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The People’s Voice: Accelerating Civil Society Action towards CHOGM 2024

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Speakers
Victoria Rubadiri
Audrey Brown-Pereira
Malaika Uwamahoro
Tijani Christian
Nuong Faalong
Brianna Fruean
Dr Ravi P. Rannan-Eliya
Fatou Jagne Senghore
Harjeet Singh
Kavindya Thennakoon
Dr Rispah Walumbe
Date & Time
2:00pm, 21 November 2023 - 3:30pm, 21 November 2023
Location
About the event

This event has taken place. You can watch the recording now.

At their June 2022 meeting in Rwanda, Commonwealth Heads of Government renewed their individual and collective commitment to free and democratic societies and the promotion of peace. They also addressed critical issues facing all Commonwealth countries including climate change, sustainable development, youth empowerment, gender equality, and economic resilience. Heads of Government also agreed on reforms that are needed to modernise the Commonwealth and improve its governance.

The Commonwealth People’s Forum—held just before the leaders’ meeting and involving civil society leaders from right across the Commonwealth—expanded on these themes, also taking up key issues such as health justice and freedom of expression.

With just 12 months until the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and People’s Forum, how can Member States, the Commonwealth and civil society work together to advance commitments and accelerate action to address global challenges around health, the environment, and economic justice to build a resilient and sustainable future? The Foundation will host a Critical Conversation to bridge the journey from Rwanda 2022 to Samoa 2024. The event will consider what progress has been made on the Peoples’ Forum outcomes and explore the lessons learned and what more needs to be done around resilience, collaboration, and ownership from local and national level actions taken on the issues of health justice, climate justice, freedom of expression, and Commonwealth reform. It will examine the needs of civil society as they take the lead in accelerating action and maintaining momentum for change.

Why should I attend? 

This Critical Conversation will mark the official launch of a series of Commonwealth-wide and regional conversations, leading up to Samoa 2024. The goal of the event is to provide a structured space for Commonwealth civil society to affirm their shared goals and determine what needs to be done over the next year so that CHOGM and the People’s Forum make a positive contribution to advancing the values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter. The event will convene breakout rooms, where you can join civil society from across the Commonwealth to voice your ideas. By attending this meeting you’ll help shape the agenda for the 2024 Commonwealth People’s Forum.

Speakers
Victoria Rubadiri Moderator
Audrey Brown-Pereira Performer
Malaika Uwamahoro Performer
Tijani Christian Speaker
Nuong Faalong Speaker
Brianna Fruean Speaker
Dr Ravi P. Rannan-Eliya Speaker
Fatou Jagne Senghore Speaker
Harjeet Singh Speaker
Kavindya Thennakoon Speaker
Dr Rispah Walumbe Speaker
Moderator
Victoria Rubadiri

Victoria Rubadiri is a renowned broadcast journalist, radio and television presenter, and Internet personality from Kenya. She is known most for her ability to connect with her audience and tell compelling stories. She is a senior news anchor and journalist for Citizen TV, East Africa’s most-watched news network. Before moving to her current position, she was a news reporter and anchor for NTV.

Victoria won the 2020 most anticipated BBC World News Komla Dumor Award and is currently training with the BBC academy in London.

Victoria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She held a number of roles during her university years, which included writing evening news programs and serving as a field news reporter. She made her debut as a pioneer News Anchor at Capital FM.

She was also the host and co-producer of Kenya’s top-rated talk show ‘Victoria’s Lounge’, a show that discussed social issues ranging from mental health, gender equality and governance.

Beyond her work in the media, Victoria has also moderated high-level discussions across Africa of both regional and continental importance.

Performer
Audrey Brown-Pereira

Audrey Brown-Pereira (1975) is an innovative poet who plays with text on the page and performs words in the air/ ear. Her poetry collections include ‘Threads of Tivaevae: Kaleidoskope of Kolours’ with Veronica Vaevae by Steele Roberts and ‘Passages in Between I(s)lands’ by Ala Press. She has worked on her third collection ‘a-wake-(e)nd’ with independent publishers Saufo’i Press.

