Royal Society University Research Fellow
University of Bath
Asel is a scientist working across physics, chemistry and biotech. She recently discovered a new process which could lead to the realisation of thermally-stable vaccines - something which could save millions of lives in developing countries as it would allow vaccines to be transported without refrigeration. She is passionate about gender equality and diversity in science, and works with girls and young women to share her passion for STEM subjects.
Zere’s smash hit song and video "Kyz" ("Girl"), with its themes of feminism and tolerance, caused a scandal in Kyrgyz society. From death threats to accolades Zere triggered the whole range of emotions. An advocate for women’s rights, Zere has become a powerful voice for equality in Central Asia through her music.
Vasyl is the co-founder and CEO of ProZorro, a tech platform for public procurement in Ukraine which he launched in the wake of 2013-14 Maidan revolution. He is an IT project manager and consultant, specialising in software design, maintenance, operation and automation. He previously worked at a number of large Ukrainian IT companies, and first became involved in civic and government tech as a volunteer with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade during the post-Maidan reforms process.
Natalie Sedletska is one of Ukraine’s most prominent investigative journalists. She is author, editor and host of “Schemes: Corruption in Details” broadcast on UA:First, the only TV channel in Ukraine to cover over 97% of the country. Natalie also a member of Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which leads international investigations.
Łukasz Krol, Digital Projects Coordinator at College of Europe in Natolin
With a background in technology and political science, Łukasz studies the ways in which we can bridge our technological and social realities. He is a researcher, lecturer and workshop facilitator. Łukasz currently focuses on how people perceive AI, as well as issues related to inequality and discrimination in algorithms and tech in general.
Data Team Lead at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project
Friedrich leads the data team at the multi award-winning OCCRP, providing data analysis to advance investigations into international corruption, crime and money laundering. He was previously a Knight International Journalism Fellow and a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellow, as well as an activist working to open up government data on public finance, lobbing, procurement and policy-making around the world.
co-founder DOBRA Foundation (Belarus)
Aliaksandr runs Social Weekend Belarus, a competition which finds and invests in the most exciting social start-ups across the country. He is a start-up mentor and investor, and has worked on projects across finance, research, agriculture and real estate. He also manages the United Nations Global Compact Network in Belarus, an initiative promoting sustainability among businesses.
Fatima is a lawyer, human rights activist and co-founder of Precedent, a law firm in Bishkek whose profits support the Precedent NGO. A passionate advocate of sustainable civil society, she is author of "From grants to business models", in which she outlines 30 business models that can help NGOs become more sustainable.
Vladimir is an editor at RISE, an investigative NGO and media outlet in Moldova and a member of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). He investigates corruption, economic and political crime in Eastern Europe & Central Asia, such as money laundering, organised crime, tax evasion, smuggling and fraud.
Anna is a queer feminist activist and scholar. She co-founded a feminist library in Armenia to produce and share feminist knowledge. She has been involved in a number of civic and political movements focused on feminism, queer struggles, democracy, anti-capitalism and anti-militarism. Anna also lectures at Yerevan State University on gender and the media, and has written several international papers and articles on feminism, queerness, and critiques of neoliberalism and militarisation.
Heinrich Böll Foundation (Russia)
Nuria is co-ordinator of the democracy programme for the Heinrich Böll Foundation Russia. She studied philology and journalism and has a postgraduate degree from the University of Chelyabinsk. She has also studied in Germany as a research fellow at the University of Tübingen and Humboldt University Berlin.
Executive Director at 1991 Open Data Incubator, Co-founder & CMO at SPREAD
Jane is a start-up mentor and advisor, executive director of 1991 Open Data Incubator and the co-founder and CMO at SPREAD. She is a leading figure in the Ukrainian tech scene, mentors young people at business schools across Ukraine, and is a guest speaker at the Kyiv School of Economics. She is also an corporate social responsibility guru and has organised a number of large tech events in Ukraine, Poland and Russia. She likes working with IT experts who, she believes, “play outside the rules”.
Nino is co-founder and director at ForSet, a data communications organisation in Tbilisi. She was previously a data journalist and project coordinator at JumpStart Georgia, and holds a BA in Journalism and MA in Creative & Media Enterprises. Nino is passionate about connecting data enthusiasts from different backgrounds and sectors, and founded DataFest Tbilisi in 2017 - the first international data event in the Caucasus - to do just that.
Ana-Maria is a civic and eco activist, and member of the Moldovan collective Occupy Guguță. She is interested in the power of music for community-building, and is currently researching the development of civil society in Moldova for her MA Degree in Human Rights at the University of Padua.
Executive Director of the Center for Participation and Development
Giorgi is executive director of the Centre for Participation and Development in Tbilisi, and administrator of Tbilisi Shelter. He has run public campaigns and projects on the rights of minorities living in Georgia, and to promote a wider understanding of human rights across the country. At Tbilisi Shelter, he has helped provide rehabilitation, support and assistance to more than 70 human rights defenders from 10 countries.
