Commitment Mentors, CGI U 2021
Commitment Mentors facilitate conversation, share resources, promote networking, and help CGI U participants refine their Commitments to Action through virtual communication and in-person meet-ups. Commitment Mentors are previous CGI U commitment-makers with demonstrated progress on their commitment and academic and/or field knowledge in one of CGI U's keyword areas. Read below for bios on each of our Commitment Mentors for 2020.
Good Health and Well-Being
CGI U 2021 is Abe's fifth year as a Commitment Mentor. Abe has experience working in nonprofits, and he helped develop Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF), a national nonprofit organization for high school and college students whose mission was to reveal leadership through service, relationships, and action. Abe’s commitment with STLF was featured by President Bill Clinton on stage at CGI U 2012 in Washington D.C. Abe has also worked in development at several nonprofits, managing large fundraising events. He is passionate about positively impacting people through photography, events and conversation, and inspiring others to live meaningfully and enthusiastically.
Adriano de Bernardi Schneider
Adriano is a researcher based in San Diego, California who has been involved in the research of the evolution and spread of infectious diseases. Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Department of Medicine of the University of California San Diego. He is also a member of the United Nations’ Champions Council for the Nothing but Nets campaign, a global grassroots effort to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria in Africa, and a member of the Editorial Board for the magazine Contagion, a publication that provides practitioners and specialists with the latest updates in all areas of infectious diseases.
Aggrey Willis Otieno is a Communication for Development specialist. In 2011, he received a Master of Arts in Communications and Development and a graduate certificate in African Community Health from Ohio University in the United States. In development practice, Aggrey has over 17 years of resourceful work experience and skills in designing, fundraising & facilitating participatory planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning protocols in addressing human trafficking, global health challenges and promotion of good governance. He is the winner of the Excellence in Global Leadership award, African Children Hero award & the Rolex Laureate. He is open to mentor students in fundraising, project management/evaluation, human trafficking and health campaigns.
Immigrant and Refugee Populations
Agnes escaped human traffickers at 14, when the Lord’s Resistance Army raided her village in search of virgins. Today, she is Uganda’s deputy national coordinator- Prevention of human trafficking and Commandant Uganda Immigration Academy. A senior Aspen New Voices Fellow, Agnes also contributes to teach online child protection course at Harvard University. Founded Huts for Peace program and built a Center to serve survivors of human trafficking in Uganda. Agnes sits on various regional committees on Migration and a member of the Labour Migration Expert Reference Group at the IGAD, 8 Member states Region. She is a Harvard University Mid-Career MPA graduate, a 2010/11 Fulbright/Hubert Humphrey Fellow (University of Minnesota), and alum of Oxford University.
Nutrition and Fitness
Akshay is a recent graduate of Rutgers University - New Brunswick, as well as CEO & Co-Founder of Nutrivide, an infant consumer products company devoted to ending global malnutrition via the development and distribution of low-cost medical devices. His commitment to service above self is typified by his efforts to tackle food insecurity in his community, volunteering regularly at the Christ Church Food Pantry and Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen. Speaking to his experiences, Akshay has been recognized as a Finalist at the MIT-HMS Healthcare Innovation Bootcamp, as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar in Healthcare, and as an exemplary commitment-maker on stage at CGI U 2018.
Volunteerism and Service
Amy McAuley is a recent graduate in History and Political Science from Trinity College Dublin and a current master's student in European Politics and Policy in University College Dublin. Having participated in CGI U 2020 her Commitment to Action focused on creating an educational toolkit aimed at educating girls and young women. She hopes to provide Changemakers with the necessary tools to make their commitments to action come to life by sharing her knowledge of the youth sector with a focus on girls and young women, Furthermore, she has extensive experience in the youth, political and voluntary sectors, as well as being an active dance teacher and national SDG advocate.
For his work in the movement, Ben Conard has been named one of the Top 10 Biggest Fair-Trade Advocates in the World and 40 LGBT Leaders Under 40. His passion for social entrepreneurship has taken him to the TEDx stage and on-the-ground to farms in Ecuador and artisan workshops in India. Dedicated to sustainability, Ben founded Five North Chocolate®, an award-winning Certified LGBT Business Enterprise® supporting cacao farmers around the world by creating delicious, Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate snacks. Five North has received national recognition from Forbes, President Clinton, Nasdaq, and Entertainment Weekly.
