The Atlantic Fellows 2017-18

Meet the 2017-18 Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity

I know that I cannot be nearly as successful on my own as I can be with a group of intelligent, committed and passionate people. This is why I applied to the Fellows programme.

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Residential Atlantic Fellows

Appu Suresh

Appu Esthose Suresh 4-3Lives in: New Delhi, India
Nationality: Indian

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Appu joined India’s second largest English daily, Hindustan Times, in 2016 as its Editor (Special Assignments) to spearhead the newspaper’s investigative efforts. There he has promoted evidence-based journalism while reporting on social issues. Traditionally, reporting on riots in India tends to be episodic in its examination of the local causes of Hindu-Muslim conflict. However Appu secured a vast database of police and intelligence records, spanning over five years from three communally sensitive states of India and, using field reporting to illuminate trends that were evident in the data, he made a significant contribution to public understanding of a sensitive and complex topic. Most importantly, Appu mapped the shifting paradigm of communal conflict from large scale violence to high intensity low-key communal tensions, which remained unnoticed till then.

Appu also has a deep interest in the political economy and followed the rise of crony capitalism in India. In documenting this, he has produced an original estimation of the size of the black economy in the country, based on previously unavailable data.

Appu graduated from St.Stephen’s college, Delhi where he started reporting while still a college student. During the same time, he was associated with civil society movements, particularly land struggles and campaign against state led human rights violations. 

In a decade long career, he has reported from 20 provinces on issues ranging from conflict to corruption. Prior to joining the Hindustan Times, Appu was an Assistant Editor with Indian Express and was part of the team that collaborated with International Consortium of Investigative Journalist to work on tax havens.

Appu is currently working on two book projects. In his spare time he likes to travel, play golf and swim.

 

Personal Statement

In the last decade, India has gone through many changes and I have been mapping the most pressing social issues. Based on my vast experience of covering riots and sectarian clashes, and the data that I have collected over the last 5 years, I believe inequality is at the core of social disruption. I am interested in investigating how income inequality subverts the idea of a just society.

My approach has been influenced by Martha C. Nussbaum’s Political Emotions: why love matters for justice. In her book she elaborates the significance of public emotion in achieving a just society.

“Public emotions, frequently intense, have large-scale consequences for the nation’s progress towards its goals. They can give the pursuit of those goals new vigor and depth, but they can also derail that pursuit, introducing or reinforcing divisions, hierarchies, and form of neglect or obtuseness,” Nussbaum noted.

Since reading this book, I began to look into social problems from the point of view of how emotions play a role in social disruption. I was able to understand the reasons why certain emotions such as envy, fear and anger from insecurity play the lead role in social disruptions like communal conflict. I believe inequality appeals to these same set of emotions that form the basis of new political emotions.  

I believe that the rise in speculative income is leading to increase in wage inequality. Also, the cronyism that surrounds policy making is leading to a declining faith in honest labour. On the other hand, the prevalence of speculative income sets off the desire to rise above others. As the aspiration to a better life becomes distant, new political emotions are formed, one which is founded on narcissistic emotions and ultimately destabilising the society and democratic political systems.

I believe that this will manifest in two ways: 1) less compassion for fellow human beings resulting in wave of violent crime 2) desire to outdo others in social status and thereby dominate other groups.

Therefore my concern for inequality emanates from the threats posed by inequality to the social and democratic political life.

I would like to pursue further research on the links between inequality, social disruption and xenophobia. A significant contribution to public understanding of the subject can only come from evidence-based study.

I would like to conduct sociological enquiries into reducing inequality. I intend to use the vast set of primary and secondary data that I have secured to identify areas and industries that generate inequality and then examine its association with social disruption and new political emotions.

I am also looking forward to leverage my experience of India to the study of comparative politics.

Hillary Vipond

Hillary Vipond 4-3

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: Canadian

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As well as reading her profile, Hillary welcomes you to connect with her directly.

Hillary has worked as a campaigner on a range of issues, all challenging inequalities. Most recently she has been working for Oxfam GB, in the Inequality campaign team, where she has been involved in a pan-European tax justice campaign.

Hillary read for an undergraduate degree in philosophy at McGill University, Canada, and then undertook an M.Litt in philosophy at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland. At McGill, Hillary focused on political philosophy, ethics, and the history of economics. She was briefly mentored by G. A. Cohen, who left a lasting impression on her, as did his arguments around egalitarianism. In pursuing her thesis she read Smith, Ricardo, Marx’s Capital, J.S Mill, Friedman, Sen, Rawls, Schumpeter, Keynes, as well as numerous works on the measurement of happiness and well-being..

At St. Andrews, Hillary concentrated her energies on campaigning for the University to adopt an ethical investment policy.  Marxist economics had failed to fully convince her: but the Marxist call for a practical and active philosophy resonated.  She had been a grassroots activist in Montreal, and was steeped in a student protest culture, but her experience at St. Andrews marked the first time she’d been part of a strategic and successful civil society campaign, working at an institutional level. The experience of directly taking on and redesigning a structure that had encouraged system injustice was life-changing and, instead of becoming an academic, she moved into campaigning.

Since then Hillary has focussed on campaign work. This has included work on urban green space (poorer communities have significantly less access to the health benefits of green space, which are substantial); climate justice campaigns; and the global sexual and reproductive rights campaign with Amnesty International. As a result of her work for Oxfam GB, Hillary was seconded to the new international Fight Inequality Alliance coalition in January 2017, and helped them to launch their first week of action. She looks forward to being part of the extraordinary programme of work the Atlantic Fellows will create.

Hillary is aware that bios can be sterile things, and welcomes you to connect with her for a real conversation if you’re interested in the Atlantic Fellows programme.

 

Personal statement

Inequality. So what?

Famine, pestilence and poverty have stalked us for centuries, millennia. For most of human existence these were unavoidable for the great majority of people, simply because we did not have the resources to address them. But for the first time in our history that has changed. At this stage we are vastly, almost incomprehensibly, wealthy. We’ve had more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet for decades. The sheer quantity of goods produced annually is staggering – we’ve become exceptionally effective at production. (thank you capitalism).

The above also means that, for the first time, poverty, hunger, disease, early death, all have one name: inequality. In a world of vast plenty much of human suffering is entirely about distribution.

My specific area of interest is around entitlement to resources through waged work. Given the automation of jobs, the capture of newly generated wealth by the rich, and the interest accrued on existing wealth, I am not convinced that work will remain a viable method of distribution. I’m also deeply concerned about relentless economic growth in the face of planetary boundaries and climate change, and I believe that the political imperative of job creation has, perhaps, become a driver of unsustainable economic growth. I’m interested in exploring alternatives to waged work, such as Universal Basic Income.

 

On a personal level

I’ve been thinking about inequalities all my adult life. My childhood was one of poverty in a wealthy country, which means I now look at the world through that bifocal lens. At 16 I was homeless, without family. A friend supported me. Then I slept on the roof of my elementary school (being female on the streets isn’t ideal). After that it was an emergency hostel for young people, then group homes. Some had bars on the windows, so we couldn’t run away. Room searches were regular, strip searches were threatened. Supervision was constant, freedom earned on a point system for good behaviour. One home fed us Kraft Dinner for months because the director was pocketing the food money.

It meant that by 16 I had learned that the middle-class people who owned property near group homes wanted to close the homes down: living beside troubled kids isn’t pleasant. Sometimes it affected their property values. I noticed that I was often the only white kid in the home, and I learned why. I also knew that I was exceptionally lucky to live in a country rich enough to offer State funded care, and I was aware that our minders were overworked. I thought a great deal about resources, rights, and social mobility. About the impacts of these on not only the individual, but also on society. This personal experience doesn’t give me any mysterious depth of insight, or somehow validate my opinions. What it has done is provide me with a fierce interest in systemic inequalities, a commitment to understanding them, and a drive to articulate what harms they generate, not just for the losers in the distribution game, but also for the winners, and for society more broadly.

 

What’s next?

The Fellowship is a life changing opportunity for me. I am profoundly honoured to have been invited to join this international community of people at the forefront of tackling inequalities, and I have every intention of learning as much as I can from my colleagues and working with them in the future. We stand on the brink of climate disaster and extreme inequality, nationalism and globalism are locked in struggle, and a new social contract is being formed.  It is my great hope that this community will be one of the crucibles for new, bold, and strategic thinking on inequalities, and that this will be valuable in helping to build a positive way forward in the emerging economic structure. I remember student activists screaming “no justice, no peace”. It is likely the truth, and it is a truth that must spur even the wealthy to agree to an economics which works for everyone.

My next steps will be to bring what I have learned from the MSc and the fellowship back into international campaigning work. Civil society campaigns, in terms of their ability to mobilise the media and connect with the public, can truly shift the terms of the debate and help bring new ideas and policy solutions to the forefront of public discussions.

Jack Nissan

Jack Nissan 4-3

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: British

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Jack is the founder and director of the ‘Tinderbox Collective’, a Scottish charity based in Edinburgh. The organisation works with hundreds of children and young people each year through a range of creative workshops, music hubs, alternative orchestras & apprenticeship schemes.  Jack has taken the organisation from an idea to an award-winning arts organisation and social enterprise, developing a number of lasting initiatives that bring people together, support young people to build their confidence, skills and creativity, and help them achieve in ways they may never have thought possible.

In 2012/13, Jack took part in a fellowship programmed called International Creative Entrepreneurs and spent several months working with community activists and social enterprises in China, primarily with families and communities on the outskirts of Beijing with an organisation called Hua Dan. Following this, he set up a number of international exchanges and cross-cultural productions that formed the basis for Tinderbox’s ‘Journey of a Thousand Wings’ programme, a project bringing together artists and community projects from different countries. 

Jack is also a co-director and founding member of Hidden Door, a volunteer-run, multi-arts festival, and has won a number of awards for his work across creative and social enterprise sectors. He has been invited to take part in several steering committees and advisory roles, including for Creative Scotland’s new cross-cutting theme on Creative Learning and Artworks Scotland’s peer-networks for artists working in participatory settings. Previously, Jack worked as a researcher in psychology and ageing, for the multidisciplinary MRC Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, specialising in areas of neuropsychology and memory. He has completed a master’s by research in Psychology, and an undergraduate MA in Philosophy and Psychology.

 

Personal Statement

In 2010 I started a creative and collaborative youth project, called the ‘Tinderbox Collective’, bringing together children and young people of all ages and walks of life with local bands, musicians, artists and community activists. It grew into a charity and social enterprise, and a seven-year journey trying to build a genuinely all-inclusive, diverse and ambitious creative environment for young people.  I am interested in areas of inequality, education and the arts, and the powerful creative and learning process of bringing different people, experiences and ideas together to create something new.

