2018 Speakers

Fellow Ignite Talk Speakers


Keynote Speakers

The Honorable Chris Coons
U.S. Senator for Delaware, U.S. Senate

Chris graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Chemistry and Political Science, and earned his law degree from Yale Law School and a Master’s in Ethics from Yale Divinity School. A longtime New Castle County resident, Chris grew up in the Pike Creek and Hockessin areas and lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees, Chris is uniquely positioned to nurture American innovation and make the United States more competitive in the global marketplace. He is the senior Democrat on two subcommittees: the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. court and bankruptcy systems, and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which funds a broad array of government agencies – including those responsible for carrying out critical Wall Street reforms

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The Honorable Hank Johnson
U.S. Representative for Georgia, U.S. House of Representatives

Hank JohnsonNow beginning his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District – which encompasses parts of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Newton counties and all of Rockdale County – Congressman Hank Johnson has distinguished himself as a substantive, effective lawmaker and a leading national progressive voice.
A member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Johnson became a leading national voice for the demilitarization of local law enforcement agencies in 2014 after police donned camouflage tactical gear and climbed aboard heavily armored vehicles to confront peaceful protestors in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the shooting death of an unarmed teenager. To help restore trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, he filed the Police Accountability Act and the Grand Jury Reform Act in the wake of police shooting deaths of unarmed black men across the country.

In 2017 at the launch of the 115th Congress, Rep. Johnson landed a coveted seat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) and was unanimously voted by his colleagues to be Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. The subcommittee conducts oversight of programs addressing federal management of emergencies and natural disasters including oversight of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is responsible for programs promoting economic development in communities suffering economic distress. It also has jurisdiction over public buildings, federal real estate programs and the Public Buildings Service (PBS) of the General Services Administration (GSA), which is the civilian landlord of the federal government.
Prior to taking his seat in Congress in 2006, Rep. Johnson practiced criminal defense law in Georgia for twenty-seven (27) years. He served twelve (12) years as a magistrate judge, and five (5) years as a county commissioner.

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The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton
U.S. Representative for District of Columbia, U.S. House of Representatives

Eleanor Holmes NortonCongresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, now in her fourteenth term as the Congresswoman for the District of Columbia, is the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. She serves on two committees: the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Before her congressional service, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She came to Congress as a national figure who had been a civil rights and feminist leader, tenured professor of law, and board member at three Fortune 500 companies. Congresswoman Norton has been named one of the 100 most important American women in one survey and one of the most powerful women in Washington in another. The Congresswoman’s work for full congressional voting representation and for full democracy for the people of the District of Columbia continues her lifelong struggle for universal human and civil rights.

Congresswoman Norton’s accomplishments in breaking barriers for her disempowered district are matched by her success in bringing home unique economic benefits to her constituents. Among them are senatorial courtesy to recommend federal judges, the U.S. Attorney, and other significant federal law enforcement positions for the District; up to $10,000 per year for all D.C. high school graduates to attend any public U.S. college or university and up to $2,500 per year to many private colleges and universities; a unique $5,000 D.C. homebuyer tax credit, which has sharply increased home ownership in the District and was a major factor in stabilizing the city’s population; and D.C. business tax incentives, including a significant wage credit for employing D.C. residents, which has maintained businesses and residents in the District.

Congresswoman Norton also has brought significant economic development to the District of Columbia throughout her service in Congress, creating and preserving jobs in D.C. The most significant are her work in bringing to D.C. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security headquarters compound, now under construction, and is the largest federal construction project in the country; her bill that is developing the 55 acre-Southeast Federal Center, the first private development on federal land; her work that resulted in the relocation of 6,000 jobs to the Washington Navy Yard; and her successful efforts to bring to the District the new headquarters for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, along with an additional Metro station at New York Avenue, which has resulted in the development of the NOMA neighborhood.
Congresswoman Norton helped end the city’s most serious financial crisis in a century, in the 1990’s,by achieving a historic package that for the first time restructured the financial relationship between Congress and the District, by transferring $5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and billions more in state costs to the federal government.

The Congresswoman, who taught law full time before being elected, is a tenured professor of law at Georgetown University, teaching an upper-class seminar there every year. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Antioch College in Ohio, she simultaneously earned her law degree and a master’s degree in American Studies from Yale University. Yale Law School has awarded her the Citation of Merit for outstanding alumni, and Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has awarded her the Wilbur Cross Medal for outstanding alumni, the highest awards conferred by each on alumni. She is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees.

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Ambassador Tibor Nagy
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Tibor NagyAmbassador Nagy, a retired career Foreign Service Officer, spent 32 years in government service, including over 20 years in assignments across Africa. He served as the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia (1999-2002), United States Ambassador to Guinea (1996-1999) as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria (1993-1995), Cameroon (1990-1993), and Togo (1987-1990). Previous assignments include Zambia, the Seychelles, Ethiopia, and Washington, DC.
Ambassador Nagy has received numerous awards from the U.S. Department of State in recognition of his service, including commendations for helping prevent famine in Ethiopia; supporting the evacuation of Americans from Sierra Leone during a violent insurrection; supporting efforts to end the Ethiopian-Eritrean War; and managing the United States Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria during political and economic crises.
Following his retirement from the Foreign Service, Ambassador Nagy served as Vice Provost for International Affairs at Texas Tech University from 2003 – 2018. During that time he lectured nationally on Africa, foreign policy, international development, and U.S. diplomacy, in addition to serving as a regular op-ed contributor to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper on global events. He co-authored “Kiss Your Latte Goodbye: Managing Overseas Operations,” nonfiction winner of the 2014 Paris Book Festival.

Ambassador Nagy arrived in the United States in 1957 as a political refugee from Hungary; he received his B.A. from Texas Tech University and M.S.A. from George Washington University. He has been married to Eva Jane Nagy for 47 years, and the Nagy’s have three adult children – the first triplets born in independent Zimbabwe.

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Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl GaltAmbassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt assumed the role of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) for Educational and Cultural Affairs on November 13, 2017. The Bureau advances U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, cultural and sports exchanges that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations and create networks and partnerships to advance U.S. foreign policy goals and address global challenges and opportunities.

Prior to joining ECA, Ms. Galt was Ambassador of the United States of America to Mongolia from 2015-17. A career member of the State Department’s Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, Ambassador Galt formerly served as Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, where she had the privilege of leading and mentoring a talented team of nearly 500, of whom 62 were first- and second-tour officers. Ambassador Galt’s previous postings overseas have included Belgrade, Taipei with the American Institute in Taiwan, Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai, and the U.S. Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. In Washington, Ambassador Galt served as Senior Advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs and as Deputy Director for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Ambassador Galt holds Masters’ degrees from National Defense University and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), as well as a Bachelor’s degree in political science, history and languages from Colorado College in her home state of Colorado. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Juris Prudence from Colorado College in 2016. She is fluent in Mandarin and French, and also speaks Italian, Spanish and Serbian.

