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The Speakers

Ahmed was born in 1984 in a big town called Hassa, east of Saudi Arabia. In 2002, he moved to the capital Riyadh to study at King Saud University. Currently, his life is divided between those two cities. Ahmed is his first name. The reason he is keeping his full name and photo private is to maintain his personal security. He doesn’t want to get himself, or other members of his family, into trouble due to his opinions, that the authorities in his country may dislike. Ahmed’s main motivation to blog is because he wants to give a better view to the world about what’s really happening in his country and the Middle East in general. He maintain two blogs: Saudi Jeans in English, and Yawmyat in Arabic. Recently, Ahmed co-founded Saudi Blogs, the first serious attempt to build the Saudi bloggers community.


Andy Young is the editor of SiberianLight.net that won the Best CIS Weblog title at the 1st Annual European Weblog Awards. Covering Russia and the Former Soviet Union since February 2005, SiberianLight.net aims to increase the understanding of Russian politics and culture by providing an analysis of the most topical issues.


Ben Paarmann is a student of Development Studies and Economics at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Besides his studies, Ben edits his personal weblog on Central Asia and Thinking-East.Net, a non-profit publishing platform for young academics.

[Boris Anthony] Bio Coming Soon….

Bun Tharum is a Phnom Penh-based writer who chronicles events of his life in Cambodia, writes, and discusses with people from the four corners of the earth at ThaRum 2.0 which is his personal blog. He first started keeping an online diary in June 2004, prompted by his interest in technology trends. And while he’s not 100 percent sure, he believes he is probably the first blogger in Cambodia to hit the Internet. However, the 23-year-old National University of Management graduate’s blog which deals with everything from life around Phnom Penh to his views on gambling is about to be joined by many more Cambodians. When Bun, from Kandal province, started his blog in June 2004, he highlighted his work at Open Forum of Cambodia, the organization which first brought e-mail to Cambodia in the 1990s and is now working to create Khmer-language blogs.


Chris Ahearn is President of Reuters Media and manages its two business groups: Reuters News Agency and Reuters Consumer Network. Prior to his appointment as President of Reuters Media in 2002, he was the Executive Vice President in charge of Reuters Research & Advisory business where he developed the Reuters Knowledge product line. Chris joined Reuters in 2001 from J.P. Morgan. During his years at J.P. Morgan he held positions in LabMorgan, the Technology, Media and Telecommunications group and was a Mergers and Acquisition banker for the Financial Institutions Group. Prior to joining J.P. Morgan in 1994, he worked for Credit Suisse First Boston. Chris is on the Board of Directors of Factiva (a Dow Jones and Reuters joint venture) and is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He is married, has two children and resides in New York City.


David Sasaki is a bi-lingual blogger currently and temporarily living in San Diego, California. He is the Oso of El Oso, El Moreno, and El Abogado.


Dean Wright became Reuters‘ first Managing Editor for Consumer Services in May 2005. Based in New York, he leads the editorial operations and programming for Reuters’ consumer-facing media services globally including the online, mobile, and interactive television platforms. A media executive with over 30 years’ experience in journalism, Dean joined Reuters from MSNBC.com where he served as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor for News. He was instrumental in making the site the U.S.’s number one online news destination, with 23.5 million unique users, based on its strong visual identity and reputation for original reporting. Dean’s journalistic experience ranges across newspapers, newswires and online media. He has reported from Washington for the Associated Press, and worked on a range of metropolitan dailies in the U.S. and Canada including the Louisville Courier-Journal, The Toronto Star, and The San Jose Mercury News.


Dina Mehta is a qualitative researcher, with 15 years experience, based in Mumbai, India. She spent the first 10 years of her career with IMRB, India’s largest market research agency. She set up her own consultancy firm, Explore Research & Consultancy in 1998, offering clients a comprehensive qualitative research consultancy on brands, products and services. Recently, she’s been exploring the area of social software in the context of creating and adapting collaborative tools for research. And in getting companies to adopt some of these tools – both for internal project management and for external communications. With the hope that new cultures of communication would be initiated and nurtured through the intelligent and effective use of community and collaboration technologies. Some beliefs that drive Dina – “abundance”, a philosophy that suggests, ‘share-learn-grow’, optimism about the future, and stretch that is implicit in a philosophy that says YES AND ! Her thoughts, musings and endeavours can be found at her blog – Conversations with Dina.


