Senior Fellows Leadership Council of HIA Inc. and a member of the Board of Directors of Humanity in Action Germany. Mr. Laing was active for many years in schools and youth centres in Frankfurt. While studying abroad at King’s College London, he produced a blog dealing with themes of diversity for the Frankfurter Neue Presse. Mr. Laing founded the Black Youth in Germany and was member of the Senate at Zeppelin University.

LUMIR LAPRAY

Lumir Lapray grew up in a small village and graduated from Sciences Po Lyon in Spring 2015, with a double Master’s in Public Policy and Ethnic & Minorities Studies. She spent time at UCLA as a visiting scholar in the Sociology PhD program  and wrote her thesis on the intersection of migration, race, gender and unionism, exploring how Angelenas were reshaping the labor movement, based off the 2015 "Raise the Wage" campaign. Upon graduation, she was selected to work as a Lantos Fellow and spent 5 months in the office of Juan Vargas (CA-51), handling labor issues, access to vote and women's rights. She wrote a piece of legislation, the "Mobile Voting Act", designed to help remote citizens (Native Americans, rural and senior citizens) vote. Now back in France, she works for the first social economy-based strategy consulting firm. Along with Senior Fellow Laura Cahier, she created Optimist, a non-profit aiming to promote access to higher education for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. They were the recipients of the 2017 Humanity in Action Grant Competition, and intend on making the diverse voices of rural youth heard in French society. Lumir is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2014, Paris Fellowship).

YONOUS MUHAMMADI

Forced to leave Afghanistan in 1997 during his final semester of medical college, Mr. Muhammadi remained in Pakistan and later Iran, where he worked to support other refugees but always with the hope of returning to Afghanistan. He finally was able to return in 2000 and continued his education and fight for democracy and women’s rights in his homeland. After being arrested by the Taliban, he escaped first to Turkey and then Greece, where he arrived in 2001 and was recognized as a political refugee. Mr. Muhammadi has actively participated in the creation of the Afghan Community in Greece, of which he was elected president from 2009 to 2013. In 2010, he helped found a refugee network, the Greek Forum of Refugees (GFR), which strives to promote cooperation between refugee communities. He was elected as President of GFR in 2013 and is active in providing everyday support for refugees, as well as working to advocate for their rights in Greece and beyond. Mr. Muhammadi is also committed to defending women’s rights and serves as an ambassador for White Ribbon, one of the world’s largest campaigns to end violence against women. In 2015, he was elected as a bureau member of the European Migration Forum in Brussels and in 2016 as a member of the National Council against Racism of the Ministry of Justice. In the same year His Idea (Refugees’ Ideas and Solution for Europe) was a winner of the 2016 Idea Challenge, through which a Network of Refugee and Migrant communities, RISE, was established. Mr. Muhammadi’ work and commitment was honored by Human Rights Watch, as recipient of «Alison Des Forges» Award for Extraordinary Activism in 2016. He currently serves on the Advisory Panel of Fundamental Rights Platform at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

ŁUKASZ NIPARKO

Łukasz Niparko is an activist for human rights with degrees in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the European University Viadrina. In 2013, he graduated from St. Lawrence University in the United States, where he studied Global, Asian and European Studies. He is also an alumnus of the United World College of the American West. Mr. Niparko has served with various NGOs including the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Polish Humanitarian Action, The Weave News, and Stepping Stones China. He currently works with Thomson Reuters. In the past, he has conducted academic research on topics such as the socio-economic development model of Kerala in India, Polish post-1989 transformation and minority rights in China. In 2015, thanks to the support of Humanity in Action, Łukasz directed a summer school of tolerance and anti-discrimination in his hometown Poznań. He is also a co-founder of the Peace and Liberal Arts Education Center (China) and the Global Dialogue Center (USA). His interests concern legal prevention of discrimination and international affairs. During his free time, Mr. Niparko enjoys biking around Poznań as well as various community services. He is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2014, Warsaw Fellowship), a 2016 Humanity in Action Pat Cox Fellow, a 2017 American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Humanity in Action Fellow, and a member of the Humanity in Action Senior Fellows Leadership Council.

