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2016 Speaker Biographies
Senior Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships and UNICEF Ventures, US Fund for UNICEF
Rajesh joined the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2009 where he leads a range of cross-sector partnerships that generate over $350 million annually in funding and in-kind resources. In 2011, he launched UNICEF Ventures, a new practice area which aims to develop new financing vehicles, business ventures, and deploy innovations in the field. Previously, Rajesh served as Head of Private Sector Partnerships for the Global Fund and was the Director of Strategy at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. His experience in the private sector includes product development and marketing at Microsoft, corporate strategy and private equity consulting at Bain & Company, and senior management engagements in technology-related start-ups. He founded üba, a cause-related brand platform which promotes peace and human security, and WeCare, a service organization focused on children affected by conflict in Sri Lanka, his home country.
Partner, Global Operations & Technology, AllianceBernstein
Lawrence Cohen is a Partner and the Head of Operations and Technology at AB, a global Investment Management and Research firm, where he manages the global infrastructure. He created a business aligned infrastructure model to focus on key business priorities and enterprise goals. This integrated model has enabled business growth and innovation while reducing costs and increasing operating margin. He is highly engaged in AB’s Corporate Responsibility efforts including the sponsorship and mentorship of student robotics teams and a partnership with Year Up to provide career opportunities and training for young adults which led to AB’s recognition as an Outstanding Employer by the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. He joined in 2004 as the Chief Technology Officer.
For more than three decades, Lawrence has been a technology leader in financial services. Prior to AB, he held senior leadership roles at UBS, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and Fidelity Investments. He received an A.B. in Engineering and Applied Sciences from Harvard University.
Lawrence is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Bridges to Prosperity, an organization that provides isolated communities in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia with access to essential healthcare, education, and economic opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers. He is a Board Member of NYC FIRST, an organization that inspires students to become science and technology leaders. In addition, he is a mentor for Columbia University’s Executive M.S. in Technology Management, and he is a Board Member of the Rotary Club of New York.
Program Manager, Ultra Poor Graduation, BRAC
Harshani is a Program Manager with the Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative where she contributes to proposal development and management of grants and provides technical assistance for existing and emerging clients implementing Graduation programs worldwide. She recently supported the design of phase four of BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra-poor program and development of the “Graduation Boot Camp,” a professional development opportunity to identify and train an effective cadre of BRAC staff to represent the Graduation approach worldwide and provide high-quality technical assistance.
Previously, Harshani was a consultant with UN Women where she analyzed gender inequalities within national law and policies regarding health, education and employment in Africa and Asia. She was also a Strategic Litigation Fellow at the Open Society Foundations in New York, where she prepared motions for litigation in national and regional systems on issues of economic justice, with a particular focus on displaced and stateless communities in Latin America and Africa. As a Research Officer for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, she participated on fact-finding missions to assess the health conditions of vulnerable communities, facilitated training modules and workshops for health professionals, and worked with local advocates to reform national health laws.
Harshani has also held legal support roles at the United Nations Democracy Fund, the International Criminal Court for the Former Yugoslavia, the Australian Asylum Seeker Resource Center, and Red Cross Australia. She holds a Masters of Law, with a specialty in International and Comparative Law, from George Washington University, as well as a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, Honors, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
John F. Germ
Rotary International President 2016-17
John F. Germ is board chair and chief executive officer of Campbell and Associates Inc., consulting engineers. He joined the firm as an engineer in 1965 after four years in the U.S. Air Force. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including the board and executive committee of the Public Education Foundation and Orange Grove Center Inc., and as board chair of Blood Assurance Inc. He also is founder and treasurer of the Chattanooga State Technical Community College Foundation and president of the Tennessee Jaycee Foundation.
He was Tennessee Young Man of the Year in 1970; Engineer of the Year, 1986; Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year, 1992; and Tennessee Community Organizations Volunteer of the Year, 2009. He is a recipient of the Boy Scouts Silver Beaver Award and the Arthritis Foundation Circle of Hope Award.
In 2013, the White House recognized him as a Champion of Change.
Manager and Deputy Head of Mission to the United Nations, World Bank Group
Bjorn Gillsater has more than 15 years’ experience in global affairs, international finance, European financial matters and international development at a strategic policy-making level.
He successfully established two new offices and teams for solving discrete assignments, one analytical function about global trends and the evolving multilateral development landscape serving UNICEF’s senior management, and a second establishing a Secretariat at the OECD which delivers accountability information on multilateral organizations for a network of 19 governments.
Before accepting his current position, Bjorn served as Sweden’s official representative to the Executive Boards of the World Bank and the African Development Bank, occupying increasingly senior positions, including as acting Executive Director. He has extensive experience in advising finance and development ministers from several donor governments, as well as heads of agencies and senior management in six multilateral organizations.
Associate Director, AKTISEA
Alban is a 30 years old social entrepreneur who lives in the south of France.
