Tony Clarke is the founder and director of the Polaris Institute of Canada, which enables citizen movements to develop new tools for democratic social change in the age of economic globalization. Dr. Clarke also currently serves on the boards of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the International Forum on Globalization. From 1987 to 1993, he was the National Chair of the Action Canada Network, a nation-wide coalition of social, labor, farm, and environmental organizations which mobilized public opposition to Canadian free trade deals (e.g. NAFTA). He was also the National Director of social justice programs for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Chair of the Canadian Council of Churches’ Justice and Peace Commission. In 2005, Dr. Clarke received the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, known worldwide as the “alternative Nobel Prize.” His publications include The Emergence of Corporation Rule – and What We Can Do About It and Behind the Mitre: The Moral Leadership Crisis in the Canadian Catholic Church. Dr. Clarke received his PhD in Social Ethics and Professional Ministry from the University of Chicago.
Elsadig Elsheikh is the director of the global justice program at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California-Berkeley, where he oversees the program’s projects on global food system, global equity, and human rights.
Prior to Haas Institute, Elsadig led the global justice program at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, where he also served as an associate editor of the Institute’s journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary in Global Contexts. Earlier, Elsadig was a researcher with the European Economic Community, Amnesty International, Witness for Peace, and various international grassroots and advocacy organizations on issues related to internally displaced persons, indigenous peoples, human rights, immigration, social mobilization, and environmental and social justice in Sudan, Greece, Colombia, and the United States.
Elsadig holds degrees and trainings from Panteion University/Athens, Greece, the Ohio State University/Ohio, SIT Graduate Institute/Vermont, and Columbia University/NYC. Elsadig's research interests are on the themes and social dynamics relating to Africa’s large-scale land deals, financialization, global food system, human and indigenous peoples rights, political ecology, social movements, state and citizenship, and structural racialization.
Jeff Furman served as Ben & Jerry’s in house legal counsel, fostered many of the company’s social initiatives, and has served on the company’s corporate board for more than 30 years. Mr. Furman is currently the Chair of the Ben & Jerry’s corporate board and a trustee of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. He is also on the steering committee of the Funders Network on Transforming the Global Economy. Mr. Furman resides in Ithaca, New York with his family. Locally, he is the president of Social Ventures, a 501(c)3 organization as well as the founder of a community dispute resolution center and a community micro-finance program. He has also served on the local school board, working to eliminate socio-economic status as a predictor of student success, and is an advisor to the Dorothy Cotton Institute.
Lewis Gordon is a Harvard graduate with over thirty-five years of experience as a lawyer, and is the founder and director of the Environmental Defender Law Center. Following a federal court clerkship, Mr. Gordon entered private practice in Alaska in 1982. He successfully defended environmentalists and environmental organizations from intimidation lawsuits, and represented them in environmental litigation as well. From 1989-94, while the managing partner of the Anchorage firm of Ashburn & Mason, Mr. Gordon served on the nine member plaintiffs’ steering committee that managed the massive litigation arising from the grounding of the Exxon Valdez. In 2003, Mr. Gordon was invited to be a Wallace Stegner Center Fellow for a year at the law school of the University of Utah, as well as an adjunct professor of law (Environment and Human Rights). He founded EDLC that same year. He has been invited to every continent to speak on human rights and corporate accountability issues before legal groups, NGOs, and foundations.
Carol Johnson has been the director of St. Mary’s Center in downtown Oakland since 1999. Since becoming Director at St. Mary’s Center, the organization has grown to serve more clients and provide comprehensive service delivery, which includes leadership for affordable housing, food security, and affordable health care. Guided by principles of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, the center’s and Ms. Johnson’s leadership has been recognized by the community. St. Mary’s Center has been honored with the UNA-East Bay Global Citizen Award and a Local Hero Award from Housing Rights Inc. St. Mary’s Center advocates have also been honored by the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, the Alameda County Mental Health Association, and others.
Anuradha Mittal is an internationally renowned expert on trade, development, human rights and agriculture issues. After working as the codirector of Food First/ Institute for Food and Development Policy, Ms. Mittal established the Oakland Institute, a progressive policy think tank, in 2004. Ms. Mittal is the author and editor of numerous articles and books including America Needs Human Rights; The Future in the Balance: Essays on Globalization and Resistance; Sahel: A Prisoner of Starvation; and most recently of Voices from Africa: African Farmers and Environmentalists Speak out Against a New Green Revolution; and The Great Land Grab: Rush for World’s Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor. Her articles and opinion pieces have been published in widely circulated newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Bangkok Post, Houston Chronicle, and The Nation. Ms. Mittal has given several hundred keynote addresses including invitational events from governments and universities, and has appeared on television and radio shows around the world. Named as the 2008 Most Valuable Progressive Thinker by the Nation magazine, Ms. Mittal was awarded the 2007 Global Citizen Award by the UNA-USA East Bay and KPFA Peace Award in 2006. She is on the board and advisory committees of several non profit organizations including the Polaris Institute and is a member of the corporate board of Ben & Jerry's which focuses on providing leadership for Ben & Jerry’s social mission and brand integrity. Ms. Mittal lives in Oakland and can be reached at [email protected]
Carolyn Purcell is a family nurse practitioner with over 20 years of experience working in community clinics, including the United Farm Worker’s Delano clinic. Ms. Purcell lives in Mountain View, California and is active in her local community as a contributor to a variety of education, peace, faith-based, and immigration rights projects.
Atul Sharan is a veteran of the high-technology industry with experience as an engineer, serial entrepreneur, CEO and angel investor. He specializes in identifying early stage companies with breakthrough technologies and successfully commercializing their technologies and products.
Currently a resident at Artiman Ventures in Palo Alto, Sharan was previously the President & CEO of AutoESL, a start-up with innovative technology licensed from UCLA. Prior to that he has been instrumental in the success of various start-ups including Compass Design Automation, Ambit, Numerical Technologies, and ClearShape Technologies Inc. Sharan brings his corporate experience with the hope of turning OI into a lasting organization that will transcend generational change.
Sonja Swift serves as an active trustee for Swift Foundation working both programmatically as well as on aligning the foundation’s mission with its investments. She is also on the board of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, Groundswell International and the Community Agroecology Network. Sonja has field experience from across the Americas covering a range of issues including food sovereignty, agricultural diversity, extractive industry resistance, and indigenous land rights. She has consistently advocated for more coherency and accountability in philanthropy and is further engaged in efforts to revive place-based economies of scale that prioritize well being and healthy landscapes over profit. Sonja is also a writer, writing is her creative medium for grappling with the complexity of our times. She lives in San Francisco.