Ravi Karkara is a trained social worker with commitment to advance human rights, participation, inclusion and gender equality, accountability and social justice. He serves as a Senior Adviser Strategic Partnership & Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary-General/Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women. He has worked with several organizations on gender mainstreaming with a specific focus on children, youth, women - UN Women, UNICEF, Save the Children among others -successfully advocating the role of boys and men in gender equality from a life-cycle and gender transformative approach. He is also the recipient of prestigious NOVUS Award, that unites global shapers from around the world to tackle the today's grand challenges via actionable change.
He served as Global Advisor on Youth with UN-HABITAT. He is lead author of the groundbreaking report “Youth 21: Building the Architecture of Youth Engagement in the UN System,” which contributed to the creation of United Nations Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth. Ravi represented UN-HABITAT as the co-chair of the UN Interagency Network on Youth Development. Government of Sri Lanka appointed him as the Global Advisor to the World Conference on Youth in 2014, focusing on youth perspectives in developing post-2015 development agenda. Ravi also served as the Global Advisor Strategic Advisor on Partnership with UN Millennium Campaign. He relentlessly supported UN Secretary General’s My World 2015 survey reaching close to 5.5 million youth. Ravi is co-chairs the Policy Strategy Group for World We Want 2015 – largest UN & civil society data-curation-visualization Big Data platform.
He has extensive experience in facilitating and managing strategy development processes with diverse range of audience ranging from policy makers, development workers to local communities. He has extensive experience in knowledge creation and management. He has written more than 80 publications and has given keynote and panel addresses across the world.
Bruce Ferguson, Founder and Executive Director of Ferguson Humanitarian Foundation International, Inc. (more commonly known as FHFI).
Bruce was born, in San Francisco, high on a hill, in mid summer of 1953 and shortly thereafter moved to India with his mother in 1957 at the age of 4½. He and his mother lived in India for the following 10 years. Bruce’s mother taught at a Christian boarding school, Woodstock School, high in the Himalayas, still ranked as one of the best preparatory schools in the world.
Bruce went to school in possibly the most beautiful spot in the world, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India. At 6,000 feet the hill station has an incredible panorama of natural life cycling through every season. Bruce learned some local languages, but even more gained an appreciation of the depth of culture found in all over India, in which he and his mother immersed themselves every winter break period.
After graduating and 2 years at University of Arizona, Bruce worked in various organizations from health care to sales and non-profit. He is now employed in the payments industry, and is an 18 year veteran at the company he has helped expand.
André de Quadros, conductor, ethnomusicologist, music educator, writer, and human rights activist has conducted and undertaken research in over forty countries around the globe.
A sought after conductor and clinician, André de Quadros is Music Director and Conductor of the Manado State University Choir (Indonesia) with which he toured France, Sweden, Sri Lanka, and Poland in 2010 winning a first prize at the Warsaw International Competition, and in summer 2012 took the US by storm at the Yale International Choral Festival, New York City's River to River Festival, and engagements in Boston, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles. Upcoming engagements for MSUC include appearances at the Choralies festival in the south of France in August 2013 and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Korea in 2014. De Quadros’s previous conducting engagements of note include the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Bulgaria with which he toured Spain, the Massachusetts All-State Chorus (USA), the Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Orchestra (USA), the Prokofiev Symphony Orchestra (Ukraine), the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, the Nusantara Chamber Orchestra (Indonesia), the Moscow State Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New Monash Orchestra, and the Jauna Muzika Choir (Lithuania).
An ardent human rights and social change activist, André de Quadros believes that consensus music-making can bring people and cultures together. To that end, he has been at the forefront of efforts for music and social change. In 2008, he co-created Aswatuna: Arab Choral Festival in Jordan that brought together choirs from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. The festival was such a success that it was repeated in 2012. In 2010, he co-directed a historic project with Palestinian and Israeli choral musicians in East Jerusalem working to foster understanding between the two communities. This project has continued on a regular basis and is called the Community Heartsong. A staunch advocate for the democratization of music, André de Quadros teaches in two Massachusetts prisons. He is a member of the Scientific Board of the International Network for Singing Hospitals and a member of the steering committee of Conductors Without Borders. André de Quadros was part of a multi-year, externally funded arts and public health research project that was pioneered in Peru and may be replicated in other marginalized parts of the world to discover the power between the arts and public health. He is a member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journal, Arts & Health.