Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri is the Vice-Chairman of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math and President of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University). He is the most senior disciple of renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma). He has been living in Amritapuri Ashram since its inception in the late 1970s. He holds a Masters degree in Philosophy and is a renowned author and translator, having written "The Colour of the Rainbow: Compassionate Leadership" as well as two biographies of Amma. A magnificent singer, he has composed numerous bhajans, and has travelled around the world more than 30 times with Amma.
Mette Bjerkaas (Norway) is the current Head of Education in the United Nations Associations (UNA) of Norway, where she promotes research, information, and education about the goals of the Charter of the United Nations. Having completed her Bachelors degree in journalism, she worked in the field for three years before going on to become a second level teacher. After seven years teaching Norwegian, Religious Studies, Social Studies and Physical Education while she was also a Teacher's Union representative, she undertook a Masters degree in Culture Meet at Volda University College. The focus of her thesis was the treatment of minority students with trauma in the Norwegian school system. At the same time she also volunteered with the Red Cross, where she spent some time working with refugees. In recent years she has written several textbooks and curricular notes in Social Studies.
Emma Kenny (UK) works as a TV psychologist, presenter, writer, and expert commentator in the public media and press. She writes a weekly column entitled 'On the Couch' for the UK magazine Closer. She runs her own blog and YouTube channel, and has recently established a free healthy social network, Sochal, which is marketed as a free pocket-sized personal trainer, well-being coach, health guru and dietitian, for a healthier and happier you! She is a registered psychological expert with a Bachelors in Psychology, and an Advanced Diploma and Masters in Counselling and lectures regularly Psychology PhD candidates at the University of Manchester.
Simon Kuany (South Sudan / India) is a Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education Specialist at UNESCO MGIEP. A global nomad from South Sudan, he completed his high school education in Kenya while a refugee. He went on to earn the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Symbiosis International University Joint Scholarship, where he finished his MBA, graduating as a gold medalist. He is self-educated in global geopolitics and philosophy, trained in inquiry-orientated education and critical thinking. At UNESCO MGIEP, Kuany is specifically in charge of #YouthWagingPeace, TAGe and overall PVEE coordination. He also works a bit on the flagship Libre Project and youth-led monitoring of the SDGs.
His book, The Enlightened Darkness is an intimate meditation on the causes and consequences of the Sudanese Civil War. He hopes to use the proceeds from the book to support orphans’ education in South Sudan. He loves good books, good coffee, good music, soccer and enriching conversations.