Shamin Durrani is a British Female entrepreneur of Afghan origin, born and raised in Quetta Baluchistan, and a former student at the University of Oxford. She is best known for starting a range of small businesses in the UK, Germany, Afghanistan, and UAE, particularly a few in a male-dominated industry, Swiftcornerstone Construction Property Development, and ECO Sustainable Green Homes & Solar PV Panels Services.
She pursued these goals without seed-financial resources, while single-handedly raising her children, and eventually going on to receive a few UK/Middle Eastern governmental awards, including “Business Person of the Year.” Shamin’s experiences has inspired her to set up several charities, some of which include paying for the dowries of girls living in poverty, setting up centers for crippled and blind children, providing scholarships to send young impoverished girls and boys to school, and providing a year’s worth of loan at zero interest- rate for unemployed graduates.
Shamin now works closely with her younger son and Oxford alumnus, Yousef Durrani, through providing public speaking, charity fund raising, mentorships for budding entrepreneurs. What excites Shamin is not the amount of money she makes through her businesses, but rather the difference she has made in the lives of others.
In her spare time, Shamin is a keen squash player, hiking, climbing , bike riding, and takes great interests in the Oxford United football team. Shamin recently achieved her dream to climb Mount Sinai, inspired by the Abrahamic religious texts of where Moses meets God on Mount Sinai.
Kimberley Motley is an American International Attorney who has been practicing law for ten years (website blog). She is founder to Motley Legal Services and cofounder to Motley Consulting International LLC. Her work has been featured in a variety of channels, including TedGlobal’s (Ted Talk), Vanity Fair (article), and Dan Rather Reports (episode).
She is internationally known for her legal work in Afghanistan and as being the first western Attorney to argue cases in the Afghan Courts. She was also Mrs. Wisconsin 2004 and competed in the Mrs. America Pageant.
Motley’s upbringing motivated her to pursue a career in law as a criminal defense attorney, where she could be a bridge between cultures, standing up for the disadvantaged and helpless, and giving a voice to the neglected and oppressed.
After five years of working as a Criminal Defense attorney in Wisconsin, Motley was offered the opportunity to work in Afghanistan as a Criminal Defense Justice Advisor. The mission was to train Afghan attorneys and help the war-torn country re-establish rule of law. While this initially seemed intriguing, Motley soon became frustrated with the top down approach to imposing foreign rules on the Afghan people, and she committed to learning about Afghan culture, laws and history.
Motley knows that her success as an advocate in Afghan courts was contingent upon her developing a deep knowledge of the Afghan system. In a quest to understand the roots of injustice, she set out on a journey and visited hundreds of men and women inmates in prisons across Afghanistan. She also engaged in studying Sharia Law, Afghanistan’s Laws, and International Law.
It is Motley’s professional mission is to grow as a litigator by leading by example and to continue to promote rule of law internationally through the use of varying existing laws of the respective countries she practices in. Motley continues to apply her knowledge of litigation, ethics, and rule of law to protect her clients worldwide. She has worked in advising attorneys and others for litigious and nonlitigious issues in the U.S., U.A.E., Afghanistan, U.K., Belgium, Italy, Africa, Pakistan, India, Canada, etc.
Miki Andrejevic graduated from the Law Faculty – University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia and is a Fellow of the British RSA (Royal Society for the Encouraging of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). He has had a distinguished career in Arts management in Europe and Canada. He was the General Manager of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, the Executive Director of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta and the Executive Director of Alberta’s only professional choir Pro Coro Canada. He also established LitFest – Edmonton International Literary Arts Festival as only Canadian festival devoted to creative non-fiction and is directing the University of Alberta’s Festival of Ideas since its inception in 2008.
Mr. Andrejevic has been a committee or board member of various organizations such as International Jeunesses Musicales Competition Yugoslavia, Mayor’s Lunch for the Business and the Arts (Edmonton), Jury Member of Saskatchewan Arts Board, jury member of the Edmonton Arts Council Arts Operating Community Investment Grant and a member of the Peer Assessment Committee for the Music Touring Grants & International Performance Assistance for the Canada Council for the Arts.
Presently he serves as a Chair of the City of Edmonton Writer In Exile Program, is a member of the PEN Canada Board of Directors – Chair of Outreach Program Western Canada and a Vice-President of St. Ives (B.C.) Rate Payers Association. Mr. Andrejevic is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the City of Edmonton Arts and Culture Citation Award.
Mario Ferro is Co-Founder and CEO of WeDuFund, which brings innovation and experience in social entrepreneurship. He recently presented this work at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative and is aiming to extend the organization’s financial model to New York City.
He is a former Senior Advisor for Energy Investments for Greenpeace and a former Senior Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Advisory as well as Acumen Fellow. Previously he worked on in the post-disaster relief effort after the earthquake on January 2010 in Haiti and trade promotion from small medium enterprises working in China.
He holds a Master in Economics and Management from University La Sapienza and a MSc in Development Management, from the LSE. He has been studying and working in Italy, Finland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Haiti, India, United States, Cambodia and Thailand.
