Aaron Rasmussen is an American ‘serial entrepreneur’, inventor, and game designer. He is a co-founder of MasterClass, an education platform in which creative experts give classes to an online audience. Throughout the years, he has started and sold companies involved in software, robotics, and energy potions. He loves to bring technologies and products from fiction into reality.
Adam is the founder of Neuhaus Ideas, an ideas production company. Before that, Adam spent 7+ years as head of development for 30for30, ESPN Films and ESPN+ developing and producing 100+ storytelling projects across feature length documentaries, docuseries, scripted adaptations, digital series, and 30for30 Podcasts. Adam is longtime supporter of the Ghetto Film School, previously serving on the Board of Directors and currently serving on the Advisory Board. Adam also serves on the Board of Directors for the Bushwick Film Institute and proudly serves as a mentor for Unlock Her Potential.
Adam Pincus is an award-winning creative executive with a background that includes scripted and nonfiction television, narrative and documentary film, audio and digital content. He has been an independent producer, a network executive and head of an independent studio. Along the way he’s been awarded a Peabody, an Emmy, a BDA Gold for broadcast design, and the Cannes Lion; his projects have been nominated for Gotham, Independent Spirit, and Academy Awards.
In 2019, Pincus founded Best Case Studios, a producer of narrative audio series, film and TV. Best Case has produced nonfiction and scripted audio for ABC, Spotify, Audible, iHeartMedia and others, including two innovative “podcast movies” for C13Features — both #1 Fiction Podcasts, and ABC series “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson,” which was adapted as a feature documentary by filmmaker Dawn Porter and premiered at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival.
Prior to Best Case, Pincus helped found Topic Studios, where he was Executive Vice President, Programming & Content. Earlier in his career, he was Senior Vice President, On-Air, Original Programming & New Media at Sundance Channel.
He is an Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and in the Entertainment, Media and Technology Program at NYU’s Leonard H. Stern School of Business. He was has been a writer for numerous film publications and Contributing Editor for FILMMAKER Magazine.
Aigerim Berdibaeva is a journalist, documentary filmmaker, media specialist, communicator, and blogger. Currently, she works as a journalist at "Azattyk Media," where she hosts the "Daniste" program and also anchors the "Eje-Sindiler" program. Aigerim Akylbekova produces programs on social issues. Aigerim Akylbekova has worked as a communicator on various UN projects in Kyrgyzstan and implemented campaigns in the media to promote women's rights.
Aisha Dabo is co-founder and Coordinator of AfricTivistes, a Pan-African organisation bringing together journalists, bloggers, web activists and change actors to promote democratic values, human rights and good governance on the continent through digital tools and technologies. AfricTivistes has 400 members in 40 African countries and Haiti. I coordinate all programmes, raise funds, and manage projects focusing on women and youth with emphasis on capacity building on citizen engagement, leadership, cybersecurity, investigative journalism, countering fake news and heinous messages online, among others. I also design projects and advocacy campaigns around participatory democracy in Africa with mainly youth as beneficiaries.
She worked as the Outreach and Communications Officer for USAID Senegal, Digital Communication Specialist for UNFPA West and Central Africa region, Translation Desk manager then News Editor for APAnews while running non for profit pro-democracy campaigns for sociopolitical change around the continent. Her work revolves around women's and children's rights, cybersecurity and ethical journalism, participatory democracy, transparency, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and access to information with the belief that informed citizens can shape just and equitable democratic societies in Africa.
At AfricTivistes, she coordinates all programmes and manages projects focusing on women and youth with emphasis on capacity building on citizen engagement, leadership, cybersecurity, investigative journalism, countering fake news and heinous messages online, among others.
She has written extensively on women rights, digital rights, social movements, youth engagement and political participation, democracy and digital governance.
She sits on several boards including AfricTivistes, the West African participatory and citizen think tank WATHI, the International Coalition for the Renewal of Democracy ICDR, the social enterprise KITAMBAA which empowers women and girls. She is also a board member of the US-based organisation Democracy Watch News, the Fact-Check Centre, The Gambia, the Advisory Board of Oxfam Intermón's Technology and Human Rights focusing on digitalisation, human rights and building future alternatives.
Aisha is a perfectly bilingual media and communications professional on the African continent. She has covered many major events on the continent such as summits, presidential elections, humanitarian crises - her speciality being politics and governance etc. She also has expertise in. She manages initiatives on women and children’s access to health and education in the West African sub-region.
Aisha holds a degree in journalism from Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, a BA in French and English languages and literature from the University of The Gambia, and a MA in literature from the University of Limoges, France. She has been trained in newspaper and radio production, documentary production, multimedia journalism, 360 communication, public and media relations, digital, outreach and development communication, speech writing, early childhood development, intercultural diversity and inclusion, gender equality and women's empowerment, online safety and cybersecurity, mapping and data journalism, investigative journalism, brand and image development.
A journalist specializing on women’s rights and gender equality in Kyrgyzstan. Bachelor’s degree from American University in Central Asia (Journalism and Mass Communication) and Master’s degree from Syracuse University (Public Administration). Experience in working as a journalist since 2012. Besides journalism, Aliya has worked for a number of international organizations based in Bishkek (Internews Kyrgyzstan, Soros-Foundation Kyrgyzstan, ACCELS, etc.) as a producer, communications specialist and media expert.
Aman Sethi is the Deputy Executive Editor at HuffPost, and the author of A Free Man. He was previously the Executive Editor for Strategy at BuzzFeed News and Editor-in-Chief of HuffPost India. His work spans tech, labour, migration, conflict and surveillance and has appeared in Granta, the Guardian, The New York Times, The Hindu, and Foreign Policy.
