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Alan Cordova Please share a short bio of yourself. I have been writing for National Public Radio’s “Planet Money” program, which explains the intricacies of the financial crisis to ordinary Americans in plain English. In addition, I provide strategy and marketing consulting to a range of new media entrepreneurs. I received a BA in Political Science and Astronomy from Williams College in 2006 and a MBA with concentrations in Finance and Management at Columbia Business School in 2008. My published work includes policy analysis for a Washington, DC think tank, reporting in Mexico City for Newsweek International, a sociological study of the Muslim community of Granada, Spain and a thesis on democracy promotion programs in Central Asia. In my downtime, I enjoy distance running, jazz, alpine skiing and backpacking. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I hope to gain a comparative perspective on the ways urban environments promote communication within and between communities. I believe that such discourse lies at the foundation of prudent and effective public policymaking, business and social entrepreneurship and vibrant intellectual and academic institutions. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest and traveled throughout Asia, I wish to understand the way a Northern European city such as Amsterdam facilitates the mixture of individuals and groups. What cities have you lived in? Seattle, Washington; Williamstown, Massachusetts; Washington, DC; Mexico City, DF; Granada, Spain; Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Monterey, California; New York, NY What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? While on an engagement in Nicaragua I was able to go up to the rim of an active volcano and see lava flowing out into the crater. Having grown up three hours from the site of one of the most destructive eruptions in the United States, I was quite terrified!

Andrew Hoppin Please share a short bio of yourself. I've vacillated between public service, science, and entrepreneurship throughout my career. My role in the newly created position of Chief Information Officer of the New York State Senate, which has recently changed hands to a Democratic Majority for the first time in 43 years, is both-- a profound opportunity to be a public service entrepreneur. We’re hard at work on a technology-driven effort to aggressively improve government transparency & efficiency in Albany. In other recent realms of life, I have also helped to launch an online political campaign technology company (DEABrasil), and a program at NASA to deploy social media tools for collaboration and shift a bureaucratic culture (NASA CoLab). Previously, I co-founded and directed business development for GoodStorm (now Zazzle), a progressive eCommerce venture that helps organizations raise money to support themselves, and Trellon, a leading open-source software consulting firm for online community building. I also directed business strategy for CivicSpace Labs, a developer of open-source software and communities for online organizing and advocacy. As a grassroots political organizer, I founded the largest local group in the "Draft Clark" movement in New York City in 2003, and later joined the Clark for President campaign staff to help manage the campaign’s voter data and the nation’s first open-source campaign software volunteer program. I serve on the Advisory Boards of Netroots Nation (formerly Yearly Kos), the Space Generation Foundation,, and the New Organizing Institute, and also represent the Space Generation Advisory Council at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) in New York. I’m a graduate of the NASA Academy and the International Space University, and hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University and Berkeley in Planetary Sciences and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management respectively. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I enjoy making contributions to communities concurrently at both macro (citizen of the Earth-- and hopefully other planets in the future) scales and micro (my neighborhood-- Hunter's Point-- in my city-- New York) scales. Pioneers is an opportunity for me to deepen my thinking about and experience of both. I hope to glean insights that will help me be a more effective leader both locally and globally in my life's work. What cities have you lived in? Manhattan, New York, USA, Long Island City, New York, USA Boston, MA, USA, Providence, RI, USA, San Francisco, CA, USA Berkeley, CA, USA, Little Rock, AR, USA, San Jose, COSTA RICA Karystos, Evvia, GREECE What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I want to go to Mars. Now.

Andrew Rasmussen Please share a short bio of yourself. My family moved to New York when I was 14 (prior to that we lived in Washington, DC), and with the exception of a year teaching English in Hungary and a few years of graduate school in Illinois, I have lived here ever since. My adolescence taught me the city's physical and social geography; my first career as a public school teacher and dean taught me the city's family life; and my current career as a psychologist at a clinic that treats refugees has taught me to see the city anew from the eyes of its newest residents. I have always been someone who loves to learn. I revel in exploring and asking questions, which my position as a researcher allows me to do for a living. My father was an academic theologian and mother a nurse, and I'd like to think I thus received both theoretical and practical aspects of inquiry. Balancing these two sides is a central dilemma in my thinking. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To exchange ideas about engaging in civic life from other openminded thinkers. What cities have you lived in? Washington, DC New York, NY Kiskunfelegyhaza, Hungary Champaign, Illinois (USA) What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? At age 7 I lived in Tanzania and then Leichtenstein (6 months each).

