Meet the Speakers
Acha Patandjila is a Congolese poet based in Canada. She started reciting poetry as far as kindergarten, and by 18 years old she practiced theatrical poetry with Kitara Nation, a poetry firm in Uganda, where she often performed at the Ugandan National theatre. She is an award-winning poet who is also a published author of the book “Decountryrized” where she explains the current political situation of her country and the African continent at large.
Florin is a WUSC volunteer in Sri Lanka, working with the Sri Lanka institute of Tourism and Hotel Management as the Communication and Digital Media Advisor. She is a very engaged, caring and energetic young leader, who has at heart the well being of her people and her community in Sri Lanka. She worked as a Prime Time News Anchor and Producer at MTV in Sri Lanka for 4 years, and completed her MBA when she was 25 years old.
Moraa Beryl holds a bachelor degree in Biomedical Sciences with Information Technology from Maseno University in Kenya. She is an Akili Dada Fellow and the founder of She Deserves to Soar, a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting young women through solidarity and education. In 2022, she participated in the WUSC International Seminar on Economic Opportunities for Refugee Youth.
The quote that inspired us to invite her to deliver closing remarks for this year's International Forum:
"As long as you have the passion, you can contribute towards advancing the rights and creating a better and just world where all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, education, religion, and economic status, are free from any form of discrimination and oppression. You can make a difference in your small way; it counts."
Myriam holds a Bachelor's degree in Education from the Université de Montréal and a major in Career Development from the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in International and Intercultural Communication. Her thesis project focuses on the mobility of Quebec youth in international cooperation. Myriam has been involved with WUSC-UQAM as president since 2018 and is also involved with the Conseil Jeunesse de Montréal. Through her volunteer, academic and professional background, she wishes to put forward the importance of youth civic engagement, and pays particular attention to the democratization of education and "living together".
Fast Action/Deep thinking: The Way We Do Aid
Ariana Arguello is a sustainability professional working in the energy industry in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is focused on developing sustainability leaders within and outside of the energy sector, with the goal of scaling and accelerating transformational change efforts for a more sustainable future for all. The areas of focus that she applies to her work include: systems thinking, cultivating a sustainability and innovation mindset, building high performing teams and cultivating communities of practice.
The SDGs are her passion, serving as her north star in her career trajectory. Since 2015, she has worked intentionally to integrate the SDGs in the organizations where she’s worked and to spread the word of the transformational nature of the SDGs with her colleagues. This has included her involvement in the Praxis Institute’s Transformational Leadership Program where she collaborates with peers in her professional circles who share a similar passion and who are dedicated to spreading the adoption of a sustainable development lens in all we do.
Ariana is a dedicated volunteer and life-long learner. She has an MBA, a degree in Economics, and certificates in Social Innovation and Project Management. She has served her community as a board member for local organizations for over fifteen years. She’s also served as an advisor for grants for environmental protection, community development and international development initiatives through the Vancouver Foundation and Global Affairs Canada’s Fund for Innovation and Transformation. She is currently a board member for the Association of Energy Services Professionals, an organization dedicated to building the capacity of energy service professionals across North America to support the transition of the energy system to a low carbon future.
Prior to working in the energy sector, Ariana worked for over a decade in the university sector. She is originally from Latin America and has lived in Nicaragua, Chile, Ecuador, the USA and Canada. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children. Her hobbies include hobby farming, connecting with friends and family and enjoying the great outdoors.
Iyad Aljaber is the Founder and General Manager of IDare for Sustainable Development (IDare) since 2013 and Co-Founder and shareholder of the Daring Hub for Training and Development since 2015. Iyad has built both companies as social enterprises as he deeply believes in having youth potential activated to reach a society where youth partner in shaping public life. Iyad’s passion is to work side by side with young women and men supporting them to unleash their agency while developing their own initiatives and helping them reach their aspirations whether in education, employment or entrepreneurship.
