Keynotes and Contributors
The first confirmed contributors you will be able to interact with at the event
Payam Zamani (USA)
Payam Zamani is a die-hard entrepreneur and Internet pioneer who has founded several technology and Internet-based companies. He is currently the founder, chairman and CEO of One Planet Ops Inc, a unique hybrid firm combining operating technology companies, a socially-responsible angel fund and a startup business incubator, all designed to run, build and invest in disruptive technology businesses—while attempting to run these businesses in a humble spirit of sustainable service to humanity.
Payam is also the founder and the editor-in-chief of BahaiTeachings.org – a spiritual enlightenment website. He is also currently a board member at Tahirih Justice Center, which protects immigrant women and girls fleeing violence, and previously was an advisory board member at The Mona Foundation, which supports grassroots educational initiatives and seeks to raise the status of women and girls worldwide.
Isabella Lenarduzzi (Belgium)
Isabella Lenarduzzi has been a social entrepreneur, an expert in communication, event and conference organisation for 30 years. Her areas of interest include women empowerment, equality, education, training, entrepreneurship, innovation and EU advocacy.
Isabella launched JUMP “Promoting gender equality, advancing the economy” in 2006. She currently manages 3 companies, one NGO and a team of 12 people with an office in Brussels and in Paris.
Dhairya Pujara (India / USA)
Dhairya Pujara is the Founder, CEO for Ycenter. He has created community centered projects in Mozambique and India. As the CEO for Ycenter, he is responsible for building a global ecosystem bringing in corporates, universities, NGOs for creating community solutions. Dhairya is the curator for “Global Shaper Hub Philadelphia” by World Economic Forum. He has been a global TEDx organizer and a sought-after public speaker on entrepreneurship and international development. He delivers keynote and guest lectures in some of the top business schools, conferences around the globe. Dhairya sits on the advisory board for European Commission program LASIN – Latin American Social Innovation network. . In 2015, American Immigration granted him an approval for special category work visa reserved for “an individual of extra-ordinary abilities”.
More about Dhairya and his ideas on his LinkedIN Profile and here on his Twitter feed
Arthur Lyon Dahl (USA / Switzerland)
Systems Science Beyond Diversity
Systems science shows that the real significance of diversity lies not in the number of different entities and their differences, but how they interact. Diversity is the dynamic driver for greater systems complexity, integration and efficiency. In a coral reef ecosystem or tropical rainforest, it is the increasing cooperation among the species expressed in mutual assistance and symbioses that make their high levels of productivity possible. Similarly, human diversity unaccompanied by values of justice, cooperation and reciprocity can produce the negative reactions we see today. Recent research has suggested that higher levels of ethnically-diverse civilization are catalysed by ethical values from religion, building trust and providing the energy for new levels of organization and efficiency. Businesses and communities can follow this example.
Stephanie Akkaoui (Lebanon / Netherlands)
Founder & lead architect of AKKA Architects, Stephanie is part of a new breed of young visionary architects, who operate beyond the nowadays-restrained realm of architecture. A strong advocate of value created through cross-disciplinary interactions, Stephanie believes that the most sustainable innovation will happen at the intersection of different fields. Sustainability, as she defines it is the daily innovative solutions & opportunities we ought to actively create for a sustained long-term future.
Born & raised in the tumultuous city of Beirut, Stephanie quickly learned to navigate amidst an incredibly diverse, unpredictable, complex, & extremely lively environment.
With the community of the ebbf, Stephanie has also founded the Action Labs, a worldwide initiative aimed at sustaining local communities of entrepreneurs contributing to a prosperous, just & sustainable civilization, through their daily work. In addition, Stephanie serves on the advisory & executive boards of a number of business & creative organizations, including the Stimuleringsfunds Creative Industry and Ebbf the international business forum. In 2017, Stephanie is launching her first book: Architecting Interaction: How to Innovate through Interactions.
Tahirih Michot (South Africa)
Tahirih has designed and facilitated diverse processes for groups and teams over the past 20 years. Her practice cultivates and nurtures the skills and competencies of her clients so that they can create dynamic and responsive institutional environments. She particularly seeks initiatives that are both innovative and creative in their approach to the learning experience of individuals and teams. Tahirih established her own company, The Idea Processor in 2014 to focus on doing the work she loves. Her professional experience and educational background has strengthened her acumen in three organisational areas – process design, capacity building and strategic planning. Given that organisations are unique, Tahirih’s work seeks to fit the specific needs and desired outcomes of each type of organisation and its team.
Birgit Peeters (Belgium / Switzerland)
Birgit Peeters is a Belgian polyglot, she lived and worked in 5 countries, speaks 7 languages and is the mother of 2 daughters aged 14 and 12. In all her projects, she aims to blow life into people and organizations, whether as a group coach or as a specialist in “other ways of working”. She works hard to bring more creativity in the workplace as it is a solution to people and companies needs. As a change maker, she helps companies to implement socio-economical management styles and different work forms such as teleworking, job sharing and intergenerational management. She is fascinated by the human nature, by diversity topics and by the future of work. She loves reading, learning, travelling, playing theatre, exchanging with others and making people laugh.
