Miriam Were is the co-founder of the UZIMA Foundation and a distinguished Medical Doctor, Professor of Medicine at Nairobi University and public health personality in Africa. She received her Master’s and Doctorate of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and a liberal arts degree from William Penn College, Oskaloosa, Iowa where she had a composite major in Natural Sciences (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) that opened doors to her subsequent career development.
Professor Were is currently a member of the UN Secretary General’s independent Expert Review Group (iERG) on Women’s and Children’s Health that monitors performance of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women and Children. She is also a member of the Champions for HIV-Free Generation composed mainly of former Heads of State, on the Board of Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA), serves as a member and Trustee of the Kenya Medical Women Association (KMWA). She is a former chairperson of the National AIDS Control Council (NACC) Kenya (2003-2009) which coordinates the national HIV/AIDS response in Kenya. Dr. Were was also Chairperson of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Board (2003-2008) where she focused on the process of bringing basic medical services and health rights to women and children in the villages of East Africa & Southern Africa. Between 1985 and 2000, Were worked in UN agencies in Africa. From 1993 to 2000 she was Director of the United Nations Population Fund Country Support Team (UNFPA/CST) for East and Central Africa and Anglophone West Africa, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Prior to that she was the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative and Chief of Mission in Ethiopia. Before WHO, she had been Chief of Health and Nutrition in UNICEF, Ethiopia. She was the 2008 winner of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize by Japan, the very first time this prize was awarded. She has had a lifelong committee to improving health at the Community level and is honoured in Kenya as the Goodwill Ambassador for Community Health Strategy and continues to be active in this work.
Wanjiru Kamau, PhD – Kenya
Dr. Wanjiru Kamau is the Chief Executive Officer of the affordable Mavuuno Greenhouses Ltd, a social enterprise business whose mission is to reduce poverty and fight hunger in Kenya and beyond – “www.mavuunogreenhouse.com“.
Mavuuno Greenhouses Ltd was registered in May 2012 in Kenya as a for profit subsidiary of the African Immigrant& Refugee Foundation (AIRF) a 501 (c 3) nonprofit organization founded by Kamau in June 2000 in DC Metropolitan area. The AIRF mission is to facilitate the effective transition of the African immigrants to the American society and to support their productive sustainable integration into their new homeland.- “www.airfound.org“.
Dr. Kamau is a Kenyan born educator and social activist with a philosophical grounding in intercultural communication andcomprehensive gender equity. She holds a doctorate in Counselor and Health Education from the Pennsylvania State University and has extensive experience in counseling, teaching and consulting in mental health, African Cultural Competency Training and Conflict Resolution. Dr. Kamau was 2011 purpose prize winner whose monetary award enabled her to start Mavuuno Greenhouses Ltd. Kamau believes that social entrepreneurship and not donations restores dignity and is the answer to economically disadvantaged Africans. Social entrepreneurship promotes learning, social and financial accountability, creativity, dignity and sustainability.
Judy Wakhungu, PhD – Kenya
Professor Judy Wakhungu is the current Cabinet Secretary of the Environment, Water And Natural Resources for Kenya. She is a holder of a PHD in Energy Resources Management. She is also the Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies. She is also Energy Advisor to the Energy Sector Management Program of World Bank and Advisor at the Legatum Centre at MIT. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Management of Social Transformation Programme.
Professor Judy Wakhungu is a Kenyan who was nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta as Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources on 25 April 2013. Prior to joining the Kenya cabinet in 2013, Prof Judi Wakhungu was the Executive Director of the African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been an Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Pennsylvania State University where she also served as the Director of the Women in the Sciences & Engineering (WISE) Institute. She has also served as an Energy Advisor to the Energy Sector Management Program of World Bank and Advisor at the Legatum Centre at MIT.
Professor Judy Wakhungu was the first woman geologist in the Ministry of Energy and Regional Development, where her duties entailed exploring for geothermal energy in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Professor Judy Wakhungu was also the first female petroleum geologist in the National Oil Corporation of Kenya. She was also the first female faculty member in the Department of Geology at the University of Nairobi.
Professor Wakhungu received a B.S. in geology from St. Lawrence University in New York, a M.S. degree in petroleum geology from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and her Ph.D. in energy resources management from Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include energy resources management; materials; energy policy and development; science, technology, and development; and gender issues in science and technology policy.
Kamau Gachigi, PhD – Kenya
Dr. Kamau Gachigi is the Chairman and Coordinator of the University of Nairobi (UoN) Science and Technology Park (S&TP) and serves on the National Steering Committee on Science and Technology Parks. He also runs a Fab Lab (the Fab Labs Network was founded at MIT and include over 40 Fab Labs around the world) which serves as a rapid prototyping center within the S&TP. He was also appointed to the in the Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology. He is a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Nairobi where he teaches materials science. His current areas of research include activated carbon from agricultural wastes for use in affordable potable-water filtration, and investigation into value addition of titanium and iron bearing ores. He has published 6 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, and was awarded a U.S. patent during his doctoral studies. He obtained his PhD (1996) in Solid State Science at the Pennsylvania State University, USA where he specialized in electronic ceramics for capacitor applications, and spent 2.5 years in Japan as a researcher for the electronic, and component manufacturer TDK.
