Speakers

Micere Githae Mugo, PhD — Kenya/Zimbabwe
KEYNOTE
Thurs, 8PM, Wanamaker
Empowering and Humanizing Visions for the World by Progressive African Orature Artists and Writers.

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Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo is a poet, playwright, literary critic and Emeritus Full Professor, retired from the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University in May 2015. A Kenyan by birth, she has two daughters, Mũmbi and the late Njeri, whom she describes as her “comrades” and close friends.

Dr. Mũgo has been in the teaching profession since 1967 and has served in such distinguished positions as: high school headmistress, university department/unit head, first woman faculty dean at the University of Nairobi in 1980, East African Examinations Council’s first Chief Examiner of English and Literature, etc. Prof. Mũgo joined the Department of African American Studies, Syracuse University, in 1993.

Since joining Syracuse University, Dr. Mũgo has received no less than 15 awards for teaching, advising and academic excellence from students’ organizations. In December 2013, she was awarded the Elder of the Burning Spear and in 2012, the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Distinguished Lecturer Award. In 2008 she received the CNY Women of Distinction Award and in 2007, the academic Distinguished Africanist Award, while in 2004 she was named Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, becoming the first Black person at SU to receive this honor.

In Kenya, The East African Standard Century publication of November 2002 cited her among “The Top 100: They Influenced Kenya Most” during the 20th Century list.

Mũgo’s publications include 6 books, 1 co-authored play, 8 co-edited supplementary readers for Zimbabwean schools and an edited journal, Third World in Perspective. She has many chapters in various books, 4 monographs, a lot of internationally anthologized poems, numerous reviews, interviews and citations.

During her stay in Syracuse, Dr. Mũgo’s community activism has involved volunteer work in Central New York prisons; among refugees, including Board membership on the D.C. based African International Refugee Foundation; Inter-Faith Works of CNY; the “Free Mumia” campaign; anti-war campaigns; debt cancellation mobilization against the World Bank and IMF; Amnesty International work; numerous human rights projects – nationally and internationally – especially with regard to women and children.

Professor Mũgo is a member of the Ghana Society of Central New York and a founder of the Pan African Community of Central New York, which she has presided over twice since the organization’s founding. She is also the founder of the Syracuse community-based United Women of Africa Organization and its former President. On the SU campus she was instrumental to the designing of the M.A. in Pan African Studies within the Department of African American Studies.

Professor Mũgo has served on the board of directors of many international organizations and on equally many editorial boards. A committed community activist, Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo is a passionate advocate for human rights especially as they have historically been denied to Blacks, women, children, the masses and other marginalized groups internationally. She is a highly sought after public speaker.

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Khaled Hasan — Bangladesh
Friday, 12:45 pm, Wanamaker
Leave me Alone: Women fighting for their rights

Khaled Hasan is a documentary photographer and filmmaker born in Dhaka in 1981. He began working as
a photographer in 2001, as a freelancer for several daily newspapers in Bangladesh and for international magazines.  He believes in immersion photography, and spends months listening, observing and talking with his subjects over the course of a project.Self Portrait of Khaled Hasan At a young age he realized that photography is not just a camera play but a play of life with light and darkness. He chose to take this path to experience culture and life to its fullest. Photography has become part of his identity—a force that makes him think, feel and understand human beings and the human condition.

His works have been published in major international magazines and newspapers in the world including the New York Times, the Sunday Times Magazine, American Photo, National Geographic Society, Better Photography, Saudi Aramco World Magazine, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent and The New Internationalist.

Hasan’s documentary project ‘Living Stone’ has won numerous international awards including the 2008 All Roads Photography Contest of National Geographic Society; the 2009 Grand Prix “Europe and Asia – Dialogue of Cultures” International Photography Contest organized by Museum of Photography, Russia; 2009 Mark Grosset Documentary Prize, France; and UNESCO’s Humanity Photo Documentary Award, China.

As an indigenous photographer, he tells narratives of the land that shaped him. Documenting stories about its people and their interaction with nature, healing and surviving from times of distress, fighting for rights, toiling for food, standing against injustice are the primary issues he features in his works. For Khaled, a story never ends; but continues to develop, fades or becomes part of history but may still be documented through photography. This is why he believes that it is highly important to crystallize changes in life, especially the ones that transcend times.

