Bjørn Ihler is a Norwegian activist, writer, designer, and filmmaker working across mediums to promote peace and human rights in defiance of violent extremism. A survivor of the 2011 attack on Utøya Island in Norway, Ihler works to promote an understanding of the influence design, narratives, and storytelling has on culture and how narratives can be transformed to build more peaceful societies. Ihler graduated from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2013 and is currently pursuing a master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at Hacettepe University.
Dr Ananda Shankar Jayant, inhabits the worlds of administration, academics, and arts; straddling them with equal ease.
Celebrated as one of India’s most eminent and renowned classical dancer, choreographer and dance scholar, Ananda’s artistic body of work ,spans mythologies and abstraction, historical chronicles and women studies, poetry and abstraction, philosophy and humour.
As the Artistic Director of Shankarananda Kalakshetra, Ananda, leads an acclaimed ensemble, besides training and presenting the next generation of Bharatanatyam artists.
For her contribution to the field of classical art, she was conferred the "Padma Shri" (India’s 4th highest civilian award) in 2007 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar (India’s apex cultural body) for Bharatanatyam in 2009.
Ananda is a sought after motivational speaker and actively engages with young India on a wide range of topics, at leading corporate entities, leadership programs, hospitals, universities and schools. A TED speaker in 2009, her TED talk after her tryst with Cancer has been ranked as one of 12 Incredible TED talks on the subject. In January 2015, the Huffington Post ranked Ananda’s TED talk, as one of five greatest TED talks by Indians.
Another rare honour was a recent invitation to speak at the Harvard Business School for the Inspire Series of the India Conference at Harvard
Ananda is an officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service and is currently posted at the Centre for Railway Information Systems, in Hyderabad, India.
Paul was branded as a “naughty child” at school. He was classically autistic in his early years and gained functional speech around the age of 7 or 8 years old. He went through mainstream school with no additional help or recognition of his autism. Consequently, he did not achieve his academic or his social potential and had very low self-esteem.
After a string of unsuccessful jobs, Paul’s mental health suffered. He was referred to mental health services and misdiagnosed with “Asperger traits with a complex personality”, which did not satisfy Paul was diagnosed by an experienced psychiatrist, who diagnosed him with High Functioning Autism at 24 years old.
Paul wanted to promote autism awareness and help others on the autism spectrum, in the hope that others would not have to suffer as he had. He became a speaker for an autism organisation and has not looked back! Presenting speeches, training and conducting consultancy, Paul is now a freelance speaker, trainer and consultant who continues to raise the profile of autism at every opportunity. Having done much research, he is keen to explain the differences between Asperger’s Syndrome & Autism using Autism Consultant Donna William’s (Polly Samuel's) ‘Fruit Salad’ model.
Paul firmly believes in retaining the ASD acronym. He says there should not be a negative stigma around the word ‘disorder’. His message is that Autism is a complex mix of ability and disability and every person with autism (and all people) should be a valued member of society.
Paul in his spare time likes to meetup with friends, create art and write poetry which is both a creative and relaxing output for him.
Kathy Shorr was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is rooted in documentary, portraiture and street photography. She received her undergraduate degree in photography from the School of Visual Arts and an MS in Education, earned while working as a New York City Teaching Fellow in the public schools in crisis. Shorr’s work has been shown in galleries in New York City, Houston and Los Angeles, and has been featured at the celebrated Visa pour L’Image Festival in Perpignan, France. She lives and works in New York City.