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 Jake O Effoduh, Public human rights lawyer and African Broadcaster of the Year (2016)

Renowned broadcaster, human rights defender, health activist, and lawyer, Jake Okechukwu Effoduh works in one of the world’s most youthful and fast growing regions. As a host for the BBC's Media Action radio channel, Effoduh reaches 25–30 million weekly listeners across West Africa, addressing sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention, whilst exploring the ways people can participate in governance decisions that affect their lives. His broadcasting career, rooted in his youth to fund law school, has become a primary means to engage in grass-roots empowerment across an entire region.

Meanwhile, Effoduh’s human rights work includes defending workers’ rights, advocating for those imprisoned on the basis of sexual orientation, and promoting the legal protection of sex workers as a strategy for HIV/AIDS intervention.  He is a legal officer working on anti-corruption measures; Assistant Director and a Fellow of the Council on African Security and Development; founder of the Lawyers League for Minorities in Nigeria, as well as an Oxford alumnus following a Masters in International Human Rights Law. In 2015, listed Effoduh as one of 50 Africans who would transform the continent.


 Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Author; Journalist; and social commentator

Kerry-Anne Mendoza is Editor-in-Chief of The Canary;, and is reknowned as the author of the best-seller 'Austerity.' She was heavily involved in reporting on Gaza in the Summer of 2014, and has since created one of the UK’s top independent political blogs (Scriptonite Daily). She left her job in management consultancy to join the Occupy Protest. She is based in Bristol, UK with her wife. 




Rushanara Ali MP , Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green

Rushanara Ali is the Labour Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow (2010 - present), having been re-elected in 2015.  Rushanara grew up in her constituency and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford.  She became the Shadow Minister for Education and Young People, and later, the Shadow Minister for International Development. However, she resigned from Labour’s front bench in September 2014 over her decision to abstain on the vote on airstrikes in Iraq,

Prior to her parliamentary election in 2010, Rushanara was Associate Director of the Young Foundation, where she co-founded UpRising - a national leadership development and employability charity. Rushanara also worked at the Communities Directorate of the Home Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research, working on anti-discrimination issues. 



 Fiona Crack, BBC Editor

Fiona Crack has been a senior producer at the BBC for nearly 15 years. She is best known for her role in founding and leading the BBC100Womenseries, which is now an annual feature documenting the stories of women worldwide. Fiona is particularly interested in enhancing the representation of women in the media, and celebrating their diversity and achievements.The series is broadcast by the BBC World service in 29 languages, and is led by female reporters. 
To see the highlights of the 2015 series, click here 


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 Sam Royston, Policy strategist at The Children's Society

Sam Royston is the Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society. He previously led on the charity’s policy work on child poverty. Sam has written extensively about welfare and debt issues from both an academic and policy perspective.

Previously, Sam was a researcher in the Social Policy Department at the University of York, and a welfare rights advisor at a Citizens Advice Bureau. Sam has written extensively on child poverty issues from both an academic and policy perspective, including leading The Children’s Society’s influential policy work on the future of Free School Meals following the introduction of Universal Credit, and the impact of problem debt on children.



Kate Wareing, Former Oxfam Director

Kate has over 15 years experience of working to address issues of poverty and social justice in the UK. Since November 2014 she has been working as a self employed consultant advising on strategy development, service redesign and organisational development issues.

Prior to this Kate spent eight years working with Oxfam in various senior leadership roles; Director of the UK Poverty Programme, Strategy Development Director and Head of Innovation and Learning. Prior to joining Oxfam, Kate spent over ten years working in social housing and social care, with roles including managing homelessness and domestic violence services and commissioning services for vulnerable people in Oxfordshire.

