Luis Jimbo: Luis Jimbo is currently executive director of the Institute for Electoral Systems and Democracy (IASED) in Luanda, Angola, through which he promotes youth involvement in constitutional reform and Angola’s democracy. He was born in the province of Huila, southern Angola, during his parent’s journey to the south following the outbreak of the Angolan civil war in 1975. He completed his primary education in the province of Namibe where, at the age of 13, he also took his first volunteer job with the National Radio of Angola. In 1992, during the period of political reform and liberalization that followed the cessation of violence, Luis was one of the pioneering members of Angolan civil society when he became a member of the ‘Clube de Amigos Persitentes Dez (CAP 10)’- the first association registered with the Government Department of Youth in his town in Namibe. In 1998, following the failure of the Lusaka Peace Accords, Luis became a founding member of a network of youth organizations called the “Jovens Fazedores da Paz”. In 2002, following the signing of the Luena Protocol which ended the Angolan Civil War, Luis moved to Luanda where he studied law at the Universidade Agostinho Neto, and where he worked for the international NGO, Search for Common Ground. Luis is also an elections observer.
Artur Papyan: Artur Papyan works as an internet journalist for RFE/RL’s Armenian service. He also freelances as a media and technology consultant and trainer. In the past, Artur has worked as the Armenian country coordinator for the London based Media Diversity Institute.
Shahana Siddiqui: Shahana Siddiqui is a development practitioner and a member of the Drishtipat Writers’ Collective. She contributes regularly for the Forum Magazine, the monthly policy focused magazine brought out by the largest English daily in Bangladesh, The Daily Star. She is also the co-founder of a youth-based free political thinking forum called The Bangladeshi (www.thebangladeshi.org). Shahana can be reached at:email@example.com
Nick Shchetko: Nick Shchetko is an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) journalist/editor/analyst from Belarus, working in the field for over 12 years. He works as a contributing editor for the largest Belarusian web-media site, TUT.BY. He covers topics ranging from social issues to advanced technology breakthroughs. Nick is keen on mobile and web-development technology, translation, and reading. He is also an avid volleyball player.
Ran Bar-Yoshafat: Ran Bar-Yoshafat is a young Israeli from Ramat HaSharon – a coastal city just north of Tel Aviv. He is currently pursuing his MBA at Tel Aviv University. Ran has a law degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he did his law residency in the legal department of the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, working with the Education, Culture and Sports Committee, the House Committee and the Childcare Committee. For the past four years he has worked freelance for MASA, an umbrella exchange organization in Israel for Jewish youth, for which he gives lectures about Israel’s political and security issues, and teaches leadership courses. Ran has a passion for education and advocacy and is a member of groups including StandWithUs Israeli Fellowship program, the World Union of Jewish Students, and the Word Jewish Diplomatic Corps; he is also on the board of the IMPACT! Alumni club – a branch of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces that gives scholarships to low-income ex-soldiers. As part of his community outreach work, Ran helps minority groups in Israel, such as Ethiopian Jews, those with learning disabilities, and the ultra-Orthodox to prepare and pass the Israeli university entrance exam, so that they can enroll in university, obtain a higher education, join the Israeli workforce and have a better future. In 1999 and 2000, Ran was Israeli national champion for mixed martial arts, and served in an elite Special Forces unit in the Israeli defense forces.
Yovav Kalifon: I am a 29 year old Israeli who recently finished a M.Sc. program in theoretical physics, and is now trying to make up for it by traveling and seeing more of the actual world. I recently came back to Israel to attend my brother’s wedding. I crossed in to Israel from Jordan, after flying there from India, sailing there from Egypt, going there by bus, and hitchhiking to the border from where I am sitting right now. I moved out of Kibbutz Tsubah to live in Jerusalem. I work formlly very irregularly, giving private math/physics lessons, and translating academic articles whenever I’m lucky enough to find a client. The idea is to leave maximal free time to do my own thing, recently which has been getting into peace organization, and promoting my own initiatives as I see best.
Roberto Carlos Gutiérrez Martínez: Roberto Carlos Gutiérrez Martínez holds a major in International Relations from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), a M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and several courses in Prague, Ottawa, Moscow and Washington D.C. Roberto is fluent in English and Spanish and has working knowledge of French. He has over ten years of work experience in the public and private sectors working for the Mexican government at embassies in Canada and Czech Republic, as advisor to the Secretary for Political Affairs at the OAS and analyst for Kissinger McLarty Associates, a consulting firm based in DC and New York.
Roberto led a consulting team, for the Spanish consulting firm Competitiveness, assisting the government of Guanajuato in creating strategies to promote development in selected economic clusters. Currently he is the Executive Director of International Debate Education Association (IDEA) for Mexico and Latin America. Roberto is also CEO and Founder of RCG Consulting, an independent consulting firm for governments and international organizations, and a Professor of Economics and International Affairs.
Mercy Abang: Mercy Abang is a reporter and blogger, and writes on politics and current affairs in Nigeria. She is the Managing Editor, Citizens Platform an on-line television and Radio news platform. She is a volunteer and a member of EnoughIsEnough, Nigeria, and She is a media consultant (social/traditional). Her personal blog is: http://abangmercy.wordpress.com/, and she is on twitter at @AbangMercy and facebook: Abang Mercy Banku with URL http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594698683&ref=tn_tnmn
Emeka Nweze: Emeka Nweze is an autodidact, a writer and media ecologist. He holds a Bachelor of Communications from University of California. He presently resides in Abuja, Nigeria and is completing the national youth service program.
Zaina Awad: Zaina Awad was born and raised in Jerusalem, Palestine. Majoring in Anthropology with a special interest in community health and development, Zaina graduated from Princeton University in 2009. Following graduation, Zaina had the opportunity to work as a Princeton AlumniCorps fellow at the World Faiths Development Dialogue in Washington, DC. Afterwards, Zaina returned to Jerusalem, where she currently works with an initiative that aims to improve the quality of education in a selection of the neediest schools in East Jerusalem. Some of Zaina’s favourite hobbies while living in Palestine include exploring Jerusalem’s Old City, riding bikes in Jericho, and indulging in a newly found passion for hummus and falafel.
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