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Masai Ujiri
President, Toronto Raptors NBA Team; Director, Basketball Without Borders; and Founder, Giants of Africa

Masai UjiriAs the NBA’s first African born President and General Manager, Masai Ujiri has solidified many “firsts” in league history through the course of his unprecedented career. With a celebrated ascension into executive ranks, Ujiri has been recognized for employing a progressive, people-first approach, and youth-focused vision into his work within the NBA, and across the globe. Ujiri has been tireless in his efforts to create pathways for African youth on the continent, leveraging the game of basketball as a vessel for young boys and girls to think and Dream Big. Ujiri has also has served as the Director of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program since 2002 establishing a significant global footprint and reputation as a successful change agent in communities around the world.

● 2012-13 NBA Executive of the Year
● 2014 FACE Africa Trailblazer Award
● 2014 CBC Sports Most Influential Figure in Canadian Sports
● 2015 The Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Canada’s Black Community
● 2016 Toronto Life’s 50 Most Influential
● 2016 Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards Sports Executive Recipient
● 2018 FACE Africa Wash Gala Honoree

Ujiri is the Founder of Giants of Africa, which creates unique experiences and opportunities for African youth with an emphasis on hard work, accountability, honest living and positivity. Giants of Africa (GOA) launched the Top 50 and Big Man camps in Nigeria in 2003, and has since expanded programming across the continent including Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and beyond leaving a life-changing impact on young adults venturing out into the world representing the continent.
● GOA has joined hundreds of local coaches with NBA talent to grow leadership opportunities
● GOA has worked with 3000+ campers in 15 years
● 120 campers having received scholarships to universities in the USA

Ujiri leans in on his vast network of influential friends and associates to elevate the impact and precedent being set on behalf of Africa on the continent and beyond.
● Ujiri is in beta on a number of projects with the Obama Foundation on the continent
● NBA All-Stars and coaches attend GOA and BWOB programming every year (e.g. Dikembe Mutombo, Luol Deng, etc)
● World renowned entertainers and media personalities are tapped to perform and attend curated experiences (e.g. Trevor Noah,)

In a quest to grow the next generation of African leaders, Ujiri continues to invest in the continent and global diaspora through heritage and legacy preservation, community rehabilitation, and breaking ground on new structures and resources.
● In honor of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, an annual, star-studded celebration is held December 5th with proceeds going to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and GOA
● GOA to build a number of elite basketball courts across the continent this summer starting in Kenya in partnership with the Sauti Kuu Foundation
● GOA x Red Cross in support of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps donating resources to hospitals, families and youth

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Plenary Speakers and Moderators

Ramsey Day
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, USAID

Ramsey DayRamsey Day serves as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Africa Bureau. Prior to joining USAID in January 2018, Mr. Day was the Senior Director for the Center for Global Impact at the International Republican Institute (IRI) where he led the Institute’s project design, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. He also worked in Amman, Jordan as the IRI Country Director from 2014 to 2017 leading programs in public opinion research, good governance, and political party building.

Mr. Day has held numerous positions within the international development and foreign policy communities both in the United States and various overseas posts. He served as the Country Representative for USAID in Montenegro and at the USAID headquarters in Washington within the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau (LPA) as the Chief of Public Liaison where he led the Agency’s public outreach efforts. He was also the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for the USAID Europe and Eurasia Bureau advising the Assistant Administrator and other senior officials on development policy, strategic communications, and legislative issues.

Mr. Day has worked on several national domestic campaigns and has represented the White House on official delegations of the President and the Vice President of the United States to over 20 countries. Prior to government service, he worked in marketing for multi-media companies in both Atlanta, Georgia and New York.

Mr. Day holds a B.A. from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) focusing on International/Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

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Regina Agyare
2014 Fellow from Ghana, Founder and CEO, Soronko Solutions

Regina AgyareRegina is the CEO of Soronko Solutions. She just opened the first coding and human centered design school for children and adults called Soronko Academy. She recently spoke at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and on closing the gender gap in computer science. She also spoke at Brookings Institute in Washington DC on Advancing Female entrepreneurship in Africa. She is an ambassador and mentor for thecamp, first European campus dedicated to emerging technology and social innovation. She is listed as one of BBC 100 most inspirational and innovative women for 2017.She was also recently interviewed by Bishop TD Jakes. She was awarded the 2017 Northwestern University Buffet Institute for Emerging Global Leaders Award and awarded by Coca Cola in the Coca Cola young achievers award as one of the big six and a leader in technology. She was also unveiled as the 2016 Vlisco Brand Ambassador. She won Startup Entrepreneur of the year and Soronko Solutions won Social Start-up of the year for 2016 at the Ghana Startup Awards. She was featured on CNN as one the 12 inspirational women who rock STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). She was named as one of the six women making an impact in Tech in Africa and one of 10 female entrepreneurs to watch in emerging economies. She was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the year by the GPA Awards from Africa 2.0 and JCI Ghana Outstanding Young Person award for scientific and technological advancement. Soronko Solutions was nominated for the editor’s choice award in the Women in IT award in the UK. She was featured on CNN African Voices,CNN African Startups and interviewed by BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle and Aljazeera. She is an Ashoka Fellow,Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, GOOD Fellow, Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, Vital Voices Fellow and a Change Leader with Tigo Reach For Change. She belongs to Africa Leadership Initiative West Africa .

Her story was published in the Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook, Impatient Optimist blog by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was a finalist for the ITU African Digital Woman of the Year. She is a Mandela Washington Fellow and had the honour of meeting Barack and Michelle Obama. She also recently returned from China from participating in the World Economic Forum Meeting of New Champions which focused on Science and Technology. She is part of the advisory board on a project to amend the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to include Digital rights of a child. She loves to mentor and has been invited to speak and mentor the Camfed master card scholars program, TedxLabone, TedxDartmouth, University Events, Symposium at Harvard University and at Oxford University. She has been invited to speak and participate in events in over 15 countries. She is an online mentor with the Women’s Tech Connect Global Mentoring program. She was awarded a Women of Courage Award for Technology and Tech Needs Girls was awarded in the Ghana CSR Diary Awards.

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Christophe Allard
Director, North America, Brussels Airlines

Christophe AllardChristophe Allard holds a Master in Cross Cultural Management from ICHEC-Brussels. He started his aviation career as Head of the African Projects at Brussels Airlines in 2005. As such he was involved in many key developments in Central and Eastern Africa. In 2009, he founded Korongo Airlines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a joint-venture between Brussels Airlines and Groupe Forrest International. In 2010, he was appointed as Chief Executive establishing the 1st EU compliant airline in the blacklisted DRC. In January 2016, he returned to Brussels Airlines as Director Sales & Marketing North America. Today, 50% of Brussels Airlines traffic originating in North America has a final destination in Africa.

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Junious “House” Brickhouse
Founder and Executive Director, Urban Artistry, Inc.