Samira Hamidi was the director of the Afghan Women’s Network (AWN), which includes more than 91 women’s organizations and 5,000 individuals. Working with civil society organizations, government, and UN agencies, Ms. Hamidi has brought together thousands of voices to raise the visibility of women in Afghanistan through advocacy and networking initiatives. She has organized consultations across the country to enhance women’s ability to advocate for their participation in events that will shape the new Afghanistan, such as the 2010 National Peace Consultative Jirga, the 2010 Kabul International Conference, the 2011 Bonn Conference, the 2011 Loya Jirga, 2012 Tokyo Conference, and the formation of the High Peace Council.
Ms. Hamidi previously served as a gender coordinator for the UN Development Programme and advocated successfully for the creation of a department within the Ministry of Interior to ensure that gender is considered in every policy decision. She organized the first trainings for senior ministry officials on UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which requires that women be fully involved in every part of a peace process, and she led a six-week course for more than 300 police officers on ending violence against women.
Ms. Hamidi received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Preston University in Pakistan and is certified to train others using The Institute for Inclusive Security’s Women Waging Peace Curriculum. She received a national award in 2010 acknowledging AWN’s critical role in the peace process and received the Presidential Medal for her participation in the National Peace Consultative Jirga. Ms. Hamidi is currently studying International Human Rights Law at the University of York, UK.
Susan McClelland is a journalist by training (website). Susan McClelland is a magazine and book writer. In the late 1990s, she worked at the Miami Herald and interned at the New York Times before moving on to become a staff writer at Maclean’s, Canada’s weekly newsmagazine. While there, she distinguished herself as a feature writer and investigative reporter, primarily focusing on issues involving human rights and social and environmental issues.
Susan became a freelance writer in 2005, shortly after the birth of her youngest daughter. Her work has since appeared in most of the top publications in Canada as well as Times London, the Guardian, Glamour and Marie Claire. Her first book, Bite of the Mango, the true story of a young victim of war from Sierra Leone, has been published in more than 25 countries and has won numerous national and international awards. In 2012, she published a book, the Tale of Two Nazanins, on the story of former Miss World runner-up & Canadian model/singer Nazanin Afshin-Jam’s attempt to prevent the death sentence by stoning of a Kurdish rape victim named Nazanin.
Susan recently published a biography of a survivor of the North Korean regime and human trafficking market, called “Stars Between the Sun and Moon” which provides provides “a unique perspective on the brutality of the North Korean regime and the desperation it breeds” (website). Susan has also assisted in the research and production of documentary films. Her latest was Kony: The Hunt for the World’s Most Wanted for BBC Panorama. Susan knows all to well the power of an education for young women. Her ancestors include one of Canada’s first feminists and individuals who helped shape Queen’s University.
Sarah-Jean Cunningham is a development and communications expert. She has been working throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan since 2007 on a variety of humanitarian and development projects. Throughout her time in Iraq she managed humanitarian relief projects during the intense periods of displacement and need.
In Afghanistan, she has lead large-scale field research projects in the areas of gender, private sector, health and education. Now based in Afghanistan, her focus is developing and implementing communications and PR strategies for aid, development and political entities. Her clients have included USAID, UK FCO, UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, The Gates Foundation, IDLO, ICRC, Save the Children, the Afghan Government and others.
Sarah-Jean grew up in East London before receiving her MEng from the University of Cambridge, with a fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an Arabic and Farsi speaker.
Jessica Lam (Founder) is a scientist from a family of refugees in Asia. She is highly passionate in helping lift the human capital of underpriviledged individuals. Previously, Jessica served as president of the Oxford Women for Women International Society from 2011 to 2012, where she came up with the idea of starting OWAY. On the side, she organised events on pressing contemporary international challenges at the University of Oxford with the Merton College Global Directions Group. Jessica is one of the 100 McKinsey&Co. 2014 Next Generation Women Leaders from the European Middle-East and Asian region.
James Heywood is a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group with a background in entrepreneurship. Previously, he obtained a Masters in Engineering at the University of Oxford. During this time, he set up various fundraising challenges, including the Mongol Ralley and an Ironman. James is also an advisor to young startups, such as Lightscope and The Fuseum. He has experience working in Mergers and Acquisitions with Canaccord Genuity, advancing presentation skills and financial modelling across a broad range of sectors.
Mukhtar Karimi is an educational mentor specialist in the UK. Previously, he obtained a B.A. in Physics at the University of Oxford while on a REACH Oxford Scholarship. During this time, he held leadership positions with the University of Oxford Afghanistan Society while working on addressing issues refugees face in the UK with his MP. Mukhtar has lived in, and experienced pre-college educational systems, in Afghanistan, Syria, and the UK.
Mathew Dawe is an entrepreneur in the educational and defense space, as well as a Royal Navy Reservist. He studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, while training with the Royal Air Force. Matthew has held a wide variety of financial, consulting and logistical roles, as well as leadership positions in various start ups around London and Oxford.