Participant Biographies

Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam
Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim is the founder and Director of the Sudanese Social Development Organization (SUDO) and is a long time human rights defender. Dr. Mudawi has been jailed repeatedly for work documenting and advocating for human rights in Sudan, notably with regard to the atrocities and mass displacement in Darfur. Dr. Mudawi has been received international recognition for his work, including the 2005 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk and the 2005 Human Rights First Award. New York Times contributing editor Nicholas Kristof has called him ” one of the leading human rights advocates in Sudan.”

‘Yemi Adamolekun
‘Yemi currently serves as the Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a coalition of individuals and youth-led organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilization of the youth population as responsible citizens. EiE leverages technology to increase awareness and engagement around governance issues among Nigeria’s youth (18 – 35 year olds) which make up 50% of its population. She started her university education at the University of Lagos and has degrees from the University of Virginia, the London School of Economics and Oxford University’s Said Business School. She has worked for over 13 years in the private and public sectors in the US and Nigeria. She serves as a volunteer for the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) and Kaleyewa House, an NGO focused on the elderly.

Immaculee Birhaheka
Immaculee Birhaheka is a Congolese human rights defender based in the eastern city of Goma and is dedicated to protecting and promoting women’s rights and leading efforts to end the massive rape of women and girls. She founded Promotion and Support of Women’s Initiatives (PAIF) and serves as Executive Director. Immaculee was awarded the Martin Ennals Award in 2000, the Solidar Silver Rose Award for justice and human rights in 2002, the 2006 Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy and the Bremen Solidarity Prize in 2009.

Filifing Diakite
Filifing Diakite is an independent journalist who has dedicated his career to the promotion and protection of human rights in Mali. Mr. Diakite currently serves as the president of the Network of Journalists for the Promotion of Human Rights, a Malian group which aims to promote freedom of expression and independent media. He is also a member of the West African Network of Scientific Journalists, an organization supported by ECOWAS. More recently, he has joined Freedom House-supported Network of Human Rights Defenders, where he is the communication coordinator. In addition to his work with civil society, Mr. Diakite also worked as an international correspondent for a variety of outlets including, BBC Africa English, Wren Media, Panos Institute West Africa, I-Connect.

Delphine Djiraibe
Delphine Djiraibe is a senior human rights lawyer and chief attorney at the Public Interest Law Center, which she founded in 2006 to provide Chad’s poor with access to justice and hold the Chadian government and extractive industries accountable for harm caused to local populations and the environment. In 1991, she co-founded the Chadian Association for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights and has succeeded in helping victims of former dictator Hissen Habre bring him to justice. Ms. Djiraibe also serves as president of the Peace and Reconciliation Initiative’s Comité de Suivi de l’Appel à la Paix et à la Réconciliation, whose objective is to encourage dialogue among political actors, strengthen democratic practices, and promote the rule of law. For her extraordinary efforts in protecting human rights and preserving the environment, she received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2004.

Arthur Gwagwa
Arthur Gwagwa is an Reagan-Fascel Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and is the Coordinator of the International office of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a coalition of 20 organisations working on human rights promotion in Zimbabwe. A lawyer by profession, Arthur has extensive human rights experience both in Zimbabwe (1997-2002) and England (2002-2011). Arthur currently undertakes human rights research, political analysis, as well as bilateral and multilateral lobbying and advocacy for his organisation. His main research interest is on the implications of modern technologies on human rights, with an emphasis on political intelligence and communications surveillance of human rights defenders. Arthur played a significant role in the Africa Union-European Union Civil Society strategy ahead of the April 2014 Summit.

Udo Jude Ilo
Udo Jude Ilo holds a Master of Laws degree from the Central European University Budapest majoring in international human rights and transnational corporations. Mr. Ilo was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2003. He worked as a Program and Legal officer with the Human Rights Law Service (HURILAWS), and also as Nigeria Project Manager for the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) Death Penalty Project for Commonwealth Africa. In 2006-2008, Mr. Ilo worked as a Program Advisor and Head Programs Department of the Nigerian Bar Association. He also worked as the Nigeria Programs Manager for the Forum of Federations, a global network on federalism. Mr. Ilo is currently the Nigeria Country Officer and Head of the Nigeria Country Office of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). He is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Law and Social Action (CLASA) and also a Founding Partner in the Law Firm of Thoughts & Mace. Mr. Ilo has published extensively in the area of governance, democracy and rule of law. He has to his credit six published books and a number of papers related to elections, governance and justice sector issues in Nigeria and Africa. Mr. Ilo has more than 40 other published write-ups and op-eds.

Jeggan Gray-Johnson
Jeggan Grey-Johnson joined OSF’s Africa Governance, Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP), as Advocacy and Communications officer in 2009. He is now leading the Anti-Corruption Cluster of Africa Regional Office, which is supported by the Africa Foundations of the Open Society Foundations. Jeggan has worked in the area of development, journalism and high-level advocacy for over fifteen years. He led the 11before2011 campaign, which was a continental effort with the Pan African Parliament, that ushered in the African Charter on Democracy and Elections in 2012. Jeggan was also the focal point on an eleven country study aimed at influencing policy reforms on media legislative frameworks in Africa. He has overseen the publications AfriMAP’s systematic audits over the years, which include the African Peer Review Mechanism review reports, and Political Participation and Democracy studies and Delivery of Public Services in Education in over twenty three countries. Prior to joining OSF, Jeggan worked for UNICEF. He graduated from Virginia Wesleyan College.

