Speakers

  • Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani, Chairman of the Board, Doha Center for Media Freedom, Qatar

Since graduating from Qatar University in 1987 with a B.A. in Mass Media and Journalism, Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani has been at the forefront of the rapid development of media in the state of Qatar, culminating in his current position as President of Qatari Media Corporation. Before taking over his last position, he was Chairman of Qatar Radio and Television Corporation for the last twelve years. From the time the Aljazeera Channel was established in 1996, growing into the Aljazeera Satellite Network, Sheikh Hamad has been its Chairman of the Board. At the same time, he is also Chairman of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom. Sheikh Hamad has represented the state of Qatar at a wide range of journalism, mass media and culture meetings and conferences in the Gulf, the Arab world and internationally. He has participated in a number of training sessions, conferences and media gatherings in many Arab and foreign countries in the fields of management, journalism and mass media.

  • George N. Anastassopoulos, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Greece to UNESCO since November 2004, is the President of the 34th session of UNESCO’s General Conference.

Prior to holding this position, he was Vice-President of the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy and, for over ten years, a member of the European Parliament, most of this time elected as Vice-President. His national political career began in 1977 when he became Under-Secretary to the Prime Minister and official spokesperson for the Governments of Constantinos Karamanlis (1977) and George Rallis (1981) and Chairman of the All Parties Committee supervising the 1981 national legislative elections. Before entering politics, George N. Anastassopoulos pursued an extensive career in journalism, beginning as a journalist with the daily “Kathimerini”, where he became the senior political correspondent, contributing at the same time to other Athenian dailies and magazines. After the publication of one of his articles strongly criticizing the Colonel’s regime, the government closed “Vradini” newspaper on 1 December 1973. After the restoration of democracy, George N. Anastassopoulos became Director General of the Athens News Agency (1974-1981) and Director of the “Messimvrini” daily (1983-1984). He was elected member of the Board, Vice-President and then four times President (1976-1984) of the Athens Union of Journalists, the strongest journalist union of Greece. He was also elected member of the Board of the International Federation of Journalists (1978-1984).

  • Abdelaziz Almahmoud, Editor in chief, Al Arab

Former chief editor of Al Jazeera Net Andrew Stroehlein, Communications Director, International Crisis Group.

Before joining Crisis Group, Andrew Stroehlein worked at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, where he established the journalism training program, with extensive media development work in the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter, editor and commentator in Central and Eastern Europe for many years, eventually founding and editing the award-winning online magazine, Central Europe Review, in 1999. He has contributed widely to both international and national media outlets, and his articles have appeared in the Financial Times, The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Observer and The Christian Science Monitor, among many others.

  • Ramzi Khoury, Strategic Communications Consultant, CEO, Strategy Falcons Ltd. Of Dubai

Ramzi Khoury was born in Jordan. He is a strategic communications consultant, journalist and columnist. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Strategy Falcons LLC, an Arab Strategic communications company based in Dubai, with offices throughout the region. Mr. Khoury started his career at Grenada Television after earning a degree in political science from Richmond College in the United Kingdom. He also managed the campaign of Toujan Feisal, the first woman to be elected to Jordan's lower house of parliament. Khoury has held the positions of editor-in-chief of the Jordan-based English newspaper, The Arab Daily and Al Bawaba.com. Prior to that, he launched Abed Rabbo, the first political satire newspaper in Jordan, which was shut down for its harsh criticism of the government.

  • Alvito de Souza, Secretary General, World Catholic Association for Communication (SIGNIS)

Established aptitude for cultures responsive action research and meaningful change facilitation with a profound interested in cultures sensitive development, human rights and conflict transformation. Over 20 years of professional experience in media/communications, culture/creative industries and development gained in Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo, Italy, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia as well as assignments in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, France, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and Zimbabwe. 9 years of progressive senior management responsibilities. 4 years of radio research, production and broadcast and over 8 years in local level community development, field logistics and intercultural exchange.