Christine is an engineer and entrepreneur passionate about utilizing technology to overcome gaps in healthcare. Witnessing the gap in gender representation in STEM fields, she founded the non-profit organization Girls Engineering Change. GEC brings college students and middle school girls together to build low-cost devices which are donated, demonstrating the impact engineering can have on our communities. She then founded PathSpot Technologies, a venture backed startup of which she is now the CEO, from the technology she invented to instantly detect harmful contamination behind illnesses by evaluating hand hygiene frequency and efficacy. PathSpot is used across the country to encourage sanitation practices, protect our food supply, and create a healthier world.
When Courtney McGovern was just 10 years old, she fell in love with service. Courtney’s family built two playgrounds that year in Guatemala. Courtney became passionate about Guatemala and knew she wanted the country and the people she met there to be in her life forever. She eventually returned to Guatemala when she was 14 and has been dedicated to empowering families in the city’s garbage dump communities ever since. At age 16, Courtney and her twin sister co-founded HOPE’S IN. In January of 2018, Courtney graduated from New York University with a degree in Nonprofit Management. Upon graduation, she became the first full-time employee of HOPE’S IN. Courtney is a storyteller at heart.
Daniels Akpan is a globally recognized education, development practitioner, and project manager currently serving as Executive Director for African Centre for Education Development. He has engaged with heads of state, international policy makers, and executive board members on ways to accelerate education, development and a culture of positive change through innovation, youth empowerment, opportunities and understanding. His initiatives have directly impacted over 120,000 beneficiaries in several communities in Africa. His strong background in senior-level executive roles and high-level policy and decision-making roles has given him the expertise needed to properly assess the education and development needs of various populations. Daniels have a special interest in travelling, reading, research, development, tennis, and networking.
Ellie has over four years of consulting and coordination experience assisting student-led social enterprises and non-profits across sectors (higher education, secondary education, human and social services, and environmental organizations) in identifying their goals, developing advancement plans, implementing programs, and assessing progress toward targets. She has lived, worked, and conducted research across continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America) and excels in cross-cultural communications and project management. She has special interest in water resource management and environmental conservation, although the scope of her project work includes broad international development and community empowerment initiatives. She would love to support CGI U projects in any capacity.
Mr. Edwin Adjei, MBA is a Business Development Consultant and a Trainer in the field of SMEs Development with specialization in Project Management, Innovation Management, Competence Development, Start-up's promotion, Leadership and Digital Marketing. He has spent a decade offering project management training and business development support services for many businesses in the SME Sector. As a Trainer, he had successfully trained and mentored several Start-ups businesses in different countries around the world. He is the founder of Startups Vision Board, Corporate Branding, iQlick Services and Youth Qlick International. He is also a Board Member and International Project Manager at Deutsch Afrikanischen Gesellschaft.eV, Leipzig to promote co-operation and strengthen friendly relations between Germany/EU and Africa.
Criminal Justice and Civic Engagement
Liz Catterall is a 2020 commitment-maker whose focus is on domestic abuse and mental health. She is happy to offer support and kind words to anybody, but she is especially specialized in storytelling, mental health resilience and blog writing.
Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an Assistant Professor with the Entomology Department and African American Studies department at The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is a native of Kwale County, Kenya. Esther is very passionate about issues of food security, education, agriculture, hunger, gender, and sustainability and has authored over 100 opinion pieces on these issues in outlets ranging from scientific American to Time Magazine, CNN, NPR, New York Times, Reuters, World Policy Blog, The Conversation and Los Angeles Times. She is a senior Food Security Fellow and an Alumni Council member with Aspen Institute New Voices. She has served as a Commitment Mentor for Agriculture for several years.
Francisco is an Argentinian, global-minded college professor who is passionate about the power of education to profoundly transform individuals and communities. Aware of the critical need for reinventing our largely obsolete and often dysfunctional industrial-age massive school systems, Francisco is collaborating with forward-thinking educators to promote positive grassroots disruptions in learning. Francisco is the designer of the Graduate Degree Program on Education for Empowerment. This low-cost online accredited program aims at connecting aspiring teacher leaders from across the world. Francisco is eager to learn about projects by CGI U commitment-makers and assist whenever possible.
Population Health Management and Health Equity
Giammarco is a bioengineer by training and an entrepreneur at heart. He received a BSc. from the Polytechnic University of Turin (IT) and a MSc. in Bioengineering from EPFL (CH). Now, he is working on many projects to foster healthcare innovation with global and local organizations. Despite his young age, he has explored many different fields in academia, large companies, startups and VC firms. This experience provides him a good understanding of complex dynamics and lets to analyze problems from multiple perspectives. Gianmarco’s love for entrepreneurship comes from his desire to have a real impact on people's lives and deploy technology to solve the most pressing issues our society is facing.