Executive Director, 1991 Civic Tech Center
Anastasia - experienced project manager and Executive Director of 1991 Civic Tech Center, the first community space for civic tech startups in Central and Eastern Europe. Sitting at the intersection of tech, social projects and business she’s organised over 300 events on these issues - from local to international.
Svetlana is an eco-activist from Kazakhstan. She has over 10 years experience managing projects for the "Green salvation" movement and is campaigning to protect the Ile-Alatau national Park in Kazakhstan. Svetlana helps to develop cycling infrastructure in Almaty and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
Blogger & Entrepreneur
Umid is an activist and brains behind TROLL.UZ, one of Uzbekistan’s most popular online media projects, with over 200,000 subscribers. The project uses humour to shine a light on issues and to try and force a solution. Umid teaches social media marketing and video content creation.
Arzu - a journalist from Azerbaijan published in Al-Jazeera, Foreign Policy, CODA Story and others. She is a member of Global Voices and Advox, recipient of the Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship and recognised by the BBC as one of their 100 Women Changemakers.
Activist and Technologist
Damir is an activist and technologist. At only 17 he founded the grassroots youth rebel movement Tuzla — one of the first in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Now he works as a researcher in Istinomjer and manages the mobile app javnarasprava.ba, which allows citizens to influence the legislative process.
Head of Research and Cooperation Projects, Deutsche Welle (DW)
Wilfred is a columnist, editor, researcher and music journalist. He manages Deutsche Well's innovative projects with his team of free thinkers to create projects related to technology, thus helping “better tell big stories.”
School of Data Kyrgyzstan
Altynai - data journalist and media development specialist. She is a co-founder of the School of Data in Kyrgyzstan - a public foundation which aims to build a community of data enthusiasts. She organises hackathons, meetups, and trainings as well as producing data-driven projects.
Director of the Baltic Internet Policy Initiative
Mikhail is an internet specialist, project leader e-belarus.org and Director of the Baltic Internet Policy Initiative. He’s helped launch 15 online projects and is an advocate of smart cities and e-governance. He is passionate about information policy and digital skills.
Journalist and Social Media Producer
Dana is a journalist and social media producer, SMM specialist for Kazakh Radio Azattyk. She participated in our first video quest in Lviv in 2017 and our Bishkek video quest this year.
Prague Civil Society Centre
Rostislav - Executive Director of the Prague Civil Society Centre with over 10 years experience working with human rights across Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. Before PCSC, Rostislav was head of People in Need’s East Europe Programme and one of the founders of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Vlad is a social media video producer at the Ukrainian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He graduated from the School of Journalism at the Ukrainian Catholic University and now teaches video production to activists and students around the world. He also runs the telegram channel “Видосы на коленке”.
Co-founder of Vpershe
Katya is a Ukrainian intersectional feminist, sex educator, and journalist at Kloop. She is one of the founders of “Vpershe” the first online sex education project in Ukraine and "Fight like a girl!", an anti-discrimination camp for activists from Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Irina is an Armenian activist, founder of the Clay House social business and brains behind the innovative system of mobile kindergartens. She has helped create multipurpose community centers in Armenia and promotes the country’s NGO data visualisation bureau. Irina is lobbying against selective abortions and monitors state budgets.
Anna is an environmental and feminist activist in Armenia. She has been involved in anti-mining groups since 2010 and has advocated for “locking communities” against local and international extraction. Anna was recently involved with the “Save Amulsar” campaign to protect a thermal spa town and the Amulsar mountain from open-pit gold mining, a movement which became part of the widespread protests leading to the 2018 Armenian Revolution.
Co-founder, Kloop Media
Co-founder of Kloop media, Kyrgyzstan’s leading online investigative outlet. He writes, mentors young journalists and takes on Kloops’s craziest projects. Rinat uses drones, AI and data in his work, always looking for opportunities to combine tech and journalism.
Poet & rock musician
Ashot is a poet, rock musician and activist from Tashkent. His project "Man with a Stool", helps support and develop creative youth and alternative arts in Uzbekistan. He is the organiser of the international ock festival "Tashkent” and founder of indie band “Origami Wings”.
Kirill co-founded Kunsht magazine - the country's first non-fiction publication about science and art. Kirill can be heard on the popular radio science show "Aristocrats FM”. He aslo trains journalists and organises volunteer initiatives. He was a Young UN delegate from Ukraine.
Svetlana is executive director of the Just Support private fund. She has led a number of social projects across Kazakhstan, including an initiative to help prevent teen suicide - www.teenslive.kz. She is also behind the online game www.blizkie.kz and actively promotes the use of innovative strategies to reach different communities.
CEO Ololo Group
Danir started with just $150 to get the Ololo Art studio off the ground. Since then it has evolved into the biggest chain of coworking spaces in Central Asia. Ololohaus coworking spaces are now home to over 100 creative businesses.
Current Time TV
Anna Shamanska has worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for several years as a radio, digital and TV journalist. With the launch of Current Time TV, Anna became a part of the team that helped turn the channel into a major digital presence in the former Soviet Union. She has made a name for herself through her short explainer videos which work to decompress often volatile topics for Current Time's audience. She keeps a close eye on Russian- and English- language social media finding important stories.