Anna Biryukova

Anna Biryukova is Head of Public Opinion Research at the Anti-Corruption Foundation (ACF), Russia’s most significant opposition organization, founded by Alexey Navalny. Anna joined the team of the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny in 2013 during Navalny’s election campaign for Mayor of Moscow. Since then, Anna has run independent and unbiased surveys, nationwide polls and focus groups, always under immense pressure from Putin’s regime. In 2019 she was forced to leave her home country. Russian authorities considered her work — political polling — to be a terrorist and extremist activity. Living in exile in Lithuania, Anna has never stopped doing her research work. As ACF’s head of polling, she manages…

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Laura-Kristine Krause

Laura-Kristine Krause is Founding Director of More in Common Germany, an organization devoted to understanding the forces that are driving our democracies apart and to countering “us vs. them”-narratives. She also serves on the organization’s international executive team, alongside her colleagues from France, Poland, the UK, and the US. Laura is a leading expert on polarization and social cohesion and an advisor to key civil society organizations, initiatives, and political institutions. She also applies this lens to her role on the oversight board of Germany’s largest public broadcaster ZDF and her board roles in German philanthropy and public administration. She was a negotiator for the coalition treaty of the German…

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Babra Ontibile Bhebe

Babra Ontibile Bhebe is the Executive Director of the Election Resource Centre (ERC), a civil society organization that stands to promote electoral democracy in Zimbabwe and across the African continent. She has worked in the governance and human rights sector for more than 18 years. Since joining the organization in 2021, the ERC has under her leadership extended its influence to South Africa and Angola where it has been instrumental in building the capacity of political parties on various election related issues. Her reputation as an election expert is demonstrated by the multiple international election observation missions she has been invited to in various African nations, including Kenya, Nigeria, and…

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Sokny Onn

Sokny Onn is a passionate advocate for disability inclusion, serving as Country Director of Epic Arts, a UK-registered NGO in Cambodia, and as an advisor to the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In her Epic Arts role, she leads a program that empowers individuals with disabilities through arts, including inclusive education, community outreach, and social enterprise, with the aim to create an inclusive, valued, and discrimination-free environment for people with disabilities. Her experiences as a woman with disabilities drive her determination and passion as a leader in promoting social inclusion and serving the disabled community in Cambodia and beyond. Sokny also serves as the 1st Vice-Chair of Creative…

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Andrei Kureichik

Andrei Kureichik is a Belarusian playwright, director, publicist, and civil activist. As a writer and director prior to 2020, Andrei was especially beloved for his comedies and suspense thrillers. Following the contested presidential elections and brutal aftermath in Belarus in August 2020, Andrei gained an international following as a political playwright. Forced to flee the country as a member of the Coordination Council working with perceived winner Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s transition team, Andrei leveraged his creative energy to produce the documentary play “Insulted. Belarus(sia)” about the 2020 presidential elections, subsequent protests, and violent crackdown by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus. The play has been translated into 29 languages and received 200…

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Sascha MĂĽller-Kraenner

Sascha MĂĽller-Kraenner is CEO of Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany), a leading environmental, nature conservation, and consumer advocacy organization. He is also a founding partner and board member of the Ecologic Institute, a non-profit applied environmental policy research institute with offices in several European and North American cities. From 2007-2014, Sascha built and led The Nature Conservancy's regional program in Europe. From 2003-2006, he served as the Heinrich Böll Foundation's Director for Europe and North America as well as head of the Foundation's program on foreign and security policy. From 1998-2002 he served as Director of the Foundation's office in Washington DC. Sascha serves on several boards of scientific and…

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Wanjiru Mukoma

Wanjiru Mukoma has spent most of her career working to improve health and wellbeing in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in HIV prevention and care, and cross-cutting issues of human rights, sexual, and gender-based violence. She was formerly Executive Director of LVCT Health, a Kenyan NGO and one of the country’s leading implementers of HIV and gender-based violence programs. A researcher, program implementer, and advocate, she has worked in academia and the non-profit sector for the past 15 years. Wanjiru is as comfortable working at the grassroots community level as she is in policy advocacy, championing the rights of the vulnerable and marginalized, especially children, adolescents, young women, and sexual minorities. She…

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Shamil Ibragimov

Shamil Ibragimov is a highly experienced professional with over 17 years of expertise in the fields of social development, local governance, and media development. He previously served as the Executive Director of Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan, an affiliated part of the Open Society Foundation, where he established himself as a prominent figure in civil society development, anti-corruption initiatives, community mobilization, and social accountability. In addition to his professional work, he is a co-founder of Ilim Educational Complex, the oldest private school in Kyrgyzstan, where he holds position of Director for International Programs and Development and founder of Ilim College, an innovative professional education institution that prepares students for the challenges of the…

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Kirsten Rulf

Kirsten Rulf has been working as a senior advisor for digital, technology, and innovation policy to former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and current Chancellor Olaf Scholz since 2019. She is Head of Division for General Digital Policy Issues and “Nerd-in-Chief” at the Federal Chancellery of Germany in Berlin. In her strategic leadership position, Kirsten is shaping Germany’s and Europe’s role in the geopolitics of tech. What does European digital sovereignty mean in a global context? How should Germany navigate the Great Power competition between USA and China?  Kirsten first started to think about these issues during her decade-long career as an award-winning journalist: as current affairs correspondent for Germany’s flagship…

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Xolani Zitha

Xolani Zitha is National Advisor at Deutsche Gesellschaft fĂĽr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Zimbabwe where he focuses on managing projects focused on building the institutional capacity of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC). Previously, Xolani was Director of the Office of the Speaker for the Parliament of Zimbabwe and an independent governance consultant. He also previously served as Chief of Staff to Lovemore Moyo, the Speaker of the House of Assembly in Zimbabwe from January 2009 to June 2013. He advised the Speaker on efforts to modernize Zimbabwe’s Parliament and strengthen its policy functions. Xolani previously directed the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an…

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