Dr. Tererai Trent is one of today’s most internationally recognized voices for quality education and women’s empowerment. Distinguished as Oprah Winfrey’s “All-Time Favorite Guest,” Dr. Trent is a scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, author, and the founder of Tererai Trent International, which aims to provide quality education in rural Africa.
Rooted in humble beginnings, Dr. Trent grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe. Despite facing many obstacles, she never lost sight of her dreams for an education. Dr. Trent could not have imagined that her steadfast determination, hard work and belief in her dreams would eventually earn her a prominent global platform with world leaders and international audiences where she leads the global charge in the fight for quality education and women’s rights. Dr. Trent has been a two-time keynote speaker at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit where she used her growing voice to appeal to international businesses to invest in equal access to quality education. She is currently an adjunct professor in Monitoring & Evaluation in Global Health at Drexel University, School of Public Health.
Her new book, The Awakened Woman: Remembering & Reigniting Our Sacred Dream, published in 2017, has a foreword by Oprah Winfrey and was the Winner of a 2017 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Her picture book, The Girl Who Buried Her Dreams in a Can, is based on her story of perseverance, and encourages children to explore their imagination and dream big. Dr. Trent has become a symbol of hope for everyone, and living proof that anything is possible. Her favorite motto is “Tinogona,” meaning, “It is achievable!”
Fereshteh Forough is an advocate of Afghan women’s literacy and a true believer in women’s empowerment through education and technology.
Fereshteh Forough is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Code to Inspire, a non-profit organization committed to educating female students in Afghanistan and improving their technical literacy.
Fereshteh is from Herat, Afghanistan and was born in Iran as a refugee during the USSR invasion in Afghanistan. She finished her high school education in Iran. After the fall of the Taliban, Fereshteh moved to Herat with her family where she received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Herat University and then a Master’s degree from Technical University of Berlin in Germany. She taught as a professor in the Computer Science Faculty of Herat University for three years.
Fereshteh was a 2013 TED speaker on digital literacy and communication without borders and a 2015 Clinton Global Initiative speaker. Her goal with Code To Inspire is to spread the message of peace and to empower women everywhere. She is an advocate of using digital currency like Bitcoin, and was the first to formally promote its use in Afghanistan.
Marion Bethel’s decades-long advocacy for the rights of Bahamian women and girls spans the areas of human rights law, education, creative writing and film.
Marion Bethel’s decades-long advocacy for the rights of Bahamian women and girls spans the areas of human rights law, education, creative writing and film. Born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, Marion is currently a Partner and an Attorney-at-law with her husband at their law firm, Sears & Co., in The Bahamas Marion was awarded a Bachelor and Masters of Arts in Law from Cambridge University, and has been a practicing attorney since 1986.
In 2013, Ms. Bethel produced and directed a documentary entitled Womanish Ways: Freedom, Human Rights & Democracy, The Women’s Suffrage Movement in the Bahamas – 1948-1962, which examines the struggle for Bahamian women’s suffrage. Marion has also published two collections of poetry, and is currently working on a third manuscript of poetry and a memoir.
In 2016, Marion was nominated by The Bahamas and elected by the United Nations States Parties to serve as an international expert on the UN Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
She is a 1997 Alice Proskauer Poetry Fellow at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College at Harvard University. Her work has been featured at the 3rd Congress of Caribbean Writers, Cave Canem, and international poetry festivals throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. Her debut film, Womanish Ways, has also been widely screened throughout the Caribbean and across the United States at documentary film festivals, cultural centers, and universities.