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Trisha Rogers (co-chair)
Trisha Rogers is Chair of UNA-LASER. She has lived and worked in Nigeria, Pakistan, South Korea and the Philippines. She was Chief Executive of Jubilee Debt Campaign, Pestalozzi International Village and the Council for Education in World Citizenship. She was a Director of Chatham House and of UNA-UK.
Peter Webster (co-chair)
Peter Webster is Treasurer of UNA LASER and Chair of Streatham & Clapham UNA. He was formerly CEO Ethical Investment Research Services (EIRIS) and is now CEO EIRIS Foundation and adviser to Vigeo Eiris. He was a former board member UK Sustainable Investment and Finance and the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment.
Brian Urquhart Award Winner: Zeinab Badawi
Zeinab Badawi is a broadcast journalist and economist, who has worked in television and radio for over 25 years. She is currently the presenter of World News Today, one of the BBC World News’ flagship news and analysis programmes. In 2017, she transformed UNESCO’s General History of Africa into a nine-part series for the BBC, a systematic look from prehistory to the modern era of Africa’s history.
In November 2009 she was named International TV Personality of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and also by the London College of Communications, University of the Arts London, for her services to international broadcasting.
Ms Badawi is founder and Chair of the Africa Medical Partnership Fund, and currently Chair of the Royal African Society. She is a Queen’s appointment to the Board of Historic Royal Palaces, a trustee of BBC Media Action and patron of the BBC World Service Trust. She is also a Patron of UNA-UK.
Session Host: Natalie Samarasinghe
Natalie Samarasinghe is Chief of Strategy to the Special Adviser on the UN’s 75th Anniversary. She previously served as chief speechwriter to the President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly and as Executive Director of the United Nations Association – UK, which she joined in 2006 and became the first woman to lead. At UNA-UK, she implemented successful campaigns on arms control, peacekeeping and teaching about the UN. She also co-founded the 1 for 7 Billion initiative that secured improvements to the selection process for the UN Secretary-General and the Together First coalition for global governance reform.
Before joining UNA-UK, she worked in local government and had stints in the private and education sectors. A regular writer and commentator on UN issues, Natalie co-edited the eight-volume SAGE Major Work on the UN and contributed chapters to the Oxford and Routledge UN handbooks. In 2017, she was awarded a New Shape Prize by the Global Challenges Foundation for a proposal to make UN decision-making and delivery more inclusive.
Moderator: Ahmad Fawzi
Ahmad Fawzi is a media and communication specialist with 25 years of experience as a UN spokesperson and communication advisor. He was the Communication Advisor and Chief Spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2017.
Previously he served as the Director of the UN Information Service in Geneva. As Director of News and Media at UNHQ in New York, he helped to transform both UN Television and UN Radio, and worked to raise global awareness for the work of the UN. Ahmad Fawzi has held several senior positions in the UN since joining the Organisation as Deputy Spokesperson for Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He has worked as communication Chief for several peace negotiators, including Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN Special Representative to Afghanistan (and later Iraq) Lakhdar Brahimi; Special Representative for Iraq Sergio Vieira de Mello; and Special Representative for Libya Ian Martin (2011) and later Ghassan Salame (2019).
Prior to his work at the UN he was a broadcast journalist for Reuters Television. He was also the Press Secretary and Head of Office for First Lady of Egypt Mrs. Jehan Sadat. He is a member of the Advisory Board for Peace One Day, and is on the Geneva Board of the Burkina Women’s Education Fund. Ahmad lives in The Hague, The Netherlands and has two daughters.
Panellist: H.E. Maria Fernanda Espinosa
H.E. Maria Fernanda Espinosa was President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. With over 30 years of professional experience as an academic, diplomat and politician, she was also the first woman to become Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN in New York.
In 2017-18 she served as Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was also Ecuador’s Minister of National Defence (2012-14), and previously the Coordinating Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage. She has written extensively on topics including the Amazon region, sustainable development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, and defence and security.
She was a chief negotiator at the 16th and 17th Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. She presently holds a number of roles, including the Commissioner of The Lancet COVID-19 Commission; Co-Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateral Approaches to Pandemics, Security, and Sustainable Development – COMPASS – International Peace Institute; and the Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion.
Panellist: Lord Mark Malloch-Brown
Lord Mark Malloch-Brown is the highest-ranking UK citizen to have served at the UN. He served as both Deputy Secretary-General and Chief of Staff of the UN under Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and previously held the position of Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
He was later Minister of State in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, covering Africa and Asia, and was a member of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s cabinet. He has also served as a Vice-President at the World Bank. He is currently Co-Chair of both the UN Foundation and the International Crisis Group and a longstanding Board member of the Open Society Foundation.
He became a patron of UNA-UK in 2017.
Panellist: Nisreen Elsaim
Nisreen Elsaim is a climate activist and climate negotiator. She is a member of the United Nations Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, who will advise Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the implementation of his 2020-21 Climate Change Strategy.
She has applied her degrees in Physics and Renewable Energy to a career focusing on youth engagement and policy work in sustainable development. She was an organiser of the 2019 Youth Climate Summit and is currently Chair of the Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change. An active member of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, and the Human Rights and Legal Aid Network, she has volunteered for numerous humanitarian organisations. Her other achievements include coordinating Youth and Environment Sudan, a parent organisation of youth-led environmental organisations; holding high-level positions in numerous COP and African Conference Youth meetings; and co-chairing the Sudanese Youth Organisation on Climate Change.
Mandeep Tiwana is chief programmes officer at CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance. He was previously CIVICUS’s head of policy and research. He specialises in legislation affecting civic freedoms, and has written extensively on the intersection between civil society, development, and international affairs.
Before joining CIVICUS in 2008, he worked as a researcher and advisor for the International Committee of the Red Cross New Delhi Regional Delegation. Mandeep has worked with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and published a compilation of landmark Indian Supreme Court decisions and National Human Rights Commission guidelines on human rights and policing.
Mandeep has also drafted two annual reports for the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and has worked on projects related to good governance and women's empowerment in India. He presently heads CIVICUS’s UN liaison office in New York.