Gilberto Verdugo is a CGI U alum (class of 2011) with proven success in his commitment to action and is an experienced CGI U mentor. He is an accomplished waste management specialist with a master's degree in Environmental Science and years of experience in waste management. Currently, he works out of California helping the City of Los Angeles reach their zero waste goals by consulting with local businesses to implement diversion solutions tailored to their business. Gilberto also has knowledge about topics related to waste management such as commodity markets, state and local policies, bioremediation, waste to energy, social entrepreneurship, and environmental justice. He looks forward to another year as a CGI U mentor.
Disaster Response and Resilience
Greg was a professor in a Humanitarian Engineering program where he taught, led, and advised students to co-create real, impactful projects with partners around the world. Greg's international development experience includes projects in seven countries on five continents, where he engineered structures through collaboration with community members to mitigate their earthquake and tsunami risks. He earned an M.S. from Stanford University in Structural Engineering, and a B.S. from UC Berkeley in Civil Engineering with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. Greg is currently an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Agency for International Development in the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance improving the environmental performance of humanitarian assistance.
Hetal Kharecha has been a member of the CGI U community since its inaugural year, 2008. She has studied at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard University. She presented the Vaccine Project in 2008 which established clinics in rural India to provide lifesaving medical procedures, medications, and critical care to underserved populations. Hetal returns to serve as a mentor in Human Trafficking. In 2018 she co-founded a consultancy that will provide educational scholarships to trafficking survivors. Hetal trains law enforcement and officials to identify and properly extrapolate vulnerable victims from trafficking situations. Hetal serves as Director of Operations for an IBM Watson Top 100 Hospital. Ms. Kharecha hails from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.
Isatou L. Jallow
Isatou graduated from Ashesi University with a degree in Business Administration. In college, she held several leadership roles across student government, academia, and community service. She currently works for the International Trade Centre (ITC) through the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), where she supports young, and women entrepreneurs grow through an ecosystem system led accelerator program, which she currently leads. She is passionate about youth entrepreneurship, women in trade, and startup development. Isatou is the founder of HERFuture, a leadership incubator in The Gambia that empowers young girls from underprivileged communities through capacity building seminars, boot camps, and mentorship. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler, feminist, and recently a baker.
Jay Sullivan recently completed a master’s in development economics at the University of Cambridge. Previously, he worked as the Business Development & Research Lead at Conservation X Labs, where he developed open innovation competitions and advised early-stage startups to tackle conservation and development challenges. He also completed a Fulbright Scholarship in Malaysia and interned in the Obama White House’s Office of Social Innovation. As a student at Duke University, he co-founded the You Don’t Say? Campaign, a global social media campaign on language and inclusion, and received a Resolution Fellowship in 2016 at CGI U. He is excited to support CGI U students on project design, gaining funding, connecting with stakeholders, and scaling their commitments.
Access to Healthcare
Jenn is a social worker and public health practitioner. Her public health work has focused on issues of forced migration and refugees while her social work experiences have primarily taken place within the fields of incarceration and criminal justice. Currently, she works as the Global Health Program Coordinator at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and was recently appointed to Manhattan Community Board 11. Jenn is looking forward to helping students refine their commitments, turn ideas into reality, and share resources and networking opportunities. She is also happy to help students prepare for the CGI U meeting and assist in brainstorming new ideas for implementing commitments.
Jessica is currently a Design Researcher at McKinsey where she works in cross-functional teams to build new technologies. She previously worked at a nonprofit think tank conducting research and managing projects on food security and access to healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. She also worked on a large project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation exploring factors that lead small-scale farmers in Africa to adopt new agricultural technologies. She has lived and worked extensively in East Africa, having traveled to Kenya to conduct field research, manage health education and WASH projects, and lead and mentor teams of university students. Jessica received her Master of Public Health at Harvard University.
Housing and Homelessness
Jonathan has lived across the East Coast (Boston > DC > NYC). Currently a business strategist in EdTech. He is involved with numerous startup ecosystems and actively supporting the buildout of a healthcare private equity firm. Over the last three years, he has served as a mentor for the Housing and Homelessness group. His background is in management consulting, specializing in strategy and analytics. Jonathan is open to chat about storytelling and using data to inform strategy. Outside of those realms, he's either indoor cycling, hanging out with family and friends, or exploring NYC one coffee shop at a time.
