SRI2022 Plenary Speakers

Doaa Abu Elyounes

Doaa Abu Elyounes

Researcher and Policy Analyst in Ethical Artificial Intelligence, UNESCO

Doaa Abu-Elyounes is currently working at UNESCO on the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI). She is also an Affiliated Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris.

Doaa obtained her PhD from Harvard Law School. She researches the topic of algorithmic governance and the different ways to regulate AI. Doaa focuses on algorithms deployed in the public sector and examines how general principles such as fairness, transparency and accountability can be interpreted in the context of the policy domain they are implemented in. Doaa has extensive experience working on public policy at the national and international level.

Prior to her work at UNESCO, she consulted the OECD on AI regulation and was involved in shaping their work on the matter. Previously, Doaa also worked at the Supreme Court of Israel as a law clerk, and at the Israeli Ministry of Justice as an advisor to the Director General of the Ministry.

Johan Hattingh

Johan Hattingh

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Stellenbosch

Johan Hattingh is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch. He was a member of the UNESCO World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) (2004 – 2011) and was the President of the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG), tasked to prepare a draft of the Declaration of Ethical Principles in Relation to Climate Change (adopted in 2017).

In the last thirty years he has specialized in Applied Ethics, Ideology Critique, Development Ethics, and particularly in Environmental Ethics and Climate Change Ethics. He has been Head of the Unit for Environmental Ethics at the University of Stellenbosch since 1992 till his retirement in 2020. From 2006 until 2011 he served for two terms as Vice Dean for Social Sciences of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University from 2013 to 2017

Catarina Tully

Catarina Tully

Founder, School of International Futures

Cat leads the School of International Futures (SOIF), a not-for-profit international collective of practitioners based in the UK who use futures thinking to inspire change at the local, national and global levels. Over the last decade, SOIF has worked with organisations like the United Nations, Omidyar, NATO, the Royal Society and national governments to make the world fairer for future generations. SOIF also supports a growing network of Next Generation Foresight Practitioners.

Previously, Cat served as Strategy Project Director at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Policy Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Before working in government, she worked in strategy and international relations in civil society and business, including Christian Aid, Technoserve and Procter and Gamble. Cat has degrees from Cambridge and Princeton Universities. She is a non-resident fellow at the US Government Accountability Office’s Center for Strategic Foresight, a Global board member of Academics Stand Against Poverty and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Chilean Council of Foresight and Strategy.

Judy Dlamini

Judy Dlamini

Founder & Executive Chairman, Mbekani Group

Dr. Judy Dlamini is a medical & academic doctor, businesswoman, author, philanthropist, and has worked in different sectors of the economy. She recently qualified as a teacher. She is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Mbekani Group that has been in business for over 25 years, Wits University Chancellor, co-founder, sponsor and trustee of Mkhiwa Trust, her family’s PBO used for social upliftment, focusing in rural development, health and education; founder and Chairman of Female Academic Leaders Fellowship NPC, a PBO for developing a pipeline of black women academic leaders.

Dr. Dlamini chairs the board of WDGMC, GBVF Response Fund and is a director of SA SME Fund. Her Doctoral thesis investigated the intersection of race, gender and social class in women CEOs’ career progression and strategies for gender transformation at leadership level. She is the former Chairman of Aspen Pharmacare Limited. She is a published author of ‘’Equal but Different”, “The Other Story” and “Grow to be Great”. Grow to be Great which targets the young reader, has been translated to isiZulu and TshiVenda.

Riel Miller

Riel Miller

Senior Fellow, Ecole des Ponts Business School; Herbert J. Smith Centre, University of New Brunswick; and University of Stavanger

Riel Miller is one of the world’s leading authorities on the theory and practice of using the future to change what people see and do. He is recognized as an innovative and globally experienced project initiator, designer and manager. He is widely published in academic journals and other media on a range of topics, from the future of the Internet to transforming strategic processes. He is an accomplished keynote speaker and facilitator. 

Riel Miller started his career at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris in 1982 in the Economics Department, and completed his PhD in Economics at the New School for Social Research in 1987. From 1985 to 1993, he worked for the Ontario Government in the legislature and as a senior manager in the Ontario public service (Ministries of Finance; Universities; and Industry). In 1995, he returned to the OECD to work in the International Futures Programme and with the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. In 2005, he founded an independent consultancy – Xperidox, which means knowledge through experience, to advise public and private sector clients from around the world on how to use the future more effectively. From mid-2012 to early 2022 Riel served as Head of Foresight and Futures Literacy at UNESCO. Currently he is:

  • Senior Fellow: J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, Deep Change Initiative, Faculty of Engineering, University of New Brunswick (Canada)
  • Senior Fellow: Ecole des Ponts Business School, Ecole des Ponts (France)
  • Senior Advisor: University of Stavanger/NIFU (Norway)

Riel’s lifelong ambition is to put the richness of complex emergence at the service of humanity’s capacity to be free.

