John Sibi-Okumu – Kenya
John Sibi-Okumu is a lifelong professional career high school teacher of French, a notable broadcaster, and a celebrated actor, journalist, and author. He was quiz master for The Zain Africa Challenge, an inter-university, general knowledge competition originally seen in eight African countries. He was the chief anchor for JSO@7 on Kiss TV,
Kenya, a one-hour TV news digest. He has taken on about 40 lead roles on stage and appeared in local and international films, including The Constant Gardener, Shake Hands with the Devil and The First Grader.
JSO has written six original plays featured in his Collected Plays, 2004 – 2014 and directed, amongst several other
productions, Mo Faya! by Kenyan musician Eric Wainaina, which played to great acclaim at the New York Festival
of Musical Theatre in 2009.
He has narrated and voiced award-winning documentaries and commercials in English, French, and Kiswahili. In 2017 he read the audiobooks of Peter Kimani’s Dance of the Jakaranda and Henry ole Kulet’s Blossoms of the Savannah.
John Sibi-Okumu continues to serve as a moderator, in English, French and Kiswahili, for high-level conferences and is also an engaging public speaker. He was featured in the book Life Journeys, Scaling Heights – Conversations with
High Achieving Men in Kenya for his accomplishments.
Dr Gameli Tordzro – Ghana
Dr Gameli Tordzro is a muti-arts practitioner, academic, and entrepreneur from Ghana living in Scotland, attempting to share as much as he can of himself with the rest of the world. He is an Educationist, Film and TV Director, Thespian, and Artistic Researcher.
He works in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of AdinkraLinks, a network for poets worldwide interacting through writing, co-creating, sharing and facilitating treasured creative opportunities, and founder composer and director of Ha Orchestra. He makes music, theatre, films, clothes and so on. Many people in Ghana know him as the Grandpa who used to tell folktales on GTV in their childhood.
Dr Gameli set up Meli Creative in Scotland, which he uses to support various creatives in Scotland and Africa. He is a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland winner and publishes the AdinkraLinks Anthology series, a fertile platform and springboard for young and undiscovered authors of all sorts.
Dr Amakove Wala – Kenya
Dr Elizabeth Amakove Wala is a Pan-Africanist Kenyan creative writer, visionary and strategic award-winning Health Systems Strengthening Expert. She is at the forefront of articulating the vision and strategy to shape and advance Public Health impact in Africa and drive Health Systems Strengthening strategies and projects to build community resilience and improve health systems and the health of populations in Africa.
She is a transformational leader, effective in building public-private cooperation (with national governments, county governments, donors, ministries, development partners, local/international organisations, and professional associations in Africa) and navigating complex political contexts to strengthen health systems, influence policy formulation, mobilise resources, advocate for innovations in public health to achieve broader and sustainable impact for health and HSS programmes/projects.
Dr Wala is also a strategist and communicator with an extensive network of key health sector and private sector partners in Africa, solid understanding and practical experience in health care delivery in Africa, and health management experience spanning 36 African countries.
Dr Robert Aron – USA
Dr Robert Aron has many years of diverse experience in project and program management, curriculum development, training, and organisation development. At Motorola University, he provided leadership in global, corporate-wide training initiatives in areas such as technology, leadership, project management, and software engineering. Aron has combined principles of the learning organisation with systematics engineering approaches such as technology road-mapping and incremental, evolutionary development.
He has extensively consulted with companies such as Reliance Industries (India), focusing on corporate university development and learning platforms, and needs assessment at Adidas. He has provided leadership in developing the software industry in Egypt, the transfer of management technology to many countries, supported post-tsunami psychological trauma amelioration initiatives in Japan and architected entire degree programs for schools in the United States, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and for Angola University.
Dr Aron graduated with BA in East Asian Languages and Literature from the University of Iowa, with a year at the International Christian University in Tokyo. He received his MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago, an MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology, an MA in Education and a PhD in Instructional Design and Organization Development from The Ohio State University. He was a J. Harris Ward Fellow at the University of Chicago and has edited and contributed to several science textbooks.
Mbizo Chirasha – Zimbabwe
Mbizo Chirasha is a dedicated multidisciplinary artist whose impact spans decades. He is an avid reader and poet. Since 2007, he has curated blog content such as the Porcupine-Quill and contributed to the African Writers Caravan. He is the chief editor at Brave Voices Poetry Journal. He has also been a Jury President at Shungunamutitima Film Festival (Livingstone, Zambia).
His work has been appreciated globally, spanning Europe, Africa, and the United States of America. In 2020, Mbizo was featured as a UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist (University of Glasgow, School of Education, Scotland) and a guest Writer at the University of Glasgow Creative Writing Programme.
Mbizo Chirasha is also the founder of the Writing Ukraine Prize.
Damaris Agweyu – Kenya
Damaris Agweyu’s passion for storytelling for impact can be traced back to a childhood spent in Europe—one that opened her eyes to the persistently harmful stereotypes about her home continent, Africa. From this experience, she learned the potency of narratives; their ability to either build and edify or malign and destroy.
Through Qazini, Damaris strives to share her vision of Africa with millions of people to inspire them to alter broader attitudes, shape alternative conversations and catalyse systemic change in society.
Her visionary perspectives have earned her opportunities to capture and share the authentic stories of numerous individuals and organisations across the African continent. One of her proudest achievements has been working with WE Africa, where she has been telling the stories of African women transforming the continent’s environmental movement.
In 2021, she was a recipient of The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship (TEF) Programme award for creating one of Africa’s most innovative, high-potential business ideas.
Before founding Qazini, Damaris provided innovative leadership that scaled impact for several organisations, both in the corporate and nonprofit sectors.
Her six-year tenure as CEO of KenyaBuzz saw her implement strategies that turned the organisation from a loss to a profit-making business. This led to its acquisition by one of Africa’s leading media companies, The Nation Media Group.