In August 1996, Laura Liswood co-founded the Council of Women World Leaders with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland located at the UN Foundation in Washington, DC. Ms. Liswood is the Secretary General of the Council, which is composed of women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government. It is the only organization of its kind globally.
From 2001-2016, Liswood was also named Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs and later became a senior advisor. She continues to speak to audiences globally on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Liswood holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from California State University, San Diego. She holds a J.D. degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts. After the events of 9/11, she became a reserve police officer in the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department and retired as a sergeant.
Liswood is the author of three books The Loudest Duck-Moving beyond Diversity, Women World Leaders, and Serving Them Right. She is a long time participant with the World Economic Forum and is a Steward of the Forum’s Education, Gender and Work Initiative.
She is a commissioner for the New Mexico State Personnel Review Board, a board advisor for EDGE, and a member of the Washington DC Metro Transit Police Investigative Review Panel. She divides her time between Bethesda MD and Santa Fe NM.
Professor Sir David Eastwood
Former Vice-Chancellor and Principal, University of Birmingham
Sir David held a chair in Modern History at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he was also a Head of Department, Dean, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. While at Swansea he co-founded the National Centre for Public Policy.
He was a Fellow and Senior Tutor of Pembroke College (1988–1995) and is now an Honorary Fellow of both St Peter’s College, Oxford, from where he graduated in 1980; Keble College, Oxford, where he was a Research Fellow from 1983 to 1987; and from the University of Swansea.
He is currently Chair of Universitas 21 and he was Chair of Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) from 2015-2020. He is a Board Member and Non-Executive Director of INTO University Partnerships, a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and has served as an International Member of the Hong Kong University Grants Committee since 2011.
Sir David has served on numerous national bodies and committees, including as a member of the Research Support Libraries Group 2002-2003, the Roberts Review of the Research Assessment Exercise, the Tomlinson Group on 14-19 Education 2003-2004, the Councils of the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory, and the Board of the Quality Assurance Agency. He has chaired the Russell Group, the 1994 Group of Universities, UCAS, UUK’s Longer Term Strategy Group, the Association of the Universities of the East of England, and Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA). He also chaired the Westminster Education Commission in 2009 and was a member of the Government's Independent Review Panel looking at Higher Education Funding and Student Finance (the Browne review). More recently, he was a member of the Advisory Group, led by Sir Paul Nurse, reviewing UK Research Councils.
In January 2012, he was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of West Midlands, and in June 2014, he was awarded a Knighthood for services to Higher Education.
Since 1991 Sir David has been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, serving as its Literary Director 1994-2000 and as chair of its Studies in History Board 2000-2004. He has published extensively on the history of the British state, the history of ideas, and electoral politics.
He is married with three children and six grandchildren. He enjoys music, politics, walking, reading, and sport.
David Nabarro is Chair of Global Health and Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at the Imperial College London. He supports systems leadership for sustainable development through his Switzerland based social enterprise 4SD. From March 2020, David is appointed Special Envoy of WHO Director General on COVID-19.
David secured his medical qualification in 1974 and has worked in over 50 countries – in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities, and in United Nations (UN) programs. He worked for the British government in the 1990s as head of Health and Population and director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development. From 1999 to 2017 he held leadership roles in the UN system (starting with the World Health Organization and finishing in the office of the UN Secretary General). He focused on disease outbreaks and health systems, food insecurity and nutrition, then climate change and sustainable development. In October 2018, David received the World Food Prize together with Lawrence Haddad for building action coalitions for better action on nutrition across the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Joanna Newman
Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
Chief Executive and Secretary General of the ACU Dr Newman joined the ACU in April 2017 and is responsible for fostering and promoting the aims of the ACU, as defined by its membership, in developing inter-Commonwealth relations in the field of higher education.
Before joining the ACU, Joanna was the Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London where she was responsible for all international matters for the university. In previous positions, Joanna represented the UK higher education sector as Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now known as Universities UK International) where she negotiated the UK’s role in Brazil’s Science without Borders mobility scheme, launched HE Global and initiated a number of international partnerships on behalf of the UK higher education sector. Before this, she was Head of Higher Education at the British Library where she commissioned the Google Generation report and was responsible for introducing researchers to one of the world’s greatest research libraries.
Joanna is a Senior Research Fellow in the History Faculty at King’s and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton and has taught history at University College London and the University of Warwick. In 2014, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.
Joanna is on the board of the School of Advanced Studies, University of London International Academy, University of London; The Conversation UK and the VITAE external advisory board. She has been a judge on the Times Higher Education Awards. She regularly speaks at conferences, roundtables and on international platforms representing the UK on issues relating to higher education and internationalisation.