Gary Reusche (Ukraine)
Gary Reusche since 1975 has been travelling the globe with the goal to contribute to socio-economic and community development, both in and out of the Baha’i community. His life resulted in 4 nationalities: American, Dutch, Russian, and Ukrainian, and working experience in more than 60 countries. At various times he has been an academic (United States, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine), a manager for business and development consulting, and a development expert for a dozen of the major bi-lateral and multilateral development agencies. Currently he focuses on social activism, including a school to teach virtues to Ukrainian children and youth, advocating for family farms in rural areas increasingly dominated by corporate interests, interFaith dialog, teaching a class on entrepreneurship, and grass roots community development. He brings a multi-cultural, multi-national perspective to his work.
Fateme Banishoeib ( Italy / Persia / Switzerland )
I define myself as many and multitudes, a bridge between worlds. I am a woman, a global leader, a poet and a scientist, which means that I am always seeking for the intersection where all these “roles” meet and lead to a truer and authentic me. A daughter of an Italian mother and a Persian father I had to face the real life of integrating cultures and values, finding ways to be integrated despite being an outsider.
I earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry out of a desire for well-being for the whole humanity. I wanted to save lives through science. My work as Global Leader in the Pharma industry over the past 15 years has led me from research and development into operations and then into strategy. The work I’ve grown to love most is helping organizations and teams change from the inside out. I led teams across Europe, Asia and America approaching to complex diverse challenges from an Inclusion perspective.
As an author, my writing focuses on the desire to explore other cultures, territories and discover what makes all us human uncovering the truth behind stereotypes and bias.
My motto is integration of who we are as an act of self leadership. In so doing we become more inclusive of others.
Nava Emilia Anvari (South Africa)
Nava is a Senior Consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors – a strategy consulting firm that works exclusively on issues driving global development and impact. Her specific areas of expertise are inclusive business growth and building public-private partnerships – connecting the development sector with the private sector to increase sustainability and scale of interventions affecting the bottom-of-the-pyramid. She is also the deputy of the firm’s global ICT practice – leveraging technology to bring about social and economic development to underserved markets. Nava’s clients include the World Bank, USAID, several UN agencies, and large international foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. She has also worked with several Fortune 500 companies. Nava’s most recent work includes supporting the UN Women leadership team in developing their All-Africa gender strategy, in-part through a series of interactive workshops, and moderating a panel at a Capacity Africa conference on “Case studies for using satellites to extend digital connectivity to rural areas”. Nava is passionate about Africa and its vast potential, the power of the individual in bringing social change, and the Persian card game: hokm.
W. Gijs van de Fliert (USA)
W. Gijs van de Fliert is a seasoned professional with an international finance career spanning close to four decades. An effective team player, collaborator and mentor, he has an affinity to work with people of diverse backgrounds, temperaments and talents. He is a proponent of entities that promote the wellbeing of staff, the environment, and the wider community. In 2016, after a score and four, he retired from IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group. He lives In Maryland, where he now volunteers his time in coordinating local community building activities with an emphasis on the moral and spiritual prerequisites to unify diverse people in a common purpose of service to humanity.
W. Gijs van de Fliert – LinkedIn Profile
Katrin Stigge (Switzerland)
Katrin loves “wild thinking”, connecting people, thoughts and things. Katrin’s inspirations and ideas which she openly shares with others create an encouraging atmosphere of passion, options and urge to act.
Katrin shares a big “courage to explore new ways” vision, encouraging people to think newly, feel newly and do things in a new way in order to get new results.
In her “corporate life”, Katrin held over the time of 15 years different roles of increasing responsibility in HR mainly in organisational and cultural development as well as in recruitment. Beside active mentoring the start-up time of a community, she introduced new tools as well as events to the organisation which were an important part of the company´s culture. Katrin strongly believes in mentoring as well as in co-creation.
Her list of awards include a global HR award, two awards in the field of Diversity & Inclusion as well as three as Game Master in “The Game”.
Katrin is highly interested in new ways of working and engages in the School of New Work “Les Enfants Terribles” (HappyMindfulDigital) and is a judge at the German Stevie Award.
Katrin lives with her partner in Basel, Switzerland. She loves to meet friends and new people to explore co-creation and to “go beyond”. She is an active runner and loves biscuits.
Jeff Lynn (UK)
After a career of over thirty years spanning the private, voluntary and public sectors, I’ve learned a couple of things: I’ve forgotten most the things that I have been taught; once I have a new perspective it’s a bit difficult to go back. All my work therefore focuses on changing perspectives. People come to my courses hoping that they’ll be able to apply some of the things that they learn. They go away knowing that they have what they need to change themselves and their environment to be more efficient and effective in ways that they had never anticipated.
Christina Kwok (Malaysia / Switzerland)
Before diversifying into intercultural skills training, Christina worked for three multi-national companies in the oil and gas, energy insurance and building industries and has a broad multicultural exposure to life on three continents. Born and raised in Malaysia, she is now based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Her special strength is applying her business acumen and intercultural expertise to help European business build better trust-based relationships with their Chinese/Asian counterparts, avoiding not only embarrassing faux pas but also costly failures such as serious loss of business and reputation. She also helps senior leaders develop effective global leadership skills so as to better lead and motivate their diverse teams across cultures.