Erica Gies is a freelance environmental reporter who lives in San Francisco.
Her work appears in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Wired News, Grist, World Watch magazine, KALW radio, and other outlets. In 10 years on the environment beat, Erica Gies has covered energy, water, climate policy, green business, green building and urban planning, waste, ecosystem biology, and more.
She holds a masters degree in literature from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor in English and journalism from Northern Arizona University.
Barbara Mabanza is the founder of KrauseLocke.de, an online beauty portal for black women in Germany. KrauseLocke.de gives hair and skin-care tips and opens a room for discussion on topics such as racism, integration and belonging.
Maren Zeidler is an editor at Digital Development Debates web magazine, and lived in Turkey for eleven years. She studied political science, history and cultural anthropology at Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, Germany and development studies at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, Great Britain. Maren has worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH since 2010.
Cindy Gallop is a New York based advertising consultant, and founder of the IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn projects. Gallop studied English Literature at Somerville College at Oxford University, and received a MA from Oxford University in English Language and Literature and a MA from Warwick University in Theater of the European Renaissance.
At the 2009 TED conference, Gallop launched the makelovenotporn.com website in a 4-minute TEDTalk that the TED blog described as "one of the event's most talked about." The goal of makelovenotporn is to provide more realistic information about human sexuality than that provided by hardcore pornography.
Shukria Barakzai represents Kabul Province as a Member of the House of the People, the lower house of the National Assembly of Afghanistan, and is a member of the Defence Committee. She was elected to Parliament for the first time in 2005 and has worked as a lawmaker ever since.
Shukria is also the founder of the weekly "Aina-e-Zan" newspaper (Women's Mirror) and Head of the Asian Women Organisation.
Under the regime of the Taliban and during the civil war, Shukria gave secret education classes to girls. Afterwards she became a member of the Constitution Commission.
Shukria holds a bachelor's degree in Archaeology and Geology from Kabul University.
Alice Bayer holds a Masters Degree in Development Studies from SOAS University in London, United Kingdom. Her thesis focussed on indigenous rights in Mexico.
She is currently the International Media Coordinator at the tribal rights organisation Survival International. There she is involved in campaigns for the protection of tribal people's land rights and against prejudice in the media.
Jackline Jazrawi is captain of the Palestinian national women's soccer team. She plays for the Diyar Club from the city of Bethlehem, where she also serves as a trainer and sports coordinator. She joined the club when it was founded in 2008, and has played as a defender for the national team ever since.
Jackline holds a degree in Biology and Medical Technology from Bethlehem University.
Iriann Freemantle is a researcher based at the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
Her research focusses on migration, social cohesion, conflict and xenophobia. She is particularly interested in exploring how conflict between different groups in South Africa's mobile, diverse and marginalised informal settlements can be prevented in the short and long term.
Isabelle Quehe is the president of Universal Love Association and the founder of the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris.
Universal Love has been promoting ethical fashion and fabrics since 1995 and supports young fashion designers by organising small showroom events in Paris called "free markets". Recently, Universal Love has decided to expand the idea of "free markets" by also arranging these events for young artists and musicians.
The Ethical Fashion Show was founded in 2004 and is the first international fair dedicated to ethical fashion.
Dominik Ziller is a fully qualified lawyer who worked in the German government's Press and Information Office from 1994 to 1998 in a range of positions, such as in the Legal Department and the Government Spokesman's Office.
From 1998 to 2011 he had different roles in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development: appropriations in bilateral and multilateral operations units until 2006, Head of the Budget Department from 2006 to 2010, Head of the Asia, Governance, and Human Rights Department as of May 2010.
Since May 2011, he has been on leave to the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) where he heads up the Migration Division and is a member of the GIZ Executive Management Committee.
Claudia Schwegmann is the founder of the OpenAid project and board member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany (OKF). OpenAid promotes open data and transparency in development cooperation and became part of the Open Knowledge Foundation in 2012. Since 2009 OpenAid has organised trainings and conferences on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and open data in Germany and other European countries. The most recent project of OpenAid is www.offene-entwicklungshilfe.de
Claudia Schwegmann she is a theologian, political scientist and organisational development consultant by training. She works as a freelance project evaluator and consultant in organisational change and online tools in Germany and developing countries, primarily in Africa.
Lutz Preuss is Reader in Corporate Social Responsibility at the School of Management of Royal Holloway University of London.
His research has addressed a range of cross-national issues around corporate social responsibility, not least differences in approaches to CSR between firms from developed and developing countries. He holds a PhD from King's College London and has published widely in leading academic journals in the field of CSR.