Carl Lens Please share a short bio of yourself. I am passionate about the enormous creativity of people. I am fascinated by the internet because creativity flows freely here. I am very happy to be part of Pioneers because of the wide variety of talented and interesting people. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? My goal is to learn from other perspectives. I hope to gain better understanding of Active Citizenship and what I can do to be a part of it/facilitate it. What cities have you lived in? Amsterdam. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? My first job was the cook's boy on VOC ship "de Amsterdam".

Claude Grunitzky Please share a short bio of yourself. Growing up, I was exposed to many different cultures on three very different continents: Africa, America and Europe. These foreign interactions shaped my transcultural philosophy and informed the creative energy of TRACE Magazine, which I founded in 1996. I am also a co-founder of TRACE TV, which was launched in 2003 and funded by Goldman Sachs; and the Chairman of TMM Group, a boutique firm specialized in transcultural marketing and media. I am the author of the books "Transculturalism: How the World is Coming Together" (PowerHouse Books, 2004), “Ten Years of TRACE” (Booth-Clibborn Editions, 2007), and the French Language tome "Transculturalismes" (Editions Grasset, 2008). In 2007, I was a finalist for the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I would like to contribute to the debate around several important issues, including how, in the age of Obama, the new generation of Dutch citizens intends to make the Netherlands a more inclusive, post-racial society; how we can approach the Netherlands and the United States' current stance regarding the new protectionist tendencies that are creeping up all over; and generally, how we Pioneers can help to bring both countries together in pursuit of common ideals of friendship and cooperation. Specifically, I would love to help produce a visual white paper (that could be printed and bound into my magazine) addressing these issues and offering concrete solutions. What cities have you lived in? I have lived in Lome, Togo; Washington, DC; Paris, France; London, England and now New York City for the past 11 years. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I speak six languages and carry two (soon to be three) passports. (I look forward to becoming a naturalized American citizen.)

Corline van Es Please share a short bio of yourself. My name is Corline van Es. I studied modern history in Amsterdam and was active as a student in several organizations organizing events where debate, art and music met. My first passion is social activism and the web, this is also the area I work on, my second passion is music, this is the area I used to work on, promoting hiphop/soul/world music artists. Currently I lead a program called Digital Pioneers Academy, helping online social web projects scale up and professionalize, and an online tool called Value-Pass, which aims to make people aware of their values while consuming. In my spare time I work for Netsquared NL. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I strongly believe in co-creation. If you design a space where people with great minds and hearts from very diverse backgrounds come together, great things can happen. The era we are living in, is asking for great solutions on social, environmental and economic issues, there is no escaping these, so lets work together on them together. I am very much looking forward to this process; sharing experiences and inspiration with the group and learning through the journey. What cities have you lived in? I have lived in a bunch of really small Dutch rural cities like Mheer, Maastricht, Rijswijk, Roermond and Goes. Luckily, my current station is Amsterdam where I live since 1998. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? Find me on Facebook for fun stuff :)

Danya Pastuszek Please share a short bio of yourself. I have lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for six years, working for all of them at the International Rescue Committee. My current projects involve consulting to community-based organizations that serve refugees and other immigrants. I am about to complete an MBA at New York University, where I focused on social entrepreneurship and was a teaching fellow for courses in written and oral communications. In my free time, I'm trying to relearn piano and Spanish. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To learn new strategies and under-recognized approaches for supporting immigrant integration. To understand how my peers in Amsterdam - and down the street - are helping often geographically isolated communities to access services, voice their needs. and become community leaders, activists, and representatives. To connect with people, so that we can support one another and exchange ideas in the years ahead. What cities have you lived in? Boston, San Francisco, New York What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I put serrano or chili peppers in almost everything I cook.

