Emira Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), a "Think Tank Without Walls." She holds a BA in International Relations from Columbia, a certificate in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, a Master's in Government from Harvard, and is ABD in Political Economy and Government at Harvard. She recently was Program Manager for the Committee on Development Policy and Practice at InterAction, serving as a principal staff contact for advocacy at the UN, and the international financial institutions, USAID and the Department of the Treasury. She designed and implemented a strategic campaign around the Monterrey Financing for Development conference, working with both InterAction members and a broader coalition of Southern and Northern agencies. Prior to this position, she served as Program Officer of Oxfam America's Africa program, which involved outreach to the heads of major international institutions and grassroots groups in the most remote communities.
John Riggan was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the TCC Group until January 2006, when he stepped down after a decade in this leadership position. He had been with TCC Group for 26 years, and had originally been one of its founders in the early 1980s. Prior to this, Riggan served as Special Consultant to the Ford Foundation on low-income and human services issues. In this capacity, he created a multi-state, welfare-to-work demonstration project, and headed a team of consultants to assist the governor and legislature in developing the Wisconsin Youth Initiative. Prior to that, he served the City of Philadelphia as its Drug and Alcohol Abuse Administrator and as Special Assistant to the Managing Director for Human Services Coordination. Riggan currently serves on numerous boards, including Oxfam America, where he also is convener of the Africa Working Group. He is a Board Member and past President of Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth and a Trustee of The Free Library of Philadelphia. A graduate of the University of Washington, he has additional training in public administration, economic development, organization and management. He spent more than seven years in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, development specialist and Country Director in Chad.
Adotei Akwei is a Senior Policy Advisor for CARE USA. In this capacity, Adotei helps develop and implement advocacy on CARE USA's priority issues towards the US government. Prior to joining the Government Relations team in Washington DC, he served as the Regional Advocacy Advisor for CARE's Asia Regional Management Unit. As an RAA, Adotei supported CARE Country Offices in Asia in the development and implementation of national level advocacy strategies as well as with regional advocacy priorities. Before joining CARE, Adotei worked with Amnesty International USA for 11 years, first as the senior Advocacy Director for Africa and then later as Director of Campaigns. From 1992 to 1994 Adotei served as Africa Director for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, now Human Rights First. Prior to that he served as the Research and Human Rights Director for the American Committee on Africa and the Africa Fund. Adotei received his Master's degree in International Relations from the College of William and Mary and his Bachelor's degree from the State University of New York College at Purchase. He is originally from Ghana.
An experienced grassroots organizer, activist, and educator, Ajamu Baraka currently serves as Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network, a US based network of over 250 human rights and social justice organizations committed to ending US Global impunity and "exceptionalism." Ajamu's human rights work, teaching and activism spans more than three decades with a number of national and international organizations and academic institutions. Ajamu has taught political science at several universities including Clark Atlanta University. In 1998, Ajamu was honored by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as one of the 300 human rights defenders from around the world.
Gary is a seasoned decision maker for both for-profit and not-for-profit entities, is a financial and investment manager, experienced to meet short and long-term requirements. Gary is currently the CFO for The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship. He previously worked as the Executive Director, Finance & Administration for Amnesty International from 1995-2003.
Makani Themba-Nixon is Executive Director of The Praxis Project, a non-profit organization working on issues of health justice. Her current projects include media assistance and training for activist organizations as well as work on local policy development to address public health and other social issues. Makani has published numerous articles and case studies on media and public policy advocacy. She is co-author of Media Advocacy and Public Health: Power for Prevention. Her latest book is making Policy, Making Change available from Jossey-Bass. Makani has extensive background and experience in the field of non-profit management and community development. She is a highly experienced and sought-after speaker in the area of media and policy advocacy. She has extensive expertise in developing policy concerning public health and community development with special emphasis on innovative local policy.