Joshua Ebin is a Nigerian-born engineer, entrepreneur and global citizen collaborating with industry professionals, entrepreneurs to achieve an integrated, efficient, and environmentally sustainable ecosystem encompassing energy, agriculture and technology while actualizing the SDGs in Africa through sustainable-commitment and human-capital-development. As Jumela Cofounder, agrotechnology venture in Nigeria, he is developing agro-products to tackle food-waste-management, pollution problems, and poor-soil-management challenges with a goal to restore Africa's soil-nutrient-profile, energy efficiency and productivity. He has Bachelor ('16) and MSc ('18) degrees in engineering from the Georgia Tech and Texas A&M in the USA. Joshua has over 3 years of working experience in engineering. He has served as UN-FAF Youth Assembly and CGI U Ambassador promoting commitments and SDGs.
Junette Maxis is co-founder of LEKòL, an educational platform based in Haiti that helps students increase academic performance. Junette is a Project Management Professional, she worked as an IT Project Manager for multiple large scale technology projects in the US prior to starting LEKòL. A 2009 and 2010 CGI U Commitment maker, Junette holds a BA in Accounting and Economics from Luther College.
Kaja is a Master of Science in Computing, a Project Manager in IT industry, a member of the US Department of State alumni community (BFTF 2014), a president of Sustainable Development Forum Green Window, a co-founder of Assist-o, and an owner of her own business KAJUŠKA. She has over 6 years of experience in youth work and project management. She is living and working in Croatia. Previously, she has received a “Future Leader" award by Croatian Women’s Network and the “30 Under 30“award at VIDI Awards. Kaja is passionate about strengthening the abilities of young people in the fields of sustainable development, active citizenship, IT, project management, business development, and leadership.
Dr. Kenneth Chido Onyejekwe
Kenneth Chido Onyejekwe is a hard-working medical doctor in Nigeria with specialist training in Surgery. He is passionate about reducing the poor Surgical and healthcare indices in Africa. He is a lover of life and believes that men should live a pain free life devoid of health challenges to a reasonable extent. He is passionate about supporting the young healthcare personnel in Nigeria and Africa to do the same in their various localities to counteract the effects of medical workforce loss to advanced nations of the world.
Kevin Kwok leads development of Fixed Income Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Research at MSCI. He also sits on the award-winning Bloomberg Barclays MSCI Global Green Bond Index selection committee. Prior, Kevin was most recently an Associate Director in S&P Global Ratings’ Energy sector and a member of its Sustainable Finance Team. In PE/VC, he advised and raised capital for small to midsize energy companies. Kevin received a fellowship to pursue a MS in Sustainability Management at Columbia University. He holds a BA in Economics from UT at Austin and an Energy Finance MBA from University of Houston. Kevin also served in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa, and a NY RPCV Board Member.
Kimmy Yee Fong Wong
Kimmy is currently an Enterprise Data Sales at Bloomberg L.P. providing consultative solutions about Data and Financial Technology. She is also the Co-founder of Paititi, a mobile application for blockchain-based digital assets to support non-profit organizations and independent artists. She recently assisting in launching the One HealthTech Hong Kong branch to promote and advocate Health Technology across social classes. Kimmy believes in the power of knowledge, kindness and synergy. She was one of the attendees of CGI U 2016. She holds a bachelor's degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Kostapanos Miliaresis is characterized by his passion for innovative ideas, social impact and entrepreneurship. He is co-Founder of Ethelon- an organization promoting volunteering in the Greek society and creating the adequate framework for cooperation between volunteers, NGOs and companies, aiming for a more active and equal society. Through his work, he has collaborated with top Fortune 500 companies, received international recognition from the Ashoka Foundation as a Changemaker, spoke in TEDx events, featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, in the category of Social Entrepreneurs. Currently, he is pursuing his MBA degree focused on Social Innovation at Fordham University in New York, answering his calling to move from linear to exponential.
Maria-Luiza Popescu is a social impact executive consultant, serving clients ranging from non-profits, Fortune 500 companies, artists, and entrepreneurs to augment their desired social impact and lead with purpose in their business not as usual approaches. She is an AI content strategist for Liveperson, bringing at the forefront responsible governance and ethics of Artificial Intelligence through an engaging thought leadership and daily content series. She previously served as a CGI U Alumna Ambassador, as well as a Campus Representative at UT Dallas for CGI U between 2010-2012. Maria-Luiza holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government, Minor in Business Administration from UT Dallas, and graduate certificate in Entrepreneurship from Cornell University.