Elena Yesner Please share a short bio of yourself. I was born and raised in Queens, New York. During four years in a tiny Iowan liberal arts college, studying comparative religion, I developed a curiously strong affinity for the Midwest and had the opportunity to live and study in South India. After college, I served as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in West Java, Indonesia. Following that, I moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and worked for Public Allies, a national leadership development program, and advised low-income high school students on their college options, applications and financial aid. I am fortunate to have worked in extraordinary communities: from theater programs in the Bronx to prisons in Iowa and high schools in Java—all of which have deepened my commitment to serving others through education. I returned home to NYC and joined Summer Search as the College Counselor in August 2008. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To learn, listen, explore and digest. To respond and to give as much as possible. What cities have you lived in? New York City Grinnell, Iowa Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India Bandung, West Java, Indonesia Milwaukee, Wisconsin What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? As a teenager, I lived on a Hindu ashram (spiritual retreat center) in upstate New York.

Emma Herman Please share a short bio of yourself. Hi everyone, I'm turning into a yuppie. I'm still trying to fight it with funky earrings and critical thinking, but sometimes I feel like resistance is futile. But hey, at least this honey is making money. Looking forward to getting to know you all! Emma What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Gaining and giving energy and inspiration from this wonderfully diverse group of people. What cities have you lived in? Amsterdam, New York, Paris, Cotonou and Brussels. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I've been trying to introduce the Techtonique dance moves from Paris to Amsterdam. Not much success so far. But maybe if you NY hipsters help out over the weekend we could have a major breakthrough.

Erinc Salor Please share a short bio of yourself. I am a 25 year-old PhD student at the University of Amsterdam working on new media. I am of Turkish origin, have a background in Economics and Cultural Analysis and a soft spot for technology and baroque music. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I am hoping to meet and collaborate with brilliant individuals from diverse backgrounds and through our interdisciplinary dialogue, become better equipped to face contemporary challenges. What cities have you lived in? Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Leuven, Brussels, Amsterdam What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? Though a proud participant of Amsterdam Pioneers, I don't speak Dutch.

Ewoud Poerink Please share a short bio of yourself. I was raised in a picturesque green village in the south of the Netherlands and I deeply enjoyed my 'wonder years' there. Already before moving to Amsterdam in 1994, it was clear that I was attracted to history - in particular the parts that deal with conflicts. I thought one could learn from conflicts - be it the Israeli-Palestinian or squatters versus authority - in order to get a better understanding of how to solve it. So now here I am: I finished my Masters in Modern History, stayed in post/pre-conflict zones for some times, started some foundations aimed at increasing 'social cohesion' and deepening cultural understanding. My paid job is at the Center for Political Participation. and keeping my arrows aimed at the future. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Try to give substance to the P!oneers-slogan and get more people involved with society. Hopefully I'll meet inspiring persons, ideas and concepts that give me the motivation to take that extra step. In a perfect scenario 'We Will Do So' What cities have you lived in? Alkmaar (born and moved), Vught, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, Beit Jala (West Bank) and a little bit in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? When in high school I was a child actor, as I think you'd call it. I played a leading part in a pretty successful VPRO-television series (De Freules). They still show it on TV every two years ;-). When the first episode appeared on TV, a Dutch movies director called me and offered me a small role in his next film (the Johnsons). That movie that ended up in the 'cult section' of videotheques in Japan and parts of Northern America. Though it was really great fun, it made me realize I did not want to become an actor but instead should get the max out of my brains.

Gilian Baracs Please share a short bio of yourself. I am a pianist/songwriter/music producer. I have a recording studio in Zaandam (on the border of Amsterdam) where I write and record music for artists. Love science & technology, particularly the area where they meet with the musical metaphysical is magic to me. Decided today that someday I want to be a space tourist and see the ISS. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Trying new things and bringing people from different backgrounds together are a big part of what I do. By meeting smart and creative people who look at things differently I hope to get inspired and inspire others! What cities have you lived in? I've lived in Amsterdam my whole life, thirty years and counting. Now living on my sixth address, in the heart of the city, the Nieuwmarkt neighbourhood. Freedom shows both its beauty and its shadowy sides here. I get a lot of inspiration from it. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? Haven't recently made a real resume, but I suppose the fact that I have an expert on religion and integration, a creative therapist and a police officer as siblings is not on my LinkedIn profile :)

