Bennett Freeman, Chair of the Advisory Board
Over the last 15 years of a three decade-long career, Bennett Freeman has worked at the intersection of multinational companies, responsible investors, NGOs, governments and international institutions to promote corporate responsibility, sustainability and human rights around the world. An innovative leader in the fields of business and human rights, natural resource governance and responsible investment, he has played key roles in developing and leading several now well-established multi-stakeholder initiatives and global standards.
From 2006-15, he was Senior Vice President-Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments, the largest family of sustainable and responsible (SRI) mutual funds in the U.S. He led the firm’s environmental, social and governance analysis and its shareholder advocacy and public policy initiatives on issues such as Sudan divestment and responsible investment in Burma; extractive revenue transparency and conflict minerals; Internet freedom of expression and privacy. He is Board Secretary of the Global Network Initiative, a member of the Governing Board of the Natural Resources Governance Institute, and Board Chair of EG Justice. He formerly served on the boards of the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Oxfam America and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. As U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor from 1999-2001, he led the State Department’s bilateral human rights diplomacy and the development of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, the global human rights standard for the oil and mining industries. Previously he served as Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Stuart Eizenstat from 1997-1999 and as Chief Speechwriter for Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Before joining the State Department as a Clinton presidential appointee, he was Manager-Corporate Affairs for GE from 1985-1993 after beginning his career as a speechwriter and presidential campaign aide to former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale from 1982-1984.
Aryeh Neier, Honorary Chair of the Advisory Board
Aryeh Neier served as president of the Open Society Foundations from 1993 to 2012. Before that, he served for 12 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder in 1978. He worked 15 years at the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight years as national executive director. He served as an adjunct professor of law at New York University for more than a dozen years, and has also taught at Georgetown University Law School and the University of Siena (Italy). Since 2012, he has served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Paris School of International Affairs of Sciences Po.
Neier is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, and has published in periodicals such as the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Foreign Policy. For a dozen years he wrote a column on human rights for The Nation. He has contributed more than 300 op-ed articles in newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the International Herald Tribune. Author of seven books, including his most recent, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (2012), Neier has also contributed chapters to more than 20 books.
He has lectured at many leading universities in the United States and worldwide. He is the recipient of seven honorary degrees and numerous awards from such organizations as the American Bar Association, the Swedish Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Alexander Soros is the founder of The Alexander Soros Foundation, an organization promoting civil rights, social justice and education. He sits on the boards of Bend the Arc, which supports grassroots efforts to strengthen lower-income neighborhoods across the U.S.; Global Witness, which exposes and breaks the links between natural resources, conflict and corruption; and the Open Society Foundations, which work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies. He graduated from New York University and is pursuing a doctorate in European History at the University of California, Berkeley. His op-eds have appeared in The Miami Herald, Politico, and The Guardian.
Arlene McCarthy OBE
Arlene McCarthy served four terms as a Member of the European Parliament from 1994 -2014. She was the first UK woman President of the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs committee. In 2009 she was elected Vice-President of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee and campaigned for greater transparency in financial markets working on the post financial crisis reform agenda. She led for the Parliament on the new market abuse rules introducing the first ever EU-wide criminal sanctions in the wake of the Libor interest rate manipulation scandal. she has been a champion for Global Witness's work on transparency and was responsible for negotiating and securing the new EU wide law on Transparency for the extractive and logging industries. Working with a coalition of NGOs she led the campaign for and achieved new position limits in markets to tackle commodity speculation in the market structure reform law.
Arlene was named one of the 100 most influential women in European Finance in 2010, 2011 and 2012. She was awarded MEP of the year in 2014 for her outstanding contribution to reform in financial markets. In the 2015 New Years Honours list she was awarded an OBE.
Arlene is director of AMC strategy and is a special advisor on financial issues to the chairman of Bloomberg.
Chris is an award-winning writer, producer and director of television documentaries on international affairs. He is currently work as an Executive Producer for the BBC and as an independent producer with Ronachan Films. From 2004 -2005 he was the Managing Director of OR Media, a leading documentary production company. He has a particular interest in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, and his films have been shown on many of the world's leading TV networks. He has written for the Sunday Times and Independent on Sunday, and has contributed a chapter to a recent book about the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq. He has also been a visiting lecturer at Oxford University, the Royal College of Art and the National Film School. Chris’s charitable work includes three years as a board member of the Catholic Institute for International Relations. He is also the Chair of the Global Witness Trust.
Edward Zwick is an Academy and Emmy Award-winning Producer, Writer and Director. Along with his partner, Marshall Herskovitz, he created the critically acclaimed television series Thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Relativity and Once and Again, as well as the Academy-Award winning films, Shakespeare in Love and Traffic. Zwick began his feature film career directing About Last Night. He went on to direct the Academy Award winning films Glory and Legends of the Fall, as well as Courage Under Fire, The Siege, The Last Samurai, Defence, Love & Other Drugs, and Pawn Sacrifice. His most recent film is Never Go Back.
He is currently serving as a Governor of the Motion Picture Academy, as well as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute. He is most proud of his film Blood Diamond - based on the work of Global Witness - which has helped bring worldwide attention to the resource curse and its cost in human suffering.
Mabel van Oranje
A global advocate for freedom, justice and development for two decades, Mabel van Oranje is the initiator and chair of ‘Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage’. She is also co-founder and the executive chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the (advisory) boards of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Crisis Action, Global Witness, the Malala Fund, the Open Society Foundations and The Elders.