Iyad has more than fifteen years of experience working with youth, youth organizations, civil society organizations, community organizations, media outlets, private sector, academia, national and local government bodies from Jordan, MENA countries and EU Member States on building their capacity, training and mentorship in diverse topics; positive youth development, volunteerism, non-formal learning, project development and management, advocacy, awareness campaigns, business and social entrepreneurship, gender mainstreaming, sustainable development, green solutions, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, peace, prevention of violent extremism (PVE) and radicalization in different capacities; as trainer, project manager, researcher, policy expert, PVE expert, as well as designer and implementer at a local, national and international level. The methodologies used in the implementation of these projects vary between non-formal education, formal and informal. Iyad has been engaged in the design and implementation of the strategy of the recognition of youth work in the South Mediterranean region under the Erasmus+/EU funded program.
Managing Director, Equality Fund
Leaving No One Behind: Sogiesc Considerations In Global Development
Dave-Ann Moses is an advocate in the feminist-queer organizing space as well as a communications and digital marketing professional. She is the Digital Marketing and Communications Manager at WE-Change JA, Dave-Ann also organizes regular digital queeribbean community conversations, and is a Caribbean Bookstagrammer who adores gathering black queer community around Caribbean literature. Dave-Ann is committed to creating a more inclusive, caring and connected queer community throughout the Caribbean through the use of media and communications.
Matthew Blaise Nwozaku
Matthew ‘Blaise’ Nwozaku is a non-binary, openly gay activist in Nigeria. They’ve dedicated their lives and work to confronting the violence towards gender non-conforming persons & Queer people in Nigeria by creating safe spaces for the LGBTQI+ community, advocating for Queer rights through online and in-person events, and mobilizing actions.
They are the Founder of Òbòdò, a youth-led LGBTQ+ organization in Nigeria; the mission of the project is to create safe spaces, foster discussion and strategy, to mobilize members in direct action, and create greater awareness among Nigerians and Africans of the abundance and diversity of its LGBTQ+ community. Their work has brought much-needed visibility to the plight of queer Africans.
They are a recipient of the MTV EMAs Generation Change award, and they’ve been nominated and awarded the following:
The Future Awards Africa
SOGIESC activist of 2020 by TIERs
DAZED 100 Changemakers
They are also the convener of ‘Queering Christmas’, an annual celebration of Queer resilience and rebellion in Nigeria. During the #ENDSARS protests, they mobilized and used their voice in a declaration that saw millions of views. Their message of queer liberation and Intersectionality reached a global audience, far and wide. As a result of this widely publicized demonstration, they’ve been featured in Vogue, Ze.tt, ZDFheute, Out Magazine, PinkNews, Time, Bloomberg, and Channel4News, among other notable global media outlets and publications.
Mikael Owunna is a Nigerian American multi-media artist, filmmaker, and engineer. Exploring the intersections of technology, art, and African cosmologies, his work seeks to elucidate an emancipatory vision of possibility that revives traditional African knowledge systems and pushes people beyond all boundaries, restrictions, and frontiers.
Owunna’s work has been exhibited across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America and been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Nasher Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Middlebury College Museum of Art; Equal Justice Initiative; Duke University Pratt School of Engineering; and National Taiwan Museum. His work has also been featured in media ranging from the New York Times to CNN, NPR, VICE, and The Guardian. He has lectured at venues including Harvard Law School, World Press Photo (Netherlands), Tate Modern (UK), and TEDx. Owunna has published two monographs: Limitless Africans (FotoEvidence, 2019) and Cosmologies (ClampArt, 2021). Owunna’s multi-media practice includes film, and in 2021 he directed the dance film Obi Mbu (The Primordial House) with Marques Redd. Owunna's work has been commissioned for major public art installations by organizations including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Foundation, Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, Pittsburgh International Airport, and Orange Barrel Media.
Riley Yesno is a queer Anishinaabe scholar, writer, and public intellectual from Eabametoong First Nation.