Lydia Illge is researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT) in Berlin, Germany.
She holds Masters degrees in Business management and Economics. Her fields of research include assessing the contributions of businesses towards sustainable development and corporate sustainability management. Before becoming a researcher she worked for a regional economic development company in Germany.
Andrea Kolb is an experienced marketing expert and social entrepreneur. She studied economics and cultural management.
After having worked for different agencies in Frankfurt, London and Monaco, she founded the agency "Calliope-inspiring brand communicaton" in Munich in 2001.
She developed marketing projects for Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank AG, o2 Germany, Mercedes-Benz and others. In 2006 she moved to Berlin.
In 2007, together with her husband, Bernd Kolb, she realised the concept of AnaYela - "A place of Inspiration" in the Medina of Marrakech - that won already 4 times the World Hotel Award. In May 2011 she started the social business "ABURY". Under the positioning of "Beyond Fashion", ABURY combines the desire for style and ethics, exclusiveness and sustainability in a unique and innovative concept.
Haron Wachira was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2010 for his "entire value chain intervention model" for rural wealth creation. Recently, he has been nominated for the Ashoka Globalizer, in order to take his idea to a global level.
Previously, Haron served as a Chairman of the Tana Water Services Board. For his innovative contributions in the water sector during that time, he was awarded a Head of State Commendation by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki in 2005.
Haron has long worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and later as an independent consultant, he has established several businesses and consulted with blue chip companies in ICT and management.
Haron holds a postgraduate diploma in computer based information systems from Sunderland University and is currently doing an MBA in leadership at the University of Liverpool.
Markos Lemma is specialised in ICT and innovation management consultancy. He is a co-founder of the iceaddis innovation hubs network in Ethiopia.
Markos has been working for GIZ since 2007 as a technical advisor and ran the ePrivateSector Development project until 2011 as a project coordinator.
He is a blogger and GlobalVoices author. He speaks in different conferences about innovation hubs, tech communities, mobile technology, social media and blogging. He also organises different tech events in Addis Ababa.
Geraldine de Bastion works as a lead consultant and project manager for newthinking communications in Berlin.
She previously worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit mbH (GIZ) as well as the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in the areas of information and communications technology for development, knowledge management, education, business development, corporate social responsibility and public-private partnerships.
Geraldine's recent work has been focussing on citizen journalism and media development in Africa and open and decentralized technologies.
Yehuda Shaul, 29, was born and raised in Jerusalem in an ultra-Orthodox family. After graduating from a yeshiva high school in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, Yehuda served in the IDF as commander and platoon sergeant in the 50th battalion of the Nahal Brigade from 2001 to 2004.
In 2004, Yehuda founded "Breaking the Silence" with a group of fellow veterans, where he currently serves as the organization’s Co-Director and Foreign Relations Officer.
Bianca Seberkste currently works in the Internet, Social Media and Public Communication Division at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. In addition to communication in new media in particular, she specializes in the Balkan Region. She studied Political Science and Slavic Studies in Heidelberg with a focus on South-eastern Europe. In her article, Bianca expresses her personal view rather than the official policy of the ministry.
Sarah Klein has worked for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH from 2009 to 2013. Sarah holds a Master's degree in political science. She was chief editor of Digital Development Debates from 2010 to 2013.
Milena Paglia holds a BA in Oriental Culture and Civilizations and a MA in African and Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Bologna (Italy).
She works at a freelance journalist for online media and as a freelance translator for Global Voices. Her main focus is on the Arab world, particularly on the topic of mass media and political and social change in the MENA region.
She has dedicated her univerity career to the study of Arabic to learn which she has travelled to Tunisia and Syria. She is now intern researcher at the European Institute of the Mediterranean (Barcelona).
Jerry Sommer studied history and political science in Hamburg. He works as a Research Associate at the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC). His many publications include work on security perception on Cyprus, the military budget for Greece and the nuclear conflict with Iran for the BICC.
He also works as a freelance journalist for German media (including WDR Radio, NDR Radio, Deutschlandfunk, Tageszeitung, The Atlantic Times) on topics of international security/armament policy and European politics.
Leila Nachawati is a Spanish-Syrian communication strategist and human rights activist with a special focus on the Middle East and North Africa. She is a professor of Communications at Carlos III University in Madrid, where she is currently studying her PhD on media and repressive contexts. She writes for several media like El Mundo, Eldiario.es, Global Voices Online and Al-Jazeera. Follow her on Twitter: