The event will feature lightning talks, in-depth dialogues, creative labs, workshops, playgrounds and spaces for reflection and facilitated special encounters.


The following speakers will be with us:

Maria Bobenrieth is a passionate advocate of girls and women’s rights and sport as a powerful tool for change. She has over twenty years of international business management experience working for major brands applying innovative multi-sector approaches to solve business and social challenges. From 1998-2009 Maria worked in various capacities at Nike, where in 2007 she supported the founding of Women Win ( and served as the first Chair of the Board of Directors. Maria stepped down from the Board in 2009 to join the organization as Executive Director. Maria is strong barrister of successful failures and believes that if you are not failing, you simple are not trying hard enough.


Irwan Ahmett is an artist and designer, interested in social issues and behavior change. With his art projects he is able to penetrate the boundaries of culture, language and areas of personal or collective that are often too conservative and routine. By combining communicative strategies and a playful visual arts approach, he engages the public directly into the creative process so that it can provide a real new experience.


Shahrukh Alam is one of the founders of the research-activist Patna Collective which generates knowledge on new transformative spaces in India, particularly from a faith perspective. Philosopher and Humanist Harry Kunneman is known as a critical analyst of the Dutch (Western/Liberal) society where individual autonomy is hardly limited. Together with Ton Groeneweg, both are interested in analyzing the backside of concepts such as secularism, citizenship and pluralism.


Zainal Abidin Bagir is leading the Pluralism Knowledge Programme in Indonesia. Despite the relative success in transition to democracy, Indonesia has seen growing religiosity and assertion of exclusive religious aspiration. Rather than trying to fight it, pluralism advocates should face these developments as facts of life and engage with progressive religious actors. During the event, Zainal will illustrate, together with lawyer and activist Asfinawati Ajub that the human rights approach is not sufficient, and needs to be supplemented by mediation and dialogue.


Brenda Bartelink is an expert with the Knowledge Center on Religion and Development. Brenda specialized in the relation between religion, gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS. Moreover, she acts as a  ‘knowledge broker’ between Dutch development organizations and the academic study of religion and international development.


Daniel Enger and Oby Obyerodhyambo are part of Global Dialogues, an international programme that organises contests for youth to write scripts and make videos on issues that keep them busy, such as sexuality, violence or HiV/Aids. Daniel and Oby will share the story of the making of a video on homosexuality in Kenya, the challenges they encountered and the responses. On deep dividing lines and the power of creativity and dialogue to build empathy and compassion.


George Gachara is the Director at The Nest, a Kenyan multidisciplinary art space that serves as a functional playground for artists, thinkers and curious minds. He is the author of The Reverse Is True: A Reflective Journey
and previously worked as a youth worker and a designer of learning programs. He will share his ideas on creative activism together with Nikos Doulos, a Greek artist who currently works at ´Expodium´, an arts platform in Utrecht.


Maya Indira Ghanesh is programme director at Tactical Technology Collective. Maya has worked as a researcher, writer and activist with women’s rights organizations in India and international NGOs and academic institutions. She has worked on projects spanning a range from gender rights, sexuality rights, HIV/AIDS prevention and digital media use, policy and communication rights. She has published non-fiction and academic writing about old and new media from trashy pulp magazines to sleek mobile phones.


Muhsin Hendricks is a South African Muslim cleric and executive director of ‘The Inner Circle’ who says that homosexuality and his religion can co-exist peacefully — although many of his peers disagree. He engages with fellow Muslims with religious arguments. Having initiated a successful engagement in South Africa, Muhsin has been invited to the Netherlands, too, to share his methodology. He will be contributing to a session together with Michael Kimindu, the founder of Other Sheep Africa, a Christian Ecumenical Organization, which advocates for the acceptance and inclusion of LGBTI people in worship.


David Harris is a social change agent and a cross disciplinary mediamaker, who works at the Institute of the Future. This is an independent, non-profit research organization that helps all kinds of organizations make the futures they want. They provide practical foresight for a world undergoing rapid change. David has a special focus on social action organizations and initiatives.


Simon Hodges worked as copywriter, editor and communications officer at Philips and Philips Design before setting up Words That Change in 2011. He’s the Native English Associate at the Storytelling Company and a member of the Collective agency of Freelancers. With a passion for storytelling and the written word, Simon’s love for language is brought out fully in his work. His runs the story telling workshop together with Dean.


Emna Jeblaoui is a Tunisian academic and researcher. She is leading the International Institute for Human Development., member of the scientific council of the Arab Institute for Human Rights and independent advisor to the President of the National Constituent Assembly to civil society and democratic dialogue. Emna writes frequently about the transition in Tunisia and new forms of socio-political protests.


