The 2019 Norad Conference: Speaker bios
The thematic focus for the 2019 Norad Conference is digitalisation and development. An inspiring group of international and Norwegian experts and innovators will discuss digital inclusion, digital public goods, democratisation and human rights, and new technologies.
The speaker bios are listed alphabetically.
Touch the plus sign to read more about each one.
Aissatou Bah is Head of Global Partnerships at the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Sierra Leone. She holds degrees in business administration, communications and law as well as a public policy fellowship from the University of Ghana Business School, New York University and UCLA School of Law.
Prior to that, Aissatou was a Senior Program Manager at BRAC USA and the Regional Advisor of Girls’ Initiatives, where she focused on promoting BRAC’s financial inclusion and adolescent development work in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Aissatou has more than seven years of experience working across sectors to promote international development, focusing on women and human rights issues, migration, innovation and public policy. Prior to joining BRAC USA, she worked with Zenith Bank in Ghana, and at the African Services Committee where she addressed immigrant rights.
Twitter: Aissatou Bah from @DSTISierraLeone
The Norad Conference 2019: Bah participates in session 2 on digital public goods.
Alp Toker is executive director of global internet observatory and cyber-security watchdog NetBlocks. He leads a team that monitors critical infrastructure during elections, conflicts, political crisis and natural disasters.
His work has helped communities stay connected around the world in times of emergency, increasing transparency, supporting development and opening a new front in the fight for a reliable, secure and open internet.
Twitter: @atoker from @netblocks
The Norad Conference 2019: Toker participates in session 3: Digitalisation, democratisation and human rights
Aya Miyaguchi is Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation. Aya originally became fascinated in the blockchain space for its potential to impact financial inclusion in emerging markets. In early 2013, she joined Kraken as Managing Director and has since worked to educate the public, VCs, and regulators on cryptocurrencies and blockchain innovation globally.
As the Executive Director of the Ethereum Foundation, Aya leads the Foundation’s teams and supports the Ethereum ecosystem through core development and research activities, and educational efforts aimed at further expanding the world’s largest blockchain ecosystem. In 2019, she was appointed to the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Global Council.
Twitter: @mi_ayako representing @Ethereum Foundation
The Norad Conference 2019: Miyaguchi participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development, in a panel discussion blockchain.
Chris Fabian leads UNICEF Ventures, which invests in open source technology for the public good. The team focuses on investments that address issues like climate change, job loss, human population movements, and pandemics.
Chris co-founded UNICEF’s Innovation Unit in 2007, and developed the organization’s innovation strategy, as well as advising Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon and António Guterres on frontier technology issues including AI, data science, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. His teams created products like RapidPro, an SMS-based platform for moving information with more than 7m users, MagicBox which uses AI to track Ebola and other diseases, and four corridors for building policy around drones and UAVs.
Chris is a Commissioner on Global Health Futures for the Lancet / FT, and holds honorary scholar positions at the Chinese Central Academy for Fine Arts, and New York University, as well as Edmund Hillary and Tribeca Disruption Fellowships. He was a member of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” list in 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the American University in Cairo and a Master’s in Communication from the New School in New York.
Twitter: @hichrisfabian representing @UNICEFinnovate
The Norad Conference 2019: Fabian participates in session 2 on digital public goods and in a panel on blockchain in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Christer Gundersen works as the Chief Technology Officer for The Global Digital Library. The goal of the GDL is to provide access to free, high-quality, early grade reading resources in languages that children use and understand. Christer also serves as the chapter lead for Creative Commons Norway.
As a person, Christer is a passionate technology enthusiast working to unlock the full potential of the internet, with a vision of a more democratic and open web where everyone can participate safely!
Twitter: @christergund representing @GDigitalLibrary
The Norad Conference 2019: Gundersen participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Christine Holst is a doctoral research fellow from Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo. She is the coordinator of the DigI-project (Non-discriminating access for digital inclusion) and her background is in development studies, health geography, African studies and economy.
Twitter: Representing @Basic4All and @UniOslo_GH
The Norad Conference 2019: Holst participates in session 1: Digital inclusion
Claire is currently the Acting Head of Mobile for Development (M4D) at GSMA. The M4D team brings together the mobile ecosystem and the development sector to deliver sustainable business and large-scale socio-economic impact for the underserved. Claire also leads the Connected Women, Connected Society and Assistive Tech programmes within M4D. These programmes are focused on accelerating digital inclusion for the underserved in low- and middle-income countries. Connected Women has a specific focus on accelerating digital and financial inclusion for women and Assistive Tech has a specific focus on advancing digital inclusion for those with disabilities.
Claire has been working for over 20 years with public, private and international development organisations on social policy and service delivery with a focus on information and communications technology (ICT) policy and practice. She has developed, managed and implemented programmes in Africa, Asia and the UK. Claire holds an MSc in Social Research Methods (2012) and an MSc in Social Policy and Planning in Developing Countries (1997) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Twitter: Claire Sibthorpe represents @GSMA
The Norad Conference 2019: Sibthorpe participates in session 1: Digital inclusion
The Minister of International Development is responsible for international development efforts in countries outside the OSCE, the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. He is also responsible for development cooperation under the auspices of the UN system, the World Bank, the regional development banks and other global funds and programmes. In addition, he is responsible for Norad, Norec and Norfund.
Twitter: @dagiulstein from @Utenriksdept (Norwegian) & @NorwayMFA (English)
The Norad Conference 2019: Ulstein participates in session 1: Digital inclusion
Doug is President and CEO of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, which works in 100 countries on the policy framework for civil society, public participation, and digitization. Doug is also on the faculty of Georgetown Law School, where he teaches international civil society law.
Doug serves on the advisory boards of the UN Democracy Fund and the OECD Civic Space Observatory, and he previously co-chaired the civil society pillar of the Community of Democracies. In the early 1990s, Doug was Legal Advisor in the Czechoslovak Parliament, where he helped draft the country’s nonprofit laws.
In addition to his legal career, Doug developed social enterprises for persons with disabilities, and he wrote a book that transformed the process of producing low-cost eyeglasses around the world. Doug is a graduate of Yale Law School, with undergraduate studies at Cornell and Oxford.
Twitter: Douglas Rutzen represents @ICNLAlliance
The Norad Conference 2019: Rutzen participates in session 3: Digitalisation, democratisation and human rights.
George Gelaga-King is a software developer and member of the Data & Innovation team at the Directorate of Science, Technology & Innovation in Sierra Leone. He has been integral to multiple projects that include the development and deployment of technology products nationwide across Sierra Leone, for example the Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system (eIDSR). This led to Sierra Leone being the first WHO Africa nation to rollout a digital IDSR system across all health facilities in the country. He first got into programming in his early teens, becoming one of his hobbies. George had no idea that years later his hobby would provide him the opportunity to work across the private, nonprofit and public sector, and now play a role in the digital transformation of his country.
Twitter: George Gelaga-King from @DSTISierraLeone
The Norad Conference 2019: George Gelaga-King participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Henrik Fliflet is a senior adviser in the Norwegian International Forest and Climate Initiative where he covers topics related to the measuring and monitoring of tropical deforestation.
Located in the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Initiative aims to financially reward countries that reduce deforestation, while engaging with civil society and businesses to tackle the root causes of deforestation. Henrik spends his free time overwhelmed by his three small children and will never say no to karaoke.
Twitter: Henrik Flifledt represents @ClimateForest
The Norad Conference 2019: Flifledt participates in session 2 on digital public goods.
Dr Ieva Martinkenaite is among the key figures at Telenor Group contributing to building the AI research and innovation ecosystem in Norway. She holds several high profile regional and national appointments in AI. A Vice President at Telenor Research, Ieva is responsible for innovation and commercialization of research in Telenor across several technology areas, such as AI, IoT and 5G. Her work also involves advisory to Telenor executives and business leaders on digital technologies, innovation strategy and digital partnerships.
In June 2018, Ieva was appointed by the European Commission to the High-Level Expert Group on AI (AI HLEG). As one of 52 experts appointed to advise the EU on ethical frameworks and policy and investment strategy of AI, Ieva contributes to further development and implementation of the European strategy on AI.
Representing Telenor Group, Ieva is also the national contact point (NCP) for Norway in Horizon 2020 AI4EU consortium project, the largest EU research and innovation project aimed at building a collaborative AI platform with European industry, research and social partners. Concurrently, Ieva heads the AI task force at Europe’s largest Telecommunication Operator’s Association (ETNO).
Previously, Ieva worked as a research fellow at BI Norwegian Business School and Fox School of Business and was a Vice-Dean at the first business university in Lithuania, ISM University of Management and Economics.
Ieva holds a PhD in Strategy from BI Norwegian Business School and has more than 15 years of experience in business research, advisory and academia across developed and emerging economies. Her passion lies in building collaborative communities for the digital age and promoting women and young girls in tech.
Twitter: Ieva Martinkenaite represents @TelenorResearch
The Norad Conference 2019: Martinkenaite participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Dr. Jørn Kristiansen holds a PhD in meteorology from the University in Oslo. Since 2005 he has worked at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway). First as a research scientist in numerical weather prediction (NWP). In 2010 he became the leader of Yr – the world’s fifth biggest online weather service. Yr is a collaboration between MET Norway and the Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK).
Dr. Kristiansen was integral in establishing postprocessing of the NWP data for more localized, accurate and user-centric weather forecasts. Between 2011 and 2015 he was head of the NWP division of the R&D department. He contributed to the notable achievement of establishing the unique collaboration between Finland, Norway and Sweden on an operational high-resolution ensemble prediction system for more reliable weather forecasts.
As Director for the Development Centre for Weather Forecasting, he has since 2016 pushed NWP to Science for Services, organizing and leading the complete automated information chain for weather forecasting, from observations to end-users and open data, and from research to operations. Dr. Kristiansen has several national and international duties, including member of the WMO Polar Prediction Project steering group. A recent interest interdisciplinary research and end-user focused co-production that is crucial to significantly advance the provision of forecasts and their uncertainties.
Twitter: @JornkJrn from @Meteorologisk
The Norad Conference 2019: Kristiansen participates in session 2 on digital public goods.
Kari Moe Jacobsen
Kari Moe Jacobsen is program coordinator for the Digitalisation for Development programme at Norad. She is also visiting scholar at the Erasmus Mundus PIONEER programme (Master of Science in Public Sector Innovation and e-Governance). She holds a PhD in entrepreneurship and innovation.
Twitter: Kari Moe Jacobsen represents @noradno
The Norad Conference 2019: Moe Jacobsen moderates panel discussions in session 1: Digital inclusion and session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Professor Kristin Braa is the head of HISP at University of Oslo at Department of Informatics. HISP UiO is responsible for the digital global good platform DHIS2. DHIS2 is an open source, web-based health management information system (HMIS) platform.
Today, DHIS2 in use by 67 low and middle-income countries, including national-scale deployments in 50 countries (+ 12 Indian states implementing at full scale) and pilot programs in 21 countries. 2.28 billion people are covered by this service in DHIS 2 (30% of the world’s population). With inclusion of NGO-based programs, DHIS2 is in use in more than 100 countries. HISP is a global action research network comprised of 12 in-country and regional organizations, providing day-in, day-out direct support to ministries and local implementers of DHIS2.
Twitter: Kristin Braa represents @DHIS_2
The Norad Conference 2019: Braa participates in session 2 on digital public goods.
Liv Marte Nordhaug
Liv Marte Nordhaug heads Norad's Digital Empowerment Project. The aim of the project is to improve access to digital information and services in low- and middle-income countries. As part of her portfolio, she manages the operational side of Norway’s work with UNICEF and others on establishing an alliance and a platform for digital public goods. She also manages the Global Digital Library (GDL), which is an example of a digital public good. Nordhaug was a Sherpa to the Norwegian Minister of Digitalisation, Nikolai Astrup, related to his participation in the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
Twitter: @LivMarte from @noradno
The Norad Conference 2019: Nordhaug participates in session 2 on digital public goods.
Miora is the Africa Business Development and Partnerships Director at KaiOS Technologies, the feature phone operating system used by 105 million+ users across emerging markets. Her work focuses on building an ecosystem of partners to narrow the digital divide in Africa, from governments to mobile operators to app developers. Miora also serves on the board of Chalkboard Education, a mobile learning company based in West Africa. She has been involved in the digital technology and innovation space in Africa and Europe for more than 8 years. She grew up in Madagascar and France.
Twitter: @Miouri from @KaiOStech
The Norad Conference 2019: Randriambeloma participates in session 1: Digital inclusion.
Mitchell Baker is Executive Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation. Mitchell Baker co-founded the Mozilla Project to support the open, innovative web and ensure it continues offering opportunities for everyone. As Chairwoman of Mozilla, Mitchell Baker is responsible for organizing and motivating a massive, worldwide, collective of employees and volunteers who are building the internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all. Mitchell is deeply engaged in developing product offerings that promote the mission of empowering individuals. She also guides the overall scope and direction of Mozilla’s mission. Mitchell has written the key documents that set out Mozilla's enduring mission and commitments – the Mozilla Public License in 1998, the Mozilla Manifesto in 2007 and the Mozilla Manifesto Addendum – also known as the Pledge for a Healthy Internet – in 2018.
Mitchell is a strong advocate for the open internet, open source, and the importance of connecting technology to its impact on individuals and society. She is highly regarded as one of the pioneers of the web and bringing the open internet to consumers. She was instrumental in Netscape’s decision in 1998 to release its source code to the public. This later led to the release of the Firefox browser and the creation of the Mozilla Foundation as a global technology force that spans software product development, educational initiatives, and participatory movements. After co-founding the Mozilla Project, Mitchell served as its general manager and CEO from 1999 until January 2008, when the organization’s rapid growth encouraged her to split her responsibilities and add a CEO.
Mitchell is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Oxford Internet Institute and the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. She is an MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate with the Open Agriculture Initiative, and a Board Member of OpenMRS, Inc., which develops open source medical records systems for use in resource-constrained environments. She co-chaired the U.S. Department of Commerce Digital Economy Board of Advisors from its inception in March 2016 until August 2017, served on the United Nations High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, and the ICANN High Level Panel on Global Internet Cooperation and Governance Mechanisms. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mitchell received her B.A. in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley and her J.D. from Berkeley Law.
Twitter: @MitchellBaker represents @mozilla
The Norad Conference 2019: Baker participates in session 3: Digitalisation, democratisation and human rights.
Since 1st January 2017, Morten Wenstad has been the Vice President for EON Reality Norway AS. Mortens ambition is to bring the forces of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things together to propel knowledge transfer to new levels.
Before EON Reality, Morten was the CEO of Crisis Training AS, a Norwegian company developing optimal learning and training methodologies and supporting tools to optimize security and safety training for individuals, teams and organizations. Spending time with numerous international end-user organizations, R&D institutions and industry, has given Morten deep knowledge about how learning and training methodologies, together with cost effective and resource reducing AR and VR solutions, can be used in an effective way.
Morten has ten years’ experience as an officer in the armed forces, mainly managing complex procurement programs related to sensor- and communication systems. Morten has also been responsible for complex R&D-, design and development programs in the defense industry for several years. He has also been an advisor in the field of business development and product development.
The Norad Conference 2019: Wenstad participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Nanjira is a researcher, policy analyst and advocacy strategist interested in and working on understanding the unfolding impacts of ICT adoption and how those impact governance, media, innovation, entrepreneurship and societal culture, with a keen focus on gender implications. She currently leads policy advocacy to promote digital equality in access to and use of the web at the World Wide Web Foundation, with a particular focus on the Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online work. She previously worked at the iHub in Nairobi, where she provided strategic guidance for growth of technology innovation research in the East Africa region.
Nanjira is a member of the DFID’s Digital Advisory Panel, board member at The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN) , and a Commissioner on the Lancet and Financial Times Global Commission (Governing Health Futures 2030). Nanjira also advises the Triple A Affirmative Action for Algorithms initiative by Women@TheTable, and the World Economic Forum’s project on Preparing Civil Society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She served as a panel member on the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (2018-2019), as a trustee at UK Citizens Online Democracy (mySociety) (2016-2019), and as a deputy on the United Nations Secretary General's High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment (2016-17).
The Norad Conference 2019: Sambuli participates in session 1: Digital inclusion and session 3: Digitalisation, democratisation and human rights.
Robert Opp is currently the Chief Digital Officer of UNDP, the United Nations' global sustainable development organization working across 170 countries globally with more than 17,000 staff. He leads the agency’s digital transformation, an organization-wide effort, to harness the power of new technology to improve the lives of those furthest behind.
Prior to this role, Robert served as Director of the Innovation and Change Management Division within the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) where he established an in-house ‘Zero Hunger’ innovation accelerator and created an award-winning crowdfunding smartphone app, ShareTheMeal.
Previously, Robert was a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) based in Singapore where he served a wide range of private sector companies throughout Asia and the Middle East. He has also served in various other capacities in WFP, including Manager of emergency food aid assistance programmes in Angola within a $260 million operation that reached over 1 million internally displaced persons affected by civil war. Robert began his career at Canada’s International Development Research Centre managing projects focused on peacebuilding in post-conflict countries.
Twitter: @Robert_Opp from @UNDP
The Norad Conference 2019: Opp participates in session 3: Digitalisation, democratisation and human rights
Sofie spent most of her career building banks, including the first online bank for UBS. Having built projects for eight major international banks in over 60 countries worth over USD 1bn, Sofie decided the last thing the world needs is another bank and hence hiveonline was born. hiveonline helps financially excluded entrepreneurs thrive by giving them access to credit and market with a fact-based reputation and blockchain. hiveonline is working with CARE International supporting their network of savings groups and women entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa. Sofie is an advisor on sustainable fintech and blockchain to the UN, Central Banks and the G20. She chairs the Edinburgh Futures Institute advisory panel. Her second book, Fintech Revolution, was named “One of the Best Fintech Books of All Time” and she has twice been named top 100 Women in Fintech.
Twitter: @SofieBlakstad from @wearehiveonline
The Norad Conference 2019: Blakstad participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development, in a panel on blockchain.
Sriramya Gainedi is lead marketing manager for Google AI and Research. She focuses on global AI education efforts as well as core and product research. Previously, she spent four years in the Obama Administration working on social impact initiatives.
Twitter: @SriGainedi from @Google
The Norad Conference 2019: Gainedi participates in session 4: Harnessing frontier technologies for development.
Tanuj Bhojwani is a fellow at iSPIRT Foundation. At iSPIRT, he is currently working on Digital Sky, the National Rural Livelihood Mission and taking India Stack global. Tanuj is also writing a book on public platforms with Nandan Nilekani. Prior to iSPIRT, Tanuj has been a VC at Bharat Innovation Fund, and an entrepreneur building drones in India. He has a degree in Engineering from IIT Bombay and a diploma in the liberal arts from Ashoka University. Tanuj is passionate about all things math, technology, puzzles and board games.
Twitter: @tanujb from iSPIRT/ @Product_Nation
The Norad Conference 2019: Bhojawani participates in session 2 on digital public goods.
Vyjayanti Desai leads the World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative, a global, multi-sectoral initiative to support progress towards trusted and inclusive identification systems. The initiative is engaging with clients in over 20 countries, advancing thought leadership on the topic of digital identity and convening partners to further shape the agenda with a shared vision. She has recently been tasked with leading two additional and related work streams on Data Governance and Digitizing Government to Person (G2P) payments – both initiatives will follow a similar institution-wide approach as ID4D.
Vyjayanti joined the World Bank Group in 2000 and has worked on a range of private and financial sector development programs across both the World Bank and IFC advisory and across several regions -- Africa, East Asia and South Asia. The programs she has led, working with client countries, has spanned topics of small and medium enterprise development (SME), competitiveness and innovation, investment climate policy and regulatory reforms, and access to finance. She previously managed a global team focused on private participation in infrastructure and social sectors in investment climate. Within the WBG, she has led and shaped many multi-disciplinary and institution-wide programs, actively working to develop a unified agenda and designing integrated multi-sectoral solutions to these pressing development challenges. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, Vyjayanti worked at Deloitte Emerging Markets, where she provided consulting services to clients on private and financial sector development.
Vyjayanti has a MBA in Finance from Wharton School of Business, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a BA in International Relations from University of Pennsylvania.
Twitter: @vyjayantidesai from @WorldBank
The Norad Conference 2019: Desai participates in session 3: Digitalisation, democratisation and human rights.