Dr Mo Ibrahim

Dr Mo Ibrahim is a global expert in mobile communications with a distinguished academic and business career.

Sudanese by birth, Dr Ibrahim is the founder of Celtel International, one of Africa's most successful companies.

In 1998, Dr Ibrahim founded MSI Cellular Investments, which was later renamed Celtel International. The company now operates in 15 African countries, under licenses that cover more than a third of the continent's population. The company has invested more than US$ 750 million in Africa, helping to bring the benefits of mobile communications to millions of people across the continent.

In 2005, Celtel International was sold to MTC Kuwait for $3.4 billion, making it one of Africa's most successful commercial ventures.

Dr Mo Ibrahim holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alexandria, Egypt, an MSc in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the University of Bradford, and a PhD in Mobile Communications from the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School.

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Lalla Ben Barka

Lalla Ben Barka is a leading figure in the implementation and reform of education policy throughout Africa.

A champion of education as a means of driving Africa's long term economic development, Mrs Ben Barka's expertise centres on extending provision, strengthening educational structures, securing investment, accessing technology and challenging traditional attitudes, not least to women's education.

After gaining degrees in both Education and Psychology from the University of Paris X, Mrs Ben Barka worked briefly in France as a psychologist before returning to Africa to teach in Morocco and Mauritania. She later gained a PhD in Education at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Malian by birth, Mrs Ben Barka has worked domestically as head of the Women Promotion Division of the National Directorate of Functional Literacy and Applied Linguistics (DNAFLA) and the Programme Decennal de Developpement de l'Education (PRODEC).

In 1998, Mrs Ben Barka was appointed Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Six years later, she took on the role of Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Africa in 2004, providing intellectual, strategic and operational leadership for programmes promoting education across sub-Saharan Africa. In acknowledgement of her ongoing contribution to education, Lalla Ben Barka was awarded the UNESCO Literacy Prize in 1993.

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Lord Cairns

Lord Cairns has had a distinguished business career leading some of the UK's most successful investment banks.

A development economist by training, Lord Cairns was Chairman of Allied Zurich and BAT Industries plc and also Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SG Warburg. Between 1992 and 2004, he chaired Actis Capital LLP (formerly CDC Group plc), one of the largest emerging market venture capital operations with investments in agriculture, financial services, industry and infrastructure in some eighteen African countries.

Alongside Cyril Ramaphosa, Lord Cairns founded and chaired the Commonwealth Business Council at the request of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Mbeki of South Africa. The organisation continues to provide a platform for governments and the private sector to work together to increase trade and investment across the Commonwealth, with a particular focus on Africa.

Between 1981 until 1992, Lord Cairns also chaired Voluntary Service Overseas, the organisation responsible for placing over a thousand volunteers each year on a range of education, health and infrastructure projects across Africa. Lord Cairns has also served as Chair of the Overseas Development Institute, which, under his guidance, more than doubled in size and significantly increased its range of work.

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Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele is a leading campaigner for social justice both domestically and abroad.

Growing up in South Africa under apartheid, Dr Ramphele was an active figure in student politics and a founder member of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) along with her partner, Steve Biko. In 1977, Dr Ramphele was arrested and banished to the Northen Transvaal for seven years. Continuing her campaign for empowerment and justice, she established the Ithuseng Community Health Programme.

In 1986, Dr Ramphele joined the University of Cape Town as a research fellow. Ten years later, she was appointed Vice Chancellor, becoming the first black woman to hold this position at a South African university.

Dr Ramphele resigned from the post in 2000 to join the World Bank Group as Managing Director, becoming the first African and only the second women to be appointed to the post. Her responsibilities included managing the Bank's human development activities in education, health, nutrition, population and social protection.

In 2004, Dr Mamphela Ramphele was appointed Co-Chair of the UN Commission on migration, a new organisation examining the opportunities and challenges posed by national and international migration in Africa and across the globe. She is also the past chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Independent Development Trust (IDT), the largest development capacity building NGO in South Africa.

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Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson has been a leading campaigner for human rights throughout her life.

Elected as the first female President of Ireland in 1990, Mrs Robinson is widely recognised for having developed a new level engagement between Ireland and the developing world. In 1992, Mrs Robinson became the first head of state to visit famine stricken Somalia, and was also the first to visit Rwanda after the Genocide.

In 1997, in recognition of her commitment to justice and equality, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appointed Mrs Robinson United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Since leaving the UN in 2002, Mrs Robinson has continued to champion developing world issues through the founding of Realizing Rights, an ethical globalisation initiative focusing on developing fair and equitable trade, strengthening responses to HIV/ AIDS and shaping more humane migration policies.

Mary Robinson has received widespread recognition for her efforts in the international arena. In 2004, she was made an Amnesty International 'Ambassador of Conscience'. She is the honorary president of Oxfam International.

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Salim Ahmed Salim

Salim Ahmed Salim is one of the Africa's premier statesmen.

Educated at Delhi and Columbia Universities, Mr Salim began his political career in international diplomacy, serving as Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt (1964-1965), High Commissioner to India (1965-1968), Ambassador to the People's Republic of China (1969) and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York (1970).

A leading figure in the fight against apartheid, Mr Salim has served as Chairman of the United Nations Security Council Commission on Sanctions against Rhodesia, President of the International Conference on Sanctions against South Africa and President of the Paris International Conference on Apartheid. Chairing the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, he helped entrench a new era of independence across the continent.

He was elected President of the United Nations Security Council in 1976 and went on to serve as President of the Thirty-Fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 1979.

Leaving the UN in 1980, Salim Ahmed Salim returned to Tanzania where he became a significant figure in domestic politics, holding several senior Ministerial positions as well as Prime Minister (1984-85). He was later elected Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity, overseeing its transformation into the African Union.

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Nicholas Ulanov

Nicholas Ulanov is an expert in providing strategy and management advice to the nonprofit sector.

The Ulanov Partnership, which Mr Ulanov founded nearly two decades ago, serves leading public benefit institutions globally. It has shared and helped define best practice in the education, foundation, public policy, arts, museum, and other nonprofit fields in more than a score of countries on six continents.

Before starting his firm, Mr Ulanov was a media and communications consultant at McKinsey & Company, concentrating in established and new media cross-border activities in every major language, extending into computer and high technology research and development.

As a consultant in the 1990s, Mr Ulanov was the architect of Oxford University's Campaign for Oxford, the first major capital campaign outside the United States, raising more than 300 million pounds and filling some 200 academic posts. As part of his work with Oxford, he served for two years as executive director of its North American Offices in New York and Toronto.

Nicholas Ulanov is co-founder of the Royal Institution World Science Assembly, bridging the science and political communities on matters such as potential risks of avian flu and other pandemics. He was NGO representative to the United Nations for the Pate Institute, carrying on the work of UNICEF founder Maurice Pate, and as a Rhodes Scholar alumnus of Oxford remains active in many university-tied activities and higher education affairs internationally.

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