  • Waddah Khanfar, Director General of the Channel’s Network

Graduated from Honors degree in International Politics, Waddah Khanfar is a Palestinian Jordanian, and a solid professional who attempted to provide wide coverage for various groups of Iraq civil society. He has covered the world’s significant political zones for Al Jazeera Channel since 1997. During 2001 and 2002 he was a war correspondent in Afghanistan and during the war in Irak, he reported from Kurdish-controlled territory in the North. Later he was appointed Baghdad Bureau Chief, reestablishing service in the wake of Irak’s new political landscape. In 2003, he became managing director of Al-Jazeera Channel, which was ranked the world’s fifth most influential brand in 2005, by online magazine Brand Channel, and director General of the channel’s network in 2006.

  • Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Opinion and Expression of United Nations

Holder of a postgraduate degree in U.S. foreign policy from Johns Hopkins University, Frank La Rue has worked on human rights for the past 25 years. He is the founder of the Centre for Legal Action for Human Rights (CALDH) which became the first Guatemalan NGO to bring cases of human rights violations to the Inter-American System and to promote economic, social and cultural rights. As a human rights activist, his name was presented to the Nobel Peace Prize committee in 2004. He has previously served as a Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala, as a Human Rights Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, as President of the Governing Board of the Centro-American Institute of Social Democracy Studies and as a consultant to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Li Xuguang, Director of the Centre for International Communication Studies, Professor at School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Li Xuguang was a Media Consultant to the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. He was also a Special Senior Research Fellow with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, he worked as a Beijing Special Consultant to China Youth Daily, a leading national newspaper and was the Chairman of China's National Committee for New Media. Li Xiguang also won a lot of prices. Without being exhaustive, we can notably quote the Best Teacher Award in 2001, same as First Prize for National Best Science Stories awarded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998, and First Prize for National Best Environmental Stories awarded jointly by the Chinese Association of Journalists and the State Administration of Environmental Protection in 1998.

  • Zuhair Al-Jezairy, Director of Aswat al Iraq Agency

Zuhair Al-Jezairy, sometimes referred to as Zuhair Al Jazairy is an Iraqi journalist, who born in Irak in 1945. He is currently editor in chief of Aswat al-Iraq news agency and part of the Iraqi Journalist Union, he was the previous editor in chief of the daily Arabic newspaper Al Mahda, and equally written several publications and has worked on various documentaries.He studied German literature in Baghdad, and since 1968 he has worked as a journalist in Baghdad, same as Beirut and London. He is the author of well-known documentary like The Devil you don’t know, going back to Irak, in which he traveled throughout Iraq, from the Marshlands of the South, to Tikrit, Najaf, and the Northern region of Kurdistan. He showed the country emerge from thirty-five years of totalitarianism.

  • Kwame Karikari, Executive director, Media Foundation for West Africa

Professor Kwame Karikari is the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, a Ghana-based media advocacy organization whose vision is for a sub-region in which the fundamental human rights of freedom of thought and expression are guaranteed. For several years, he has been a professor in journalism and mass communication at the School of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana. He has also been involved in training journalists in several countries in Africa over the years. Prior to that and during all those years, he practiced as a journalist, including serving as director general of the public Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in the early 1980s.He has also been an activist pursuing social justice and human rights causes in Africa, including democratic reforms in Ghana. He serves on the boards of a number of African and international rights organizations and on the editorial boards of academic publications.

  • Helena Cobban, Author, Former co-Director of Search for Common ground in the Middle-East

Ms. Cobban is a writer, researcher, and program organizer on global affairs. She contributed a regular column on global issues to The Christian Science Monitor from 1990 until the paper stopped having regular columnists in 2007. She is a 'Friend in Washington' with the Washington, DC-based Friends Committee on National Legislation and a Contributing Editor of Boston Review. Since 2003 she has published "Just World News", a lively blog on international issues that has gained a broad international readership. In May 2008, Ms. Cobban published her seventh book, Re-engage! America and the World After Bush. Congressman Lee Hamilton, Co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, described it as, "An impassioned, thought-provoking, and accessible brief from a highly esteemed journalist on how all of us - as individuals - can act to help better our country and world.

