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Appu Suresh

Nationality - Indian

Lives in - New Delhi

 
 

Appu joined India’s second largest English daily, Hindustan Times, in 2016 as its Editor (Special Assignments) to spearhead the newspaper’s investigative efforts. There he has promoted evidence-based journalism while reporting on social issues. Traditionally, reporting on riots in India tends to be episodic in its examination of the local causes of Hindu-Muslim conflict. However Appu secured a vast database of police and intelligence records, spanning over five years from three communally sensitive states of India and, using field reporting to illuminate trends that were evident in the data, he made a significant contribution to public understanding of a sensitive and complex topic. Most importantly, Appu mapped the shifting paradigm of communal conflict from large scale violence to high intensity low-key communal tensions, which remained unnoticed till then.

Appu also has a deep interest in the political economy and followed the rise of crony capitalism in India. In documenting this, he has produced an original estimation of the size of the black economy in the country, based on previously unavailable data.

Appu graduated from St.Stephen’s college, Delhi where he started reporting while still a college student. During the same time, he was associated with civil society movements, particularly land struggles and campaign against state led human rights violations. 

In a decade long career, he has reported from 20 provinces on issues ranging from conflict to corruption. Prior to joining the Hindustan Times, Appu was an Assistant Editor with Indian Express and was part of the team that collaborated with International Consortium of Investigative Journalist to work on tax havens.

Appu is currently working on two book projects. In his spare time he likes to travel, play golf and swim.

 

Personal Statement

In the last decade, India has gone through many changes and I have been mapping the most pressing social issues. Based on my vast experience of covering riots and sectarian clashes, and the data that I have collected over the last 5 years, I believe inequality is at the core of social disruption. I am interested in investigating how income inequality subverts the idea of a just society.

My approach has been influenced by Martha C. Nussbaum’s Political Emotions: why love matters for justice. In her book she elaborates the significance of public emotion in achieving a just society.

“Public emotions, frequently intense, have large-scale consequences for the nation’s progress towards its goals. They can give the pursuit of those goals new vigor and depth, but they can also derail that pursuit, introducing or reinforcing divisions, hierarchies, and form of neglect or obtuseness,” Nussbaum noted.

Since reading this book, I began to look into social problems from the point of view of how emotions play a role in social disruption. I was able to understand the reasons why certain emotions such as envy, fear and anger from insecurity play the lead role in social disruptions like communal conflict. I believe inequality appeals to these same set of emotions that form the basis of new political emotions.  

I believe that the rise in speculative income is leading to increase in wage inequality. Also, the cronyism that surrounds policy making is leading to a declining faith in honest labour. On the other hand, the prevalence of speculative income sets off the desire to rise above others. As the aspiration to a better life becomes distant, new political emotions are formed, one which is founded on narcissistic emotions and ultimately destabilising the society and democratic political systems.

I believe that this will manifest in two ways: 1) less compassion for fellow human beings resulting in wave of violent crime 2) desire to outdo others in social status and thereby dominate other groups.

Therefore my concern for inequality emanates from the threats posed by inequality to the social and democratic political life.

I would like to pursue further research on the links between inequality, social disruption and xenophobia. A significant contribution to public understanding of the subject can only come from evidence-based study.

I would like to conduct sociological enquiries into reducing inequality. I intend to use the vast set of primary and secondary data that I have secured to identify areas and industries that generate inequality and then examine its association with social disruption and new political emotions.

I am also looking forward to leverage my experience of India to the study of comparative politics.

 

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Hillary Vipond

Nationality - Canadian
Lives in - London, UK

 
 
 

As well as reading her profile, Hillary welcomes you to connect with her directly.

Hillary has worked as a campaigner on a range of issues, all challenging inequalities. Most recently she has been working for Oxfam GB, in the Inequality campaign team, where she has been involved in a pan-European tax justice campaign.

Hillary read for an undergraduate degree in philosophy at McGill University, Canada, and then undertook an M.Litt in philosophy at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland. At McGill, Hillary focused on political philosophy, ethics, and the history of economics. She was briefly mentored by G. A. Cohen, who left a lasting impression on her, as did his arguments around egalitarianism. In pursuing her thesis she read Smith, Ricardo, Marx’s Capital, J.S Mill, Friedman, Sen, Rawls, Schumpeter, Keynes, as well as numerous works on the measurement of happiness and well-being..

At St. Andrews, Hillary concentrated her energies on campaigning for the University to adopt an ethical investment policy.  Marxist economics had failed to fully convince her: but the Marxist call for a practical and active philosophy resonated.  She had been a grassroots activist in Montreal, and was steeped in a student protest culture, but her experience at St. Andrews marked the first time she’d been part of a strategic and successful civil society campaign, working at an institutional level. The experience of directly taking on and redesigning a structure that had encouraged system injustice was life-changing and, instead of becoming an academic, she moved into campaigning.

Since then Hillary has focussed on campaign work. This has included work on urban green space (poorer communities have significantly less access to the health benefits of green space, which are substantial); climate justice campaigns; and the global sexual and reproductive rights campaign with Amnesty International. As a result of her work for Oxfam GB, Hillary was seconded to the new international Fight Inequality Alliance coalition in January 2017, and helped them to launch their first week of action. She looks forward to being part of the extraordinary programme of work the Atlantic Fellows will create.

Hillary is aware that bios can be sterile things, and welcomes you to connect with her for a real conversation if you’re interested in the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity.

 

Personal statement

Inequality. So what?