Junious “House” BrickhouseJunious “House” Brickhouse is an internationally established educator, choreographer and cultural
preservationist with over 30 years of experience in Urban Dance Culture. Born in Virginia Beach, VA, his dance training began at family gatherings dancing the funk styles of the era. Growing up, he sought out all the learning opportunities available to him, from community centers to parking lots, where young people were teaching each other and building communities around urban dance forms. Early on, he established himself as a leader and mentor in those communities, serving to educate and guide others. At age 18, Junious embarked on an over 21-year career as a Logistics Professional in the U.S. Army and later as a Department of Defense contractor. Throughout his time in various international assignments, Junious developed both a military and dance career, eventually rising to positions of leadership and responsibility in both areas. As the Founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry Inc. (www.urbanartistry.org), Junious has inspired and created a movement of artists dedicated to the preservation of urban dance culture, specifically within communities of practice. As Urban Artistry’s Executive Director, Junious produces projects such as The International Soul Society Festival, The Preservatory and the UA Digital Archives to encourage other artists to research and document these tradition bearers and their stories. As a scholar/practitioner, Junious teaches at colleges and universities, using an experiential approach to teaching, Movement of the African American South, Hip Hop as well as urban dance movement and the cultural context from which it evolves. As the Co-Director with Next Level, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of
Educational and Cultural Affairs in association with the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Meridian International Center for Cultural Diplomacy, Junious works tirelesslyto promote international cultural exchange in underserved communities, conflict prevention and resolution and entrepreneurial skill building through hip-hop music and dance. A citizen folklorist, Junious also conducts independent research into those cultural traditions whose influence is reflected in urban dance culture. From ring shouts and acoustic county blues to hip hop, understanding the nature and meaning of these art forms and their influences, is what motivates this artist.

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Roslyn Docktor
Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Watson Health and the Middle East and Africa, IBM

Roslyn DocktorRoslyn Docktor, IBM’s Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Watson Health and the Middle East and Africa, leads the advancement of IBM’s public policy objectives for Watson Health worldwide and leads IBM’s public policy engagements in the region. She also serves as IBM’s staff representative for the U.S. President’s Advisory Council for Doing Business in Africa.

Since joining IBM in 2004, Roslyn has spearheaded global, regional, and national advocacy programs that have advanced the use of technologies like AI, cloud and blockchain, and the modernization of privacy, security and health regulatory policies. She has also developed and led multi-stakeholder collaborations, including efforts with the Bipartisan Policy Center on health IT, the United Nations Development Program on interoperability, and the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School on open technologies.

Earlier, Roslyn led global Y2K readiness efforts under White House, United Nations and World Bank auspices. She established a network of 170 National Y2K Coordinators and directly led government-to-government and government-business summits across Africa. Even earlier, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia.

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Melissa Froehlich Flood
Vice President, Social Impact & Public Affairs at Marriott International

Melissa Froehlich FloodMelissa Flood has been with Marriott since 2002 and is responsible for establishing Marriott International’s Public Affairs and Social Impact strategies, working to advance the interests of the Company with government leaders, policy-making bodies and non-governmental, community, and business organizations. Under her leadership, the Social Impact and Public Affairs team bridges our communities, government and business to drive positive social change and deliver business value.

In this role, she leads the team focused on advocacy and public policy, overseeing all federal, state and local policy work, advocacy campaigns, and grassroots activations. Melissa manages Marriott’s public policy communications, executive positioning on policy issues, global association management and Marriott’s political engagement. Since April 2017, Melissa also oversees Marriott’s Social Impact team (formerly Corporate Social Responsibility), leading Marriott’s efforts to deliver positive community impact where we have operations through our business practices, strategic partnerships and targeted programs.

Melissa is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association. She is on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Mobility and serves on the Board of Directors for the Executive Council on Diplomacy.

Prior to joining Marriott, she worked for UPS in their public affairs office and focused on international trade issues, grassroots development and their political action committee. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a degree in Foreign Affairs. Melissa is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and now resides in Washington, DC, with her husband and young children.

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John W. Franklin
Cultural Historian and Senior Manager, Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture

John W. FranklinJohn W. Franklin, Senior Manager in the Office of External Affairs, at the Smithsonian’s 19th museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has worked on African American, African and African Diaspora programs for the past 30 years at the Smithsonian. Initially, he served as researcher and French language interpreter for the Smithsonian’s African Diaspora program of the 1976 Bicentennial Folklife Festival while living and teaching English in Dakar, Senegal. Franklin developed symposia and seminars for the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies from 1987-1992. At the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage he curated Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs on the Bahamas (1994), Cape Verdean Culture (1995), Washington, D.C. (2000) and Mali (2003). Franklin served on the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture from 1998 to 2008 and the board of the Reginald Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture from 2000 to 2009. He served on the Board of Governors of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies from 2005-2011. He served on the Washington, D.C. Commission on African American Affairs from 2010-2013. He edited, My Life and an Era: the Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin with his father, John Hope Franklin.

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Worku Gachou
Policy Advisor, Covington & Burling LLP

Worku GachouWorku Gachou is a policy advisor in Covington’s Public Policy practice. Mr. Gachou, a non-lawyer, provides strategic political and economic consulting, risk management, and other advisory services for clients in the United States and Africa.

Before joining the firm, Mr. Gachou was majority staff lead for Africa issues in the U.S. House of Representatives. In this role, he was responsible for the drafting and enactment of several landmark pieces of legislation impacting the continent, including the Electrify Africa Act, the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, and the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

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Kwabena Tontoh Kankam-Yeboah
2017 Fellow from Ghana, West Africa Regional Advisory Board

Kwabena Tontoh Kankam-YeboahTontoh has over six years of experience in power generation. Currently, Tontoh is a Business Planning Engineer at the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana’s largest power generation company. He focuses on the Thermal Generation SBU’s Eastern Operational Area’s performance management issues and business. His experience spans operations and maintenance, assets management, power projects development and management, and business planning. Prior to his current role, Tontoh worked as an Assistant to the Technical Adviser of the then Power Minister in the monitoring and management of emergency power projects in 2016. Tontoh holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering and Management from Coventry University.

Tontoh is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow, the flagship program of the U.S. Department of State Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). His Fellowship program focused on Public Management with Energy Policy and is currently serving as a member of the Regional Advisory Board of the Fellowship for West Africa. He is also a member of the WEF Global Shapers Accra Hub

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Brian “B Flow” Kasoka
2015 Mandela Washington Fellow from Zambia, Founder, Music for Change Initiative

Brian 'B Flow' KasokaBrian Mumba Kasoka Bwembya popularly known as B Flow, is a multi-award winning Dancehall and Hip Hop Artist, Media Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, Social Justice Advocate, Part Time Radio Presenter, Peer Educator and Founder of Music For Change Records. Brian started out as president of the ANTI-AIDS/Drug Club at Kabwe High School where he volunteered to teach fellow pupils on HIV/AIDS and served as head boy.