During the first year of his master degree in French Business School, he met Kevyn, his business partner. They decided to create a company together after passing their exams. They wanted to manage a project which makes sense and use their skills on business development. AKTISEA was born in 2012 with an objective: create a company which helps disabled people to find a job and be active in our society.
Alban wants to fight against misunderstanding about disabled people. AKTISEA wants to prove that disability could be compatible with performance and high added value. He wants to lead his company differently, working with a new management model to give more fun, more responsibilities and finally more happiness to employees.
General Secretary, Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation
John Hewko is the general secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. Before joining Rotary in 2011, he was vice president of operations and compact development at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 to deliver foreign assistance in a new and innovative manner.
An attorney, John was an international partner with the law firm Baker & McKenzie (B&M), specializing in international corporate transactions in emerging markets and resident in the firm’s Moscow, Kyiv and Prague offices. While working in Ukraine in the early 1990s, Hewko assisted the working group that prepared the initial draft of the new Ukrainian post-Soviet constitution.
Hewko holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York. John is a trustee of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. He and his wife, Margarita, live in Evanston, IL.
Chief of Polio, UNICEF
Mr. Reza Hossaini is the Director of Polio Eradication, based in UNICEF Headquarters, New York. He is responsible for management of the organization’s work within the partnership of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Hossaini served as UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan, having previously served as Representative in Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and Turkey. He began his career with UNICEF in 1989 as Assistant Representative in Tehran, Iran. He then joined World Health Organization as SIA Polio Coordinator in the Horn of Africa and South East Asia Region. He returned to UNICEF in 2002 as Senior Programme Coordinator Afghanistan. Before joining the UNICEF, Mr. Hossaini worked in the private sector (pharmaceutical and vaccine production).
Mr. Hossaini obtained his degree in Industrial Pharmacy (1981) from the College of Pharmacy, Delhi University and his Post Graduate Degree in Hospital Management from All India Institute of Medical Science in New Delhi.
Chief, Economic Empowerment, UN Women
Meg Jones is Chief Economic Empowerment at UN Women, responsible for a global team focused on job creation and income generation for women through, inter alia, engendering macroeconomic policy, strengthening economic institutions and developing private and public sector partnerships to deliver inclusive sustainable development. 2008 – 2015 Meg was Women and Trade Programme Manager at the International Trade Centre (a joint agency of the United Nations and WTO), responsible for the design and implementation of the multi-year, multi-million dollar program to increase the economic benefits women derive from trade. Meg works with women owned enterprise to connect them to corporate and government buyers; and with institutions and government to improve the business environment for women exporters.
Meg has also worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, prior to which she was on the Australian delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Meg brings with her private sector experience gained from working in the financial markets and in management consulting. Meg has sat on several boards including the Australia-Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Women’s International Network and the Organization of Women in International Trade.
Meg was awarded ‘Woman of the Year’ in 2013 by the Organization of Women in International Trade; and a ‘World of Difference’ award in 2012 by The International Alliance of Women for her contribution to women’s economic empowerment. Meg holds a Master of International Studies and a Bachelor of Economics having studied in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Netherlands. She speaks English, French and Japanese.
Under Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations
Mr. Kim Won-soo assumed his position as Under Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs on 1 June 2015. Prior to taking this post, Mr. Kim served as Assistant-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General. In that capacity, he worked as the Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General from 2007 to 2012, led the Change Implementation team from May 2012 to September 2013 and concurrently served as the Secretary of the Chief Executives Board for coordination, which is composed of the executive heads of the UN system including the Bretton Woods institutions, from September 2013 to May 2014.
Mr. Kim has also served as Ambassador of the Republic of Korea leading the Transition Team for the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations (October through December 2007). Mr. Kim brings diplomatic and policy experience of over 37 years, both bilateral and multilateral, beginning in 1978 when he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Kim holds a Bachelor of Law degree from Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, and a Master of Arts degree from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced Studies at Johns Hopkins University, United States. In addition, he was a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University and did doctoral research in international law.
Senior Manager Chapters, Legal & Policy PRME Secretariat, UN Global Compact
Florencia Librizzi is Senior Manager, Legal & Policy at Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), United Nations Global Compact Office. Florencia focuses on strategy and governance for the initiative, creation and facilitation of regional Chapters and overall legal and policy. She is an attorney registered in Argentina and New York State.
Before joining PRME, she served as a research consultant for the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) and practiced law as a sole practitioner, mediator, as well as an attorney at several law firms. Florencia has taught several courses and seminars at Universidad Empresarial Siglo 21, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba (UNC), NYU School of Law and Columbia Institute for Study of Human Rights; and actively contributed as a member of the UNC Institute for Environmental Law and Policy.
Florencia graduated from the Conservatory of Music as a Professor of Piano and received her first law degree magna cum laude from Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, School of Law, Cordoba Argentina. She earned her Masters of Laws (LL.M.) at NYU School of Law, were she was granted the Dean’s Award and distinguished as a Transitional Justice Scholar. Florencia has served as a graduate editor for the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, has published several articles, book chapters and expert reports (for UN and NGOs); and is a Ph.D. candidate at UNC.