Enda Nasution is an Indonesian blogger, writer and engineer. Active as student activist during the Soeharto era back in 1998, he has now found the same sprit of individualism and beliefs of unique voices of people in the blog medium to help each other. Enda has been blogging since 2001 and is originally from Bandung, West Java while currently living in Bangkok, Thailand.


Ethan Zuckerman is an activist, blogger and geek, living in Western Massachusetts and working in Cambridge as a research fellow at the Berkman Center. As co-founder of Global Voices, Ethan is interested in ways that citizen’s media can address longstanding biases in the news media. Before working at the Berkman, he helped found Geekcorps, a non-profit organization that shipped geeks to the developing world to run Internet technology trainings. Prior to that, he was part of the team that founded Tripod, one of the early online community companies. When not blogging, researching or making trouble, Ethan helps out with Worldchanging, Open Society Institute’s Information Program and other fun technology and development projects. His blog is “My Heart’s in Accra…”

[Farid Pouya] Bio Coming Soon….

Georgia Popplewell is a journalist, editor and media producer based in Trinidad and Tobago, and host/producer of Caribbean Free Radio and Caribbean Free Video, the Caribbean’s first podcast and videocast, respectively. She also contributes to the Caribbean Beat Blog and is fluent in French and near-fluent in Spanish.


Haitham Sabbah is a Jordanian (with roots from Palestine), born in Kuwait on 1969. He is an Electronics & Communication Engineer, and works in a managerial position in one of the leading Telecommunication companies in the Middle East. At the moment Haitham lives in Bahrain, and likes the country and it’s people. He has traveled around most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. As a co-founder of Best Arab Blog Awards and founder of AraBlog reBlog, Haitham spends a big portion of his time to help more geeks in his part of the world to start blogging. He also founded the community blog of NoToTerrorism.com. However, Haitham’s personal blog lives at sabbah.biz


Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan is an Iranian-born blogger, journalist, and internet activist. Since the mid-90s, he has been advocating the use of internet, particularly as a means for social and political change in Iran. His award-winning weblog, “Editor: Myself“, which was started in Sep 2001, has been among the most influential blogs in the Persian language and his step-by-step instructions to create blogs in Persian should take much of the credit for inspiring thousands of Iranians to start their own blogs. Hossein, whom The Guardian called a “key link from Iran’s teeming world of Weblogs to the west”, has been living in Toronto since Dec 2000 where he updates his Persian blog and English blog – Stop Censoring Us, as well as his photoblog, which are all available at hoder.com. Hossein is also the founder and director of the Rear Window Initiative, a program that promotes democracy and peace in Iran through the internet.


Iria Puyosa blogs at Rulemanes para Telemaco (Spanish) about literature, art films, information freedom, blogosphere, and social networks. Iria’s second blog, Reste@dos (Sp-ES) deals with Venezuelan politics, as well as social movements in Latin America, from a democratic left viewpoint. Currently, she is working on her PhD in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. Her research area is social capital and inequalities in access to postsecondary education. Iria did her masters in Organizational Communication and she used to teach courses in Social Communication and in Learning Strategies in the School of Social Work at the Central University of Venezuela (Universidad Central de Venezuela). Previously, she worked as a consultant in mass media and public opinion. Now, Iria thinks that blogging is closer to the kind of journalism she had in mind when at the start of her undergraduate studies.


Jeff Ooi is the founder of USJ.com.my, a grassroot-managed community portal targetting Malaysia’s K-generation. Jeff blogs at Screenshots which is an extremely popular blog that takes an independent approach to Malaysian politics and society. Being the editor of Screenshots, Jeff, was threatened with imprisonment, at the beginning of October 2004, because he allowed on his blog a comment “insulting Islam”. He is also an e-business consultant for vertical industries, an Open Source advocate, and a columnist in a business journal.

[Jordan Seidel] Bio Coming Soon….