FAITH OLORUNTOBA

Faith Oloruntoba is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2017, Copenhagen Fellowship). She is currently a joint Masters student at Aarhus University in Denmark and at the University of Hamburg, Germany studying Journalism, Media and Globalisation. After completing her Bachelors and Masters degree in Mass Communication at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, she worked with Development Achievers - a Nigerian nonprofit organisation as a Program Communications Officer. She also worked briefly with Next Newspapers as a metro-reporter. While in Denmark, she volunteered as an editor and writer in CafeBabel Aarhus and Jutland station respectively. She is an Erasmus Mundus Scholar, a member of the second cohort of the Laureth of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa and a UNICEF-trained researcher for child survival in Nigeria. Recently, she became interested in African migration issues especially diaspora engagement and irregular migration which she is currently researching in her Masters thesis. Ms. Oloruntoba plans to pursue a PhD afterwards and her research interests include migration, media audiences, digital media, identity and culture.

JEANNE PONTÉ

Parliamentary assistant working for the FEMM, EMPL and ITRE committees since 2014, the amount of involvements that Jeanne Ponté has participated in is probably equal to her age. Last October, her contribution to the media highlights on gender equality and women’s rights demonstrate the determination of the 27 year-old-activist. By taking a stand against sexual harassment in the European Parliament, Jeanne Ponté has contributed to lifting a taboo in a place where structures of power are rarely questioned. When she is not busy creating new projects or defending worthwhile causes, you will surely find her listening to some of Paolo Conte’s songs while eating a gelato al limone. She is a graduate of the College of Europe (LLM European Law Voltaire promotion 2013-2014) and recipient for the best pleading at the European human rights moot court competition.

MAXIMILIAN POPP

Maximilian Popp is the Turkey-Correspondent of the German news magazine “Der Spiegel“. He previously covered migration for the magazine. He is the author of two books: Staat Erdogan, a portrait of the Turkish president, and Tödliche Grenzen, an analysis of the European refugee crisis. Mr. Popp studied International Relations in Istanbul and graduated from the „Henri-Nannen-School of Journalism“ in Hamburg.

VASILEIOS SASSANIS

Vasilis Sassanis comes from Athens, Greece. He holds a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering and aeronautics from the University of Patras, Greece, and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University (MSU) in the United States. He is co-founder of the climate change working group and contributor to the interdisciplinary working group on societal injustice, both in MSU. During his undergrad and research years, he developed a special interest regarding human and civil rights. Sassanis became a 2018 Humanity in Action Fellow in Copenhagen with the aim to find ways to bring together people from different disciplines and with diverging views in the battle against inequality.

PINAR SAYAN

Pinar Sayan is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Beykoz University. She is also the country director of the Imagine Center for Conflict Transformation in Turkey and one of the managing editors of its publication, Caucasus Edition: Journal of Conflict Transformation. She is part of a multinational team that designs and coordinates conflict transformation projects in the South Caucasus and Turkey. She is the co-founder of Roman Medya, which is a media platform for Roma rights in Turkey. She has completed her PhD degree at Marmara University on the EU policies against racism and discrimination. Dr. Sayan is focusing on the rights dimension of ethnic politics as an academic, practitioner and activist. She is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2013, Copenhagen Fellowship), a 2016 Humanity in Action Pat Cox Fellow and one of the recipients of the 2015 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow Grant Competition for Roman Medya.

MARIETJE SCHAAKE

Marietje Schaake has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party (D66) with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) political group since 2009. She serves on the International Trade committee, where she is the ALDE spokesperson on transatlantic trade and digital trade. Schaake also serves on the committee on Foreign Affairs and the subcommittee on Human Rights. Furthermore, she is the Vice-President of the US Delegation and serves on the Iran Delegation and the Delegation for the Arab peninsula. In 2017 she was the Chief of the European Union Election Observation Mission in Kenya. Founder of the European Parliament Intergroup on the Digital Agenda for Europe, Schaake is also a Member of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, a Young Global Leader and a Member of the Global Future Council on Future of Digital Economy and Society with the WEF. She is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2003, Amsterdam Fellowship). Learn more about Marietje Schaake’s work: @marietjeschaake (Twitter), www.marietjeschaake.eu

LUISA MARIA SCHWEIZER

Luisa Maria Schweizer works as an advisor to the Board of Directors at the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ). While advising on strategic direction and content development, she also runs her own projects within the organization, such as the recently established EVZ Hub in Prague (Czech republic), to better connect and serve EVZ’s partners in Central and East European countries. Ms. Schweizer is an anthropologist and literary scientist by education and was a member of the research project ”Other Europes / Europe’s Others: Social Imagination in Transnational Movements and Urban Public Spheres” at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her main fields of interest are in migration, new forms of political participation and movement studies. Before joining EVZ, she worked as Program Director at Humanity in Action in Germany and as a social campaigner in the field of political education. Since 2010, Ms. Schweizer has been the co-founder and chairwoman of European Alternatives Berlin e.V., the German section of a transnational NGO which promotes democracy, equality and culture beyond the nation state. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of European Alternatives, an alumna with the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, a member of the Bosch Alumni Network and the BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network. Ms. Schweizer spends her free time in handstand optimizing her yoga practice and enjoys Italian cooking and wine, Gaga Movement Language and music.