It is hard to find stimulating and creative environments in which we can have ideas, make significant contributions and help build something exciting, worthwhile and successful. Yet these are some of the most powerful learning and development opportunities we can find.  Where these environments exist, they are often reserved for the most privileged, educated and ambitious in society, and even here systemic inequalities and injustices are all too common.  Rarely are these opportunities truly accessible to everyone.  The arts is a unique environment where this should be possible, and this has been the main focus of my work these past years.

My work with the 'Tinderbox Collective' has been something of a living experiment, trying to figure out if and how creativity and the arts can mitigate certain areas of inequality. Many people we work with live in areas of poverty and struggle with issues around homelessness, disability, low self-esteem and other challenging life circumstances, and the work has been an ongoing journey in trying to overcome some of the many barriers people face both in taking part in these type of activities, as well as progressing beyond first level engagement to more advanced learning opportunities and paid employment. It has been a process of figuring things out along the way, encountering various challenges, adapting and trying new approaches to overcome them. This has been a bottom-up and creative approach, and I am now interested to look wider and think about more structural, analytical and top-down issues and solutions that might help to improve some of these problems. 

Through the Atlantic Fellowship and master’s programme, I hope to gain a wider picture of inequality and a deeper understanding of the various issues, practices and influences involved.  In particular, I want to acquire a better sense of the political and economic forces surrounding inequality, and learn from people working and involved in other areas of the field. I hope to use this knowledge to build a more analytical framework for the work I have done with Tinderbox, and to combine this with my practical knowledge to help me progress my work and interest in this area.

Joey Hasson

Joseph Maurice Hasson 4-3

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: South African and Italian

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Joey completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town in 2003. Joey has a long history of working with youth movements, political education, leadership development and community organising, which cemented a deep belief in the participation of young people in civic and political life.

In 2003, Joey met anti-apartheid and AIDS activist Zackie Achmat. Achmat had founded the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a grassroots movement of people living with HIV fighting the South African government for access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment. Between 2003 and 2008, he worked alongside TAC activists to develop community health organising and advocacy capacities. Joey subsequently worked for the South African Labour Research Institute at the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union in Cape Town, building a coalition to try and stem clothing industry job losses. During this period he also established an organisation promoting active engagement and dialogue between Jewish and Muslim youth in Cape Town.

Inspired by the TAC example of social mobilisation, policy advocacy and strategic litigation to impact lives and reduce inequality, Joey co-founded Equal Education (EE) in 2008. EE is a movement of thousands of high school-learners campaigning for equitable state education in South Africa. Over 5 years he lead the movement’s youth and campaigns strategy and later its policy, research and training department. Joey organised weekly meetings, youth camps and training to develop leaders and build a national activist movement. The demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, public petitions and media advocacy he directed led to the adoption of a national school infrastructure policy prioritising the poorest schools in 2013. EE is today among the largest democratic organisations of students, teachers and parents across urban townships and rural schools in South Africa.

Joey moved to the United Kingdom in 2012 to work as campaign coordinator of two multi-country socio-economic and cultural rights campaigns with Amnesty International. The first focused on housing rights and forced evictions in Kenya, Nigeria, Italy, Romania and Brazil; the second focused on sexual and reproductive health rights in Ireland, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Both public campaigns involved strengthening international activist networks, developing campaign materials, engaging human rights law and policy using media and advocacy strategy to impact on national governments and United Nations bodies.

In 2015 Joey helped establish the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in Cape Town, South Africa. As senior fellow at the centre, he developed curriculum and programmes for community activists on history, theory, policy and political economy. Most recently, Joey developed and ran a political education series on the life and ideas of post-colonial theorist and revolutionary humanist, Frantz Fanon.

 

Personal Statement

I passionately believe in the unity and equality of all human beings. All deserve a dignified life and equal access to housing, health, education and employment opportunities. I am disturbed by the ways in which extremes in the distribution of wealth and power limits access to these fundamental entitlements.

Over the last 12 years, I have worked within activist movements and organisations and have gained practical experience tackling inequality. My experience developing campaigns has used community organising, law and public engagement to improve provision of education, sanitation, housing and health, and has given me a broad understanding of the effects of inequality.

My work countering the effects of inequality politically, has inspired me to engage further with the subject theoretically. I am interested in the historical foundations and global manifestations of our unequal world as well as the intersections of class, race and gender which characterise contemporary inequalities. Through the programme, I am seeking to expand my knowledge of the systemic political-economic processes of commodification, alienation, exploitation and oppression which are observable everywhere.

I am strongly committed in my current work to the idea that activists can enhance their efficacy through learning, reflection and regeneration. Having benefited from the opportunity to read broadly, reflect and engage intellectually with others in the field while part of the Atlantic Fellows programme, I intend to extend internationally the educational programmes I have been developing in South Africa, with activists and networks in other inequality fields.

The international educational programme I hope to set up will enhance and extend the understanding and creativity of activists involved in struggles with inequality. To achieve this, I believe such a project must, to use Frantz Fanon’s words, ‘put itself to school with the people’. Although content and expertise could be pooled and centralised, Fanon’s meaning is that educational programmes and settings for teaching should take place within – and be determined by – sites of real political struggle. The programme will also link activists, practitioners and experts working in specific fields of inequality, so they can share knowledge and gain new perspectives in order to act effectively to reduce systemic inequality.

Louis Oyaro

Louis Olanya Oyaro 4-3

Living in: Germany
Nationality: Ugandan

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Louis is a passionate believer in universal human rights, deeply concerned about the effects of inequality as evidenced around the globe today. He is a lawyer by profession, with over six years work experience in human rights related intervention especially in the low resource region of sub-Saharan Africa. His key areas of expertise include access to justice, post-conflict intervention, transitional justice, child rights and sexual and gender violence intervention. In the recent years, he has also developed particular interest in disability rights and inclusion. He is a regular writer, researcher and avid follower of international disability trends and developments, with specific interest in the key areas of disability equality, reasonable accommodation, legal capacity and, disability inclusion and development. He is particularly proud of his role in compiling the first comprehensive legal- statistical disability study on Uganda which was published in the 2014 issue of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

Louis is a recipient of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy’s (CDLP) 2014 Gold Medal Excellence Award; which he received upon graduating top of his Master of Laws Class at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). In the same year, his Article won Honourable Mention in the acclaimed International Human Rights Essay Competition coordinated by the American University, Washington. The said Article was subsequently published in the 2015 issue of the International Law Review. On issues disability and human rights in Africa, Louis is an active member of the new crop of disability advocates tirelessly pushing for realization of equality for persons with disabilities- a group that has historically been marginalized in the region. His regional contacts include the African Union’s Working Group on Persons with Disabilities, the African Disability Alliance (ADA) and the University of Pretoria’s- Centre for Human Rights. Nationally in Uganda, Louis has distinguished himself as a much needed intellectual resource on disability rights. In addition to his above stated Uganda disability study Report, Louis has undertaken key research for organizations and institutions including the School of Law, Makerere University- Kampala.   

Louis holds a Master in Laws (LLM) in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Makerere University, Kampala (MUK). He is also an enrolled member of the Uganda Law Society and the East African Law Society.

 

Personal Statement

Personally, I am constantly curious and ideologically biased in favour of human rights, equality and justice. I am especially passionate about its impact on marginalised groups and individuals, always mindful that a one-size-fits-all approach is not always appropriate. A key reason for my concern for inequality, and hence conviction for equality, is to make society, or at the very least the individuals I serve, attain their full individual potential; finding their placing in their communities as contributors and just partners.

I do believe tackling inequality goes a long way in achieving meaningful sustainable development. Accordingly, in my opinion, a developed or modern world implies a world where all are treated, at the minimum, as human beings and productive agents, deserving of respect, audience and dignity regardless of status or opinion. Unfortunately, the above is far from true globally and perhaps more intense in culturally strong communities - for example in sub-Saharan Africa, where I come from. It is for this reason that I believe a lot of human and intellectual resource is required to reach constructive, appropriate and contextually accepted resolution to the challenge of inequality.

Hence, while being ready to share my own experiences and views on the same, I hope that the Atlantic Fellows programme (AFp) presents similar opportunities for comparative discussion on concepts and realities from other regions. I hope that this program enhances my understanding and appreciation of a nuanced and practical approach to combat inequality as a social challenge and in so doing make me a better servant and advocate for equality and human rights in general.

Louise Russell-Prywata

Louise Russell-Prywata

Living in: Gillingham, UK
Nationality: British

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Louise is a charity and NGO professional, whose experience encompasses campaign and organisation development, community engagement and fundraising. She has worked within local, national and international organisations challenging inequality.

Louise is currently Head of Development at Transparency International UK, having joined the organisation in 2014. Louise works closely with the organisation’s research, policy, advocacy and communications teams to develop and fundraise for campaigns and projects that challenge a variety of anti-corruption issues. Louise was instrumental to the development and realisation of Transparency International UK’s Corrupt Capital campaign. This campaign aims to reduce the role of the UK as a safe haven for international corruption. It successfully developed and advocated for new legal powers to deal with corrupt wealth hidden the UK, which became UK law in 2017, and secured widespread media coverage of corrupt money in the London property market.

Louise’s career began through community action in her local area of South East London. Louise managed outreach and training projects providing English language and general life-skills training to local people through Eclectic Productions, a social enterprise using media to empower people to make their voices heard. Together with the company Directors and a small group of committed volunteers, Louise co-founded Reprezent Radio, a community project enabling young Londoners speak out to challenge inequalities, and debate directly with decision makers.

During Louise’s time, the project empowered hundreds of young people across South East London.  She set up numerous radio interviews and debates between young people and decision makers on issues that affected their lives, including discrimination in police stop and search, lack of educational opportunities, and mental health.

Louise led the successful application to secure Reprezent Radio’s licence to broadcast on FM, which significantly expanded the project’s reach from its online audience. Reprezent FM became the only UK radio station entirely programmed by young people. Louise and the team collaborated with mainstream media to further amplify young people’s voices, including BBC Radio 1Xtra, ITV News, and a live discussion about gang and knife crime in Peckham between Harriet Harman MP and young people who had been close to these activities, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

As Reprezent FM grew in popularity, Louise spent more time fundraising to expand its work, before going on to spend two years as a professional fundraiser at CLIC Sargent, a charity helping young people across the UK overcome social, emotional and economic challenges of cancer.