Dr Shabnum Sarfraz
Member Social Sector and Devolution, Ministry of Planning, Government of Pakistan
Dr Shabnum Sarfraz is an internationally recognized senior development professional with 15+ years of leadership experience leading NGOs, policy think tanks, and government offices; steering large-scale high-impact reforms and project portfolios with cumulative value of over $1.2 Billion; while leading multi-disciplinary & cross-cultural teams & working collaboratively across institutions both locally & internationally. She sits in the Federal Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, headed by the Prime Minister where she manages a broad range of legislative, policy & structural reforms. She is currently heading the complete cluster of Social Development in Pakistan & is responsible for the overall financial control & oversight of the cluster’s delivery & performance. She serves as the focal point for coordination with ministers, senior bureaucrats, bilateral & multilaterals for social cohesion & social protection agenda & facilitating investments in social development with a cross cutting focus on addressing gender fault lines.
Dr Sarfraz is also heading the National COVID19 Secretariat, the conduit between the UN Agencies and the government, which was instrumental in mobilizing and repurposing post-COVID19 and technical backstopping for evidence informed policy initiatives. Despite the economic contraction, she managed to secure 410 percent higher allocation for health sector in Pakistan and is now steering the upgradation of 152 health facilities for a more resilient and responsive health infrastructure in the country.
Dr Sarfraz steered the development of the recently launched national gender policy framework for Pakistan. She founded the Women in Global Health chapter in Asia, bringing together 900+ women leaders for advancing gender transformative leadership and was able to secure 1000 scholarships for Pakistani nurses in the year of Nurses and Midwives (2020).
Dr Sarfraz holds an MBA from Surrey University UK; a bachelor’s in medicine from Pakistan; post-graduate certifications from Harvard University, McGill University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Johns Hopkins University. In 2019, Dr Sarfraz was selected in the inaugural cohort of the Harvard Global Health LEAD Fellowship.
Dominique is a climate justice activist, speaker, and writer based in the U.K. She organises in Fridays for Future International, global youth movement for climate justice, a Coordinator in Climate Live, global youth-led concerts to engage, educate and empower, with UN Women Feminist Action Coalition for Climate Justice as a Fridays for Future representative, and a member of Bad Activist Collective which is a space dedicated to connecting activists, justice seekers and change makers from all around the globe to combat systems of oppression and fight for a better future for people and the planet.
She was noted in Forbes 2020 Top 100 UK Environmentalist List and has been featured in Dazed, the New York Times, the Guardian Weekend, Huffington Post, Heathline, Refinery29, VICE, Bustle, and Popsugar.
She began her activism in the U.K. Student Climate Network organising climate strikes in 2019 and was involved in the September 2019 strike which mobilised 300,000 people across the U.K. after discovering how air pollution disproportionately impacted her community, and the connection between environmental issues, gender, and race. Now she focuses on mobilising people for the climate, national and international campaigns, working with organisations for change, and utilising music and creative means to outreach to people.
She is a public speaker on environmental justice that is interlinked with social issues and has spoken at events such as the UN Climate Change Conference in 2019, the New York Times Hub at COP26 alongside Malala and hosted by Emma Watson, at COP26 on communities of colour’s access to nature in the U.K, Reading Festival in 2021, and is a 2020 TEDxCountdown speaker with Climate Reality.
She is a student at the University of Birmingham studying Political Science & International Relations and using her academic research to focus on intersectional environmentalism & ecofeminism incorporating gender and race. For her, achieving Climate Justice that benefits people and the planet is crucial. She campaigns for equitable and systemic action from global leaders.
Professor Christopher Smith
Executive Chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council, UKRI
Professor Christopher Smith is the Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and International Champion for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). He has been Professor of Ancient History at the University of St Andrews since 2002, and he was also Dean of Arts (2002- 2006), Dean of Graduate Studies (2006-2009), and Vice-Principal (2007-2009), before being seconded as Director of the British School at Rome, the UK’s leading humanities and creative arts research institute overseas, from 2009 to 2017.
From 2017 to 2020 he was a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow, with a project on The Roman Kings: A Study in Power. He held visiting positions in Erfurt, Princeton, Otago, Pavia, Milan, Siena, Aarhus and Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Professor Smith’s research explores constitutionalism and state formation with a particular emphasis on the development of Rome as a political and social community, using archaeological, historical and anthropological approaches. He is the author or editor of over 20 books from textual editions to museum studies. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Royal Society of Arts and a Member of the Academia Europaea.
Phil Baty is an international authority on university performance and strategy, with 25 years of experience in global higher education, including a decade (2009-2019) as Editor of the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings and its derivative analyses. He is an award-winning journalist and a sought-after speaker, commentator and consultant and he currently leads external affairs activities at THE, the trusted global data and insights partner for the higher education sector. Phil was the creator of the THE World Academic Summit and he oversees the team that organises the summit and THE’s extensive series of international events and awards, which now engage more than 40,000 university leaders, academics, business executives and policymakers annually.
Alison is the chief executive Advance HE. She was appointed in autumn 2017, to lead the merger of three national agencies which created Advance HE in 2018.