Famine, pestilence and poverty have stalked us for centuries, millennia. For most of human existence these were unavoidable for the great majority of people, simply because we did not have the resources to address them. But for the first time in our history that has changed. At this stage we are vastly, almost incomprehensibly, wealthy. We’ve had more than enough food to feed everyone on the planet for decades. The sheer quantity of goods produced annually is staggering – we’ve become exceptionally effective at production. (thank you capitalism).

The above also means that, for the first time, poverty, hunger, disease, early death, all have one name: inequality. In a world of vast plenty much of human suffering is entirely about distribution.

My specific area of interest is around entitlement to resources through waged work. Given the automation of jobs, the capture of newly generated wealth by the rich, and the interest accrued on existing wealth, I am not convinced that work will remain a viable method of distribution. I’m also deeply concerned about relentless economic growth in the face of planetary boundaries and climate change, and I believe that the political imperative of job creation has, perhaps, become a driver of unsustainable economic growth. I’m interested in exploring alternatives to waged work, such as Universal Basic Income.

 

On a personal level

I’ve been thinking about inequalities all my adult life. My childhood was one of poverty in a wealthy country, which means I now look at the world through that bifocal lens. At 16 I was homeless, without family. A friend supported me. Then I slept on the roof of my elementary school (being female on the streets isn’t ideal). After that it was an emergency hostel for young people, then group homes. Some had bars on the windows, so we couldn’t run away. Room searches were regular, strip searches were threatened. Supervision was constant, freedom earned on a point system for good behaviour. One home fed us Kraft Dinner for months because the director was pocketing the food money.

It meant that by 16 I had learned that the middle-class people who owned property near group homes wanted to close the homes down: living beside troubled kids isn’t pleasant. Sometimes it affected their property values. I noticed that I was often the only white kid in the home, and I learned why. I also knew that I was exceptionally lucky to live in a country rich enough to offer State funded care, and I was aware that our minders were overworked. I thought a great deal about resources, rights, and social mobility. About the impacts of these on not only the individual, but also on society. This personal experience doesn’t give me any mysterious depth of insight, or somehow validate my opinions. What it has done is provide me with a fierce interest in systemic inequalities, a commitment to understanding them, and a drive to articulate what harms they generate, not just for the losers in the distribution game, but also for the winners, and for society more broadly.

 

What’s next?

The Fellowship is a life changing opportunity for me. I am profoundly honoured to have been invited to join this international community of people at the forefront of tackling inequalities, and I have every intention of learning as much as I can from my colleagues and working with them in the future. We stand on the brink of climate disaster and extreme inequality, nationalism and globalism are locked in struggle, and a new social contract is being formed.  It is my great hope that this community will be one of the crucibles for new, bold, and strategic thinking on inequalities, and that this will be valuable in helping to build a positive way forward in the emerging economic structure. I remember student activists screaming “no justice, no peace”. It is likely the truth, and it is a truth that must spur even the wealthy to agree to an economics which works for everyone.

My next steps will be to bring what I have learned from the MSc and the fellowship back into international campaigning work. Civil society campaigns, in terms of their ability to mobilise the media and connect with the public, can truly shift the terms of the debate and help bring new ideas and policy solutions to the forefront of public discussions.

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Jack Nissan

Nationality: British
Lives in: London, UK

 
 

Jack is the founder and director of the ‘Tinderbox Collective’, a Scottish charity based in Edinburgh. The organisation works with hundreds of children and young people each year through a range of creative workshops, music hubs, alternative orchestras & apprenticeship schemes.  Jack has taken the organisation from an idea to an award-winning arts organisation and social enterprise, developing a number of lasting initiatives that bring people together, support young people to build their confidence, skills and creativity, and help them achieve in ways they may never have thought possible.

In 2012/13, Jack took part in a fellowship programmed called International Creative Entrepreneurs and spent several months working with community activists and social enterprises in China, primarily with families and communities on the outskirts of Beijing with an organisation called Hua Dan. Following this, he set up a number of international exchanges and cross-cultural productions that formed the basis for Tinderbox’s ‘Journey of a Thousand Wings’ programme, a project bringing together artists and community projects from different countries. 

Jack is also a co-director and founding member of Hidden Door, a volunteer-run, multi-arts festival, and has won a number of awards for his work across creative and social enterprise sectors. He has been invited to take part in several steering committees and advisory roles, including for Creative Scotland’s new cross-cutting theme on Creative Learning and Artworks Scotland’s peer-networks for artists working in participatory settings. Previously, Jack worked as a researcher in psychology and ageing, for the multidisciplinary MRC Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, specialising in areas of neuropsychology and memory. He has completed a master’s by research in Psychology, and an undergraduate MA in Philosophy and Psychology.

 

Personal Statement

In 2010 I started a creative and collaborative youth project, called the ‘Tinderbox Collective’, bringing together children and young people of all ages and walks of life with local bands, musicians, artists and community activists. It grew into a charity and social enterprise, and a seven-year journey trying to build a genuinely all-inclusive, diverse and ambitious creative environment for young people.  I am interested in areas of inequality, education and the arts, and the powerful creative and learning process of bringing different people, experiences and ideas together to create something new.

It is hard to find stimulating and creative environments in which we can have ideas, make significant contributions and help build something exciting, worthwhile and successful. Yet these are some of the most powerful learning and development opportunities we can find.  Where these environments exist, they are often reserved for the most privileged, educated and ambitious in society, and even here systemic inequalities and injustices are all too common.  Rarely are these opportunities truly accessible to everyone.  The arts is a unique environment where this should be possible, and this has been the main focus of my work these past years.

My work with the 'Tinderbox Collective' has been something of a living experiment, trying to figure out if and how creativity and the arts can mitigate certain areas of inequality. Many people we work with live in areas of poverty and struggle with issues around homelessness, disability, low self-esteem and other challenging life circumstances, and the work has been an ongoing journey in trying to overcome some of the many barriers people face both in taking part in these type of activities, as well as progressing beyond first level engagement to more advanced learning opportunities and paid employment. It has been a process of figuring things out along the way, encountering various challenges, adapting and trying new approaches to overcome them. This has been a bottom-up and creative approach, and I am now interested to look wider and think about more structural, analytical and top-down issues and solutions that might help to improve some of these problems. 

Through the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity and the MSc Inequalities and Social Science, I hope to gain a wider picture of inequality and a deeper understanding of the various issues, practices and influences involved.  In particular, I want to acquire a better sense of the political and economic forces surrounding inequality, and learn from people working and involved in other areas of the field. I hope to use this knowledge to build a more analytical framework for the work I have done with Tinderbox, and to combine this with my practical knowledge to help me progress my work and interest in this area.

 
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Joey Hasson

Living in: London, UK
Nationality: South African and Italian

 
 

Twitter

Joey completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town in 2003. Joey has a long history of working with youth movements, political education, leadership development and community organising, which cemented a deep belief in the participation of young people in civic and political life.

In 2003, Joey met anti-apartheid and AIDS activist Zackie Achmat. Achmat had founded the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), a grassroots movement of people living with HIV fighting the South African government for access to life-saving antiretroviral treatment. Between 2003 and 2008, he worked alongside TAC activists to develop community health organising and advocacy capacities. Joey subsequently worked for the South African Labour Research Institute at the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union in Cape Town, building a coalition to try and stem clothing industry job losses. During this period he also established an organisation promoting active engagement and dialogue between Jewish and Muslim youth in Cape Town.

Inspired by the TAC example of social mobilisation, policy advocacy and strategic litigation to impact lives and reduce inequality, Joey co-founded Equal Education (EE) in 2008. EE is a movement of thousands of high school-learners campaigning for equitable state education in South Africa. Over 5 years he lead the movement’s youth and campaigns strategy and later its policy, research and training department. Joey organised weekly meetings, youth camps and training to develop leaders and build a national activist movement. The demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, public petitions and media advocacy he directed led to the adoption of a national school infrastructure policy prioritising the poorest schools in 2013. EE is today among the largest democratic organisations of students, teachers and parents across urban townships and rural schools in South Africa.

Joey moved to the United Kingdom in 2012 to work as campaign coordinator of two multi-country socio-economic and cultural rights campaigns with Amnesty International. The first focused on housing rights and forced evictions in Kenya, Nigeria, Italy, Romania and Brazil; the second focused on sexual and reproductive health rights in Ireland, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Both public campaigns involved strengthening international activist networks, developing campaign materials, engaging human rights law and policy using media and advocacy strategy to impact on national governments and United Nations bodies.

In 2015 Joey helped establish the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in Cape Town, South Africa. As senior fellow at the centre, he developed curriculum and programmes for community activists on history, theory, policy and political economy. Most recently, Joey developed and ran a political education series on the life and ideas of post-colonial theorist and revolutionary humanist, Frantz Fanon.

 

Personal Statement

I passionately believe in the unity and equality of all human beings. All deserve a dignified life and equal access to housing, health, education and employment opportunities. I am disturbed by the ways in which extremes in the distribution of wealth and power limits access to these fundamental entitlements.

Over the last 12 years, I have worked within activist movements and organisations and have gained practical experience tackling inequality. My experience developing campaigns has used community organising, law and public engagement to improve provision of education, sanitation, housing and health, and has given me a broad understanding of the effects of inequality.

My work countering the effects of inequality politically, has inspired me to engage further with the subject theoretically. I am interested in the historical foundations and global manifestations of our unequal world as well as the intersections of class, race and gender which characterise contemporary inequalities. Through the programme, I am seeking to expand my knowledge of the systemic political-economic processes of commodification, alienation, exploitation and oppression which are observable everywhere.

I am strongly committed in my current work to the idea that activists can enhance their efficacy through learning, reflection and regeneration. Having benefited from the opportunity to read broadly, reflect and engage intellectually with others in the field while part of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity, I intend to extend internationally the educational programmes I have been developing in South Africa, with activists and networks in other inequality fields.

The international educational programme I hope to set up will enhance and extend the understanding and creativity of activists involved in struggles with inequality. To achieve this, I believe such a project must, to use Frantz Fanon’s words, ‘put itself to school with the people’. Although content and expertise could be pooled and centralised, Fanon’s meaning is that educational programmes and settings for teaching should take place within – and be determined by – sites of real political struggle. The programme will also link activists, practitioners and experts working in specific fields of inequality, so they can share knowledge and gain new perspectives in order to act effectively to reduce systemic inequality.

