Deputy Director General of Indian Council for Cultural Relations
Abhay Kumar is an Indian poet-diplomat and currently serves as the deputy director general of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi. He is a multifaceted and accomplished individual whose life journey is marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence in various domains.He served as India's 21st ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros from 2019-2022 He has also served in different diplomatic capacities earlier in Russia, Nepal and Brazil Abhay was born and raised near Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar. He studied at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 2003. He studied Russian language, history and literature at the Moscow State University, U.S. foreign policy at George Washington University and has a Certificate in Poetry Writing from the International Writing Program, University of Iowa. He studied Nepali at Tribhuvan University and a diplomacy module at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He speaks Magahi, Hindi, English, Russian, Nepali, Portuguese and knows French and Sanskrit. Abhay Kumar's journey exemplifies a life dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, the promotion of peace, and the celebration of the arts. His contributions to diplomacy and literature continue to leave an indelible mark, reminding us of the power of intellect and creativity in shaping a better world.
Padma Bhushan Shri Rajeev Sethi
Chairman & Founder at Asian Heritage Foundation, New Delhi
Rajeev Sethi (born 24 May 1949) is a noted Indian designer, scenographer and art curator. He is known for his outstanding designs across the world.In 1986, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, given Government of India. Sethi spent his formative years in Paris, where he first went to study graphic art on a scholarship. Thereafter he trained under painter and printmaker Stanley William Hayter at his studio, Atelier 17. He was mentored by American designers Ray and Charles Eames. Finally he got a chance to work at studio of French designer, Pierre Cardin. Meanwhile, in 1960, he designed Delhi's first discotheque, Cellar at Regal Building, Connaught Place.He is curator and founder-chairman of the Asian Heritage Foundation.He designed the Jaya He GVK New Museum at the brand new T2 terminal in Mumbai. He is also part of INTACH constituted the first Governing Council.
Prof. Vasant Shinde
Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad
Prof. Vasant Shinde is a distinguished archaeologist renowned for his global contributions. He served as the Vice-Chancellor at Deccan College, Pune, and is the Founding Director General of the National Maritime Heritage Complex in Gandhinagar. Presently, an Adjunct Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, he directs the Rakhigarhi Research Project. With a profound academic journey, he earned his B.A. and Master's degree from the University of Poona and his Ph.D. in Protohistoric Archaeology. Prof. Shinde's impact resonates through his 16 major research projects and excavations across South Asia. His collaborations span institutes worldwide, including those in the USA, UK, Japan, and South Korea. His pioneering work includes DNA analysis and Craniofacial Reconstruction of Harappan people, acknowledged as a global breakthrough in genomics. Founder of the Society of South Asian Archaeology (SOSAA), he fosters young scholars and global collaboration. His administrative expertise shines through his roles as Pro-Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor at Deccan College. Prof. Shinde has delivered over 225 lectures in India and 48 abroad, published 13 books, and authored numerous research papers. His commitment to public archaeology and heritage protection is evident through his initiatives in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Haryana. Prof. Shinde's remarkable journey has elevated Indian archaeology's international standing.
Dr Peter Petkoff
Distinguished Scholar and Advocate- International human rights law
Dr. Peter Petkoff is a distinguished scholar and advocate, renowned for his expertise in international human rights law and his unwavering commitment to advancing social justice and equality. With a career spanning over three decades, Dr. Petkoff has left an indelible mark on the fields of law, diplomacy, and academia. He is also a Tutorial Law Fellow and a Director of the Religion, Law and International Relations Programme, a collaborative international research network at Regent's Park College, Oxford, and Managing Editor of the Oxford Journal of Law and Religion. Born with an innate passion for justice, Dr. Petkoff embarked on his academic journey, earning a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) from a prestigious institution. His scholarly contributions have illuminated the complexities of international human rights law, shedding light on critical issues such as humanitarian intervention, refugee rights, and minority protections. Beyond academia, Dr. Petkoff has been a tireless advocate for marginalized communities worldwide. His advocacy work, whether at the United Nations or in conflict zones, has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to equality and human dignity.As a respected author, lecturer, and consultant, Dr. Peter Petkoff continues to inspire the next generation of legal scholars and human rights activists. His legacy stands as a testament to the enduring power of knowledge, compassion, and a relentless pursuit of justice.