Constanza Gomez Mont

Constanza Gomez Mont

Social entrepreneur and AI Policy Strategist

Constanza Gomez Mont is a social entrepreneur and AI policy strategist who founded the women-led think-and action-tank “C Minds”, which advances the positive social impact of new technologies in Latin America.

Among her leadership roles, Constanza is co-chair of the AI for Humanity Global Futures Council of World Economic Forum; member of the drafting group of the global ethical AI global instrument led by UNESCO; codesigner of fAIr LAC, the Latin America and Caribbean initiative led by the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) to accelerate the ethical and responsible use of AI by governments and entrepreneurs for social services; and cofounder of the Mexican AI multi-sector National Coalition IA2030Mx. Moreover, Constanza co-founded and leads the global initiative “AI for Climate”, which promotes the conservation of biodiversity by harnessing emerging tech, community-centered approaches, and multi sector collaborations.

Vandana Singh

Vandana Singh

Write & Professor of Physics and Environment, Framingham State University

Vandana Singh is a writer of speculative fiction and a professor of physics and environment at Framingham State University near Boston.  Her critically acclaimed short stories have been reprinted in numerous best-of-year anthologies, and her collection, Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories (Small Beer Press and Zubaan, 2018) was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award. Her most recent work is a collection of essays and stories, Utopias of the Third Kind (PM Press, 2022).

Her current academic work is on a transdisciplinary, justice-centered re-conceptualization of climate change at the intersection of science, society and pedagogy.  She was a 2021 Climate Imagination Fellow at the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.  She was born and raised in India, where she continues to have multiple engagements, both personal and professional, and divides her time between New Delhi and the Boston area. Her website is http://vandana-writes.com/

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem

Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria

Emma Ruttkamp-Bloem is professor and head of the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria. She is the leader of the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI) research group at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAIR) in South Africa. In her capacity as an AI ethics policy researcher, Prof Ruttkamp-Bloem is a current member of the UNESCO World Commission for Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) and was the chairperson of the Bureau of the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG), tasked to prepare a global instrument, the Recommendation on the ethics of AI, which was adopted in November 2021. She is also a member of the AUDA-NEPAD Consultative Roundtable on Ethics in Africa and a member of the advisory board of the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (Human Sciences) in Sweden and of the advisory board of the Global AI Ethics Institute.

Ayodele Odusola

Ayodele Odusola

Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme, South Africa

Dr. Ayodele Odusola is the Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa and Director of the UNDP Africa Finance Sector Hub. Prior, he was Chief Economist and Head of the Strategy and Analysis Team for United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA), where he coordinated economic,
social and environmental dimensions of development in Africa.

Dr. Odusola provided intellectual leadership to SDG acceleration frameworks in sub-Saharan Africa, managing the network of Senior Economists in UNDP Africa Country Offices and providing strategic advice on policy matters to the RBA Director. Dr. Odusola is a Nigerian national and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Linda Obara

Linda Obara

Investment Specialist

Linda is an experienced investment specialist with close to 10 years of working in emerging market private equity across Africa and Asia. She is currently an Investment Officer with LeapFrog Investments, an emerging market Healthcare and Financial Services Private Equity Fund that works across Africa and Asia. Prior to LeapFrog, Linda was an Investment Professional with Emerging Capital Partners, one of Africa’s largest and longest established private equity fund managers that has raised over $3B for investing exclusively in African businesses. Prior to Emerging Capital Partners, she was an Investment Associate with Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers where she was doing infrastructure private equity.

Linda holds a double major in Finance and Mathematics from the United States International University, Africa. She also leads a non-profit called the Women’s Initiative in Education (NEWI) that provides career planning and academic mentoring for bright, disadvantaged girls in Kenya.

Jeff Merritt

Jeff Merritt

Head of Internet of Things and Urban Transformation/Member, Exec. Committee, World Economic Forum

Jeff Merritt is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of urban development, emerging technologies, and government innovation with more than two decades of experience driving social change in the U.S. and abroad. He leads a growing international team at the World Economic Forum with locations in 14 cities around the globe from San Francisco to São Paulo. Prior to joining the World Economic Forum, he served as New York City’s first-ever Director of Innovation.

Key highlights from his work include helping organize the first entirely online public election in U.S. history; laying the groundwork for the world’s largest, fastest municipal Wi-Fi network; orchestrating the launch and roll-out of the world’s largest city top-level domain; establishing the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance to advance the responsible and ethical use of smart city technologies; and, most recently, forming the global Centre for Urban Transformation to advance public-private collaboration in cities. He holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan.

Phil Mjwara

Phil Mjwara

Director General, Department of Science and Innovation, Government of South Africa

Dr. Philemon Mjwara’s academic career includes serving as professor of Science and Technology Policy at the University of Pretoria, and Physics lectureships at the universities of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Fort Hare. Dr Mjwara has published and presented numerous papers on physics, technology analysis and technology foresight processes. His professional experience includes working as a director in the former Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, serving on the National Advisory Council On Innovation (NACI) and Group Executive for Research and Development and Strategic Human Capital Development at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

As part of his many contributions, Dr Mjwara led a team that conducted the South African Technology Foresight project. The outputs of the project were presented to President Thabo Mbeki in 2000. His project approach led to a number of institutions from other parts of the world inviting the core team members to share their knowledge at conferences in Japan, Austria and Hungary.