Louise is on the Trustee Board of Economy, a charity using media and campaigns to make economics understandable and increase public engagement with economic issues. The charity was established by Rethinking Economics, an international movement of students, academics and professionals promoting pluralism and critical thinking in economics.

Louise holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Sheffield, and is a member of the Institute of Fundraising, the professional membership body for charity and NGO fundraisers in the UK.

 

Personal Statement

My interests in social and economic equity are broad, encompassing large-scale transfers of wealth from the public to private individuals – for example through corruption and tax (in)justice issues; processes through which wealth is retained in the private sphere – including global financial secrecy and the use of corporate networks; and the role of private wealth in efforts to tackle inequalities.

I am interested in how economic systems can become more equitable, and specifically in how greater public participation in economic debates can facilitate greater economic equity. In order for genuine democratic engagement, I believe that better public understanding is needed; education and changing the narrative within mainstream media have key roles to play.

My background in fundraising has led me to become interested in the role of philanthropy in tackling inequalities – both globally and within the UK. It has contributed to me viewing philanthropy as an active influence on charities and policies, and within societies. I am particularly interested in how questions of transparency and public accountability interact with philanthropy and affect its ability to tackle inequalities.

I ultimately care about people’s lived experiences of inequalities, and this has informed my career to date. From working with local communities in inner city London, I know how different inequality issues can interact and compound the impact experienced by people. My thinking and motivation for creating change is informed by this and framed in terms of empowering all citizens to be part of, and benefit from, improving economic and social equity.

I applied to the Atlantic Fellowship in order to learn from and share experiences with others engaged in challenging inequalities around the globe, and to underpin my professional skills with relevant academic knowledge. I am enthused and honoured to be part of this important, collaborative opportunity to advance social and economic equity, and look forward to further developing my thinking and future work through the Fellowship.

My long term ambition is to lead a campaigning organisation that challenges inequalities. Following the MSc course I aim to further develop my understanding of campaigning approaches, deepening my understanding of ‘what works’ in different contexts, and the organisational skills and resources needed to achieve success. My main motivation is to continue making change happen in practice. I hope to achieve this by working within both international and national organisations challenging inequalities, and am keen to tackle a variety of inequality issues throughout my career.

 

Louise will be undertaking the Atlantic Fellows programme on a part-time basis, over 24-months.

Patricio Espinosa

Patricio EspinozaLiving in: Santiago, Chile
Nationality: Chilean

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From 1998 to 2003 Patricio studied Law at Universidad de Chile. Since then, he has always been interested in government and political issues in relation to the fighting of inequalities in society.

Patricio started his professional career in a law firm, however in 2007 he changed focus and turned to the third sector, working in an NGO called “Corporación Participa” in which he coordinated projects on transparency, citizen participation and civic education.

As he wanted to strengthen his skills to pursue a career in government, Patricio enrolled in 2008 in the LLM programme in Public Law at Universidad de Chile, focusing on the administrative aspects of socioeconomic rights. In the same year he entered the public sector, being appointed as a lawyer in the Budget Office of the Ministry of Finance. There he worked in the Studies Department, which is responsible of assessing the most relevant policies implemented by the Government and evaluating their fiscal sustainability. His work focused on institutional reforms in Education.

After two years in the Budget Office Patricio decided to pursue postgraduate studies in political theory in the UK. In 2010 he was awarded with the ‘Becas Chile’ Scholarship from the Chilean Government, to enrol in the MA Legal and Political Theory at University College London. There he studied the philosophical and political foundations of socioeconomic rights from the perspective of egalitarian theories of distributive justice.

Throughout his professional career, he has developed an academic career at Universidad de Chile. He was an assistant to the chair of Constitutional Law from 1999 to 2013, focusing on the constitutional principle of equality. After his studies in London he became a lecturer in the Graduate Diploma in Economic Public Law at Universidad de Chile where he taught the regulatory aspects of social policies. In 2013 Patricio was a visiting professor at Universidad de Chile’s Faculty of Economy where he taught a political philosophy course on Republicanism and the Market. He presented the main trends of the egalitarian republican thought contrasting them with the fundamentals of the prevailing neoliberal thinking. Furthermore, Patricio has published several papers on socioeconomic rights in the Public Law Journal of Universidad de Chile's Faculty of Law.

Since 2014 Patricio works as Legislative Chief of the Ministry of Education and is in charge of drafting legislation of the Educational Reform, currently being discussed in Parliament. It is also his responsibility to assist the Minister in the official debate and political negotiations for the passing of the bills. The Reform is the most important effort Chile has carried out in order to challenge the structural inequality that the country suffers as it seeks to eliminate discrimination and the socioeconomic barriers to access to quality education at all levels. In this role Patricio has contributed to the approval of a number of bills so far, including the Inclusion Act which eliminates co-payment, student selection and for-profit aims in subsidised schools.

 

Personal Statement

Although I come from a working class family in Chile, I managed to attend the most prestigious public school which, despite my socioeconomic background, allowed me to access higher education and graduate from the most important university in Chile.

I am aware that my story is an exception in what otherwise is a structural issue: the extreme inequality that many Chileans suffer in terms of the distribution of wealth and power. This is the main reason that has driven my professional efforts towards fighting inequalities - that all people, regardless their cultural and socioeconomic background, could have equal opportunities for developing their lives.

It is my intellectual conviction that inequality must be tackled because it affects human dignity, social cohesion and economic development. Accordingly, highly unequal societies produce the appropriate conditions for oppression and exploitation to rise, as shown in many countries, e.g. the post-dictatorship democracies in Latin America. One of the greatest problems our democracies faces nowadays is that so few people hold the majority of the wealth countries produce, as well as controlling media and political power. This creates a sort of social hierarchy that is a challenge to people enjoying the opportunities development brings. And this is a problem on a global-scale, that must to be tackled.

I am broadly interested in socioeconomic inequalities, particularly in the distribution of wealth in society. In particular, I am concerned about inequalities in the access to social services such as education, health and housing.

I applied to the AFp because it is the most important and relevant initiative in the world focused on fighting inequalities. Being part of the AFp will be crucial for me as it will connect me with a network of changemakers that will aim to challenge inequality across the globe. In an increasingly globalised world, international networks of policy makers are a pivotal element of successful large-scale structural reforms. I am excited about the opportunity to develop ties with a community of like-minded inequality scholars and professionals that will be addressing similar issues in varying contexts as I firmly believe that fighting inequalities is a task that must be addressed as a collective and multidisciplinary endeavour.

Through the MSc Inequalities and Social Science programme and my participation in the activities of the AFp I also expect to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to develop effective strategies for challenging inequalities.

In ten years’ time I hope to be able to lead structural social reforms to eliminate inequalities in my country so as to foster a fairer and more egalitarian society. In addition, as part of the Atlantic Fellows global network, I would like to contribute with my experience in structural reforms to other developing countries that need to carry out such transformations in order to fight and tackle inequalities.

Priyanka Kotamraju

Priyanka Kotamraju 4-3

Living in: Hyderabad, India
Nationality: Indian

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Priyanka Kotamraju is an independent, bilingual journalist from India with over five years of experience in journalism and a total of eight years in the media industry. In her eight-year career, Priyanka has shifted gears from marketing to journalism and from working at highly respected, mainstream print media groups such as The Hindu and the Indian Express to managing a hyper-local, women-driven and cash-strapped newspaper in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Khabar Lahariya was her most recent assignment, where she served as Co-Editor and Programme Coordinator. Khabar Lahariya (which literally translates to waves of news) is a feminist news organisation run entirely by women, most of whom are semi-and-neo-literate, self-taught, Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim reporters, who produce a weekly newspaper and daily digital news in Hindi and local dialects. Its operations are based in one of the most backward regions of India, Bundelkhand, which comprises seven districts in Uttar Pradesh and six districts in Madhya Pradesh. The region, which fares extremely poorly on social and economic indicators, is also known as one of the two drought capitals in the country. Khabar Lahariya is read in 800 plus villages across this region in Bundeli, Awadhi and Hindi languages. The newspaper’s reader is the farmer, the migrant worker, the community health worker, the teacher, the weaver and the small entrepreneur, for whom development is designed and for whom information is most important but scarce.

At Khabar Lahariya, Priyanka managed a team of more than 20 rural women reporters, training them in tracking social policies, understanding and investigating the targeting and implementation of social policies. She has reported on the impact of drought on marriage, malnutrition, education, and farm debt from Uttar Pradesh. Her earlier assignments with Hindu Business Line included writing on sociology of ‘dark’ villages, the impact on school attendance in human-animal conflict areas, and the relationship between violence and women with the right to land. In the last two years, Priyanka has also mentored young rural and urban women reporters, training them in rural journalism and getting their investigations into India’s development model published in English and Hindi mainstream newspapers.

Since September last year, Priyanka has been working as an independent journalist. She has started a collective of young women journalists, the objective of which is to research, report and write on rural affairs, gender and social justice. Uttar Pradesh in India remains the focus her reportage.

Priyanka was also a member of a civil society delegation that visited Jammu & Kashmir last year and the co-author of a report documenting human rights violations in the Kashmir valley. She is also working on a paper studying spatial inequalities in access to nutrition programmes in Uttar Pradesh. Her reports have been published in Scroll.in, News Deeply, Indian Express, Jansatta (a Hindi daily) and TwoCircles.net (Hindi).

 

Personal Statement

Last year in April, during one of the worst droughts Uttar Pradesh had experienced in a decade, I met Geeta. She is an 18-year-old Dalit girl from Ajnar village, Mahoba district. The district and her village were reeling under a severe water crisis brought on by the drought. Geeta told me that she had spent most of her summer at the only functional hand pump in the village, queuing up for hours to ferry 35-40 litre of water, three-four times a day. Over the course of the summer, she developed chronic back pain, usually accompanied by fevers.

Slowly, Geeta - who is a biology graduate student at a private college in the district head-quarters - replaced going to college with going to the hand pump. Last year, she was able to attend only 20 days of classes. The Dalit colony she lived in is crowded with young girls like Geeta who had to drop out of college to meet with the basic need of collecting water. Geeta’s social locus – her Scheduled Caste background, the location of the hand pump and the college – determined her access to education.

That summer, I also met Sushila Pintu, an adivasi woman who lost her child when she couldn’t make it to the nearest government health centre. Her neighbour’s twins, born malnourished, also have never been to a health centre. In these cases also, the family’s social locus and physical location determined their access to decent healthcare.