Currently, he is an award-winning artist known for using music as a tool to denounce various social ills including gender based violence, political violence, HIV/AIDS and child marriages. As an artist, Brian has released four (4) studio albums and performed in African, American, Asian and European countries in the last eight years. He rose to prominence in 2013 when he released his third album ‘Voiceless Woman’ which saw him receiving local and international accolades. According to a 2015 publication by America’s National Public Radio (NPR), Brian “B Flow” Bwembya used to make music for lovers, donning shades and gold chains in music videos and singing “You’re the reason for my life, you’re the only one I would make my wife” to pretty girls. But soon he realized he didn’t like restricting himself to singing about love. In the hip-hop and dancehall music industry, he says, a lot of the music objectifies women. Brian didn’t want to “promote anything that describes a woman as a sex object.” So he began rethinking what he wanted to say in his music.

The biggest highlight in his music career was the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship Presidential Summit where 44th U.S President Barack Obama publicly name-checked and praised him in a speech, for using music to advocate for positive social change. He has also toured with American rapper Common and Queen Latifah.

Brian volunteers as chairperson of the HIV/AIDS and Social Commentary Committee of the Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) and was recently elected to the position of Publicity Secretary and Spokesperson. He is also Ambassador for OXFAM’s I Care About Her campaign and BBC Media Action’s ‘Tikambe Natulande’ project. In November 2016, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York named him as one of the world’s 16 voices of activism against gender-based violence. Endorsed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the AIDS Health Care Foundation and BBC Media Action, Brian is also a radio presenter at Komboni radio for a program about women empowerment, sponsored by the Ministry of Gender. The Zambian government recently appointed Brian as Ambassador for the Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign and the National AIDS Council’s HIV Male Engagement Campaign.

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Kristin M. Lord
President and CEO, IREX

Kristin M. LordKristin Lord is President and CEO of IREX, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information.

Prior to joining IREX in 2014, Dr. Lord served as Acting President and Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace, a Congressionally created organization that prevents, mitigates, and resolves violent conflict worldwide. While at USIP, Lord oversaw the launch of an online education initiative, the creation of the PeaceTech Lab, the expansion of programs on Africa and South/Central Asia, and the development of a five-year strategic plan.

From 2009 to 2013, Lord was Executive Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for a New American Security, where she oversaw the Center’s research and served as one of three members of the Center’s leadership team. She served as editor-in-chief of 110 CNAS publications during that period and authored significant studies on diplomacy and development, cyber security, US global engagement, and violent extremism. Prior to joining CNAS, Lord was a fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she directed the science and technology initiative of the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World and authored studies on human development in the Arab world and US public diplomacy.

From 1995 to 2008, Lord held leadership roles at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, including Associate Dean for Strategy, Research, and External Relations and Associate Dean for Management and Planning. During her tenure, she launched three master’s programs, ten certificate programs, a global network of university partnerships, the school’s skills curriculum, and numerous educational programs for students, diplomats, and midcareer professionals from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. A member of the faculty, she taught courses on US public diplomacy, US foreign policy, and the causes of war. Dr. Lord received an International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations, enabling her to serve as special advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs from 2005 to 2006.

Dr. Lord is the author of Perils and Promise of Global Transparency: Why the Information Revolution May Not Lead to Security Democracy or Peace (SUNY Press, 2006), Power and Conflict in an Age of Transparency, edited with Bernard I. Finel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), and numerous book chapters, policy papers, and articles. Her articles have appeared in Foreign Policy, The National Interest, International Studies Quarterly, Washington Quarterly, World Politics Review, CNN.com, Columbia Journal of International Affairs, USA Today, Defense News, Joint Force Quarterly, Roll Call, The Hill, Science, Foreign Service Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Politico, Reuters.com, and Huffington Post. She has appeared on NPR, BBC Radio, VOA, PBS, and MSNBC and provided expert commentary to the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other news outlets.

Dr. Lord is a member of the Board of Directors for the US Global Leadership Coalition and the American University in Cairo, and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as cochair of the Alliance for International Youth Development from 2015 to 2017. Dr. Lord received her MA and PhD in government from Georgetown University and her BA in international studies from American University.

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Priscilla Mutembwa
Vice President Cybersecurity and Development, U.S.-Africa Cyber Group

Priscilla MutembwaPriscilla Mutembwa is Vice President, Cybersecurity Policy and Development at US-Africa Cybersecurity Group (USAFCG). She is a business leader and ICT expert, advocating for small holder farmers and Cybersecurity in Africa.

2011 CIMA Businesswoman of the Year, and CEO of Cargill Zimbabwe for seven years her career spans over 3 decades in technology, agriculture, and management consulting. She has sat on several company boards as a Non-Executive Board member. She currently is a Commissioner on the Judicial Services Commission of Zimbabwe.

Her business areas of interest include: general management, corporate development, business operations, agribusiness, cybersecurity and management consulting.

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Nice Nailantei Leng’ete
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Kenya, Project Officer, Amref Health Africa in Kenya

Nice Nailantei Leng’eteNice, 27, a young Maasai woman from Kenya, broke cultural barriers and stood up for herself in a traditional, patriarchal community. Against all odds, she challenged the attitudes of her male-dominated community in her quest to end a harmful practice. Through her own efforts and with the support of Amref Health Africa, Nice began educating elders, boys and the young men (Morans) in her community with new messages about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Over time, the Morans accepted her as a leader and in return, she has been able to reach many more women, girls, Morans, cultural leaders, elders and others with her conviction to eliminate the practice of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and replace it with alternative rites of passage for young girls

Today, Nice is a respected community advocate and a recognised global youth leader. In April 2018, Nice was named to the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In February 2018 she was chosen as a Women Deliver Young Leader – one of only 300 young people from around the world – and in March 2018 she received the Annemarie Madison Prize. A recipient of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, as well as the 2015 Inspirational Woman of the Year Award from the Kenyan Ministry of Devolution, Nice Nailantei Leng’ete has been singled out as an innovative change maker dedicated to advancing gender equality.

Nice has been very active in promoting alternative rites of passage in her home community in the sub-county of Loitokitok, Kenya, since 2009 where she organised the first-ever alternative rites ceremony with the community’s cultural elders. Because of its success, many other communities are now working with Nice to create community-led alternative rites of passage ceremonies for their own girls.

To date, Nice and Amref Health Africa have helped more than 15,000 girls avoid female genital mutilation/cutting in Kenya and Tanzania.

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Sean Mulvaney
Associate Director for International Business Development & US Tax, Procter & Gamble Global Government Relations & Public Policy

Sean MulvaneySean Mulvaney serves as Associate Director for International Business Development and US Tax in the Global Government Relations and Public Policy division of Procter & Gamble. In this position, he advocates on behalf of P&G at business community and executive branch events in support of trade priorities as well as monitors and engages in the legislative process in support of P&G trade and tax policy priorities.

Before joining Procter & Gamble, Mr. Mulvaney served as a member of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the ExportImport Bank of the United States from June 2011 until July 2015. Over the course of his term, he improved Board oversight over key areas of official export credit operations, including underwriting, loan loss reserving, and also championed process improvements in Ex-Im areas of strategic planning.

Prior to his service at the Export Import Bank, Mr. Mulvaney served as director of Economic Policy Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. In this position, he led a fifteen person, multinational team of fellows and program officers dedicated to strengthening transatlantic economic cooperation on global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan.

