+ Adedayo oluwakayode Adekson

Adedayo Oluwakayode Adekson founded The African Development Imperative (TADI) in 2016. As its Chief Executive Officer, he oversees and propels TADI's youth-focused initiatives, liaises with other entities for partnership cultivation and maintenance purposes, and superintends logistical matters affecting this incipient organization. Adekson, who was born in the United States and spent part of his formative years in Nigeria, took an undergraduate degree in International Studies and a Masters degree in International Development (with extensive coursework at George Washington University) at American University’s School of International Service. Moreover, he holds Masters and doctoral degrees in Political Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and is an alumnus of the Nonprofit Management Executive Program at Georgetown University.

In the recent past, Adedayo Adekson has worked in research, teaching and administrative capacities in North America, Central America and Europe, and undertaken extensive field research in Nigeria for his Masters and doctoral theses. Specifically, he has been affiliated with entities as diverse as the Academy for Educational Development (now christened FHI 360), The World Bank’s Development Research Group, Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, the United Nations-mandated University for Peace, UNESCO Centre at Ulster University, the Great Lakes Colleges Association/Global Liberal Arts Alliance and Michigan State University.

Dr Adekson is the author of several monographs and reviews, with the most seminal being The ‘Civil Society’ Problematique: Deconstructing Civility and Southern Nigeria’s Ethnic Radicalization (London; New York: Routledge, 2003/2012) and 'Civil' or 'Uncivil' Society? Revisiting the Proliferation of Ethnic Organizations in Southern Nigeria in State Fragility, State Formation and Human Security in Nigeria, ed. M Okome. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan (2013).

His interests include, inter alia, the political economy of development, politics of perception and representation, the digital divide, capacity building, youth development, civil-military and state-society relations, nexus between security, gender and development, repercussions of state capacity or lack thereof, conflict prevention and management, early warning and action, post-conflict reconstruction, peace-building efforts, discrimination and marginalization, the rule of law, human rights, and democratization theory and practice.

+ Esther Ijewere

Esther Ijewere is an enterprising social activist, youth advocate, columnist, wife, mother of two, author and the Executive Director of Rubies Ink Initiative, a social enterprise outfit devoted to, inter alia, youth advocacy and public relations. An Olabisi Onabanjo University-trained Sociologist and a social advocate, she started the Walk Against Rape (W.A.R.), an initiative which lends a voice to victims of rape and demands justice for perpetrators. In tandem with the W.A.R campaign and in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), which the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation endorsed, Rubies Ink Initiative organises rape-sensitising workshops in different secondary schools across Nigeria, tagged College Acquaintance Rape Education (C.A.R.E). Ijewere also is the initiator of Project Capable, a Lagos State Ministry of Education-approved programme which is an annual youth mentoring initiative geared towards creating a ‘can-do’ mentality in secondary school students using celebrities and accomplished individuals to inspire and motivate youngsters to rise to greatness.

Being an emerging young leader, she is the youngest recipient of The Idea Builders Women Mentoring Women Award, winning Mentee of the year 2010 and ‘Women Enterprise Award’ from Vital Voices International and Exxon Mobil. Ijewere also won the ‘Best Use of Advocacy’ award from her alma mater in 2012, for her contribution to fighting and creating awareness on rape. In 2016, she bagged four awards for her Women of Rubies platform, notable among these awards is ‘Young Person of the Year’. She is Fellow of Vital Voices Global Leadership USA, an organisation which Hillary Clinton founded to empower young female change-makers all over the world. She has toured several secondary schools, provided counsel and shared messages of hope for a better life. One of her major interests is advocacy and counseling on issues surrounding women, child sexual abuse, family values and youth empowerment.

Taking the Walk to another level, she released her first book on rape and violence against women, entitled Breaking the Silence, which is a guide to enlightening young women on the knowledge needed to survive sexual situations, while enunciating that every woman was susceptible to sexual assault at some point in her life. ‘Breaking the Silence’ also is a guide for girls and women to know the places to avoid and understand that there is indeed a law to punish perpetrators. So far, it has created an avenue for people to come out without feeling badly or stigmatised for telling their stories.

Ijewere is a columnist with Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper with her page ('Women of Rubies') used to celebrate exceptional women with inspiring stories; the page is a sequel to her award-winning blog, www.womenofrubies.com, which is fast becoming the one-stop blog for the everyday woman.

+ Florence Naab

Florence Naab is a Lecturer in the School of Nursing (College of Health Sciences) at the University of Ghana. In the recent past, she has taught at Bawku Nurses Training College, 37 Military Nurses Training College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and served as a General Nurse and Midwife at Bawku Hospital and Trust Hospital in Ghana.

Her areas of teaching interest include research methods, anatomy and physiology, maternal and child health, medical and surgical nursing, child development, obstetrics and gynaecology nursing and paediatric nursing. As an accomplished researcher who has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, Dr Naab has supervised numerous Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Master of Science (MSc) theses, and Bachelor of Science (BSc) research projects.

Dr Naab’s research is in the area of the psychosocial health problems associated with infertility among men and women. She has investigated the relationship between cultural beliefs and infertility related psychosocial health problems. Currently, she is testing the feasibility and acceptance of a psycho-educational programme to treat depression among women with infertility in Ghana.