Mark is a doctoral student at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability in Tokyo, Japan where he studies Sustainability Science. He is passionate about sustainability and enjoys researching energy and environmental policy issues. Mark is an alumnus of the CGI U and has been a member of several youth-leadership programs such as the Global Youth Advancement Summit, and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI-West Africa) Program. He has experience in managing student clubs, organizing educational events, community engagement, and participatory research approaches. In his free time, he likes to jog, hike, and Netflix!
Michael Gidding is founder and CEO of Lingua Franca Therapeutics, a stealth-mode healthcare startup with the vision to empower patients and their caregivers to control disease and achieve better outcomes with solutions that have the safety of foods and efficacy of drugs. Before Lingua Franca, he was an early employee at Kaleido Biosciences and other companies launched out of Flagship Pioneering. Michael received his MBA, Master of Engineering, and BS degrees in a five-year combined degree program at Washington University in St. Louis, including a year spent at Imperial College London. Michael has been active on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, CGI U, American Cancer Society, and other nonprofits.
Nasir has dedicated the last 12 years to starting and running not-for-profit organizations that range from STEM enrichment for minorities in New Jersey to international poverty alleviation. He is also a leader in Medical Device Development and Commercialization. Nasir has been instrumental in transforming the model of em[POWER] Energy Group, an organization that merges renewable resource technology with cooperative development in developing countries. The group has expanded to five sites across the world with a volunteer base of 150 globally. In his spare time, Nasir serves on the Trustee Board of the Youth Achiever’s Committee and is an Industry Advisor for Florida Polytechnic University and the Rutgers University iJobs Program.
Omer Gibreel is a Fulbright scholar and has a Ph.D. in Technology management. Omer Gibreel holds a Master of science in Management information System from Seoul National University (SNU) in the Republic of Korea. He is a holder of bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Engineering, and Business Administration from Korea university. His research interest includes technology management, sustainable design, e-commerce, information and communication technology for development & education, Digital Activism and bridging the digital divide.
Girls and Women
Pauline is a feminist, public health practitioner, global advocate for women and girls, public speaker and a mother. She holds a BA in Policy Studies, MA in Public Administration and an MPH with a concentration of global health. She is the founder of Babyphoria, Inc. and currently works for the United Nations.
Ritu Jadwani is an experienced social entrepreneur and educator, creating employment opportunities for disabled women, skilled artisans in India since 2013. Her initiative Namaste NYC creates hand block printed apparel, scarves, accessories to support the crafts and textiles of India. She has worked at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to support entrepreneurship initiatives; taught at University of Delaware in United States, at National Institute Fashion Technology in India and volunteered at Fair Trade Philadelphia. She has conducted workshops on hand block printing; social entrepreneurship with Clinton Foundation in New York; fashion and color forecasting, scarf draping, sustainable business plans. She is currently based in A hmedabad, India and works on her initiative, Namaste NYC.
Robert Pecchio is a former CGI U Commitment Mentor, who has served as a Commitment Mentor in the focus area Dialogue and Conflict Resolution for the last two years. Robert is an attorney in South Florida, whose practice is focused on labor and employment disputes. Outside of the law, Robert is a scholar-practitioner in the area of conflict analysis and resolution. He leads a peace education organization and consults on conflict resolution and management issues for organizations and civic institutions.
Criminal Justice and Civic Engagement
Robin graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law with a concentration in Dispute Resolution. He received the 2019 American Bar Association's Boskey Award for Dispute Resolution and served as a Fellow for the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution. He has studied multiple topics and facilitated different programs in dispute resolution. He grew up in the Southern Philippines, where his experiences with religious strife, political violence, and cultural tensions shaped his focus. His legal interests include international political conflicts, religious violence, and dispute resolution. During CGI U 2013, he co-founded and led “The Berchmans Initiative,” which focused on health, education, and development in the Southern Philippines.
Girls and Women
Dash has been appointed as the Senator of the World Business Angel Investment Forum in the USA to accelerate the economic development of women entrepreneurs. She is also the Co-Founder & CEO of the World Woman Foundation- leading the global initiative of mentoring one million women by 2030. Dash was the first woman to receive the UN’s International Telecom Union Award for her work to bring mobile entertainment content to Indian farmers across 40,000 villages. Dash currently serves on the boards of International Indian Film Market, Arkansas Cinema Society, and Board of Trustee of Russian Women's Federation in Moscow.