Kevin Wen is a graduate from the University of Texas Austin, with B.A of Computer science and people online knows him as a Chinese Entrepreneur and a well-known Chinese blogger. That is his simple and clear identity along. Kevin blogs at Wen-Xin.net


Lisa Goldman is a Canadian-Israeli freelance journalist, based in Tel Aviv who writes about everything from art exhibitions and Tel Aviv clubs to suicide bombings and Palestinian refugee camps. In between Lisa tries – with intermittent success – to illustrate the complex human dimension of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Before moving to Israel in 2000, she lived in New York for 10 years – studying, working and generally inhaling that incredibly exciting city. But now Tel Aviv, which she thinks is one of the most dynamic and fascinating cities in the world, has captured her heart. Lisa blogs about life in Israel at On the Face.


Ndesanjo Macha is a Tanzanian blogger currently living in the US. He mostly blogs in Kiswahili and occasionally in English. Ndesanjo is iinterested in finding ways to amplify voices from non-English speaking parts of the world and in ways by which new information technologies can benefit and empower ordinary citizens in the developing world, particularly Africa.


Neha Viswanathan is a city-hopping, trivia-gathering and identity-hunting blogger. Her obsessions include culture, social software, cities, literature, internet, music, history, marketplace and anything that doesn’t twinkle. Neha blogs at Within / Without and can be found at other CollaBlogs such as DesiPundit, Indicubed and The Sea-Eat Blog.

Onnik Krikorian is a journalist and photographer from the United Kingdom who is now living and working in the Republic of Armenia for a variety of publications and organizations. His work is showcased at Oneworld Multimedia which has been online since Onnik returned from documenting the ceasefire in the disputed mainly Armenian-inhabited territory of Nagorno Karabagh in late August 1994. OneWorld Multimedia specializes in covering issues and stories from a human perspective, in particular dealing with themes such as transition, poverty, culture and conflict. Onnik has also worked as a stringer for Transitions Online and Fox News.

Ory Okolloh also known as the Kenyan Pundit is from Kenya and graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School in June 2005. Ory is spending a year and Africa working on human rights and technology policy issues. While in law school, she interned with the World Bank’s Department of Institutional Integrity and worked as a summer associate at Covington and Burling, Washington DC. Ory has a wide range of interests spanning from the intersection between law and technology (heavily nurtured by her status as a Berkman Center groupie), to the challenge of expanding the space available for young Africans to participate in expressing themselves and shaping their future. One could probably refer to her as a (cool) nerd. When Ory is not trying to keep up with her attempts to accommodate all her interests, she enjoys indulging in activities that do not require much thought.

[Pat Hall] Bio Coming Soon….

Rebecca MacKinnon is a veteran journalist who has enthusiastically embraced the new world of weblogs and participatory media. She is co-founder with Berkman fellow Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices Online, an international online citizens’ media project housed at the Berkman Center. After escaping from her former job in TV news, Rebecca is now thrilled to be conversing with the world instead of talking at it as co-founder of Global Voices. In 2004 she returned to the U.S. after over a decade working for CNN in Asia. Based in China and Japan, Rebecca covered stories from Taiwan to Korea (North and South) to Pakistan and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. As a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, she is exploring two main issues: how China will shape the future of the internet; and how blogs and social media will shape the future of news. Her home base is now in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she enjoys long runs on the Charles River when she is not traveling or blogging. Rebecca’s other blogs are RConversation and North Korea zone.


Roba Al Assi is a Jordanian who spent her childhood in thriving metropolitan Saudi Arabia and then moved to her native Jordan in 2003 to pursue a degree in Fine Arts and Design. She has a long-term fascination with how art and culture shape and sometimes even control public perceptions and mentalities. Art has a critical role in producing culture, both in the past and today, and Roba spends countless hours trying to increase art appreciation in a culture that devalues the fine arts. She also loves observing trends related to globalization in the local culture. Roba blogs at AndFarAway.net


Sokari Ekine is a Nigerian living in Spain who has just resigned from a three year stint as an organic farmer. She started blogging 18 months ago with the idea of presenting a progressive and feminst perspective of Africa and the African Diaspora. Sokari is interested in seeking out ways to encourage more Africans to blog and creating a community of grassroots African bloggers as a way/space for Africans to exchange ideas and strategies for effecting change in our communities, share experiences and tell their own stories in their own words. Her other interests include writing poetry, literature, walking, globe trotting, anything geeky and she is fanatical about music. Sokari blogs at Black Looks.

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