During the Administration of President George W. Bush, he worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development, as Assistant Administrator for Management. As the AA for Management, he supervised the Agency’s CFO, CIO, and six office divisions focusing on financial management, information technology, procurement, overseas management support, administrative services, and performance.

In addition to his service in the executive branch, Mr. Mulvaney has ten years of legislative experience on Capitol Hill, serving various members working on trade and other policy issues.

Mr. Mulvaney received a B.A.S. in Economics and French from Washington University in St. Louis in 1990 and a Masters in International Management from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of Global Management in 1997.

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Moyombuya Ngubula
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Botswana, Southern Africa Regional Advisory Board

Moyombuya NgubulaMoyombuya Ngubula has over six years of experience in the legal profession. She currently works at the Attorney General’s Chambers Botswana in the International and Commercial Division of the International Trade Unit as State Counsel. In this capacity she conducts research in preparation for trade negotiations, negotiates and drafts government commercial contracts, renders legal advice to government ministries and departments on commercial law and International trade matters, bilateral and multilateral agreements. Moyo holds an LLB from the University of Cape Town and a master’s in International Trade Law from the same institution. Moyo is a founding member and Executive Secretary of Ladies with Purpose (LWP), a registered nonprofit organization that mentors and gives socio-economic support to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who show academic potential. She is also a founding member of the Executive Committee for her alma mater’s alumni chapter in Botswana. Upon completion of the fellowship Moyo joined the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Botswana’s Chapter as its Public relations Officer. In this capacity she works with female entrepreneurs to assess their products, identify and access the necessary resources and technical know-how they need in order to ready their goods for the international market with a specific focus on leveraging the US market through the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). Moyo is currently serving as Board Secretary on the Mandela Washington Fellowship Southern Africa Regional Advisory Board. With the experience gained from the fellowship she has continued with her work with LWP and is currently working on improving their school holiday carriculum for mentoring the girls that she mentors. Along with her 2017 MWF Botswana Cohort she has developed and implemented a mentorship curriculum for High School learners and piloted the project at one of the Local High Schools in Gaborone. The cohort intends to roll out the prorgram to other schools in the country in the next academic year.

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Josephine Nkurunziza
2017 Mandela Washington Fellow from Rwanda, East Africa Regional Advisory Board

Josephine NkurunzizaMs. Josephine Nkurunziza is a Feminist Economist with over 11 years of experience in program management of girls and women’s issues. She has counseled non-profit organizations and government entities in girls and women’s programming. Josephine has a Master’s degree in Gender Analysis in Economics from Makerere University, Kampala and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the National University of Rwanda. During 2017 Mandela Washington Fellowship, she was placed at Rutgers State University of New Jersey in the Civic Leadership track. Upon return to her country Rwanda, she founded a non-profit organization SAGAMBA (Meaning “Thrive” in Kinyarwanda) which brings together young women to build a network that promotes servant leadership, mentorship and social entrepreneurship qualities among girls and young women who effectively participate in making their communities a better place for everyone. Among others she is also the 2017-2018 Chairperson of Global Health Corps – Rwanda Alumni Chapter, Board member of Hope for Rwanda and the Managing Partner of Research Hub Ltd which is a Rwanda based insights firm that specializes in data collection and analysis, market research, and monitoring and evaluation services. Her dream is to see every girl enjoy being a girl, thriving and reaching her full potential.

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Jonathan Ortmans
President, Global Entrepreneurship Network

Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organization that provides a platform of programs and initiatives to help new firms start and scale within one global entrepreneurial ecosystem. GEN is headquartered in Washington, DC, but operates in 170 countries where it works to foster healthier local ecosystems to help entrepreneurs unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world.

Ortmans launched GEN’s cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 alongside former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and leadership of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Each November since then, millions of people are welcomed into the entrepreneurial culture through thousands of local GEW activities and competitions. Through building GEW, he assembled a broad multi-disciplinary coalition that is the backbone of GEN operations, including entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and affiliated support organizations.

Ortmans also chairs the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) that gathers well over 5,000 leaders each April from the entrepreneurial ecosystems GEN serves to collaborate on effective approaches to advancing entrepreneurial growth. After launching it in 2009 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, he has now chaired the GEC in Dubai, Shanghai, Liverpool, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Milan, Medellin, Johannesburg and Istanbul. The GEC will be held in Bahrain in April 2019.

As an economist, Ortmans worked on Capitol Hill and served as CEO of a health care and trade policy think tank. His experience includes two successful startup exits.
He has served as a longtime advisor to the Kauffman Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC. Outside the United States, beyond chairing the Boards of dozens of GEN affiliates, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow.

Ortmans speaks and writes about high-growth entrepreneurship regularly and has emerged as a global strategist for healthier ecosystems for entrepreneurs around the world.

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Hemant Ramachandra
Principal, Deloitte Consulting

Hemant RamachandraHemant is a Principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP as part of the Digital Systems Engineering Practice focused on delivering custom and integrated cross-platform technology enabled solutions. His goal is to help clients achieve their Digital Technology needs by marrying their core business requirements with the appropriate integration based Technologies. As part of his Diversity and Inclusion passion, he serve as a Global UN Women HeForShe champion and also support Women In Technology Initiatives to foster gender equality and motivate men to be champions for women in the workplace.
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Helawi Sewnet
2014 Mandela Washington Fellow from Ethiopia

Helawi SewnetHelawi Sewnet is an architect, educator, author and a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow. For over ten years, he had worked with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), of the Addis Ababa University in different capacities. He has been teaching and conducting various researches on sustainable cities and architecture; as well as on the preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods. Helawi studied Architecture at the Addis Ababa University, and earned his Master of Advanced Studies in Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology; and Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. He is Editor-in-chief of the multi – authored book series, ‘Building Ethiopia’ and the Journal of the Africa Union of Architects “Building Africa’. Helawi had served an elected term on the Executive Committee of the Association of Ethiopian Architects from 2014-2017. Currently he’s serving as Deputy Head at the Construction Bureau of the Addis Ababa City Administration.

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Breakout Session Speakers

Meagan Ward
Women’s Empowerment Activist, Co-founder of Femology Detroit, and Owner of Creatively Flawless

Meagan WardPoised in entrepreneurial activism and global empowerment, Meagan Ward is founder of Detroit’s first modern business lounge for women, FEMOLOGY, owner of Creatively Flawless Branding Agency, and creator of The Powerful Women, a movement highlighting powerful women in Detroit.

Ward’s first business, Creatively Flawless, has serviced hundreds of women across the nation in the firsthand development of their strategic and visual branding. Ward’s vocal advocacy for women’s integration and progress has led her to become an appointed speaker for the U.S. Embassy on women’s empowerment. Upon earning this permanent position in 2017, Ward was called to share perspective on a global scale in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Diving into change making engagement with international leaders while speaking before policy makers at the United Nations Women Conference is another one of the many tables where Ward has earned a pivotal seat.
Ward has received a variety of notable honors, including the 2018 Career Mastered Emerging Leader award, Detroit Young Professionals Vanguard award, Essence Magazine’s Young Phenom, Crain’s 20 in their 20’s, and more. She has also been recognized and featured in Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, Rolling Out and a host of others. Her dedicated brand work has been displayed in Times Square, Target, Vogue and Essence, among others.
Ward received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University in 2013.