Ram Kakarala Ram Kakarala has been regional coordinator and academic associate of the Pluralism Knowledge Programme in India. Ram’s mission lies in reframing the social sciences and humanities disciplines to deal with the transformations and political mobilizations currently taking place in India and beyond in the areas of gender, caste and community.


Femke Kaulingfreks is a philosopher with a passion for critical thinking and an aversion of injustice. She combines her academic work with developing and sharing creative activism formats. Together with Akshay Khanna, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, she is interested in the actions that people undertake who do not feel represented by dominant, institutional politics, nor by traditional social movements.


Sonali Khan leads Breakthrough TV in India. She played a pivotal role in conceptualizing Breakthrough’s Bell Bajao campaign against domestic violence. She has positioned Breakthrough —and Bell Bajao —as household names for human rights in India and worldwide. Sonali represents the next generation of leaders in the women’s rights community who are bringing new techniques and diverse audiences to the movement for human rights and gender justice.


An Kramer is a learning architect for social innovation at organizations with De Baak and facilitates and develops trajectories with and for organizations. She is a clear and creative thinker who looks for ways that go beyond the obvious. She wants to positively disrupt to incite that which everyone wants and thinks, but doesn’t do. An researches and experiments with forms of learning and she is currently writing a book on ‘nomadic learning’.


Geeta Misra is co-founder and Executive Director of CREA, a feminist human rights organization based in New Delhi, India. Geetanjali has worked at the activist, grant-making, and policy levels on issues of sexuality, reproductive health, gender, human rights, and violence against women. She writes frequently and has co-edited Sexuality, Gender, and Rights: Exploring Theory and Practice in South and Southeast Asia.


Jasmeen Patheja is founding member of Blank Noise, a nation-wide, volunteer-led community arts collective in India triggering public debate on the issue of street sexual harassment. Blank Noise initiates conversations to collectively define harassment, ´eve-teasing´ and boundaries of ´flirting´, ´teasing´ and ´harassment´. It addresses women’s fear based relationship with their cities via direct street action and public interventions, which ask women to be “Action Heroes” by not being idle in public. On provocation, creative activism and transforming public perceptions.


Anne Philpott founded The Pleasure Project after attending one too many sexual health meetings where the normal words for our “downstairs bits” were rarely used. With an activist, guerilla mentality she has put the sexy back into safer sex with her initiative. She is an example for other changemakers who are not afraid of experimenting with creative and provocative means.


Firli Purwanti is a writer and author of the Orgasm Project. This book collects the stories of Indonesian women from all walks of life on how they experience their orgasm. Orgasm for Firli is about more than sexual pleasure, it is about empowerment, about healthy relationships free from violence. Through her work for Hivos some years ago, Firli got to know and became friends with women who experience discrimination because of their sexual orientation. The anger this created freed her energies to overcome her own discomfort and start to speak about sex and orgasm.


Carla Sutherland of Columbia Law School is part of the ´Engaging Tradition Project´ which studies how tradition can be both a resource and an obstacle to gender and sexuality-based social justice projects. Carla wants to enable sexual justice advocates to more effectively engage tradition-based resistance — whether derived from religion, custom, history, gender role stereotyping, forms of family, or identity and nationalism.


Crystal Simeoni coordinates the Hivos- Worldbank -Hewlett Foundation ´Service Delivery Indicators – programme´ which monitors the quality and performance of Kenya’s primary schools and health clinics. Crystal wants the data which is available to be used more by citizens, journalists and civil society organizations. Together with Carla Sutherland she will share her experiences in looking for new ways for packaging knowledge.


Manuel Sturm co-founded the ModelMinds Cooperation, together with Oscar Westra van Holthe. They guide groups in a jungle of diverse needs and transition. Also, he coaches and teaches about  how to use Visual Thinking to simplify and structure your professional life. He has a drive for quality and meaning, the power to manifest ideas and concepts and the skill to translate thoughts into pictures.


Jimmy Ssentongo is a university lecturer, PhD-candidate associated with the Pluralism Knowledge Programme and a cartoonist. His PhD research on managing ethnic diversity in a specific part of Uganda has made him reflect his own identity.  Through cartoons, published at the university and national newspapers, Jimmy gets responses which he may not have gotten as a researcher only. May humor and satire do more than knowledge?


Caroline Suransky is Director of the Kosmopolis Institute and co-chair of the Pluralism Knowledge Programme of Kosmopolis and Hivos. Caroline has been a driving force behind the International Summer School on Pluralism and Development and the PhD programme of the Pluralism Knowledge Programme. Her own research focuses on identity politics and education and training.


