Keynote Speakers for SBCC Summit Announced


January 29, 2020

A British Pakistani pop star known for performing music with socially conscious messages and creating Burka Avenger, a superhero school teacher fighting for girls' education.

The founder of an innovative mobile app that empowers communities to document and understand climate crisis and the impacts on its daily life.

An Indian filmmaker and expert on gender in the media.

These are just a few of the first keynote speakers announced for the 2020 International Social and Behavior Change Communication Summit scheduled for March 30 through April 3 in Marrakech, Morocco. The deadline to register for the event is Feb. 21.

"The 2020 Summit promises to be our most dynamic one yet so we needed a roster of speakers to match," says Susan Krenn, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and head of the Secretariat organizing the Summit. "We couldn't be more thrilled to welcome these diverse and inspiring individuals to the lineup."

Speakers include:

Aaron Haroon Rashid is a Peabody award winning and Emmy-nominated director, producer, singer/composer and social activist. As the iconic Pakistani pop star known as Haroon, he was a musical pioneer, selling millions of albums worldwide while producing numerous songs and music videos with socially conscious messages. He became interested in film and animation production after producing and directing several of his own music videos.He is the creator, writer and director of the Burka Avenger TV series which won a Peabody, was nominated for an International Emmy and won several major international awards. He created Burka Avenger, a superhero school teacher fighting for girls' education in 2011, after reading about girls' schools being shut down and bombed by extremists in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Rashid is the CEO and founder of Unicorn Black, the world class animation production company behind Burka Avenger, Teetoo and Tania, Quaid Se Baatein and other successful animated TV shows. Under his stewardship, Unicorn Black has produced numerous animated projects for Facebook, UNICEF and USAID. He has directed and produced more than 70 animated episodes and short films including all four seasons of the Burka Avenger TV series.

Dedicated to connecting communities to each other and their changing environment, Julia Kumari Drapkin founded ISeeChange after a decade of reporting natural disasters and climate crisis across the globe and in her own backyard on the Gulf Coast. ISeeChange has received national and regional awards, as well as recognition by the Obama White House Climate Data Initiative, NASA, MIT Solve, Echoing Green, and Grist. Drapkin is a founding member of the American Geophysical Union's Science to Action working group, serves on the board of the National Federation of Community Broadcaster, and has consulted for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Drapkin has reported for The Nature Conservancy; PRI's The World, Global Post; the Associated Press; the St. Petersburg Times; and the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Before transitioning to journalism, Julia worked in anthropology and archaeology for seven years in Central America where she first gained an appreciation for the expertise everyday people have in their own backyards and how much we miss when their voices aren't included.

Rashmi Lamba is the India Council Chair at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDI). An active associate of GDI since 2014, Lamba initiated the first Global Symposium on Gender in Media in Mumbai at the FICCI FLO Film Festival focused on women's empowerment.In India, Lamba spearheaded the Mumbai Film Mart at the MAMI Film Festival, initiated the Films Division MIFF HUB to promote documentaries, and curates for the Samabhav Travelling Film Festival by MAVA (Men Against Violence and Abuse). She has held pivotal roles as industry director, festival producer and jury manager at leading international film festivals in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Toronto.Having held senior positions in international production companies, television networks and advertising agencies, Lamba set up her own production companies in India, Dubai and Canada. Her documentary, "Begumpura" (The Wives Colony), commissioned by the OMNI-Rogers Network, is regularly aired across Canada. As an impact producer, she helps promote cause-led films. An advisor at Good Pitch India, she works on communication strategies with social entrepreneurs.


Ana-Andreea Stoica, a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Columbia University, focuses on mathematical models, data analysis and policy implications for algorithm design in social networks. She is particularly interested in studying the effect of algorithms on people's sense of privacy, community and access to information and opportunities. She strives to integrate tools from mathematical models – from graph theory to opinion dynamics – with sociology, to gain a deeper understanding of the ethics and implications of using technology in our everyday lives. Stoica grew up in Bucharest, Romania and moved to the United States to attend Princeton University from which she graduated in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics.

Joumana Kalot, an instructor of Public Health Practice at the American University of Beirut, has more than 25 years' experience working with the government, NGOs and UN agencies on workforce development, managing projects and designing interventions in Lebanon and across Arab States. For the past four years, she has been leading the efforts for supporting SBCC capacity building programs for professionals and organizations. Kalot is a seasoned trainer on topics related women's empowerment, youth, reproductive health, communication, workshop design and management and NGO management.

More speaker announcements are expected in the coming weeks.