She remains involved in Housing as Chair of Cottsway Housing Association. Kate gained her degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, holds a postgraduate qualification in Housing Management from Oxford Brookes University and is a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

'HIV/Sex Workers and Empowerment' Panel


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Laura Lee, Sex-worker and activist

Laura Lee is a sex worker with over 20 years experience in the industry. She is an award winning campaigner for the rights of sex workers and is leading a legal action in Northern Ireland to overturn the harmful legislation passed in 2015. When not campaigning, Laura enjoys spending time with her family and impressive array of animals.


Dr Mosa Moshabela

Dr Mosa Moshabela, Academic and medic
(Africa Health Research Institute, South Africa, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)


Dr Mosa Moshabela (MBChB, MFamMed, Dip HIV (SA), PhD) is the Head of the Department and Chief Medical Specialist of Rural Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa. He is currently affiliated with the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a medical doctor and clinician researcher with particular expertise in health systems strengthening in resource-poor settings in sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on primary health care for HIV/AIDS and TB, maternal and child health care, and the public health dimensions of managingchronic infectious diseases in resource-limited settings using complex intervention designs. 

Dr. Moshabela also worked as the regional health advisor for the Millennium Villages in West and Central Africa, based at the MDG Centre in Mali/Senegal, and affiliated with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, NYC, USA. Prior to this he worked as Senior Lecturer and Research Director of the Rural AIDS and Development Action Research Programme at University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Dr. Moshabela has received academic fellowships from the Wellcome Trust in the UK, Forgarty in the US and the Discovery Foundation in South Africa.


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Anthony Babajee,  HIV-positive activist.

Ant Babajee tested HIV positive in 2007. After he came to terms with his positive diagnosis, in greatest part because of the support he received from Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), he started on his journey as an HIV advocate and campaigner. Ant now describes himself as being ‘unashamedly positive’. He became a trustee of THT in 2013 and continues to volunteer with the charity in a variety of roles.

Ant currently works in marketing for a London university, but his background is in broadcast journalism, including five years at the BBC. He has sought to use his media skills to raise awareness about HIV and has been interviewed on numerous occasions for national channels and publications about his experiences of living with HIV, including ITV News, Sky News and BBC Radio 2. He was also invited to speak at the European Parliament in Brussels in 2014.

Ant is a member of the UK-CAB HIV treatment advocates’ network and recently became a member of the British HIV Association (BHIVA). He is passionate about reducing HIV stigma and is currently campaigning around access to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Ant believes that a key message of empowerment for HIV-positive people is #UequalsU – the hashtag spawned to spread the word that having an undetectable viral load makes an HIV-positive person uninfectious. He is hopeful that – with a concerted effort around increasing access to regular testing, same-day treatment for people testing positive, along with PrEP – the UK can exceed the UN’s 90–90–90 target and can stop new HIV infections here within a decade.

See More at


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Sylvia Petretti,  HIV-positive activist

Silvia Petretti is a woman living with HIV and an advocate for the human rights of people living with HIV. She was diagnosed in 1997 and since 2005 she has been openly living with HIV, because she believes it is a powerful tool to challenge the stigma and prejudices directed towards this demographic.  

Silvia has been working with  Positively UK since 2000 and is now leading the organization as Deputy CEO. Silvia advocacy started by focusing on the intersection of HIV, gender, drug use, criminalisation, and women’s rights. She coordinated self-help groups for women with HIV who used drugs, and provided peer support to incarcerated women for over a decade. Silvia is co-author of the chapter on reducing new HIV diagnosis among women who inject drugs in the UNAIDS report Women Out Loud, as well as an author of theSHE toolkit:  a manual to enable women living with HIV in Europe to develop peer support services.  The manual has been translated in 10 languages.

Most recently, Silvia represented the Global Network of People Living with HIV at the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS in 2011 by giving a keynote speech, and has given evidence to the House of Lords for the report: HIV No Vaccine No Cure.  Silvia writes a blog  on HIV and Activism: Speaking Up, and has contributed to popular online media such as  Open Democracy and Huffington Post.


