The Alliance

Each of us has the power to contribute to positive change. 

Each of us has a responsibility to advocate for stories characterized by deep respect, full transparency, and social responsibility. 

Each of us has a role in shifting the way we expect stories to be created, shared, and consumed. 


Dignified storytelling can start with the decisions made every day by individuals working in communications departments, newsrooms, program teams and as content creators, audiences, or donors. When we individually decide to prioritize collaboration and partnerships, to choose language that is thoughtful and inclusive, to prioritize showing and telling fuller and more authentic stories, it can ripple out to transform organizational – and wider – cultures.


From the bottom up and from the top down, organizations can commit to valuing the people in the stories by embedding dignified storytelling as part of their organizational policies and practices. And as organizations make decisions to institutionalize dignified storytelling, over time the norms of whole countries can shift to expect and value stories that centre on deep respect, full transparency, and social responsibility.


Below is a list of members of the Dignified Storytelling Alliance – consisting of both organizations and individuals –  who have pledged to commit to Dignified Storytelling and its 10 principles. 



Aisha Yousafzai

Associate Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard University

Dr. Aisha K. Yousafzai is an Associate Professor of Global Health, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health & Visiting Faculty, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Aga Khan University. She completed her doctoral degree at the Institute of Child Health, University College London with a focus on international child health, nutrition and development. Her research has focused on understanding integrated early childhood interventions. She has 20 years of field research experience in low- and middle-income countries having lived and worked in South Asia and East Africa and led programme evaluations in Central and Eastern Europe.  She spent 10 years working at the Aga Khan University, Karachi. The goal of her research is to promote early childhood development, and to support capacity in order to develop, evaluate and improve early childhood interventions. Dr. Yousafzai also serves on a number of global advisory groups including the Executive Group of the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN).

Al Anood Al Abdool

UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Director of Foreign Assistance

Al Anood Al Abdool is the Deputy Director of Foreign Assistance at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. She has over ten years of extensive experience in areas of humanitarian and philanthropic work; social policy planning and research. She oversees and manages relations with over 45 UAE donor agencies, and over 130 UAE embassies, consulates and missions around the world. Moreover, she serves as the liaison person between the United Nations, international organizations, recipient countries and the UAE private sector. Additionally, Al Anood also handles several portfolios on foreign development, humanitarian response, stabilization and information on aid.

Anastasiya Pak

Communications Specialist, Aflatoun International

Anastasiya Pak is the Communications Specialist at Aflatoun International. She is passionate about driving social change and believes that financial and social education can provide great opportunities for empowering future generation worldwide. Prior to joining Aflatoun International, Anastasiya has been working as a TV journalist in Uzbekistan, where she authored several programmes and documentaries, including “Women’s success” – a series which aimed at promoting gender quality and women empowerment in Uzbekistan.
Her current role is to run external communications at Aflatoun Secretariat, and tell the stories on how social and financial education contributes to empowering millions of children and youth around the globe.

Andrew Cunningham

Aga Khan Foundation, Global Lead for Education

Dr. Andrew (Andy) Cunningham is the Global Lead for Education at the Aga Khan Foundation, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, based at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Andy co-leads AKF’s global education portfolio, working in partnership with governments, academia, philanthropy, school practitioners, civil society and the private sector to co-develop and scale innovations in education that strengthen the public provision of quality, lifelong learning for all across 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Ariel Sophia Bardi

Journalist and UN Writer and Researcher, UNFAO

Ariel Sophia Bardi is a writer, journalist, and researcher, combining qualitative research skills and human rights reporting with a background in culture and the arts. Born in Japan, and raised in the UK and US, she has lived, worked, or reported in France, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Israel and the West Bank, Kenya, Uganda, India, Italy, Armenia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and Nepal. She holds a doctorate from Yale University, where her research looked at the rise of nationalist leaderships in India and Israel through the lens of architecture, landscape, and space.


Her primary research interests are culture and conflict, particularly the role of weaponized heritage. Other projects have tracked the ecological impact of tourism in the high Himalayas, pasture degradation in the Central Asian steppe, a shamanist revival in India’s Northeast, and aid efforts along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Her essays and reported dispatches have appeared in The Guardian, Foreign Policy, LA Review of Books, BBC, Aeon, France 24, Al Jazeera, and The Atlantic, among many others.


She has received fellowships from the Fulbright commission and the James Foley Foundation, and has worked as a knowledge and policy consultant for several human rights organizations and development agencies, including the World Bank and the United Nations. She currently works as Knowledge Management Specialist for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Baela Jamil

Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), CEO

Baela, CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) centre for education and consciousness, is a public policy specialist, innovator and an activist. She leads the citizens’ accountability learning initiative, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan, and is the founder of the Children’s & Teachers Literature Festivals. Both ASER and CLF are conceived and implemented as a nationwide social movement building social capital for promoting learning for ALL inclusively and with equity. A former Technical Adviser to the Federal Ministry of Education (2000-2004),  she  is associated with  several important institutions/initiatives at national and global levels. Baela is on the Country Steering Committee for ECD, serving on the board of the Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA); member, Platform for Girls Education -Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) UK; Commissioner at the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission) chaired by Gordon Brown; Member Advisory Board Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC Ed); Chairperson SDG 4.2.1 Task force- Global Alliance to Monitor Learning  UNESCO Institute of Statistics(UIS); and Member People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network).

Byrone Wayodi

Asante Africa Foundation, Global Director for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning

Byrone leads Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning activities for Asante Africa Foundation. Otherwise through the years, he has built himself as a highly resourceful and experienced program officer with more than nine years of professional experience, leading the overall project direction, and implementing course corrections as needed. He has demonstrated the ability to focus on project monitoring, planning, field research, training/mentorship/capacity building and facilitation, team integration, and grants management/budgeting.

Claudia Rosel

Communications Officer, IOM Somalia

Claudia is a multimedia communications professional with a special interest in participatory storytelling and emergent technologies. She is interested in stories that raise questions and challenge assumptions and in exploring new forms of telling stories. Claudia is currently a Communications Officer with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Somalia. She holds a double BA in audiovisual communications and advertising with a specialization in art direction and graphic design. Claudia has worked as a multimedia communications specialist for the private and public sector for the last four years in Spain, Thailand, Greece and Kenya.

Cassandra Piccolo

Communications, Barefoot College International

My work includes media and content management, photojournalism and case study creation for our women-centric non-profit that currently operates in 93 countries around the world. Responsibilities include both working remotely from my home country of Canada, and traveling abroad to meet with ground partners, beneficiaries and potential partners in countries of the Global South. My main responsibility is to respectfully share the stories of the women that our unique programs provide opportunities to, with the world, to help them recognize the potential that all rural women naturally contain. I also work with donors, manage PR and work alongside my international team to create lasting collaborations that can genuinely uplift rural women locally and in a lasting manner.

