We are excited to introduce these industry-acclaimed international experts with more speakers to be announced shortly!

Mariya Ali - CircleDr Mariya Ali – Shaftesbury Young People (United Kingdom)

Dr Mariya Ali’s started her career in Unit for the Rights of Children in 1992 in the Maldives. Prior to joining Shaftesbury Young People she held posts including the Deputy Minister for Health and Family in the Maldives from 2009-2011, Under Secretary of the Policy Office of the President in 2011-2012, and has been an Advisory board member of the International Child Redress Project since 2015. Dr Ali played an instrumental role in establishing South Asia Initiative to Ending Violence Against Children as a permanent regional institution in 2011. She publishes academic works as an Honorary Knowledge Exchange Associate of Oxford Brookes University’s School of Law.

Tessa Henwood-Mitchell - Circle

Dr Tessa Henwood-Mitchell, TIA Foundation (Bolivia)

Dr Tessa Henwood-Mitchell is Founder and International Director of TIA, a non-profit organisation working in Bolivia with young people leaving care and transitioning into independence, empowering them to become thriving members of society and create brighter futures for themselves through providing support and training.  Completing a double degree of Social Work and International Relations, Tessa now lives in Bolivia to grow and develop TIA’s local team and projects. Tessa is an inaugural recipient of a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship that supports exceptional individuals to undertake post-graduate study, and so is currently completing a Masters online at ANU in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development.

Justin Rogers - CircleDr Justin Rogers – University of Bath (United Kingdom)

Dr Justin Rogers is a Lecturer in Social Work with expertise in fostering and adoption, and has particular interest in the ways that children and young people in public care are looked after by the state. Dr Roger’s recent PhD study explored the experiences of young people growing up in foster care in the United Kingdom and found that the stigma of being ‘in care’ impacted on the young people’s day to day lives and the ways they developed their relationships. He is currently developing research proposals in order to explore European policy and practice responses, to the care of unaccompanied refugee children and young people.

Luke, Freedom Road - CircleLuke Danaher – Freedom Road Creative Arts (United Kingdom)

Luke Danaher began accessing Freedom Road Creative Arts (FRCA) at the age of 13. Luke has Asperger Syndrome and because of this, he was finding it difficult to make and maintain friendships with his peers in school and in the local community. However, since attending FRCA, with support from staff and other YP connected to FRCA, Luke’s confidence and self-esteem began to rise rapidly and saw him learn new skills and see him perform at numerous public events. Luke is now studying for a Further Maths degree at Hull University and is living independently as well as being a Peer Mentor at FRCA. Luke is an incredible ambassador for FRCA, his story demonstrates how, with support, and belief, young people can achieve to their full potential.