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Louis Oyaro

Living in: Germany
Nationality: Ugandan

 
 

LinkedIn 

Louis is a passionate believer in universal human rights, deeply concerned about the effects of inequality as evidenced around the globe today. He is a lawyer by profession, with over six years work experience in human rights related intervention especially in the low resource region of sub-Saharan Africa. His key areas of expertise include access to justice, post-conflict intervention, transitional justice, child rights and sexual and gender violence intervention. In the recent years, he has also developed particular interest in disability rights and inclusion. He is a regular writer, researcher and avid follower of international disability trends and developments, with specific interest in the key areas of disability equality, reasonable accommodation, legal capacity and, disability inclusion and development. He is particularly proud of his role in compiling the first comprehensive legal- statistical disability study on Uganda which was published in the 2014 issue of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

Louis is a recipient of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy’s (CDLP) 2014 Gold Medal Excellence Award; which he received upon graduating top of his Master of Laws Class at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). In the same year, his Article won Honourable Mention in the acclaimed International Human Rights Essay Competition coordinated by the American University, Washington. The said Article was subsequently published in the 2015 issue of the International Law Review. On issues disability and human rights in Africa, Louis is an active member of the new crop of disability advocates tirelessly pushing for realization of equality for persons with disabilities- a group that has historically been marginalized in the region. His regional contacts include the African Union’s Working Group on Persons with Disabilities, the African Disability Alliance (ADA) and the University of Pretoria’s- Centre for Human Rights. Nationally in Uganda, Louis has distinguished himself as a much needed intellectual resource on disability rights. In addition to his above stated Uganda disability study Report, Louis has undertaken key research for organizations and institutions including the School of Law, Makerere University- Kampala.   

Louis holds a Master in Laws (LLM) in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Makerere University, Kampala (MUK). He is also an enrolled member of the Uganda Law Society and the East African Law Society.

 

Personal Statement

Personally, I am constantly curious and ideologically biased in favour of human rights, equality and justice. I am especially passionate about its impact on marginalised groups and individuals, always mindful that a one-size-fits-all approach is not always appropriate. A key reason for my concern for inequality, and hence conviction for equality, is to make society, or at the very least the individuals I serve, attain their full individual potential; finding their placing in their communities as contributors and just partners.

I do believe tackling inequality goes a long way in achieving meaningful sustainable development. Accordingly, in my opinion, a developed or modern world implies a world where all are treated, at the minimum, as human beings and productive agents, deserving of respect, audience and dignity regardless of status or opinion. Unfortunately, the above is far from true globally and perhaps more intense in culturally strong communities - for example in sub-Saharan Africa, where I come from. It is for this reason that I believe a lot of human and intellectual resource is required to reach constructive, appropriate and contextually accepted resolution to the challenge of inequality.

Hence, while being ready to share my own experiences and views on the same, I hope that my Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity experience presents similar opportunities for comparative discussion on concepts and realities from other regions. I hope that this program enhances my understanding and appreciation of a nuanced and practical approach to combat inequality as a social challenge and in so doing make me a better servant and advocate for equality and human rights in general.

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Louise Russell-Prywata

Living in: Gillingham, UK
Nationality: British

 
 

Twitter

Louise is a charity and NGO professional, whose experience encompasses campaign and organisation development, community engagement and fundraising. She has worked within local, national and international organisations challenging inequality.

Louise is currently Head of Development at Transparency International UK, having joined the organisation in 2014. Louise works closely with the organisation’s research, policy, advocacy and communications teams to develop and fundraise for campaigns and projects that challenge a variety of anti-corruption issues. Louise was instrumental to the development and realisation of Transparency International UK’s Corrupt Capital campaign. This campaign aims to reduce the role of the UK as a safe haven for international corruption. It successfully developed and advocated for new legal powers to deal with corrupt wealth hidden the UK, which became UK law in 2017, and secured widespread media coverage of corrupt money in the London property market.

Louise’s career began through community action in her local area of South East London. Louise managed outreach and training projects providing English language and general life-skills training to local people through Eclectic Productions, a social enterprise using media to empower people to make their voices heard. Together with the company Directors and a small group of committed volunteers, Louise co-founded Reprezent Radio, a community project enabling young Londoners speak out to challenge inequalities, and debate directly with decision makers.

During Louise’s time, the project empowered hundreds of young people across South East London.  She set up numerous radio interviews and debates between young people and decision makers on issues that affected their lives, including discrimination in police stop and search, lack of educational opportunities, and mental health.

Louise led the successful application to secure Reprezent Radio’s licence to broadcast on FM, which significantly expanded the project’s reach from its online audience. Reprezent FM became the only UK radio station entirely programmed by young people. Louise and the team collaborated with mainstream media to further amplify young people’s voices, including BBC Radio 1Xtra, ITV News, and a live discussion about gang and knife crime in Peckham between Harriet Harman MP and young people who had been close to these activities, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

As Reprezent FM grew in popularity, Louise spent more time fundraising to expand its work, before going on to spend two years as a professional fundraiser at CLIC Sargent, a charity helping young people across the UK overcome social, emotional and economic challenges of cancer.

Louise is on the Trustee Board of Economy, a charity using media and campaigns to make economics understandable and increase public engagement with economic issues. The charity was established by Rethinking Economics, an international movement of students, academics and professionals promoting pluralism and critical thinking in economics.

Louise holds a degree in Psychology from the University of Sheffield, and is a member of the Institute of Fundraising, the professional membership body for charity and NGO fundraisers in the UK.

 

Personal Statement

My interests in social and economic equity are broad, encompassing large-scale transfers of wealth from the public to private individuals – for example through corruption and tax (in)justice issues; processes through which wealth is retained in the private sphere – including global financial secrecy and the use of corporate networks; and the role of private wealth in efforts to tackle inequalities.

I am interested in how economic systems can become more equitable, and specifically in how greater public participation in economic debates can facilitate greater economic equity. In order for genuine democratic engagement, I believe that better public understanding is needed; education and changing the narrative within mainstream media have key roles to play.