Ajita Vidyarthi (India), Lingga Utama (Indonesia), Joe Bazirake (Uganda)and Mhlanganisi Madlongowane (South Africa) are all alumni of the International Summer School on Pluralism and Development. They will share how the Summer School has influenced them personally and professionally.


Hendrik Tiesinga and Simone Poutnik both founded ´Natural Innovation´. Simone is a designer of learning platforms – online and offline, a holistic entrepreneur and co-creator of multi-stakeholder innovation labs. Hendrik is an experienced designer and facilitator of multi-stakeholder learning and innovation processes with over 8 years of experience in the field of sustainability in business, social innovation and new ways of collaborative working.


Elizabeth Thomas, Mustaghfiroh Rahayu and Jimmy Ssentongo are PhD-candidates of the Pluralism Knowledge Programme. Facilitated by Caroline Suransky, they will share findings of their research on religion and ethnicity in pluricultural societies.


Judith van den Boogert, Erik Slotboom and Laura Reijnders work for Social Transformation Netherlands that uses Kumi as a participatory method for social transformation in conflict. Kumi is designed to bring conflicting parties together in a process of structured dialogue, working towards a new inclusive set of shared goals. By confronting participants with their contradictory attitudes and behavior at its deepest levels, the method works towards a sustainable strategy and action plan for the future. Therefore, Kumi aims to challenge dividing fault lines in society and to use them for positive change.


Herman van der Meyden works for Royal Dutch Shell, where he is part of the team delivering the world’s first Floating Liquefied Natural Gas platform, after working on the 2008 Shell Energy Scenarios Scramble and Blueprints. He has been active in Perspectivity since its creation in 2007 and is one of the inventors of the Perspectivity Game.


Erwin Verweij is certified Lego Serious Play-facilitator.  LEGO SERIOUS PLAY is a language, communication tool and problem solving methodology  based on the belief that whenever people meet and work together, everyone can contribute to the discussion, the decisions, and the outcome. During the event, Erwin will introduce participants to this tool. Eager to return to your childhood days and play? Join Lego Serious Play and see how you could use it in your own work to involve and motivate the people around you.


Rikko Voorberg is the founder of Stroom West; a initiative where Christians, atheists and creativity intertwine as to explore the connection between art and religion. His mission is to reach out to people who are not necessarily religious, but nevertheless are attracted to the narratives involved. Rikko Voorberg studied Theology and was also active as the spokesperson for de Vluchtkerk (refugee church), where 120 rejected asylum seekers found shelter in the winter of 2013.


Arvid Vormann is leading the Anti-FGM Program at the Iraq-based community building  and human rights organization WADI. WADI’s mission is to support democracy development and individual freedom based on human rights, gender equality, and non-violent conflict resolution. Since 8 years now WADI is campaigning successfully against FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan. The next step will be a Stop FGM Middle East’ campaign supported by Hivos which aims to raise awareness beyond the borders of the Kurdish Region.


Amina Wadud is one of the leading scholars on Islam, gender and Islamic feminism. She is the author of Quran and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (1999) and Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam (2006). Ms. Wadud is called an “Islamic Feminist” because her methodology explicitly requires an engagement with the Islamic intellectual and spiritual traditions, from a gender inclusive perspective. Recently, a lecture by Ms. Wadud on ‘Gender and Reform in Islam’ at the University of Madras in Chennai (India) was cancelled because the police cited possible law and order problems because of opposition by Muslim groups.


Farha Ciciek is the founder of The Centre for Education and Information on Islam and Women’s Rights. In her work, Farha Ciciek aims for the betterment of women’s role and position through religious teachings. For example, she works with  Islamic boarding schools to educate women, girls, as well as boys, men, and religious leaders about gender equality and women’s health services. Together with local influential leaders, Farha has established an active network that brings people with progressive views together to strengthen the cause of equality and to improve women’s daily lives.


Oscar Westra van Holthe is the co-founder of ModelMinds, Amsterdam. Having been the first generation of Knowmads entrepreneurs, he works on creating more human-centered business cultures. With his exceptional abilities to sense, analyze, visualize, and reflecting back, he understands the social dynamics of teams moving towards more meaning and relevance. He also loves to compose piano music.


Marcel Zwiers is co-founder of 31Volts, a designing agency that works by the principle of “service design”. Service design is based on five key-values: human-centered, co-creation, holistic approach, prototyping and working visually. Examples of 31Volts’ work are to be found in different areas of society: service innovation at government institutions, weight issues of the Dutch youth or the infrastructure needed in the future.