Andrey Babitskiy is a journalist. Before leaving Russia in February 2022, he has reported and provided political commentary for a number of Russia's (then existing) media of record. After moving to Tbilisi, Andrey has been working on a podcast, «Снова никогда» (“Never, again”), dedicated to the ethical and historical aspects of the man-made catastrophe we are living through. His article ახალი ხორცი [Fresh Meat] has made the case for learning and speaking Georgian.
Anna Myroniuk is the head of investigations and a cofounder at the Kyiv Independent. She is an award-winning journalist who investigated wrongdoings in the Ukraine army's leadership. Myroniuk also ran projects on political and corporate misconduct, illicit tobacco trade, and fraud in healthcare amid the Covid-19 pandemic. She has been extensively covering Russia's war against Ukraine since 2014.
CD, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Uganda & South Sudan
Anna Reismann, Country Director Uganda and South Sudan, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.
Anna Reismann has been actively involved in European and International Cooperation for more than a decade. From 2008 to 2010 she was working as a Deputy Country Director of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Ukraine before managing a Brussels based project of the European Network of Political Foundations (ENoP) on the EU enlargement towards the Western Balkan countries. Since 2012 she has served as Policy Advisor Andean Countries, Central America and Mexico at the headquarters of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Berlin, Germany. She spent two years (2016-2017) with her family in Rwanda.
Anna Reismann holds a Diploma Degree in Languages, Economics and Cultural Studies from the University of Passau.
She speaks German, Russian, English, Spanish and Ukrainian.
Armando Iannucci is a writer and broadcaster who has written, directed and produced numerous critically acclaimed films, television and radio comedy shows.
His screenplay for the film 'In The Loop' was nominated for an Oscar at the Academy Awards. His iconic series for the BBC – 'The Thick of It' – was nominated for 13 BAFTA Awards, winning 5 during its four series run. Among his own award-winning shows, he is also the co-creator and writer of the popular Steve Coogan character Alan Partridge.
Armando's HBO comedy 'Veep' has picked up numerous awards, including four Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series over the last four years. His film adaptation of Charles Dickens' 'The Personal History of David Copperfield' was released in January 2020, which has won numerous awards including Best screenplay at the WGBA and Best Screenplay at BIFA, and was also nominated for a Golden Globe, and won a 'Seal Distinction' from the US Critics' Choice Association.
In 2017 he published 'Hear Me Out', a new book on classical music, and released the feature film 'The Death of Stalin', which was nominated for 2 BAFTAs and won Best Comedy at the European Film Awards. The second season of HBO's 'Avenue 5', which stars Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad, aired in 2022.
Aziza Raimberdieva is a digital editor with expertise in data and visual storytelling. She founded one of the first data teams in Central Asia at Kloop.kg. She worked on impactful projects which were awarded and shortlisted for Cannes Lions and Sigma Awards. Now Aziza is RFE/RL's Levin-Utkin Fellow.
Becky is Coda Story’s Senior Audio Producer. She produced and co-wrote Coda’s podcast series for Audible – ‘Undercurrents: Tech, Tyrants and Us’. Before joining Coda Becky spent 25 years with the BBC as a foreign news producer, for radio and TV. She was based in South Africa and Kenya for 7 years, and before than spent many years in Asia. With the BBC she produced the award-winning ‘Blood Lands’ podcast, a true crime story set in rural South Africa. She also produced BBC News’ first virtual reality news documentaries and is especially interested in using spatial sound to create immersive experiences.
Editor-in-Chief: Daily Maverick, South Africa
Branko started his book publishing career in 1984, in what was then
Yugoslavia. The highlights were The complete works of William Shakespeare,
Complete Greek Tragedies and Miroslav’s Gospel, the Serbian nation’s
holiest book, which was included in Unesco's Memory of the World upon the
In South Africa, Branko launched, and edited, several publications:
Magazines: Timbila, Brainstorm, Maverick & Empire magazines.
Newspapers: 168, South Africa’s final weekend newspaper
In late 2009, Branko launched Daily Maverick, an online daily with
readership of 12-million monthly unique visitors as of 20 March 2023.
In June 2018, Branko won Nat Nakasa Award for Media Integrity,
considered South Africa's premier journalism award.
The #GuptaLeaks, Daily Maverick's most famous contribution so far (in
collaboration with amaBhungane and News24) brought many more awards,
among them the 2019 Global Shining Light Award, shared with Maria
Ressa's The Rappler (Philippines)
Carole Cadwalladr is a renowned Pulitzer-nominated journalist for the Guardian, feature writer for the Observer, and Cambridge Analytica investigator. She formerly worked at The Daily Telegraph, and was nominated for numerous Press Awards.
Cadwalladr was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for National Reporting in 2019, receiving praise upon her investigation and coverage into Cambridge Analytica and its role in Brexit. Cadwalladr’s sheer dedication in exposing a nexus of corruption that resulted in Mark Zuckerberg being called before Congress, and exposing Cambridge Analytica’s role in mass-harvesting data to influence elections (Brexit and Trump), goes far beyond the question of Remain or Leave. Her investigation also interrogates the role we have been puppeteered to play in a 2017 Britain that took its first step into an undemocratic world.
In April 2019, Cadwalladr gave a TED talk, “Facebook’s role in Brexit – and the threats to democracy”, regarding her the links found between Facebook and the Brexit election. This talk led to worldwide acclaim but it also sparked a three year long lawsuit which was won by Carole in June 2022. This case was one of several brought against her and other leading journalists and they are thought to be motivated by powerful individuals and firms to tie up the press in expensive and time consuming legal defenses (these are called SLAPP suits).