My background in fundraising has led me to become interested in the role of philanthropy in tackling inequalities – both globally and within the UK. It has contributed to me viewing philanthropy as an active influence on charities and policies, and within societies. I am particularly interested in how questions of transparency and public accountability interact with philanthropy and affect its ability to tackle inequalities.

I ultimately care about people’s lived experiences of inequalities, and this has informed my career to date. From working with local communities in inner city London, I know how different inequality issues can interact and compound the impact experienced by people. My thinking and motivation for creating change is informed by this and framed in terms of empowering all citizens to be part of, and benefit from, improving economic and social equity.

I applied to the Atlantic Fellowship in order to learn from and share experiences with others engaged in challenging inequalities around the globe, and to underpin my professional skills with relevant academic knowledge. I am enthused and honoured to be part of this important, collaborative opportunity to advance social and economic equity, and look forward to further developing my thinking and future work through the Fellowship.

My long term ambition is to lead a campaigning organisation that challenges inequalities. Following the MSc course I aim to further develop my understanding of campaigning approaches, deepening my understanding of ‘what works’ in different contexts, and the organisational skills and resources needed to achieve success. My main motivation is to continue making change happen in practice. I hope to achieve this by working within both international and national organisations challenging inequalities, and am keen to tackle a variety of inequality issues throughout my career.

 

Louise will be undertaking the fellowship on a part-time basis, over 24-months.

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Patricio Esponosa

Living in: Santiago, Chile
Nationality: Chilean

 
 

Twitter

From 1998 to 2003 Patricio studied Law at Universidad de Chile. Since then, he has always been interested in government and political issues in relation to the fighting of inequalities in society.

Patricio started his professional career in a law firm, however in 2007 he changed focus and turned to the third sector, working in an NGO called “Corporación Participa” in which he coordinated projects on transparency, citizen participation and civic education.

As he wanted to strengthen his skills to pursue a career in government, Patricio enrolled in 2008 in the LLM programme in Public Law at Universidad de Chile, focusing on the administrative aspects of socioeconomic rights. In the same year he entered the public sector, being appointed as a lawyer in the Budget Office of the Ministry of Finance. There he worked in the Studies Department, which is responsible of assessing the most relevant policies implemented by the Government and evaluating their fiscal sustainability. His work focused on institutional reforms in Education.

After two years in the Budget Office Patricio decided to pursue postgraduate studies in political theory in the UK. In 2010 he was awarded with the ‘Becas Chile’ Scholarship from the Chilean Government, to enrol in the MA Legal and Political Theory at University College London. There he studied the philosophical and political foundations of socioeconomic rights from the perspective of egalitarian theories of distributive justice.

Throughout his professional career, he has developed an academic career at Universidad de Chile. He was an assistant to the chair of Constitutional Law from 1999 to 2013, focusing on the constitutional principle of equality. After his studies in London he became a lecturer in the Graduate Diploma in Economic Public Law at Universidad de Chile where he taught the regulatory aspects of social policies. In 2013 Patricio was a visiting professor at Universidad de Chile’s Faculty of Economy where he taught a political philosophy course on Republicanism and the Market. He presented the main trends of the egalitarian republican thought contrasting them with the fundamentals of the prevailing neoliberal thinking. Furthermore, Patricio has published several papers on socioeconomic rights in the Public Law Journal of Universidad de Chile's Faculty of Law.

Since 2014 Patricio works as Legislative Chief of the Ministry of Education and is in charge of drafting legislation of the Educational Reform, currently being discussed in Parliament. It is also his responsibility to assist the Minister in the official debate and political negotiations for the passing of the bills. The Reform is the most important effort Chile has carried out in order to challenge the structural inequality that the country suffers as it seeks to eliminate discrimination and the socioeconomic barriers to access to quality education at all levels. In this role Patricio has contributed to the approval of a number of bills so far, including the Inclusion Act which eliminates co-payment, student selection and for-profit aims in subsidised schools.

 

Personal Statement

Although I come from a working class family in Chile, I managed to attend the most prestigious public school which, despite my socioeconomic background, allowed me to access higher education and graduate from the most important university in Chile.

I am aware that my story is an exception in what otherwise is a structural issue: the extreme inequality that many Chileans suffer in terms of the distribution of wealth and power. This is the main reason that has driven my professional efforts towards fighting inequalities - that all people, regardless their cultural and socioeconomic background, could have equal opportunities for developing their lives.

It is my intellectual conviction that inequality must be tackled because it affects human dignity, social cohesion and economic development. Accordingly, highly unequal societies produce the appropriate conditions for oppression and exploitation to rise, as shown in many countries, e.g. the post-dictatorship democracies in Latin America. One of the greatest problems our democracies faces nowadays is that so few people hold the majority of the wealth countries produce, as well as controlling media and political power. This creates a sort of social hierarchy that is a challenge to people enjoying the opportunities development brings. And this is a problem on a global-scale, that must to be tackled.

I am broadly interested in socioeconomic inequalities, particularly in the distribution of wealth in society. In particular, I am concerned about inequalities in the access to social services such as education, health and housing.

I applied to the AFp because it is the most important and relevant initiative in the world focused on fighting inequalities. Being part of the AFp will be crucial for me as it will connect me with a network of changemakers that will aim to challenge inequality across the globe. In an increasingly globalised world, international networks of policy makers are a pivotal element of successful large-scale structural reforms. I am excited about the opportunity to develop ties with a community of like-minded inequality scholars and professionals that will be addressing similar issues in varying contexts as I firmly believe that fighting inequalities is a task that must be addressed as a collective and multidisciplinary endeavour.

