Forum Speakers

KEYNOTE: Gert Jan Hofstede, PhD

Gert Jan Hofstede is professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands with expertise in artificial sociality, complex adaptive systems, and trust and transparency in international settings.  He is co-author of the international best seller “Cultures and Organizations; Software of the Mind” (McGraw-Hill, 2010), along with his father Geert Hofstede and Michael Minkov. He also co-authored “Exploring Culture: Exercises, Stories and Synthetic Cultures” with Geert and Paul B. Pedersen, among other publications.  He maintains the open source website of his father’s work on culture that is for researchers and practitioners,  He frequently gives invited workshops and keynotes in the Netherlands and abroad. 

PLENARY PANELIST: Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, PhD

Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, PhD is past president of the World Communication Association. She received her doctoral degree in communication from Indiana University Bloomington, where she is currently professor and director of Graduate studies in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. Her areas of specialization are intercultural communication, empathy and conflict, transforming divided communities, pedagogy of empathy, communication in black America, and civic engagement. She is author of “Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective,” coauthor of” Intercultural Communication Roots and Routes” and” Intercultural Communication: A Text with Readings,” and coeditor of “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse”. Her coauthored book,” Intercultural Communication between Chinese and North Americans”, is forthcoming in 2023. She is a member of the Central States Communication Association’s Hall of Fame, and has given hundreds of talks on intercultural communication, empathy, diversity, and intercultural competence both nationally and internationally. Her many awards include a Fulbright Fellowship, a Carnegie Scholarship, and the National Communication Association’s Samuel L. Becker Distinguished Service Award.

PLENARY PANELIST: Euan Mackway-Jones

Euan Mackway-Jones is a Programme Specialist at UNESCO’s Headquarters, where he works to encourage evidence-based policy and practice on inclusive social development. In the past, Euan led UNESCO’s programming on social development in South Asia, based in New Delhi, India. Before UNESCO, Euan sat on the advisory board of one of the UK’s quickest growing non-profits, established a successful social enterprise and led and advised numerous social action projects. He has published on topics including community-generated resilience; systems approaches to social sustainability and inclusion; the nexus between climate change and social conflict; the participatory identification of systemic risk in complex social systems; and the governance of evidence around novel social risks. Euan has been recognised as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a UNHCR Innovation Fellow, and has previously held an UnLtd Fellowship. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts (with honours) in History and Politics from the University of Warwick, and is currently pursuing a blended-learning Master of Applied Science in Data, Economics and Development Policy at MIT.


Peter Nwosu, PhD (the “N” is silent), American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, started his tenure in 2019 as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success at the Herbert H. Lehman College, a Hispanic and Minority Serving Institution and a senior college of the 25-member colleges of the City University of New York (CUNY), the nation’s largest urban public university system. Prior to this role, he served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Clark Atlanta University (CAU), Atlanta, Georgia, a private Historically Black College and University, and Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Accreditation Liaison Officer at California State University, Fullerton, a Hispanic Serving Institution. Dr. Nwosu began his career at California State University, Sacramento,, rising through the ranks to become tenured full Professor of Communication Studies. A nationally recognized teacher-scholar of intercultural and international communication, Dr. Nwosu has served as journal editor, presented at regional, national, and international conferences, and authored/co-authored more than 90 scholarly writings, including three books, refereed journal papers, book chapters, and training manuals. A graduate of the Harvard Institute for Higher Education, he earned his Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C.


Dr. R.S. Zaharna is a professor, School of Communication, American University, Washington, and the 2018 Distinguished Scholar in International Communication, awarded by the International Studies Association. She specializes in public diplomacy and international strategic communication and has advised governments, multinational corporations, and nongovernmental organizations. Her books include Battles to Bridges: U.S. Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy after 9/11 (Palgrave, 2014) and Ambassadors of Humanity: Three Logics of Communications and Public Diplomacies (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).


Dr. Sweta Shah is a passionate advocate for children and families, especially those impacted by crisis and emergencies. She has over 23 years of experience in supporting children – from early childhood through adolescence. Her work has spanned the globe – Africa, Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe. Sweta is currently the co-founder and CEO of ChildArise, a non-profit organization that aims to transform children’s lives through impact storytelling and creative problem-solving. Sweta believes in breaking down sector silos for innovative holistic solutions for children and families. She believes that each child has the right to a great start in life so they can not only survive but thrive and be changemakers for the world. As an expert in Early Childhood Development and Education, Sweta has directly implemented programs in emergency and non-emergency situations, supported governments to scale interventions and develop policies, built and managed diverse teams, led organizational strategic directions, built strategic partnerships and coalitions, advocated for increased financing and led and commissioned research and evaluations. Sweta has a PhD from UCL Institute of Education, an MA from George Washington University, and a BA in from Bucknell University. She published the book “Early Childhood Development in Humanitarian Contexts: South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda”. She speaks six languages.

PLENARY PANELIST: Seema Srivastava

Seema Srivastava serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Up with People, the world’s premier art based global youth development organization aimed at connecting young people from across the global to build peace in an inclusive world.  Seema has more than 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, including with the Desai Foundation, WorldBank, United Nations Develop Programme, and Aspen Center. She serves as an advisor to organizations in international development and as a consultant for creating inter-sectoral and institutional cultural competency. A leadership development and operations specialist, Seema has successfully led and grown creative programs and operations for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies, working with women, youth, and senior leadership.   

Workshop Presenter: Amer F. Ahmed

Dr. Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of AFA Diversity Consulting, LLC, a consulting practice dedicated to enhancing the development of organizations through efforts around leadership, professional development, assessment, and strategic change. In addition to his consulting work, Dr. Ahmed currently serves as Vice Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Faculty in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration program in the College of Education and Social Services at University of Vermont.

Workshop Presenter: Bert Vercamer

Bert is an innovative Organizational Development leader who worked in 55+ countries and lived in 6. His key expertise is around defining organizational vision and strategy, ensuring everyone’s voice is included (diversity and inclusion -> how to deal with difference), developing large scale impactful learning solutions/programs, coaching executives, and enabling cultural transformation for global non-profits, government agencies, corporations, and educational institutions. He is adept at building and managing global programs and driving strategic initiatives through product innovation, process development, and design thinking methodologies

Speaker: Tasneem Chopra Oam

A Cross-cultural Consultant, Tasneem addresses issues of diversity, equity and inclusion through an intersectional lens within government, corporate, arts and community sectors. For her efforts she has been appointed an ‘Anti-Racism Champion’ by the Australian Human Rights Commission – and awarded and OAM. Tasneem is a Strategic Advisor to the Victorian Public Service Commission, Fire Rescue Victoria, Co-Chair to the NSW Legal Aid External Anti-Racism and Inclusion Committee and inaugural Ambassador for Women of Colour, Australia. She is also an outgoing Board Director for The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI,) the Collingwood Football Club Expert Panel on Anti Racism and former Chair of the Australian
Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights. A TEDxMelbourne presenter and writer, Tasneem has featured on numerous platforms including The Guardian, SBS, BBC, Q&A, Compass – is a regular panelist on The Drum and host of the podcast series, Strengths Untold.