Also in 2019, she was featured in the acclaimed Netflix documentary ‘The Great Hack‘ – this Bafta nominated film explored the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, produced and directed by Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer.
Cadwalladr has won other awards, including the British Journalism Awards: Technology Journalism Award in December 2017 and The Orwell Prize for political journalism in 2018. She is the author of The Family Tree, published in 2006 and was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize. She is currently at work on a new book.
Christopher Wylie is a social researcher and data scientist. He has served as a senior adviser in both the British and Canadian governments, and has extensive experience using technology to improve communication and citizen engagement. With an avid interest in cultural applications of technology, his postgraduate research focused on fashion trend forecasting. Christopher Wylie is the former Director of Research for Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group, which was a UK-based military contractor specializing in information warfare. He witnessed firsthand how culture, information and algorithms were being weaponized by militaries, governments and companies to undermine elections around the world. In 2018, Wylie worked with The Guardian and New York Times as a whistleblower to expose how social media data was being exploited and turned against ordinary citizens. His testimonies at the United States Congress and British Parliament served as a wake-up call for many and have quickly led to new legislative proposals in both countries.
Claudia Milne is senior vice president, Standards and Practices for CBS News and Stations, where she oversees all CBS News editorial standards and ensures they are being maintained across all CBS News, stations and digital platforms.
Dzmitry Hurnievic is a correspondent in Prague for RFE/RL's Belarus Service. He graduated from the Institute of Media Education and Journalism of the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. He worked for Polish Radio (2006-2016) and Belsat TV (2007-2016). He has been with RFE/RL since 2016.
Elena Nechaeva is a journalist, producer, blogger, and media trainer. She has been working in television journalism since 2012. Since 2019, she has been actively involved in the digital transformation of traditional media and creating new media on various internet platforms. She is the author of a YouTube blog about disinformation and propaganda. She has been producing the Sisterhood program since 2021 and works on repackage the project for different platforms.
Emanuele Del Rosso
Emanuele Del Rosso is an Italian communication specialist and award-winning political cartoonist. He is currently Head of Communications with the European Press Prize, and Deputy Director of the European Cartoon Award. He publishes his cartoons in several magazines and online newspapers. Among them: Le Monde, Washington Post, Courrier International, Charlie Hebdo, Le Temps, The Japan Times, and the Nation. Since 2016, he has been a member of the Cartoon Movement, and since 2020 a member of Cartooning for Peace. In 2018, he won the second prize in the political cartoon competition “Libex 2018”. He won the Italian “Strike” competition for young talents. In 2019, he won the second prize in the “Inktspotprijs 2019”.
Erica Hellerstein is a senior reporter with Coda Story. She joined the newsroom in 2020, after spending nearly a decade covering politics and human rights across the U.S. and Latin America for media outlets including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Marie Claire, Elle, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News.
At Coda, she’s reported on the growing climate grief movement, historical memory in the American South, the expansion of surveillance along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the U.S. librarians caught in the crosshairs of book bans, among other subjects. In 2022, her Coda feature comparing historical reckonings in Germany and the United States won the Online News Association’s award for explanatory reporting. Other work has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Association for Alternative Newsmedia, and the Clay Felker Prize for Excellence in Longform Journalism. She received her B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
BIOGRAPHY OF FADY ASLY
-Chairman of ICC Regional Consultative Group (North Africa, Broader Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia) since 2023
-Member of the Board of Trustees of Dobrodeearium Ukraine since 2022
-Member of UNICEF Business Advisory Board since 2022
-Special Representative of the ICC Global Secretary-General for the Caucasus and Central Asia since 2021
-Chairman of Channel Georgia Consulting since 2016
-Member of the Investor's Council under the Prime Minister of Georgia since 2015
-Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Georgian Mines and Energy since 2012
-Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia since 2008
-Chairman of Agritechnics Holding since 1998
-Life with Scorpions-2016
-Mirrors and Illusions- 2020
Italian-Dutch journalist Gian Paolo Accardo is the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the European independent and multilingual news website Voxeurop. He also contributes to Internazionale. He was previously deputy news editor of Courrier international and correspondent for the press agency TMNews, as well as for several Italian and French news outlets. He lives between Brussels and Paris.
With a 20-year career in broadcast television, print, radio and digital, Gillian Dobias works as a producer and content strategist, combining her editorial credentials with brand experience to deliver powerful stories with a memorable message. Gillian's career in television began at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation working as a producer on "The Journal", "On The Arts" and "Fashion File". BBC commissions followed with “The Desk” and “Counter Culture”. In 2007 Gillian joined the launch team at Monocle in charge of editorial & commercial films. Gillian was integral to the launch of Monocle Radio and continues to contribute as a regular presenter. Now working as an independent Gillian harnesses her background in journalism, film and audio to produce bespoke content for companies wishing to tell their stories through the moving image, spoken word and/or in print.
Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2000, Giorgi studied the piano without ever thinking about a professional career as a pianist. He is passionate about the folksongs of his country, which he likes to arrange and sing. He even participated in the Georgian ‘The Voice’ and won the competition at the age of thirteen! However, he continued his musical training at the Paliashvili Central Music School for Gifted Children and entered the Tbilisi State Conservatory, in the class of Revaz Tavadze.
Giorgi’s pianistic career took a decisive turn in April 2019 when he won First Prize at the Vigo International Piano Competition, with Martha as president of the jury and Nelson Freire at her side. A few months later, Giorgi won Third Prize and the Audience Prize at the Sixty-Second Busoni Competition.