Through the MSc Inequalities and Social Science programme and my participation in the activities of the AFp I also expect to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to develop effective strategies for challenging inequalities.

In ten years’ time I hope to be able to lead structural social reforms to eliminate inequalities in my country so as to foster a fairer and more egalitarian society. In addition, as part of the Atlantic Fellows global network, I would like to contribute with my experience in structural reforms to other developing countries that need to carry out such transformations in order to fight and tackle inequalities.

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Priyanka Kotamraju

Living in: Hyderabad, India
Nationality: Indian

 
 

Twitter 

Priyanka Kotamraju is an independent, bilingual journalist from India with over five years of experience in journalism and a total of eight years in the media industry. In her eight-year career, Priyanka has shifted gears from marketing to journalism and from working at highly respected, mainstream print media groups such as The Hindu and the Indian Express to managing a hyper-local, women-driven and cash-strapped newspaper in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Khabar Lahariya was her most recent assignment, where she served as Co-Editor and Programme Coordinator. Khabar Lahariya (which literally translates to waves of news) is a feminist news organisation run entirely by women, most of whom are semi-and-neo-literate, self-taught, Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim reporters, who produce a weekly newspaper and daily digital news in Hindi and local dialects. Its operations are based in one of the most backward regions of India, Bundelkhand, which comprises seven districts in Uttar Pradesh and six districts in Madhya Pradesh. The region, which fares extremely poorly on social and economic indicators, is also known as one of the two drought capitals in the country. Khabar Lahariya is read in 800 plus villages across this region in Bundeli, Awadhi and Hindi languages. The newspaper’s reader is the farmer, the migrant worker, the community health worker, the teacher, the weaver and the small entrepreneur, for whom development is designed and for whom information is most important but scarce.

At Khabar Lahariya, Priyanka managed a team of more than 20 rural women reporters, training them in tracking social policies, understanding and investigating the targeting and implementation of social policies. She has reported on the impact of drought on marriage, malnutrition, education, and farm debt from Uttar Pradesh. Her earlier assignments with Hindu Business Line included writing on sociology of ‘dark’ villages, the impact on school attendance in human-animal conflict areas, and the relationship between violence and women with the right to land. In the last two years, Priyanka has also mentored young rural and urban women reporters, training them in rural journalism and getting their investigations into India’s development model published in English and Hindi mainstream newspapers.

Since September last year, Priyanka has been working as an independent journalist. She has started a collective of young women journalists, the objective of which is to research, report and write on rural affairs, gender and social justice. Uttar Pradesh in India remains the focus her reportage.

Priyanka was also a member of a civil society delegation that visited Jammu & Kashmir last year and the co-author of a report documenting human rights violations in the Kashmir valley. She is also working on a paper studying spatial inequalities in access to nutrition programmes in Uttar Pradesh. Her reports have been published in Scroll.in, News Deeply, Indian Express, Jansatta (a Hindi daily) and TwoCircles.net (Hindi).

 

Personal Statement

Last year in April, during one of the worst droughts Uttar Pradesh had experienced in a decade, I met Geeta. She is an 18-year-old Dalit girl from Ajnar village, Mahoba district. The district and her village were reeling under a severe water crisis brought on by the drought. Geeta told me that she had spent most of her summer at the only functional hand pump in the village, queuing up for hours to ferry 35-40 litre of water, three-four times a day. Over the course of the summer, she developed chronic back pain, usually accompanied by fevers.

Slowly, Geeta - who is a biology graduate student at a private college in the district head-quarters - replaced going to college with going to the hand pump. Last year, she was able to attend only 20 days of classes. The Dalit colony she lived in is crowded with young girls like Geeta who had to drop out of college to meet with the basic need of collecting water. Geeta’s social locus – her Scheduled Caste background, the location of the hand pump and the college – determined her access to education.

That summer, I also met Sushila Pintu, an adivasi woman who lost her child when she couldn’t make it to the nearest government health centre. Her neighbour’s twins, born malnourished, also have never been to a health centre. In these cases also, the family’s social locus and physical location determined their access to decent healthcare.

What determines access to good healthcare, education and food security? What role do caste, gender and geography play in determining access to economic and social security for families? What are the inequalities that arise and how do they shape an individual’s life choices?  In my journalism career, I have often found that inequality lies at the heart of uneven development and the life choices people make. What the life choices of women like Geeta and Sushila are, what the inequalities in opportunity and access there are for them, are questions that deeply interest me.

The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity aims to address the deepening problem of inequality by building a ‘cadre of social change leaders’ who can conduct rigorous sociological inquiries into the nature of inequality and advance solutions to the many problems it poses to the human condition. I believe I have devoted my career in pursuit of the same – to document the causes of inequality, how it manifests and its consequences on the lives of rural Indians in particular. My motivations for undertaking graduate studies and to be a member of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity are to build a career in social science research, to track the lives of families in rural regions of South Asia, and to study the long-term effects of inequality on healthcare and education, especially for women and adolescent girls. I hope to also pursue the path of academic activism to bridge the gap between research and public awareness and to build public discourse around inequality in communities.

