15-17 June 2012, London

Some Speaker’s Biographies:

Keldon Alleyne

Keldon Alleyne is a member of the UPF Youth Committee and works with Youth A.I.D. Lewisham, an organisation that helps troubled young people gain skills such as public speaking, counselling skills and training to resolve conflicts.

Dr. Krishna Ahooja-Patel

It was Krishna who came up with the now-famous UN statistic about women: “Women are half of the world’s population, do two-thirds of the work, get one-tenth of the income, and are the owners of one per cent of the property.”  In 1962 she joined the UN, a career that was to span 25 years. Professor of International Relations, Representative of WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) to the UN, Co – President to the CoNGO Committee on Development, Dr Ahooja-patel has worked tirelessly, with and for women, for the sake of peace, freedom, religious reconciliation and disarmament.

Saoussen Ben-Cheikh.

Currently finishing a doctorate in Political Science, this young activist has taken leading roles around the world with the UN and the International Federation of Human Rights, in Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, empowering human rights, treating the war wounded and providing healthcare to those that need it most. She has a strong background in TV and editing. After spending the previous year acting as a Head of Mission Assistant for Doctors Without Borders in Yemen, Saoussen Ben Cheikh is continuing her work for the Middle East in London. Speech entitled: ''After the Revolutions: Building Democracy and a More Equal Society in the Middle East'.

Prof. Dr. Maurits S. Berger

Prof.dr. Maurits S. Bergeris a lawyer, holds the chair of Islam in the Contemporary West at the Institute for Religious Studies at Leiden University and is a senior research associate with the Clingendael Institute for International Relations in The Hague. He has worked as a lawyer in Amsterdam, and as a researcher and journalist in Cairo and Damascus.

Keith Best

Keith Best, the current Chief Executive of freedom from Torture, said “Torture is no respecter of class, status or achievement. I met people who have been deeply traumatised by the experience of torture – they bear the scars both physically and mentally.” He has spent 20 years in the voluntary sector, advocating for the rights of people on the margins of society. He initially worked for NCH Action for Children, as director of Prisoners Abroad, and most recently as chief executive of the Immigration Advisory Service for the past 16 years. Best was named in Society Guardian as one of the 100 most influential people in public services in the UK.

Charlotte Simon Bongumba

Charlotte Simion Bongumba is a Trustee of the Tatiana Giraud Foundation whose aim is to actively contribute to the restoration of women, girls, communities & families that have been victims of sexual violence in the north-eastern DRC. The Foundation works closely with grassroots organisations, treating and counselling victims while raising awareness of their plight in local communities. It aims also to financially support hospitals in the more remote or less developed areas of the Kivu region in the DRC to provide various treatments including healthcare, psychological treatment, temporary housing, as well as job training programmes for victims.


Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali

He is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1992 to December 1996. An academic and former Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt, Boutros Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan Genocide. Sonia Ramzi, former Head of Promotion for Cultural Heritage UNESCO, is representing Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali.


Rt. Hon. Tom Brake MP

Spokesman on London for the Liberal Democrat Party, Tom Brake has taken a leading role in civil liberties and human rights issues. At an early age, he became actively involved with Amnesty International and Greenpeace, and his involvement in advocating civil rights has continued throughout his life. He is a host for this conference in Parliament. He was elected as an MP since 1997 and appointed a member of the Privy Council in 2011.


Mark Brann

Mark Brann is currently Secretary-General of UPF in Europe based in the United Kingdom. He trained and practised for many years as a lawyer, was Director for Europe, The Middle East and Africa of the international press agency United Press International  is C.E.O. Europe of the international relief agency International Relief and Friendship Foundation.


Revd. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke

Revd. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke  is a retired Anglican parish priest who has been involved in interfaith work, especially through the World Congress of Faiths, which he joined in 1964 and of which he is now President. He was Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews from 1984-8, is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum, patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford and a Peace Councillor. He has travelled widely to attend and speak at interfaith conferences throughout his life and, in September 2004, was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury ‘in recognition of his contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world.’ He has written over forty books on world religions and together with UPF, has coordinated a series of conferences on the topic of ‘Forgiveness and Reconciliation’.


Martina Coombs

Martina Coombs is the former UK Women’s Federation for World Peace and WFWPI-Europe Vice President. She has coordinated many projects related to interfaith and peace initiatives, and conferences on the Dignity of Women. Taking an active role in her local community of Croydon, she has worked with groups focused on the arts, AIDS awareness, trafficking and more.


Jack Corley

Jack Corley has worked in many nations for the Unification Movement and the Universal Peace Federation. In 1990 he moved to Moscow, and for the next 16 years worked in various capacities in the Eurasia Region, including vice president of the International Educational Foundation and Regional Secretary General of the Eurasian branch of the UPF. From 1994 he also worked extensively in the People’s Republic of China, travelling there dozens of times to coordinate programs on character education. He served as an Assistant Secretary General at the UPF International headquarters in New York from 2006 until May 2009 when he returned to Europe. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Unification Movement UK including UPF UK and as Adviser to UPF Europe.