In 2021, when he received the Hortense Anda- Bührle Special Prize at the Fifteenth Géza Anda Piano Competition in Zurich; this was followed by an invitation to take part in the KlavierOlymp in Bad Kissingen, where he won First Prize and the Audience Prize. In March 2023, Giorgi celebrated another great success: He won the 2nd Prize at the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition and was also awarded the Junior Jury Prize, the Prize for the best chamber music and 5 out of 6 audience prizes.
Since September 2021, Giorgi has been studying with Nelson Goerner in Geneva. He is supported by the Lisa Batiashvili Foundation and the Géza Anda-Foundation. In the 2022/23 season he is a Classeek Ambassador artist. He is supported by Bayer Kultur’s stARTacademy. Alongside his career as a classical pianist, he has created with his friends an electronic and experimental music group, Tsduneba, which means ‘temptation’ in Georgian.
Hans Gutbrod teaches at Ilia State University, and also works as a consultant in policy research, and led a high-impact campaign to increase the transparency of research funding. His book Ethics of Political Commemoration: Towards a New Paradigm (with David Wood), draws on experiences from Armenia, Georgia, Ireland, Lebanon, and Libya, while connecting to mainstream debates in Western Europe and the United States, and will be published in August 2023. He is on Twitter at @HansGutbrod.
Inga Thordar is an award-winning editor and experienced newsroom leader and media executive. She was the Executive Editor of CNN Digital Worldwide, overseeing all international news, sport and programming teams for more than 6 years, running teams in London, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Lagos and NY. She was previously Senior Editor at the BBC bringing together TV and digital production teams and commissioning. She edited the BBC's news front page as well as lead digital innovations on both TV and radio platforms. She is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in newsrooms and has led changes and initiatives in both organisations in this field. An Iceland native, Inga is based in London.
Isaac Otidi Amuke
Isaac Otidi Amuke’s reportage, op-eds and nonfiction have appeared in the literary journal Kwani?, Commonwealth Writers, Wasafiri, Adda Stories, Solitude Atlas, the New African, the Chimurenga Chronic, Brittle Paper, the Mail and Guardian, the Sunday Nation, the East African, The Elephant, The Continent and Africa Is A Country. Amuke received the 2013 Jean Jacques Rousseau Fellowship from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, and contributed the title piece for ''Safe House; Explorations in Creative Nonfiction'' (Dundurn/Cassava Republic 2016), an anthology of nonfiction from Africa edited by Ellah Wakatama. He was a finalist for the 2016 CNN Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Awards and the 2018 Gerald Kraak Award. His long-read, “The Rise and Fall of Mike Sonko - Nairobi’s Matatu King” is a finalist for the 2023 True Story Award. When not writing, Amuke works as editor-in-chief at Debunk Media, a Nairobi-based independent newsroom.
Joe oversees creative development of digital channels at Conde Nast Entertainment, leading the creation of franchises across the portfolio, as well as being the creator and interviewer of Vogue’s 400 million-view celebrity interview franchise "73 Questions
Joe started his career as a founder of a digital lab at HBO, where his independent directing and remixing career took off with a viral recap of every season of the Sopranos. In 2010 he gave a TED talk on storytelling, co-hosted Boing Boing TV on Virgin America airlines, sits on the programming board of The Moth, and is co-founder of the YouTube channel “CDZA”, a 300,000-subscriber channel which featured over 150 conservatory musicians in high concept music videos. As a one-man creative shop, he has created ideas and videos for such companies as Google, CFDA Fashion Awards, Interscope Records, BBC America, Comcast, ATT, and others.
Joe is the most ardent American fan of Georgia and unofficial ambassador. He has been to Georgia 16 times since 2006, can read and write kartuli, co-owned Piano (on Tabidze street), and currently co-owns DASTA. He once drove in a crappy car from England to Mongolia, plays classical piano, had a license plate that spelled “RIKROLL”, is an Italian dual citizen and is the 2007 International Pun Champion.
Julie Posetti is the Global Director of Research at the International Center for Journalists. She previously was a Senior Research Fellow at the RISJ and led the Journalism Innovation Project at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. She researches at the intersection of journalism, digital media, and freedom of expression. Posetti is the author of Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age (UNESCO 2017) and the co-editor of Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation (UNESCO 2018). She was awarded her PhD in December 2018, and her academic research has been published internationally in peer reviewed journals and scholarly books.
Dr Posetti brings over two decades of high-level international journalism practice to her research, including time as a news editor, documentary reporter and national political correspondent with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). In this capacity, she was awarded the Australian Human Rights Awards for Radio for her coverage of Indigenous affairs, the resurgence of the ‘racist right’, and systemic child abuse in state care. She was also a recipient of the Australian National Press Club’s ‘German Award for Journalism’. More recently, her work has been published by The Atlantic, Harvard University’s Nieman Lab, the BBC, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian.
Karina Merkuryeva is a journalist and impact strategist. She worked for several independent Russian media outlets. As RFE/RL’s Levin-Utkin Fellow she creates new storytelling formats for social media that boost audience engagement. As a journalist she focuses on human rights, feminism, rights of prisoners and migrants.
Journalist, documentarian and executive producer of the project "How are you?" - about refugees and internally displaced persons. Scholarship recipient of the Vaclav Havel Prize (joint program of Radio Liberty and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic). Kateryna was an author in investigative journalistic teams at Slidstvo.Info and at Suspilne (public TV)..
