Ursula Rakova, Executive Director, Tulele Peisa
Since 2006, Ursula Rakova has led Tulele Peisa, a non-profit formed by the Elders of the Carteret Islands, to prepare for the islanders’ relocation to Bougainville Province, Papua New Guinea. Rakova and Tulele Peisa are dedicated to an ecologically and culturally sustainable relocation process, one that includes a pathway to self-sufficiency for the relocated islanders. Ursula’s innovative leadership has been acclaimed by the UNPFA and by numerous academic and institutional experts searching for solutions for climate change displaced people. In 2014 she received the UNDP Equator Prize in recognition of her work. The Weather Channel has hailed her as “one of the smartest voices on climate change.” Ursula holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work as well as a post-graduate degree in Social Administration from the University of PNG. Prior to founding Tulele Peisa, she worked as a community development specialist for Oxfam New Zealand.
Susan Bazilli, Director, International Women’s Rights Project
Susan Bazilli, is a feminist lawyer, researcher, educator, entrepreneur and advocate who has worked globally on issues of women’s rights and human rights for the past 30 years. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) and the University of British Columbia (LL.M.) she is based in Vancouver B.C. She is the author of the groundbreaking text Putting Women on the Agenda: Women, Law and the Constitution in Southern Africa. From 1998 to the present, she has been associated with the IWRP in Canada and internationally. Susan has worked for decades on issues of women's rights and violence against women in Canada, the US, South Africa, and Europe. Her most recent projects include work for UNDP, UNFPA, USAID, UNIDO, ADB, GEF, UN Women, and other institutions and NGOs.
Francesca de Gasparis, Co-Executive Director, Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Institute
Francesca is a long-time consultant focused on organizational development, advocacy, policy and climate change strategies. She was the Director of the European office of Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement (GBMI) for eight years from its inception in 2005. Francesca has worked in the environmental sector for over fifteen years, after a previous career in IT, and has a master’s degree in Environment and Community from Antioch University. No stranger to the challenges and opportunities in the NGO sector, Francesca has worked with numerous African organizations on sustainable development and a holistic environmental approach, helping to ensure NGOs have the support they need to deliver on their aims.
Tracy C. Kajumba, Regional Senior Climate Change and Development Advisor for Sub Saharan Africa, Irish Aid
Tracy C. Kajumba is the Regional Senior Climate Change and development Advisor for Sub Saharan Africa with Irish Aid, under Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Development Cooperation Division. Previously, she worked with the Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance, operating in Uganda, Ethiopia and Mozambique as a country coordinator. She also worked with Care International’s Natural Resources Management and Governance programs as a climate change and gender advisor and earlier with the Government of Uganda. Tracy’s expertise has been in the areas of social development research, national climate change policy engagement, capacity building for national governments, climate change risk assessment and management across different sectors, monitoring and evaluation and gender programming.
Wendy Flannery, Director, Friedns of Earth Brisbane
Trained as a secondary school teacher, Wendy began her working life as a staff member at All Hallows’, in Brisbane, Australia in 1969, she left to teach in Papua New Guinea. With an appointment in 1978 to the Melanesian Institute, an ecumenical research and teaching institute in PNG, Wendy began an enduring relationship with the peoples and countries of the Pacific. From 1999 to 2002 she represented the Mercy International Association in its capacity as an NGO to the United Nations in New York. Since her return to Brisbane at the end of 2002, Wendy has continued her peace building work, focusing particularly on empowering women, promoting interfaith dialogue and raising awareness on environmental issues such as climate change and sustainability.
Claudia Medina, Founder and Filmmaker, EnMedia
Claudia Medina is a noted Powell River, British Columbia filmmaker, visual artist and educator known for her social activism and advocacy. Medina’s inspiration for making films originally came from her family’s Mexican and Italian cultural tradition and her connection to her heritage. She has been making films and mentoring students for over fifteen years. She holds a BA in sociology and Latin American studies from SFU and a Masters of Visual Culture from the University of Barcelona. In 2001 she established EnMedia Productions as the container for her diverse projects and work in film, video, performance, visuals, and visual storytelling workshops. All of EnMedia’s projects explore possibilities of reconnection – to nature, to community, to a sense of personal and collective agency as we navigate through times of crisis and renewal.