2019 Speakers

Francis Abugbilla is a PhD student in International Studies and a fellow at the International Policy Institute within the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He researches on conflict resolution and peacebuilding mechanisms in post-conflict societies. His dissertation focuses on how post-conflict peacebuilding mechanisms affect the prospects of reconciliation in Africa.

  

Francis was born and raised in Kpantarigo, a small farming community which is not on the map of Ghana and does not have electricity. He walked for a long distance to attend his elementary school at a neighboring community because Kpantarigo had not got a school and he used kerosene lantern to study at night. The lack of electricity makes it impossible for the pupils to have practical computer lessons which is an examinable subject at the end of the junior high school exams. It is in the light of this challenge that Francis wants to bring solar electricity to the school, the teachers’ quarters, and eventually the entire community.

 

Currently, he is collaborating with students at the Clean Energy Institute, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington to install solar panels at the school. They are also applying for grants to extend the project to the community. With his team, they are seeking to partner with KiloWatts for Humanity, a local Seattle NGO. AfriKids Ghana, a child rights NGO that is also working on renewable energy in communities without electricity in Ghana has agreed to collaborate with us. The funds from the Marcy Migdal Fellowship will help Francis and his team installs solar panels at the school and teachers’ quarters in the summer/fall 2018. The funds will also buy a modem that will provide internet.

Francis Abugbilla is a PhD student in International Studies and a fellow at the International Policy Institute within the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He researches on conflict resolution and peacebuilding mechanisms in post-conflict societies. His dissertation focuses on how post-conflict peacebuilding mechanisms affect the prospects of reconciliation in Africa.

  

Francis was born and raised in Kpantarigo, a small farming community which is not on the map of Ghana and does not have electricity. He walked for a long distance to attend his elementary school at a neighboring community because Kpantarigo had not got a school and he used kerosene lantern to study at night. The lack of electricity makes it impossible for the pupils to have practical computer lessons which is an examinable subject at the end of the junior high school exams. It is in the light of this challenge that Francis wants to bring solar electricity to the school, the teachers’ quarters, and eventually the entire community.

 

Currently, he is collaborating with students at the Clean Energy Institute, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington to install solar panels at the school. They are also applying for grants to extend the project to the community. With his team, they are seeking to partner with KiloWatts for Humanity, a local Seattle NGO. AfriKids Ghana, a child rights NGO that is also working on renewable energy in communities without electricity in Ghana has agreed to collaborate with us. The funds from the Marcy Migdal Fellowship will help Francis and his team installs solar panels at the school and teachers’ quarters in the summer/fall 2018. The funds will also buy a modem that will provide internet.

Francis Abugbilla

Peres Owino

This Kenyan born, award-winning storyteller’s directorial debut, “BOUND: Africans vs AfricanAmericans” (BOUND) played several festivals around the world, winning the 2014 Women In Film- Lena Sharpe Award at Seattle International Film Festival, the 2015 Audience Award for Best Documentary at Pan African Film Festival and 2015 Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color Award at NYC’s African Diaspora Film Festival. BOUND screened at universities like Harvard and Columbia, and is currently available on iTunes, Amazon and the Urban Movie Channel. Her latest screenplay, “The Basket Weaver”, winner of the 2015 Meryl Streep Writer’s Lab Competition, 2018 ISA Fast Track Fellowship and finalist of the 2018 Universal Studios Writing Competition and 2015 Hollywood Screenplay Contest is currently in pre-production. “Seasons of Love”, which she co-wrote with Sharon Brathwaite, was produced by Taraji P. Henson and earned them a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Television Movie. Her writing/directing resume also includes original works for the stage with “Cut” which premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall’s REDCAT and “Beauty For Ashes”. A commanding actress and an LA Ovation nominee Peres has appeared in dozens of plays in Los Angeles and New York, playing some of theater’s most coveted roles; Hamlet and Lady Macbeth and continues to build on her film and TV resume. A Groundlings alumni and standup comedian she sometimes performs standup across Los Angeles and a collection of her musings are featured in her debut novel, “On The Verge”.