Audrey’s poems appear in several anthologies including ‘Vā: Stories by Women of the Moana’ and ‘ Indigenous Pacific Islander Eco-Literatures’. She is of Cook Islands Maori and Samoan descent, born on the island of Rarotonga and raised in New Zealand. She lives in Samoa with her family and works for an environmental organisation that serves the Pacific region.

Performer
Malaika Uwamahoro

Malaika is an artist born in Rwanda, and a Theatre Studies BA graduate from Fordham University in NYC, The acting Track. She was able to attend Fordham as a proud recipient of a Rwandan Presidential Scholarship.

Malaika has performed her own poetry on stages around the world, including CHOGM in Rwanda, Forbes Women Africa in Durban South Africa, the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and African Union Summits in Addis Ababa and Kigali.

In 2014, she made her Off-Broadway debut at Signature Theatre in the world premiere of Katori Hall’s Our Lady of Kibeho. Other theatre in the US includes: Dance Africa (BAM), Miracle in Rwanda (Theatre Row, New York), Cartography (New Victory Theatre, New York, NYUAD Abu Dhabi), Bishop (Fordham/Primary Stages, NYC), and Africa’s Hope (USC Bovard Theatre, CA). International theatre: Les Bruits des Os qui Craquent (Theatre de Poche, Belgium.)

Film: Film: Africanda, (Dir. Steven Chikosi), Fight Like A Girl (Dir. Matthew Leutwyler), Notre Dame Du Nil (Dir. Atiq Rahimi), Loveless Generation (Dir. Thomas Petkovski), Un Plan Parfait (Dir. Pascal Chaumeil), Shake Hands with the Devil (Dir. Roger Spottiswoode).

Director: Kwita Izina 2022 performance, Musanze-Rwanda, Youth ConneKt Africa 2022 performance, BK Kigali Arena Kigali Rwanda.

Best Actress Award at Vues D’afrique Festival International de Cinéma au Montréal, Nominee for Best Solo Performance Audelco VIV Awards 2019, Nominee for Best Actress Golden Orange International Film Awards.

Speaker
Tijani Christian

Tijani Christian is a youth development advocate, certified life skills coach and pastor. He is the former Chairperson of the Caribbean Regional Youth Council (2015-2017) and former Chairperson of the Commonwealth Youth Council (2018-2022). He was given the Jamaican Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence in the category of Leadership. He has held leadership position in different arenas, including Jamaica’s Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth, Special Advisor to the National Youth Council of Jamaica, and Youth Consultant for the CARICOM Reform Process. Tijani Christian received a Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2016 in recognition of his work to promote sustainable livelihoods through community farms.

Speaker
Nuong Faalong

Nuong Faalong is a Communications professional and Entrepreneur with a career across both radio and television in Ghana. She has presented the Breakfast Show and Anchored the news on both 3fm and Tv3 and was the first woman Journalist to host ‘Hot Issues’ -A high powered political talk show in Ghana.

She is a member of the Affirmative Action Coalition and her work aims to highlight the urgent need for policy reform in favour of putting more women in politics and governance and has worked with community women in gender and governance.

With a Degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree in Communications, Nuong has given much of her time to advocacy for better governance in Ghana and has been part of pressure groups demanding the same.

Speaker
Brianna Fruean

Brianna Fruean is a climate activist from Samoa. At age eleven, she became a founding member of the Samoan chapter of the climate organisation 350.org, and the youngest 350.org country coordinator. At sixteen she became the youngest winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Award for her environmental activism. At seventeen, Brianna was chosen by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme as their first ever youth ambassador in recognition of her efforts to include young people in the environmental conservation space.

Brianna is currently studying at The University of Auckland. She sits on the Council of Elders for the Pacific Climate Warriors as the youth representative and continues her efforts to bring young Pacific voices into the climate space.

Speaker
Dr Ravi P. Rannan-Eliya

Dr. Ravi P. Rannan-Eliya is a physician and economist who graduated from the University of Cambridge with degrees in political science and medicine. After his internship in the United Kingdom, he specialized in international public health, earning a master’s degree in public health and then his doctoral degree in health economics from Harvard University. From 1993 to 1997, he was a member of the research faculty at Harvard University, where he worked on a series of research projects in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. From 1997, he established and developed the leading health economics research group in Sri Lanka, at the Institute of Policy Studies, before transforming it in 2005 into a full-fledged, independent research centre, the Institute for Health Policy, which he now leads. He has undertaken research and consulted in more than 30 countries, working with the World Bank, WHO, ADB, DFID, and other agencies and governments. His current research focuses on issues of health systems financing, aging, equity, and non-communicable disease.