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Rahama Wright
Founder and CEO, Shea Yeleen

Rahama WrightRahama Wright is the Founder and CEO of Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty a social impact company she created after serving in the Peace Corps. The DC-based enterprise develops shea butter creams, balms, and soaps that create living wage jobs for women in Ghana. Shea Yeleen products are currently distributed through select Whole Foods Markets, independent natural grocery stores, and MGM Resorts International. The products have been featured in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and CNBC Africa. Most recently, Rahama appeared as a contestant on the BET/Centric reality competition Queen Boss. Rahama completed her first round of private equity investment with the Pan-African Investment Company supported by Dick Parsons and Ron Lauder. A leading voice on African women’s economic and business development she has presented at the United Nations Thematic Debate on Entrepreneurship for Development, the U.S. Secretary of State Global Diaspora Forum, the World Bank Africa Region Growth Dialogue, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. In 2014, she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. She also serves as an adviser to entrepreneurs in the Johns Hopkins University’s Social Innovation Lab. Rahama received her BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo. An avid traveler she has visited and worked in 36 countries.

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Breakout Session Speakers

Ellington Arnold
Program Analyst & Youth Entrepreneurship Advisor, U.S. African Development Foundation

Ellington ArnoldEllington Arnold is a Program Analyst & Youth Entrepreneurship Advisor at the U.S. African Development Foundation, a U.S. government agency focused on economic development at the grassroots level, by providing grant investment and business advice directly to African SMEs and cooperatives in agribusiness and renewable energy, and to young entrepreneurs. He co-leads the agency’s engagement with young African innovators, to invest grant capital in YALI Fellows who are starting up and growing business and social ventures that are impacting their communities and countries.

Ellington also oversees the Agency’s partnership with the CITI Foundation, that is directly supporting entrepreneurs, and USADF’s work in Somalia, that is matching skills training with job placement and small business start-ups. Earlier, he worked in Senegal and Kenya on community and conservation projects. Ellington is a New York native, graduate of the University of Virginia, and avid soccer player.

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Millicent Atana
Senior Program Coordinator, IREX

Millicent AtanaMillicent is a senior program coordinator for the the West Africa regional office for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. In this role, she is responsible for the coordination of all activities of the West African team. In particular, she oversees the practicum and mentorship follow-on activities across West Africa, as well as the annual West Africa Regional Conference.

Prior to joining IREX in April 2015, Millicent worked as a program officer with the African Center for Peace Building, a Ghana-based NGO. In this role, she was responsible for the administrative management of the organization. She is experienced in issues of peace and security and youth development and has a passion for community service.

Millicent holds an MA in conflict, peace, and security from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana, and a BA in political science and psychology from the University of Ghana.

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Amelia Carvalho
YALI and AF Alumni Coordinator, U.S. Department of State

Amelia CarvalhoAmelia Carvalho joined the State Department’s Office of Alumni Affairs as the YALI Alumni Coordinator in May 2014. She provides support to U.S. Embassies and other State Department stakeholders on follow-on initiatives that allow Mandela Washington Fellow alumni to expand on their exchange experience and give back to their communities. In February 2016, Amelia took on additional responsibilities as coordinator for the broader Africa region alumni engagement portfolio. In her expanded role she manages ECA-sponsored alumni funding competitions and supports U.S. Embassies in their efforts to build and sustain alumni networks throughout Africa. Prior to joining ECA, Amelia spent six years at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), where she worked with U.S. Embassies and U.S. Department of Defense alumni to organize programs that fostered dialogue among U.S., European, and African security professionals on security challenges facing Africa. Amelia holds a B.A. in international relations and a master’s degree in public administration.

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Miranna Darr
YALI Network Program Manager, U.S. Department of State

Miranna DarrMiranna Darr is the Program Manager for the YALI Network with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). Prior to joining the State Department, Miranna was a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin where she taught English and was engaged in women and girls empowerment activities. Miranna has also worked in the international exchange field and the fundraising and development sector for nonprofit organizations. She has a love of the people, culture and food of Africa and has travelled extensively across the continent including Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Niger. Miranna is a graduate from American University with a MA in International Communications and a BA in French and Political Science from Gettysburg College. Miranna spends her free time enjoying her children, Adriana (3 years) and Oliver (9 months).



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Mercy Githanji
East Africa Regional Manager, IREX

Mercy GithanjiMercy joined IREX in January 2017 and currently serves as the East Africa regional manager for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. She coordinates and manages all activities in the region, which includes organizing the annual East Africa Regional Conference, liaising with partners and local donor representatives, reporting on the regional program status, and overseeing Fellow interventions. Additionally, she provides country director oversight for all active programs in Kenya.

Before joining IREX, Mercy served as the Eastern & Southern Africa technical programs manager for a USAID-funded Feed the Future Regional Program (Africa Lead II). In this position, she oversaw policy and capacity building programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. She also has vast banking experience having worked with Kenya Commercial Bank, the largest bank in East Africa.

Mercy holds an MBA in project management and consultancy from the University of East London, and a BSc in financial services from the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology.

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Cheryl Jones
YALI Network Project Manager, U.S. Department of State

Cheryl JonesCheryl A. Jones is a contractor with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP). She works with the bureau’s Office of Campaigns and is responsible for developing resources and content for the Young African Leaders Initiative Network. The YALI Network is an online community of over 480,000 young Africans and features online courses, interactive campaigns and initiatives, and social media discussion and activities. Ms. Jones has over 30 years experience in international broadcast and cable television programming and production, non-profit media, and management. She joined IIP’s YALI Network team in 2013.



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Lusungu Kanchenche
Acting CEO, Southern Africa Trust

Lusungu KanchencheLusungu Kanchenche has more than 25 years of experience in international development a significant proportion of which was with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) working first in the Central Africa Division (1991 to 1995), and later in the Southern Africa Division (1996 to 2008). Lusungu has expertise in the areas of design and implementation of programmes, measuring results, and capacity development. She is currently Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Africa Trust. Prior to being appointed Acting CEO of the Trust, she served at the Southern Africa Trust as Executive Manager, Performance and Quality Assurance. She also currently leads the Trust’s civic leadership work with the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) at UNISA School of Business Leadership and is the advisor on the Southern Africa-based follow on programme of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Lusungu is a facilitator on the civic leadership track of the YALI Southern Africa Regional Leadership Centre at UNISA School of Business Leadership in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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George Khisa
YALI Coordinator, USAID/East Africa

George KhisaGeorge is the USAID YALI Regional Coordinator for East Africa—covering 14 countries. He previously worked at HOPE worldwide for 11 years where he managed several programs targeting children, youth and the general population in Kenya and provided technical support to HOPE worldwide programs in Burundi and Ethiopia. He is passionate about evidence-informed programming. He was a Senior Associate at the African Institute for Children Studies for six years, leading situational analyses and program evaluations for clients that included the government of Kenya and International NGOs. He also taught high school Mathematics and Physics for two years and interned at the International Churches of Christ in Arusha, Tanzania for three years.
George has an MA from the Institute of Education, University of London and Bachelor of Education from Kenyatta University. He is married with one daughter and enjoys working with young people, reading, and staying physically fit.