Kristina Zakurdaeva is a digital editor and investigative journalist at RFE/RL’s Current Time. She also manages Levin-Utkin Fellowship that focuses on data journalism. Kristina specializes in long-form storytelling and digital projects production. She reports on gender-based violence and international politics. Recently, her work was featured in GIJN’s best women reporting.
In 2005, Levan Ghambashidze graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences at Ilia Chavchavadze Tbilisi State University of Language and Culture. Subsequently, in 2007, he participated in the Erasmus Mundus master's program, embarking on a two-year educational journey across three universities: Luxembourg, Prague, and Bochum. Upon completion, he was awarded a master's degree.
From 2009 onwards, he has pursued further studies at Ilia State University, Tbilisi Art Academy, and Conservatory, while actively engaging in public activities. Notably, since 2016, he has been enrolled at the Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy of History and Philosophy, deepening his knowledge in these fields
Magnus Gertten is an award-winning director from Malmö, Sweden. Among his latest docs are the investigating of an archive film reel in Every Face Has a Name (2015), the soccer portrait Becoming Zlatan (2016), the human rights doc Only the Devil Lives without Hope (2020) and the love story of Nelly & Nadine, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2022. Nelly & Nadine has so far been screened at more than 100 international film festivals and won 22 awards. Magnus Gertten’s documentaries are character-driven, often made in an intimate style and with a powerful emotional narrative. He has a strong passion for human stories, music and modern history.
Maiia Guseva is a data journalist and RFE/RL’s Levin-Utkin Fellow. Passionate about using data analysis to craft compelling narratives, she produced a multitude of data-driven stories for independent media. Maiia is a data analyst for an award-winning project Editwars.org. She holds a Master’s degree in Data Journalism from HSE.
A journalist in Asia for more than 35 years, Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler, the top digital only news site that is leading the fight for press freedom in the Philippines. As Rappler's CEO and president, Maria has endured constant political harassment and arrests by the Duterte government, forced to post bail ten times to stay free. Rappler's battle for truth and democracy is the subject of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival documentary, A Thousand Cuts.
In October 2021, Maria was one of two journalists awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."
For her courage and work on disinformation and 'fake news,' Maria was named one of Time Magazine’s 2018 Person of the Year, was among its 100 Most Influential People of 2019, and has also been named one of Time's Most Influential Women of the Century. She was also part of the BBC's 100 most inspiring and influential women of 2019 and Prospect magazine's world's top 50 thinkers. In 2020, she received the Journalist of the Year award, the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, the Most Resilient Journalist Award, the Tucholsky Prize, the Truth to Power Award, and the Four Freedoms Award. In 2021, UNESCO awarded her the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Among many awards for her principled stance, she received the prestigious Golden Pen of Freedom Award from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Knight International Journalism Award from the International Center for Journalists, the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Shorenstein Journalism Award from Stanford University, the Columbia Journalism Award, the Free Media Pioneer Award from the International Press Institute, and the Sergei Magnitsky Award for Investigative Journalism.
Maria was born in the Philippines but grew up in the United States after her family migrated to Toms River, New Jersey in 1973. She took up premed at Princeton University, where she graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in English and certificates in theater and dance in 1986. She returned to Manila on a Fulbright fellowship in 1986 and worked for the newly liberated government station, People's Television 4, as director of newscasts then as head of its special projects team. In 1987, she began reporting for CNN and joined ABS-CBN as the director and producer of Probe, the first and longest running investigative news magazine in the Philippines, before helping set it up as a separate company, Probe Productions, Inc., in 1988.
Before co-founding Rappler, Maria focused on investigating terrorism in Southeast Asia. She opened and ran CNN's Manila Bureau for nearly a decade before moving to Indonesia and opening the network's Jakarta bureau, which she ran from 1995 to 2005. That was when she returned to Manila as the senior vice president in charge of ABS-CBN's multimedia news operations, managing about a thousand journalists for the largest news organization in the country.
Maria wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda’s Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia and From Bin Laden to Facebook: 10 Days of Abduction, 10 Years of Terrorism. She is writing her third book, How to Stand up to a Dictator, for publication in 2022.
A writer and journalist, Maria has over a decade of experience reporting the news from Armenia and the region. She is the Founding Editor of EVN Report, an English-language news magazine. She was Associate Editor of the Armenian Reporter, Managing Editor at CivilNet, and a regular contributor to a number of Diaspora publications. She teaches Media & Society, Introduction to Journalism, and Research Methods.
Mariane Pearl, co-founder of THE METEOR platform, is an award-winning journalist and writer who works in English, French and Spanish.
She is the founder of WOMEN BYLINES, a first-time series of quality journalism and impactful multimedia narratives from women and girls worldwide for the local and global media. Women Bylines has so far produced more than 15 exclusive stories from Iraq, France and Mexico.
From 2013 until June 2020, Mariane served as the Managing Editor of the CHIME FOR CHANGE global journalism platform focused on helping women and girls speak for themselves. The platform has published hundreds of stories from more than 45 countries CHIME FOR CHANGE is founded by Gucci and the artists Beyoncé and Salma Hayek-Pinault.
Mariane is the author of “A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Daniel Pearl” (Scribner.) First published in the United States in 2003, Mariane’s memoir celebrating the values of humanism and dignity won international praise and was translated into 16 languages. In 2007, it was released as a major feature movie starring Angelina Jolie in the role of Mariane Pearl.
Her second book, “In Search of Hope” (Powerhouse) is a The column first appeared in the US edition of Glamour magazine. Mariane travelled to sixteen countries for a collection of profiles of extraordinary women from around the world.