Simon Okelo founded One Vibe. Raised in the slums of Manyatta in Kisumu, Simon discovered his own potential in art and music, organizing “Unite the People” Concerts in Kisumu in the wake of the 2007 post-election violence. Simon honed his skills in the non-profit business as director at Young Generation Center in Kisumu, Field Director for Africa for Solace International, and Associate Director for MED25 International. Simon started One Vibe to establish a Music & Art Center in Kisumu as a platform to encourage its citizens to participate in critical engagement of culture, art, music, technology, and education to inspire youth to realize their full potential, avoid drugs and violence, and create a sustainable future.

Simon Okelo

Claire Gwaye-Chore 

Claire Gwayi-Chore is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Global Health Implementation Science programme at the University of Washington School of Public Health in the Department of Global Health. She is a global health specialist with extensive experience implementing large-scale school- and community-based interventions within impact evaluation settings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Her interests include: conducting implementations science (IS) research in LMICs, including a cultural adaptation of IS methods and tools for global health practice; capacity building of community health workers; implementing and evaluating community-based and led interventions; scaling interventions for sustainability, and community-level health systems strengthening. She has more than five years of experience providing consulting and technical advisory support to Ministries of Health and Education and to public and private sector partners implementing public health initiatives in multiple countries in East, West and Southeast Africa, South Asia, and in the United States. Claire is passionate about working towards health and economic empowerment and poverty alleviation through community-based participatory research; capacity building of African research institutes and public health professionals; and mentorship, specifically for girls and young women of color.

2019

Workshop Leaders

Arif  Gursel

A serial and social entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience gained from a unique blend of professional backgrounds and responsibilities. Arif specializes in product development, technology strategy, and business model development equipped to lead initiatives and people toward common goals. As a highly adaptable communicator and motivator, he works effectively with diverse management styles and people across all levels of an organization. He credits his success to a blend of curiosity, creativity, persistence, commitment, passion, and realistic “optimism".

 

Arif is most passionate about consumer behavior in the digital space and empowering underserved communities through S.T.E.A.M. education. Specifically, devising strategies that drive physical interactions and engagements from digital touch points, while simultaneously working to diversify technology and entrepreneurship. He loves design in all forms, specifically the simple and beautiful things that delight us. His company VIBEHEAVY continues to serve as a startup lab that creates and spins out new brands, products, and services across multiple industry verticals with a specialty in entertainment, fashion, and hospitality. Similarly, his nonprofit, P.A.C.E., follows a technology startup model.  However, it focuses on initiatives across Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Arts, and Media (S.T.E.A.M) education and activism.

 

When his is not building businesses or serving his community, you can often find him working hard to maintain his status as a super dad, sketching/wireframing, trying new coding trends, reading about concepts in business strategy, and generally doing things to leave the planet a better place than he found it.

 

Arif is currently the Director of Product and Ecosystem Partnerships for Heroku, a Salesforce Company.

Nourah Yonous is first and foremost, a proud Pan-Afrikan: born and raised. She has roots deeply embedded in social justice work; particularly in gender/racial equity and cross cultural-multifaceted-intersectional grassroots community development. Nourah is currently a Founder and Executive Director at African Women Business Alliance- (AWBA), grassroots, strength-based, data-focused, holistic and culturally responsive platform for/by black women diaspora for an inclusive economy. We are pioneering a new understanding of disaggregated data in entrepreneurship; as a case study to ending poverty and leveling the playing field for both men and women. Nourah is a former advocate with CARE Int’l on the maternal crisis, education, child marriage, and poverty in the global south. Nourah is a former Education Organizer at OneAmerica, Capacity-Building Program Manager at Nonprofit Assistance Center, Development Director at East African Community Center, and a Community Leadership Institute Fellow at Puget Sound Sage. She’s a 2019 Cohort for Public Program at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Discovery Center where she has the privilege and honor to co-curates and co-designs public awareness programs that foster inclusion and bring forth the values and voices of the local community. Nourah holds Two BA's in Political Science, Feminist Studies/Theory, and Legal Studies/Pre-law with a concentration on law, gender politics, and social change from University of California Santa Cruz, UCSC. Nourah’s own immigrant narrative and trajectory have shaped her life’s mission work; which centers global south/black feminism and deeply connects with Audre Lorde’s work on intersectionality:” There’s no hierarchy of oppression. There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Nourah is also a proud mother to her sun/champ, Abdel’Razak, and a Siberian husky puppy, Neptune.