Dr. M. Satish Kumar
Queen's University Belfast, UK
Dr. M. Satish Kumar is a renowned scholar in colonial, postcolonial, and decolonial geographies of South Asia, bridging social sciences and humanities to advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His research encompasses three key areas. The first delves into regional and urban development, particularly labor markets' economic policy impacts. The second strand addresses climate change's influence on cultural heritage in fragile ecological zones of Assam, focusing on decarbonization, zero carbon footprints, and indigenous knowledge's role in resilience. The third centers on uncovering underdevelopment's historical roots and decolonization's unfinished agenda in India, studying colonial spaces, subjectivities, and spatial conflicts from the 16th to 19th century, including missionaries' role. Dr. Kumar advises governments, charities, and organizations globally on subjects ranging from international development to Indigenous issues and SDGs. His leadership has earned him positions such as Distinguished Honorary Chair of Global Sustainable Development Goals-India, G20-C20 Summit participation, and membership in ICOMOS/India. He also contributes as a UKRI/AHRC Peer Review College Panel Member and assisted in establishing Future Earth Ireland. Recognized with various awards, including the India-European Union Global Peace and Friendship Award, Dr. Kumar holds esteemed positions and visiting professorships in institutions like Banaras Hindu University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. His contributions extend to inclusivity and diversity initiatives, fostering cross-cultural understanding in Northern Ireland through programs like Young Civic Leaders and BAME Mental Health. His work exemplifies the fusion of research excellence and impactful community engagement.
Mr. Johann H. Huleatt
Outreach Director , Bruderhof
John Huleatt has served for the past eighteen years as General Counsel for the Bruderhof, an international Christian community movement. John is a member and lives at the Woodcrest Community in Rifton, New York, together with his wife, Nina, who runs a dental practice and still pulls off the feat of being an amazing mother to their five children. Beyond the law, John’s first loves include his faith, family, trout fishing, youth education, athletics, and German Shepherds. As a student, John established an interest in First Amendment law, which continues with his work as a board member of Becket Law, a public interest law firm that defends religious freedom for all faiths. John teaches First Amendment at the Mount Academy in New York, where he coaches a state finalist mock trial team and moonlights as Program Director for Boys and Girls soccer, winning a state title in 2018. John also serves on the board of The Boys & Girls Club of Ulster County.
Documentary Maker, Television Producer, and Presenter
Siddharth Kak is a documentary maker, television producer, and presenter, best known as the producer and presenter of Surabhi (1993–2001). Siddharth Kak’s Television Company, Cinema Vision India, has won several major Television Awards and three National Awards and has produced more than 100 documentaries and several long running Television series for leading Television Channels in India. In collaboration with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), Siddharth Kak is, at present, producing and hosting a primetime reality show HUNNARBAAZ! Mission Skill India! for the Prime Minister’s Skill Mission. He is also the Founder Trustee of the Surabhi Foundation for Research and Cultural Exchange (Surabhi FORCE) which is developing projects of National Cultural importance He has served variously as a Member and Chairperson (twice) of the National Short Feature Film Awards, Chairperson of the Selection Committee for the Indian Panorama, a member of the Shilp Guru Selection Committee, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India, the International Selection Panel of Judges of the “UNESCO-Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts” Award and member of the Suraj Kund Mela Authority which administers India’s largest annual Crafts Festival. At present he is a member of the Governing Board of the Central University of Jammu and the Executive Council of the Central University of Kashmir. A well known foodie, he has written food columns for many national newspapers and has also produced and directed two very successful food shows, The Good Food Guide and the Star Sunday Lunch. Both these programmes were telecast on Star Television. He has also published a book of poetry Looking in Looking out and compiled a quiz book on India’s heritage Surabhi ke Sau Sawaal.
