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Leonardo Párraga

Executive Director, The BogotArt Foundation, Columbia

Leonardo Párraga is Executive Director of The BogotArt Foundation. He is passionate about community empowerment and social justice. He is the founder and director of the BogotArt Foundation, an organization established with the aim of promoting a more democratic art and cultural scene in the city of Bogotá, Colombia.


He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a minor in Journalism from University of the Andes and has a specialization in entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland. Leonardo and his team use art to transform marginalized neighborhoods into cultural hubs. Due to its contribution to social inclusion management in today’s cities, BogotArt was recognized during the UN-Habitat 2014 World Cities Days as an important organization which brings youth perspectives to the spotlight. He is also the co-founder of the Dialogue of the Curious, a global initiative to promote intercultural understanding and communication through the interaction of youth from different countries and life experiences.

Anand Reddi

Manager, Health Systems Strengthening, Gilead Sciences Inc., USA

Anand Reddi is a global health specialist at Gilead Sciences, Inc., a major multinational biotechnology company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative medicines.


At Gilead, Reddi focuses on catalyzing HIV and viral hepatitis health systems strengthening initiatives as well as innovative health financing for resource limited settings in Africa and Asia. Prior to Gilead, Reddi was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa. His Fulbright research demonstrated the benefits of decentralized models of care on antiretroviral treatment outcomes despite the challenges of a healthcare limited setting. Reddi has also been active in U.S. global health policy issues. In the summer of 2010, his writings and advocacy directly challenged the Obama administration’s flat lining of global HIV treatment funds resulting in the restoration of $366 million for HIV treatment in Uganda. Reddi is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and he studied medicine at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine.

Clarissa Rios Rojas

Founder and Director, Ekpapalek, Peru

Clarissa Rios Rojas is an experienced researcher and scientist with more than ten years of experience in conducting multilateral scientific projects and publishing scientific articles in the areas of biomedicine and molecular biology. 


She studied in Peru, Finland, and Sweden. She has recently finished her PhD in Australia. Clarissa is also passionate about social development, her vision is to empower Latin students and promote the social and economic development of Latin-American countries through education, science, and technology. Hence, she is the founder and director of the nonprofit Ekpapalek, which offers opportunity for professional development for students from impoverished backgrounds. She is also an advocate for gender equality, she is a United Nations Global Champion for women economic empowerment of the platform Empower women/UN Women.

Obajide Rotilu

Senior Cybersecurity Consultant, Deloitte Nigeria, Nigeria

Obajide Rotilu is a senior consultant at Deloitte Nigeria. He also currently serves on the Deloitte West Africa Strategy team. He is a seasoned management consultant and a subject-matter expert in cybersecurity.


His daily work includes helping organizations transform their security process, implement cybersecurity strategy, and be better  vigilant of cyberattacks. He is an associate of the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium and also a member of ISACA. Obajide has a B.Eng from the prestigious Covenant University and a masters’ degree with Distinction from Queen Mary University of London. He is also an Alumni Ambassador for Queen Mary  where he mentors and advises incoming students. Obajide is also a co-founder of the Meet-A-Need-Today Foundation.

Benjamin Schmitt

European Energy Security Advisor, Bureau of Energy Resources, US Department of State, USA

Benjamin Schmitt is currently a European energy security and science and technology policy advisor for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR), where he is also serving as the current IEEE Department of State Science and Technology Policy Fellow. 


In his role at the State Department, Schmitt serves as the team lead for European energy security and diplomacy engagement in the Northern European region, drawing on his hard science and technology background, performed on all four continents of the Atlantic rim, to develop and implement novel policy strategies for the advancement of joint U.S. and EU shared priorities at the intersection of energy and security geopolitics, directly advising senior administration officials from the State Department and the White House National Security Council, among others across the U.S. Government.