Nourah Yonous

Isaiah Udotong is a Nigerian American who focuses on engineering prosperous nations on the African continent. He graduated from MIT in 2018 and worked at Facebook as a software engineer. He is currently an entrepreneur in Nigeria running his own company Releaf. Releaf develops technology to light-process and deliver raw materials for factories in Nigeria. This company is backed by YCombinator. We started with the Vegetable Oil industry. He has been based in Nigeria since Jan 2018.

Isaiah Udotong 

Isaiah Udotong is a Nigerian American who focuses on engineering prosperous nations on the African continent. He graduated from MIT in 2018 and worked at Facebook as a software engineer. He is currently an entrepreneur in Nigeria running his own company Releaf. Releaf develops technology to light-process and deliver raw materials for factories in Nigeria. This company is backed by YCombinator. We started with the Vegetable Oil industry. He has been based in Nigeria since Jan 2018.

2019 Speakers

2019

Keynote Speaker

Francis Abugbilla is a doctoral researcher in International Studies and the International Policy Institute fellow at the University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. He researches on conflict resolution and peacebuilding mechanisms in post-conflict societies. His dissertation focuses on how post-conflict peacebuilding mechanisms affect the prospects of reconciliation in Africa.

  

Francis was born and raised in Kpantarigo, a small farming community which is not on the map of Ghana and does not have electricity. He walked for a long distance to attend his elementary school at a neighboring community because Kpantarigo had not got a school and he used kerosene lantern to study at night. The lack of electricity makes it impossible for the pupils to have practical computer lessons which is an examinable subject at the end of the junior high school exams. It is in the light of this challenge that Francis wants to bring solar electricity to the school, the teachers’ quarters, and eventually the entire community and other communities in the future.

 

Currently, he is collaborating with students at the Clean Energy Institute, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington to install solar panels at the school. He is also applying for grants to extend the project to the community. With his team, they are seeking to partner with KiloWatts for Humanity, a local Seattle NGO. AfriKids Ghana, a child rights NGO that is also working on renewable energy in communities without electricity in Ghana has agreed to collaborate with them. The funds from the Marcy Migdal Fellowship helped Francis and his team to install solar panels at the school and teachers’ quarters in the summer of 2018. He has fundraised over $1000.00 to buy another solar panel in the summer and buy a modem that will provide internet in the school.

Francis Abugbilla

2019

Panelist

Peres Owino

This Kenyan born, award-winning storyteller’s directorial debut, “BOUND: Africans vs AfricanAmericans” (BOUND) played several festivals around the world, winning the 2014 Women In Film- Lena Sharpe Award at Seattle International Film Festival, the 2015 Audience Award for Best Documentary at Pan African Film Festival and 2015 Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color Award at NYC’s African Diaspora Film Festival. BOUND screened at universities like Harvard and Columbia and is currently available on iTunes, Amazon and the Urban Movie Channel. Her latest screenplay, “The Basket Weaver”, winner of the 2015 Meryl Streep Writer’s Lab Competition, 2018 ISA Fast Track Fellowship and finalist of the 2018 Universal Studios Writing Competition and 2015 Hollywood Screenplay Contest is currently in pre-production. “Seasons of Love”, which she co-wrote with Sharon Brathwaite, was produced by Taraji P. Henson and earned them a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Television Movie. Her writing/directing resume also includes original works for the stage with “Cut” which premiered at Walt Disney Concert Hall’s REDCAT and “Beauty For Ashes”. A commanding actress and an LA Ovation nominee Peres has appeared in dozens of plays in Los Angeles and New York, playing some of the theater’s most coveted roles; Hamlet and Lady Macbeth and continues to build on her film and TV resume. A Groundlings alumni and standup comedian she sometimes performs standup across Los Angeles and a collection of her musings are featured in her debut novel, “On The Verge”.

