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Author and Speaker
Founder & CEO
Afghan Institute of Learning
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is the Founder and CEO of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL). Dr. Yacoobi also established four private high schools and a private hospital in Afghanistan. She co-founded Creating Hope International, a US based non-profit. After traveling to Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and seeing the devastating impact that years of war was having on her people, Dr. Yacoobi began AIL to provide education, training and healthcare to Afghans, particularly women and children. Under Dr. Yacoobi’s leadership AIL has developed in to a groundbreaking organization working at the grassroots to empower women and communities and has reached 12 million people. Dr. Yacoobi was born in Herat, Afghanistan. In the 1970’s she traveled to the US where she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of the Pacific and master's degree in public health from Loma Linda University. She has received many honors and awards including five honorary doctorates and the prestigious Opus Prize.
PETER NICKS’ latest feature documentary The Waiting Room, which chronicles a day-in-the-life of an Oakland, CA hospital waiting room, was released in 2012 to critical acclaim, being named by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle as the best documentary of 2012 and shortlisted for an Academy Award. The Washington Post named The Waiting Room one of the “ten best films of 2012” and the film garnered numerous accolades including the Stella Artois Truer The Fiction filmmaking grant, Gotham IFP and Independent Spirit Award nominations for best documentary and a Cinema Eye nomination for best debut feature. Prior to his recent work in film, Nicks directed numerous projects for television. In 2006 He earned an Emmy Award for Blame Somebody Else, which explored human trafficking during the Iraq War. Nicks is now developing a film about the Oakland Police Department, the second of a trilogy of character-driven films exploring health care, criminal justice and education in Oakland, CA.
Joe Brilliant is the Founder and CEO of EduCrate (www.educrate.co), a new video curation platform for education. EduCrate's mission is to empower teachers and students with the best educational videos the web has to offer by creating an extensively curated free resource of standards-aligned video collections (called "crates"): all curated by teachers, for teachers. EduCrate is a recent graduate of Matter, the leading media-focused, mission-driven start up accelerator in the United States. Matter's limited partners are the Knight Foundation and KQED (the Northern California affiliate of PBS). Prior to founding EduCrate, Joe was the Online Marketing Manager at Current TV, and Founding Director of Marketing and Development at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. He received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his MBA from the University of Oxford, where he was awarded an Associate Fellowship from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship. In his spare time, Joe enjoys spelunking underground music, obsessing over the SF Giants, 49ers, Warriors and Cal Bears (depending on the season), and hanging with friends (human and canine).
Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
Aruna Roy began work as a civil servant. In 1975, she resigned to join the Social Work and Research Centre. In 1987, along with Shanker Singh, and Nikhil Dey, she helped form MK SS - a grassroots peasants and workers organisation, credited for founding India’s Right to Information movement. As a member of the central government’s National Advisory Council from 2004-2006, she played a key role in incorporating strong citizens entitlements in the Right to Information and National Rural Employment Guarantee Acts.
Chief Executive Officer
Partners in Food Solutions
Jeff currently serves as the CEO of Partners in Food Solutions, a consortium of leading global food companies - General Mills, Cargill, DSM and Buhler- who are committed to improving food security and nutrition in the developing world by sharing the knowledge and expertise of their employees with small and growing food processors. Jeff’s career has included numerous business development, marketing and communication roles at both large, global organizations like Cargill and World Vision as well as at several smaller start-up ventures. Jeff’s current work is shaped and informed by having spent half his career in business and the other half in relief and development (including two years living and working in Lusaka, Zambia) leading to a unique and practical understanding of how both of these sectors can benefit from the other and accomplish more together than apart.
Director of Innovation Investments
Alex is Director of Innovation Investments at the Skoll Foundation. The Innovation Investment program aims to scale the proven innovative approaches of Skoll social entrepreneurs to accelerate impact on the world's most pressing problems. Alex has spent his career supporting entrepreneurs in both for-profit and non-profit settings. Alex spent over 18 years as a venture capital investor in San Francisco and Southeast Asia. Alex has also served for more than 20 years as Chairman and President of the Excelerate Foundation. Alex earned a B.A. degree from Tulane University, studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and holds an MBA from Cornell University.
Ari Johnson, MD is the founder of Muso, a rapidly growing non-profit that redesigns health systems to save lives in the world’s poorest communities. Muso has partnered with the Malian Ministry of Health since 2008 to design and test a new model health system for stopping preventable child deaths. In 2013, Muso’s model for reducing child mortality won the global GSK Healthcare Innovation Award. Ari trained at Harvard Medical School and is now a resident physician at the University of California San Francisco. He has conducted research at the National Institutes of Health, the International Health Institute, the Medical Research Council of South Africa, Brown University, Harvard University, and the Kuvin Center. He has published peer-reviewed articles and essays on health system design, barriers to health care access, infectious disease, AIDS, and migration. Ari was a National Goldwater Scholar and the recipient of the Harvard Presidential Scholars in Public Service Award.
Co-Founder and Chairperson
As the Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Orfalea Foundation, Natalie Orfalea is the visionary behind the foundation’s initiatives in early childhood education, food system reform, youth development, education, and disaster readiness. Natalie is a “hands-on” philanthropist and change agent in her community. Her entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy combines her heart for social issues with her business approach to solving problems. Following a successful career at Xerox Corporation, she ran an independent product development firm, and raised two sons. Natalie currently also serves on the board of the Good Night Foundation, and is a member of University of California Santa Barbara’s Council for Arts & Lectures, as well as the Children’s Museum of Santa Barbara’s honorary board. She formerly served on the boards of the Montana Yellowstone Expeditions Foundation, Direct Relief, All Kinds of Minds, and UCSB Chancellor’s Council. In 2013, she was named an honorary alumna of University of California Santa Barbara in recognition of her advocacy work in education. Natalie enjoys engaging conversations and working with partners to find creative solutions to social issues.