What determines access to good healthcare, education and food security? What role do caste, gender and geography play in determining access to economic and social security for families? What are the inequalities that arise and how do they shape an individual’s life choices?  In my journalism career, I have often found that inequality lies at the heart of uneven development and the life choices people make. What the life choices of women like Geeta and Sushila are, what the inequalities in opportunity and access there are for them, are questions that deeply interest me.

The Atlantic Fellowship programme aims to address the deepening problem of inequality by building a ‘cadre of social change leaders’ who can conduct rigorous sociological inquiries into the nature of inequality and advance solutions to the many problems it poses to the human condition. I believe I have devoted my career in pursuit of the same – to document the causes of inequality, how it manifests and its consequences on the lives of rural Indians in particular. My motivations for undertaking graduate studies and to be a member of the Atlantic Fellows Programme are to build a career in social science research, to track the lives of families in rural regions of South Asia, and to study the long-term effects of inequality on healthcare and education, especially for women and adolescent girls. I hope to also pursue the path of academic activism to bridge the gap between research and public awareness and to build public discourse around inequality in communities.

Rania Tarazi

Rania Tarazi 4-3

Living in: Amman, Jordan
Nationality: Jordanian

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Rania is a development practitioner with 12 years of experience in developing and managing projects that tackle gender inequality, poverty and unemployment. She has worked in several international organizations including Oxfam GB, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Development Programme in Jordan and the Middle East North Africa region. Her experience has covered a wide variety of projects including Millennium Development Goals reporting and planning; poverty measurement and statistics; Human Development reports; support to small and medium enterprises and linking jobs with higher education outputs and projects that foster ICT as a tool for education and job creation especially for people in marginalized locations and persons with disabilities. Her regional experience was focused on gender equality programming and strategising.

Key highlights for her include conceptualising and managing gender needs assessments in six countries with wide stakeholder involvement and a regional analysis to inform strategy development at UN Women.. She also takes pride in having managed a regional multi-stakeholder programme at Oxfam that supported leadership and political participation of women, especially those living in poor and rural areas. . Rania led the regional work, with her team and 15 women’s organisations that aimed to enhance learning, coordination, better targeting of marginalised groups and campaigning. Rania also developed and led a small grants component that funded promising initiatives by emerging grassroots women and youth organizations in remote, neglected or poor areas.

Rania is currently providing consultancy work in the same fields taking up assignments such as proposal development, management advice and monitoring and evaluation support.  Most recently she has been conducting a mid-term review for a regional gender equality programme and she completed management support to a project that works with Persons with Disabilities in Kuwait.  Her previous independent work included primary baseline research studies for a project by GTZ in Jordan that aimed to alleviate poverty through municipal development.

Rania is an architect by training with a master’s degree in Urban Management from the Urban Management Centre at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her master’s thesis was concerned with the digital divide: i.e. the gap between the “have” and the “have-nots” and whether ICT-access policies could improve disadvantaged people’s lives in urban areas in Jordan.

 

Personal Statement

My interest in studying inequality stems from a concern that has both normative and practical bases. Globalisation and recent developments such the financial crisis and the war on terror threaten to increase the sense of inequality; insecurity and reinforce narrow identities and fear of the other. I am concerned about losing perspective of the purpose of human solidarity and therefore losing equality as a “consensus value”, even if nowadays it remains more in the rhetoric than an achievement in practice.

Practically, inequality has negative consequences on society. Accumulation of wealth in the hands of certain groups means impoverishment of others. Unequal opportunities in the long run threaten to destabilise neighbourhoods, countries and even the globe. Inequality before the law renders specific groups that are discriminated against vulnerable. Furthermore, accumulation of wealth and consequently power in the hands of a minority jeopardises democracy, transparency and the rule of law and therefore undermines overall welfare.  Yet inequality remains under-prioritised in mainstream global and national policies.

I am interested in learning more about the dilemmas of inequality; dimensions of inequality; global inequality and the impact of globalisation economically and culturally as well as the changing role of media; the politics of inequality and redistribution and how social policy can address inequality; welfare definitions and measurements and the role of the state, non-governmental organisations and international organisations. I am particularly interested in the relationship with poverty and vulnerability and how to find practical and actionable solutions to impact social mobility and a redistribution of power.

I applied to the Atlantic Fellowship Programme because it is distinctive in the access it promises to a network of activists, academics and practitioners with similar interests and with a wide variety of experiences from around the globe. It is a great opportunity for exchange and engagement with this group, to learn from them, be inspired by them, run ideas by them and possibly work together on joint projects.  The AFp is also a space to develop as a leader and be supported and inspired to take action to achieve my aims.

What I aim to achieve after this programme is to be able provide reliable evidence-based policy advice to governments, international or national organizations on policies and programmes that aim to tackle poverty and inequalities. It would be ideal if I can work in different countries and varied contexts. I also hope to use such evidence in advocacy to push for these goals where these are not prioritised. At one point within the next 5 years, I hope to start a research and policy advocacy initiative working together with other organizations and with particular social groups who suffer “intersections of inequality” to develop common positions, voice and push for more equitable policies and outcomes in innovative ways.

Rose Longhurst

Rose Longhurst 4-3

Living in: Manchester, UK
Nationality: British

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Rose has spent her career working in the non-profit sector. She has specialised in fundraising and advising institutional donors on how to give effectively. Throughout her career she has championed bottom-up, inclusive approaches to philanthropy. This includes participatory decision-making, where affected communities are involved in decisions about their lives. To achieve this, Rose has worked with several organisations that model this approach.

Rose has been an active member of The Edge Fund since 2013. Edge Fund is a UK-based funder that gives small grants to grassroots activists challenging the root causes of injustice and discrimination. It is a participatory grantmaker, as decisions are made by those who are most affected by the issues. Over the past five years Edge has funded 175 groups fighting patriarchy, white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression. Rose’s experience with the Edge Fund has particularly strengthened her interest in inequality and injustice, as she has witnessed the disproportionate impact of austerity on marginalised communities.

Rose also sits on the Board of the EDGE Funders Alliance (which has no relation to The Edge Fund), a global network of progressive philanthropy. EDGE Funders Alliance works to increase resources for social movements to create a transition to a just and equitable society. One area of their work Rose is particularly involved in is the Gender Justice Initiative, which seeks to ensure that gender justice is at the heart of progressive philanthropy.

Rose is also on the Facilitation Group of FundAction, a new initiative established to support pan-European activism. The aim is to distribute resources via participatory processes, using a pooled funding model. This has bought together individuals working on digital rights, feminist organising and climate justice from across Europe. They are currently designing the new fund, and imagining an alternative to the rise of popularism and extremism.

In her professional career, Rose has held roles in the women’s rights organisation Womankind Worldwide, the intergovernmental agency The Commonwealth Foundation, and a social enterprise supporting micro-solar energy in Africa. Much of her work has focused on analysis of the funding policies and practices of bilateral donors and charitable foundations.

In 2013 she joined Bond, the UK network for international development and humanitarian organisations. In this role she worked with a wide range of stakeholders, from UK government to small NGOs, leading efforts to support the effective flow of money from donors to the communities it is intended to serve.

Rose spent the first few years of her life in the Philippines, where many of her family still live. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy and a MA in Communication Studies from the University of Leeds. Her dissertation focussed on the campaigning tactics of animal and gay rights groups. In 2014 she qualified as a yoga teacher, and she has just returned to the UK after a few months of living in South Africa, where she taught yoga in a rape crisis centre.

 

Personal Statement

I spent the first few years of my life in Manila, where the backdrop to my childhood was the People Power Revolution, which culminated in the exile of the kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. The authoritarian regime was ousted by non-violent popular protest, and continues to be a source of pride for Filipino people. From an early age, I have felt strongly that we need to be vigilant against systems that support individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Through the Atlantic Fellows programme I look forward to exploring the relationships between different types of inequality, and the ways in which economic inequality, political power and social outcomes intersect. I believe that rising inequality is deeply unjust, especially when wealth and privilege allow the rich to wield disproportionate influence over the lives of others. The Atlantic Fellows programme offers an opportunity to consider how we can develop policies and change cultures to create more equitable societies.

I applied to become an Atlantic Fellow partly in response to recent political developments. I believe that rising inequality leads to the degradation of democracy, and to policies that disadvantage vulnerable members of our community. When access to political processes are determined by money, and if public goods are eroded by private capture, then it becomes increasingly hard to combat inequality, because the powerful can and will create legislation that protects their interests. There is an urgency to calls to address inequality, as these processes create a vicious cycle where inequality and its effects are compounded.

I feel strongly that inequality won’t be resolved if solutions are proposed only by the privileged. Those who benefit from inequality can’t be relied upon to resolve it. This has become increasingly clear to me through my work with civil society and social movements. Too often those with wealth, rather than those closest to the issue, set the agenda. Participatory planning is essential to developing just and effective policy, and my ambition for the future is to advocate for participatory decision-making as a means to not only fairer but also more effective social outcomes. This approach is as relevant for international governance as it is for grassroots community groups.

The Atlantic Fellows programme is a unique opportunity to study a complex issue that underpins so much of the poverty and injustice that people across the globe are facing. For me, the most appealing aspects of the programme are the multi-disciplinary approach and the focus on evidence in action. I hope to learn from experts in a range of fields, offering a comprehensive understanding of inequality as one of the most pressing challenges we face, and one that is at the frontline of many of the crises that we urgently need to address.

Saida Ali Mohamed

Saida Ali 4-3

Living in: Nairobi, Kenya
Nationality: Kenyan

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Saida has lived a 19- year journey of innovative programming, uplifting people, building organisations and coalitions, trusting relationships and shaping the conditions for social justice. As an advocacy strategist she has steered and mentored, delivering indelible results at national and UN levels. She has over 12 years’ experience of leading social justice strategies.

Saida has held a number of senior level programme management and governance/ advisory roles. She has built considerable expertise in designing, implementation and evaluation of socio-economic and gender justice programmes; spanning policy analysis and oversight, humanitarian, resilience and long-term development. She has worked at national, regional and global levels.

When Saida was 23 years old, she co-founded the Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI), an organisation that works to empower young women and adolescent girls. Later she worked as the executive director of the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), an organisation that works towards elimination of all forms of violence against women in Kenya. She has, over the years, built a wealth of experience in providing leadership and guidance to programme teams, providing strategic leadership for organisational effectiveness and strengthening the capacity and core competencies of staff, particularly in key issues such as gender justice, sexual and reproductive health and rights, inclusive governance and addressing inequalities.

Throughout her career Saida has focussed on strategy development and capacity building for communities, partners and government institutions, ensuring the successful implementation of holistic programmes.

