Microsoft, 11 Times Square, New York
Hosted by the Aspire Artemis Foundation
Theme: Creating opportunity pipelines to leave no one behind
In order to highlight the importance of the arts to the STEM curriculum, the programme includes short live musical interludes throughout the event.
Musical Performance by Taj Weekes, UNICEF Champion for Children
Introduction to the event:
Ms. Hermina Johnny, Founder, Aspire Artemis Foundation. (2 minutes)
Ms. Harsha Bennur, Director, Partner Technology OCP Microsoft (2 minutes)
His Excellency Cosmos Richardson, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Saint Lucia to the United Nations(3 minutes)
His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Djibouti to the United Nations (3 minutes)
Remarks from delegations on national activities on Inclusion, Art & Accessibility. (3 minutes per delegation)
· His Excellency Mr. Marc-André Blanchard, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York
· Her Excellency Ms. Vanessa Frazier, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations
Remarks from United Nations system organizations on activities and initiatives that support the decade of action for the attainment of the SDGs and their work on diversity, inclusion and intersectionality in the tech field. (3 minutes per organization)
· UNCTAD – Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief NY Office, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
· ITU – Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nations
Musical Interlude: (3 minutes)
Inclusion and access: Panel discussion on mechanisms that can build capacity and increase inclusion and access (20 minutes.)
Topic: During this section on “access” our panel members will be asked to consider the effectiveness of current efforts, and examine the social paradigms that can inhibit, or encourage, equality and access. Beyond any structural or social impediments to improving gender equality in STEM, challenges may also remain when it comes to ensuring the quality and availability of training and skills development opportunities. Panel members will consider the challenges associated with technology skills transfers, either through integration into formal education channels or via informal extracurricular activities.
Moderator: Ifeoma Ike Esq, Social Impact Strategist and Founding Partner – Think Rubix LLC
· Xian Horn, Disability activist, Social Entrepreneur and Forbes and Thrive contributor
· Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief NY Office, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
· Bisila Bokoko, Entrepreneur, speaker and philanthropist
Q&A: (10 minutes)
Musical interlude:(3 minutes)Mr. Ryan Brahms
The role of innovation: Panel discussion exploring directions for achieving balance (20 minutes)
Panel discussion on the role of innovation in driving creativity.
Topic: Gender equality in the STEM fields continues to lag, although many initiatives have been developed to achieve a more equal gender balance in all areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Panel members will be asked to consider the effectiveness of these efforts, and examine the social paradigms that can inhibit, or encourage innovation and creativity.
Creating a gender equal world requires action and encouragement by many stakeholders, with creativity and innovation. Panel members will consider the new directions that each stakeholder group could take to achieve a gender balance.
Moderator: Halaa Menasy, Microsoft
· Harsha Bennur, Director of Partner Technology US OCP, Microsoft
· Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nations
· Patti Cataldi, NYC Director, Women in Technology Network
Q&A: (10 minutes)
Art & Culture. (20 minutes)
Panel discussion reflecting on experiences that can empower a drive towards embracing arts & culture for the attainment of the SDGs.
Topic: The importance of Arts and culture in STEM: Substantial research studies have been done to highlight the fact that there are substantive developmental benefits of music and art for the educational advancement of youth. It increases motor skills, aids in language development, helps develop positive decision making abilities, strengthens visual and listening abilities, expands inventiveness, facilitates cultural awareness, and leads to increased academic performance.
Moderator: Vanne Paige Padgett Director of Girls Initiatives, YWCA
· Angel Pai, PBS host, Actress, Model, Entrepreneur, Humanitarian
· Sade Lythcott, CEO, The National Black Theatre
· Janira Obregon, Beauty Queen and Disability Activist
Q&A: (10 minutes)
Final observations by the Aspire Artemis Foundation (2 minutes)
Conclusion and wrap-up by Harsha Bennur, Director, Partner Technology, Microsoft US OCP (2 minutes)
RSVP IS REQUIRED: RSVP ON EVENTBRITE FOR THE EVENT AT MICROSOFT HERE: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inclusion-art-accessibility-tickets-88578577911
RSVP FOR THE AFTERPARTY FOR SOCIAL GOOD IS ALSO REQUIRED: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inclusion-art-accessibility-tickets-88578577911
H. E. Mr. Marc-André Blanchard, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York
Mr. Blanchard was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault, one of Canada’s largest law firms, advising companies on strategic and public policy issues. In 2014, he served on the boards of the Conference Board of Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer.
Mr. Blanchard holds master’s degrees in public administration and international relations from Columbia University in New York City and in public international law from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the Université de Montréal in Canada.
H.E Mr. Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Mission of Djibouti to the United Nations.
Mr. Doualeh served concurrently as Ambassador of Djibouti to the United Nations in Geneva, the World Trade Organization and Switzerland from 2006. During that tenure, he held various chairmanships, including Chairman-Rapporteur of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2009 to 2015. Between 2007 and 2008 he was Vice-President of the Human Rights Council during its second cycle.
Before assuming his duties in Geneva, Mr. Doualeh served as Special Envoy to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development-led process for Somalia. In that capacity, he was a member of the Djibouti ministerial delegation to the special session of the Security Council on Sudan and Somalia held in Nairobi in 2004. Previous to that, in 2002, he was appointed to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s technical committee to prepare for the National Conference for peace in Somalia. In 2000, he served as a member of the technical secretariat that assisted the national committee in the planning and organizing of the National Reconciliation Conference for Peace in Somalia held in Arta, Djibouti.
In October 2001, he was appointed Secretary to his country’s National Committee on Terrorism. From April to October 2001, he served as Special Envoy to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development-led Sudan Peace Process.
H.E. Ms. Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Malta to the United Nations
Ms. Vanessa Frazier until recently served as Malta’s Ambassador to Italy, with concurrent accreditation to San Marino and to the Rome-based United Nations agencies.
She was previously Malta’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) until October 2013. Before that she held the post of defence attaché inside the Office of the Prime Minister.
Frazier’s first diplomatic appointment was as First Secretary in 1994, when she served as a Desk Officer for the United States and the Americas, as well as the Mediterranean Department.
Having begun her career as a student diplomat in 1992, Frazier was subsequently posted to Malta’s Embassies in Washington, D.C., Rome, Brussels and London.
She holds a master’s degree in diplomatic studies from the University of Malta, as well as a bachelor’s degree in business management and French from Luther College in the United States.
H. E. Mr. Cosmos Richardson, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of Saint Lucia to the United Nations
Mr. Richardson provided consultancy services between 2012 and 2017, for various organizations in the areas of public policy, policy analysis and strategic planning. Prior to that, he was Cabinet Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister from 2007 to 2012.
With more than three decades of public service, Mr. Richardson was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation between 2002 and 2007. He served as Permanent Secretary in the Department of Commerce, International Trade, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs from 1997 to 2002, and in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives from 1986 until 1997.
Mr. Richardson holds a master’s and a bachelor’s degree in economics, as well as a post-graduate diploma in agricultural and natural resource economics.
Ms. Hermina Johnny, Founder, Aspire Artemis Foundation
Ms. Johnny is a humanitarian specialized in gender, human rights, sustainable development, inter-agency coordination and internal communications. Ms. Johnny has worked in several capacities within the United Nations system and its specialized agencies and programmes on a wide array of economic, social and political affairs. Ms. Johnny has written several reports for the UN Secretary General as well as served as focal point on inputs to drafting sessions for reports, outcome documents, and other United Nations instruments, including for high level conferences. She conducted substantial research studies as well as wrote guidance notes and papers, which had strong implications for the future of inter-agency coordination. Ms. Johnny formulated key partnerships with stakeholders, the private sector, civil society and businesses on climate change policy and coordination.
Ms. Johnny has worked with the European Parliament and the International Organisation for Migration as well as had extensive experience working in the private sector. She conducted a substantial amount of outreach activities for the private sector and supported CEOs and Executive management in elaborating strategies for market expansion managing all pre-launch aspects of new business development including sales, marketing, product design, risk assessment and compliance. She has taught English and written chapters for English language learning books, as well as for skits, intensive programmes and listen-and-learn tapes. Her teaching experience ranges from teaching English at John Cabot University and the American University of Rome, law firms, as well as to diplomats, and executives at big banks and pharmaceutical companies in the Czech Republic. Ms. Johnny has also worked in the area of Intellectual Property Law, Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions and other legal areas.
Ms. Johnny believes passionately in youth development and building strong communities. She also volunteers her free time to community service, mentoring youth, leadership development, and speaking out on the need for equality, justice, human rights, and women’s empowerment. A native of Saint Lucia who has lived in several countries at different stages of development, her multiracial background, and her passion for playing her small part in building a better world for all, has given her unique insight into finding local solutions to facing global challenges.
Through her foundation, The Aspire Artemis Foundation, one of the key issues she is working on is to level the playing field & increase the participation of women in STEM based studies & careers. She is set to launch a set of Global innovation & digital transformation symposia through a multi-stakeholder partnership approach which includes the private sector, civil society, NGOs and grassroots organizations along with different UN organizations.
Ms. Johnny has lived in her home country of Saint Lucia as well as in New York, Connecticut, Paris, Brussels, Prague, Madrid, Rome, and Copenhagen
Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Director New York Office, UNCTAD
Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, a Canadian citizen, is the Chief of UNCTAD office in New York. Prior to 2014, she was actively involved in the successful negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). During her tenure with DESA, she served as the Major Groups coordinator to enhance non-state actors engagement with the UN. She facilitated the participation of more than 10,000 non-state actors – a record – in the UN Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable development. She was also the DESA focal point for sustainable consumption and production, food security and sustainable agriculture.
Prior to her UN career, she served as Head of the Trade and Environment Program of the NAFTA Commission for Environmental Cooperation from 2000 to 2007, as policy analyst for the Wallace Institute for Alternative Agriculture from 1998-2000, and as post doc for IFPRI in the Brazilian Amazon from 1996-98. She made the Ideagen 2016 100Individuals and Organization empowering women and girl, is a 2006 Yale World Fellow, a UNEP Who’s Who’s of Women and the Environment. She has consulted to UNDP, World Bank, OCDE, and USDA.
Dr. Carpentier is a published scholar and a frequent public speaker. An economist by training, she holds a PhD in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech and a Master’s and Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from McGill University.
Ms. Ursula Wynhoven, ITU Representative to the United Nation
Ursula is an international lawyer with 24 years’ experience. She joined the ITU in 2017 as its Representative to the UN. The ITU is the UN’s specialized agency for information & communication technologies with the mission to connect the world. Ursula leads UN relations and represents the agency and its Secretary-General at the UN in NY. She heads the ITU’s UN Liaison Office and works at the intersection of technology and development, promoting digital inclusion and the use of ICTs for sustainable development.
Previously, Ursula spent 14 years with the UN Global Compact, the UN’s corporate sustainability initiative. Her last position was Chief, Social Sustainability, Governance & Legal and member of the Executive Committee. Ursula led the UNGC’s work on human rights & decent work, gender equality, poverty & inequality, peace, anti-corruption & the rule of law. Ursula also led legal affairs and oversaw policy development & implementation of the UNGC’s integrity measures. Ursula began working with the UNGC in 2002 and played an active role in helping to grow the initiative to more than 13,000 signatories in more than 160 countries with a full roster of corporate sustainability workstreams. Ursula’s tenure included a 6 month loan as Senior Advisor, Business & Human Rights to the UN’s Human Rights Office.
Prior to joining the UN, Ursula worked in law firms and government human rights agencies in Australia and the US and for the OECD on the MNE Guidelines. Ursula has LLMs from Columbia Law School, where she was a Human Rights Fellow, and Monash Law School, and Bachelor’s degrees in Law, Economics, and Letters. Since 2007, Ursula has been an Adjunct Professor in Corporate Sustainability, Business & Human Rights at Fordham Law School and previously taught at Reykjavik University School of Law. Ursula is a Trustee of the Parker School of Foreign & Comparative Law at Columbia Law School. She has been admitted to practice law in jurisdictions in Australia, the US and the UK.
Ms. Harsha Bennur, Director, Partner Technology, Microsoft
Harsha Bennur is a results driven, meticulous and highly motivated technology leader executing Digital Transformation engagements across partner and customer segments with a proven track of quality deliverables and high customer satisfaction. She has held a number of progressively responsible, managerial roles at Microsoft. Currently, she is the Director of Partner Technology Strategy for US Public Sector Partners. In this role she works with strategists to oversee business growth amongst Microsoft’s Public Sector partners. Bennur holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science.
Ms. Patti Cataldi, NYC Director, Women in Technology Network
Patti Cataldi is a Business Development Manager at B&R Business Solutions and the NYC Director of the Women in Technology Networka global community of professional women and men who: encourage all women and girls to study STEM and pursue careers in the technology sector; enable more women to attain leadership positions and career advancement;support more female entrepreneurs to start and develop profitable businesses.
Patti’s responsibilities include new business development and account management. She loves engaging with customers and building long term relationships. She graduated from Widener University with a liberal arts degree and has been working in the Microsoft technology world for over 20 years.
Ms. Xian Horn, Disability Activist
Xian has spoken at Apple, Viacom, AppNexus, New York Life, Met Life, for the New York Public Library, Barnard College, Williams College, the ReelAbilities film festival (where she serves on the Film Selection Committee). In 2018, Xian was invited to join Cooper Hewitt’s Accessibility Advisory Committee and AT&T’s Accessibility Advisory Panel. She also judged innovations at NYU Hack since 2016. She has served on the NY Women’s Foundation Committee for the Future and mentored at the White House for Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0., the US Business Leadership Network’s Innovation Lab (now Disability:In), coaching their Rising Leaders. Xian has also run vocational workshops for the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for Disability Mentoring Day. She served the State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program’s European delegation, and has been on the State Department’s Speaker’s Bureau since 2016. Xian has been featured in The White House Blog’s Women Working To Do Good series, NPR, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, Bloomberg News, NBC News, Fox 5 and more. Finally, she is a blogger for Positively Positive – a community of over 2.5 million readers and a contributor at Forbes.
Ms. Ifeomasinachi Ike, Esq., Founding Partner, Think Rubix LLC
Ifeoma Ike, Esq. is a Lehman College Professor, Co-Founding Principal of social impact firm, Think Rubix and visionary of the Black Policy Lab, which explores how culture, research and policy informs and impacts communities of color. A natural problem solver, Ify has driven public policy as a former researcher for the American Bar Association, counsel on the US House Judiciary Committee, senior policy advocate at the Innocence Project, and as Deputy Executive Director of NYC Young Men’s Initiative.
Ify has designed efforts to address mental health, criminal justice, teacher diversity, workforce inclusion, gender-based discrimination and international relief. An award-winning change agent and activist, Ify’s creativity has supported social movements, including NYC Men Teach; tech inclusion camp “Change the Game;” Black and Brown People Vote; NYC’s Black mental health strategy–Sisters & Brothers Thrive; and Mass Bail Out–the nation’s largest bail action, freeing over 100 women and children from Rikers in a month.
Ify is a proud board member of the Women’s Prison Association, has served on the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee, and helped create two congressional caucuses: Caucus on Black Men and Boys (now the “My Brother’s Keeper Caucus”) and Caucus on Black Women and Girls.
Ms. Sade Lythcott, CEO, The National Black Theatre
Born and raised in New York City, Sade Lythcott is the daughter of Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder of the National Black Theater and legendary champion of African-American culture in New York. Following her mother’s death in 2008, Sade was appointed CEO of the NBT, and is also co-chair of the Coalitions of Theaters of Color. A graduate of New York University with a BA in art history, Sade lives in Harlem, NY. Prior to joining the NBT family, Sade has performed with several Off- and Off-Off Broadway theater companies, including appearances as Gail in Ron Milner’s “Urban Transition: Loose Blossom” at the New Federal Theater directed by Woodie King, Jr., and as Dorothy Dandridge in “Dorothy Dandridge: Before, After & Now” Directed by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. In 2012 Lythcott wrote & produced highly acclaimed musical A Time To Love, garnering 3 AUDELCO nominations and the Key to Harlem for her excellence in the Arts. She is a recipient of the 2015 Rising Star Award from 651 ARTS and the Larry Leon Hamlin Legacy Award from Black Theatre Network.
Ms. Janira Oregon, Beauty Queen and Disability Activist
Janira Obregon was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Spastic Quadriplegia, a disability that affects four of her limbs, due to a brain injury at birth. A beauty queen and a humanitarian, Janira is pushing boundaries and advocating for inclusion in the fashion industry. She has not let her diagnosis slow her down and has become an advocate for disability rights and inclusion in all sectors of society.
Janira is incredibly inspired by the story of Malala Yousoufzai. After having read the activist’s book given to her by her mother, Janira has dedicated herself to speaking out for the need for education. It has cemented her own belief in furthering her education. She graduated from John Jay College with a major in English and a minor in Law. She believes strongly in justice and seeks to pursue a graduate degree in law. Passionate about every endeavour she undertakes, Janira has experienced tremendous personal and professional success.
In September 2019, she modeled for the very first time in New York Fashion Week at the Fashion Revolution Event for Runway of Dreams, an organization that advocates and helps promote people with disabilities in the fashion industry. She landed a coveted role with Nike, modeling for their adaptive clothing line.
Janira believes that with perseverance and a grateful heart, we can overcome any challenge and find the good in everything. She advocates for role models. Janira believes strongly that when other people with disabilities see someone who looks like them in the fashion and beauty industry, it empowers them to embrace the possibilities in life, and encourages them to keep dreaming. She is proud to be different and utilizes her disability as a means to help others. Janira continues to speak out for the right to inclusion.
Ms. Angel Pai, PBS host, Actress, Model, Entrepreneur, Humanitarian
Angel Pai is an actress, TV host, model, designer, entrepreneur, and speaker. Having appeared in Hollywood movies and TV shows in the last decade, Angel has channeled her humanitarian drive through all aspects of her life, including media work such as her segments on PBS All Arts- where she specializes in events coverage of humanitarian efforts in the fields of art, fashion, and entertainment. She was a competitive martial artist in Taekwondo throughout her teenage years and has won eight gold medals in national championships. She also trained in fencing and archery. As a fine artist, she began exhibiting oil paintings at age nine, having won numerous art awards, and while attending the prestigious Stuyvesant high school in New York City, was chosen to exhibit in association with the Museum of Modern Art.
She studied medicine at a young age and was on her path to becoming a neurosurgeon when she was discovered for her dynamic personality after walking in a runway show. She was offered a job on the spot to host for InTheMix, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. She moved on to host segments for MTV- IGGY and the Travel Channel.
As a fashion model, her diverse body of work spans across runway shows, campaigns, and commercials worldwide, including publications such as Vogue, Haper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Maxim, GQ, Self, Shape, Women’s Health, Fitness, and more. In the summer of 2009, Angel placed in the top four of the Miss Asia pageant, as well as earning the Miss Fitness crown and a top five title in the talent competition for her dance performance.
A true representation of merging her educational background in medicine, her professional work in the arts and her passion for creativity, Angel has ventured into the world of entrepreneurship. As CEO, founder, and designer of her jewelry brand, ILLUMIN DESIGNS, Angel personally sculpts and hand-makes each piece of crystal and gemstone jewelry. Creating the “WORLD” collection, ILLUMIN DESIGNS is working with foundations around the world, dedicated to empowering and educating underprivileged women and children.
Currently, Angel is developing film and TV programming with the intention to empower and inspire, by promoting uplifting stories of humanitarian accomplishments, focusing on sharing the trials and tribulations of the human story. Angel speaks four languages and has lived in seven countries.
Ms. Vanne Paige Padgett Director of Girls Initiatives, YWCA
Vanne-Paige is a cultural anthropologist specializing in diversity and inclusion initiatives, cultural programming, and social justice education to enrich and empower underserved youth, women, and nonconforming individuals. For the past decade Vanne-Paige’s career has been rooted in New York City’s non-profit sector and cultural institutions, in which capacity she creates unique platforms and projects that promote racial and gender equity. As director of Girls Initiatives for the YWCA of the City of New York, Vanne-Paige develops leadership opportunities for self-identified high school girls and GNC youth.
Mr. Ryan Brahms, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Musician
Born and raised in New York City, Ryan Brahms always knew music was his calling. Starting at a young age he honed his craft learning classical piano, saxophone, clarinet and guitar. His passion for the creative fuelled a journey that led him to his chosen career as a noted singer, songwriter, producer and musician.
Ryan’s proficient talent has afforded him to perform with such incredible legends such as James Brown and Dave Brubeck by the age 19. His earlier songs quickly gained attention by multiple managers and labels in the music Meccas of LA and New York. After relocating to Los Angeles for several years, Ryan recognized what a lot of young artists discover, you need to rely upon yourself. After writing hundreds of songs about his experiences pushing the boundaries of both himself and the world around him.
But in 2013 life came to a devastating halt, while leaving a performance Ryan was brutally attacked and beaten. Hospitalized and requiring reconstructive surgery, a titanium plate was implanted throughout the left side of his face, doctors required his jaw wired shut for two months as well. During this time Ryan was unable to eat, let alone sing. Yet somehow though it all Ryan found his strength and threw himself deeper into song writing. He was able to have a voice and outlet through his music & lyrics.
Taj Weekes, UNICEF Champion for Children, Founder of They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO), Goodwill and Brand Ambassador for Saint Lucia
Internationally renowned musician Taj Weekes has been writing and performing music for over a decade. Born and raised on the island of St. Lucia, Mr. Weekes has become a successful musician, singer/songwriter, lecturer, and entrepreneur in the areas of music, business, and public service. As founder and frontman for his band, Taj Weekes & Adowa, he has released 6 full-length albums and has toured major music festivals and events worldwide. His media company, Jatta, LLC, includes a record label, music and book publishing, film and merchandising. Mr. Weekes’ humanitarian work has been a staple of his celebrity, using every opportunity to serve and speak on behalf of the children of the Caribbean. In 2007, Mr. Weekes founded They Often Cry Outreach (TOCO) with a mission to help underprivileged children throughout the Caribbean through sports, health and enrichment programs. Since its inception, TOCO has created/implemented a sports equipment distribution program, a dental clinic, bicycle distribution program, an annual holiday party, diabetes awareness initiatives, a domestic violence assistance program, and a spay/neuter clinic. His humanitarian efforts have garnered him several prestigious appointments such as Goodwill Ambassador for St. Lucia, Brand Ambassador for St. Lucia and UNICEF Champion for Children in St. Lucia.