Christian Jepsen

Regional Communications Advisor, Norwegian Refugee Council

Christian is a communications specialist, visual storyteller and journalist from Denmark. Over the past 15 years, he has worked for mainly humanitarian organisations as a communication adviser and consultant in Afghanistan, the Middle East and throughout Africa.


Christian is currently the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Regional Communications Adviser for Asia, Europe and Latin America.

An important part of his assignments has always been to travel to field locations to document the lives and conditions of people affected by crises and cover the work of the organisations he serves. Through this work, he has become increasingly aware of the problems and dilemmas within such content gathering. Christian believes principled humanitarian organizations have a responsibility to contribute to changing the narrative in our sometimes rather “old-fashioned” storytelling.

Constance Dykhuizen

Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), CEO

Constance has a Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School. Based in Texas, she travels the world as a donor advisor and consultant connecting families to philanthropic relationships while also helping nonprofits and creatives increase impact. In addition to being the executive director of John Paul DeJoria’s family foundation, she also provides practical and creative content, strategy, and fundraising solutions to help organizations clearly and effectively communicate who they are. Her goal is to see work done with and on behalf of marginalized people be ethical and professional. Acting as both a funder and fundraiser for non-profits, Constance goes between different worlds. The best part of the job is connecting the two.

Delice Fatiro

Resonate, Programs Associate

Délice Fatiro is passionate about women’s empowerment and is always looking for an opportunity to contribute to this cause. She pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a concentration in Logistics and Operations at Southern New Hampshire University. She is currently working at Resonate. Resonate is a non-profit social enterprise that leverages storytelling and reflection to shift participant mindsets to ensure they have the self-confidence to turn opportunity and skills into action. Her main responsibilities are leading programs implementation and improvement and systems management.

Diane Uyisenga

Executive assistant, Sustainable Growers

Diane is the Executive Assistant at Sustainable Growers Rwanda. She has several years of experience in administration and customer service. Prior to working with Sustainable Growers, she served in various capacities in Dahabshiil, Rwandair and Qatar Airways. Diane is a graduate in Business and IT.

Emily Franchett

Research Coordinator, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Emily Franchett is a research coordinator at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, where she works with the LEAPS-NCHD Programme, a youth-led early childhood care and education service being implemented in rural Sindh, Pakistan. Prior to joining LEAPS, Emily supported an evaluation of a home-visiting program to promote early childhood development in Rwanda. She also completed her service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Albania, where she worked in health education and youth leadership programming.

Gareth Benest

Participatory Media and Communications Consultant, Freelance

Gareth Benest is a visual communications and participatory media specialist with two decade’s of experience working across the international development sector. He has an established track record for producing high-impact multimedia content ranging from community-authored participatory videos and short documentaries, books and publications, advocacy campaigns and interactive exhibitions.


Gareth works as a participatory media and communications consultant to various international development organisations, providing a wide range of services including: workshop facilitation, filmmaking (production/post-production), copy-writing/editing, capacity-building/training (mobile photography, participatory methods, video editing, etc.), and graphic design. Throughout all of his work, Gareth has maintained a particular focus on supporting community-led storytelling and people-centred communications that increase the visibility of under-represented groups and provide opportunities and platforms for marginalised groups to amplify their voices.


For more information about Gareth’s work with communities, groups and organisations around the world, please visit

Hayat Nazer

Artist Activist, League of Arab states

Hayat Nazer “V” (born September 16, 1987) is a Lebanese artist and activist. Her work often centers around contemporary and socio-political issues facing Lebanese people through her usage of upcycled art derived from scenes of events.

Hayat rose to fame initially from her Phoenix of the Revolution installation which was created by upcycling the ruins of protester’s tents following an ambush by pro-government forces and was erected as a symbol of defiance in the location where the tents originally were. She received further international acclaim for her sculpture of a woman made out of debris from the August 4th Beirut port explosion which had a broken clock marking the time 6:08 pm; the moment the blast took place. The sculpture remained unnamed following its completion until people voted for the name Hayat Min Damar [?], which Nazer was initially opposed to as she feared that it would be conceited and appear as if she claimed the sculpture for herself since it had her first name despite it being a community-driven effort; however, she accepted it seeing as the statue’s full name translated to life from ruins, which to her touched on the statue’s representation of women creating life out of nothing that people found fitting and symbolizing of the statue’s concept.

Ingrid Guyon

Fotosynthesis, Founding Director

Graduated from London College of Communication, Ingrid is a documentary and portrait photographer, filmmaker and participatory visual media facilitator. Based in London, she has more than 10 years of experience in designing and implementing participatory media projects worldwide within the education, museums and international development sectors. Her passion for community engagement and self-representation led her to found Fotosynthesis, a social enterprise expert in participatory methods and ethical photography as tools for self-expression, social change and dialogue. As an executive director of Fotosynthesis, she continues to undertake photographic assignments around the world and is an associate of Insightshare delivering participatory video processes.

Her enriched international experience and visual anthropology background led her to get involved in long-term documentary collaborative projects exploring archives and memories around human rights, migration, traditions and peace-building. Recently, she has been using photography and filmmaking as tools for peacebuilding and reconciliation and make visible the untold stories of the Colombian conflict but also of the resilience of the Colombians women in Colombia and in the diaspora.

James Lewis

The Good Side, Head of Production

James is the lead producer for The Good Side’s video content, creating impact documentaries. He is the former Head of Live News Production for Europe and Africa at Associated Press.

Jamie Vinson

Altamont Group, Senior Consultant

Jamie is an education specialist whose areas of expertise include education strategy and policy development, curriculum development, teacher education and training, education in emergencies, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning. Jamie has over 15 years of experience working with organizations that include UNESCO Myanmar, UNESCO South Sudan, the Inter-Agency Network for Emergencies (INEE), UNICEF CEE/CIES, and Altamont Group as well as schools in Mozambique, India, Serbia, and Myanmar, where she taught English and Journalism. Jamie holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from Taylor University and a Master’s degree in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Jane Body

Mama Hope, Programs Manager

Jane manages the communications and social media for Mama Hope. She’s extremely passionate about representing people, places and situations accurately. She is very curious and so, by nature, has always been aware there is so much more than one side to every story – and has always been determined to see them all. Jane has a Bachelor of International Relations and is currently studying an MBA with a focus on the ethical and sustainable side of business, for the 21st century. She lives in Moshi, Tanzania and grew up in Australia.

Jane Shufflebotham

Associate Director of Philanthropy at United World Schools

Jane is the Associate Director of Philanthropy at United World Schools. I work with HNW individuals to facilitate their philanthropic giving and bring them as close to UWS as possible. Engaging and compelling stories are vital to this work in order to bring our work to life and really demonstrate the real-life impact their support is having.