 

Personal Statement

I am a coalition builder, driven by courage and commitment to better the lives of women and girls, especially in Africa. I started my activism on ending violence against women and girls at a young age; joining vigils, demonstrations and community outreach activities in different parts of Kenya. I have been a part of various campaigns including those on ending female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of violence against women and girls, calling for legal reform and addressing social, economic and cultural factors used to perpetuate violations of women’s and girls’ rights. I have grown in my career in social justice work – to be a human rights defender, a leader, and an advocacy strategist driven by my passion to ensure gender equality, the empowerment and human rights of women and girls. I am interested in the interlocking nature of gender from a sex –race - class perspective. “Gender” on its own - and certainly on matters of inequalities - is not the only determining factor to a woman’s or girl’s experience.

I believe working towards gender equality requires that all the systemic barriers and structural inequalities are tackled. I see patterns that entrench and maintain patriarchy beyond individual and household power relations, in private and public spheres. I am concerned about the current trends in security and migration and how they all intersect with race to create a world where individuals and whole communities can be further pushed to the periphery rather than enjoy being equal citizens of the world. As an Atlantic Fellow I have an opportunity to delve deep into the analysis of the interwoven systemic issues of neoliberalism, fundamentalisms, militarism, racism and patriarchy as systemic drivers of gender, and other forms of, inequality.

This is an opportunity to grow in my capacity to contribute to addressing one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today – inequalities. My passion, commitment and sharp analysis on various issues affecting women and girls in Africa is what I bring to the program. In turn I am looking forward to learn and continue working to better the lives of women and girls in Africa.  I am excited about being one of the Atlantic Fellows.

 

Non-Residential Atlantic Fellows

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Elimane Kane

Elimane Kane 4-3Living in: Dakar, Senegal
Nationality: Senegalese

Elimane currently works for OXFAM as a governance expert, after having been in charge of the Livelihoods and Governance regional portfolio for Oxfam Novib in West Africa. Before this, he was the Executive Director of Forum Civil ,the Senegalese chapter of Transparency International.

Elimane is founder and Chairman of LEGS-Africa, a pan-African think-tank based in Dakar. He was also CEO and co-founder of The Panafrican Institute ISAF-KAngfore in Mbour, Senegal from 2009 to 2011.

He has experience as both a consultant and trainer, and has participated in several international anti-corruption meetings and special courses in human rights, extractive industries, climate change, multi-stakeholders processes, social learning, governance and responsible business practises.

He has basic training in social sciences (psychology, sociology of development) and holds a master’s of Science in Project Management. He also has international certificates in Human Rights (IHRTP-Equitas-Montreal-Canada) and international development (CDI, Waggenningen UR, Netherlands).

 

Personal statement

"Inequality is my concern. The focus of my career is facing the causes of inequalities in Senegal and, by implementing a relevant governance program, dealing with poverty, economic inequity, and domestic resource mobilization.

As head of a governance program, my daily work is to promote and enhance citizens’ mainly youth and women, capacities,

  1. to challenge public policies
  2. to work with civil societies organizations for transparency and access to economic information
  3. to organise public platforms for social accountability; fiscal justice and budget monitoring to reduce inequality by enhancing national revenues from domestic resource mobilisation and social expenditures form budget allocations system.

I applied to the Atlantic Fellows programme to get a global overview of inequality issues. To understand how this phenomenon manifests itself and what are its key causes and factors. I hope to utilise this scientific analysis of inequalities to identify pathways to potential solutions in the context of my country, and at a global level.

I am Senegalese’s Civil Society Organisation leader and I know this country extremely well, having built up personal relationships with different actors, administrative institutions, government officials, private sector leaders, social movements and those in the media. Through the AFp I hope to develop my own leadership position within my country to tackle inequalities and poverty as an activist deeply committed for social justice.

This program will also allow me to contribute more efficiently to the OXFAM annual report on inequality, to address the annual Davos Economic Forum and other decision-making events in UN, World Bank – IMF, African union, ECOWAS, and in my own country. 

Dr Fola Adeleke

Fola Adeleke (4) - preferred 4-3

Living in: Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality: Nigerian

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Fola Adeleke is a South African trained lawyer whose work focuses on international economic law and human rights, corporate transparency, open government and accountability within the extractive industry. Prior to joining the South African Human Rights Commission as the Head of Research, Fola was a Clinical Advocacy Fellow at Harvard Law School supervising clinical projects on business and human rights. Fola was also a Fulbright visiting scholar with the Center for Sustainable Investment at Columbia University. He clerked at the Supreme Court of Appeal, South Africa, and worked at the Open Democracy Advice Centre, where his human rights work spanned across Africa.

He once served as the country researcher for the Open Government Partnership Independent Reporting Mechanism in South Africa and was part of an expert group reviewing the African Union’s Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. Fola has also produced research for the Carter Center, the Open Society Foundation and the World Bank.

He holds a PhD from Wits University and a LLM degree from the University of Cape Town. He was selected as one of 25 young Africans in the inaugural ‘leading in public life’ fellowship and was part of the 2015 Mo Ibrahim residential school on governance for development in Africa.

His forthcoming book, to be published by Routledge in October 2017, explores a human rights based approach to investment regulation in Africa.

Personal statement

In the 18th Century, Adam Smith, a classical economist, expressed doubt about the relationship between business and society, specifically, questions about whether and how business serves the needs of society. Smith proposed that there should be a careful consideration of laws as a means to preserve the interests of the public and ensure that the interests of corporations do not prevail at the expense of society. Three centuries later, Thomas Piketty, another economist, reminds us that the question of how income from production should be divided between labour and capital remains at the heart of distributional conflict. Multi-national corporations are often seen as contributors to global inequality. Their flexibility and ability to exit markets with their capital, the creation of global value chains that weaken the economic impact of corporations within states and the manipulation of state regulation to their advantage, among several other concerns, have led to intense public scrutiny and demand for corporate accountability. This brings to the fore the role of state and non-state actors in working together for the advancement of people and the promotion of sustainable development. This debate over the relationship between business and society and the role of regulation in preserving the public interest still continues in various developing countries where there are high levels of social inequality.

In understanding the role of corporations in addressing inequality, the duty of corporations can no longer be a duty to avoid harm but should extend to a positive obligation to protect people, communities and the environment. Consequently, global issues such as tax evasion and profit shifting, which have detrimental effect on state economies and are contributors to global inequality, need to receive our attention as important ways of addressing inequality.

I am broadly interested in the duty of corporations to protect human rights and how to hold global corporations accountable in the absence of a global treaty on business and human rights. I applied for the Atlantic Fellows programme because I believe it will expose me to leaders and thinkers that I can learn from and develop strategic partnerships with in creating innovative solutions to address inequality. I hope my unique experience in human rights and regulation from different perspectives will enrich the experience of other Atlantic Fellows.

Fred Alucheli

Fred Alucheli (6) - preferred 4-3

Living in: Nairobi, Kenya
Nationality: Kenyan

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Fredrick is the founder of Action Network for the Disabled and Riziki Source in Kenya.  He has pioneered innovation in the field of disability and employment with a mobile application that was shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovations.

He has a B.A .in political science and sociology from the University of Nairobi, a certificate in social innovation management from Amani Institute and is currently pursuing an MBA in social entrepreneurship at Tangaza University College.

Fredrick serves on the board of Little Rock Inclusive ECD Center and has previously served on the advisory board of Disability Rights Fund (Boston) and Global Disability Rights Library (Washington)

He became a YouthActionNet Fellow in 2009, was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2012, Amani Fellow 2016 and admitted into Cordes Fellowship in 2017. Fredrick is passionate and committed to ending inequalities facing people with disabilities globally and directs all his energy towards this goal

Personal statement

I have worked in the field of advocacy on issues of disability for over ten years, I wake up every single day with the sole purpose of challenging the inequality facingthose with disabilities in Kenya and internationally. I founded a public organization; Action Network for the Disabled for this purpose and we have made tremendous steps in the journey towards equalizing opportunities for persons with disabilities in Kenya.

I faced inequality as an individual living with a disability and was motivated to do something about the same to ensure that our country becomes a better place where persons with disabilities are treated in the same way as the rest of the country. I bring to the Atlantic Fellows programme many years of working around issues of inequality, and more specifically around disability, and how these can be mainstreamed in the bigger agenda of fighting inequality. I am also interested to deepen my understanding around this topic by associating with, and learning from, other peers working around the same issues. I am also interested in fighting inequalities as a result of lack of participation in leadership and governance by persons with disabilities.

Last year I founded a social enterprise that seeks to correct the inequalities experienced by persons with disabilities in the job market. Most of them are discriminated on the grounds of their disability while looking for jobs, or are underpaid or given lower jobs irrespective of their qualifications. My enterprise will provide disability inclusion and diversity trainings for employers to appreciate disability and embrace job seekers who have a disability at their workplace.

A future where everyone, irrespective of their disability, has the same rights as anybody in the world is the legacy I am committed to, this Fellowship provides a seed for this ambition.

Gabriella Razzano

Gabriella Razzano (10) preferred 4-3

Living in: Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality: South African

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Gabriella is a law graduate working at the Open Democracy Advice Centre as the Director and Head of Legal Research. She has a BA LLB from the University of Cape Town, graduating with distinction in Sociology. She formerly clerked with Justice Yacoob of the Constitutional Court and has also worked with University of Witwatersrand. Gabriella has a particular focus on access to information, open data and freedom of expression issues.

She is a Founding Director of OpenUP, an Internet Governance Fellow and an alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (Global Digital Leader). Gabriella is also the chairperson of the African Platform on Access to Information Working Group.

Furthermore, she has published a variety of articles and publications, largely aimed at providing evidence-based advocacy responses for human rights activists in the information and Internet sphere. Some examples include:

  • Razzano, G. (2016) ‘Connecting the Dots: the coordination challenge for the Open Government Partnership in SA’, South Africa: making all voices count Link
  • Razzano, G. (2016) Heroes Under Fire”, South Africa: Link 
  • Razzano, G (2016) ‘Human Rights and Internet in Africa: a reflection trends’, FesMedia Africa Series, Link
  • Razzano, G. (2016) ‘(Re)claiming through (re)framing: Interrogating power, information, and distortion from civil society’, in GGLN(2016) (Re)Claiming Local Democratic Space Link.
  • Razzano, G (2015). Considering The Open Government Partnership in Context Link

Personal Statement

I am a human rights activist, lawyer and researcher who has been driving digital learning in the human rights realm, not just through access to information and open data - which are my specialised areas of interest - but through all of the intersections where the Internet has begun acting as a further jurisdiction in which inequalities are realised.