  • Ognian Zlatev, Managing Director, Media Development Center, Bulgaria

After his studies in Classical Philology and specializations in Ancient Greek Culture and Bulgarian Language and Literature, Ognia Zlatev attended several special trainings among others for political communications, media relations, journalism and media development. Ognian Zlatev is a founding member of the South-East European Network for Professionalization of the Media (SEENPM) where he was president from 2002 to 2004. He is a member of the board of the South-East European Media Organization (SEEMO). Zlatev works as external communications and public outreach consultant for the World Bank Office in Bulgaria and as a Media expert for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Ognian Zlatev is currently Managing Director of the Media Development Center in Bulgaria.

  • Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary-General, Pakistan Press Foundation

Owais Aslam Ali is the Secretary General for the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Pakistan an independent Media Research Center in Karachi. The mission of the foundation is to, in his own words: “highlight media's role in bringing local issues to light, but stresses that it must also uncover those abusing the country's resources”. He wrote on many issues, not least, the Assessment of Losses and Needs of Pakistani Media Personnel and Organizations in areas affected by the earthquake of October 8, 2005. He is also Chairman of the Pakistan Press International (PPI) the country's independent news agency, which was established in 1956 and has an extensive news file prepared by over 300 staff and stringers in all parts of the country. All major newspapers, radio and television stations in Pakistan subscribe to PPI.

  • Nazila Ghanea, Lecturer, International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford

Nazila Ghanea is a Lecturer in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. She also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal of Religion and Human Rights. She was previously the Masters of Arts Director and Senior Lecturer in International Law and Human Rights at the University of London.

Her publications include five books among others Human Rights, the UN and the Bahá’ís in Iran (2003); articles in the journals International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Human Rights Quarterly, International Affairs; publications with the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Minority Rights Group International and the UN publication Ethnic and Religious Minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran UN.

  • Robert Ménard, Director, Doha Centre for Media Freedom

In 1975-1976, Robert Ménard created a pirate radio station, Radio Pomarède, and became president of l'Association pour la libération des ondes. He later created a free magazine, Le Petit biterrois, but was forced to close it down due to a lack of advertisers. In 1985, he created Reporters Without Borders the international non-governmental organization. On March 24, 2008, he was arrested for attempting to disrupt the lighting of the Olympic Flame prior to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The disruption was aimed at protesting the crackdown on Tibetan civil rights activities by the Government of the People's Republic of China. He resigned from his role as Secretary-General of Reporters without Borders in September 2008 and became Director-General of the Doha Center for Media Freedom in Qatar which opened in October 2008.

  • Santiago A. Canton, Executive Secretary, Inter-American Commission on Human rights, Organization of American States (OAS)

Santiago A. Canton is the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS). Previously he was the OAS Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. Mr. Canton holds a law degree from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master degree in International Law from the Washington College of Law of the American University. During 1998 he was Director of Public Information for the OAS. From 1994 to 1998 Dr. Canton was Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), a Democratic Development Institute based in Washington, D.C. Mr. Canton was a political assistant to Mr. Carter in the election processes in El Salvador and Dominican Republic.

  • Raghida Dergham, Chief, Al Hayat Bureau, New-York

Raghida Dergham is a columnist and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for the London-based Al Hayat, the leading independent Arabic daily, since 1989. She writes a regular weekly strategic column on International Political Affairs.

Ms. Dergham is also a Political Analyst for NBC, MSNBC and the Arab satellite LBC. She is a Contributing Editor for Los Angeles Times Syndicate Global Viewpoint and has contributed to: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune and Newsweek Magazine. Ms. Dergham was featured in PBS Documentary "Caught in The Crossfire." She is quoted in several books in many languages. As one of the few women political commentators, Ms. Dergham has been a frequent guest PBS's "Charlie Rose” and "The News Hour", CNN, FOX, "ABC, CBS, Canada's CBC, Al-Jazeera as well as a radio guest on NPR and the BBC.

