We're fortunate to have some remarkable contributors...

Here's a short intro to just three of them - Belkis Wille, a human rights lawyer; NIcholas Walton, an author and ex BBC-journalist and Huong Nguyen, IT startup founder of Owloop - while juggling her role in a major consulting firm.

1. Belkis Wille, Human Rights Lawyer

Belkis Wille is currently working for Human Rights Watch as their Yemen and Kuwait researcher. Her work includes negotiating with aging, male Yemeni Government officials on laws relating to child brides and female genital mutilation.  If that doesn't seem tricky enough, civil unrest, the looming threat of kidnap, and Saudi airstrikes have been daily challenges while she carries out her work. 

Belkis wrote much of the student inquiry material for the Social Media and Human Rights Module (Read more here).

Belkis discussing female genital mutilation prevention with Yemeni woman.

Belkis discussing female genital mutilation prevention with Yemeni woman.

She says:

“Having grown up in Switzerland but to a family that traveled a lot, I was aware from a very young age that the comforts we had at home were not representative of the suffering present in much of the rest of the world. I decided that my duty, as someone who benefited from growing up in a stable, safe country and being afforded an excellent education, was to choose a career dedicated to fighting for greater justice for vulnerable populations. At Harvard I took courses like anthropology of human rights, international human rights law, and combatting poverty. While there, I took up a position at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies drafting curricula for US high school students on Middle East-related topics in an effort to combat racism in the post-9/11 climate. Since then I have been involved in numerous educational initiatives, either through direct tutoring, or through larger trainings for local human rights organizations on how to document violations and carry out effective research-based advocacy. I love teaching- passing on the knowledge I have gained over the years is one of the most rewarding things I can do to help others engage in this type of work."

More about Belkis: Before joining HRW, Belkis worked at the Geneva-based World Organisation Against Torture, leading its Middle East and North Africa work from Tunisia and carrying out advocacy and trainings on torture prevention in Libya.

She was a consultant to the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva. She has documented alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity with the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza and at a London solicitor’s firm, helped bring these cases to UK courts under universal jurisdiction. She received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, her graduate diploma in law from City University London, and her LLM in human rights and humanitarian law from the University of Essex.


2. NIcholas Walton, Author and Journalist

Nicholas Walton is writing IgnitED's next Module, entitled "How to Read the News".  It's an extensive, interactive foray into modern day news media, which teaches students how to think about the data thrown at them from various disparate sources. While hopefully also learning how to make sense of it all. Read his blog post here.

Nicholas and Canon

Nicholas and Canon


More about Nicholas: 
Nicholas brings extensive experience to the writing of this Module. He has degrees from Oxford and King’s College London, and spent 14 years working in foreign news with the BBC, including time as foreign correspondent and Europe Editor in the World Service newsroom. He was also communications director of the award winning think tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations. Last but not least he is an author - Genoa, 'La Superba': the Rise and Fall of a Merchant Pirate Superpower about the history, delights and seedy underbelly of Genoa, was published this year.


3. Huong Nguyen - IT Start-up Founder and Business Consultant

Huong is very interested in the way social media tools can facilitate connection and change. To this end she has founded a unique social media startup called Owloop.  It is an intuitive platform for connecting like-minded people so they can share information about topics of mutual interest. 

IgnitED has partnered with Owloop, so schools who are simultaneously running an IgnitED session, can use Owloop to connect globally. It is an invite-only closed system which is ideal for for research and discussion of the further student inquiry materials between sister schools.  This has the potential to elevate the perspectives of classes taking the IgnitED modules, to a new, more global and cross-cultural level of dialogue and idea exchange but still within a relatively safe online environment.

More about Huong: Huong grew up in Vietnam. After graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelor in Symbolic Systems and a Master in Management, Science and Engineering, she joined Bain and Company. While still a freshman, Huong co-founded a non-profit to promote entrepreneurship in Vietnam. It is now the biggest startup network in Vietnam. She is currently working for the consulting firm, Bain and Co. while developing Owloop.