Per L. Saxegaard
Founder and Executive Chairman, Business for Peace Foundation
Per Leif Saxegaard is the Managing Partner at HQ Norden Fondsmeglerforretning ASA. Mr. Saxegaard founded HQ Norden, an investment bank, in 1994 and since then has served as its Managing Partner. He has been a Director of LDI since December 1998. Mr. Saxegaard has been a Partner in charge of corporate finance of Orkla Finans, an investment bank, since 1990 and from 1988 to 1990 held various other positions at Orkla Finans. Prior to 1988, Mr. Saxegaard held various positions within the Business Development Department of Orkla ASA, an industrial and investment conglomerate.
Maxton R. Scotland
Executive Chairman, Rotaract Global Model United Nations (MUN), International Youth Decision Making Body
Maxton Scotland currently serves as the Executive Chairman of Rotaract Global Model United Nations (MUN) International Youth Decision Making Body. Professionally he serves as a Communications Officer for the Canary Wharf Group. Maxton spent six years in the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom. Prior to his military service he received an MSc in Security Studies from London Metropolitan University. As an undergraduate he studied Politics, International Relations, Journalism and Linguistics at the University of the West Indies and Westminster University.
Dr. Ketki Shah
Program Director, Women Empowerment, Share and Care Foundation
Dr. Shah, is an experienced Psychiatrist with specializations in Addiction Medicine, Psychopharmacology, and Disaster Psychiatry. She is a low keyed humanitarian with the sole purpose of helping people who need help. Dr. Ketki Shah’s selfless work has earned the goodwill of many, especially those who are also involved in humanitarian work. Shah is currently the clinical director of an outpatient program in New York City that oversees some 3,000 patients and 40 professionals. She has over 25 years of experience in the medical field, accrued in both the US and India, and is also an active member of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. Dr. Shah graduated from the Miraj Med Coll, Shivaji Univ, Miraj, Maharashtra, India in 1980.
Director, Global Cause Partnerships, US Fund for UNICEF
Lacey Stone serves as Director of Global Cause Partnerships for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In this role, she works with international service organizations to bring together business and professional leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in their communities and around the world. Lacey works with these partner organizations to identify specific UNICEF program areas to target to maximize their global impact. Currently, Lacey is focused on the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s partnership with Rotary International to end polio forever by 2019.
Lacey’s experience includes 10+ years as a fundraising and marketing professional. She has worked with both nonprofit and corporate organizations to increase funding and awareness and to develop and grow strategic partnerships. She holds a dual Bachelor of the Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh in International Relations and Rhetoric and Communication and a Master of the Arts degree from Villanova University in International Relations. Lacey serves as a member of the Washington Global Health Alliance, World Affairs Council and Global Washington..
Patrick is the founder of Fairtrasa, a social enterprise with the mission of empowering marginalized small-scale urban farmers to lift themselves out of poverty. He developed a unique Three-Tier Farmer Development Model that links sustainable agriculture with community empowerment and access to international markets. Today, Fairtrasa is a vertically integrated group with 15 companies in 12 countries and one of the largest fair trade and organization fruit exporters from Latin America. For his work with Fairtrasa, Patrick has been selected an Ashoka Fellow, an Endeavor Entrepreneur, and a Yale World Fellow, and has been named four “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” (Schwab Foundation, 2014, ABC* Foundation and Univision, 2012, Visionaris, 2009). Patrick was chosen by the World Economic Forum as a New Champion and he is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He serves as Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Yale University.
Xirui Sun is an international education development specialist who has particular interest in curriculum and programme development. She is currently working with the Director/ Special Advisor on Education at UN Women. Ms. Sun has worked in various institutions globally, including as a curriculum consultant in Puentes de Salud, a non-profit organization that promotes health and wellness of Latino immigrants in South Philadelphia, and as teaching consultant at Lea Elementary School in Philadelphia School District. Previously, she worked as teaching assistant in Beijing Golden Wings Art Rehabilitation Service Center for Children of Special Needs in China. Her concentrations are gender and sexuality equality in education, school-based sex education and quality education for the left behind. Ms. Sun will receive a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in December.
Social Impact Journalist and Contributor to Forbes
Devin Thorpe was a finance guy until he realized life wasn’t all about the money. As a new-media journalist and founder of the Your Mark on the World Center, Devin has established himself as a champion of social good. As a Forbes contributor, with 350 bylines and over one million unique visitors, he has become a recognized name in the social impact arena. His YouTube show, featuring over 600 celebrities, CEOs, billionaires, entrepreneurs and others who are out to change the world, has been viewed over 200,000 times, giving him a recognizable face as well.
Previously, Devin served as the CFO of the third largest company on the 2009 Inc. 500 list. He also founded and led an NASD-registered investment bank. After completing a degree in finance at the University of Utah, he earned an MBA from Cornell University. Today, Devin channels the idealism of his youth, volunteering whenever and wherever he can, with the loving support of his wife, Gail.