  • Staffan de Mistura, special representative of the Secretary-General, UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)

Staffan de Mistura is a Swedish diplomat. After a 36 year career in various UN agencies, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon appointed him as his Special Representative for Iraq on September 11, 2007. By 1976, he was working as the UN Food and Agricultural Organization's Deputy Chef de Cabinet, a post he remained in until 1985. In 1987 he became Director of the World Food Programme in Sudan. And from 1988 to 1991, he acted as Director of Fund-Raising and External Relations of the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Afghanistan.

Moving on again, he was employed as Director of the Division of Public Affairs of the United Nations Children's Fund, known as UNICEF, and was also UNICEF representative for Somalia.

  • Steve Buckley, President, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

Steve Buckley has been President of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) since 2003 and a member of the AMARC International Board since 1992. AMARC is an international association, established in 1983 and representing community radio organizations and their federations in 110 countries. He has been a speaker at numerous international conferences and events on media, communications and development and has authored many related reports, book chapters and policy papers including, among others, for the UK Department for International Development, UNESCO, UN, the World Bank, Institute for Development Studies. Steve was a founder of the UK Community Media Association in 1983 and as its chief executive from 1991 to 2004, he established the organization as the sector body for community media in the UK. Allister Sparks, Journalist and political analyst, South Africa

  • Allister Sparks, Journalist and political analyst, South Africa

Allister Sparks is a South African writer, journalist and political commentator. He began to work as a reporter on the Queenstown Daily Representative in 1951. He went to Britain in 1953 and worked on small provincial papers there until the end of 1954. Then he spent 1955 in what was then the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland working as a reporter for the Bulawayo Chronicle. He later wrote a number of critically-acclaimed books on South Africa's transition from apartheid, including Tomorrow is Another Country (1996), The Mind of South Africa (1991), and more recently Beyond the Miracle: Inside the New South Africa (University of Chicago Press 2006). Allister Sparks also founded the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in South Africa and was its Executive Director from 1992 to 1997.

  • Bambang Harymurti, Editor in Chief of Tempo Weekly Newsmagazine and tempo Daily Newspaper, Indonesia

Bambang Harymurti is the Editor in Chief of Tempo Weekly Newsmagazine and Tempo Daily Newspaper. Educated at Harvard and the recipient of many prestigious fellowships and awards, he has an impressive journalistic and editorial record, including: Deputy Chief Editor of Tempo Weekly Newsmagazine, Executive Editor, Media Indonesia Daily, Editor, Sunday Edition of Media Indonesia, National Desk , Tempo Weekly Newsmagazine, U.S. Bureau Chief, Tempo Weekly Newsmagazine, Jakarta Bureau Chief, TIME magazine, Washington Bureau... In addition to receiving the Knight International Press Fellowship Award, he is a winner of the Vernon Award of the Mason Program and the Excellence in Journalism Award given by the daily Indonesian Observer.

 

  • Sawsan Zaidah, Manager of AmmanNet, Jordan

Sawsan Zaidah is the manager of AmmanNet, the first FM and online community radio in the Arab region. AmmanNet is run by the Community Media Network, a Jordanian NGO which aims to promote Community radio and citizen Journalism in the region. Sawsan has been involved in a number of researches and training programs on community media and citizen journalism in the Arab region. For the last five years she has been producing a media critique program "Eye on the Media" which monitors, reviews and analyzes the local media content on a weekly basis. She participated in producing the first professional handbook and stylebook for journalists in Jordan. She is a member in the advisory curriculum committee for The Jordan Media Institute. She has worked as a media consultant for a number media development projects in Jordan. Sawsan has a Masters degree in Online Journalism from Nottingham Trent University, UK. She is still practicing journalism as a reporter for media, social and political issues.

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