Biographies: Communication for Social Change Posting Date: 1 May 03
Author(s): Jodie McGrath
Rubina Feroze Bhatti is the General Secretary and a founding member for the Taangh Wasaib (“a longing for the fullness of humanity”) organisation in Sargodha, Pakistan. Taangh uses a variety of communication techniques to promote human rights, women’s rights, inter-faith harmony and peace building. It is a voluntary organisation that works to resolve various issues by encouraging the participation of the local community members, especially youths. She has organised many workshops, training programs, street plays and puppet shows that draw attention to human rights issues in Pakistan.
Ms. Bhatti has also been an educator at the Girl’s College in Sargodha. In 2002 she was the nominee of the Pakistan People’s Party for reserve seats in the Punjab Assembly and is an active member of her religious community campaigning for the abolition of a separate electorate for religious minorities and in 1992 she campaigned against blasphemy laws.
Ms. Bhatti is also a freelance contributor to magazines on women’s rights and minority issues.
Jayalakshmi Parameswaran Chittoor has recently joined the Bellanet International Secretariat as the Senior Program Specialist. She has been concerned with the issues of institution development, democratisation of knowledge and information, including issues of access, use, and control. She is very excited about the development of various tools of media for bridging the vast digital divide amongst the developed and developing countries, with the aim of reducing poverty.
Jayalakshmi holds an M.Phil. in Environmental Sciences from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and M.Sc. in Botany from University of Delhi. Jaya has worked in the field of development communications and has a wide variety of experience in using different media. She worked first as an Assistant Coordinator and later as Networking Specialist with Global Secretariat of Mountain Forum at ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal from August 1998- August 2002.
Afsan Chowdhury is the Director of Advocacy and H.R Division of BRAC, the world’s largest national/Southern NGO. He has had a parallel career in media and development for over two decades and has worked in communications for several agencies including UNICEF. He was previously the Regional Director for South Asia of the Panos Institute, a British charity working for media pluralism and socio-economic equity through media initiatives in 2001-2002.
Afsan has also been a media person for over 25 years, operating in print, radio and TV. He has worked for the BBC, the CNN, Himal South Asian, Dhaka Courier, Sunday Star, Bangladesh Today, Daily Star, Tara Bangla TV and Ekushey TV amongst others. He was a Member of the Media South Asia Project and Media for Peace in South Asia project. His book, Media in Times of Crisis was published early this year 2003. Another book on children in conflict with law is being published late this year. He has been a consultant for the last decade to various development agencies and governments in Africa and Asia.
Afsan Chowdhury has also produced a video on the impact of the 1971 war on women titled” Their War” and two novels in Bengali, Biswasghatokgon (The Betrayers) and “Benchey Thakar Shobdo (Sounds of Staying Alive). A collection of short stories was published in February 2003.
Satya Brata Das is an experienced opinion leader; a pioneer in defining and advocating Canadian values; a noted analyst of political, economic social and cultural issues. He is a seasoned professional communicator with a wealth of national and international contacts. Das spent a dozen years shaping the editorial policies of one of Canada’s most powerful and influential newspapers, where he earned a reputation for original thinking and inventive ideas. The Province of Alberta named him the 1999 Laureate of the Alberta Human Rights Award, and the City of Edmonton conferred a 2001 Citation Award for lifetime services to human rights and culture. He is author of Dispatches from a Borderless World (1999) and The Best Country: Why Canada Will Lead the Future (2002).
Faruq Faisel has worked in the field of journalism, development communication and activism for 25 years and is now Program Manager for SAP Canada. Together with a team for Canadian Program, Mr. Faisel develops, implements and manages SAP’s Communication Program. This program includes a range of activities designed to increase awareness, support and collaboration on South Asia and global development issues. He also manages the South Asia Human Development Forum, a CIDA funded knowledge management project. Mr. Faisel also produces and hosts two weekly radio shows, Beyond Borders and Bangla Betaar, for CHUO FM in Ottawa. Beyond Borders focuses on social justice movements in Canada and third world issues, while Bangla Betaar, presents news, views and entertainment for Bangladeshis living in Ottawa.
In Bangladesh he was the Consulting Editor for the Fortnightly Anannya, a leading mainstream magazine that promotes women’s equal rights and Editor of the Weekly Deshdosh, an alternative newsweekly focusing on human rights and environment.
Mr. Faisel has a Masters in Bangla Literature from the Dhaka University, a diploma in Scandinavian Literature and Society from the University of Oslo. He was a fellow of DPI Journalists Program at the United Nations, New York; a press fellow at the Cambridge University and a fellow for the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships, Washington DC, where he did his internship at the Washington Bureau of the Time magazine.
Andre Oliver has served as Associate Director for Communication at the Rockefeller Foundation since June 2000. He is responsible for communications initiatives and outreach involving the foundation’s Working Communities and Creativity & Culture themes. He also serves as a grant-making officer with the foundation’s Communication for Social Change program.
Mr. Oliver brings to the foundation more than fifteen years of experience in communications and public affairs. Previously, he served as a special assistant to the President in the Clinton White House, director of communications and strategic planning at the Peace Corps and legislative liaison for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Most recently, Mr. Oliver was vice president for community affairs at Cablevision Systems Corporation in New York.
Mr. Oliver received his bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University.
Bandana Rana is the Founder and presently Executive President of Sancharika Samuha (a Forum of Women in Media) that has been active in Nepal since early 1996 to harness the potential of the media in promoting equality based development. She has been working in the field of development communications for the last seventeen years with a focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ms. Rana has also been the News Editor and Anchor of Nepal Television since 1986. In the past she has worked as communication consultant with various UN organisations in Nepal such as UNDP, FAO, UNICEF and UNIFEM. She is on the board of several media organisations like Nepal Press Institute, World View International, South Asia Free Media Association and International Association of Women in Radio and Television. Ms. Rana has made several video documentaries on the issues of violence against women in Nepal.
Harun-ur-Rashid was born in 1958 and completed his M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Dhaka. He worked for the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh, Ministry of Water Resources, and the Community Development Library (CDL) where he is currently the Director.
Mr. Rashid is involved in programme design, planning, monitoring, evaluation, resource management, advocacy, networking and management. He has been working in the field of information communication for the last two decades. Among others, his interests are on knowledge management in the development sector. He writes mainly on rural information services. Some of his articles are published in international journals and has presented papers in numerous international seminars.
Mr. Rashid is the External Examiner, Department of Library and Information Science, the founder Secretary General and former Chairman of Bangladesh Association of Librarians, Information Scientists and Documentalists (BALID), former Vice-President of the Coordination Council of Human rights in Bangladesh (CCHRB), member of the Canadian Library Association (CLA), Executive Board of South Asia Partnership Bangladesh, Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP, Vice-President, Library Association
Mark Stiles has more than 30 years of experience in communication for social change in northern Canada, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Mark has a Master’s degree in Adult Education with a specialty in Aboriginal broadcasting. He was the Senior Communication Advisor for a CIDA-funded health promotion project in Pakistan from 1990 to 1993, and he has returned to the Indian sub-continent many times to develop, monitor and evaluate communication projects for CIDA, CARE, UNICEF, The British Council and many others. He has taught communication for development at the University of Ottawa and will be co-facilitating a 1-week workshop on participatory communication in June for Mosaic International in Ottawa.
Mohammad Waseem, gender trainer, theatre activist, theatre trainer and the founder member of Ajoka, Lok Rehas (Parlell Theatre groups in Lahore) now heads IRC (Interactive Resource Center) Mr. Waseem started his career as a sales representative but turned toward theatre because of his passion for the dramatic arts. He had the opportunity to obtain training from Augusto Boal and introduced ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ in Pakistan. Mr. Waseem made it a viable methodology in development work and particularly for social transformation. In the short span of three years he has formed 52 theatre activists groups in Pakistan and has trained more than 500 theatre activists. He organized First Theatre of the Oppressed Festival in Pakistan in which hundred theatre activists came from all over Pakistan and 50% of them were rural women.
Currently Mr. Waseem is working as Director IRC (Interactive Resource Center) and is organizing interactive theatre for various advocacy issues from political education, peace, violence against women, minorities rights and other human rite issues for various partner organizations like SAP-PK, ActionAid, Asia Foundation, PPAF, CRS, (Institute of Education Development) Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan and CIDA. While learning from the experience, he has explored the use of cable networks as a parallel communication tool to reach to a larger audience. He is one of the promoters of local expressions and languages and is employing them through interactive theatre performances. He will be presenting his work related to pedagogy and theatre of the oppressed at ‘9th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference’ taking place at Wisconsin USA on 28-30 May 2003.
Professor Muhammad Yunus has been titled a revolutionary for founding the Grameen Movement. His ideas couple capitalism with social responsibility and have changed the face of rural economic and social development forever.
Professor Yunus is responsible for many innovative programs benefiting the rural poor. In 1974, he pioneered the idea of Gram Sarker (village government) as a form of local government based on the participation of rural people. This concept proved successful and was adopted by the Bangladeshi government in 1980. In 1978, he received the President’s award for Tebhaga Khamar (a system of cooperative three-share farming, which the Bangladeshi government adopted as the Packaged Input Program in 1977).
The UN secretary general appointed Professor Yunus to the International Advisory Group for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing from 1993 to 1995. Professor Yunus has served on the Global Commission of Women’s Health (1993-1995), the Advisory Council for Sustainable Economic Development (1993-present), and the UN Expert Group on Women and Finance. He also serves as the chair of the Policy Advisory Group (PAG) of Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP). Yunus has also served on many committees and commissions dealing with education, population, health, disaster prevention, banking, and development programs. He is currently on the boards of many international organizations including Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (a Grameen replication project), the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and Credit and Savings for the Poor in Malayasia. Professor Yunus also sits on the board of the Calvert World Values Fund, the Foundation for International Community Assistance, and the National Council for Freedom From Hunger, RESULTS and the International Council of Ashoka Foundation, all of which are located in the US.