Phillip Adams, writer, broadcaster & filmaker
Phillip Adams is a prolific writer and film-maker of over 30 books and films. As a broadcaster he has interviewed thousands of the world's most influential politicians, historians, scientists, novelists, theologians, economists and philosophers.
A foundation member of the Australia Council and chairman of the Film, Radio and Television Board, Phillip has chaired the Australian Film Institute, the Australian Film Commission, Film Australia and the National Australia Day Council. He is a former president of the Victorian Council for the Arts and was foundation chairman of the Commission for the Future. He currently chairs the Advisory Board of the Centre for the Mind at Sydney University and the Australian National University. As well as two Orders of Australia, Phillip was Australian Humanist of the Year (1987), Republican of the Year 2005. He is a recipient of the Golden Lion (Cannes), the Longford award, the Henry Lawson Arts Award (twice) and the National Trust elected him one of Australia's 100 Living National Treasures. He has also received four honorary doctorates.
Julian Assange, writer, hacker & activist
Born in Australia to a touring theater family, Julian attended 37 schools and 6 universities. As a teenager he became Australia's most famous ethical computer hacker. After referrals from the United States government his phone was tapped in 1991 and he spent 6 years in court. He hacked thousand of systems, including the Pentagon and the US military Security Coordination Center. Following a case in the supreme court, he was convicted of writing a magazine that inspired crimes against the federal government. He was instrumental in introducing the internet to Australia and co-founded one of Australia's first ISPs. He also founded the 'Pickup' civil rights group for children. A prolific programmer and consultant for many open-source projects, he was the co-inventor of 'deniable cryptography' a system used protect human rights workers from torture. He studied mathematics, philosophy and neuroscience. He has written and traveled extensively and has been the subject of several books and documentaries.
Wang Dan, leading Tienanmen dissident & historian
Wang Dan’s leadership role in China's Tienanmen Square democracy movement earned him the top spot on China’s list of “21 Most Wanted Beijing Student Leaders.” He was sentenced to four years prison for “counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement.” Wang’s activism pre-dated the official start of the pro-democracy movement. Re-arrested in 1995, Wang was sentenced to an eleven-year term for “plotting to subvert the government.” He ultimately spent seven years in a Liaoning prison and was exiled in 1998 under international political pressure to the United States. He is currently the chairman of the Chinese Constitutional Reform Association. He completed his master's in East Asian history in 2001 at Harvard University, where he is currently earning a Ph.D.
Wang was interviewed and appeared in the documentary The Beijing Crackdown and the movie Moving the Mountain, about the Tiananmen Square protests. He also featured prominately in Shen Tong's book Almost a Revolution.
Suelette Dreyfus, writer & academic
An Australian-American writer and academic, Suelette Dreyfus was educated in the UK, US and Australia. She studied at Oxford University and Columbia University in New York, where she received the Teichmann Prize. She holds a Ph.D in economics and policy. She is a regular writer for respected broadsheets such as The Independent (UK) and The Age (Australia), The Australian and the UNESCO Courier. As a journalist and author she specializes in electronic espionage, cryptography and human rights. She is the author of 'Underground' (Random House).
Ben Laurie, internet security expert
Ben Laurie is acknowledged as one of the foremost computer security experts in the world. He is the creator of Apache-SSL, the worlds most popular encrypted webserver, and a core team member of OpenSSL – the world’s most widely used cryptographic library. He is author of ‘Apache: The Definitive Guide,’ is a founding director of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and the Head of the ASF Security Team. He read mathematics at Cambridge and is a director of the Open Rights Group and the Schmoo group.
Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, Tibetan exile & activist
Tashi is President of the Washington Tibet Association. He spent over 25 years in the service of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. His service included: 1998-1999 Joint Secretary, Department of Security; 1993-1998 Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Nepal; and 1992-1993 Deputy Secretary, Department of Health, Central Tibetan Administration in India. Following his escape from the Chinese invasion of Eastern Tibet at age five or six, Tashi Namgyal literally grew up all by himself from the age of seven or eight. He visited his mother and other siblings in Tibet for the first time in his life in 2005, after 46 years' absence.
Xiao Qiang, Chinese human rights activist
Qiang Xiao is the Director of the Berkeley China Internet Project. A physicist by training, Xiao Qiang received a B.S. from the University of Science and Technology of China and studied as a PhD candidate (1986-1989) in astrophysics at the University of Notre Dame. He became a full time human rights activist after the Tienanmen Massacre in 1989. Xiao was the Executive Director of Human Rights in China (1991 - 2002), and is currently vice-chair of the Steering Committee of the World Movement for Democracy. Xiao is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, and is profiled in the book "Soul Purpose: 40 People Who Are Changing the World for the Better," (Melcher Media, 2003). He was a visiting fellow of the Santa Fe Institute in Spring, 2002. He is also a weekly commentator for Radio Free Asia.
Chico Whitaker, Brazilian social justice advocate
Brazilian catholic social-justice advocate and architect Francisco “Chico” Whitaker Ferreira joined the opposition movement against his country’s military regime in 1964. In 1966 the military forced him into exile with his wife Stella and their four children. Until his return in 1982, he lived and worked in France and Chile as a researcher and advisor for UNESCO, among other organizations. Whitaker has founded many successful electoral reform movements including the "Plenaries for popular participation" which presented 122 amendments to the Brazilian constitution, with 12 million signatures. He also sits as the Commission for Justice & Peace representative on the National Committee of the Movement Against Electoral Corruption. In 2000 he co-founded the World Social Forum, which has been held every year since that date, and in 2005 attracted 150,000 participants. In 2006, Whitaker received the Right Livelihood Award, an annual prize given since 1980 to support people who not only dedicate themselves to social justice and the environment, but who live according to those principles. The prize was awarded in December by the Swedish parliament. He is the author of two books about the World Social Forum.
Wang Youcai, founder of the Chinese Democracy Party & physicist
Wang Youcai (王有才) was one of the student leaders in the Tienanmen Square protests of 1989. Then a graduate student at the Peking University, he was arrested in 1989 and sentenced in 1991 for "conspiring to overthrow the Government of China". In June 25, 1998, he co-founded the Chinese Democracy Party. In December 1998 the Chinese government sentenced him to 11 years in prison for subversion. He was exiled in 2004 under international political pressure, especially from the United States. He was a visiting scholar at Fairbank Center at Harvard University for one year and completed his master's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. He is now a Ph.D. candidate in physics.
He is a member of Chinese Constitutional Democratic Transition Research and a member of the Coordinative Service Platform of the China Democracy Party .