2. The Debate  | "This house believes that the government is the most effective                                at empowering communities" 



Seema Aziz, Founder of Pakistan's largest NGO


Seema Aziz is an entrepreneur and social activist who has been promoting education in Pakistan since 1988. She is the Founder and Chairperson of CARE Foundation, the largest non-governmental organization in Pakistan, educating more than 230,000 students through 716 schools. CARE has pioneered a unique public-private partnership model which enables it to reach the maximum number of children and provide them with “quality, marketable education”.

In 1985, she started a business, to prove that Pakistan could produce embroidered fabric equal in quality and design to the best in the world. Today, 30 years on, Bareeze is a symbol of pride for Pakistan and the most recognizable Pakistani brand both within the country and abroad. The Bareeze group, which now has 12 brands, sells through over 610 points of sale worldwide and is Pakistan’s largest fashion retailer.

Seema studied at the University of Punjab and Harvard Business School. Being actively involved in improving the educational opportunities for the children of Pakistan, she is on the Board of multiple Government and Private Bodies working in the sector as well as on Global Advisory Board of Harvard Business School



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Gent Salihu, Advisor to Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister

Gent Salihu is the Governance Advisor to Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, following his previous role as Advisor to the Minister of Justice. His current role includes supporting the development and implementation of Kosovo’s National Strategy on Property Rights—setting a comprehensive policy framework for securing rights to private property, including the property rights of women. Previously, Salihu served the President of Kosovo as an advisor to support the establishment of an anti-corruption council. Salihu holds a Master of Public Policy from the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.



Professor Robert Walker MBE, Leading social policy academic  
(University of Oxford) 

Robert Walker is an Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College and was formerly a Professor of Social Policy at Oxford University. He has served in an advisory and expert role to over a dozen government and international organizations, and in 2012 was awarded an MBE for services to social policy research. Recently he led an international research project focusing on the individual and societal consequences of the shame that people experience as a result of poverty and is currently evaluating the effectiveness of policy initiatives designed to reduce stigma.  He is also working together with ATD Fourth World on participative research on the dimensionality of poverty across seven countries. 

He has published 22 books, over fifty research reports and more than 150 academic articles and chapters on poverty, social security, and research methodology.


'Female migration and Empowment' panel

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Dr Rutvica Andrijasevic, Activist and Academic
(University of Bristol) 
Rutvica Andrijasevic works at the School of Economics, Finance and Management, University of Bristol. She is an activist scholar with research interests in areas of migrant labour, gender, national state power, and global firms. Rutvica conducted research on sex trafficking and her book ‘Agency, Migration and Citizenship in Sex Trafficking’ (Palgrave 2010) addresses the link between migration, gendered subjectivity and changes in citizenship in Europe. She also researched irregular migration and borders and examined immigration enforcement at EU’s southern border between Italy and Libya. Rutvica’s current project focuses on global firms and the raise of China, and investigates the ways in which ‘Chinese’ modes of production and management are impacting labour in Europe. For more information, see


Dr Gunvor Jónsson, Academic
(University of Oxford)

Gunvor Jónsson is Departmental Lecturer in Migration and Development, at the University of Oxford.  She specialises in migration and mobility in Africa, and the anthropology of West Africa (Mali/Senegal).

Jonsson previously worked as an IMI Researcher on the African Migrations Programme and on projects including African Perspectives on Human Mobility; Mobility in the African Great Lakes; and Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems (THEMIS). She completed her PhD in Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her thesis entitled, 'The End of the Railway Line. Malian Women, Mobility and Trade in Dakar', focuses on the experiences of women from Mali trading in the Senegalese capital (Dakar). She also holds an MA in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and a BA and BA Honours in Anthropology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

        Coming soon....    

Jo Baker, Human Rights Consultant and Journalist                  

  Mina Bekheet, PhD candidate at Oxford and President of Oxford Biotech          

 Christiaan de Koning, PhD candidate at Oxford and former fellow at the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS)         


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