Speakers and Panels
Ishmael Beah, born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier and Radiance of Tomorrow, A Novel both published by Farrar Straus & Giroux. His memoir has been published in over 40 languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in the Best Debut Author category for 2007. Time Magazine named the book as one of the Top 10 Nonfiction books of 2007. His work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Time magazine, International Herald Tribune, Globe & Mail, Rutgers University Press, Vespertine Press, LIT, The Guardian, Parabola magazines and numerous academic journals. Mr. Beah’s keynote will focus on his experiences and his reflections on conflict, war, and healing for our world. (www.ishmaelbeah.com)
Peter Dalglish is the senior advisor for UN-Habitat Afghanistan and has served as the chief technical advisor for the United Nations. He is the founder of Street Kids International, co-founder of Schools Without Borders and a founding board member of Ashoka Canada. He is a member of the Order of Canada. Mr. Dalglish is a passionate believer in how each person can make a difference in our world and his keynote will help all delegates reflect on how they can truly engage with an issue in a way that makes our world a better place.
Melati and Isabel Wijsen
Two teenage sisters have taken a stand against pollution in Bali – and they’ve convinced the government to ban plastic bags by the year 2018. The island suffers from a crushing plastic pollution problem, so Isabel and Melati Wijsen decided to take action and start Bye Bye Plastic Bags to mobilize other kids and adults to work toward a cleaner Bali. To achieve the goal, the girls have organized beach clean-ups, put on a fashion show, given a TED talk, gone on a hunger strike, and met with the UN Secretary General. Their keynote will focus on what they’ve done so far and on why they believe so passionately in their cause. (http://inhabitat.com/how-two-amazing-teenage-girls-convinced-bali-to-ban-plastic-bags/P\)
Justin is the executive director of the Jump! Foundation, a non-profit social enterprise focused on leadership development. Justin has a strong passion for community development and educational innovation, and he is recognized for his commitment to youth programs around the world. Justin has filled his life with adventure guiding, organizational consulting, leadership facilitation, community development, and time playing in the wilderness. He is a co-founder of the JUMP! Foundation and has been a key driving force behind JUMP’s growth and development since 2006. Justin’s keynote address will be an interactive experience. Get ready to be active during this session!
For the first decade after she was burned by napalm bombs mistakenly dropped on the south Vietnamese temple where she and her family had taken refuge, Kim Phuc was angry, bitter and full of hatred. The scars that covered 65 percent of her body were not only disfiguring – making her believe no one would ever love her – they hurt. A lot. For the past 20 years, Phuc has traveled the world telling her story of hope borne out of despair. Her passion for peaceful resolutions to conflict in our world is inspiring. Kim is the girl who was captured in a famous 1972 photograph that brought the world's attention to the horrors of the war in Vietnam. (www.people.com)
Changemaker Panels: Sunday, January 21
Panel 1: Food & Sustainability (P135)
As the Executive Director of Shanghai Young Bakers, Cecile believes that each of us has a unique role to play in contributing to a better world. Originally from France, Cecile has been living in Shanghai since 2002 and involved in the development and management of several charity programs as sustainable social enterprises since 2009.
Dennis She is a farmer for BIOFarm, a Shanghai-based farm that grows non-genetically modified vegetables without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, or growth hormones. His work includes establishing a series of sustainable agriculture technologies in order to create a stable and environmentally-friendly production system. Dennis educates others about organic farming and the importance of applying these methods to build a more sustainable agricultural environment.
Anne started a social entrepreneurship class at Concordia International School Shanghai four years ago because she believed that high school students could be agents of change. Students in the social entrepreneurship class run a social enterprise called Third Culture Coffee Roasters where they solve real problems and create real impact for coffee farmers in Yunnan, China. The program has made a large impact on both students and coffee farmers alike.
Tsuyoshi Stuart Oda
Tsuyoshi Stuart Oda is an investment banker turned urban farmer with a passion for innovation and sustainability. In 2013, Stuart co-founded Alesca Life, an agricultural technology company that builds weatherproof, cloud-connected farms to enable local food production by anyone, anywhere. Alesca Life has been selected for global accelerator programs including the Barclays Capital Unreasonable Impact, Alltech Pearse Lyons Accelerator, and Dubai Future Accelerators as an innovator in the field of controlled environment agriculture and hyper-local urban farming.
Panel 2: Social Change & Entrepreneurship (Rittman Theatre)
Danny is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Landcent Group in Shanghai. Danny has been passionately involved in developing next generation malaria control products since visiting Africa in 2011 and seeing malaria’s effects firsthand. His greatest aspiration is to see innocent lives saved from this deadly disease by creating access to effective tools such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor sprays. He drives the company’s product development efforts towards this vision. Danny has travelled extensively in Africa and hopes that Landcent can help create a healthcare bridge between China and Africa.
Gede is an activist and professional musician. He uses music to express his ideas about the environment and human rights and encourages others to find ways to use their talents to express ideas about global issues they are passionate about. He has been doing this for more than twenty years and wants others to see how dedication, passion, and ideals can be shared to bring about change.