Jess Castelyn

Center Coordinator - Communications and Outreach at NYU Abu Dhabi

Jess Castelyn is the Center Coordinator with a focus on outreach and communications for Global TIES for Children (TIES), an international research center based at NYU New York and NYU Abu Dhabi. TIES is focused on research in education and human development of children and youth in low-and-middle-income countries and conflict affected areas. Jess is a passionate supporter and advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG4 (Quality Education), and aims to use her work in communications and outreach to disseminate rigorous research on what works (and what does not) for children and youth in low-and-middle-income countries and conflict affected areas.

Jessica Moussan

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Public Affairs & Communications Advisor

Jessica is the Public Affairs & Communications Advisor at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in the UAE. Jessica started her humanitarian career with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in 2010 for six years in communications and media relations, and later joined the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) as Communications Manager in the Gulf where she worked for two years on promoting acceptance of refugees in the region.

Joanna Watkins

Communications & Marketing Manager at Educate!

Joanna is Educate!’s Communications & Marketing Manager. She leads the organization’s messaging and marketing efforts, working to amplify the work of her teammates in East Africa and the incredible youth the organization impacts. Joanna is passionate about educational quality and equity and an advocate for teachers, inspired by their dedication to the most critical and challenging profession. Before joining Educate!, she taught and supervised education programs in the states, supported teachers in Nicaragua through the Peace Corps, and worked on emergency-related projects through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). She has an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Central Arkansas and a Masters in International Education from NYU. 

Jodi Hilton

Photojournalist at Jodi Hilton Photography

Jodi Hilton is a freelance photojournalist telling stories of minorities and migration primarily in Europe and the Middle East. Her clients include international organizations, NGOs and news organizations. After living for the past decade in Turkey and Bulgaria, she has recently returned to the United States and is living and working in Boston.

Jonathan Perugia

Photographer,Visual Storyteller and Director at Gaia Visual Limited

Very experienced photographer and visual storyteller, director of Gaia Visual, telling solution-focussed stories for organisations working for social and environmental change.

Have taught and facilitated photography workshops, including projects with marginalised young people in Indonesia.

Judith Madigan

BRANDOUTLOUD, Director, The Netherlands

With my passion to contribute to better world, I started BRANDOUTLOUD. A creative agency working for brands with a purpose, be it a social venture, conscious corporate or ambitious non-profit. Making their stories speak volumes. Showing what’s worth showing, in full colour. Working with clients as IRC Wash, Simavi, Akvo, WWF NL, IUCN NL, SNV, Hivos, IIED, Netherlands Embassy in Ethiopia, The Hunger Project and many more. My specialities? Concept and strategy development, communications, storytelling, photography and video production, training, managing and coordinating projects


Dignified storytelling is at the core of our agency. The reason why we started in the first place, more than a decade ago. Moving away from the stereotypes. Portraying people with respect and dignity, and above all letting them tell their own stories. Many of our productions have been shortlisted for various awards because of this, i.e. Golden Radiator Award (Radi-Aid) and Social Impact Media Awards.
And proud to be contributing to a better world, in the best way for the people involved. 

Julie Sims

Senior Director, Internal Communications Room to Read

Julie Ann Sims has spent more than 20 years working in communications and marketing. She began her career as a reporter before transitioning into politics, where she oversaw public relations for a state senator in San Francisco and later became chief of staff for his district office. After that, she worked at Robert Half, a global specialized staffing firm, holding a number of roles, including vice president of communications strategy. In 2018, she transitioned to the nonprofit sector and now oversees marketing and communications programs for Room to Read, a global nonprofit that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by advancing literacy and gender equality in education.

Kat Goetze

International Communications Expert, United Nations

Kat is a communications specialist with more than 15 years experience in the development, humanitarian, media and education sector. A trained journalist, anthropologist and sociologist, she naturally has a keen interest in stories of all kind. Prior to joining the United Nations in 2015, she worked for several INGOs and development organisation across the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

In her free time, she is also a literary writer and storyteller, and has published prose, plays and poetry.

Katelin Raw

VVOB – Education for Development, Communications Advisor

Katelin joined VVOB in 2016 after obtaining masters’ degrees in EU Studies and Human Rights. She’s a former journalist and now responsible for the formulation and implementation of VVOB’s external communication strategies, content management and social media.

Keeya-Lee Ayre

Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation

Keeya-Lee joined the GSMA in 2016, and currently lead global marketing and communications for the Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation (M4H) programme, a 15.5m GBP partnership with the funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to accelerate the delivery and impact of digital humanitarian assistance.

Keeya-Lee is also a Huffington Post contributor, World Economic Forum Global Shaper and TEDx speaker. Over the past ten years, she has interned in strategic communications at United Nations OCHA, managed communications for global refugee advocacy and peacekeeping NGOs and co-founded an award-winning Australian non-profit organisation, Perth SOUP Inc. She also qualified to practice Australian migration law in 2014 and has provided pro bono assistance to refugees for the past five years.

Kellie Ryan

Associate Director, Global Communications

Kellie is the Associate Director of the Global Crisis and Response Communications team at the International Rescue Committee. She leads a six-person team on the strategy and development of the IRC’s frontline programming, regional communications — including in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East – driving real-time, key messages, earned media coverage, and content and storytelling in support of strategic global communications, marketing, fundraising and advocacy objectives in all global target markets. She serves as a spokesperson for IRC programs and is responsible for all emergency crisis communications. With more than ten years of experience in strategic communications, advocacy, and storytelling, and a Master’s Degree in Photojournalism, Kellie advocates to end atrocities and injustices that keep people from their basic human rights.

Khalifa Bin Sobeih Al Suwaidi

Communications Manager Dubai Cares

Khalifa Bin Sobeih Al Suwaidi’s experience encompasses a wide variety of knowledge in all aspects of marketing, communications and events management. This hands-on marketing experience is a result of ten years working for Dubai Tourism, Dubai Holding and, today, Dubai Cares.


He is now working within the Outreach department to manage various campaigns and events organized by Dubai Cares, particularly in support of fundraising.

Kusuma Pandu Wijaya

Associate Officer of Creative Design and Photography, ASEAN Secretariat

Kusuma Pandu Wijaye is an Official Photographer and Graphic Designer for the ASEAN Secretariat.

Laura Fitzpatrick

Children in Crossfire, Senior Education and Advocacy Manager

Laura is responsible for the overall management of the Development Education and Public Engagement Programme and for the implementation of Children in Crossfire’s Early Childhood Advocacy and Impact strategy, including the ongoing development of knowledge and research and future programmes. Laura has 18 years experience of working within the children’s’ sector including advocacy and influencing for change for children.