Taeko Duckworth

Vice Chair of Women of Faith Initiative (under the WFWP UK) and Vice President of the WFWP UK. Attained a degree of BA (English Language and Literature) from Tsuda College, a prestigious private Christian College for Women in Tokyo, Japan in 1978 and a master degree M.R.E. (Master of Religious Education) from the Unification Theological Seminary in New York state, U.S.A. in 1988.

Prof. Willy Fautré

Willy Fautré is the Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International which, from its inception, has had as it’s main focus; monitoring, research, and analysis in the field of human rights as well as promotion of democracy and the rule of law on national and international level. He was previously a Consultant for the Institute for Peace and Development in Brussels and Adviser for the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation.


Jonathan Fryer

Jonathan Fryer is a British writer, broadcaster, lecturer and Liberal Democrat politician. He is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster on international affairs. For seven years, he was based in Brussels, initially for Reuters, and now writes mainly for the BBC and The Guardian. He has written a dozen non-fiction books, including volumes on Brussels and London. He also lectures part-time at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Jonathan has served as a London Borough Councillor (in Bromley) and fought three parliamentary elections. He has been fighting European election campaigns ever since the first direct elections to the European Parliament were held.


Katharina Grieb

Katharina Grieb is President of the International Society For Human Rights Austria. She has been serving for 30 years as president of ISHR Austria and many years as  vice-president of ISHR International. She is an acknowledged expert on East and South-East Europe. Mrs Grieb ran national and international campaigns on human rights in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe as well as the Balkans. She published several books and reports on these topics. She coordinated humanitarian aid in the South East Europe during the 90s. Her current field of activities focus on the issue of the persecution of Christians.


Carolyn Handschin

Vice President of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) International and President of WFWPI in Europe, Deputy Director of the WFWPI Office for United Nations Relations and its Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva since 1997, Coordinator of the UN Office of UPF in Geneva, Carolyn Handschin has been contributing to the work of the Human Rights Council in the areas of peace-building, leadership and governance, women’s human rights and their empowerment, education for peace and fulfilling the MDG’s. Previous Secretary of the UN-NGO Committee on the Status of Women and current member of the Committee, as well as the Working Groups on “Peace”, and “Human Rights Education and Learning” at the United Nations in Geneva.  She contributed to the NGO task forces on “Disarmament” and “Culture of Peace”, the latter of which she chaired. She is a Founding member of the Fribourg Peace Forum in Switzerland and Co-founder/Vice-President of the Geneva Interfaith and Intercultural Alliance (GIIA) currently coordinating its “Youth Interreligious Council” Model-UN program.


Lady Fiona Hodgson CBE.

She is President of the National Conservative Convention, and is also a member of the Conservative Human Rights Commission. Lady Hodgson works on a variety of women’s issues, especially in the context of developing and conflict countries.   Through travelling to Africa and working on the Conservative Party’s Project Umubano in both Rwanda and Sierra Leone, she feels passionately about the need to help more people in Africa have access to good healthcare. As well as being a Trustee of the Chalker Foundation, Fiona is a member of the All Party Group on Women, Peace and Security, Chairman of the Advisory Group of GAPS (Gender Action in Peace and Security), a member of the Association of Oxfam, a member of the Leadership Circle of Women for Women and on the Advisory Board of WPD (Widows for Peace through Democracy) and a Patron of Afghan Connection.


Kanchan Jadeja.

Chair for the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services UK providing opportunities for young people all across the voluntary youth sector.


Lord King of West Bromwich

Previously Councillor of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council for 28 years and deputy Mayor from 1982 to 1983. He was created a life peer as Baron King of West Bromwich, in the County of West Midlands. As a Universal Peace Federation (UPF)-UK patron and International Presiding Council member, he represents the UK to the UPF Global Peace Council and is a host for this ‘Human Rights and the Protection of the Unempowered and Dispossessed’ conference.


Maja Micic.

Director of the Youth Initiative For Human Rights in Serbia.


Timothy Miller

Vice-Chair of the UPF in Europe, he has been instrumental in developing UPF’s European Leadership Conferences since 2004- now more than 50 such conferences have taken place in Europe – in the last year mainly in United Nations institutions and national Parliaments.


Adam Nazar.

The CEO of VIP Minds, A think tank dedicated to issues revolving around the areas of social mobility, character and mind development and mobilising young people in order to empower others.


Dr. Amiira Neff.

Dr. Amiira Neff is a Lawyer, integration expert and Director of Terre des Femmes, Switzerland.


Manuela Mesa Peinado

Manuela Mesa Peinado is Director of Peace and Education Research Centre (CEIPAZ) within the Foundation Culture of Peace. President of the Spanish Association for the Research of Peace (AIPAZ). Director of the CEIPAZ yearbook about peace and conflicts. Her current lines of research centre on social and transnational violence in Latin America and on the civil society role in the building of peace.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman

Mr. Sheikh Rahman is an accomplished finance/energy professional. He is a human rights activist. He has global experience through his work. He believes passionately in honouring human rights for the citizens of the world. He participates in conferences and remains closely associated with international human rights organisations, politicians, government officials and NGOs to further the cause of human rights in particular those of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan.