For Khaled, being a photojournalist is not only being a very good photographer but also a socially responsible person. He constantly finds fulfillment whenever his works benefit his community and the greater good. His involvement with the National Geographic Society, Inter-Press Service and other non-for-profit organizations in documenting cultural concerns show this passion of his.

His other awards include 2009 CIWEM’s Environmental Photographer of the Year; 2009 View Book Photo Story Documentary Jury Prize, Netherlands; Alexia Foundation Student Award (Award of Excellence); 2009 CDP Emerging Documentist Award, Australia; 6th Days Japan Photojournalism Awards; Finalist of Emerging Vision Incentive in Picture of the Year International, 2010; Golden Medal Award TashkentAle-2010, Uzbekistan; Emerging Photographer in Contemporary World by Nikon Asia, 2011; Audience Choice Award in 2011Women’s Voices from Muslim World Film Festival; Honorable Mention in Professional Category of Photo Philanthropy First Activist Award, 2009. His works have been published and exhibited worldwide in London, Mexico, Russia, Syria, France, Uzbekistan, Canada, USA and China.

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Urmi Basu — India
Friday, 8 pm, Wanamaker
Development in the context of marginalization and exclusion

Born and raised in a family of professionals in Kolkata, India, Urmi Basu received her primary and secondary education in the same city. Her father was a doctor and her mother a healthcare administrator. Both her parents were deeply involved in activities of urban and rural development which influenced and prompted Urmi to choose the career of a social worker. On completion of her first degree in Sociology, Urmi Basu Profile PicUrmi moved to take her Masters degree in Social Work at the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences , Mumbai. During her training she had the opportunity to work in the first cell set up for women in distress by the Mumbai Police Department. She also worked as a relief worker during the Bhopal gas leak tragedy in December 1984 which left a lasting impression on her mind about the need to be prepared for disasters, both natural and manmade.

In the early part of her professional life Urmi worked with both small and well known organizations involved in the developmental sector. During her career she had the opportunity to work with issues related with urban and rural economic development, empowerment and protection of vulnerable groups like women engaged in sex work and subjected to extreme violence, street children, trafficked child labourers and young people in exploited situation. She has been a part of targeted intervention programs for victims of HIV / AIDS, trans-sexual and trans-gender people.

After fifteen years of professional work Urmi set up a small non –profit named New Light in Kolkata in 2000 with a seed money as little as Rs 10,000/- along with two other young people from the Kalighat red light district. The mission of the organization is to promote gender equality and fight violence and abuse of women, girl children and young people. That tiny initiative today provides care and support to a couple of thousand people. The organization also works to fight against child prostitution and trafficking for the purpose of sex- trade, child labour and bonded labour.

For the last many years Urmi has been a trainer and resource person for innumerable government and non profit organizations. She regularly presents papers at various national and international seminars and conferences on HIV/ AIDS, trafficking, child rights and social justice.

She was selected as the NGO co-ordinator by the office of the Governor of West Bengal to make a presentation on Urmi Basu empowering womenmicro credit, women’s participation in gender sensitivity and health issues during the visit of the former President of the United States Bill Clinton on 7th of April, 2001. More recently she was a part of the core team that met the past Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her visit to Kolkata in May 2012 and shared the experience of working against trafficking in persons.

In November 2011 Urmi received the Make a change Award from Children`s Hope India, New York.

In October 2012, a four hour documentary Half The Sky based on the novel by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn was shown on PBS featuring Urmi and her work with the victims of trafficking. Following the documentary Urmi received the Global Citizen Award at the Global Music Festival in Central Park, New York in September 2012 which was organized to mark zero tolerance for hunger, poverty and abuse.

In March 2013 she received the Godrej Eon Woman of Substance Award at the Femina Miss India Contest in Mumbai.

In November 2013 Urmi was recognized as a Daughter Of Greatness at the Muhammad Ali Centre, Louisville Kentucky. She was also given the Honorary Title of Colonel of Kentucky by the Mayor of Louisville in the same year.