Mariane Pearl is a contributor to The Washington Post, The METEOR, The New York Times, The Sunday Times, the Conde Nast traveler, Self Magazine and more. She has served as a jury for Freedom of Expression award, The Gucci Tribecca Fund, the Internews Human Rights Award, the Women of the Year award and others. She is also a member of several Advisory Boards such as Reuters Trust Law Women, CHIME FOR CHANGE and World Pulse. A prolific public speaker, Mariane has delivered speeches and conferences worldwide and in venues ranging from Berkeley and Duke University to the prestigious Radio City Hall in New York City with more than 8000 educators in attendance.
Mariane is the recipient of the Indian Express Excellence in Journalism Award and the Anne Frank Award. She also received the National Headliners Award for Magazine Writing, the Time Warner Woman Award, the Woman of the Year Award, The White House Project Award, the AWRT (American Women in Radio and Television) Award, the Internews Award for Excellence in International Reporting, the Vital Voices Award, E l Mundo editorial award in Spain, the Prix Vérité in France for excellence in nonfiction writing.
She is currently working on her third book, “A Fine Family Line”, a memoir set between Paris, New York City and Havana.
Marina Bocharoba contributed for several Russian independent media, such as Novaya Gazeta, Forbes Russia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She was a correspondent for “Takie dela” media and special projects editor at “Kommersant”. Bocharova was an author and director for Coda story’s special project “90s”. Marina Bocharova was a scriptwriter and director for the documentary film’s production company “Amurskie Volny”. She will be hosting RFE/RL's Georgian Service YouTube debate show “Echoes of war “
Matthew Janney is a British-Georgian writer based in London and a former editor at TANK magazine. He writes about literature, culture and the Caucasus and his work has appeared in the Guardian, FT, New Statesman, Coda Story, the Times Literary Supplement, and others. Before writing, Matthew played international rugby for Georgia.
Matthew John Pye
Coordinator of Philosophy, European School Brussels II Founder of the Climate Academy Public Speaker Author of “Plato Tackles Climate Change” & “The Climate Academy Textbook”.
Matthew Pye has been a teacher for over 20 years, first in the UK, then Germany and now for 14 years in Brussels.
For over a decade, he has worked with leading scientists in sustainability, with a focus on climate change. Most notably, in collaboration with Michael Wadleigh (Oscar Winner, dir. ‘Woodstock’ (1970) and Birgit van Munster (IPPC Expert Reviewer) he established the Climate Academy in 2011. This innovative work to hothouse small groups of students in the science and social realities of climate change was recognized by the offer of Full Membership to the Club of Rome (EU Chapter) in 2016.
The Academy has 3 pillars: systems understanding, civic engagement and systems entrepreneurship.
The Academy organized the first climate protest in the world to number more than oneperson.Their latest project, “The Writing’s on the Wall” aims to bring clarity and depth to media reporting on the climate crisis. The focus of this artistic project is the concept “cut11percent”, a climate change index that has been endorsed by the world’s most eminent climate scientists.
He has given numerous lectures on Climate Change and systems thinking, at the European Commission, Cambridge University, VU (Amsterdam), St Louis University (Brussels) and most recently in Kazakhstan; alongside talks and workshops in different schools in Europe.
He co-authored the recent and widely applauded Philosophy syllabus (2019) for the European School system. His latest book, “Plato Tackles Climate Change” (2020) opens up his classroom and projects to everyone. “Read it, loved it. At every page I thought: “This is the book. This is the one that every single decision maker out there has to read”. Totally brilliant!” (Patrick Worms, President of the European Agroforestry Federation).
Latvian-born, U.S.-based novelist, screenwriter and director whose work includes films, books and TV series in Russian.
Nastya Horpinchenko has been a member of the team of the Ukrainian investigative agency Slidstvo.Info since September 2022. She specializes in covering the Russian-Ukrainian war, shooting and making reports from the frontline and de-occupied territories. She has also been an author of the blog about the war in Ukraine for the Franco-German TV channel ARTE for over a year.
In 2020-2021, she traveled to Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of international and national monitoring missions organized by the "Vostok SOS" charitable foundation, which specializes in helping victims of the war in Ukraine.
In 2018-2022, she worked as a reporter and host of live broadcasts on Hromadske Radio.
Natalia Antelava is a Georgian journalist, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning newsroom Coda Story, and co-founding member of ZEG Festival. Coda, a digital newsroom that reports on roots of global crises, has covered many of the themes that are currently shaping the Ukraine war, and during the first weeks of invasion Coda’s narrative journalism, quoted by newsrooms such as the New York Times and CNN, provided important context to the mainstream coverage of the news.Before founding Coda, Natalia was a BBC resident correspondent in the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. She has covered Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its first invasion of Ukraine and has reported on conflicts in Africa and the Middle East. Her undercover investigations into human rights abuses in Iraq, Yemen, the United States, and India have won her a number of awards and an Emmy nomination.
Natasha Lomouri is the Director of the Writers House of Georgia since 2011. The Writer's House manages a comprehensive literature programme, a writers’ residency, the Museum of Soviet Repressed Writers and also organizes the Tbilisi International Festival of Literature, next to other local and international literary forums and book fairs. Located in a landmark building in the historic Sololaki district, the Writer's House of Georgia seeks to contribute to Tbilisi's vibrancy and an open and forward-looking culture and education.
Nick Laparra is a storyteller, educator, and activist. He is the founder of Let’s Give A Damn, a multifaceted organization that helps people live absurdly intentional and ethical lives.
