Astrid Al-anani is the Deputy President of the Public Service and Commercial Union (PSCU). She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Labour Law (NQF 8) and have been in the labour relations field (incl. conditions of service negotiations) in the Public Service for more than 20 years.

Junia Rezende Christiansen is a commercial lawyer with more than 10 years of experience in international investments and contracts, particularly in the energy sector. She is currently a senior legal counsel in Norfund, focusing, primarily, on investments in renewable energy companies. She is grateful for having the chance to support the strengthening of sustainable energy companies in developing countries through her work. Prior to joining Norfund, Junia worked at the Norwegian energy company, Equinor. She also co-founded a micro-coffee roaster in Myanmar which was sold to local residents and is now a growing business, despite the challenging context in which it is operating.

Junia has an LLM from the University of Cambridge, UK and a law degree from UFMG, Brazil, where she is from and is qualified to practice.

Prof. Sunniva Whittaker is the rector of the University of Agder (UiA) for the period 2019 to 2023.
As rector, she is also the Chair of the University Board. She represents the university externally in matters connected to UiA and higher education in general. She is also frequently consulted on various issues by private and public sector stakeholders locally, regionally and nationally.
Prof. Whitakker aims to create a culture of learning where students feel like partners in a community of knowledge. She works to achieve close collaboration with students through cooperation with student organizations and associations and by having her own student mentors.
Ensuring good research conditions for research groups and individual researchers is also a top priority.
In line with UiA’s vision of co-creation of tomorrow’s knowledge, she stresses the importance of further development of collaboration between industry and public institutions in the region, including ensuring that students are connected to the labour market during their education.
An important aspect of this collaboration is promoting the knowledge that is co-created with industry and society. She works to strengthen the position of knowledge in the public debate, and consequently contribute to understanding and solving challenges in society.
Prof. Whittaker is aware of the importance of the university’s role in societal debate. In 2018, she arranged a conference where researchers from Norway and abroad discussed what role researchers of philosophy, literature, history and other humanities subjects should play in the public debate.
Prof. Whitakker considers both Norwegian and English as her mother tongues. She is a full professor, holding a PhD in French Linguistics from the University of Bergen and was formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education at UiA. She has also held positions as Department Head and Vice Rector at NHH Norwegian School of Economics. She has studied French, Literary Science and Russian and is also a trained conference interpreter. Her PhD dissertation, which was written in French, explores how argumentation is integrated into language structures.
While working at NHH, she studied macroeconomics, marketing, organizational psychology, management and organizational theory. Her background in the humanities has given her a high level of cultural competence and human understanding. Sunniva recognizes the value of her interdisciplinary background and works to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration at UiA.

Ms. Josina Z. Machel holds an MSc degree in Sociology (Gender) from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Social Science, Sociology and Political Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Ms Machel is also the founder and director of Protect Her Life, an insurance company underwritten by Capital Alliance, a division of the Liberty Life group. Ms Machel was recently elected to be the representative of Survivors of Violence, Mozambique, in the National Interim group at the European Union and United Nations. She was nominated to the Mama Albertina Sisulu 100 Women of Fortitude. Ms Machel has been involved in a number of advocacy and social empowerment programs to improve perceptions and bring change around social issues impacting the SADC region. In 2001, she joined Anglo-American, as its Human Resources Officer. She later joined the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA). In 2007, Ms Machel started a consulting and training company Pfukani (Ltd) and in 2015 she started the Kuhluka Movement and has won numerous awards both in South Africa and the USA. She is currently a board member of The Graca Machel Trust, The Samora Machel Documentation Centre, The Emerald Group in Dubai She has also served on the following boards: Atlas Mara BancABC (Mozambique) (founded in 2013 by former Barclays Executive Bob Diamond and entrepreneur Ashish J. Thakkar), Right to Care and International Women’s health coalition.

Tshego Nesvag is a strong business professional with an Executive MBA focused on Energy and Green Growth from BI Norwegian Business School. Her primary focus is within the energy sector in Sub Saharan Africa. Skilled in project financing, business networking, leadership as well as business management primarily from the banking sector in leading banks in South Africa such as Standard Bank and First National Bank and in Norway working for SEB. Her interest and skills are in helping to build responsible businesses with greater business values integrating the triple bottom lines (financial + environmental and social, or “profit + planet, people”). Other interests that gets Tshego’s spirit to come alive is working with women empowerment, alternative energy solutions and most recently, blockchain and machine learning.

Mthunzi Perry-Mason Mdwaba holds a Baccalaureus Artium (B.A.) degree and Baccalaureus Legum (LL.B.) degree from the University of the Witswatersrand (WITS). He is the founder, President and CEO of TZoro IBC that operates across 27 countries, dedicated to Computer Technical Training Solutions (the largest partner for Cisco and Microsoft). He has held the position of the Chairman of Employer Organisations, namely, the BITF (Black Information Technology Forum) and for two terms was President of the ITA (Information Technology Association), which consisted of all the major IT and Telecoms companies such as Cisco, SAP & Siemens. He was a board member of the Business Women’s Association in South Africa, Vice President for Professionals that comprised members of the professional organisations of Business Unity South Africa and Vice President of the Uni-sectoral Sector (which included Technology, hospitality, banking and mining). He currently holds many strategic positions within the global employer arena, including that of IOE Vice-President to the ILO, Vice Chairman of the ILO GB, ex-officio member of the Global Commission on the Future of Work, Employer Spokesman for the PFA (Program, Finance & Administration), member of the B20 Task Force on Employment & Education, Chairman of the CSR & Business and Human Rights Policy Working Group of the IOE. At present in South Africa he is the Chairman of Signum Alliance (Telecoms & Fibre Optic OSH Association). Mthunzi also holds the position of Chairman of the University of the Western Cape, as well as Chairman of Productivity SA (a creation of the Employment Services Act, reporting into the Minister of Labour).

Sanjaykumar R Maharaj holds a Baccalaureus Artium (B.A.) degree and Baccalaureus Legum (LL.B.) degree from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. In 2017 he obtained his Masters degree (LL.M.) in Information and Communication Technology Law from the University of Oslo, Norway. He founded a South African commercial law-firm in 2009 and represented international corporations, national companies, financial institutions, prominent individual clients, and developing companies. In 2019 he founded a Tech-business of which the core aim is to provide products/services to enable sustainable and scalable solutions through innovation and technology. The business also provides legal consultancy services in the ICT sector. He has been instrumental in establishing and promoting strong ties between South African and Nordic business Communities. In addition, he is promoting study opportunities in higher education between South Africa and Norway. He was also recently been appointed to the advisory board of the Basic Internet Foundation, which aims to make digital inclusion accessible to improve the life of every single human, by providing free access to the Internet and information – furthering the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


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