Lina Elkurd

UNICEF, Communications Officer

Lina works at the UNICEF Gulf Area Office as a communication specialist. Her background is in communications, behaviour change, social marketing and events management.  Throughout her career, a key area of focus has been on development and humanitarian projects. Lina has worked with implementing partners and local non-governmental organisations in Jordan. She graduated from the University of Jordan with a BA in Business Administration and is currently doing master’s in Public Administration and International Development with the University of York.

Lisa Kristine

International Humanitarian Photographer

Lisa Kristine is an internationally acclaimed humanitarian photographer. For more than 30 years  she has documented indigenous peoples and social causes in more than 150 countries across six  continents. Her work navigates the emotional landscapes of her subjects and their environments,  driving awareness around causes such as human trafficking, indigenous wisdom, and global unity. She is the recipient of a Lucie Humanitarian Award, honoring the greatest achievements of master  photographers. As a speaker and activist, Lisa regularly delivers keynotes at conferences, universities, museums,  and corporations around the world, including the Vatican, Wisdom 2.0, Thomson Reuters, and  Trust London. In 2017, Lisa founded a Human Thread Foundation, an international nonprofit organization  whose mission is to promote human dignity and drive prevention, education, and awareness  around causes such as human trafficking, the refugee crisis, and global unity through interactive  exhibitions, educational programming, and multi-media campaigns.  Lisa is a founding member of the Global Sustainability Network, a community and platform  committed to delivering Goal 8 of the 17 Global Goals. Lisa is also a supporting partner in the  United Nations’ International Labour Organization’s 50 For Freedom Campaign, whose goal is to  eradicate modern slavery. Her photographs inspired the Make a Stand Lemonade movement,  which to date has reached more than 100 million people and has raised over one million dollars  toward the eradication of slavery.  Lisa is the subject of four documentaries, and her work on slavery is featured in three films. 

Liz Cheesbrough

The Good Side, Senior Insight Director

Liz is Senior Insight Director at The Good Side, an insight and creative ideas company with social change at its heart. Liz comes from a background of social research specialising in global youth experiences and/or wellbeing, and creating compelling insight narratives which spark inspiration and drive change through creative expression.

Lucy McCray

The Freedom Story, Director of Strategy

Lucy holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and her MA in English Literature and History from the University of Edinburgh. She joined The Freedom Story three years ago as the International Liaison and her passion for data collection and program monitoring soon led her to take on a more data-focused role as the Director of Strategy. Lucy has a long-standing commitment to human rights, anti-trafficking and Thailand, and previously was the Senior Communications Fellow at International Justice Mission, Chiang Mai.

Lunga Kupiso

Public Relations ad Communications Specialist, African Union Commission

Lunga Kupiso is a specialist in the field of marketing communications and public relations with robust and dynamic problem solving skills that contribute to the strategic growth of the business through innovative business development. Boasting more than 10 years media relations & broadcasting experience, primarily in the sporting industry working with local & international organisations – Cricket Australia, SuperSport International, Central Gauteng Lions, South African Broadcast Corporation, Lions Rugby, Kwese Sports – and the international governance space – South African Institute for Drug-Free Sports, African Union Commission – working towards strategy development and its successful implementation – fostering holistic inter-organisational and inter-agency cohesion that promotes participation – essentially building brand equity. Lunga has a passion for finding ways to empower people, communities and organisations through communication messaging.

Mara Chan

Content Producer, The Luminos Fund

Mara Chan serves as the Luminos Fund’s Content Producer where she curates the Luminos brand and manages content planning, design, and production alongside the Director of Communications. As part of her role, she oversees all photography and video projects and focuses on telling the stories of children and communities Luminos serves. Prior to joining Luminos, Mara worked as The Bridgespan Group’s Visual Communications Manager where she oversaw all branding, design, and photography needs in addition to collaborating with consulting and editorial staff on complex visual representations of nonprofit and foundation strategies. She also served HOPE International as an inaugural Field Communications Fellow in the Republic of Congo while working as a freelance graphic designer for other nonprofits. Mara holds a BA from McDaniel College in French with a minor in Graphic Design and a focus in Communications.

Maretta Silverman

Director of Development & Communications, Luminos Fund

Maretta Silverman serves as Director of Development & Communications at the Luminos Fund, an education nonprofit dedicated to giving the world’s most vulnerable, out-of-school children a second chance to learn. Luminos has set 152,051 children across Ethiopia, Liberia, and Lebanon on a path to lifelong learning. Maretta leads engagement with the Luminos community of supporters, amplifies student voices and program stories, oversees the fundraising and communications teams, manages events, and more. She served previously as the Luminos Fund’s Director of Communications since 2019. For the prior decade, Maretta worked in communications, marketing, business development, and event management roles at Massachusetts General Hospital, Veson Nautical, and the American Enterprise Institute. She holds a degree from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in International Politics & Foreign Policy and is an active Georgetown alumna. Maretta believes firmly in the life-changing power of education and is passionate about helping out-of-school children catch up and experience the joys of learning.

Mark Butcher

Senior Manager, Donor Partnerships and Communications, STiR Education

Mark is Senior Manager for Donor Partnerships & Strategic Communications at STiR Education, and has been with the organisation since January 2019. STiR is an international NGO that supports education systems to reignite intrinsic motivation in every teacher and official, to role-model the foundations of lifelong learning for every child. Since 2012, we have reached more than 200,000 teachers and 6 million children across India and Uganda, and we’re currently expanding operations to Indonesia and Ethiopia. Prior to working at STiR, Mark spent five years at UK charity Ambition Institute, holding various roles including Associate Director for Participant Networks.

Marloes Van Luijkv

International Communications and Storytelling Expert, WWF Netherlands

Hi, my name is Marloes and I’ve been working for WWF NL for quite a few years already. The past 2 years I’ve had the privilege to work on communications and storytelling for an international partnership called Shared Resources Joint Solutions (SRJS). The aim of SRJS has been to put inclusive conservation first by strengthening local NGOs and CSOs. Telling stories from local people about their connection with nature and how to protect it has been key in the programme.

May Youssef

Canon, Director Corporate Communications and Marketing Services

May is a dedicated Communications professional with over 15 years of experience in the MEA region in Corporate Communications field. She has helped organizations explain their mission, combine its many visions and values into a consistent message through internal and external communications aimed at creating favorable point of view among stakeholders including employees, media, channel partners and the general public on which the company depends. Having occupied many interesting and challenging roles in my career, May has acquired a wide set of skills that enabled her to fulfill many strategic and operational roles successfully. She is a target driven person with a deep understanding of communication; she has a strong capability to manage agencies and stakeholders, budgets and financial cycles. During her work experience, she had the chance to handle over 40 different markets, working closely and remotely with over 100 distributor and retail channels to develop effective and cost efficient communication, in addition to dealing with over 10 different advertising and marketing specialized agencies as her task force and resource pool to achieve assigned objectives.