The son of a Guatemalan immigrant, Nick was born in Upstate NY but moved to Guatemala with his parents and 11 siblings when he was a young boy. Since his time in Guatemala, Nick has visited over 30 countries engaging in various kinds of social impact work. At his core, Nick is a passionate storyteller who doesn’t mince words or suggest band-aid fixes for life or death issues.
He lives in New York City with his partner, Rebecca, and their three children, Solace, Belle, and Roman.
Nicola Dinan grew up in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur and now lives in London. She studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University before training as a lawyer. Bellies, her debut, was shortlisted for the Mo Siewcharran prize.
Oksana Zabuzhko (b.1960) is Ukraine’s major contemporary writer, the author of more than twenty books of different genres (poetry, fiction, essays, criticism). She made her poetry debut at the age of 12, yet, as her parents had been blacklisted during the Soviet purges of the 1970s, it was not until the perestroika that her first book was published. She graduated from the department of philosophy of Kyiv Shevchenko University, obtained her PhD in philosophy of arts, and has worked as a research associate for the Institute of Philosophy of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. In the early 1990s she lectured in the USA as a Fulbright Fellow and a Writer-in-Residence at Penn State University, Harvard University, and University of Pittsburgh. After the publication of her novel Field Work in Ukrainian Sex (1996), which in 2006 was named “the most influential Ukrainian book for the 15 years of independence”, she has been living as a free-lance author.
Ms. Zabuzhko has established herself as the country’s leading public intellectual, and has for years been listed by the media among Ukraine’s top 100 most influential people. Since 2013 she, along with her partner, artist Rostyslav Luzhetsky, have operated a small publishing house promoting quality non-commercial literature.
Zabuzhko’s books have been translated into Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swedish. Among her numerous acknowledgements are MacArthur Grant (2002), Antonovych International Foundation Prize (2008), the Ukrainian National Award the Order of Princess Olha (2009), Angelus Central European Literary Prize (2013), Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine (2019), and many other national and international awards. Her opus magnum, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets (2010), was ranked by the Tages-Anzeiger among 20 Best Novels of the 21st century, and her recent collection of stories Your Ad Could Go Here (2020) was listed by the New York Times among 100 best books of the year from around the world.
Olivia is a London-based photographer known for her in-depth work examining people and their personal and cultural identities. Her first book, Jeddah Diary, follows the lives of young women in Saudi Arabia. Her second book, Stranger is a journey into Dubai seen through the eyes of the survivor of a shipwreck. Her work has been exhibited internationally and has been included in institutional collections in the UK, USA, Germany and Switzerland. She is co-founder of Fishbar, a publisher and space for photography in London. She became a member of Magnum Photos in 2013 and in 2020 was elected as its President.
Patrick Boehler is a media executive with a track record of digital transformation in newsrooms. He has worked at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, The New York Times, and The South China Morning Post. His areas of expertise include editorial strategy, audience research, product development, and change management. Boehler is known for his audience-centric approach and has implemented award-winning initiatives that have helped organizations achieve lasting impact.
Paul Rimple has been a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi since 2003. In 2015, he became Tbilisi's Bureau Chief for global food tourism company, Culinary Backstreets, writing exclusively about Georgia’s burgeoning food and wine scene, and in 2016 was a guest in Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. Today, Paul runs his own culinary tour company, Meet Me Here Tbilisi.
Was born in Athens, Greece. Working as a photojournalist, Papamichael moved to NYC, where he began to cross over into directing, screenwriting and cinematography. Following a call from John Cassavetes, Phedon moved to Los Angeles, where he began his feature career as a Director of Photography for Roger Corman.
He now counts over fifty feature films to his credit as Director of Photography, many critically acclaimed films with 5 nominated for Best Picture Academy Award. Unstrung Heroes (dir: Diane Keaton), The Million Dollar Hotel (dir: Wim Wenders), Walk the Line (dir: James Mangold), Pursuit Of Happyness, The Ides of March (dir: George Clooney), Sideways, The Descendants and Nebraska (dir: Alexander Payne) for which Phedon received an Academy Award, BAFTA and ASC Nomination and won the BSC Award.
Ford vs. Ferrari was honoured with 4 Academy Award Nominations and garnered another BAFTA and ASC nom for Phedon. His most recent feature, The Trial of The Chicago 7, was honored with 6 Academy Award Nominations, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography. Phedon recently completed production on Indiana Jones 5, staring Harrison Ford.
Phedon’s directorial debut The Sketch Artist (1991), staring Sean Young and Drew Barrymore, won the Silver Award for Feature Film at the Houston International Film Festival, followed by Dark Side of Genius. The award-winning psychological horror From Within premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Phedon continued with Arcadia Lost, starring Nick Nolte, Lost Angeles (2012) and the short film A Beautiful Day, which screened at over 30 film festivals around the world garnering multiple international awards.
His latest directorial endeavour is the social-political thriller/drama Light Falls, which was shot in Greece (2020) and is a Georgian-Greek-Albanian-German Co-production
Rahmina Paullete is a young climate activist, environmentalist, and wildlifeconservationist from Kenya. She is the head campaigner for#LetLakeVictoriaBreatheAgain which advocates for the restoration of LakeVictoria. She is the founder of Kisumu Environmental Champions. Morever, she is among the lead activists from Fridays for the future, a youthchampion for Fossil Fuel Treaty, an ambassador for Climate Clock,Sustainable Food System advocate at Food At Cop, and a climate changechampion at Wangari Maathai Foundation. Furthermore, she is a boardmember at Sustory Love and 2022 Initiative.
