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Conference Participants


Flavia Agnes is one of India’s leading women’s rights lawyers, whose work has focused on the issues of gender and law reforms. She is co-founder of MAJLIS, a legal and cultural resource center that provides legal services to women and children. Agnes writes regularly in leading newspapers and journals, and is the author of, among other works, the autobiographical, My Story Our Story ... Of Rebuilding Broken Lives; Law & Gender Inequality: The Politics of Personal Laws in India; and Of Lofty Claims and Muffled Voices: A Perspective of the Gujarat Carnage.

Khalid Anis Ansari is Director of the Dr. Ambedkar Centre for Exclusion Studies and transformative Action, and Senior Assistant Professor in the Law School, Glocal University, Saharanpur (UP). He works in the field of social and cultural theory with special focus on democratic transformation and subaltern counterpublics, caste and religion, and social histories of the marginalized. He was the founding coordinator of the Patna Collective, which seeks to integrate scholarship and activism to generate and disseminate critical knowledge on new transformative spaces in India.

Sara Hossain is a barrister practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, mainly in the areas of constitutional, public interest, and family law. She also currently serves as Honorary Director of the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Service Trust, which is one of the largest legal services organizations in Bangladesh. In addition, Hoassain is Chairperson of the Dhaka-based human rights organization Ain o Salish Kendra. Hossain serves as a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), is a member of the Human Rights Committee of the International Law Association, and on the Advisory Committee of the Women’s International Coalition on Gender Justice.

Alan Keenan is  Sri Lanka Senior Analyst at the International Crisis Group (ICG) in London. ICG is an independent organisation working to prevent wars and shape policies that will build a more peaceful world. Keenan coordinates and contributes to the organisation's research, publications and advocacy on Sri Lanka. He has lived and worked in Sri Lanka for extended periods since first visiting in February 2000. Keenan has a PhD in political theory from the Johns Hopkins University and taught at various institutions in the US before joining ICG in 2006.

Zainab Malik is a lawyer that heads advocacy at Justice Project Pakistan (JPP). Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) is a non-profit, human rights law firm based in Pakistan that provides pro-bono legal advice, representation and investigative services to the most vulnerable prisoners facing the harshest punishments. JPP has, for instance, played a key role in the release of Pakistani nationals who were held at a detention facility at Parwan, otherwise known as “Bagram,” in Afghanistan for years without charge.

P. Sainath, former Rural Affairs Editor of The Hindu, is the 2007 winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (one of Asia’s highest honors, awarded for integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society). He was also the first reporter in the world to win Amnesty International’s Global Human Rights Journalism Prize in its inaugural year in 2000. He is the author of the much-acclaimed, Everybody Loves a Good Drought. His latest project, the People’s Archive of Rural India, launched in 2014, aims at capturing the labour, languages, livelihoods, arts, crafts and many other aspects of rural India.

A.R. Vasavi, a Social Anthropologist, is based in Karnataka, India, and is a member of the PUNARCHTH (‘re-think’) Collective that works on alternative learning for rural youth.  Her academic interests are in the fields of Sociology of India, Agrarian Studies, and Sociology of Education. Her publications include, Harbingers of Rain: Land and Life in South India; In an Outpost of the Global Economy (co-edited with Carol Upadhya), The Inner Mirror: Translations of Kannada Writings on Society and Culture; and Suicides and the Predicament of Rural India.

Bezwada Wilson is an Indian human rights activists, and is the 2016 winner of the Ramon Magsaysay Award (one of Asia’s highest honors, awarded for integrity in governance, courageous service to the people, and pragmatic idealism within a democratic society). Wilson is one of the founders and National Convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), an Indian human rights organization that campaigns for the eradication of manual scavenging, which has been illegal in India since 1993 but continues to be widely practiced. His work at SKA, a community-driven movement, has been recognized internationally (the Magsaysay Award) and in India, where he has been named a Senior Fellow by the Ashoka Foundation.