Youssef Cherif is the deputy director of Columbia Global Centers in Tunisia. He was previously the Al-Maidan project manager for Libya at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and an expert affiliated to the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies. He was also a consultant on foreign policy for the Arab Institute for Business Managers, on the implementation of the post-2015 Agenda in Tunisia for the United Nations, and on political affairs for the Carter Center in Tunisia. Cherif holds a Chevening MA in international relations from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a Fulbright MA in classical studies from Columbia University. He is a regular political analyst of North Africa for several international media outlets.
Hafsa Halawa is a British-Egyptian political analyst, human rights advocate, and development specialist focused on democratic transition across Arab states. Halawa received her LLB with honors from the University of Exeter and her LLM with honors in corporate and commercial law from the University of London and Queen Mary’s University. Following a career in corporate law as in-house legal counsel for multinational groups such as Orascom Construction Industries and Lafarge, she moved into policy and civil society after the 2011 Arab uprisings. Halawa has experience with the National Democratic Institute, the UN Development Program Regional Office for Arab States, and the EU Delegation to Egypt. Halawa is currently a non-resident fellow at the Rafik Hariri Centre for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as the regional program manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the Swedish International Development Agency, working in the democracy and human rights sector. She currently focuses her research and advocacy on civil society and constitutional, judicial, and electoral reform.
Arthur Larok is the country director of ActionAid Uganda, a member of ActionAid International, a global federation operating in 47 countries around the world, and co-chair of ActionAid’s global Working Group on Shrinking Civic and Political Space. He is also vice chair of the National NGO Forum, the largest NGO platform in Uganda. Until July 2017, he is a Reagan-Fascell democracy fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC.
Larok is civil society activist with a passion for good governance and justice. In 2010, he initiated a citizens’ manifesto process that has since become a reference for work on political accountability. In 2012, with other activists, he formed the Black Monday Movement, a citizen campaign against corruption in Uganda. He has written on space for civil society, corruption, democratization, and related fields. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Makerere University in Uganda and a master’s degree in governance and development from the Institute of Development Studies in the UK.
Vijayan MJ is an activist and analyst based in New Delhi, India. Since 2011, he has been the general secretary of the Programme for Social Action. He writes for several Malayalam, English, and Hindi media outlets and for international, national, and vernacular journals on a variety of issues ranging from environmental and human rights issues to political topics. Formerly, he was the coordinator of the Delhi Forum and the Other Media and the executive secretary of the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy. He also serves on the executive bodies and governing boards of many research, advocacy, and policy institutions, and is closely associated with many citizen platforms for justice, peace, and human rights.
Adams Oloo is chairman and senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He specializes in research on international relations, public policy, political economics, comparative politics, and global governance. Since 1996, he has taught at the University of Nairobi, the University of Delaware, the National Defense College, the Defense Staff College, and the National Intelligence Academy in Kenya. His current research areas include electoral processes, constitutions and constitutionalism, and devolution and governance.
Natalia Shapovalova is a researcher based in Kyiv, Ukraine. She worked for FRIDE, a European think tank based in Madrid and Brussels, and the International Center for Policy Studies in Kyiv. She has a PhD in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick.
Janjira Sombatpoonsiri is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Political Science at Thammasat University in Thailand. Her research interests include the politics of nonviolent struggle and humor, social movements, conflict transformation, and security-sector reform. Sombatpoonsiri is also a co-secretary general of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association. She has published op-eds in Thailand’s Matichon Newspaper, openDemocracy, Peace Direct, and the global edition of the Conversation.
Marisa von Bülow is a professor at the Political Science Institute of the University of Brasília, Brazil. She is the author of several books and articles on social movements, digital activism, and transnational networks of civil society. She is the winner of the Luciano Tomassini Book Award of the Latin American Studies Association for the book Building Transnational Networks: Civil society and trade in the Americas (Cambridge University Press, 2010). She has also been a consultant for the World Bank and the UN Development Program on issues related to democracy, protests, and social movements in Latin America.
Özge Zihnioğlu is an associate professor in the Department of International Relations at Istanbul Kültür University in Turkey. Her main research interests include the EU’s civil-society policy, Turkish civil society, and Turkey-EU relations. She led and took part in several projects funded by different national agencies. Zihnioğlu holds a PhD from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and was a fellow at Yale University. In 2015, she received the Science Academy’s Young Scientist Award in Turkey. Zihnioğlu is also an Executive Committee member of the Young Science Academy Working Group at the Science Academy in Turkey.