Speaker
Fatou Jagne Senghore

Fatou Jagne Senghore is a Gambian jurist, a human rights advocate with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She established and headed ARTICLE 19’s West Africa office in Senegal in 2010 after joining the organisation in 2002 as an Africa Programme Officer in South Africa. For more than a decade, she oversaw the organisation’s work in West Africa.

Ms. Jagne Senghore has a proven track record in governance of non-profit and government institutions, and sits on several oversight boards including the Board of Directors of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) from 2019-2022, the Africa Freedom of Information Center (AFIC) from 2022-2023, the development and adoption of Senegal’s first Action Plan on the Partnership for Open Government (OGP), and was a member of the Multi Actors Group that oversaw Senegal’s reporting process under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) from 2019-2021.

She recently founded the Center for Women’s Rights and Leadership (CWRL), a platform to advance women’s rights, political participation, and leadership in the Gambia.

She holds an LLM in Economic and Communication Law, a Master’s degree in International and European Law, and a Bachelor of Law (Civil Law) from the University of Toulouse, France. She also holds a Bachelor of English Language / Specialty Law and a degree in International Relations and Development Studies.

Speaker
Harjeet Singh

Harjeet Singh is a global expert on the issues of climate impacts, migration, and adaptation. He has supported countries across the world on tackling climate change, coordinating emergency response and disaster resilience programmes. 

He is the Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International and serves as Global Director -Engagement and Partnerships at the Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty Initiative. He is a member of the United Nations’ Technical Expert Group on Comprehensive Risk Management under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Harjeet co-founded Satat Sampada, a social enterprise that promotes sustainable environmental solutions such as organic food and farming in India and beyond. He has served as a board member of Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) and the Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (GNDR).

Speaker
Kavindya Thennakoon

Kavindya is the Co-Founder/Head of Product at Tilli; an award winning, play-based social-emotional learning tool used by over 6000+ learners, incubated at Stanford. Tilli combines the powers of machine learning and data and the joys of play to ensure every child is developmentally on track by their 10th birthday.

Tilli is a UNICEF Venture Fund portfolio company and has been recognized by leading organizations in the education space like IDEO, Sesame Workshop, Playful Minds, and UNOSSC and is also a UNICEF Venture Fund portfolio company.

Kavindya conducts research in social emotional learning and child-caregiver relationship at the SPARK Lab at Stanford where she is pursuing her doctoral studies. Prior to this she obtained her MSc. in Learning, Design, and Technology from Stanford University where she was awarded the Dean’s Fellowship, and her BA from Wellesley College, MA in Anthropology. Prior to Tilli, she worked for companies like Google Education, Meta, 2U, MIT Media Lab, and Coursera, researching and building high-impact learning tools that have reached over a billion learners.

Kavindya won both the inaugural Queen’s Young Leaders Award and the Harvard Global Trailblazers Award for her impact within the local education space.

Speaker
Dr Rispah Walumbe

Dr Rispah Walumbe is a Global health specialist with almost a decade of experience in advocacy and healthcare policy at a national, regional, and global level. Her focus and training are in Healthcare Policy and Financing, and currently practices as the Senior Health Policy Advisor at Amref Health Africa where she leads the UHC Delivery Lab and provides technical expertise to the institution’s strategy on health financing and health policy.

Her work in advocacy and technical support includes the advancement of the Universal Health Coverage agenda. She additionally has a background in medicine with training and practice in Kenya predominantly working in rural and low-income urban areas. She has supported, trained,
and mentored over 200 healthcare workers across Kenya in Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care services, and trained over 100 public health practitioners in healthcare policy.

Her recent portfolio includes leading the secretariat for National Hospital Insurance Fund health financing reforms in Kenya for Universal Health Coverage through the Ministry of Health and leading the Secretariat of the AHAIC Commission on the State of UHC in Africa.

Discussion
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