Michael Kass

Story & Spirit, Founder

Michael Kass is the founder of Story & Spirit and is passionate about helping people and organizations reconnect with the power of their stories to create change in the world. He has over 18 years of experience working on staff and in the trenches with organizations across sectors including technology, social services, health care, arts, and education and in positions ranging from program development to fundraising and financial management. Also an award-winning storyteller, Michael has performed across the United States and facilitated storytelling workshops all over the world. Michael’s unique workshops on storytelling, speaking, and mindfulness for entrepreneurs have been featured at events hosted by Google, The Walt Disney Company, LA Department of Mental Health, California Arts Commission, Young President’s Organization, The House of Beautiful Business, New Story Festival, and many more. He has been a guest lecturer at Bucknell University, LeHigh University, University of Southern California, and an adjunct faculty member of American Jewish University. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University, an ICF Certified Coach, and probably likes brownies more than you do.

Mohsen Naderi

Mensch Creative, Creative Director

Mohsen is currently creative directing at Mensch Creative, a video production agency he helped create circa 2015. He has worked as video editor, managing video editor and producer in Iran, South East Asia and Europe. He also gives creative advice to NGOs such as United4Iran, 6Rang, and Feminist Spectrum.


Mohsen has personally and professionally have been engaged with and interested in the concept of dignified storytelling. He has been collaborating the GSMA, who do a lot of work in East and West Africa on this very topic since 2016. Their work in remote villages around Nairobi, in Ghana and Gambia and many other regions has made them think about how we’re framing stories and making our protagonists visible.

Neel Shukla

Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery, Creative Director

Neel was raised in the UAE since the age of two and is son of renowned photographer, Ramesh Shukla, known for his vintage image collection dating back to 1960s. Neel holds a Master’s degree in Business and Finance and is Founder of the Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery in 1996. He has over 30 years-experience in the art and framing industry and over 40 years as a UAE Creative Director, artist, photographer and influencer.  Neel is Head of the art and design team innovating, developing and implementing art concepts and proposals for hospitality industry. He is curator of various private and cultural exhibitions such as The Founding Fathers Exhibition at the Etihad Museum and Dubai Literature Festival and others  Recently noted projects in the UAE include: W Dubai The Palm, V Hotel JVC, Zabeel House Hotel. Neel is currently supporting Sacha Jaffri and Dubai Cares with the Humanity Inspired painting and project.

Nina Ford

Global Fund for Children, Director of Communications & Marketing

Nina is the Director of Communications and Marketing at Global Fund for Children, where she oversees the organization’s public presence and outreach to help children and youth reach their full potential and advance their rights. She has extensive experience in print and online content production, digital engagement, and global communications focused on equality and social justice.

Nusser Sayeed

Go, Founder & CEO

Nusser Sayeed has over 25 years of experience in the Education sector. She started off her professional journey in the field of Product Design, which she continues to pursue as a hobby. She developed an interest in Education, particularly Primary Education as her own children started school. A keen observer of the different ways in which children learn new concepts, she moved towards acquiring knowledge and experience in education. Her journey took her from being a Primary School teacher, to a teacher of student’s with learning differences, to a Teacher Trainer. Nusser feels that while formal education played a role in her professional growth, most of her learning is a result of the wisdom of practice. The last few years of Nusser’s career have been focussed on supporting education in underprivileged communities.  She founded, an organisation that works to bring joyful stories to underserved children across Pakistan. She is also a children’s author and major contributor for the developing children’s library, published in-house by’

Perpetue Miganda


Perpetue is a member of FemEise-Africa, a continental platform of women who have been in mediation and conflict prevention. She is author of the book “Ttésirs du Burundi ancestral.” Perpetue is currently implementing a community project inspired by the book with the aim of restoring and preserving Burundi ancestral knowledge.  She is a consultant in the Social Development sector who has worked with the East African Community as the head of the Gender and Social Development Department.

Rana Dajani

Founder and Director, We Love Reading

Rana Dajani Ph.D. molecular cell biology from U of Iowa, currently Cmalakova Fellow at the Jepson school of Leadership at the University of Richmond, Harvard Radcliff fellow, a Fulbrighter, Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Jordan to the United States, 2000; Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, Jordan to the United States, 2012. Eisenhower fellow, Professor, former center of studies director, Hashemite University, Jordan, Yale and Cambridge visiting professor. World expert on genetics of Circassian and Chechan populations in Jordan. Established stem cell research ethics law in Jordan. Advocate for biological evolution and Islam, speaker at McGill University and MIT. Jordan team leader in studying refugee youth with Yale University and the epigenetics of trauma across generations. Higher education reform expert, member UN women Jordan advisory council. Writer in Science and Nature, Established a women mentor network, received Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) award 2014. Organized the first gender summit for the Arab world 2017. Most influential women scientists in Islamic World, 12 among100 most influential Arab women 2015, women in science hall of fame 2015, King Hussein Cancer Institute for cancer and biotechnology award 2009 and 2016 Global Changemaker Award for celebrating 70 years of the Fulbright Programm. President of the Society for the Advancement of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Arab World. women of influence in the Arab World 2021 Arabian Business magazine’s list.


Awarded the Jordan star of science by His Majesty King Abdullah II, University of Iowa, College of medicine, distinguished alumni Award 2018, Higher Education Reform Expert EU-TEMPUS, Jordan, founder service learning center, Hashemite University, speaker at TEDxDeadsea and TEDxPSUT, World Islamic Economic Forum 2012 and World Science Forum 2015 and 2017.

Developed a community-based model “We love reading” Changing mindsets through reading to create changemakers, received Synergos Arab world social innovators 2009, Clinton Global Initiative 2010, Library of Congress best practices 2013, World Innovation Summit in Education Award 2014, King Hussein Medal of Honor 2014, Star Award 2015, best refugee education program 2015, UNESCO International Literacy Prize 2017, World Literacy Council Award 2018 and the Jacobs social entrepreneurship award 2018, Science, Technology and Innovation Award UN 2019, Ashoka Fellow 2019, UNHCR Nansen Refugee awardee 2020.

Author of the book: Five scarves, Doing the impossible: If we can reverse cell fate why cant we redefine success, Nova Publisher 2018. Reviewed by Nature


Ragy Saro

Expo 2020, Dubai, Acting Senior Manager - International Participants

Ragy Saro is currently the head of International Organisations at Expo 2020 Dubai. He leads on Dignified Storytelling at Expo and oversees the engagement of international and regional organisations. Prior to Expo, Ragy worked with the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction as External Relations Officer where he led on communication, resource mobilization and partnerships efforts in the Arab region. Ragy’s academic background is in political science, sustainable development and holds a masters in management with a focus on international organisations. He has a passion for storytelling, film and spends most of his free time diving and exploring underwater.

