Arash Bordbar

Arash is a 23 year-old refugee from Iran living in Australia. He travelled to Malaysia at the age of 17 and registered with UNHCR in Kuala Lumpur. He spent five years in Malaysia before being resettled to Australia in May 2015. Arash is studying for a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Western Sydney. He has experience volunteering and working for organizations supporting young refugees, in Malaysia (HELP College of Arts and Technology , UNHCR, Sahabat Support Centre and more recently in Australia (Auburn Diversity Services Young Leaders Group , Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Youth Ambassador , Settlement Services International volunteer ). Arash is an advocate for gender equality, sexual rights, and access to education and employment opportunities. He participated in the Global Refugee Youth Consultations in Australia and the Global Consultation in Geneva. He participated in the Global Refugee Youth Consultation in Australia and Geneva in June 2016 and since then have traveled to Malaysia where he planned and ran a youth consultation and meetings with the various NGOs he used to work with. He has also traveled to Bangkok, Thailand for the APRRN6 (Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network) where he was elected as the deputy chair in the youth working group. He has been invited to various youth consultations in Australia where he shared his experience from Geneva and his various participation across the country and he was just recently awarded the Young People Human Rights Medal for the Year 2016 by Australia Human Rights.


Ben Curtis

Ben Curtis is the Research Director in the Centre for International Education with the UK’s National Foundation for Educational Research. Previously, he was Senior Advisor in the Behavioural Insights Team, the world’s first governmental unit dedicated to applying behavioural science to public policy. He led projects with the UK’s Department of Education and Department for International Development. For more than a decade he was a professor at Seattle University, where he taught global politics and policy and founded the university’s Poverty Education Center. He can be contacted at benjaminwcurtis@yahoo.com.


Rez Gardi

Rez was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan after her family escaped their homeland owing to the persecution of Kurds and she has now resettled in New Zealand. She is the first in her family to graduate from secondary school and university. She graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Law (Honours) focussing on International Law and Human Rights; and a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in International Relations and Criminology. She is now New Zealand’s first Kurdish female lawyer. Rez works in corporate litigation at New Zealand’s premier law firm, Chapman Tripp, and has previously worked at the United Nations Office in Nairobi as a human rights intern. She is passionate about supporting young refugees through a mentoring and support programme to try and address the underrepresentation of refugee students in tertiary education as she believes education is pivotal to changing the future for refugees. She represented New Zealand at the Global Refugee Youth Consultations in Geneva, the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Conference in Bangkok and was a youth delegate at the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection Challenges in Geneva. She is the youth advisor for the New Zealand Red Cross as part of their national humanitarian team and leads projects for refugee youth throughout New Zealand.

Zaana Hall

Zaana Hall

Zaana Hall is a Master's in Public Policy candidate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. She has worked in the refugee protection and advocacy field for the past 6 years. Most recently she worked as a Refugee Officer, with the Department of Homeland Security for three years, where she was responsible for conducting overseas circuit rides in countries in Africa, Middle East, and Asia to screen for resettlement eligibility to the United States. She also worked directly in refugee resettlement for Heartland Alliance a Chicago based resettlement agency where she supported over 200 refugee families from countries such as Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Burma, and Kenya adjust to their new lives in the United States through individual case management. She is passionate about refugee advocacy particularly in relation to education, gender-based violence, and psycho-social support. You can reach Zaana via zaanahall@gmail.com.

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Gül İnanç

Gül İnanç is a lecturer at School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her areas of interest and expertise include: modern diplomatic history of West Asia, history and intercultural education for peace. She has three books and various articles on Turkish diplomatic history. Her recent published work focuses mostly on history education for secondary schools, intercultural and global cultural heritage education for peace and conflict resolution.

In 2004 she headed the team which re-wrote the history text book (3rd Vol) for high school education in North Cyprus. In 2007 she was the first Turkish scholar to teach simultaneously at the University of Cyprus (the Greek Cypriot state university) and Eastern Mediterranean University (Turkish Cypriot state university). Her current projects include creating student activity books/animated films/story books promoting global cultural heritage, deciphering the codes of contemporary religious art in the interfaith contexts and working with UNESCO on writing teacher’s source books for ASEAN countries. She has been awarded Koh Boon Hwee Scholar in 2016. She can be contacted at gul.inanc@initiativeour.org.


Graham Orpwood

Graham Orpwood is a professor emeritus of education at York University (Toronto) but is now based in the UK. His interests are in mathematics, science and technology education and in educational assessment and in using his experience to contribute to the improvement of education elsewhere in the world. He can be contacted at gorpwood@gmail.com.


Michael J. K. Walsh

Michael J. K. Walsh has been an educator for twenty five years. His career in the classroom began as a TEFL teacher in Athens (Greece) then as Director of Studies of Inlingua Monza (Italy). After completing his PGCE in History at the University of Cambridge he worked at TASIS – Hellenic International School (Greece), Francis Holland School (UK) and Rochester Independent College (UK). Following his D. Phil in Art History at the University of York he became an Assistant Professor at Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus and is currently Associate Professor of Art History at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Michael is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Historical Society and can be contacted at michaeljkwalsh@hotmail.com.

Nicky Wilkinson

Nicky Wilkinson

Nicky Wilkinson is a freelance consultant specialising in social innovation, sustainable development and fundraising. Her clients include NGO's, corporates, government departments and a range of venture philanthropy funds.

She is a founding trustee of the GravityLight Foundation and a Director of GravityLight Kenya. GravityLight is an innovative device that creates light from gravity and is designed for use in off-grid households that are dependent upon damaging and dangerous kerosene lighting.GravityLight has won multiple awards including the Humanitarian Innovation Fund and Aid Innovation Challenge.

Prior to her current roles Nicky was Regional Partnerships Director for the British Council, covering 14 markets in Asia, worked for Nesta (the UK's social innovation foundation,) managing part of a £10m social innovation fund and she was External Relations Director for the UK youth charity Changemakers heading up the fundraising, communications and policy work. Before that she held several international development roles living and working across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Nicky holds a number of advisory positions with funding bodies and has been selected as a Sustainability Lab 2018 Global Sustainability Fellow. She is a mentor for the ASEAN Impact Challenge, a regular contributor to Common Purpose Asia-Pacific leadership courses and an alumni of ASEAN Foundation's ASEAN Leaders Programme for outstanding senior leaders. You can reach her via nicky.wilkinson@initiativeour.org.