Panellists and Trainers 2014

  • Maryam al-Khawaja
    Maryam al-Khawaja is the Acting President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, as the president Nabeel Rajab is in prison. She played an instrumental role in the democratic protests taking place in the Pearl Roundabout in February 2011, which triggered a government response of widespread extra judicial killings, arrest, and torture. Al-Khawaja has emerged as a leading voice for human rights and political reform in Bahrain and the Gulf region.
  • Jacob Appelbaum
    Jacob Appelbaum is a core member of the Tor project, a free software network designed to provide online anonymity. He is also an independent investigative journalist working on a variety of topics related to security, privacy, surveillance and censorship.
  • Arpine Avetisyan
    Arpine Avetisyan is an international human rights lawyer and currently a Partner at the Centre for Rights and Justice, London. She has 15 years of experience of promoting human rights through awareness raising, research, capacity development and strategic litigation.  She has worked in local and international NGOs on human rights issues in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Kosovo, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Egypt and others.
  • Benedicte Berner
    Benedicte Berner is Acting Chair of the Board of Civil Rights Defenders. She teaches at Harvard University on Media and Democracy and is Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. Benedicte Berner has previously taught on issues regarding freedom of expression at the Institut d’ Etudes Politiques de Paris. She also trains journalists in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
  • Kelly Bjorklund
    Kelly Bjorklund is a freelance journalist and communications strategist specialising in human rights and media freedom issues. She works with NGOs on messaging, advocacy and strategic planning. In 2010, she launched a human rights blog for Radio Free Asia, a platform where she actively promotes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights wherein everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
  • Ruben Brunsveld
    Ruben Brunsveld is the founder of the Stockholm Institute for Public Speaking (StIPS). He has extensive experience in international negotiations and speech writing. Ruben Brunsveld has worked as a diplomat for the Netherlands to the European Union, and as a legal expert and speechwriter responsible for advising the Minister on issues such as “Freedom of Speech”, “Privacy and Security” and “Integration”.
  • Alaksiej Carniajeu
    Alaksiej Carniajeu has been working as a security researcher and trainer for activists in repressive societies since 2004, first with the Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus and later with Belarus IT Aid. He has provided security and technology trainings for political and human rights activists from North and East Africa, post Soviet region, and Southeast Asia. In addition, he is a consultant to and a member of team, which uses mapping software for citizen monitoring of Belarusian elections.
  • Brittis Edman
    Brittis Edman is Programme Director for Southeast Asia at Civil Rights Defenders. She has documented and analysed the human rights situation in Southeast Asia since the mid -90s, in particular Cambodia, where she lived and worked for seven years. Prior to joining Civil Rights Defenders, Brittis Edman worked for five years as a Southeast Asia researcher at Amnesty International.
  • Carl Gershman
    Carl Gershman is President of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private grant-making institution with a mission to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. He took the lead in launching the World Movement for Democracy, in New Delhi in 1999, which is a global network of democracy practitioners and scholars.
  • Robert Hårdh
    Robert Hårdh is the Executive Director of Civil RIghts Defenders. He has a Master of Laws degree from Uppsala University, specialising in human rights. Robert Hårdh started working for Civil Rights Defenders as a human rights lawyer in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed Executive Director of the organisation.
  • Maina Kiai
    Maina Kiai is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Maina Kiai has spent the last 20 years campaigning for human rights and constitutional reform in Kenya. He won national reputation for his courageous and effective advocacy against official corruption and impunity following the violence that convulsed Kenya in 2008, causing thousands of deaths.
  • Mary Lawlor
    Mary Lawlor is the Executive Director of Front Line Defenders. She has over 35 years of experience in human rights. In 2001 she set up Front Line - the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Front Line concentrates all its activities on human rights defenders at risk. The aim is to protect defenders of human rights and provide them with “round the clock” practical support so that they can continue their work to build civil and just societies. Prior to Front Line, Mary Lawlor was Director of the Irish Section of Amnesty International for 12 years.
  • Andrew Lewman
    Andrew Lewman runs The Tor Project as the Executive Director and a member of the Board. Currently Treasurer of the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, which brings together anonymity and privacy experts from around the world to discuss recent advances and new perspectives in privacy on the Internet and other communication networks. He is a founding member of the IPVTech Working Group to help eliminate Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), and Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) through the use of information technology.
  • Trinh Huu Long
    Trinh Huu Long, is one of the very few human rights legal activists in Vietnam, and also one of the democracy activists of the young generation. Since 2011, Long has been providing legal assistance to the disadvantaged, including landlost farmers, indigent victims of injustice, and human rights defenders. In the meantime, Long has also worked as a journalist for a number of leading newspapers in Vietnam, such as the Tuoi Tre, Thanh Nien, and Tia Sang. While he is still a legal activist and blogger, Long has been a trainer as well, especially in law.
  • Martin Löwdin
    Martin Löwdin is an Internet activist and writer, working with issues ranging from surveillance and digital security to human rights. In 2010 and 2011 he was part of the Telecomix "Tech Support for the Arab Spring", helping Egyptians to stay online and Tunisians to defeat Internet censorship. As a part of the net-centric think-tank Juliagruppen he works to enhance Internet freedom and influence European Internet policy. Lately he has been working to educate users in different countries on practical security measures, how to avoid surveillance and staying safe online.