In 1993, Mabel founded the European Action Council for Peace in the Balkans and was its CEO until 1997. In 1997, she joined the Open Society Foundations in Brussels as Executive Director, becoming OSF’s London-based International Advocacy Director in 2003. From 2008 until 2012, she was the first CEO of The Elders.
Mabel helped found the Dutch foundation War Child (1995), the global NGO coalition ‘Publish What You Pay’ (2002) and the Independent Commission on Turkey (2004). She has been actively engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in global efforts that led to the establishment of the International Criminal Court in 2002.
Mabel holds masters degrees in Economics and Political Science (cum laude) from the University of Amsterdam. In 2005, the World Economic Forum named her one of its Young Global Leaders. In 2014, she received a Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship for her work with Girls Not Brides.
Misha Glenny is a British journalist who specializes in south-eastern Europe and global organized crime. He is the author of McMafia, an exhaustive look at global organized crime and a critique of globalization’s dark side. Glenny’s research on that unseen industry led him to believe that it may account for 15 percent of the world's GDP. His latest book is DarkMarket: How Hackers Became the New Mafia. He studied at Bristol University and Prague's Charles University before joining The Guardian as its Central Europe correspondent and later the BBC. He specialised in reporting on the Balkans independence wars in the late 1980s and early 1990s that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia. While at the BBC, Glenny won 1993's Sony Gold Award for his 'outstanding contribution to broadcasting'. He has also written three books about Central and Eastern Europe.
Glenny advised the US and some European governments on policy issues and for three years ran an NGO helping with the reconstruction of Serbia, Macedonia and Kosovo. Misha has worked as a visiting professor at both the LSE and Columbia University. He speaks several languages and has now returned to his native London after over two decades living in Europe as well as North and South America.
Silas Siakor is the former Director of the Liberia-based Sustainable Development Institute. He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2006 for his work gathering evidence that proved that Liberia's former president, Charles Taylor, was using profits from logging to fund the civil war. His work, carried out at great personal risk, led to UN sanctions on the export of Liberian timber. As Director of SDI from 2005 to 2009, Silas coordinated civil society’s input into Liberia’s forest reform, and he continues to work for social justice, human rights and the environment. He was chosen by TIME Magazine as one of the 2008 Heroes of the Environment and, in 2012 was awarded the Alexander Soros Foundation Award for Extraordinary Achievement in Environmental and Human Rights Activism. He is now working with communities to secure legal recognition and protection for their customary lands, and to resist large scale land grabs for monoculture plantation development.
As a partner at Omidyar Network, Stephen brings exceptional experience in applying media and technology to create positive social impact. Stephen leads the global Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative and a portfolio that includes a broad range of national and global organizations. Many are innovators in the use of technology to help make governments more responsive and aid citizens in holding their governments to account. The portfolio includes: change.org, Global Witness, mySociety, Co-Creation Hub, Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente and Janaagraha, among others.
Prior to Omidyar Network, Stephen served as the chief executive of BBC Media Action, where he led a period of sustained growth that included building programs in more than 40 countries in the developing world. Stephen helped establish the organization’s international reputation as one of the largest and most successful organizations using media and communications to improve the lives of the world’s poor and promote better governance and transparency worldwide. Prior to the BBC, Stephen held executive positions at several non-profit organizations based in the United Kingdom and the developing world.
Stephen is based in London and is also a board member of mySociety and Praekelt Foundation. He holds an MA in Oriental and African Studies from the University of London.
Bandi Mbubi was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. He spent the first 21 years of his life there, experiencing first-hand the political unrest and oppression which have since worsened throughout the region. As a student activist, Bandi suffered persecution and fled, seeking political asylum in the UK.
He was instrumental in setting up Congo Calling, which was launched at TedExeter 2012 calling for the development of fair trade technology which uses ethically sourced conflict free minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Illegal mining in the Eastern part of the DRC fuels the continuing war there and denies local people the peace, stability and prosperity which will flow from the ethical management of Congo's natural resources.
In the UK, Bandi's commitment to social justice has continued to inspire his work. He is the Director of the Manna Society, the largest day centre for homeless people in South London, which includes an Education and Training programme that aims to counter social exclusion through improving basic literacy and IT skills. He is also a Trustee of Church Action on Poverty.
Anita Ramasastry is the Roland Hijorth Professor of Law and Director of the Sustainable International Development Graduate Program at the University of Washington School of Law. She is an expert in the fields of business and human rights, anti-corruption and commercial law and development.
She is a commissioner and chair of the Washington state delegation and the President Elect of the national Uniform Law Commission, where she oversaw the drafting of a new law focused on prevention of and remedies for human trafficking, for the 50 states.
Between 2009-2012, Ramasastry served as a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Market Access and Compliance in the International Trade Administration (ITA) of the US Department of Commerce, working under the leadership of then Secretary Gary Locke. She directed the ITA's anti-corruption and trade efforts, and helped to launch new initiatives with the G20, APEC and the OSCE. She also coordinated trade strategies with new emerging markets such as Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia and developed a new business and human rights curriculum for US trade officers in their embassies worldwide.
Professor Ramastastry has served as a staff attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an associate attorney at the law firm White & Case in Budapest, and has been a visiting professor and Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen May Westfield College in London.