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Free The Children
In 1995, when Craig Kielburger was 12, he was shocked by a newspaper article about the murder of a child laborer turned child rights activist. Craig enlisted the help of his brother, Marc, and they established Free The Children (FTC), to help fight poverty, exploitation and powerlessness among their peers. The organization began as a group of classmates raising money and awareness, and evolved into an international phenomenon: hundreds of Youth in Action school chapters, a partnership with Oprah’s Angel Network and volunteer service trips to Asia, Africa and Central America. Craig never stopped spreading the message that children in the Western world could effect social change. Marc, a Harvard graduate, Rhodes Scholar and Oxford-educated lawyer, has helped the organization move from focusing strictly on international issues to bridging the gap between global and local needs.
Social Progress Imperative
Amy Wares is Research Director at the Social Progress Imperative. A specialist in international development and competitiveness, she has worked for more than a decade with governments, non-profit organizations and consulting firms to design activities that improve the competitiveness of emerging economies.
Program Manager, Youth Learning
The MasterCard Foundation
Steve has ten years of development experience. He currently manages a portfolio of Youth Learning projects at the MasterCard Foundation focusing on skills training and connecting young people to markets. Steve is also the focal point within the Foundation for the Youth Think Tank. He has lived and worked in South Sudan, Angola and Sierra Leone in field management positions and was also the International Programs Director for a Youth Development organization. Steve has a Master’s in Social Work from Carleton University and a Master’s of Post-War Reconstruction and Development from the University of York.
Founder, Executive Director
Safeena has been committed to girls' education in India since 2002. She has worked extensively with rural and urban underserved communities in South America, Africa and Asia. From 1997 to 2004, she was the Chief Executive Director for Child Family Health International in San Francisco, managing and supporting a range of development programs in the area of health. She was also Board Chair of the International Development Exchange in San Francisco, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable solutions to poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as serving on the Advisory Council of the Clarence Foundation. Safeena Husain holds a B.S. from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, and was born and raised in New Delhi, India.
Author and Speaker
International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Technology Policy Analyst
Boru is a technology policy analyst and evaluator. As the CPWF’s Innovation and Impact Director he provides leadership in the design and implementation of all CPWF activities relating to generating and evaluating outcomes and impacts. The CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) is an international, multi-institutional research initiative with a strong emphasis on north-south and south-south partnerships. Its goal is to increase the productivity of water used for agriculture, leaving more water for other users and the environment.
Author and Speaker
Amazon Conservation Team
Mark Plotkin was born and raised in New Orleans and educated at Harvard, Yale and Tufts. In 1995, Plotkin and prominent Costa Rican conservationist Liliana Madrigal formed the Amazon Conservation Team to protect the rainforest in partnership with local indigenous peoples. ACT has now worked with 32 tribes throughout Amazonia. Plotkin received the San Diego Zoo Gold Medal for Conservation (1993) and the Roy Chapman Andrews Distinguished Explorer Award (2004). Time magazine called him an "Environmental Hero for the Planet" (2001) and Smithsonian magazine hailed him as one of "35 Who Made a Difference" (2005), along with other notables like Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, and fellow New Orleanian Wynton Marsalis. In March 2008, Plotkin and Madrigal won the Skoll Award. In May 2010, Mark Plotkin received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. In 2013, he published articles in Harvard magazine, Forbes, and the Huffington Post.
Robin D’Alessandro is the CEO of the Vitol Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Vitol Group of Companies. In 2013, the Vitol Foundation supported 256 projects through 157 partners in 65 countries. The goal of the Foundation is to enable children living in deprivation to escape the cycle of poverty through investments in transformational, efficient, sustainable, scalable and replicable development projects. The Vitol Foundation’s core programmes are in Health, Water & Sanitation, Education and Livelihoods, with a separate allocation for Emergency response. Prior to managing the Vitol Foundation, Robin was the Country Director for Vitol’s oil business in Iraq and as a Middle East specialist, she spent the last 20 years of her career working with OPEC-producing countries from trading posts in New York, Singapore and London.
Chairman of Provida Eastern
European Venture Philanthropy Foundation
Ladislav Kossar is an entrepreneur and social venture capital investor. His philanthropic activities focus on improving the lives of underpriviliged children and incubating social enterprises for handicapped and disabled. In his venture philanthropy work he searches for such solutions, where proven business tools can be applied to solve major social challanges. His search for a more fulfilled life outside of the investment world brought him to volunteer work with orphan children, where young leaders bring friendship and skill-based education to 4000 children. In 2010 he founded PROVIDA FOUNDATION, a venture philanthropy organization, which invests in social enterprises aimed at improving the lives of the underpriviliged and provides loans and grants to young future leaders with a strong drive for social engagement. Key tools for PROVIDA to achieve it’s goals are education, entrepreneurship and volunteering. He believes in power of empathy and integrity as core values..
Chief Executive Officer
Josh Nesbit is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Medic Mobile, a nonprofit technology company on a mission to improve health equity in under-served communities. Josh also created Hope Phones, a cell phone recycling campaign designed to engage millions of Americans in global health efforts. He is an Ashoka Fellow, PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Rainer Arnhold Fellow. Josh was selected by Devex as one of 40 Under 40 Leaders in International Development, received the Truman Award for Innovation from the Society for International Development, and in 2011, he was named by Forbes as one of the world’s 30 top social entrepreneurs. Medic Mobile supports over 7,000 community health workers across 20 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the US. The company develops mobile and web platforms optimized for stockout monitoring, disease surveillance, emergency response, and coordination for maternal and child healthcare.
President and CEO, and Senior Director, Sustainability
Autodesk Foundation and Autodesk, Inc.
Lynelle Cameron is President and CEO of the Autodesk Foundation, and the Senior Director of Sustainability at Autodesk, Inc. Prior to spending 15 years leading sustainability teams in the private sector, Cameron worked on the front lines of conservation and community development with the Mountain Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. Cameron serves on a number of nonprofit boards including the Center for Environmental Health, the Biomimicry Institute, Net Impact, and UC Berkeley Center for Responsible Business.