Prior to that she was the chief executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE). She has worked in higher education for 25 years. Before becoming chief executive of the LFHE, she was head of policy for leadership, governance and management at the HEFCE (The Higher Education Funding Council for England, now the Office for Students, the HE regulator for England), where she led on a wide range of policy themes and established both the Leadership Foundation and the Equality Challenge Unit.
She is a past president and chair of the Association of University Administrators (AUA) and represents the UK on the Association of Commonwealth Universities Human Resources Management Network and also sits on the British Council’s planning committee for Going Global, the major international higher education conference. She has and has held numerous Board positions and works widely in the area of effective governance.
Alison has extensive international experience in higher education sitting on a variety of boards and advising governments and higher education institutions on higher education reform. She led the review of teaching and learning enhancement for the Australian government, which established the Office for Learning and Teaching to enhance teaching quality across the Australian higher education sector. Alison regularly takes part in conferences and events, both nationally and internationally, and has been an invited speaker in over 30 countries on four continents speaking on all aspects of university leadership, governance and management.
Director of Policy, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Eliot’s work has a strong focus on climate change, but he also helps drive action on the circular economy, plastics and issues around the social and justice implications of economic change. He represents the Corporate Leaders Group on the board of the We Mean Business Coalition and has been responsible for CISL work that has included collaborations with the World Bank, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UNFCCC, a number of European governments and a wide range of senior business stakeholders. He regularly advises business and government and has sat, for example, on the UK government’s BEIS Economic Recovery Taskforce on Net Zero and Treasury Net Zero Review Technology and Innovation Advisory Group.
He has over 20 years’ experience in working to unlock systemic change, including providing policy analysis around climate action for Save the Children and Christian Aid, leading Christian Aid’s UK lobbying work with parliamentarians and political parties, and working on mobilising grassroots campaigning in locations from Addis Ababa to Birmingham.
As Lead Negotiator for the UK Presidency at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Archie led the process that resulted in all 196 countries agreeing the 'Glasgow Climate Pact' and finalising the Paris Agreement Rulebook. He has been the UK’s Lead Climate Negotiator since 2016 in the UNFCCC, EU, G7 and G20. He has a background in both international and domestic policy. Previous roles include Director International Climate & Energy; Deputy Director Americas & Head of South America Department in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; Head of Delivery in the Department of Energy & Climate Change; and Deputy Director for Business, Environment and the Olympics in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.
Former Secretary of State for International Development and MP
Andrew Mitchell was Secretary of State for International Development in the British Government from May 2010 until he became Government Chief Whip in September 2012. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 2010.
Prior to joining the cabinet in 2010, he also held numerous junior positions in Government (1992-1997) and in opposition (2003-2010). He has been the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield since 2001.
Rosanna advocates for the value of arts and culture to address local and global challenges in an inclusive and sustainable way. She is responsible for developing strategy, overseeing programmes, fundraising, and advancing policy and practice in this area.
In her role, Rosanna has co-designed cultural programmes on gender equality, disability arts inclusion, youth activism, migration, and conflict transformation. Previously, Rosanna worked for European institutions on education and human rights, and promoted multiculturalism in schools and universities in the UK. In her spare time, she volunteers for local initiatives on culture and the environment, and sings in several choirs.
Christopher is Professor of Leadership Practice at the University of Birmingham, where he is Director of the Birmingham Leadership Institute.
His work focuses on leadership and change in complex systems with a particular interest in applying and adapting insights from narrative, framing, movement building and adaptive leadership. Working in the UK, US and Europe he leads a number of senior executive and graduate development programmes and post-graduate teaching/Exec Ed as well as consulting widely.
Director of School Feeding Division, World Food Programme
During her 16 years of experience with WFP, Carmen Burbano de Lara has focused on supporting governments to improve the nutrition, education and wellbeing of children. Specifically, she is interested in tackling the interrelated issues of malnutrition, poor health and learning and in strengthening the national safety net systems designed to address these issues.
She has held management positions in Peru, Rome, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania; and provided temporary support to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti and Nepal. Ms. Burbano de Lara is WFP’s world expert in school feeding. In this capacity, she has advised the governments of China, Colombia and Kenya, Ghana, among others, often in partnership with the World Bank. She is the co-author of the most influential publications on school feeding over the last ten years including “Re-imagining school feeding: a human capital investment in health, education, social protection and agriculture” (2018); “The School Feeding Sourcebook” (2016); and “Rethinking School Feeding” (2009), published by the World Bank. She has authored WFP’s flagship publication “The State of School Feeding Worldwide” (2013) and conceived and drafted WFP’s Global School Feeding Policy (2013). Prior to assuming her current position in July 2018, she was WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Peru. She has also worked in UNDP’s Executive Office.
Carmen is Ecuadorian and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University and Bachelor in Latin-American Studies and Comparative Literature from New York University.