Ryan Ubuntu Olson
Ryan Ubuntu Olson is a globally recognized Gender and Human Rights expert. He works for the global consultancy firm, Palladium, in which he serves as a Technical Advisor under the USAID and PEPFAR funded Health Policy Plus Project. He manages and designs activities around gender and sexual diversity, sexual reproductive health and rights as well as policy advocacy for key and vulnerable populations. This is his 10th year has a CGI U Commitment Mentor where he has guided student commitments to action and offered professional support beyond the commitment. In his spare time, he serves on numerous boards and volunteer roles. He is a graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service.
Sarpong Hammond Antwi
Water and Sanitation
Hammond has a multi-disciplinary background with a strong interest in community development, energy policy, climate change and gender advocacy and water resource management. In 2016, he was awarded the best volunteer by the National Youth Authority of Ghana – Upper West Region. He is also the co-founder of the PAUWES Climate Change and Gender Club in Algeria. As a CGI U alumnus, Hammond understands the importance of making a commitment to communities and following through. He is presently a doctoral candidate at Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland.
Tutoring and Mentoring
Tah-jai Sharpe is a recent Howard University graduate with a bachelor's in biology and psychology with minors in chemistry and classical civilization. From Kingston, Jamaica, Tah-jai is interested in epigenetic research and health equity for undeserved communities. He is currently working at Albright Stonebridge Group as a global healthcare consultant intern and as a Laboratory Assessor at AASHTO. He has streamlined a non-profit focused on mental health and youth empowerment called Mentoring Youth & Teens' Health. They mentor children between the ages of 8-18 in the United States and in Jamaica with certified Mental Health First Aiders.
Tiki is a social innovator, avid researcher, and passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. They have been active in servant leadership for twenty years. Currently, they are a PhD student at Alliant International University majoring in Clinical Psychology. Tiki identifies as a nonbinary person of color. They have dedicated their life to supporting LGBTQ+ initiatives through research of the disparities within mental health. Tiki's expertise as a life skills coach will support students by leading teams toward personal development and a cadence of accountability. Their work explores self-discovery and leadership growth, all of which is helpful in the story of social innovation efforts.
Dialogue and Conflict Resolution
As a UWC scholar, and the first & only peace-psychologist from Kashmir & South-Asia, Ufra works at the intersection of psychology and peacebuilding. She is the Founding Director for her NGO trust, Paigaam & International Center for Peace-psychology, and currently, she works in Myanmar. She has received recognition from international forums like WEF's Global-Shaper-Hub (Shape South-Asia Summit-India), Nobel Peace Prize forums (USA), the Swedish Institute (Sweden), Center for Nonviolence & Peace-studies (Uni of Rhode-Island, USA), Women's Regional Network (India, Afghanistan, Pakistan), TEDx talks, Rotary Foundation, the International Network for Peace-psychology. Ufrahas been recognized as one of the top-10-Kashmiri-women-achievers-in-Kashmir. Hence, she can mentor through her technical expertise from peace-psychology, along with project management, leadership development related skills.
Arts and Media
Veranika Bandarovich is an experienced filmmaker, more than 10 years in the film sphere. She has managed film projects from concept to delivery, and is passionate about social impact. Veranika enjoys dreaming big and making dreams real.
Vinny holds undergraduate degrees in Marketing & Management and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of the Pacific. She served as the Commissioner of Sustainability for the University of the Pacific and created the university’s first experiential learning garden. The garden project was also her commitment to action for CGI U 2010. Vinny and her family farm in Sutter County and are the 4th generation to farm the land. Vinny works for Kaiser Permanente, Roseville Medical Center in California as the Care Experience Practice Leader. Vinny is passionate about community service and was appointed at the Vice Chair of Yuba City's Economic Development Commission.
Xiang (Elvis) Cao
Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao (www.elviscao.com) is an honoree by three 30 under 30 lists including Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Energy. His Ph.D. thesis at Cornell University centers around developing scalable photoreactors for solar fuel production, which is featured in the World Economic Forum's white paper as an energy innovation breakthrough of the past decade (2020). He is a Lindau Nobel Alumnus (2020), BP Future Energy Leader (2019), UNICEF Young Changemaker on Sustainable WASH Solutions (2020), and UNEP Young Champions of the Earth Finalist (2019, 2020). His work received accolades from the Clinton Foundation, the Link Foundation, and the Lemelson Foundation.