Simon Okelo founded One Vibe. Raised in the slums of Manyatta in Kisumu, Simon discovered his own potential in art and music, organizing “Unite the People” Concerts in Kisumu in the wake of the 2007 post-election violence. Simon honed his skills in the non-profit business as director at Young Generation Center in Kisumu, Field Director for Africa for Solace International, and Associate Director for MED25 International. Simon started One Vibe to establish a Music & Art Center in Kisumu as a platform to encourage its citizens to participate in critical engagement of culture, art, music, technology, and education to inspire youth to realize their full potential, avoid drugs and violence, and create a sustainable future.

Simon Okelo

Nourah Yonous

Nourah Yonous is first and foremost, a proud Pan-Afrikan: born and raised. She has roots deeply embedded in social justice work; particularly in gender/racial equity and cross cultural-multifaceted-intersectional grassroots community development. Nourah is currently a Founder and Executive Director at African Women Business Alliance- (AWBA), grassroots, strength-based, data-focused, holistic and culturally responsive platform for/by black women diaspora for an inclusive economy. We are pioneering a new understanding of disaggregated data in entrepreneurship; as a case study to ending poverty and leveling the playing field for both men and women. Nourah is a former advocate with CARE Int’l on the maternal crisis, education, child marriage, and poverty in the global south. Nourah is a former Education Organizer at OneAmerica, Capacity-Building Program Manager at Nonprofit Assistance Center, Development Director at East African Community Center, and a Community Leadership Institute Fellow at Puget Sound Sage. She’s a 2019 Cohort for Public Program at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Discovery Center where she has the privilege and honor to co-curates and co-designs public awareness programs that foster inclusion and bring forth the values and voices of the local community. Nourah holds Two BA's in Political Science, Feminist Studies/Theory, and Legal Studies/Pre-law with a concentration on law, gender politics, and social change from University of California Santa Cruz, UCSC. Nourah’s own immigrant narrative and trajectory have shaped her life’s mission work; which centers global south/black feminism and deeply connects with Audre Lorde’s work on intersectionality:” There’s no hierarchy of oppression. There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” Nourah is also a proud mother to her sun/champ, Abdel’Razak, and a Siberian husky puppy, Neptune.

2019

Workshop Leaders

Arif  Gursel

A serial and social entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience gained from a unique blend of professional backgrounds and responsibilities. Arif specializes in product development, technology strategy, and business model development equipped to lead initiatives and people toward common goals. As a highly adaptable communicator and motivator, he works effectively with diverse management styles and people across all levels of an organization. He credits his success to a blend of curiosity, creativity, persistence, commitment, passion, and realistic “optimism".

 

Arif is most passionate about consumer behavior in the digital space and empowering underserved communities through S.T.E.A.M. education. Specifically, devising strategies that drive physical interactions and engagements from digital touch points, while simultaneously working to diversify technology and entrepreneurship. He loves design in all forms, specifically the simple and beautiful things that delight us. His company VIBEHEAVY continues to serve as a startup lab that creates and spins out new brands, products, and services across multiple industry verticals with a specialty in entertainment, fashion, and hospitality. Similarly, his nonprofit, P.A.C.E., follows a technology startup model.  However, it focuses on initiatives across Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Arts, and Media (S.T.E.A.M) education and activism.

 

When his is not building businesses or serving his community, you can often find him working hard to maintain his status as a super dad, sketching/wireframing, trying new coding trends, reading about concepts in business strategy, and generally doing things to leave the planet a better place than he found it.