Additional DGP CID Telangana state, Trafficking in person report Hero 2017 US Dept of state
Mahesh Muralidhar Bhagwat, who currently serves as the first Commissioner of Police of Rachakonda, a police commissionerate in India’s Telangana state that covers more than four million residents, has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the fight against human trafficking for the last 13 years. He has participated in anti-trafficking operations that have removed hundreds of victims from situations of trafficking and, with the help of other government departments and civil society organizations, has ensured their placement in support programs. Mr. Bhagwat’s dedication to the fight against human trafficking is exemplified by his innovative and highly effective approach to investigating cases and his success in dismantling trafficking operations within his command areas. He has pioneered the use of legal provisions to close sites where human trafficking is known to occur. Under his command, Rachakonda police closed 25 brothels—five hotels and 20 residential apartments—in less than a year and participated in one of the largest crackdowns on labor trafficking in the country, which led to the identification and removal of more than 350 children forced to work in brick kilns. In addition to being a central figure in trafficking deterrence efforts, Mr. Bhagwat also constantly pushes for human trafficking to be a top priority for the Telangana state of India.
Former Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, UK; Global Strategic Director, Santa Marta Group
Kevin Hyland, OBE (born 1963) was the United Kingdom’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner,leading efforts to tackle slavery and human trafficking. He left the post in May 2018 and was succeeded by Dame Sara Thornton. He is the Chair of IHRB's Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment, collaboration between leading companies and expert organisations to drive positive change in the way that migrant workers are recruited. He was formerly head of the London Metropolitan Police Service’s Human Trafficking Unit. Hyland was a police officer for 30 years until retiring from the force as a detective inspector in 2014. As a detective Hyland specialised in various crimes throughout his policing career including homicide, gun crime, anti-corruption and then human trafficking and slavery. When working as a senior investigating officer, Hyland was responsible for the convictions of a large number of international organised crime groups,which included conducting multi-national JITs (joint investigation teams) bi-lateral prosecutions various criminal offences including money laundering, corruption, sexual exploitation and human trafficking. In 2010 Hyland was appointed as the lead for the London Metropolitan Police’s Human Trafficking Unit. During Hyland’s tenure the London Metropolitan Police saw an increase in victim identifications and successful prosecutions of traffickers. He retired from the MPS in 2014 with the title of Detective Inspector, after some 30 years of service, in order to accept the position of "anti-slavery tsar".
Founder And Director Guria India
Hon’ble Ajeet began his activism during college days and got deeply influenced by social justice questions as guaranteed by our Constitution. Subsequently, this led him to register “Guria” to protect women and children from the flesh trade and human trafficking. Guria India began in 1988 when Ajeet Singh, adopted three children from the red light area. His recent work includes formulation of much talked legislation on human trafficking led by Inter-ministerial committee and NHRC SOP for combating trafficking where as a member of the Committees, he played an important role in designing the policy from the perspective of sex trafficking. He has been invited to several judiciary and parliament led processes to assist the Government – to name a few: Allahabad High Court Juvenile Justice Committee, Parliament standing committee on the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Amendment Bill in 2006 and NCW enquiry committeess for probing girls being trafficked. He has also been instrumental in sensitising Judiciary, NGOs, advocates, police & Anti Human Trafficking Units on human trafficking through the National Legal Services Authority of India, National Institute of Public Cooperation & Child Development and UNICEF.
Sr Abby Avelino
International Coordinator of Talitha Kum
Sr. Abby Avelino, MM, is the new International Coordinator of Talitha Kum, the International network against Human Trafficking. Sr. Avelino is taking over after Sr Gabriella Bottani, SMC, who has been leading Talitha Kum since 2014 and nurturing its development. The UISG and Talitha Kum gives Sr. Bottani our heartfelt thanks for her devoted work and tireless commitment to the fight against human trafficking. Sr. Avelino, who belongs to the Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic, was born in the Philippines and raised in the United States. Sr. Avelino earned a degree in Engineering and worked as a mechanical/systems engineer before entering missionary religious life. As a missionary, she was assigned to Tokyo, Japan, where she lived for 16 years as a pastoral worker. Sister Abby searched the internet for “Catholic Mission,” and came across the Maryknoll Sisters website. Consequently, she became a Maryknoll Affiliate for two years, during which she met some of the Maryknoll Sisters and her passion grew. After a period of discernment, Sister Abby entered the Congregation in 2006 and made her First Profession of Vows in August of 2008 at the Maryknoll Sisters Center, Maryknoll, New York.
Founder, Impact Dialogue Foundation, New Delhi.