He was also asked to participate in the development of scenarios for South Africa for the years 2004 to 2014. This was run from the office of the President. Dr. Mjwara currently serves as the Director General of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), a position he has held since April 2006. His   responsibilities include the development and implementation of South Africa’s science, technology and innovation policy. He also serves on various advisory councils and review boards, including the Board of the World of Platinum of South Africa and the Square Kilometre Array Organisation.

Tawana Kupe

Tawana Kupe

Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Pretoria

Professor Tawana Kupe has been Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria since 2019. He holds a DPhil in Media Studies from the University of Oslo, Norway. In December 2019, he received an honorary doctorate from Michigan State University, and another from France’s University of Montpellier in October 2021. Kupe has a notable publication record, having authored journal articles, books and book chapters in his main discipline, media studies and journalism. He is an active member of several civil society organisations and is a board member of a number of tertiary education networks, organisations and initiatives around the world.

Laura Pereira

Laura Pereira

Exxaro Research Chair, Global Change Institute, Wits University

Laura Pereira is the Exxaro Research Chair at the Global Change Institute at Wits University and a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. She is an interdisciplinary sustainability scientist, having been trained in ecology, law, zoology and human geography. Following her undergraduate at Wits, she went on to complete her DPhil in Geography at Oxford University in 2012, before undertaking post-docs in sustainability science at Harvard’s Kennedy School and at the University of Cape Town.

She has subsequently worked at Stellenbosch University, City University of London and Utrecht University. She is interested in the interface between traditional knowledge and innovation, the role of futures techniques in enabling transformative change and developing innovative methods for knowledge co-production in Global South contexts. Laura sits on the IPBES Task Force on scenarios and models and is also a member of the Earth Commission’s Working Group 4 on Transformations.

Axel Threlfall

Axel Threlfall

Editor-at-Large, Reuters and Moderator of Plenary One

Axel Threlfall is Editor-at-Large, Reuters, based in London. Alongside his editorial duties, he hosts high-profile engagements and thought leadership events for and on behalf of Reuters and Thomson Reuters, such as the Newsmaker series and the World Economic Forum news programming in Davos. He was previously Lead European Anchor for Reuters Digital Video. Prior to joining Reuters, Axel spent five years as an anchor for CNBC in London. Before that, he was an editor with The Wall Street Journal in New York and a news reporter for Bloomberg in London. He has also advised businesses and NGOs on their dealings with the international media. He has a BA in History from Durham University and a postgraduate degree in journalism from City University, London.

Bronwyn Nielsen

Bronwyn Nielsen

CEO & Founder The Nielsen Network, Moderator of Plenary Four

Bronwyn Nielsen is one of Africa’s most experienced, respected and well-known broadcasters. With over 25 years’ experience in global broadcasting, Bronwyn is regularly called upon to host live panel debates at events throughout the world. She has chaired debates and panel discussions for The World Economic Forum, The Milken Institute, The African Development
Bank and London Business School and across the globe.

Bronwyn has a Bachelors of Commerce from the University of Cape Town and
recently successfully completed a Financial course for Senior Executives at
Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Maximiliano Fero Meñe

Maximiliano Fero Meñe

Research Manager

Dr. Maximiliano Fero Meñe holds two masters’ in Conservation Biology (2009) and Nature Management and Conservation (2009), and a PhD in Biology (2012). He is the Research Manager at the National University of Equatorial Guinea since 2014. He has managed aspects of policy, training, events and advocacy for research at the university and within the society.

The link of the university to some of the most prestigious research groups at the regional and international level is one of his principal objectives. He is experienced in biological field work, taxonomy and botanical systematics, and he is a member of the Project “Flora of Equatorial Guinea”, contributing in the edition of some volumes and the publication of checklists and revisions. Prior to his appointment as Research Manager He has worked as the Academic Secretary at the Agricultural School and Vicedean of the Environmental School and lecturer of several courses.

Reinhold Mangundu

Reinhold Mangundu

Foresight Practitioner

Reinhold Mangundu is a Foresight Practitioner from Namibia with about 5 years’ experience in facilitating participatory games for addressing SDG challenges. He is a poet, community development planner, sustainability
researcher, and environmental activist passionate about people and planet.

He holds a Masters of Philosophy in Sustainable Development, Planning and Management, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development from the University of Stellenbosch. He has an Honors Degree in Regional and Rural Development from the Namibia University of Science and Technology. He is the current Chairperson of the Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society, and the Strategic and Partnership Officer of the Namibian Youth Coalition on Climate Change. Reinhold Mangundu is also the Project Facilitator and Manager of the RuralRevive Project building a desert-based economy in southern.

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