I want to focus on inequality in my studies for the very reason that the world isn’t getting fairer – particularly in Africa. The Internet, once idealistically viewed as foretelling a new era of fairness, also has the potential to exacerbate the pre-existing inequalities of the “real world”. When people have talked about equality and Internet in the past, the conversation has often centred on “equal access” to Internet. Yet stopping the conversation there is premature; we know that the inequalities that exist in the physical world perpetuate themselves online, too. Inequalities often profoundly influence who speaks, when, and how often. In other words, it’s not just about having the access to the conversation – it is also about how, or if, we can participate in that conversation. I am determined to bring a greater understanding to substantive equality in the realm of the Internet for improving the lives of South Africans.

Jane Sloane

Jane Sloane (4) preferred 4-3

Living in: San Francisco, USA
Nationality: Australian

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Jane Sloane is the director of the Women’s Empowerment Program with The Asia Foundation and provides intellectual and programmatic leadership for The Asia Foundation’s programs to empower women and advance gender equality in Asia. Jane oversees a team in Washington and works with the foundation's 18 country offices on a combination of top-down (policy and legal reform) and bottom-up approaches (community led strategies and solutions) designed to achieve transformative social, economic and political change in support of peace, justice and prosperity in the region.

Jane was previously Vice President of Programs, Global Fund for Women, an organisation that uses its powerful networks to find, fund, and amplify the work of women who are building social movements that are challenging the status quo and working to transform systems and economies.

Jane has also worked as Vice President of Development with Women’s World Banking in New York and prior to this she was Executive Director of International Women’s Development Agency in Australia, supporting women’s rights organisations and movements across Asia and the Pacific.  In this role she led a Breakthrough women, faith and development initiative that generated $1.2 billion in new funds for women and girls. 

Jane holds a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Sydney and a BA (Hons) from the University of Adelaide. She serves on the Board of the international Women’s Funding Network, is an advisory board member of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is a Patron of Marie Stopes International.

Jane’s human rights and public policy work has been recognized by a number of awards and fellowships including a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Adelaide, an Advance Foundation Global Ambassadors Award; an Asia Pacific Business Women’s Council Woman of Distinction Award; a Churchill Fellowship to improve Humanitarian Emergency Response Models for Australia and the region after the Asian tsunami; an Australia Award Endeavour Fellowship focused on increasing Pacific women’s political participation; a Vietnam Women’s Union Humanitarian Medal and a Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Fellowship

Jane is also one of the original 75 Australian climate change presenters trained by Al Gore and she has written a book called Citizen Jane

 

Personal statement

I’ve spent years responding to the impact of inequality in its many forms, including addressing issues on the basis of gender, race, culture, ability, age, sexual orientation and geography. This approach has seen me working at the front line with grassroots organisations and at the policy level with governments and research institutions. The work of being an activist practitioner is often isolating, and leadership itself can be lonely if you don’t have a tribe of like-minded people with whom you can safely share ideas and issues.  

To be an Atlantic Fellow at the Inequalities Institute at LSE means entry to a world of intellectual giants and global change makers and I seek to inhabit that world.  In my head, I already do. I’ve helped to advance women’s human rights through my various roles, and now I want to step up the engagement to a broader level that goes beyond advocating for rights to addressing the root causes of inequality. In doing this I hope to draw on the best research and insights to discern path breaking responses. I’m someone who very naturally sees how to create powerful programs through bringing together different organisations, leaders and forces in partnership for a common vision.

This Fellowship provides the opportunity to dream and act big in the service of the vision set for this Fellowship – we are expected to change the world and we need to be up for the challenge. I’m up for it and I want it mightily.

In my life I finally have a sense of my own power. I want to use that power fully, and to mentor and support others to do the same. I want to say ‘yes’ to risk-taking and change, especially now with the new administration in the United States and the dark and dramatic consequences these new policies will have on populations across the US and across the globe. I’ve been exposed to many situations, from spending time with Syrian women who have fled ISIS, to being with families in refugee camps in Lebanon to supporting women climate refugees relocating from the Carteret Islands due to rising sea levels. I want to be in an environment where there is the time and space to consider questions of ‘what’s really going down here’ and what are the most helpful ways to see these situations and to respond. 

Finally, and importantly, I’m a storyteller and artist as much as an activist. I weave the narratives and experiences of my life into my writing, mentoring, public speaking, drawing and visioning. I will bring my creative being and activist self to this fellowship in the service of creating something so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller (6) - prefered 4-3

Living in: Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality: American

Unequal Scenes - Facebook, Twitter
Africa Drone - Twitter
Millerfoto - Facebook

Johnny Miller is a photographer and filmmaker specialising in documentary projects. He is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and has extensive networks and knowledge of contemporary African and world issues. His focus is on the urban, cultural, and social issues facing humanity in a fast-changing world. He has received worldwide acclaim for his project Unequal Scenes, an aerial exploration of inequality in South Africa using drones.

Johnny is the founder of africanDrone, a non-profit dedicated to empowering African drone pilots who use drones for good, and  a News Fellow at Code For Africa, a non-profit dedicated to open networks and access to information throughout Africa. Johnny graduated from Dickinson College with a BA in Political Science.


Personal statement

I think everyone should be concerned about inequality, as the word itself conjures up an idea of justice. “They” are only unequal to “you”…so in essence, “we” are all responsible. I beleive that  if we want to create equitability in the world, the power rests with each and every one of us, our consumption habits, our outlook, our voting habits.

I’m interested in portraying inequality in architecture, urban planning, and design in creative and accessible ways. Oftentimes these inequalities are hidden to us, and through my project Unequal Scenes, I have attempted to showcase these hidden segregations via aerial photography. My focus is on  urban inequalities in the developing world, but I’m also interested in the Global North.

 

I applied to the Atlantic Fellows programme because it will give me the support, structure, and resources I need to take my work further, while grounding myself in the academic principles of inequality which I hitherto have not had. In the future, I hope to lead and inspire artists, academics, and other interested, creative professionals to explore inequality through a variety of non-traditional means.

Masana Ndinga-Kanga

Masana Ndinga Kanga (2) - preferred 4-3

Living in: Johannesburg, South Africa
Nationality: South African

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Masana is Research Manager at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. At the Centre, she oversees a 12-country project exploring transitional justice in the continent, an in-depth analysis on innovations in peace-building in South Africa, and an exploration of social contracting in the post-Apartheid era. Masana works with a diverse multi-disciplinary team of researchers on issues of urban, collective, state and interpersonal violence as well as looking at the processes of horizontal and vertical reconciliation and sustainable peace in society. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the national Department of Social Development’s Integrated Social Crime Prevention Strategy.

She has worked at the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights in Washington D.C., the Poverty and Inequality Initiative (UCT) as a senior researcher and as the first Machel-Mandela Fellow at The Brenthurst Foundation in Johannesburg, where she has been involved in multi-country studies on economic development, international relations, studies in development practices and conflict analysis.

With a multi-disciplinary background in African Studies, politics, economics, international development and law, Masana has an MSc in Political Economy of Late Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a BA (honours) in African Studies and a B.Com. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Cape Town.

She is also a frequent blogger for Mail & Guardian’s Thought Leader and an alumnus of the South African Washington International Program and the David & Elaine Potter Fellowship. Masana is a Chevening Scholar from 2012–13, and is currently a fellow at the Leading Causes of Life Initiative.

 

Personal statement

Having grown up in the mining towns across South Africa, I have been directly exposed to the effects of inequality on the social fabric of the country. Particularly when the mine that was the bedrock of the economy in the town in which my family stayed eventually shut down - forcing us to relocate into urban areas. That same town, Blyvooruitsig is now a hotbed of conflict as zama-zamas (illegal miners), police and security forces engage in a small-scale conflict, compounded by threats to access to basic services. These experiences of conflict related to economic activity are not unusual in South Africa, as the case of the 2012 Marikana massacre demonstrates.

My decision to study economics was to better understand the linkages between the economy and well-being, but I found that, much like for my home town, these experiences are inalienable from experiences of violence faced by a number of South Africans. Therefore, I have been working the drivers of violence in post-Apartheid South Africa. This work, involving multi-country studies on conflict and peacebuilding in the global South has increasingly pointed to the salience of the economy, and specifically inequality, in relation to conflict. In a country like South Africa, where the Gini coefficient and violent assaults are some of the highest globally, it is pertinent to understand how these factors affect each other and how South Africa’s experiences differ from that of other countries.

A number of research papers have begun to explore the impact of the political economy on conflict, but not at a sub-national or comparative level. It is also concerning that a number of papers on conflict mediation, transitional justice and peacebuilding refer to the economy in abstract terms – but thereafter make policy recommendations for a versatile and adaptive political economy. Being a part of a Fellowship devoted to innovative and in-depth research in inequality that would allow scope for multidisciplinary and activist research, would help to inform my work that speaks to policy and practice in South Africa at a time when the country’s unemployment figures have reached a 13-year high. Linking the experiences of South Africa to that of other countries across the world would mean that not only can my research on conflict speak to national economic trends, but also those of the international political economy – affecting small mining towns like Blyvooruitsig in ways that are not fully understood.

Melanie Brown

Melanie Brown (11.1)_4-3

Living in: Washington DC, USA
Nationality: American

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Melanie R. Brown joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2015 as Senior Program Officer for U.S. Policy, Advocacy & Communications. She leads the foundation’s advocacy work in Colorado and manages a national portfolio to elevate teacher voice in education policy. Prior to joining Gates, Melanie was a program officer at The Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, PA. While at Heinz, Melanie’s grant making focused on achieving equity in education for African American students and students from low-income communities.

Ms. Brown has previously served on numerous advisory boards including, the YWCA Center for Race and Gender Equity, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice and the Funders’ Collaborative for Youth Organizing in New York City. She currently sits on the Arts in Education Program Council at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the first alumna to serve in this capacity in the program’s 20-year history. Additionally, Melanie was appointed by a Democratic governor and then reappointed by a Republican governor to serve on the Pennsylvania State Workforce Investment Board, which focuses on building a strong workforce development system aligned with state education policies and economic development goals.

Melanie began her career as an educator at the SEED Public Charter School of Washington, D.C and later taught in China and Hong Kong as a recipient of the Crimson/China Culture Exchange Fellowship in partnership with Harvard University.