Hussein Khalid
Hussein Khalid is currently the Executive Director of HAKI Africa and a Lecturer at the School of Human Rights and Governance Studies in Mombasa, Kenya. He has been involved in the human rights movement for the last 16 years. As a human rights lawyer, Mr. Khalid has been at the forefront of agitating for the rights of community members at the grassroots level in Kenya and the general East African region. Mr. Khalid has worked with and served as a member of numerous civil rights groups and institutions, including Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Government Taskforce on Grievances of Coast People, the Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC). He has been involved in various national and international processes to promote and protect fundamental rights and freedoms of the people including giving testimonies to numerous government taskforces. Mr. Khalid’s educational background is in law but he has also undertaken other courses including Fundamentals of Social Accountability at Rhodes University in South Africa, International Human Rights Conventions at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and Crime Prevention in Kenya with the United States International University-Kenya.

Janet Love
Janet Love has been an anti-apartheid activist since 1974. From 1991 to 1994, Ms. Love was involved in negotiations for a settlement in South Africa from the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) and served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1999. She was also involved in the negotiation and drafting of the final Constitution of South Africa. In 2006, Ms. Love took up her current position as National Director of the Legal Resources Centre, a public interest, human rights law clinic that uses impact litigation to advance the rights of vulnerable and marginalized people. In addition to her work with LRC, Ms. Love also serves as a Commissioner on the South African Human Rights Commission, a post which she assumed in 2009.

Fatimata M’baye
Fatimata M’baye was the first woman lawyer in Mauritania and co-founded the Mauritanian Association for Women’s Rights (l’Association mauritanienne des droits de l’Homme, AMDH) and serves vice-president of the NGO International Federation for Human Rights. Over her career, she has defended fellow human rights activists, women wrongfully convicted under Mauritania’s sharia laws, and has been an advocate for the rights of children and the abolition of slavery in Mauritania. In 1999 she became the first African recipient of the Nuremburg International Human Rights Award. In 2014, Fatimata was named as one of three commissioners for the United Nations Commission of Inquiry for the Central African Republic to investigate human rights abuses.

Frank Mugisha
Frank Mugisha is a prominent young advocate for the rights of sexual minorities in Uganda and received the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Mr. Mugisha is the Executive Director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the leading network of Ugandan organizations advocating on behalf of the LGBTI communities in the country. Mr. Mugisha began advocating for LGBTI rights and HIV/AIDS awareness as a university student in 2004. He spearheaded the support group Icebreakers Uganda, which provides resources and support to those who are openly gay or are coming out of the closet. After being targeted for arrest, Mr. Mugisha was smuggled out of the country to seek safety in exile, later returning to Uganda to resume his work. His current organization, SMUG, advocates and lobbies for equality in Uganda, to bolster LGBTI visibility through media and literature, and to empower activists through leadership and social entrepreneurship trainings.

Kemi Okenyodo
Kemi Okenyodo is the Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation a nongovernmental organization based in Nigeria aimed at promoting public safety, security and justice in Nigeria. She has worked on issues relating to public safety and security in Nigeria and West Africa over the past 12 years. Her primary area of interest is Police Accountability, Gender and Policing and Understanding and Improving the activities of Informal Policing Groups (or Voluntary Policing Groups) in Nigeria. She has worked closely with the Police Service Commission, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the National Human Rights Commission. She is trained lawyer, graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos in 1998. She was called to the Nigeria Bar in September 1999. She obtained a Masters Degree in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies in February 2006 from the University of Lagos. She has a Diploma in Management and Development of NGOs from Galilee College, Israel and a Certificate in Defense and Security Management issued by the National Defense College in collaboration with the UK Ministry of Defense and the Cranfield University, UK. Ms. Okenyodo is listed on the ISSAT Expert Roster. She is member of the Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Institute of Chartered Administrator and the Africa Security Sector Reform Network.

Amir Osman
Amir Osman is the Africa regional manager for advocacy at the Africa Regional Office of the Open Society Foundations. He has conducted advocacy on Africa targeted at the United Nations secretariat, UN Security Council, and member states missions to the UN. Prior to joining the Open Society Foundations, Osman was the senior director of policy and government relations for the Save Darfur Coalition. With the coalition president, he was responsible for designing and implementing domestic and international policy, advocacy, and outreach to the U.S. government, foreign governments, regional and international institutes, media, and nongovernmental organizations. Osman was also responsible for managing the Policy and Government Relations team. Previously, Osman was the Sudan program officer for the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. He designed and managed the CIHRS Sudan projects in Africa and Arab countries. Osman graduated from the University of Khartoum with a BSc in physics. He also received diplomas in international human rights law and refugee studies from the American University in Cairo.

Irene Petras
Irene Petras is the executive director of The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. She is a registered Zimbabwean lawyer with 15 years’ experience practicing law in Zimbabwe. She trained at the University of Cape Town in South Africa (where she received her LL.B. degree cum laude) and the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (where she obtained her LL.M Degree, specializing in Human Rights Law, with Merit). Her main areas of interest are human rights, constitutional law, media law, public international law, criminal law, electoral law and administrative law. She also has experience in international litigation at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). She previously practiced at Kantor & Immerman Legal Practitioners – an established human rights law firm in Harare, Zimbabwe – from 1998 until she left in 2002 to assist in the early development stages of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). ZLHR focuses on providing legal support services, as well as training and capacity building, to human rights defenders and seeks to foster a culture of human rights in Zimbabwe and the wider African region.

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