  • Chris Michael
    Chris Michael is a trainer, video producer and campaign strategist who founded Collaborations for Change in 2013 after over a decade of designing and running social change campaigns, developing human rights training and leading dozens of video and campaign strategy workshops for human rights groups from over 115 countries. Previously, Chris was the Head of Training and Partnerships at WITNESS. Much of Chris Michael's work has focused on creative and innovative campaigns that utilise technology to promote justice.
  • Emin Milli
    Emin Milli is a writer and dissident from Azerbaijan. He is currently managing director of Meydan TV, a free and alternative platform for freedom of speech in Azerbaijan. Milli was imprisoned in 2009 for two and a half years for his critical views about the government. In November 2010, he was conditionally released, in part due to strong international pressure on the government of Azerbaijan. From 2002-2004, Milli was director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and also advised the Council of Europe on cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
  • Khin Ohmar
    Khin Ohmar serves as the Chairperson of the Network for Democracy and Development (Burma) and she also serves as a Policy Forum member and the Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Forum for Democracy in Burma—an umbrella organisation for Burmese political groups based in Burma’s border areas. Khin Ohmar is also Coordinator of Burma Partnership, a network of Burmese and regional civil society organisations that seeks to bring greater support in the Asia-Pacific region for Burma’s ongoing struggle for democracy, human rights and freedom.
  • Christophe Peschoux
    Christophe Peschoux is a human rights expert and a senior staff member at the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, after several field postings with OHCHR and ICRC in post-conflict and crisis contexts. Christophe Peschoux led the field office of OHCHR in Cambodia for four years, after which he returned to Geneva. Since January 2014, he is head of the section of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights supporting the work of six special procedures mandate holders: torture, executions, disappearances, arbitrary detention, freedom of religion and belief and human rights protection and counter-terrorism.
  • Antonio G. Rodiles
    Antonio G. Rodiles is Director of Estado de SATS, a forum created in 2010 by a group of young artist, intellectuals, and professionals to encourage debate about social, cultural, and political issues in Cuba. Rodiles is also the main coordinator of the Citizen Demand for Another Cuba, an initiative calling for Cuba to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
  • Greg Scarlatoiu
    Greg Scarlatoiu is Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea in Washington, D.C. He has taught intensive courses on the Korean peninsula at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul and the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute. He has been a guest lecturer at academic institutions such as Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. He has lived in Seoul for 10 years and is fluent in Korean. In 1999, Scarlatoiu was conferred the title of Citizen of Honor, City of Seoul.
  • Margaret Sekaggya
    Margaret Sekaggya is the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Between 1996 and 2008 she was the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, and also served as the Chairperson of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions. Margaret Sekaggya has participated in the drawing up of a Bill of Rights for the East African Community. In addition to her work at the international level, Ms. Sekaggya is the Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre Uganda.
  • Alaá Shehabi
    Alaá Shehabi has a leading role in Bahrain Watch, an independent research and advocacy organisation that seeks to promote effective, transparent and accountable governance in Bahrain. Bahrain Watch was established after the February 2011 uprising and subsequent security crackdown in Bahrain. Alaá Shehabi is responsible for the Stop the Shipment campaign, which aims at stopping the import of tear gas to Bahrain. She is a British-born Bahraini researcher and writer, and currently an ACSS research fellow.
  • Hassan Shire Sheikh
    Hassan Shire Sheikh is the Executive Director of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. He was the founder and co-director of Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre and Chairperson of Peace and Human Rights Network in Mogadishu, before he was forced to flee his native Somalia. For a number of years, Mr.Shire has served as the coordinator of the African Human Rights Defenders Project at York University, Canada. He also engages actively in the UN Human Rights Council and Community of Democracies.
  • Göran Stanton
    Göran Stanton has been working in the police force for 30 years. Currently he works as an investigator at the hate crime unit in Stockholm County. In March 2000, Göran Stanton and some of his colleagues started the Swedish Gay Police Association. He is a member of the board of HBT-liberalerna (the LGBT liberals) since 2011, and has visited many Pride festivals in Eastern Europe during the last three years. Last year he attended Belgrade Pride. Göran Stanton is a member of Civil Rights Defenders.
  • Pelle Tornell
    Pelle Tornell is a unique international entertainer and speaker. After many years in various top management and board positions Pelle Tornell decided to pursue a further career as a keynote speaker, entertainer and author. Today, he is one of Scandinavias most prominent speakers and thinkers on the topic of decision making. He is also the author of the book Bestäm Dig (You Choose).
  • Sumeja Tulic
    Sumeja Tulic is Programme Officer for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders. She has a BA in Law from the Law faculty in Sarajevo and a MA degree from the European Regional Master on Democracy and Human Rights in Sarajevo. Sumeja started to work for Civil Rights Defenders in 2011 and is stationed at the organisation's office in Sarajevo.
  • Jeffrey Wescott
    Jeffrey Wescott is Co-Founder and CEO of Giving Stage. Jeffrey believes in beautiful design, lean thinking, and agile development. Before starting Giving Stage, Jeffrey was the VP of Product and Engineering at An entrepreneur at his core, Jeffrey has spent nearly his entire career building start ups. He holds a bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Bucknell University.