Naab was educated at the Bawku, Ghana-based Nurses Training College, Midwifery Training College (Kumasi, Ghana), University of Ghana (where she took a BA in Psychology and an MPhil in Nursing), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison from which she holds a PhD in Nursing (with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies) and completed post-doctoral training.

+ Edith Natukunda-Togboa

Edith Natukunda-Togboa is Head of the Department of European & Oriental Languages in the School of Languages, Literature and Communication (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) at Makerere University in Uganda. Dr Natukunda-Togboa is an experienced consultant in French as a language of research into gender issues, European Studies, and African peace and conflict matters. She has full mastery of research, editing and publishing in the French Language, and possesses extensive experience working as a translator and consecutive and simultaneous interpreter at numerous regional and international meetings and conferences.

After having served as a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer for over twenty years at Makerere University, she decided to specialise in the field of peace and conflict studies. Based on the strengths of her past social science research and postgraduate training, Natukunda-Togboa was selected to serve as Dean of African Studies and Head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Costa Rica-based United Nations-mandated University for Peace during two years of sabbatical leave. This experience exposed her to teaching novel and film concerning peace and conflict in Africa; it also allowed her to research and lecture in language, media, and gender in conflict and post-conflict reconstruction. Natukunda-Togboa's research at Makerere University now focuses on gender, peace, conflict and development discourse.

Dr Natukunda-Togboa holds a Bachelors Degree from Makerere, and a Licence ès Lettres (BA), Maîtrise ès Lettres (MA), Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies (MPhil) and Doctorat de Troisième Cycle (PhD) from Université de Provence, Aix-Marseille I in France.

+ MOJÚBÀOLÚ OLÚFÚNKÉ OKOME

Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome was educated at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, Long Island University and Columbia University in New York. She is a Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY), Leonard and Claire Tow Professor (2015-16), past Women’s Studies Program Director and former Deputy Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College. She is an International Political Economist whose regional specialisation is on the African continent with Nigeria being her country of focus.

Born in Nigeria, Dr Okome has worked on international development issues as a consultant for clients including the United Nations and Commonwealth. Her teaching interests include a focus on the meanings of inclusive, equitable citizenship in the context of the interplay between globalization, democratization and economic development. Her research interests include: effects of globalization, post-colonialism, and post-modernity on economic and political transformation; gender, democracy and citizenship in Africa and African Diaspora Studies. She has contributed several book chapters to edited books; edits a scholarly peer-reviewed journal, and reviews manuscripts for scholarly publishing presses and peer-reviewed journals. She edited books leading to the publication of the work of 39 scholars in Africa, North America and Europe.

Mojúbàolú’s most recent publications are: two edited books published in 2013 by Palgrave-Macmillan: State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria; and Contesting the Nigerian State: Civil Society and the Contradictions of Self-Organization; and one book co-edited with Afia Serwaa Zakiya published by Bookbuilders, Ibadan, Nigeria: Women's Political and Legislative Participation in Nigeria: Perspectives From the 2007 Elections. With Olufemi Vaughan, she co-edited two volumes published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2012: Transnational Africa and Globalization and West African Migrations: Pathways into a new Century. She founded and edits Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration, and was co-founder and one of three co-editors from 2000 to Spring 2010 of Jenda: Journal of African Culture and Women Studies. Mojúbàolú co-founded #BringBackOurGirlsNYC to advocate for the rescue of Nigerians abducted by Boko Haram, including 219 of the 276 secondary girls abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014.

+ Driss Ouaouicha

President of Ifrane, Morocco-based Al Akhawayn University since 2008, Dr Ouaouicha was Adviser to AMIDEAST Study Abroad Programs for Arab Studies in the MENA region; prior to which he had served as Executive Director of the International University at Sea, 'The Scholar Ship'.

Starting in 1988, Dr Ouaouicha was Dean at Moulay Ismail University, then Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Al Akhawayn University. Secretary-General of the Moroccan British Society since 2004, he is member of the National Economic, Social, and Environmental Council, and member of the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue Commission.

Dr Ouaouicha holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in the USA, a Masters from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom, and a ‘Licence’ (BA) from Mohamed V University in Morocco. His research interests are in Higher Education Management, Quality Assurance and Intercultural Studies.

+ Daniel Antwi

At the age of 17, Daniel Antwi developed a strong passion for entrepreneurship. This stemmed from years of dissatisfaction with existing systems which he felt could be improved to make life easier for all. A graduate of the University of Ghana, Antwi is a young and an innovative social entrepreneur who has established several businesses, including ProMobile GH, which is a technology company focused on Digital, and Healthcare Technologies.

Together with Emmanuel Leslie Addae, Antwi established the People Initiative Foundation, which promotes cultural diversity while nurturing and mentoring the vision, talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing Africa. Initiatives under the foundation include TEDxAccra, Africa Internship Academy and the Africa Initiatives Summit.

He is passionate about pursuing his goals because of a deep conviction that life must be improved for all and the wide gap between the rich and the poor must be bridged through innovation that will place all on a level playing field. Antwi believes that his pursuit of this goal will spur social and economic advancement that will benefit everyone and enable them to be relevant in their fields of endeavour.