She also has her own foundation by the name Rahmina PaulleteFoundation that donates clothing materials, food, trees, and even materialsfor charity. Her eco-friendly business called RahminaPauletteEcoProductsis centered on making water hyacinth products such as cards, bags,furniture, table coasters, furniture, and other customized products. This
promotes the blue economy, enhances youth and women empowerment,and conserves the environment.
Social Entrepreneur, Critical Thinker and Public Speaker
A social entrepreneur with a specific interest in education, employability, the future of work, 21st-century skills and the global skills gap.
Salah is the founder of Macat International Limited, which is a unique venture set up in the UK to measure and develop critical thinking skills. He is also the founder of The Alexandria Trust, a London-based charity dedicated to restoring world-class education in the Arab region. Working with leading journalists, the Trust has established Al-Fanar Media, a bilingual online publication that covers news about education, arts and culture in the Arab world. Underpinning this work is his vision for a new era of philanthropy in the Arab world - catalytic philanthropy to support a step-change in education - that grew out of his extensive experience in the areas of business, political reform, institutional change, and international development. Salah is a board member of a number of organisations and previously a founding member of The Egyptian competitiveness Council, a member of the AUC Business School Advisory Board and the Business Sector Secretariat and the founding contributor/architect of Egypt's vision 2030.
Sevgil Musaieva is a Ukrainian journalist from Crimea, editor-in-chief of Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, recipient of a 2022 International Press Freedom Award, and featured in TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2022. Before joining Ukrainska Pravda, Musaieva served as a business reporter for the newspaper Delo (Happenings), the weekly Vlast Deneg (Power Money), and Forbes Ukraine, where she covered corruption in the oil and gas industries, among other topics.
Shafi Karimi is founder of Afghan journalists in exile network (AJEN) and MUSALAS TV he is an award-winning multimedia journalist and writer who has been covering Afghanistan for the past 8 years, including reporting on the 2021 Taliban takeover. He is now based in France, and works for a range of international outlets, including France24 Television, Vice news, Mail Online, Nikkei Asia and UAE-based Akhbar Alaan. Shafi was previously based in Kabul where he reported for RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi on television and radio, as well as TOLO News and Ariana News. He has covered the conflict in Afghanistan, the 2020 US withdrawal agreement, women’s rights and the threat from the Islamic State. Recent stories he has covered include the secret life of women soldiers and how lesbians are surviving Taliban rule, and he contributes regularly to Afghan social media forums.
Simon Lereng Wilmont
"Born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Simon graduated as a Documentary Film Director from The National Film School of Denmark in 2009. His first feature documentary The Distant Barking of Dogs (2017) premiered on IDFA 2017, and was awarded Best First Appearance. It has since won several awards worldwide, among these the McBaine Documentary Feature Award at San Francisco's SFFILM Festival. It was shortlisted for an Oscar, nominated for an Emmy and Best Documentary at the European Film Award, and it won a Peabody. Simon most recent film A House Made of Splinters premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2022, and was awarded for Best Directing. It has since won several awards worldwide, among these the Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary at Göteborg Film Festival, a Golden Alexander Award and FIPRESCI Award for best documentary at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. It was nominated for an Oscar
and for Best Documentary at the European Film Award.
Thomas Dworzak (b. 1972, Germany) is a photographer and member of the photo agency Magnum Photos. In the early 1990s, he started photographing mainly in the Caucasus and has since been documenting conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa.
He has regularly been contributing to The New Yorker, Time Magazine, National Geographic and many others and has published several books.
Tolkun Umaraliev, Central Asia Russian Chief Editor at RFE/RL. Tolkun oversees new initiatives recently launched by RFE/RL for Central Asian audiences, including the Migrant Unit that covers issues of millions of Central Asian labor migrants working in Russia, Turkey and other countries. Prior to taking this role Tolkun was a Managing Editor for Current Time Digital where he played a key role in promoting Current Time across the internet and transforming it into a leading innovative media in the Russian-language digital world. Tolkun also worked with the BBC, Al Jazeera English and AFP.
Volodymyr Yermolenko, Ph.D., is a Ukrainian philosopher, journalist, and book writer. He works as an analytics director at Internews Ukraine, a chief editor at UkraineWorld.org (a multimedia project in English focused on Ukraine), and as an associate professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. Volodymyr is also the editor of the essay collection “Ukraine in Histories and Stories.” Volodymyr received the Sheveliov Prize for best Ukrainian essays book in 2018, the Petro Mohyla Prize in 2021, and the Book of the Year prize in several nominations in 2018 and 2015.
Zahra Rasool is a three-time Emmy-nominated director, writer, producer and media entrepreneur whose storytelling and innovation centers marginalized communities and people of color. Still Here, her recent work about incarceration and gentrification in Harlem premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Throughout her 10-year career, Zahra has directed, written and produced numerous documentaries and creative fiction projects, as well as advertising campaigns and immersive experiences.
In May 2017, she created and launched a media innovation and storytelling studio, AJ Contrast; part of Al Jazeera Media Network. She was given a Gracie for Best National Online Producer by the Alliance of Women in Media Foundation (2021) along with 36 other awards that include an NABJ Award, Amnesty Media Award, RTDNA Award and two Online Journalism Awards (OJA). Zahra’s films have been screened at over 40 international film festivals including at Sundance, Sheffield DocFest and Berlinale.
Zhanna Novik is a Sr. Social Media Producer at RFR/RL’s Belarus Service. She has worked there since 2017 as a social media producer, journalist, video-editor, she created first Instagram projects in Stories among Belarusian media, first web-game at the RFE/RL Belarus «Polyclinic».