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Emily Koppelman
Program Officer, IREX

Emily KoppelmanEmily Koppelman provides management and technical support to several IREX initiatives promoting gender equality and social inclusion, civil society strengthening, human rights, and positive youth development throughout the Middle East & North Africa. Prior to joining IREX in 2015, Emily specialized in operations, communications, and marketing for start-up businesses in the US and the Middle East, including cofounding Al-Mashriq Center for Arabic Instruction, a study abroad program in Amman, Jordan. As Managing Director of the Institute for Integrated Arabic, she currently provides consulting services to improve the effectiveness of Arabic language education programs in the US and abroad.
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Eugene Korsunskiy
Design Thinking Lecturer, Dartmouth College

Eugene KorsunskiyEugene Korsunskiy teaches design thinking at Dartmouth College. He has previously taught at Stanford University, where he was a founding Fellow of the Life Design Lab and taught classes including “Designing Your Life.” Eugene has received a Fast Company Innovation by Design Award, and has been a speaker at several TEDx events and the Aspen Ideas Festival. He holds an MFA in Design from Stanford and a BA in Art & Art History from Williams College.
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Ryan LaPrairie
Director of Systems and Innovation, Mission Critical Development, Inc.

Ryan LaPrairieRyan LaPrairie is the Director of Systems and Innovation for Mission Critical Development, Inc. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology, Master’s in Public Administration, and holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. As a project manager and consultant, he works with individuals and teams to improve group dynamics, processes and procedures, and decision-making methodologies. He routinely conducts data analyses for organizations using advanced statistical software. As a trainer, Ryan builds capacity for individuals and organizations around topics such as risk management, indicator targeting, applied project management tools, and Project Management for Development Professionals 1.
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Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa
Associate Vice Chancellor for International Education and Development and Professor of Public Administration, Appalachian State University

Jesse LutabingwaDr. Jesse Lutabingwa is Associate Vice Chancellor for International Education and Development and Professor of Public Administration at Appalachian State University. He is responsible for overall development and implementation of Appalachian’s global engagement efforts and strategies. Originally from Tanzania, Dr. Lutabingwa has more than 28 years of experience in international education and international development. An avid grant writer, he has written numerous successful grants and since arriving at Appalachian in July 2006, Dr. Lutabingwa has been awarded more than $5.5 million in grants.
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Michelle McKenzie
Program Officer, U.S. African Development Foundation

Michelle McKenzieMichelle McKenzie is an international development professional with global experience in Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean, where she is from. Michelle has varied interests and experience in project/program design and management, curriculum development and training, capacity building, strategy development, innovation and learning, impact communication, agribusiness, food security, and supporting early stage entrepreneurs.

Michelle has held several positions in her 7-year tenure at USADF. She has managed projects in 8 countries that promote entrepreneurship development for smallholder farmers, particularly women as a pathway out of poverty. Prior she served in the US Peace Corps in Niger and as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer in Mozambique.

Michelle has a Master’s Degree in International Development with a concentration in Community Development from the School of International Service at American University and a Bachelor’s Degree in History and International Relations from Hunter College, City University of New York. She is a Ronald McNair Scholar and a David L. Boren Fellow.

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Lawrence Musa
Coordinator of Immigration Compliance and International Procedures, Gallaudet University

Lawrence MusaAs Coordinator of Immigration Compliance and International Procedures in International Affairs (RSIA), Mr. Musa serves as Gallaudet’s Responsible Officer for the State Department’s Exchange Visitor program and as alternate Designated School Official for students holding F-1 visa status. Mr. Musa is the principal contact, developer, and maintainer of the Gallaudet International Policy Manual, which provides guidance to University personnel and students, ensures conformity with U.S. laws affecting international students and scholars, and reports on immigration matters and international activities, both internally and externally, including federal government agencies.

In addition to his duties, Mr. Musa teaches the following courses at Gallaudet: “Introduction to Macro- and Microeconomics,” “Introduction to Global Health,” “Introduction to Public Health,” and “Nutrition.”
Mr. Musa earned an undergraduate degree in biology and computer information systems from Gallaudet and a master of business administration degree from the University of Texas, Odessa. He enjoys soccer, running, badminton, volleyball, sightseeing, keeping abreast of public health and health-related issues, photography, educational philanthropic activities benefiting Deaf children in developing countries, cooking, reading, and science fiction.

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Aleta Musvoto
YALI Coordinator, USAID/Southern Africa

Aleta MusvotoAleta joined USAID Southern Africa as the Regional YALI Coordinator for Southern Africa in 2014. Prior to that she was program officer at Freedom House Southern Africa where she led youth leadership development initiatives. Aleta has worked in research and development in the environmental sector, has lectured at a number of universities in Namibia and Zimbabwe . She has also worked for various international funding organisations in Southern Africa. Aleta holds a Master of Science in Environmental Planning from the University of Botswana and a Bachelor of Science in Rural and Urban Planning from the University of Zimbabwe.

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Louisa Nakanuku-Diggs
Marketing and Communications Associate at Radiant.Earth

Louisa Nakanuku-DiggsLouisa Nakanuku-Diggs is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Radiant.Earth, a non-profit organization with the mission to improve discovery of data and geospatial capacity to drive remote sensing science for global development objectives. Before joining Radiant.Earth, she served as an international communication consultant and helped organizations with an environmental focus to develop behavior change strategies. She specializes in digital communications and generating science information products for non-specialists.
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Vijai Nathan
Client Services Manager, Story District

Vijai NathanVijai Nathan, Story District’s head of corporate training, is a professional trainer, storyteller, comedienne, and teacher, with more than 16 years of storytelling experience. She has designed/led trainings and coached staff for clients such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the EPA, the White House Open Data Summit ’16, the Department of Justice, US Department of State, the Smithsonian Institute, and many more. Vijai’s performance work has allowed her to connect with audiences nationally and internationally. Her credits include: NPR’s “Snap Judgement,” The Montreal International Comedy Festival, and headlining shows in Singapore, Trinidad, the UK, and South Africa.

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Alexandra Nemeth
YALI Network Campaign Coordinator, U.S. Department of State

Alexandra NemethAlexandra Nemeth is currently a YALI Network Campaign Coordinator based in Washington, DC. She works on the Network’s policy focused campaigns, which are aimed at raising awareness and encouraging members to take action in their community on various policy topics such as women’s rights, and human rights. Some of her recent work includes an outreach campaign in support of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative and outreach efforts in India focused on climate change. She joined the State Department in September of 2010. During her time at the Department, she has had various roles – including: French press liaison at Camp David during the G8 Summit in May 2012 and staff assistant at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2013. While in Kabul, her work focused on a women’s higher education initiative and on the Afghanistan National Institute of Music’s exchange trip to the United States.