Marie-Christine is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Carrying her daughter on her back, Marie-Christine crossed three other African countries on foot, eventually entering the United Kingdom illegally. Luckily, after much consideration of her situation, the British authorities granted her asylum, then citizenship. In 2011, she founded an organisation called “Saferefugerwanda” to help survivors of the Rwanda genocide, to raise awareness of the plight of refugees, and to prevent genocide, wars, and conflict. In March 2016, Marie-Christine Nibagwire was nominated for the “Women on the Move” award given by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Migrants Organize, an organization that welcomes refugees to the United Kingdom.
Jeremy is the Co-Founder of Udentity and the Change Leader Academy. Prior to this, Jeremy worked for Ashoka for 5 years where he managed the Singapore office and worked as a Partnerships manager at the headquarters in Washington, D.C. He is a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum and a member of Nexus – a NextGen Philanthropist Network. He graduated from Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges with a degree in Economics and International Development.
Jamie is the Co-Founder of Udentity and the Change Leader Academy. Prior to this, Jamie was the Strategic Director for Ashoka’s efforts in China. She managed Ashoka’s work related to China including strategy development, partnership outreach and program execution. Jamie graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Finance and Management as a Global Commerce Scholar.
Kristi, who is originally from Michigan, USA, has been a teacher for 20 years. When she moved to China 3 years ago with her husband and two teenage sons, she became actively involved in the Shanghai Community Center’s Giving Tree and River of Hearts projects. This year, she was the coordinator of the Giving Tree project, which is a fundraiser that generated 100,000 bags for migrant school students. The bags contain school supplies, a toy, a winter coat, and a water bottle. She believes that small steps and little acts of kindness, giving, and sharing can really go a long way in making the lives of others better.
Panel 3: The Environment (MS 211)
Melati and Isabel Wijsen
Melati and Isabel are two teenage sisters who have taken a stand against pollution in Bali and made a big difference. The island suffers from a crushing plastic pollution problem, so Isabel and Melati decided to take action and start Bye Bye Plastic Bags to mobilize other kids and adults to work toward a cleaner Bali. The girls have organized beach clean-ups, put on a fashion show, given a TED talk, gone on a hunger strike, and met with the UN Secretary General. Their efforts have paid off because they have convinced the Balinese government to ban plastic bags starting this year, 2018!
Ryan is an instructional coach at Concordia International School Shanghai. He has lived in Shanghai with his wife and children for 3 years. Prior to moving here, he was an educator for 13 years in Texas. Ryan has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in education. Recently, Ryan started a student-run anaerobic composting system at Concordia to recycle food waste from the elementary school cafeteria.
Joel has been diving the world's reefs for the past 35 years working as a dive instructor, commercial diver, and reef researcher. During that time, he has seen the destruction and degradation of key marine habitats that are home to nearly every juvenile marine species. For the past 10 years, Joel has taken Concordia International School Shanghai students to remote ocean areas near Thailand to survey reef systems and to document the effect that climate change and human impact have had even in relatively pristine areas of the ocean. Joel loves to share his passion for these ocean jewels and to impart a message of urgency in preserving these delicate systems.
Nitin is an architect by professional qualification and an environmentalist at heart. He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture in Bangalore, India, and master’s degree in strategic design from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. He is the co-founder of Shanghai-based Green Initiatives (earlier Green Drinks China), an organization that engages in activities around education, behavioural change and action on environmental issues. His company was awarded Shanghai’s Most Innovative Nonprofit by AmCham Shanghai.
Panel 4: Change for Children (MS204)
Sam is a Grade 10 student at Concordia International School Shanghai. When Sam was in fifth grade, he and a friend raised enough money to build a school playground in the African country of Liberia. He has continued that work, fundraising through his church, Abundant Grace International Fellowship, and the organization Gathering Together, to build two more playgrounds, two clinics, and is now helping to expand the school next to the original playground. His current project is called “Bricks and Backpacks.” Sam believes that kids should be confident in pursuing their passion and dreams of bringing change, believing that the impossible is possible.
Pilar Tan was born in Taiwan, raised in Spain, and lived in the United States for over 25 years. She moved to Shanghai with her family in 2005. Pilar has a B.A. in Spanish Literature and Economics from UCLA and a master's degree in Communication Within Industries from the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain. In Shanghai, Pilar is the co-owner of a natural fiber clothing line. Pilar has a passion for changing and influencing young people's minds, especially those who have fewer opportunities to be heard. The Tan family became foster parents to J.J. and, because of this experience, she began the W.I.L.L. Foundation, a home for children, particularly orphans, with disabilities.
Karen was educated in the United States and Switzerland and has been involved in many types of professions and businesses over the years. She retired from corporate life as Senior Vice President of Product Strategy and Alliances / Business Solutions at First Data Asia Pacific in 2008. Wishing to dedicate herself to helping children in need once she retired, she remained in Shanghai where she has resided since 2002. She runs (as a volunteer) Heart to Heart Shanghai – a 100% volunteer not-for-profit Chinese charity which sponsors children from the Chinese provinces for heart surgery when their families don’t have the means to pay for it themselves. She has been with the organization since 2007.
Evelin Tai was born in New York City and lived happily in the area with her husband and two children until a summer trip to western China unexpectedly landed a very sick baby girl in their path. After arranging for the baby to go to Shanghai for surgery, Evelin and her family went back home to the US. However, they could not stop thinking about the baby girl. So they moved to China to try to adopt her— and that’s when the real adventures began! Now Evelin and her husband direct Baobei Foundation, a nonprofit which provides life-saving surgeries and aftercare for orphans throughout China.