 

Arif is currently the Director of Product and Ecosystem Partnerships for Heroku, a Salesforce Company.

Claire Gwayi-Chore is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in the Global Health Implementation Science programme at the University of Washington School of Public Health in the Department of Global Health. She is a global health specialist with extensive experience implementing large-scale school- and community-based interventions within impact evaluation settings in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Her interests include: conducting implementations science (IS) research in LMICs, including a cultural adaptation of IS methods and tools for global health practice; capacity building of community health workers; implementing and evaluating community-based and led interventions; scaling interventions for sustainability, and community-level health systems strengthening. She has more than five years of experience providing consulting and technical advisory support to Ministries of Health and Education and to public and private sector partners implementing public health initiatives in multiple countries in East, West and Southeast Africa, South Asia, and in the United States. Claire is passionate about working towards health and economic empowerment and poverty alleviation through community-based participatory research; capacity building of African research institutes and public health professionals; and mentorship, specifically for girls and young women of color.

Claire Gwayi-Chore 

Isaiah Udotong is a Nigerian American who focuses on engineering prosperous nations on the African continent. He graduated from MIT in 2018 and worked at Facebook as a software engineer. He is currently an entrepreneur in Nigeria running his own company Releaf. Releaf develops technology to light-process and deliver raw materials for factories in Nigeria. This company is backed by YCombinator. We started with the Vegetable Oil industry. He has been based in Nigeria since Jan 2018.

Isaiah Udotong 

Tamuka Martin Chidyausiku was born and raised in Gweru, Zimbabwe and came to America 10 years ago for his undergraduate university. He graduated Cum Laude from the oldest Historically Black College in South Carolina; Claflin University then set his sights on applications of Protein Biochemistry. After matriculating through the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research post-Baccalaureate scholars program, Tamuka blazed a new trail to the University of Washington in Seattle. Today he is a bona fide research scientist at the Institute for Protein Design studying computational biology and protein design. Tamuka, or Muk as he is affectionately called by his online students, is also a graduate student in the Biochemistry department where he is launching his Instagram and YouTube class on “Hip Hop Biochemistry @TamukaInvestments”. will be graduating this June as the 1st Black PhD candidate in the Biological Physics Structure and Design program as well as in the whole Institute for Protein Design. As an openly gay, black international student, Tamuka believes that representation matters and visibility is the key to STEMulating the future generation of diverse scientists. To this end Tamuka also founded and is the CEO of one of the Foster Business School’s Environmental Innovation Challenge startup company winners and one of this year’s conference sponsors; the Chibage Chip. This agritech company reflects Tamuka’s vision of a more equitable society with Africa leading the charge in the new global market.

Tamuka Chidyausiku

2018 Speakers

K. Wyking Garrett is the President & CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust and chief strategist for the Africatown community development initiative in Seattle, WA. A third generation community builder and recognized change agent, Wyking designings programs and initiatives that catalyze, mobilize and activate communities for policy change and social impact. He has been a co-catalyst for several Seattle based initiatives including precedent setting real estate development projects Liberty Bank Building and Africatown Plaza, Umoja PEACE Center, Hack The CD, Black Dot business incubator and Africatown Center for Education Innovation. He was a founding director of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center in Seattle, WA anf for fifteen years he served in various leadership capacities including chair and managing director of the Umoja Fest Africatown Heritage Festival & Parade, the Pacific Northwest's longest running Pan African festival. Wyking has been the recipient of several awards including 2014 Center for Ethical Leadership Legacy Leadership Award and the Tabor 100 2016 Crystal Eagle Award. He is also an inaugural member of the City of Seattle Music Commission and Alumni Fellow with Green For All, a leading U.S. environmental advocacy organization.

