Gay J. McDougall (Chair)


Gay McDougall served as the first United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues from 2005 through 2011. She was Executive Director of the international NGO Global Rights from 1994 through 2006.

Among her many international roles, from 1997- 2001 she served as an Independent Expert on the UN treaty body that oversees compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, during which time she negotiated the adoption of General Recommendation XXV on the Gender Dimensions of Racial Discrimination, which requires governments to report explicitly on the situation of women impacted by racial discrimination. She played a leadership role in the UN Third World Conference against Racism.

Among her recent academic roles have been the Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor in International Law at Fordham Law School (2013); the Robert Drinan Visiting Professor in Human Rights at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. (2011-2012); Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American University Washington College of Law (2006-2008); and Professor in the annual Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the American University (2010 and 2012).

Bill Samuel (Treasurer)

Bill Samuel is a chartered accountant with broad private sector experience in banking, finance, and tourism. He has lived and worked in Europe, East Africa, the Gulf and the Caribbean. With a strong interest in human rights and conservation, he has extensive experience of the Charity Sector, having served on the councils of Education Action International, The Book Trade Charity, The Ilois Support Group and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Network. He is also a director of Foyles Bookshop and lives in London.

Tom Astor

Tom Astor is an entrepreneur specialising in the media. He has run a number of businesses and produced a variety of projects in the film, TV, music and advertising industries.


Albert Barume

Dr. Albert K. Barume is a world expert in indigenous peoples’ rights, with over twenty years of work experience in human rights law at regional and international levels. He is currently the Chairperson of a seven-members United Nations Experts Mechanism of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), a sub-organ of the United Nations Human Rights Council based in Switzerland. Previously, he worked for numerous international organizations, including the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO) as Senior Specialist. He has also worked for the African regional human rights mechanism – the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights – as independent Expert member of the Working Group on indigenous peoples.

Françoise Hampson

Professor Françoise Hampson is an institutional thinker, revolutionary human rights lawyer, and a kind and influential teacher who shaped generations of students. Francoise taught at the University of Dundee from 1975 to 1983 and has been at the University of Essex since then. She dedicated her career to address some of the most pressing and enduring challenges confronting International Law. She was an independent expert member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights from 1998-2007. She has acted as a consultant on humanitarian law to the International Committee of the Red Cross and taught at Staff Colleges or equivalents in the UK, USA, Canada & Ghana. She represented Oxfam and SCF (UK) at the Preparatory Committee and first session of the Review Conference for the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention.

Joe Frans

Joe Frans is founder and Chief Operating Officer of NGA Novum AB, a company specializing in digitizing terrestrial television networks in Africa. He is board member of the Swedish Association of ethnic minority entrepreneurs IFS and previously served as chairperson of the Swedish Civil Society umbrella Forumsyd 2005-2010. He was also chair and member of the United Nations Human Rights Councils Working Group of Independent Experts on People of African Descent 2003-2009. He served as communications director and chief political adviser to the mayor of the City of Stockholm and represented the social democratic party of Sweden in the Swedish Parliament (2002-2006) working for the Justice affairs committee and on the European Affairs Committee. Further, he served on the board of the University of Stockholm and the National Police Board.

Mahdis Keshavarz

Mahdis Keshavarz is founder and principal of The Make Agency. Since establishing The Make Agency, Keshavarz’s clientele has included international dignitaries, Hollywood stars, global artists, numerous film festivals and events focusing on the Middle Eastern community. She has placed news stories and op-eds with media outlets around the world – including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, NPR, The National and Al Jazeera. Since 2013 she has produced TV segments for the BBC and the acclaimed series, MTV: Rebel Music. She also serves on the board of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA).

Willy Mutunga

The Honorable Willy Mutunga was Kenya’s Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court from 2011 to 2016. In that capacity he worked on the implementation of the progressive 2010 Constitution. He supported the Judiciary Training Institute as a nucleus for juristic training and an institution of higher learning. He advocated, in his writings and judgments, for the development of jurisprudence that reflected the transformative vision of the Constitution. In carrying out judicial reforms he sought to lay permanent and indestructible foundations for a transformed Kenyan Judiciary. Under his watch the notion of the Judiciary as an institutional political actor under the Constitution began to take root.

Meena Varma

imagemeenaMeena has been Director of Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK) since 2007. DSN-UK campaigns against the atrocities, humiliation and poverty that over 260 million Dalits or ‘untouchables’ suffer due to caste discrimination.

Meena is also the Chair of the International Dalit Solidarity Network; a Board member and the Treasurer of the Ethical Trading Initiative and Coordinator of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits.

George Ngwane

Mr. George Ngwane was born in 1960 in Ngomboku, Tombel sub-division, Kupe Mwanenguba Division of the South West Region. He is holder of a Bachelors degree in English Literature, Diploma in French Language, Post graduate degree in English language from the University of Yaounde and Post-graduate diploma in Environmental Education from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland. He is a writer, teacher and civil society actor, a Senior Chevening Fellow in conflict prevention from the University of York (UK); a Rotary Peace Fellow from the University of Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, Thailand; a Commonwealth Professional Fellow tenable at the Minority Rights Group International London; a Bilingual Commission Scholar at the Welsh Language Commission, Cardiff Wales and a United Nations Minority Rights Fellow from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the Executive Director of the civil society organisation AFRICAphonie, Member of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon as well as Member of the Board of Trustees, Minority Rights Group Africa.


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