Sonia Ramzi, former Head of Promotion for Cultural Heritage UNESCO, is representing Dr Boutros Boutros-Ghali.


Sheikh Dr Hojjat Ramzy

Dr Ramzy is an Imam and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) Education Committee. He is a member of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales. He is also a member of the International Interfaith Forum UK and an Ambassador for Peace for the Universal Peace Federation. Dr Ramzy is a Director of the Iqra Islamic Institute, and founder of the Oxford Islamic Information Centre, providing a wide range of Islamic material, lectures and advice to educational establishments and organisations across the UK. He is also an Islamic Advisor and Chaplain for Thames Valley Police, Oxford’s major hospitals and the Immigration Centre. He is a long-term, former member of SACRE (Standard Advisory Committee for Religious Education) and a long term former governor of several Oxfordshire Secondary Schools.


Imam Dr. Abduljalil Sajid JP

The Muslim scholar, thinker, speaker, educator and mentor, is at present Chairman of a number of organisations including the Muslim Council for Religious and Racial Harmony in the UK, the National Association of British Pakistanis and the UK Chapter of the World Conference of Religion and Peace. He is also a consultant to a number of statutory and voluntary agencies on race, multi-cultural and religious issues. Imam Sajid is the founding member of Alif-Aleph UK British Muslims-British Jews and the Standing Conference of Jews, Christian and Muslims in Europe. He is also an Advisor to the European Council for Religious Leaders.


Prof. Siddharth Saxena

Chairperson of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Director of Cambridge Kazakhstan Centre and Honorary Secretary of the Committee for Central and Inner Asia. He trained as an anthropologist, historian and a physicist and is a Fellow of Jesus College at the University of Cambridge. Other than the highly regarded research into magnetism and superconductivity, he has put considerable research time into the areas of religion and identity, knowledge systems, social and political development and institutional history in Central Asia and the Middle East.


Madi Sharma.

Madi is the founder of the "Madi Group" - Make A Difference Ideas group of International Private and Social Enterprises UK Member, Employers Group, European Economic and Social Committee. Madi is a businesswoman who currently runs the Madi Group, a group of private sector and not for profit companies with a philosophy to create innovative ideas tailored to local action which can achieve global impacts beneficial to society. Madi is a public speaker, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship, diversity and gender balance where she presents and teaches in schools and to forward thinking organisations. The experience was gained when Madi began her first company from her kitchen at home, which grew to 2 factories and 35 staff, for which see received the honours of Asian Woman of Achievement and UK’s Best Boss. Additionally Madi is a Nottingham Ambassador and an East Midlands Business Champion, as well as a member of the Employers Group of The European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, a European Consultative Institution for civil society.


Dr. Yong Cheon Song.

Taking the position of Regional Director for The Universal Peace Federation in Europe and European President of the Family Federation, he has the overall responsibility for the activities of the Unification Movement in 36 nations of Europe since 2003. Previously he worked extensively in senior roles for UPF and allied organisations in Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, The Solomon Islands and Oceania.


Dr Antonio Stango

Dr Antonio Stango is the Secretary General of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights Italy and a UPF Global Peace Council Member.


Baroness Sandip Verma

She is a British businesswoman and currently a Government Whip and Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, International Development, Equalities and Women's Issues in the House of Lords. In 2006 Baroness Verma was made a Patron of the Tory Reform Group. She was created a Conservative life peer as Baroness Verma, of Leicester in the County of Leicestershire. With the strong belief that you can make a difference by empowering people to help themselves, she speaks about innovation, forward thinking and skill development.


Carly Ward

The founder and CEO of the Young Entrepreneur Society, teaching entrepreneurial  and life skills to young people who are determined to succeed in life.


Professor Akiko Yamanaka

Professor Akiko Yamanaka is former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japan, currently Professional By-Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Visiting Professor at the Science Academy of Chiba University of Commerce. She is Member of the Advisory Group on International Peace Cooperation for Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Advisor for Research of the Japan Institute for International Policy Studies and Board Member of the Global Partner Forum 2010. Professor Yamanaka has held numerous academic positions throughout Japan including at the United Nations University and Hokkaido University, in addition to international postings in Germany, Sweden, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. She has had a long-term presence in the National Diet of Japan as Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, specialising in diplomacy, security issues, peace building and crisis management. She holds the OISCA Award in recognition of her contributions to Asia and has also been awarded the International Soroptimist Japan’s “Sen Kyoko Prize” for her contributions to international understanding.

Peter Zoehrer is Chief Editor & Secretary General of FOREF Europe (Forum for Religious Freedom – Europe, President: Prof. Dr. Christian Bruenner, renown human rights- & constitutional expert). During the past 12 years FOREF scored over 30 victories in helping victims of religious intolerance to regain their rights, and gain vindication from injustice, discrimination or persecution. Also Director of UPF –UN office in Vienna, a Member of the Austrian Journalist Association (National Press Club) and President of Family Federation for World Peace – Austria.