Kevin Friedman – South Africa
Renowned South African jewellery designer Kevin Friedman has captivated both the local and international jewellery trade with his one-of-a-kind pieces which use an innovative combination of high cartage gemstones and precious metals with ordinary everyday “found objects”. Kevin is a renaissance man who draws on the world around him for inspiration and creativity.
His highly original, fresh approach to contemporary jewellery design, such as the extraordinary $16 million Ponahalo Necklace created for the Geneva-based Steinmetz group, is attracting major international interest. This extraordinary necklace – composed of a 316,15 carat diamond which was cut into five stones, combined with beads and 276 safety pins and made into a Marie Antoinette-style necklace – debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. The necklace and other examples of Kevin’s cutting-edge designs featured in luxury US magazine LuxLife in 2008. The Robb Report also devoted a page to this piece, saying that the necklace was “the most exciting piece of jewellery ever created”.
A lifelong fascination with the distinctive arts and crafts of South Africa has proved a valuable inspiration for his work, and he has been involved in meaningful community development projects with local crafters.
Proof of this is his well-known Ndebele bead and diamond choker, modelled by Charlize Theron, which garnered Kevin a De Beers Diamond International Award in 2000.
Kevin’s custom-made pieces have featured in the “ultimate catalogue” Neiman Marcus Christmas book, as well as in Gumps magazine and Woman’s Day magazine. He also created a line of beadwork Christmas decorations for the Designers’ Guild in London. In addition, he has designed a line of pewter and wood desktop items for Tiffany & Co in New York.
Kevin travels extensively for both discipline and inspiration. He makes custom-designed pieces for corporate and independent clients all around the world, although his focus in on the United States. He has done trunk shows from New York to Pittsburgh through to the Napa Valley, and shown at London Fashion Week.
On the home front Kevin’s beadwork, in particular his iconic Ndebele treetopper Christmas angel, for which he won an award from the South African government, is now appearing in the eighth definitive issue of SA Stamps. “My angel will be flying all over the world,” he quips. A recent highlight was the collaborative exhibition with Apple at their iStore in Johannesburg which was a resounding success. Each piece of art and jewellery was a one-of-a-kind using Apple components, now technologically redundant but revived through art. It was a unique concept.
Kevin has been director of design at Frankli Wild™ African Classics in Johannesburg since 1989 and has built up a blue-chip clientele. He is part of a seven-generation line of jewellers. His grandfather Jack Friedman, who was born in Riga, Latvia, set up a jewellery manufacturing factory in Johannesburg in 1934. Jack was a founding member of the South African Jewellery Council and both he and Kevin’s father Frank were extremely influential in the South African jewellery industry. Frank won many international awards set up by the Gold Council and the then Chamber of Mines. Kevin says that his father was particularly encouraging during the course of his career, allowing him to experiment and to push the envelope, while teaching him that education is the starting point of strength.
Mr. Fred Eboka-South Africa
Fred Eboka’s philosophy is simple – “My garments, most projects, personal style, and elegance are simplified with good quality finishing.”
In 1992 EBOKA DESIGN STUDIO was launched in Cape Town, his contemporary approach to ethnic elegance has made him greatly sought after. He dressed Grammy nominees, South Africa music award winners Miss Australia, Canada and Miss Bulgaria, International celebrities and has Judged Smirnoff International student award for four years. Eboka has represented South Africa in many international fashion shows.
Leslye Obiora is the seventh of nine children raised by a mother who was widowed at age 40. She grew up among her people, the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria, and obtained respective law degrees from the University of Nigeria, Yale, and Stanford Law Schools. A former Minister of Mines and Steel for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, she served as the Coca Cola World Fund Visiting Faculty at Yale University and is the recipient of several distinguished awards, including fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship at Princeton, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, and the Djerassi Resident Artist Program. She has been the Genest Global Faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, the Visiting Gladstein Human Rights Professor at the University of Connecticut, and the Manager for the World Bank Gender and Law Program. Dr. Obiora is the founder of the Institute for Research on African Women, Children and Culture (IRAWCC) and the Convener of both the Leadership Enterprise for African Development (LEAD) and corollary initiative to stimulate the growth of indigenous philanthropy in Nigeria. Dr. Obiora has published extensively and lectured at different forums across the globe. She is presently a tenured and full Professor of Law at the University of Arizona
Josephine Nzerem – Nigeria
Josephine Nzerem is a Social Entrepreneur. She holds a degree in Dramatic Arts from the renowned Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife and a Masters Degree in Public and International Affairs (MPIA) from the University of Lagos, Akoka. In 2002 she was elected an ASHOKA fellow for her innovative work in the advancement of women’s human rights, with emphasis on protection of women from disinheritance and other socio economic abuses. In 2004 she received an award from the Junior Chambers International as the outstanding young person for the year, in the area of contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights. Josephine believes that women’s human rights must be recognized and upheld at all times and she speaks with great passion and insight on this crucial issue at various fora, whenever she is called upon, year round. In addition to running her own organization, Josephine also serves as the Ashoka Representative for Anglophone West Africa, an area covering Nigeria, Ghana and The Cameroon. She is currently the Executive Director at Human Angle, a Non Governmental Organization which she co-founded in 1998.