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Esther Olwith
Logistics and Operations Officer MWF, VSO International

Esther OlwithEsther Olwith, Logistics and Operations Officer MWF for VSO International, has over 7 years of experience in administration and operations and community development. She holds a BA- Community Development degree from the Africa Nazarene University, in Kenya, Diploma in Human Resource Management from Cambridge International College and she is currently finalizing her Masters in Development Studies, with a Specialization in Organizational Development from St. Paul’s University in Kenya. She is a Board Member for Global Empowerment Initiative (GEI), a local NGO that seeks to empower the youth in Kenya. A primary responsibility as a board member of GEI is to participate in the development of policy and major decision-making. Her areas of interests are gender and youth empowerment.

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Sheila Scott
Senior Technical Advisor, IREX

Sheila ScottSheila Scott is the Senior Technical Advisor for Gender with IREX’s Center for Applied Learning and Impact where she brings two decades of expertise on gender equality and social inclusion, women’s empowerment, civil society, the gender digital divide, gender-based violence, and youth development. Since joining IREX in 2013, she has provided management and technical support to a diverse portfolio of gender equality, governance, and civil society projects primarily in Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa as well as public-private partnerships in support of technology-for-education projects in Colombia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Africa, and Tunisia.

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Tanya Sethi
Senior Research Analyst, Aid Data

Tanya SethiTanya Sethi is a Senior Research Analyst at AidData. She leads projects on the use of data in decision-making in low- and middle-income countries, among other topics. Her role involves liaising with the research team and the communications team to produce the most compelling visuals that convey the main arguments and key messages in policy reports. She has previously led sessions for university faculty and scholars in India on using data effectively in writing up research to improve the publishability of research.
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Marcia Small
Southern Africa Regional Manager, IREX

Marcia SmallMarcia joined IREX as the Southern Africa regional manager for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at the end of September 2014.

Prior to joining IREX, Marcia worked for Barclays Africa, steering the Employee Volunteer Program, which connected with 40,000+ employees across 13 countries in Africa where Barclays operated. She also worked within the corporate social responsibility team of Barclays Africa, and previously a leading South African financial institution, Absa. Throughout her tenure, Marcia supported community organizations that worked in the sectors of youth development, women empowerment, rural savings and entrepreneurial development.

Marcia has been committed to social and economic development in Southern Africa since she first visited the region in 1994 during her work with Public Sector Solutions, a development consultancy that was deeply involved in the municipal demarcation process during the early South African elections.

Marcia holds a master of arts in urban studies with a focus on community development from the City University of New York’s Hunter College, and a bachelor of arts in anthropology and sociology from the State University of New York at Albany.

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Tiffany Smith
Southern Africa Regional Manager, IREX

Tiffany Smith is the Founder of Tiltas, a technology platform that provides non-profit service providers with an easy to use text messaging system that connects them with their clients to track data and outcomes. Tiffany received her Master’s in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University where she was a Youn Impact Scholar, Zell Fellow, Dean’s Distinguished Award Recipient, Social Impact Award recipient, and a leader of several clubs and organizations. Tiffany is also a founding member of the MBAsOpenUp collective, which is a group of MBAs from top programs across the country, focused on bringing issues of civic injustice and social ills to the business school sphere. Tiffany’s career prior to her MBA was in construction and engineering where she served as an Engineering Consultant for Deloitte and spent several years and a field engineer/supervisor for a large general contracting company. She received her Bachelor’s of Architecture from Howard University and currently lives in Washington, DC.

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Pape Sow
YALI Coordinator, USAID/West Africa

Pape SowPape Momar Sow is the USAID/West Africa Coordinator for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) program. Based in Ghana. Prior to joining USAID/West Africa, he served as the USAID/Senegal Senior Education Specialist and Team Leader from 2002 to 2013. Prior to his USAID position, Mr. Sow was the Director of Africa Region for the Canadian Foundation “Paul Gerin-Lajoie” specialized in youth education and community development.
Momar Sow held various positions with the Ministry of Education of Senegal. He served as the National Director for Literacy and Basic Education (1993-1995); the National Director for Early Childhood and Primary Education (1995 to 1998); and the National Director for Education Planning and Reform (1998 to 2000).

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Sophia Stergiou
EUR Alumni Coordinator, U.S. Department of State

Sophia Stergiou has served in Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Office of Alumni Affairs since January 2010 where she served as the Alumni Coordinator for the Western Hemisphere, South and Central Asia, and currently covers the Europe and Eurasia region.

Sophia has facilitated three regional alumni enrichment seminars in Latin America and South Asia. She is also the lead training for alumni outreach strategy building seminars at the Foreign Service Institute for alumni coordinators working in U.S. Missions abroad. Sophia manage the annual Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition which invites alumni from around the world to submit public service project ideas to address challenges in their communities.

In the summer of 2016, Sophia served as the Assistant Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Spain, working on the embassy’s various social media platforms, Embassy organized events such as an entrepreneurial conference, the 4th of July celebration, and also was the director of the press filing center for President Obama’s visit.

Sophia holds an M.A. in International Education from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. in Spanish and Marketing form DePaul University in Chicago. While an undergraduate, she participated in two exchange programs – a semester study abroad in Madrid, Spain and a two week youth leadership program in South Africa.

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Charles Kojo Vandyck
Head, Capacity Development, West African Civil Society Institute

Charles Kojo VandyckCharles Kojo Vandyck has 15 years of experience working in education and international development in Africa. Charles has expertise in capacity development for social innovation including development and implementation of governance and leadership programs for the non-profit and public sectors, crosscutting research and policy advice. Charles is the Capacity Building Advisor of the West Africa-based Follow on Program of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF). He is the Founding Board Chair of Hub Afrique (I4C), a social innovation created to respond to closing civic space across the continent; as well as a founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Nonprofit Leaders Fellow and a certified Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

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John Watkis
GPS Trainer, Global Public Speaking, LLC

John WatkisJohn Watkis is an international speaker, speechwriter, and public speaking coach who helps leaders find their rhythm when they get up to speak. He has been in the speaking and coaching business for over 20 years. In addition to delivering keynote speeches and workshops in six countries and on three continents, he has written speeches for corporations, government officials, nonprofits, professional speakers, and hall of fame athletes.
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Sam Williford
Program Analyst, U.S. African Development Foundation

Sam WillifordSam Williford joined USADF in June 2017 under the Presidential Management Fellows program and currently serves as a Program Analyst. His portfolio responsibilities include the Democratic Republic of the Congo program and Youth Entrepreneurship program. Sam is a native of Exeter, California and has an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA in International Relations and Economics from California State University, Chico. Prior to joining USADF, Sam served as an Agricultural Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar and is an award winning National Model United Nations delegate.
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