Pallabi is an anti-trafficking activist, ethnographer, and researcher who fights social evils like human trafficking, gender-based violence, child abuse, labor exploitation, and displacement-related conflicts. She is a Master's degree holder in Gender Studies from RGNIYD, Sriperumbudur, and has worked extensively in the social development sector since 2012. Pallabi has actively participated in anti-trafficking raids across India and rescued over 10,000 children, youth, and women. These individuals are survivors of social evils like child marriage, forced marriage, child labor, organ trafficking, arms trafficking, polyandry, and prostitution.
Alek Barovic (Montenegro)
MSc candidate at the University College Dublin | Columnist
Alek Barovic is a Montenegrin political scientist, columnist, and civic activist. He has a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Montenegro. He is currently a master’s student in the field of International Humanitarian Action with a specialization in Armed Conflicts at University College Dublin and the University of Warsaw. He writes weekly columns for Portal Analitika, one of the leading Montenegrin media. He is a member of the Main-board of the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro. He is the winner of the prestigious Erasmus Mundus scholarship. He currently interns at two organizations – Genocide Watch and the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention. His areas of scientific interest are genocide studies, mass atrocities, armed conflicts, and nationalism. He published several scientific papers.
Zahra Al Hilaly (Perth, Australia)
Zahra is an internationally recognised vocalist for change. She is an advocate for gender equality, and peace and security. She is the Co-Founder of the Christmas Island Youth Project, a leadership program intended to elevate the voices of Christmas Islanders in Australian policy. She has trained thousands of young people to become leaders from all walks of life, despite challenges obtained during their migration and refugee journey. Zahra is also the chairperson of the Western Australia Government Youth Council representing thousands of young people through policy. She has worked on policy for government regarding gender equality, security and refugee and migrant issues. She is also a journalist and has been published by Vogue, SBS Australia and Al Jazeera, for her work in security and refugee affairs. In 2021 she was recently named the inaugural under 25’s Asian-Australian and in 2022, the Young Multicultural Person of the Year in Western Australia.
Greshma Pious Raju
International Speaker | Facilitator | Peace Educator | Founder at Ecopeace Teen Cafe | UPEACER
Greshma Pious Raju is a young peacebuilder having fifteen years of experience in interfaith dialogues and environmental peacebuilding. Greshma started her peacebuilding journey at the age of thirteen by hosting interfaith dialogues among her classmates from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Kerala in India, and a Master of Arts in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University in India. In 2019, she earned her Master’s degree in International Peace Studies from the United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica. For the past two years, she is working on her own project called Ecopeace Teen Cafe, an online transformative education program for teenagers, where she focuses on caring for the community, environmental protection, social justice and nonviolent communication. Greshma worked in different national and international organizations to promote youth engagement in peacebuilding and initiated various projects for empowering women in rural areas of the global south. Her interest in environmental peacebuilding and sustainability developed during her internship at Earth Charter International. Greshma is an Earth Charter Young Leader. She is exploring new paths to strengthening interconnectedness among youth through online platforms. She believes small acts of love and compassion will create positive changes in the global community.
Zainab Chamoun (Lebanon)
Lebanese freelance journalist and researcher based in Beirut. Her work focuses on community-led development, religion and politics, and interfaith issues
Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad
An ardent learner of many disciplines.
Yaqeen Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander was born and raised in Kashmir, India. He is a young, dynamic & versatile person – an Activist, Author, Motivational Speaker, Spiritualist, Freelance Writer, and Youth Counsellor. He is an ardent learner of many disciplines like Psychology, Islamic Theology and jurisprudence, Comparative Religion, Philosophy and logic, Ethics, Motivation and emotion, Interpersonal Relations, Counselling, Leadership, Debating, and Sexuality. Born on 6th June 1991, he is the son of a businessman and the youngest among the three siblings. His mother, a homemaker and a postgraduate in Political Science raised him up along with his brothers and laid a strong academic and moral foundation for him. He wrote the book The True Purpose of Life. The exegesis of what has the author mentioned in this book is that Life is really a precious asset and a trust from God. Life is really worth living only we realize its real purpose and our own self in this universe. Without knowing the purpose of life, life becomes aimless without any final goal.