Irene Tung Please share a short bio of yourself. I have been a community organizer for almost ten years. Currently I work at Make the Road New York, the largest community-based immigrant organization in New York City with offices in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and more than 4,000 members, where I have served as both Supervising Organizer and Director of Organizing. I have led campaigns on housing, environmental justice, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender issues, education reform, language access and workplace justice. During my time there, the organization has spearheaded numerous successful campaigns resulting in significant policy changes in New York City, including a recent landmark Executive Order requiring translation and interpretation in all city agencies in the top six languages spoken in the city. Prior to joining Make the Road, I worked organizing Chinese and Latino immigrants in a successful campaign to raise the New York State minimum wage by $2.00 an hour. I also coordinated field operations for two important state-level electoral campaigns. I have served on the Board of Directors of New York Jobs with Justice and the Community Funding Board of the North Star Fund. I am a cofounding member of Q-Wave, a organization of lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of Asian descent in New York, and of Lala Camp, a community organizing training for leaders of lesbian organizations in China. I also co-produce Asia Pacific Forum a weekly radio show on WBAI 99.5 in New York. I am a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To learn about innovative models for civic engagement and also to learn about organizing efforts by immigrant communities in the Netherlands. What cities have you lived in? Providence, Beijing, Shanghai, Mexico City, Oakland, New York City What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I've eaten frog, snake, kangaroo, silkworm pupae, grasshoppers and donkey, among other things.

Jakob Lund Please share a short bio of yourself. Over the last 7 years, I have been concentrating on issues relating to human rights and conflict resolution in one way or another. After having graduated from Roskilde University in 2005 with a final thesis on the EU and the Middle East conflict, I participated in the Humanity in Action summer program and later interned at the Anne Frank Stichting in Amsterdam. In 2006 I was awarded the Lantos Fellowship in US Congress and went on to work for Amnesty International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Currently, I am a masters student at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs concentrating in -- you guessed it-- human rights and conflict resolution. I am also working as a Teacher's Assistant in International Law. During my first year at Columbia, I founded the organization Play31, which works with integrating football (soccer) into peace building and reconciliation processes. Play31 currently works in Sierra Leone where we bring together people who were torn apart by the country's civil war. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? My ultimate goal is to learn from the many excellent participants. There are people from all spheres of life at the conference and I expect being flooded with their experience and creative ideas for how to change the world for the better. Also, I hope to gain some practical, hands-on tips on how other people go about the business of social entrepreneurship. What cities have you lived in? Copenhagen, Madrid, Amsterdam, Washington, DC, New York What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I have played football in every single country I have ever visited -some 25 so far.

Jamain Brigitha Please share a short bio of yourself. I'm founding director of Dream Amsterdam Foundation and curator of the yearly manifestation DREAM AMSTERDAM, which annually gives to an internationally acclaimed contemporary visual artist the opportunity to use Amsterdam as a source of inspiration, studio, material, decor and exhibition space. I have studied at the Royal Art Academy (The Hague) and the Art Academy of St. Joost (Breda). In 1999 I achieved a doctoral degree in the arts and cultural sciences at the Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam. I have a broad working experience as a journalist, policy and cultural advisor. Under the name of "Associatives - imaginative thinkers", I work as a photographer, visual artist, curator, concept-developer and producer on various international art and cultural projects, amongst them DREAM AMSTERDAM. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I travel and work a lot between Amsterdam and New York City. Amsterdam is more intimate, things need to be kept 'small', something which drove me to realize DREAM AMSTERDAM. New York City is almost the complete opposite of Amsterdam. Things move in a faster pace are supposed to be big: the bigger the better. Both cities are part of my world. Being and living in the city, forms the basis of my work. It's very inspiring to meet, talk and exchange ideas with kindred spirits about issues, which affect us all on a global scale. This will deepen my work and give the opportunity to make more social and cultural connections. What cities have you lived in? I was born in 1972, Curacao (Netherlands Antilles) and lived on Sint Maarten (also Netherlands Antilles) until I was 7 years. In 1979 I moved to The Netherlands. I lived in Rotterdam, The Netherlands until the year 2000, when I moved to Amsterdam, where I currently live. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? On average, I spent about 5 minutes per day to explain that Brigitha is my last name, and not my first.