In May 2014 Urmi was recognized for lifetime contribution to fighting against gender based violence from Sakhi for South Asian women, New York.

In January 2015, International Consortium for Social Development recognized Urmi with an award for significant contribution to the field of social development.

In July 2015 Urmi delivered a talk at the prestigious TEDxCibeles event in Madrid, Spain where she spoke on fighting stigma with education at the event named Impossible.

Urmi was chosen as a recipient of a blessing from His Holiness The Dalai Lama under the title Unsung heroes of Compassion 2009 on the 26th of April 2009 in San Francisco for her work that promotes compassion and peace.

She lives in Kolkata, India and fights for social justice for the marginalized community of sex workers / women in prostitution and survivors of trafficking every day of her life.

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Susan Dane Setin — U.S.
Saturday, 11 am, Wanamaker
Global Leadership in Business

DANE SETIN began her international career in her early 20’s as a Tour Director for an international charter travel company, where she accompanied 250 vacation-bound Americans abroad aSUSAN DANE SETIN1372R 300dpi week. This led to a successful career in marketing & branding in incentive travel, where she produced corporate events for over 22,000 people in 30 countries. Eventually, it grew to include sales and marketing in South America, the US and Europe, with the programs she created for South America generating $2.8 million in the first 18 months. Her passion for cause-driven-commerce developed as she spearheaded more and more fund-raising events and created sponsorships with major corporations.

In her latest venture —Le FRENCH BUTCHER–Susan joins her husband and founding partner–Master French Butcher Jean-Claude Setin– to bring the finest pastured meats, in-house French charcuteries, cheeses and an entire line of healthy, delicious sustainable prepared foods to the US, starting in the LA community. “LFB” will continue her life-long passion for creating social change through innovative business models–supporting the Farm-to-Table and Grass Fed Movements, along with unique sponsorship programs Susan is currently designing with local food charities.

In a personal and parallel career, Susan spent many years in spiritual studies—including ten years as a Journal-Listed Christian Science Practitioner. She is an internationally published writer and has addressed groups from 20-400, speaking worldwide on Christianity and cross-cultural traditions. This dual experience brings a depth and vision to her work rarely found in business circles. Fluent in French, Spanish and Portuguese, Susan is dedicated to bridging the gap between the monastery and the marketplace—getting the real visionaries into the work-force where they are most needed and maximizing the power of socially-conscious enterprise and ethical business to change the world.

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Jeff Perera — Canada
Saturday, 7:30 pm [movie screening starts, Jeff speaks right afterwards], Wanamaker
Striving to be a better man : Being and Ally

jeff Jeff Perera has spoken to tens of thousands of people of all walks of life on men and young men embracing a healthier version of masculinity, and inspiring men helping to end gender-based violence. Jeff has delivered engaging and interactive multimedia talks with elementary, high school, and post-secondary students as well as people in various organizations and spaces about what it means to be a man today.

Jeff has delivered two TEDx talks: ‘Words Speak Louder Than Actions’ which looks at the power of our words, and ‘The Ladder of Manhood’ which explores the male pursuit of identity and how too many men are fluent in a language of violence. Jeff created ‘Higher Unlearning‘ as an online space to explore how ideas of gender affect men and boys, and impact women and girls in everyday life.

Jeff at TEDxYorkU 2014As a former Community Engagement Manager with White Ribbon (the world’s largest effort of men working to help end violence against women) Jeff founded the annual ‘What Makes A Man’ Conference. He was event director for the first TEDx Women event in Toronto.  He was named to Racism Free Ontario’s Top 100 Person of Colour list spotlighting anti-racism activists. Jeff’s awareness-raising initiatives to create inclusive spaces for people of all walks of life have earned him numerous human rights & equity awards.

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Jeff will speak in collaboration with the recently released Movie: “The Mask you Live in”, it is a Movie produced by The Representation Project, which also produced the well-known “Miss Representation”. The movie discusses Gender Equality from a completely different perspective: out of the eyes of a man. Gender roles are tough on man: a topic we hardly ever speak about. Check out the trailer here: