Panellists and Moderators

Tessy de Nassau

Opening Speech

Tessy de Nassau is a co-founder of Professors Without Borders. She holds an M.Sc. in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS and is a fellow at the center for Global Health Security at Chatham House. She has extensive experience in informal and formal diplomacy as well as public representation. Tessy has worked as an ambassador for UNAIDS (Global Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls) and has been appointed patron to UNA-UK. Tessy spent five years in the military, during which she was deployed in Kosovo as a peacekeeper and detached to the Luxembourg Commission and Embassy both in Geneva and London.

Tessy actively promotes a number of issues, including global health and women’s rights. She received the Woman of the Decade award from the Women Economic Forum in January 2017 and the Humanities medal for spreading humanistic ideas worldwide. Tessy leads Prowibo’s marketing campaigns. She also contributes to the development of partnerships with schools and organizations and has taught a class in Diplomacy and International Organizations in the Sierra Leone Summer School.

Dr. Caroline Varin

Moderator, Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Caroline Varin holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and an M.Sc. in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics, an LL.M. in International Law from the Universita di Bologna, Italy and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Caroline completed her military service in Switzerland as a medic and worked with the UNHCR in Jordan. As a lecturer in International Relations at Regent’s University London, Caroline designs and teaches a variety of courses ranging from ‘Theatre and Politics’ to ‘African Politics.’ She has also written a number of articles on international security issues and has published three books. Caroline develops the programs, recruits and trains the lecturers and builds the pedagogical material for the summer schools. In the next five years, she will lead PROWIBO’s expansion to reach out to students from all over the world to help them achieve their potential for both themselves and their country.

Dr. Oscar Julian Palma Morales

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Oscar Palma is a Professor of International Relations and former Director of the Observatory on Drugs and Crime at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá. He is also a visiting lecturer at the George Marshall European Center for Security Studies and was a Visiting Research Fellow at the War Studies Department of King’s College London. He has previously worked as a researcher at the Centre of Strategic Studies for Security and National Defence of Colombia’s War College, as well as External Intelligence Analyst for the Joint Command of the Armed Forces.

Dr. George Richards

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

George E. Richards is in his 17th year of service to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Criminal Justice, Anthropology, and Forensic Studies. He has been teaching at the university-level for 26 years. Prior to his tenure at Edinboro University, he taught at the University of Akron, in the Indiana University system, and the University of Louisville. 

Dr. Richards’ maintains an active research agenda that focuses on the criminal victimization of refugees and mental illness among first responders. He has regularly published in peer-reviewed and popular publications and frequently presents at regional, national, and international conferences on criminal justice-related topics. He was a Fulbright Senior Specialist in the Department of Criminology at Raksha Shakti University, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India during the Spring 2019 semester. During the Summer 2019 term, Dr. Richards served with Professors Without Borders as a lecturer at the University of Sierra Leone, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

In 2017, Richards was named the “Advisor of the Year” by Edinboro University. He won a similar honor in 2010 when he was selected as Edinboro University’s “Educator of the Year.” Dr. Richards is also a Distinguished Lecturer of Social Equity at Edinboro University. He earned board certification in security management with the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) designation from the American Society for Industrial Security. Richards was the President of the Ohio Council of Criminal Justice Education for two terms, and was a member of the Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee of the Ohio State Bar Association. He is currently a member of the President’s Diversity Council at Edinboro University. He, his wife, and son reside in Cleveland, Ohio USA. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, golf, and camping. 

Chandni Hirani

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Chandni Hirani is currently a lecturer of Entrepreneurship and International Business & Trade at the African Leadership University in Rwanda. She has spent her career working across the social sector having run a renewable energy business in Kenya as well as having worked as an impact evaluator for a skills gap reduction program for the Lagos State government in Nigeria. She is currently co-editing a book on Games Based Teaching for Higher Education with Professors Without Borders. Chandni has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Manchester and a Masters Degree in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the London School of Economics. 

Dr. Sipim Sornbanlang

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Sipim Sornbanlang is a senior lecturer and currently in charge of Head Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Srinakharinwirot University (SWU). She received her Ph.D. and M.P.S. in International Relations from Chulalongkorn University, while earlier obtaining a B.A. in English from Chiang Mai University. Entering academia as a lecturer at SWU, Sipim has exercised her expertise in international security issues by involving with number of research projects dealing with the interaction of security on associated national immigration policies and their effects on migrant workers in Thailand and the region. She additionally interests in human rights and human security issues as shown by her experience as a guest lecturer and moderator at many workshops and seminars dealing with human rights issues, migration, migrant workers’ rights, human trafficking, as well as globalization and its effects on countries and people living in Thailand and other southeast Asian countries.

Professor Folasade T Ogunsola

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola is the DVC development services at the University of Lagos and the first female  Provost of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos.  She is a Fellow of the academy of Sciences and holds an MB.CHB from the University of Ife, Master’s Degree with distinction in Medical Microbiology from the University of Lagos, and  a PhD in Medical Microbiology from the University of Wales, College of Medicine, Cardiff.  She is a fellow of both the National Postgraduate Medical College in Pathology and West African College of Physicians. Since 2004 Professor Ogunsola has been involved in HIV prevention and is the Director, PEPFAR supported HIV Reference Laboratory. She has attracted  international grants worth over $15m to her university  and is the presently the PI of the NIH funded grant for research capacity building in junior faculty called Building Research And Innovation in Nigeria’s Sciences (BRAINS). She has worked in the area of  infection control and infectious diseases. Her other areas of interest include the prevention of antibiotic resistance and is a strong advocate for the rational use of antibiotics. 

Outside the University, Professor Ogunsola has served in various capacities with various organisations and Governments nationally and internationally. A recipient of many awards and scholarships she was conferred as a Distinguished alumna of the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University and the Medical Woman of the year 2017 by the Medical Women’s association of Nigeria, Lagos branch. She has supervised over 65 postgraduate students in medical microbiology (MSc, PhD and fellowship) and other specialties. She has over 100 peer reviewed publications in learned journals and books. 

Dr. Andreas (“Dries”) Velthuizen

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Andreas Velthuizen is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated researcher on the faculty of the Thabo Mbeki School for Public- and International Affairs at the University of South Africa (Unisa). His primary academic interest is to teach and develop transdisciplinary theory for peace in Africa, grounded in African epistemology and in engagement with communities recovering from violent conflict. His current focus is to develop peace and security theory and practice together with social communities and communities-of-practice involved in Africa. 

He published extensively and presented his work at academic conferences and workshops on most continents in the world. He further shares his knowledge through the supervision of post-graduate students and teaching thought leadership for conflict resolution, election security management and dispute resolution. He is Co-editor of the reputable African Security Review (ASR) journal. 

His qualifications include a D Litt et Phil degree in Politics from Unisa for a dissertation with the title ‘The Management of Knowledge: A Model for the African Renaissance’, an MA and BA Hons Degrees in Strategic Studies as well as a BA-degree majoring in International Politics and Political Science.     

He is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and an active member of the Rotary E-club of District 9400, currently appropriately focussing the Rotary focus area of Peace and Conflict Resolution, including the establishment of a Vocational Training Team to train Rotary mediators in Southern Africa. 

Dr. Andrew Bell

Panel 1: Moving higher education online: pitfalls and opportunities for teachers

Andrew Bell completed his Biomedical Sciences undergrad and PhD in Physiology at Queen’s University, Canada. He then moved to the US to do Post-Doctoral studies at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. In 2011, he joined the UK Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (CBU) as a Senior Scientist, based in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. In 2018, he became a lecturer with the University of Oxford, and University College. The same year, Dr. Bell became involved with PROWIBO and travelled to the African Rural University, Uganda to participate in their summer school.  Dr. Bell is a committed teacher, with 20 years of experience teaching at the post-secondary level.  In 2013, he was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK.