MAGDALENA SZAROTA

Magdalena Szarota is a disabled woman with hidden impairment, who for years has been trying to bridge the world of people with disabilities and non-disabled people with the means of activism, social science and photography. She has co-founded the first association of women with disabilities in Poland, ONE.pl, and later co-created the first guidebook for women with disabilities under the patronage of the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Status of Women and Men, an interactive portal for women with disability and their allies and a manifesto of rights of women and girls with disabilities in the EU. In 2018 together with Women Enable International, she prepared the first alternative report for the UN on the situation of women with disabilities in Poland. Ms. Szarota has been active in propagating Poland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through expert bodies, social campaigns and media appearances. In recognition of her advocacy work, she was among a few chosen representatives of the Polish NGOs to be invited to the ceremony of ratification by the Polish President of the UN CRPD. Since 2006 and together with Monika Mazur-Rafał, she has co-founded and -managed Humanity in Action Poland. Ms. Szarota has also co-created the Ashoka Foundation’s Academy for Young Social Entrepreneurs in war-torn Nepal, founded in 2005. Currently, she works on a dual doctorate at the Polish Academy of Sciences and Lancaster University (UK) about the social consequences of activism of women with disabilities. She is a recipient of number of scholarships including: Yale University, Ashoka Foundation and the Kosciuszko Foundation, and is a winner of the Servas International Prize for activists. She cooperates with international disabled women organizations: Sisters of Frida and Women Enabled International that advocates for human rights of disabled girls and women within the United Nations regime and beyond.

RIEN VAN GENDT

Rien van Gendt has worked in the academic world teaching in the University of Amsterdam and Leiden, in international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, in government within the Prime Minister’s Office and State Administration of Limburg, in the corporate sector as CEO of a large international real estate development and construction company and in the foundation sector as CEO of the Bernard van Leer Foundation and Van Leer Group Foundation. After his retirement from Van Leer in 2007, he founded ‘Van Gendt Philanthropy Advisors’. Mr. van Gendt also serves on the board of several foundations and companies including the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Gulbenkian Foundation, European Cultural Foundation and the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund, among others. Beyond serving on boards, he is the trusted advisor of a number of families, family offices and companies in the Netherlands and abroad and supports these groups with effective philanthropy and investments. Mr. van Gendt received the Distinguished Grant-maker Award in the United States in 2005, and in 2013 he was recognized with the European Philanthropy Compass Prize.

KLAUS WELLE

Klaus Welle is the Secretary-General of the European Parliament, Luxembourg. He was born in 1964 in Beelen, Germany. Mr. Welle earned his degree in economics from the University of Witten/Herdecke before completing his banking studies with a student sponsorship from the Westdeutsche Landesbank in Münster. Mr. Welle is also a recipient of grants from the Students' Foundation of the German People and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. He completed his military service with the Luftwaffe and in the 90s worked as Head of the European and Foreign Policy Department at the CDU Central Office in Bonn. He was also a Secretary-General of the European People's Party (EPP) and the European Union of Christian Democrats (EUCD) in Brussels. As of 1999, he served as Secretary-General of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament. Later, he acted as the Director-General for Internal Policies and subsequently as Head of the Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament. Since March 2009, he has held the position of the Secretary-General of the European Parliament, Luxembourg.

CAROLIN WIEDEMANN

Dr. Carolin Wiedemann works as an editor at Frankfurter Allge-meine Quarterly. In her articles, she addresses new forms of power and resistance, asylum policy, racism and sexism. After studying Journalism, Communications and Sociology in Paris and Hamburg, she got a scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation, wrote a PhD thesis about the question of subversion in times of digitization and worked as a freelance writer for diverse German Media Outlets. Her publications include the book Selbstvermarktung im Netz in which she analyzes Facebook, Depletion Design: A Glossary of Network Ecologies (with Soenke Zehle), the dossier “Welcome to Germany“ published by Heinrich Böll Foundation and the book based on her PhD “Kritische Kollektivität im Netz“. Dr. Wiedemann is co-editor of Spheres, an online magazine about digital cultures, and a member of kritnet, a network for migration research. She is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (2010, Berlin Fellowship) and a board member of Humanity in Action Germany.