K. Wyking Garrett

Nadia Kemal is an Ethiopian-American environmental strategist that has worked with Fortune 500 companies, NGO’s  and government agencies to develop environmentally conscious business models. Nadia holds a B.A. in International Relations and a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Florida. Prior to graduating from college, Nadia gained experience through conservation-based internships covering topics such as sustainable agriculture, climate change, biodiversity and water pollution. Former affiliations include the Coca-Cola Company, National Geographic, Intel Talent Search, the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, XPRIZE and Florida Fish & Wildlife. Nadia currently works on her independent research project full-time as a participant in the Shell GameChanger Programme. Her research is based at Mote Marine Laboratory in South Florida where she’s developing phytoremediation technology as a potential solution for water and soil pollution. Her passion for sustainability is deeply rooted in positively impacting underdeveloped communities that lack access to pure, natural resources.

Nadia Kemal

Adaobi Egboka is currently an LL.M. candidate at the University of Washington School of Law, studying Sustainable International Development Law, Class of 2018. She is a lawyer from Nigeria and works as the Executive Programmes Director of Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), human rights non-governmental organization (NGO) in Nigeria. Ms. Egboka has over ten years’ cumulative and progressive experience on access to justice and good governance; and over seven years’ experience in NGO management, project coordination, fund raising, stakeholder management and team/capacity building. Her work focuses on innovative leadership and the effective application of international and human rights treaties and standards through capacity building, strategic litigation, and advocacy. She has championed several campaigns on the passage of progressive legislation in Nigeria, including the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Special Persons’ Law and Domestic Violence Law, both of Lagos State. She is currently at the forefront of the passage of a Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill before the Lagos State House of Assembly. Ms. Egboka works to ensure the full implementation of laws on justice sector reform and prohibition of Gender Based Violence. She manages the West African Focal Point of the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. She served as an expert on Electoral Violence Mitigation at The Electoral Institute, Abuja, from February 2015 -2016. Adaobi has also served as the Technical Assistant on Police Reform in the Rule of Law Advisory Team in the office of the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. She has interest in and has worked extensively on the rights of persons with disabilities. Ms. Egboka is a graduate of Law from the University of Lagos. A fellow of the Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet) where she served as a visiting scholar at Columbia University Law School and interned at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) in New York. She currently working on developing a model for legal empowerment and improving good governance for all, especially for women and persons with disabilities.

Adaobi Egboka 

2018 Breakout Session

Facilitators

Ben Gardner is Associate Professor of Global Studies, Environmental Studies and Cultural Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell. He is also chair of the African Studies Program in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. His research examines the relationship between tourism, conservation and development. His book, Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism questions pervasive myths about who owns nature in Africa and how colonial discourses around conservation shape contemporary environmental politics. He is a recipient of the University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2014). He has a BA in anthropology from Connecticut College, an MS in environmental studies from Yale University, and a PhD in geography from the University of California Berkeley.

Ben Gardner

Eric Opoku Agyemang is the Founder and National Coordinator of Patriots Ghana, a national organization focused on youth leadership and patriotism through volunteer and community development initiatives. He also co-founded the Cheerful Hearts Foundation, a community-based organization that works to address child labor and trafficking in 3 fishing communities in the central region of Ghana. Eric is a fellow of the President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). He is currently pursuing his Masters in Social Work at the University of Washington, majoring in Administration & Policy. In addition, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management from the Methodist University of Ghana.

Eric Opoku Agyemang

Michael Mugambe is a social activist who has spent most of his career in Africa using theatre as a tool for social change and conflict resolution. He is a co-founder of Rafiki Theatre, a nonprofit organization in Kampala, Uganda committed to using a unique form of theatre known as participatory theatre for community dialogue in Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, and Rwanda. His work can be traced through a list of nonprofit organizations he has both co-founded or worked for, like Rafiki Theatre and Etuko Participatory Theatre in Uganda, as well as African Immigrants and Refugee Project in Los Angeles, California. Michael is currently a graduate Social Work candidate at the University of Washington."

Michael Mugambe

Young professionals

live streaming from South Africa & Mozambique

Sibongakonke Kheswa

University of Johannesburg 

Bruno Mourinho 

Higher Institute of International Relations