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Rania Tarazi

Living in: Amman, Jordan
Nationality: Jordanian

 
 

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Rania is a development practitioner with 12 years of experience in developing and managing projects that tackle gender inequality, poverty and unemployment. She has worked in several international organizations including Oxfam GB, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Development Programme in Jordan and the Middle East North Africa region. Her experience has covered a wide variety of projects including Millennium Development Goals reporting and planning; poverty measurement and statistics; Human Development reports; support to small and medium enterprises and linking jobs with higher education outputs and projects that foster ICT as a tool for education and job creation especially for people in marginalized locations and persons with disabilities. Her regional experience was focused on gender equality programming and strategising.

Key highlights for her include conceptualising and managing gender needs assessments in six countries with wide stakeholder involvement and a regional analysis to inform strategy development at UN Women.. She also takes pride in having managed a regional multi-stakeholder programme at Oxfam that supported leadership and political participation of women, especially those living in poor and rural areas. . Rania led the regional work, with her team and 15 women’s organisations that aimed to enhance learning, coordination, better targeting of marginalised groups and campaigning. Rania also developed and led a small grants component that funded promising initiatives by emerging grassroots women and youth organizations in remote, neglected or poor areas.

Rania is currently providing consultancy work in the same fields taking up assignments such as proposal development, management advice and monitoring and evaluation support.  Most recently she has been conducting a mid-term review for a regional gender equality programme and she completed management support to a project that works with Persons with Disabilities in Kuwait.  Her previous independent work included primary baseline research studies for a project by GTZ in Jordan that aimed to alleviate poverty through municipal development.

Rania is an architect by training with a master’s degree in Urban Management from the Urban Management Centre at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her master’s thesis was concerned with the digital divide: i.e. the gap between the “have” and the “have-nots” and whether ICT-access policies could improve disadvantaged people’s lives in urban areas in Jordan.

 

Personal Statement

My interest in studying inequality stems from a concern that has both normative and practical bases. Globalisation and recent developments such the financial crisis and the war on terror threaten to increase the sense of inequality; insecurity and reinforce narrow identities and fear of the other. I am concerned about losing perspective of the purpose of human solidarity and therefore losing equality as a “consensus value”, even if nowadays it remains more in the rhetoric than an achievement in practice.

Practically, inequality has negative consequences on society. Accumulation of wealth in the hands of certain groups means impoverishment of others. Unequal opportunities in the long run threaten to destabilise neighbourhoods, countries and even the globe. Inequality before the law renders specific groups that are discriminated against vulnerable. Furthermore, accumulation of wealth and consequently power in the hands of a minority jeopardises democracy, transparency and the rule of law and therefore undermines overall welfare.  Yet inequality remains under-prioritised in mainstream global and national policies.

I am interested in learning more about the dilemmas of inequality; dimensions of inequality; global inequality and the impact of globalisation economically and culturally as well as the changing role of media; the politics of inequality and redistribution and how social policy can address inequality; welfare definitions and measurements and the role of the state, non-governmental organisations and international organisations. I am particularly interested in the relationship with poverty and vulnerability and how to find practical and actionable solutions to impact social mobility and a redistribution of power.

I applied to the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity because it is distinctive in the access it promises to a network of activists, academics and practitioners with similar interests and with a wide variety of experiences from around the globe. It is a great opportunity for exchange and engagement with this group, to learn from them, be inspired by them, run ideas by them and possibly work together on joint projects.  The AFp is also a space to develop as a leader and be supported and inspired to take action to achieve my aims.

What I aim to achieve after this programme is to be able provide reliable evidence-based policy advice to governments, international or national organizations on policies and programmes that aim to tackle poverty and inequalities. It would be ideal if I can work in different countries and varied contexts. I also hope to use such evidence in advocacy to push for these goals where these are not prioritised. At one point within the next 5 years, I hope to start a research and policy advocacy initiative working together with other organizations and with particular social groups who suffer “intersections of inequality” to develop common positions, voice and push for more equitable policies and outcomes in innovative ways.

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Rose Longhurst

Living in: Manchester, UK
Nationality: British

 
 

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Rose has spent her career working in the non-profit sector. She has specialised in fundraising and advising institutional donors on how to give effectively. Throughout her career she has championed bottom-up, inclusive approaches to philanthropy. This includes participatory decision-making, where affected communities are involved in decisions about their lives. To achieve this, Rose has worked with several organisations that model this approach.

Rose has been an active member of The Edge Fund since 2013. Edge Fund is a UK-based funder that gives small grants to grassroots activists challenging the root causes of injustice and discrimination. It is a participatory grantmaker, as decisions are made by those who are most affected by the issues. Over the past five years Edge has funded 175 groups fighting patriarchy, white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression. Rose’s experience with the Edge Fund has particularly strengthened her interest in inequality and injustice, as she has witnessed the disproportionate impact of austerity on marginalised communities.

Rose also sits on the Board of the EDGE Funders Alliance (which has no relation to The Edge Fund), a global network of progressive philanthropy. EDGE Funders Alliance works to increase resources for social movements to create a transition to a just and equitable society. One area of their work Rose is particularly involved in is the Gender Justice Initiative, which seeks to ensure that gender justice is at the heart of progressive philanthropy.

Rose is also on the Facilitation Group of FundAction, a new initiative established to support pan-European activism. The aim is to distribute resources via participatory processes, using a pooled funding model. This has bought together individuals working on digital rights, feminist organising and climate justice from across Europe. They are currently designing the new fund, and imagining an alternative to the rise of popularism and extremism.

In her professional career, Rose has held roles in the women’s rights organisation Womankind Worldwide, the intergovernmental agency The Commonwealth Foundation, and a social enterprise supporting micro-solar energy in Africa. Much of her work has focused on analysis of the funding policies and practices of bilateral donors and charitable foundations.

