Costy Costantinos is Professor of Public Policy at Addis Ababa University, Chair of the African Union Board on the Convention to Prevent and Combat Corruption, and Convenor of Ethiopian Faith Leaders. He has been Chief Scout of Ethiopia Scouts, reviving this voluntary association, and a UN Special Policy Advisor on Sustainable Development.
Adnane Addiou is co-founder of the Moroccan Centre for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, and Manager – Society at the British Council, designing and implementing youth empowerment and interfaith projects across the Middle East and North Africa. He is a mentor and development advisor for many many small NGOs and civil society activists and leaders, and has a particular interest in Muslim-Christian collaboration.
Svetlana Zakrevska is the founder and President of NGO Alliance in Ukraine. She has been a leader in the development of an independent NGO sector in Ukraine, and the development of civil society initiatives. She has a particular passion for adult education. She is a participant in the European Association for Adult Education and Voices Against Corruption.
Susannah Black is a freelance writer and lives in New York in the USA. She is an advocate for distributism, a political movement with a history of more than a century which originated in Catholic social thought and draws on the work of thinkers from GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc to EF Schumacher and Amartya Sen. She has a passionate interest in English literature.
Shareef Ghoneim is CEO of the Egyptian NGO Support Centre, which aims to strengthen civil society in Egypt and the Middle East. He is a medical doctor, with wide-ranging interests in primary health care and illness prevention. He has developed initiatives in civil society capacity building, non-formal education and child development across many Asian countries and the Middle East. He lives in Giza, Egypt.
Awatef Rasheed was born in Iraq and now lives in Canada. She is a writer, secular women’s rights activist, and an Advisor to the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights. She writes and publishes in Arabic and English on gender, civil society and social change in the Middle East. She is a recipient of the Iraqi Women’s Initiative Award from the Iraqi Women’s Network in 2010.
Mehmood Khan lives in India and was Global Leader of Innovation Process at Unilever for 11 years before retiring in 2009. He has lived in Holland, Singapore, UK and now lives in villages in Mewat (India) where he is Managing Trustee of the Rasuli Kanwar Khan Trust which works for the ‘total transformation’ of people at grassroot level in Mewat region. He was designated Person of the Year in 2009 by Forbes India.
Ovidiu Hurduzeu is a writer and social critic, and founder of the Liga distributista romana Ion Mihalache (Distributist League of Romania). He is interested in ecological economy, sustainable agriculture, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and has a strong interest in pre- and post-Soviet distributist movements in Eastern Europe. He now lives in the USA.
Oliver Michael is the co-founder of the South Sudan Civil Society Alliance, formed in July 2011. He was previously Executive Director of the Institute for the Promotion of Civil Society in South Sudan, and is currently working for Voluntary Service Overseas in Juba on issues of Governance and Gender. He founded Maridi Action for the Rights of Children and the Environmental Rehabilitation Program South Sudan.
Aurelia Roman was born in Communist Romania and now lives in Canada. In Romania, she experienced at first hand severe food rationing in the 1980s, the disappointment of systemic corruption of post-communism in the 1990s, and the democratic deficit in both English and French-speaking Canada. She is a Researcher in Civil Society and Participatory Practices for Civic Engagement at Concordia University.
John Kearns lives in Dublin, Ireland, and is CEO of Partas, a social enterprise development organisation engaged in local enterprise development and research, social inclusion initiatives, and enterprise centres management. He is a leading figure in the development of social entrepreneurship across Europe. He has been a music entrepreneur in Irish music.
Blerta Tuci lives in Tirana, Albania. She is a co-founder of the Act for Society Centre, which encourages Albanians to participate in creating solutions to social and economic problems. She has been an activist in the Mjaft Movement, a youth empowerment movement, and worked in non-government organisations in tourism, the protection of cultural heritage, and the protection of human rights.
Kazeem Lameed lives in Abuja, Nigeria. He works with the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to build the capacity of civil society to enforce transparency, but he laments that civil society in Nigeria is not yet strong and independent enough to be an effective voice. He wants to expand the frontier of civil society activism so that a balance can be struck in power between the state, market and civil society.
Cheryl Barrott is a white working class woman of Irish Traveller Heritage living in Sheffield in the UK. She is co-founder of Change AGEnts, a cooperative of Older People age 50+. Its mission is to create new paradigms for age and ageing away from the deficit model towards active citizenship. She is an advocate for principles of voluntary cooperation as an essential element of public sector reform.
Paco Smith lives in Belize, Central America in the Western Caribbean, and aspires to revitalise its dormant civil society. He contested the 2012 Belize City Mayoral election on the ticket of a non-traditional political movement (Vision Inspired by the People), working to mobilise civil society to challenge the country’s entrenched two-party system.
Adrian Fisher lives in Dorset in the UK, and is a small business proprietor and innovator. His business specialises in the design of visitor attractions, science centers, landscapes and city centres across 30 countries. He is an advocate for the independent representation of small and family businesses which create two thirds of employment and wealth in western countries, but are marginalised by the public and corporate sectors.
Svetla Toneva lives in Sophia in Bulgaria. She has a background in labour organisation and trade unions, and has worked for the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria and the Workers’ Educational and Training College. She is interested in adult education, non-formal learning, innovation in training, and is Director of Vocational Education and Training Centres across Bulgaria.
Erendira Cuevas is co-founder of the San Gabriel Iniciativa in Mexico, an NGO that promotes social, cultural and economic development, citizen participation and civil society in the municipality of San Gabriel in the south of the state of Jalisco, Mexico. She previously worked in the Maison des Entrepreneurs, BNP Paribas in Paris. She is interested in the development of civil society politics as an alternative to Mexico’s failed political parties.
Sreten Kocevski is Executive Director of the Community Development Institute in Macedonia. He lives in Tetovo. He is interested in ethnicity and civil society, inter-ethnic community relations in the Balkans, reconciliation processes after military conflicts, democratisation processes, leadership development in emerging democracies and volunteer organisations. He is also a documentary film-maker.
Muswahili Evans lives in Kenya, and works for the National Organisation of Volunteers in Kenya in governance and human rights, and is Secretary of the Association of Social Entrepreneurs in Vihiga. He has a passionate interest in innovative social solutions in criminal justice. He is active in the Kenya Network of Grassroots Organisations, and in the Party of National Unity.
Reinier van Hoffen is a Dutch social entrepreneur with a mission to keep civil society space open worldwide. He is the founder of YOURWORLD Nederland, a network of individuals interested in civil society. He advises in agricultural development, water management and food security. He is active in ChristenUnie, a small Christian political party for whom he is a parliamentary candidate. He lives near Utrecht.
Vern Hughes lives in Melbourne Australia and is Director of the Centre for Civil Society. He founded the Social Entrepreneurs Network (Australia – New Zealand) in 2001, and was Director of the Cooperative Federation of Victoria. He is a historian of social, cooperative and distributist movements, with interests in Christian social thought, the personalisation agenda in social policy, and citizen, consumer and family empowerment processes.