Rituu B Nanda

Global Fund for Children, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Specialist

Rituu works for the Global Fund for Children in India as a Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning and Community Processes officer. She believes that everyone has strengths, and development professionals need to facilitate communities that can respond to their issues. Rituu is particularly interested in participatory action research, participatory M&E, equity issues and systems thinking.

Roger Jenkins

Federation of Asian Storytellers (FEAST), Director

Roger Jenkins is a Singaporean storyteller. In the 1980s, he founded Hi! Theatre, Singapore’s Theatre of the Deaf, at a time when people with disabilities were often marginalised by Singapore society.  Roger has been a popular performer and trainer since 1998, with many international festival appearances and awards. He won the Best Storyteller Award at the 16th Kanoon International Storytelling Festival in Iran.  In 2015, he founded the 398.2 Storytelling Festival to showcase Singapore’s thriving storytelling community, and in 2018 co-founded FEAST (the Federation of Asian Storytellers).  With over 200 members and a monthly schedule of (free) story swaps and low-cost webinars, FEAST is enabling many individuals to access quality training and to share the benefits of their experience.  Roger has published two resource books of Stories for Character Education (Juniors and Teens) and won the 1995 Singapore Literature Prize for his collection of poems celebrating the history of the Singapore River through dramatic monologues.  Roger is also a co-founder of Access Arts Hub (2018) which aims to promote inclusion for people with disabilities in the arts.

Rodrigo Barraza

Global Fund for Children, Programs Manager

Rodrigo is a social anthropologist based in México. His work focuses on working with children and youth on issues such as migration, gender and indigenous development.

Rona Mentari

Imagine-Nation Indonesia, Founder

Rona Mentari is a young passionate storyteller from Indonesia. She is the founder of Rumah Dongeng Mentari Foundation, a social storytelling community in Indonesia which has held storytelling classes, festivals, showcases, and circles since 2010. In 2018, she received a national award from the President of Republic Indonesia for her role as a Young Indonesian Storytelling Activist. She initiated a storytelling movement in Indonesia called Imagine-Nation, imagining the bright future of a nation through storytelling. Her passion and vision is spreading the goodness of storytelling in Indonesia and sharing Indonesian stories to the world. She has been telling stories in many areas in Indonesia as well as overseas such as New Zealand, India, Australia, Singapore, and UK.

Rumana Husain

Writer, Artist, Educator and Storyteller

She is the author of two coffee-table books: ‘Karachiwala – a Subcontinent within a City’ (2010) about Karachi’s diverse communities, and ‘Street Smart – Professionals on the Street’ (2015) about the lives of skilled and unskilled blue-collar workers in her city of Karachi. She has been a contributor to various newspapers and magazines, and has also conducted numerous interviews in the print and electronic media.


From 1986-1996 she was head of a private school in Karachi. In 1988 she co-founded the Bookgroup and served as its Director from 1996-2000. From 2001 to 2008 she worked as Head Activism & Outreach for the Children’s Museum for Peace and Human Rights (CMPHR), and to-date as its Consultant, she develops content material and conducts teacher trainings.  


In 2004, she co-founded an international art magazine, NuktaArt as its Senior Editor.  She has authored/illustrated over 60 children’s books for several publishers including the Oxford University Press (OUP). She has won awards for four of her books in Pakistan, Nepal and India.

She is an honorary Advisor on the board of the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF). Out of the over seventy CLFs held across the country since 2011, she has participated in approximately half of them, conducting various activities as well as storytelling sessions.


She is a Founding Member and Member of the Executive Committee of a social movement, I AM Karachi, and a Member of the Advisory Committee of the International Public Art Festival – IPAF, and an honorary General Secretary of the Karachi Conference Foundation.

Savannah Dodd

Founder and Director, Photography Ethics Centre

Savannah Dodd is the founder and director of the Photography Ethics Centre, a social enterprise that promotes education about the ethics of taking and sharing photographs and other visual media. Savannah designs and delivers workshops, lectures, and other educational content for international audiences from a variety of sectors including academia, international development, and media and communications. In 2020, her edited volume titled Ethics and Integrity in Visual Research Methods was published by Emerald Publishing Group. Savannah earned her master’s in anthropology and sociology at the Graduate Institute of International Development Studies in Geneva (2015) and her bachelor’s in anthropology and world religions at Washington University in St. Louis (2012). She is currently pursuing a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast examining the ethics of archiving photographs in post-conflict societies. Prior to founding the Centre, she worked in the development sector for NGOs and IGOs in Switzerland, Uganda, and Thailand. Savannah maintains her own photography practice. She sits on the UK committee for the Ethical Journalism Network.

Sacha Jafri

Humanity Inspired, Artist

Sacha Jafri’s work has been shown in the most prominent Art Institutions across the globe, including The Guggenheim, Tate Modern, MOMA, The Royal Academy & The Saatchi Gallery. He has personally raised over USD$60 million, from the sales of his artwork, for his most heartfelt concerns and charitable foundations. Sacha is an artist for The Royal Foundation of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge with collectors that include the UAE Ruling Family, President Barack Obama, British Royal Family, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Paul McCartney, Virat Kohli, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, David Beckham and more.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Sacha has been painting ‘The Journey of Humanity’ which holds the Guinness World Record for ‘The Largest Art Canvas.’ This sits as part of his philanthropic initiative ‘Humanity Inspired’ which aims to raise USD$30m for those children across the world, who have been most affected by the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Saima Siyal

Research Manager, Aga Khan University Pakistan

I have more than 13 years of experience in managing community-based parenting programmes to promote early child development working with the Aga Khan University. As a project manager she has built a network of partnerships in districts with health and education managers. I have significant experience in training and supervising intervention delivery teams and assessment of early child development. I have also trained assessment teams internationally, including Tanzania. My research experience includes mixed methods approaches to evaluating interventions. I have served as an online instructor for early child development course by Aga Khan Development Network and Red River Collage, Canada.