In 2013 she joined Bond, the UK network for international development and humanitarian organisations. In this role she worked with a wide range of stakeholders, from UK government to small NGOs, leading efforts to support the effective flow of money from donors to the communities it is intended to serve.

Rose spent the first few years of her life in the Philippines, where many of her family still live. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy and a MA in Communication Studies from the University of Leeds. Her dissertation focussed on the campaigning tactics of animal and gay rights groups. In 2014 she qualified as a yoga teacher, and she has just returned to the UK after a few months of living in South Africa, where she taught yoga in a rape crisis centre.

 

Personal Statement

I spent the first few years of my life in Manila, where the backdrop to my childhood was the People Power Revolution, which culminated in the exile of the kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. The authoritarian regime was ousted by non-violent popular protest, and continues to be a source of pride for Filipino people. From an early age, I have felt strongly that we need to be vigilant against systems that support individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Through the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity I look forward to exploring the relationships between different types of inequality, and the ways in which economic inequality, political power and social outcomes intersect. I believe that rising inequality is deeply unjust, especially when wealth and privilege allow the rich to wield disproportionate influence over the lives of others. The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity offers an opportunity to consider how we can develop policies and change cultures to create more equitable societies.

I applied to become an Atlantic Fellow partly in response to recent political developments. I believe that rising inequality leads to the degradation of democracy, and to policies that disadvantage vulnerable members of our community. When access to political processes are determined by money, and if public goods are eroded by private capture, then it becomes increasingly hard to combat inequality, because the powerful can and will create legislation that protects their interests. There is an urgency to calls to address inequality, as these processes create a vicious cycle where inequality and its effects are compounded.

I feel strongly that inequality won’t be resolved if solutions are proposed only by the privileged. Those who benefit from inequality can’t be relied upon to resolve it. This has become increasingly clear to me through my work with civil society and social movements. Too often those with wealth, rather than those closest to the issue, set the agenda. Participatory planning is essential to developing just and effective policy, and my ambition for the future is to advocate for participatory decision-making as a means to not only fairer but also more effective social outcomes. This approach is as relevant for international governance as it is for grassroots community groups.

The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity is a unique opportunity to study a complex issue that underpins so much of the poverty and injustice that people across the globe are facing. For me, the most appealing aspects of the programme are the multi-disciplinary approach and the focus on evidence in action. I hope to learn from experts in a range of fields, offering a comprehensive understanding of inequality as one of the most pressing challenges we face, and one that is at the frontline of many of the crises that we urgently need to address.

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Saida Ali

Living in: Nairobi, Kenya
Nationality: Kenyan

 
 

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Saida has lived a 19- year journey of innovative programming, uplifting people, building organisations and coalitions, trusting relationships and shaping the conditions for social justice. As an advocacy strategist she has steered and mentored, delivering indelible results at national and UN levels. She has over 12 years’ experience of leading social justice strategies.

Saida has held a number of senior level programme management and governance/ advisory roles. She has built considerable expertise in designing, implementation and evaluation of socio-economic and gender justice programmes; spanning policy analysis and oversight, humanitarian, resilience and long-term development. She has worked at national, regional and global levels.

When Saida was 23 years old, she co-founded the Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI), an organisation that works to empower young women and adolescent girls. Later she worked as the executive director of the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), an organisation that works towards elimination of all forms of violence against women in Kenya. She has, over the years, built a wealth of experience in providing leadership and guidance to programme teams, providing strategic leadership for organisational effectiveness and strengthening the capacity and core competencies of staff, particularly in key issues such as gender justice, sexual and reproductive health and rights, inclusive governance and addressing inequalities.

Throughout her career Saida has focussed on strategy development and capacity building for communities, partners and government institutions, ensuring the successful implementation of holistic programmes.

 

Personal Statement

I am a coalition builder, driven by courage and commitment to better the lives of women and girls, especially in Africa. I started my activism on ending violence against women and girls at a young age; joining vigils, demonstrations and community outreach activities in different parts of Kenya. I have been a part of various campaigns including those on ending female genital mutilation (FGM) and other forms of violence against women and girls, calling for legal reform and addressing social, economic and cultural factors used to perpetuate violations of women’s and girls’ rights. I have grown in my career in social justice work – to be a human rights defender, a leader, and an advocacy strategist driven by my passion to ensure gender equality, the empowerment and human rights of women and girls. I am interested in the interlocking nature of gender from a sex –race - class perspective. “Gender” on its own - and certainly on matters of inequalities - is not the only determining factor to a woman’s or girl’s experience.

I believe working towards gender equality requires that all the systemic barriers and structural inequalities are tackled. I see patterns that entrench and maintain patriarchy beyond individual and household power relations, in private and public spheres. I am concerned about the current trends in security and migration and how they all intersect with race to create a world where individuals and whole communities can be further pushed to the periphery rather than enjoy being equal citizens of the world. As an Atlantic Fellow I have an opportunity to delve deep into the analysis of the interwoven systemic issues of neoliberalism, fundamentalisms, militarism, racism and patriarchy as systemic drivers of gender, and other forms of, inequality.

This is an opportunity to grow in my capacity to contribute to addressing one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today – inequalities. My passion, commitment and sharp analysis on various issues affecting women and girls in Africa is what I bring to the program. In turn I am looking forward to learn and continue working to better the lives of women and girls in Africa.  I am excited about being one of the Atlantic Fellows.