Rachel Warnick

Moderator, Panel 2: Learning online: adaptation strategies from students 

Rachel Warnick specialises in short-term, intensive programmes focused on core skills essential to business and academia, as well as English for Speakers of Other Languages.  She has worked with a variety of institutions and private and corporate clients in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.  Canadian by birth but now settled in Mauritius, she has lived in fourteen countries on four continents, giving a global perspective to her life and work.

Rachel’s gift lies in creating and delivering engaging, interactive, bespoke learning programmes. Her mission is to help her students harness and develop their power. Every programme is designed to help them increase their confidence, amplify their voices and ignite their curiosity.

Rachel obtained an MSc in International Management at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and spent fifteen years in business, gaining valuable experience in the finance, energy and non-profit sectors, most notably with Goldman Sachs and the UNHCR, before returning to education.  She has an extensive track record of volunteer work in the UK, Africa and, most recently, with ProWiBo in India, Thailand and Uganda.     

Rachel is also a member of The Teacher Mastermind, a curated network of innovative educators, school leaders, and entrepreneurs from across the globe who see education differently than most and consistently look for ways to level-up and create transformative opportunities for students.  

Kaustubh Dighe

Panel 2: Learning online: adaptation strategies from students 

Kaustubh Dighe is currently pursuing his degree of law at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law. He is passionate about advocating and working towards ensuring each and every person basic human rights, including the right to quality education. He believes that the right to quality education is an inalienable fundamental right of each and every person. He aspires to work at the United Nations for the betterment of not only his country India but also the world at large.

Adamou Boubacar Amadou

Panel 2: Learning online: adaptation strategies from students 

Adamou Boubacar Amadou is a senior student at the African Leadership University pursuing a BA(Hons) in International Business and Trade. He is interested in finance and how it could be utilized for social good. He is also an entrepreneur aiming to develop the agriculture sector and tackle climate change.

Victor Warlop Piers de Raveschoot

Panel 2: Learning online: adaptation strategies from students

Victor Warlop Piers de Raveschoot is a Belgian engineering student fascinated by the world of physics. He wants to apply science to find sustainable and humanistic solutions to the many problems the world is facing today. After finishing high school in Belgium, he chose to move to Denmark, admiring their approach to sustainable technologies and energies. During the first three years of his bachelor, he developed university projects on electric vehicles and personal projects on drones and a 3D printer. 

Going on an exchange semester in Asia offered him the chance to travel and create friendships with locals in Malaysia and Vietnam, which was an enriching and empowering experience. It is in Singapore he developed a strong interest in nanomaterials. He had then joined a doctorate seminar group discussing about nanophotonic technologies and assisted a PhD student in her CO2 reduction thesis (using nano- catalysis). 

He is currently finishing his bachelor thesis on integration of semiconductor quantum (nano) dots in optical fibres, where his team has had conclusive results, both in simulations and experiments, which will help his physics departments for new research. He is eager to continue his discovery of various educational systems, having already experienced a European and Asian view on scientific research and teaching. 

In the future, he plans to leave Denmark and study nanotechnology in a master’s programme at Stanford university, where he hopes he will be able to have an impact in the health department. 

Njomeza Blakcori

Panel 2: Learning online: adaptation strategies from students

Njomeza Blakcori is a Politics, Sociology and Eastern Studies student at University College London. She believes that education is an indispensable tool for helping mobilize rural developing communities to enforce positive political change. For this reason, she has and continues to support and assist the work of Professors Without Borders.

Chidi Nwogbaga

Panel 2: Learning online: adaptation strategies from students

Chidi Nwogbaga is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He is majoring in criminology with minors in creative writing and law and society. Currently, he is part of two different research projects. The first project focuses on how popular TV shows can potentially influence adolescents that watch them. The second project involves analysing exemplary vaccine policies in Nepal and Zambia. After graduation, Chidi is eager to pursue his passion for helping communities. He aspires to work in the areas of public policy and criminal justice reform.