Sajida H. Shroff

Altamont Group, Chief Execution Officer

Sajida is an international educational strategist with over 20 years’ experience. She is passionate about integrating strategic business practices in knowledge organizations; and committed to contextualizing education for positive impact. Under her leadership, AG advises governments, NGOs, and corporates across five continents on education investment; smart education solutions; & education innovation that enables access and sustainability. Sajida’s experiences with global entities include G20, EiE, Dubai Cares, Plan International, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNESCO, OECD, NATO, Dubai Holding, UAE PMO, Smart Dubai, Qatar Foundation, KSA Ministry of Labor, and AKDN; along with institutions such as Cambridge, McGill, Harvard, and Columbia. Sajida is actively engaged in CSR including President of Harvard Club of the UAE; President of Harvard Global Women’s Empowerment; Advisor for Integreat Special Needs Centre; MENA/GCC Chapter Chair of Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs; and Advisory Board Member for e7 Daughters of the Emirates بنات الإمارات (Banat al Emarat). Sajida has an EdM in Strategy & Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education; a MBA in Marketing & Management from Emory University; a BEd and a BA from the University of British Columbia.

Sara Al-Boom

Dubai Cares, Digital Media Manager

Sara studied journalism at university, where she realized that she was happiest producing stories relating to philanthropic causes. She heard about Dubai Cares when it first started as a campaign in 2007 and joined their communications department in 2014. She now serves as a Digital Media Manager. Sara speaks Arabic, English, and Swahili.

Shermin Mheidly

Dubai Cares, Deputy Commissioner General at Expo 2020 Dubai

Shermin has worked with Dubai Cares since 2010. She is an Advisor to the CEO on Communications and Marketing and currently holds the position of Deputy Commissioner General for Dubai Cares at Expo 2020 Dubai, tasked with overseeing three key initiatives and programs: Dubai Cares’ pavilion, RewirEd and Dignified Storytelling.  For Dubai Cares’ pavilion, Shermin is overseeing the concept development, design, fit-out and operation of an exhibition space that explores the central importance and potential transformative power of education. On behalf of Dubai Cares, she is overseeing Dignified Storytelling, an initiative that hopes to foster a common understanding of how storytelling can and should instill as well as maintain the dignity of all persons, while striving to create an environment of positivity that strengthens long-term relationships between the public, private and the development sectors. Additionally, Shermin is overseeing marketing and communications efforts for RewirEd, a global platform with a clear vision: to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Simone Sales

Freelance Research Consultant

Simone is a storyteller and researcher from the Philippines. She has a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences with a Specialization in Cultural Heritage, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Anthropology in the University of the Philippines. She is also a certified Cultural Mapping Facilitator, a junior member of the Federation of Asian Storytellers, and the founder of Mga Apo ni Lola Basyang, a Manila-based group of storytellers. Simone teaches arts and conducts research in urban and peasant communities by day, and performs storytelling and spoken word poetry by night.

Stephanie Garry

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Economic Affairs Officer

Stefanie is an Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. She works in the Office of the Director for the Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes (ALDC), with a focus on building productive capacities for inclusive and transformative growth in Africa, the LDCs, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. Stefanie joined the UN Secretariat in 2012 through the Young Professionals Programme. She previously served as an Economic Affairs Officer in the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Subregional Headquarters in Mexico City. As part of the Economic Development Unit, she was the desk officer for Guatemala and El Salvador, and the employment and labour market focal point. Prior to joining ECLAC, Stefanie served as a Technical Officer at the International Labour Office (ILO) in Geneva, both in the Sectoral Activities Department and the Department of Statistics, where she was responsible for monitoring and evaluating the labour market impact of the global economic and financial crisis across different sectors and industries. She holds a BA from The George Washington University in Washington, DC and a MSc in Economic Development Planning from Columbia University in New York. 

Steven Chikosi

Creative Director, Short African Stories

Steven Chikosi is a documentary photographer and videographer based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Steven is on a mission to tell stories of the daily life of Africans. In addition to documentary projects and assignments, Steven also takes on filmmaking and other personal projects. Steven is the co founder of Short African Stories.


In 2015 Steven was featured on CNN African Voices for his photography work. In his interview he highlights how he is on a mission to amplify voices of those who are not usually heard in society. He was also listed by as one of the top photographers to follow from Africa. Locally Steven Chikosi has taken part in exhibitions and a joint exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Stevens work has been published in many publications including, The New York Times, The Foreign Policy, CNN, BBC, The African Lens and many others.

Talimka Yordanova

Global Citizen Forum, Chief Executive Officer

Talimka joined the Global Citizen Forum shortly after its inception and has been instrumental in the process of its structuring, management and establishment as an active player in the international civil society. A firm believer in the power of dialogue as a catalyst for action, Tali has designed and implemented numerous initiatives in the space of irregular migration, refugee crises, gender equality, women empowerment, girls education and social entrepreneurship. Working alongside the late Kofi Annan, Tony Blair and Cherie Blair, Jose Manuel Barroso, Irina Bokova, various heads of states and government officials, Robert De Niro, Robin Sharma, Usher, Akon, Wyclef Jean and many more, she has contributed to the evolution of the concept of global citizenship as a cultural hub for cross-sector partnership built on the shared sense of responsibility for the future generations. Prior to her appointment as a CEO, she worked as Head of Development and Government Relations with Arton Capital where she advised a number of governments on the structuring and implementation of alternative foreign direct investment mechanism. Talimka holds a Masters Degree in Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

Tara Todras-Whitehill

TW Visual Storytelling Consulting, Visual Storyteller

Tara is a visual storyteller and communications consultant with over 15 years experience telling powerful stories. Previously she founded and ran a creative storytelling agency, and was a staff photographer for the Associated Press. She has been living in the Middle East region for over a decade, and she is dedicated to helping global game-changers make a powerful impact with their stories.

Tara’s clients include The New York Times, the International Rescue Committee, UNICEF and HRW, among others. She also juggles personal projects that she is passionate about, which mainly concern women’s issues where she finds and tells the stories of strong women changing the world around them.

Tawhidul Alam

Tchibo, Facilitator

Tawhidul worked in World Vision, a development and humanitarian organization, for more than 6 years and gathered substantial experience in coordinating learning, knowledge management and communications. He has more than 12 years of experience working in the non-profit sector, particularly development projects, including more 5 years in BRAC, the world’s largest NGO. Tawhidul has a post-graduate degree in social science and his hobbies include traveling, photography and drawing, with interests in a variety of global issues, especially poverty, climate change, food security, agriculture and livelihood.

Thor Morales

Plus Peace, Connected Storytelling Manager

Thor Morales is a seasoned facilitator that blends participatory practices, audiovisual media, and passion for positive change. He is an Ethnobiologist by training and a self taught photographer, filmmaker and participatory video & photovoice facilitator. Thor has worked in the American continent and Africa in projects where community needs are at the core. His experience spans from community conservation in the Sonoran Desert to Trauma-informed workshops with mothers and women who lost their loved ones to Police brutality. He’s been involved with participatory video & photography for a decade, working in North and South Mexico, West and East Africa, and North and South America, facilitating participatory media projects and experiences for InsightShare.