She is highly sought after for her words and analysis— called a 'rising powerhouse' by the Toronto Star— she has been a contributor and commentator for some of the largest media outlets in Canada and the world, including the New York Times, BBC World News, The Globe and Mail, and CBC National News.
Riley has also travelled the globe speaking at internationally renowned institutions and events, including the UN climate negotiations, the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality, TEDx stages, and many others.
Her major project right now is to finish her Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, where she studies Indigenous/Canadian politics and is a Vanier Scholar.
Women At The Forefront Of The Climate Response: Innovative Solutions From Entrepreneurs In Sub-saharan Africa
Diana Mbogo is the Founder & Managing Director of Millennium Engineers, a Tanzanian renewable energy company specialized in solar and wind energy technologies. Diana holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Dar es Salaam. Diana has appeared as a keynote speaker and participated in different local and international platforms. Diana brings extensive experience in a wide range of business fields, having worked with startups and running a number of initiatives from start to fruition.
Gladys Afetsi is an entrepreneur and owner of Tongulink, which connects buyers to suppliers in the agrifood and commodity market. Through her work, she is working on building partnerships with farmers, food industry experts, and other stakeholders in the food and agriculture industry in Accra, Volta, Eastern, Central, and Northern regions of Ghana. Gladys is passionate about inclusive technologies for the economic empowerment of rural smallholder farmers and startups in the agriculture value chain. She completed a BSc degree in Business Administration (management option) from the University of Professional Studies, Madina.
Sabiha Rashid is the co-founder of Rosho Nut Butters. While pursuing undergraduate studies in Political Science and International Relations at the University of Birmingham, Sabiha was inspired by the variety of healthy and delicious snacking options available in the UK and started Rosho Nut Butters, a business that uses ethically and sustainably sourced cashews from Tanzania to make delicious gourmet spreads.
Serwaa E. Gyawu
Serwaa E. Gyawu is an environmental activist, entrepreneur, and green business coach. She founded Ecocent Recycling to promote a circular economy for plastic and e-waste in Africa and beyond. Within three years of establishment, Ecocent has successfully innovated and implemented four sustainable business models in waste upcycling. As a green business coach, she has trained more than 1500 women and youth in waste recycling and she recently formalized business activities and trained 250 women in the informal sector working in e-waste and scraps at Suame Magazine, the largest scrapyard in West Africa. Serwaa's vision is to design waste out of the environment with an all inclusive approach.
Welcoming And Inclusive Economies For Young Refugees
Emilly Adania is a humanitarian actor and refugee ally in UgandaGANDA with over 8 years’ experience in Gender, Protection, and Livelihoods. WUSC International seminarist 2022 amplifying the voices of people affected by crisis and conflict, especially refugee youth, in unveiling economic opportunities that seek to address unemployment, increase productivity and improve livelihoods for a sustainable and resilient community.
Jared Owuor is a Research Operations Manager at Samuel Hall. He leads the organisation's research operations in Africa and supports the development of research methodologies and tools with a focus on emerging technologies and their impact on refugee support services and systems.
Raymond is the CEO of Expectation State, an employee-owned international development organisation working to grow inclusive economies in emerging states, to benefit society as a whole. He is an experienced International Development professional with broad thematic expertise, including: Inclusive economic growth; migration and displacement; governance; conflict and stability; and socially oriented investment. He has worked extensively across the development sector, with experience of delivering for a wide range of donors, including FCDO, EU, GIZ, Danida, USAID, the World Bank, EBRD, Mastercard Foundation and JICA.
Raymond’s experience spreads across both programmatic and policy levels, with a track record of designing, implementing and evaluating complex programmes and funds across the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. He leads a multi-national, multi-disciplinary team working to deliver transformative change in difficult contexts.
Raymond is a Senior Deployable Civilian Expert for the UK Government Office for Conflict, Stabilisation and Mediation, has recently served as a trustee for the Centre on Religion and Global Affairs and CRGA USA, is a former trustee of a large central-London church, and is a former member of the board of the Lebanese Rugby Union Federation, following an international playing career.