Melanie received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and literature from American University, a master’s degree in Arts in Education from Harvard University, and a master’s degree in public management from Carnegie Mellon University. While at Harvard, Melanie’s capstone research focused on the role performing arts can play on the positive racial and ethnic identity development of African American and Latino girls. At Carnegie Mellon, Melanie focused much of her research on the state of education in post-genocide Rwanda.

She credits her parents, Archie and Gloria Brown, who were born and raised in segregated Alabama in the 1950s and 60s, for instilling a value of and commitment to social and racial justice.

 

Personal statement

Inequality has long eroded belief in core American principles like fairness, freedom and justice for all for people of color, women, the generationally-poor, those who are differently-abled, members of the LGBTQ community and those of us who live at the intersections of these identities. For many of us, the work of inequality is professional and also deeply personal.

Personally, I have long brought an unapologetic commitment to and passion for speaking out against racial and gender inequality and its impact on my life. Professionally, as both an educator and a funder, I have focused this commitment and passion specifically on eliminating these social ills from the American public education system.

Public education should be the great equalizer; but like most systems, it is often perpetuating, rather than eradicating, society’s larger inequities. If in America education is the “civil rights issue of our time,” we must approach our work differently- grounding issues of achievement, access and performance in honest conversations about power, privilege, greed and supremacy.

Justice preserves human dignity. Inequality is a betrayal of this. It strips away the value we place on others and often as a result, the value they place on themselves. Inequality lies to us and tells us that it is OK for certain students to have less experienced teachers, use older books, sit in dilapidated buildings, have their cultural histories and contributions diminished or unacknowledged, or be chastised and ridiculed over use of certain bathrooms.

I believe in the transformative power of education for individuals and for a society and dream of a world in which schools are places of justice, not injustice; places where we teach to liberate, not indoctrinate or incarcerate; where we value active citizenship as much as academic achievement; where children are safe, loved and nurtured not in spite of, but because of, who they are. I do this work because I know it is needed and because I believe it is possible. 

Sebastian Bock

Sebastian Bock (7.1) preferred 4-3

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: German

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Sebastian is a Senior Strategist at Greenpeace International where he helps shape the organisation’s global campaigning on trade and financial markets. In the past he has led successful campaigns and projects to challenge the unchecked expansion of the fossil fuel industry and to protect the world’s remaining rainforests. He was also deeply involved in the international climate negotiations, working on and later leading Greenpeace’s political work on forests within the United Nations climate process from 2012 to 2014.

He studied philosophy and economics at the University of Bayreuth, Germany and the University of São Paulo, Brazil and holds an MSc in Development Studies from LSE, UK. Among other things, his studies focused on the political influence of the private sector and its consequences for development and environmental policy-making.

Sebastian is a member of the Think Tank 30, an interdisciplinary network of young academics and practitioners. Affiliated with the Club of Rome, the think tank facilitates exchanges, research and work on different aspects of sustainability.

Sebastian has lived and worked in Germany, Brazil and the US and is currently based in London. He speaks German, English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Although he has lived close to the sea for most of his life, in his free time he usually heads into the mountains or – if that is not possible – to the nearest climbing wall.

Personal statement

Much of the public discourse around inequality seems to focus on two things: inequality as a predominantly economic outcome and inequality as a static endpoint. While I agree that this serves as a good starting point, I am particularly concerned with the power dynamics that ultimately cause inequality.

As an Atlantic Fellow I want to take a closer look not just at the symptoms but also at the causes of inequality. I am concerned that without changing the underlying structures leading to inequality, any solution will only be temporary.

I am particularly interested in the systemic causes of inequality because I think that many of the political structures causing inequality also create problems in other areas. Naturally for me one of those areas is the question of how inequality manifests itself in regard to how different strata of society are affected differently when it comes to the negative consequences of environmental degradation and climate change. In that, I want to look at how the (lack of) access to political power and transparency of political processes as well as the growing influence of corporate lobbying affects structural inequality.

I believe that only an integrated understanding of how inequality and its causes are interrelated with other major societal problems will allow us to address them. It is this belief that led me to apply to the Atlantic Fellows programme. In my professional life I have found that even though on the face of it, fighting climate change can seem somewhat removed from questions of inequality, once you dig deeper you see how closely the two are related.

However, my interest in the programme is not purely analytical. I hope that my campaigning experience will be useful for finding new ways to tackle inequality. Building on sound analysis, I believe that success in changing the structures leading to inequality hinges on our ability to exert pressure from outside of the system and our capability to establish narratives which render inequality unacceptable. Knowing how to translate complex issues into impactful campaigns I hope to be able to contribute to the real world impact of the programme.

I hope that the Atlantic Fellowship allows me to forge strong relationships with my peers that continue beyond the duration of the programme. I want to learn from the other fellows and incorporate those learnings into my work. For me real success would be to see the AFp incubate collaborations that “leave the classroom” – through new initiatives or by “cross-fertilizing” work in our respective organizations – and I want to contribute to making this a reality.

Tracy Jooste

Tracy Jooste (9) - prefered 4-3

Living in: Cape Town, South Africa
Nationality: South African

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Tracy Jooste is a public policy practitioner working in the field of human settlements in South Africa. She has a special interest in urban development, socioeconomic rights and housing finance. She is currently Director for Policy and Research at the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements. Here she leads a dedicated team of professionals to develop policies that address the significant need for housing amongst lower income households. Current research projects focus on expanding support to informal settlements, addressing the affordability of housing and understanding the link between health and human settlements.  

Tracy is passionate about working collaboratively to design policy solutions and oversees a number of partnership agreements. She also serves on national policy, research and legal forums in human settlements.

Prior to joining the public sector in 2012, Tracy worked in consulting for several years, advising government across a range of areas including urban systems, municipal finance and local governance as well as institutional development and benchmarking. She also has experience in academia having been a Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the early years of her career.

Tracy holds a master’s degree in public policy and a bachelor’s degree in economics and politics, from UCT. In 2011 she obtained a post-graduate diploma specialising in housing and urban finance from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

 

Personal statement

My interest in inequality stems from the realities of living and working in the Western Cape – a highly unequal region with a significant need for adequate housing. Despite massive government investment in housing and infrastructure, the urban landscape remains socially and economically divided. Urban transformation, socioeconomic rights and the creation of integrated, sustainable human settlements are central to my work in public policy. I believe that addressing inequality is a collective effort and if government is to widen its reach and impact, it must widen the circle of partners that it engages with. This includes communities, non-profit organisations and academia as well as the private sector.

The Atlantic Fellows programme is an exciting opportunity for collaboration and creative problem- solving. I am inspired by the AFp’s focus on diversity, innovation and leadership development.  Through this initiative I hope to grow my capacity to address pressing issues related to inequality within the housing sector specifically.

I have a keen interest in housing finance as a tool to unlock opportunities for lower income households. I aim to pursue studies in development finance in future and contribute meaningfully to the design of diverse housing finance instruments. 

 

Visiting Atlantic Fellows

Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit

Residency period at III: May - October 2017

Oxfam group photo (web)

The first Visiting Atlantic Fellow project - a collaboration between Dr Abigail McKnight (LSE Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion) and Oxfam - will develop a robust and pragmatic Inequality Framework and Toolkit that will help activists and practitioners improve their understanding of inequalities. It aims to allow a better understanding of inequalities properly in any given context, including their links to poverty dynamics, their main drivers, and the consequences for citizens, for effective programming and policy-making. The aim is that the Framework and Toolkit builds on the latest academic research and integrates practitioner, activist and policy expertise held within Oxfam to produce a theoretically grounded yet practical product that will allow policy makers, activists and practitioners to grasp inequalities with the width and depth required.

The team will also include input from Dr Polly Vizard (Associate Professorial Research Fellow LSE, UK) and Prof Ben Fine (Research Tutor, SOAS, UK) and research support from Pedro Mendes Loureiro.

Dr Abigail McKnight

Associate Professorial Research Fellow, LSE, UK

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: British

Abigail McKnight is an Associate Professorial Research Fellow and Associate Director of Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at LSE where she has worked since 1999. Her research interests include inequality, poverty, wealth, social mobility and employment policy. 

Ana Maria Munoz

Ana Maria Claver (5) preferred 4-3Researcher and Advocacy Officer, Oxfam Intermon, Spain

Living in: Coruna, Spain
Nationality: Spanish 

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Ana is a social researcher and advocacy practicioner with a degree in Law and development studies, specialised in participation, power, social and political change. She has 9 years’ experience working on advocacy and social mobilisation campaigns, exploring how ordinary people can influence and ‘do’ politics.

Her MA in participation, power and social change at the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex), helped Ana to better explore how social and political change happens. From a critical thinking and action learning approach, this MA deepened her previous experience as a practitioner and activist, linking it to her theoretical knowledge and academic skills.

Her action research project was awarded with the prize for the best dissertation of her year group. It focused on the processes of citizenship and empowerment that people affected by the mortgage crisis in Barcelona, Spain might have lived or not inside a social movement: the Spanish Platform of Mortgage-Affected People (PAH). It looked at the impact that the mortgage crisis and PAH might have had on people’s senses and practices of citizenship, which might contribute or not to building more critical active citizenship and equal and democratic societies.

Ana’s professional experience has mainly been developed with NGOs at national level; Oxfam, Amnesty International, Federations of NGOs - working on advocacy campaigns on human rights, social policies and Constitutional changes. Ana also gained some experience in the field of international consultancy, participating in monitoring and evaluation projects in advocacy.

Since 2016, she has worked for Oxfam, Spain doing research and advocacy on social policies, focused on income inequality and, particularly, wage inequality. Ana has co-authored the report ‘Wages fall, inequality grows’, which analyses the effects of wage inequality and low pay at a global level, and looks in detail at the Spanish situation before and after the economic crisis of 2008-2014. Furthermore, it considers concrete policy recommendations to reduce the pay gap.

Ana also works in Polétika -'politics + ethics'-, an alliance formed by 10 CSO networks, representing more than 500 organisations and social movements. This network analyses and monitors public political commitments on social policies against inequality and poverty, to hold politicians accountable.

 

Personal Statement

My interest in inequalities come from realising how different opportunities and access people have to basic needs and the exercise of their rights, depending on the nationality, race or ethnicity, gender and/or the economic power one has. My interest is mainly in 'other dimensions' of inequality - the social and political dimensions - beyond income and wealth, and the relationships among them. This project and the Atlantic Fellows programme will allow us to know better what social and political inequalities look like, deepening into how income and wealth distribution may affect the dynamics of politics and power.