Through his work at Activate Labs, Thor is now developing participatory design methodologies that combine peace and media to help collectives and organizations unveil viable, feasible, and transformational paths towards conflicting resolution in a non-violent way. Thor is also a professional photographer and videographer who has produced content for clients as diverse as World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF).

Tom Bradley

Freelance Photographer

Tom is a photographer and artist based out of London. He’s worked on the subject of leprosy since 2009, and slowly forged a niche working for leprosy NGOs across the world. His leprosy work can be found on instagram @isleprosyeliminated. His aim is to focus on this subject throughout his lifetime, documenting and finding new ways to make deeper connections with those affected by leprosy.


He spends much of his time engaging in personal work – with leprosy and various other projects, including prisons in Armenia, stoneminers in Bangladesh, a small group of gay friends in Dhaka, and more broad projects using street photography.


He studied at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute in Dhaka 2015-2016 and was the course coordinator for the International Professional Photography Programme there 2017-2018.

Waqas Rafique

International Trade Centre, Public Information Officer

Waqas is a former journalist now working for the International Trade Centre, a joint member of the UN and WTO. Based at the Geneva HQ, he manages country-focused communications for various projects around the globe. He tell stories about the impact of ITC projects by profiling beneficiaries, which includes identifying story ideas, interviewing , writing and editing and finally disseminating them using various communication channels. Waqas also provides direction to videographers for storyboarding and video editing.

As a journalist in the past, he covered the international relations and the work of international organizations for print and electronic media.

Lucy Bassett

ChildArise, Co-Founder & Chief Program Officer

Lucy has long been engaged in impact storytelling. As a young child, she obsessively watched a documentary about women on strike for better pay and began to write her own stories about social justice. This led her to participate in an international youth exchange with children in the then-USSR, create and act in public street performances about peace, and focus her studies in college on literature and social change. Since then, she has continued to value stories, whether gathering oral histories in an indigenous K’iche’ village in Guatemala during the Peace Corps, documenting children’s perspectives as a Reggio Emilia pre-K teacher, or building storytelling into her public policy classes at the University of Virginia.


Complementing her commitment to storytelling as a vehicle for empowerment and change, Lucy has two decades of experience working to support young children’s learning and development around the world with the World Bank, UNICEF, and other organizations. Outside of ChildArise, Lucy is mother to 3 delightful children whose stories she relishes, avid reader and adventurer, and Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and co-Director of the Humanitarian Collaborative, an applied research initiative focused on improving humanitarian response.

Sweta Shah

ChildArise, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

As an immigrant to the US from India, Sweta Shah has also spent her life in a world of stories expressed orally, in books, films and photography. Two of Sweta’s favorite activities as a young child was to listen to her father tell traditional stories from India, and go to the library to get as many books to read as she could. Early in her career, Sweta was part of the group 3rd I Films which was committed to promoting diverse images of South Asians in the US through independent film. They used those films for advocacy and social change. Her focus then shifted outside of the US where she built a career over 20 years as a strong advocate and leader for children and families, especially the youngest and most marginalized. This humanitarian and development work has spanned the US, Africa, Middle East, Asia, and Latin America where she regularly used programming practice and research evidence to advocate for policy change. Sweta has always believed in the power of storytelling to impact the world.


Sweta has a PhD in Education/Early Childhood Development from UCL Institute of Education and an MA in International Development and Education from The George Washington University. She has published the book “Early Childhood Development in Humanitarian Contexts: South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda” and speaks 6 languages. She’s a mother of 2 girls, who also share her love of stories and books. They remind her every day of the power of children’s perspectives and their stories.

Brigitte Perenyi

Documentary Story Producer, Director and Cultural Translator

Brigitte Perenyi is an award-winning documentary story producer, director and cultural translator, guiding multi-national and international media agencies and development organisations to refrain from narratives of unequal power dynamics and tell stories that connect to the human heart. She has travelled and worked in over six West African countries, Kenya, Ethiopia, parts of Europe and the US. She also consults with individuals, documentary filmmakers, organisations and companies on their story development process, messaging, and flow and how it speaks to their authenticity. She has directed and produced documentary projects on climate change in Ethiopia and Ghana, agriculture story in Ghana, election story in Nigeria, conflict story in North East Nigeria and human interest story in Togo and Ghana.


Brigitte has deep sensitivity and awareness to people and their stories. She takes her time to learn each individual whose story she is leading, storytelling for her is personal and she is passionate about living this out through her work. In November 2019, the BBC named her one of the most inspiring women in the world.

Biwott Shadrack

Social Impact and Knowledge Management Specialist

Biwott Shadrack is a reputable Social Impact & Knowledge Management Specialist. He is ardent about leveraging the power of information and knowledge to drive positive social change and make a meaningful impact on the world. With over 8+ years experience, in Project Management, Monitoring & Evaluation, and Capacity Building; Biwott has expertise in designing and implementing knowledge management systems, conducting research and analysis to inform strategic decision-making, and developing and managing partnerships with stakeholders across diverse sectors and geographies.

Throughout his career, he has worked with a range of organizations, including non-profits, government agencies, international organizations, and private sector companies, to advance social and environmental sustainability goals. Biwott is committed to promoting equity, inclusion, and social justice in all his work, and strives to build collaborative and transformative partnerships that create lasting impact through Dignified Storytelling.

Tanya Clover

Porthaven Care Homes, Head of Dementia and Personalisation

Tanya has worked in Health and social care for over 30 years, specializing in the support of people living with dementia and cognitive changes.


She is interested in the gathering and use of personal stories to enhance care and support. She has had a number of articles published within social care journals, contributed to books, and presented at many different conferences. She writes fiction in my spare time.

Maria Bryan

Maria Bryan Creative

Maria Bryan is a trauma-informed storytelling trainer. She helps nonprofit leaders tell powerful and impactful stories that do no harm. Maria has over fifteen years of experience in marketing communications in the public sector. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism, and Professional Certificates in Trauma & Resilience, Trauma-Informed Space Holding, and Somatic Embodiment & Regulation.

She’s fiercely committed to equipping nonprofits with the quality training, tools,  resources, and 1:1 support needed to thrive as change agents. Because making the world a better place doesn’t have to be so hard.

Chantal Bilodeau

Artistic Director, Arts & Climate Initiative

Chantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright whose work focuses on the intersection of storytelling and climate change. She is the founder of the Arts & Climate Initiative and in her capacity as artistic director, has spearheaded local and global initiatives for over a decade, getting the theatre and educational communities, as well as audiences in the U.S. and abroad, to engage in climate action through programming that includes live events, talks, publications, workshops, artists convenings, and a worldwide distributed theatre festival. She is working on a series of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight Arctic states. In 2019, she was named one of “8 Trailblazers Who Are Changing the Climate Conversation” by Audubon Magazine.