Previously, Schmitt served as a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow while pursuing masters and doctoral-level research in physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on experimental cosmology research. While at Penn, Benjamin’s research primarily concentrated on the development of novel millimeter-wavelength imaging technologies framed through the design and integration of ACTPol, a polarization-sensitive receiver upgrade for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, located at over 5,190 meters in elevation on an extinct stratovolcano in Chile’s Atacama Desert, where Schmitt led field deployment operations over a several year period. 

Benjamin’s ACTPol research was also supported by a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program award. Schmitt has also previously served as a U.S. Fulbright Research Fellow to the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, and before that served as an X-Ray Diagnostics Researcher focusing on inertial confinement fusion research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Laboratory of Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Astronomy, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern German Languages and Cultures, and Mathematics.

Pedro Seabra

Leibniz-DAAD Research Fellow, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Portugal

Pedro is a Leibniz-DAAD Research Fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg as well as a non-resident researcher at the Center for International Studies, University Institute of Lisbon (CEI-IUL). 


He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon (ICS, ULisboa) and a M.A. in Political Science and International Relations by the School of Social and Human Sciences, New University of Lisbon (FCSH-UNL). Between 2013 and 2016, he held visiting researcher positions at the Institute of International Relations-University of Brasília (IREL-UnB), at the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria (GovInn-UP), and at ICS, ULisboa. Previously, Pedro worked as a researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security (IPRIS). His research interests and publications focus on regional security governance, South Atlantic geopolitics and capacity-building provision in Africa.

Nisrine Tahri

Project Manager, Enpact, Morocco

Nisrine Tahri is the founder X-large, a digital and communication agency based in Technopark Rabat. She is also the founder of a nongovernmental organization that aims to solve the educational problems in Morocco.


After having participated in Enpact’s mentorship program, a German nonprofit organization with the aim of strengthening economic relations between young entrepreneurs from the start-up scenes of the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, she is engaged with the organization as the country coordinator of Morocco. Tahri is also part of the startupyourlife initiative, a group of young Moroccan entrepreneurs who aim to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Morocco.

Huw Thomas

Electricity and Demand Analyst, National Grid Plc., UK

Huw Thomas is an energy industry professional with over 5 years’ experience. He currently works as an electricity demand analyst at National Grid, one of the world’s biggest electricity companies. 


Through his work, he influences Government policy on energy and climate change and informs businesses around the UK of market and society trends. In his previous role within the company, he coordinated the development of major electricity transmission projects throughout the country as an Investment Delivery Engineer.

Previously, Huw co-founded sports nutrition company, which educates endurance athletes about sports science and assists them in finding the most suitable nutritional products for their needs, from companies worldwide.

During his Masters in Sustainable Energy Systems in Edinburgh, Huw co-founded SCENE, a Scottish renewable energy social enterprise which is today continuing to deliver strong support to communities in Europe, Asia and South America.This year, Huw co-organized Europe’s largest ever Effective Altruism conference, to help people across the world understand how to do good better.

Merel Wackwitz

Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM, Netherlands

Wackwitz Merel is a government and regulatory affairs executive at IBM Europe, based in Brussels. Prior to this role she worked as a strategy and change consultant in IBM’s Global Business Services division.


Before joining IBM, Merel worked as an assistant to Vice-president Neelie Kroes, the former commissioner for the digital agenda at the European Commission. Before this she also worked for six months in the Political & Trade department at the European Union delegation to Israel. She holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University College of Utrecht, and a master’s degree in European Studies from Kings College London.

Leonie Willenbrink

Operations Analyst Consultant, The World Bank, USA

Leonie Willenbrink is a candidate for a masters of science in development studies at the London School of Economics. As a Rotary Global Grant scholar she focuses on economic development policy and governance. 


She previously worked at the World Bank as an operations analyst consultant. In this capacity, she worked in crime and violence prevention projects in Central America and peace building efforts in Colombia. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a research assistant at the Transatlantic Academy and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Washington, DC. She was also a GIZ fellow in the nongovernmental organization Ciudad Saludable in Lima, Peru. Willenbrink earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations and conflict studies from the University College Maastricht in the Netherlands. She speaks fluent German, English, and Spanish.