As it has recently been acknowledged by the World Bank, reducing economic inequalities is crucial for economic growth to make a more effective contribution to poverty reduction. This proposal seeks to bridge academic, activist and practitioner perspectives to design and implement relevant, solid and effective programmes for the reduction of inequalities at national and local levels.

Understanding inequalities properly in any given context - including their links to poverty dynamics, their main drivers, and the consequences for citizens - is a necessary condition for effective programming and policy-making. Yet, inequality is a complex multidimensional concept and phenomenon, and the lack of robust, but pragmatic frameworks and tools make it challenging for activists and practitioners to grasp inequalities with the width and depth required.

The main aim of this project is to develop a robust and pragmatic Inequality Framework & Toolkit, that will help activists and practitioners improve their understanding of inequalities. The Framework & Toolkit will build on the latest academic research and integrates different perspectives and knowledges - theoretical and experiential - to produce a theoretically grounded yet practical product. We will pilot the inequality framework in Guatemala, so that we can identify what works and what does not, in a reflective action learning process.

My hope is that this project will help to understand the different dimensions of inequality and the relationships among them. Its practicality will shed some light on what policies might be the most effective against inequalities and under what conditions. Besides, my wish is that the diversity of approaches and backgrounds brought together in this team will contribute to bridge the gap between Academia and NGOs, having a broader vision of our complex reality.

Alex Prats

Alex Prats (3) - preferred 4-3

Inequality lead, Oxfam Intermón, Spain

Living in: Barcelona, Spain
Nationality: Spanish

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Alex Prats has a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in Business Administration (ESADE Business School, Spain, and McGill University, Canada[a1] ), Master in Development Studies (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain) and MSc in Africa Politics (SOAS, United Kingdom).

He started his professional career in the private sector as a human resources manager in Asia-Pacific, based in Bangkok (Thailand). In 2003, he joined Oxfam, where he performed different roles until 2011, including Regional Director for West Africa and Maghreb. In 2011, he joined Christian Aid in the United Kingdom as Principal Economic Advisor, where he led the organisation’s global campaign for tax justice.

In 2014, Alex re-joined Oxfam as Deputy Regional Director in Horn, East and Central Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Since September 2016, Alex is the Inequality Lead at Oxfam Spain. In this new position, Alex has led a process to define the organisation’s strategy against extreme inequality, and is currently collaborating with the LSE’s III to develop an Inequality Framework and toolkit for activists and practitioners.

 

Personal Statement

At Oxfam, we believe that the current levels of inequality are unfair, erode democracy and social cohesion, and undermine our efforts to eradicate poverty. In the past years, our global campaign Even It Up! has been effective in placing the inequality challenge in the public agenda and has defined specific policy recommendations to help build fairer societies where every person can live a decent life.

In order to improve Oxfam’s understanding of what is currently driving inequalities, and to identify the most effective solutions in countries where we work, we are partnering with LSE’s III through its Atlantic Fellows Programme to develop an Inequality Framework and Toolkit for Oxfam and other practitioners and activists. This project will make a meaningful contribution to our work on inequalities: it will bridge academic, activist and practitioner perspectives with the aim to support Oxfam in their ambition to design and implement relevant, solid and effective programmes for the reduction of inequalities at national and local levels.

Understanding inequalities properly in any given context -including their links to poverty dynamics, their main drivers, and the consequences for citizens- is a necessary condition for effective programming and policy-making. Yet, inequality is a complex multidimensional concept and phenomenon, and the lack of robust, but pragmatic frameworks and tools make it challenging for activists and practitioners to grasp inequalities with the width and depth required.

The Inequality Framework and Toolkit that we aim to develop from a collaboration between Oxfam and LSE will fill this gap and provide pragmatic conceptual and analytical guidance for activists and practitioners that seek to make a difference in tackling inequalities.

At Oxfam, we look forward to working together with other Fellows in the Atlantic Programme. We are convinced that this will help strengthen our capacity to fight inequality and contribute to putting an end to poverty.

Dr Chiara Mariotti

Chiara_4-3

Inequality Policy Manager, Oxfam GB, UK

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: British

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Chiara Mariotti is a development economist trained at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Her PhD research looked at the involuntary resettlement of tribal people to be displaced by a mega-dam in Andhra Pradesh, India; extracts from her thesis have appeared in edited books and academic journals. She has taught economics and research methods at SOAS, Bath University and Greenwich University. After the PhD she joined the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network based at Overseas Development Institute, where she worked on policies to eradicate chronic poverty, especially social protection, private sector development, macroeconomic policies and pro-poor growth. She was one of the authors of the 2015 Chronic Poverty Report and has published research on Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Ecuador and Cambodia. In 2016, she joined Oxfam GB to be part of the Even It Up (inequality) campaign, which she supports exploring and advocating for policies to tackle inequality. Main areas of work include advocacy with World Bank and IMF, support to partner countries in conducting country-level inequality analysis, research and alliance-building around alternative economic paradigms as a solution to inequality.

 

Personal Statement

The Oxfam Inequality Framework & Toolkit Project sponsored by the Atlantic Fellowship puts together a unique combination of practitioners, prestigious academics and researchers with a vast and diverse range of expertise in development.

I am excited to be part of this project together with Oxfam colleagues and to see come together the world of academia and that of civil society. As an Atlantic Fellow, I will contribute to the project and to the programme by helping to establish connections and synergies between these two worlds. I will bring my understanding of the deep causes of poverty and inequalities at the micro level and of their macroeconomic drivers, and my experience of anti-poverty policies in different developing contexts. I will help to make sure that the framework deepens and at the same time simplifies our understanding of how inequality is produced and reproduced in different parts of the world and that the toolkit answers the research and analysis needs of Oxfam country partners.

Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva

Ricardo Kenny_4-3

Executive Director, Oxfam Mexico, Mexico

Living in: Mexico City, Mexico
Nationality: Mexican

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Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva is the Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam Mexico, a Mexican organisation that is a member of the global Oxfam Confederation. As OMX´s CEO, Ricardo is leading a team in the fight against extreme inequality and unfair power structures in Mexico with an integrated strategy that includes research, campaigning and working with local social movements. Before moving back to Mexico, Ricardo was the head of research at Oxfam GB, where he led research in support of Oxfam’s global programs, notably the organisation’s research on economic inequality that positioned Oxfam globally as a leading voice on the topic. Before joining Oxfam, Ricardo worked at the UNDP´s Human Development Reports in New York for almost 10 years. He also worked in the research departments of the World Bank - where he was the co-author of the World Development Report 2010, and the Inter-American Development Bank, both in Washington DC.

He has conducted research on food security, climate change, social security and social policy, regional development, income, poverty and inequality. He graduated with honours from Mexico City’s Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, and earned a Master’s degree in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Spain.

 

Personal Statement

Ricardo is a Mexican economist with over 15 years’ experience in international development. Since 2015 he has been the Executive Director for Oxfam Mexico, and in that time he has positioned the organization as the leading voice against inequality in the country. Between 2012 and 2015, he served as Head of Research at Oxfam GB. He co-wrote the first Oxfam global report on inequality “Working for the Few”, which quickly became the most successful publication in the 75 history of Oxfam.

As Oxfam’s Executive Director in Mexico, Ricardo will contribute to ensure that the Inequality Framework and Toolkit is also a useful tool for middle-income countries and emerging economies. I will provide my expertise on inequality, and more concretely on political capture, to enrich general reflection and analysis and, as a result, the final output. Ricardo will also lead the dissemination of the Framework and Toolkit in Mexico once the project is completed.

Claire Kumar

Claire Kumar (8) preferred 4-3Independent Consultant

Living in: Rwanda
Nationality: Irish

Claire has over 20 years of experience working in international development, with a particular focus on social and economic policy issues. As policy advisor in Christian Aid for 7 years, she led work on economic justice – with a strong focus on inequality and fiscal policy - for the Latin America and Caribbean division. She produced many pieces of research during this time, including a regional inequality report, briefing papers on tax systems in Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil, a report on mineral taxation in Latin America and oil and gas taxation in Bolivia.

Since leaving Christian Aid and relocating to Rwanda Claire has worked for the last 5 years as a consultant. She has had a broad range of clients and have worked consistently with UNICEF and Save the Children on fiscal policy issues during this time. For UNICEF, she developed their ‘Public Finance for Children’ baseline analysis in relation to health and nutrition, education, social protection, water and sanitation and early childhood development. Two separate research reports were produced on national and district social sector budgets, as well as the production of a complete data set and tools to aid equity analysis in future monitoring efforts. Claire also worked with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Rwanda to develop a national plan for the expansion of pre-primary education in Rwanda. Work included extensive costing of options to scale up investment in pre-primary education, with equitable targeting a key element of this work. With Save the Children her work has focused on producing research reports and briefing papers around the tax system and tax reform agenda, as well as the education and social protection budgets in Rwanda. This work has included district level education budget and progress analysis, which has fed into advocacy regarding alternative, more equitable, education financing formulas for the country.

Claire has also continued other work in the tax and development field, conducting research for Christian Aid and the Tax Justice Network-Africa on tax and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa, and working with Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) to scope opportunities for US-based foundations interested in working on tax and illicit financial flows. Currently her client base includes Transparency and Accountability Initiative, the Global Alliance for Tax Justice – identifying options for their new strategic plan – and Oxfam. Her new work with Oxfam is in collaboration with LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, as part of their joint project: “Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit.”

Claire’s undergraduate degree was in European Law and French at Exeter University. After this Claire moved to Guatemala for 5 years and worked for an international development agency. She then returned to the UK and completed a master’s degree in Development Management at LSE, with a strong focus on economic development policy.

 

Personal Statement

I have worked consistently on inequality over the past decade. It has been a central issue for a lot of my economic and social policy work. Working in Rwanda directly on social policies and particularly the equitable financing aspect has really driven a strong interest in understanding much more about public policy design and evaluation from the perspective of inequalities. In addition the aspect of progressive taxation has also been a central focus of my work for many years. Being informed on the most recent research, thinking and debates regarding inequality reduction (or aggravation) as a result of tax systems, social policy design and public expenditure is of great personal and professional interest for me. This is why I am so excited to participate in Oxfam and III’s joint project ‘Development, Testing and Publication of an Inequality Framework and Toolkit’ and the Visiting Atlantic Fellows programme. I expect the development of this inequality framework and toolkit to contribute to a stronger understanding of the different dimensions of inequality and the main drivers of inequality in developing countries. Not only will this project advance understanding, it aims to provide easy-to-use tools and frameworks for developing country practitioners, assisting them to analyse inequalities and design appropriate programmes and policies in response.