Jamila Aanzi Please share a short bio of yourself. My name is Jamila Aanzi and I am 27 years old. I was born and raised in Amsterdam, but my parents were born in Morocco. So that makes me Dutch Moroccan. I'm the 2nd of 8, 5 sisters and 2 brothers. I have a Bachelor in Business Economics and a Master in Strategy, Communication and Organizational Science. During my studies, I did some volunteering work at a youth organization and at an Institute for political participation. Since June of 2008 I am the vicepresident of FNV Young, which is the youth network of FNV. FNV is the Dutch federation of trade-unions. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I am looking forward to meeting the Pioneers from New York, getting to know them and learn from their way of living. On the other hand, I am looking forward to getting to know the Amsterdam Pioneers more. I believe when combining the two groups beautiful things can happen in order to strengthen the relationship between to great cities. What cities have you lived in? Amsterdam What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I love adventure!

Jordan Bowen Please share a short bio of yourself. Born and raised in the pinewoods of East Texas, I attended public school in a highly religious but increasingly cosmopolitan town called Longview. From there I escaped to New York University, backpacked Europe, and finished my degree in San Francisco at New College of California, where I pursued my passion for Russian history, language and literature, and studied urban planning, political science and printmaking. I worked for a time at a mountain retreat in Sonoma County that prepares college students for sojourns to India and Thailand, then returned to San Francisco to work at the Lycee Francais La Perouse, a private French school in the Haight-Ashbury. In 2007, I returned to New York to pursue my masters in Creative Writing at The New School, and I oversee the digitization of audio and visual archives at the Gimbel Art and Design Library at the Parsons School of Design. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To understand the unique development of the city of Amsterdam and of Dutch culture in general, in pursuit of alternatives to the prevailing models here in the States; to learn from my peers effective means of organizing for social change; to discuss the limits of tolerance in progressive societies and how to combat the political manipulation of tensions within society; to spend as much time as possible walking or riding a bicycle in Amsterdam and to linger in bars, cafes, in parks and on sidewalks, because nothing thrills me as much as a beautiful city. What cities have you lived in? Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Paris, and Longview, Texas (of about 80,000 people). What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I can recite Russian poetry in Russian by heart, but I cannot speak or read Russian

Jose Gustavo Rivera Please share a short bio of yourself. I am a progressive political organizer born and raised in the island of Puerto Rico who has lived and worked for the last 10 years in New York City. I was part of the team that helped the Democrats in the New York State Senate become the majority for the first time in decades. I've managed field and political operations for campaigns at the local, city and state levels in the United States. For the first 5 months of 2008 I worked with the labor union SEIU in Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Puerto Rico helping Senator Obama become the Democratic nominee. I was then hired by the campaign and served as the Constituency Director in Florida where I helped usher in a historic victory that gave Barack Obama 27 Electoral votes and secured him the White House. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? What is particularly exciting for me about this project is the cultural and intellectual exchange that will naturally result from putting these types of folks in a room together. I would say my principal goal is to take advantage of this exchange. To ultimately have a better understanding of perceptions about my beloved city, by learning people's perception about theirs. What cities have you lived in? Bayamon, PR, New York, NY, Tampa, FL What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I kill in 2 languages.

Justin Krebs Please share a short bio of yourself. I am a political entrepreneur and organizer, building communities and democratic spaces that connect you to the people and issues around you. I am the founder of Living Liberally, a network of progressive social clubs that includes Laughing Liberally comedy shows, Eating Liberally sustainable meals, Reading Liberally book groups, Screening Liberally films and is best know for Drinking Liberally happy hours that promote democracy one pint at the time. I am also a founder of a non-profit venue called The Tank, which for six years has provided a creative, collaborative home for arts and free expression in Manhattan. I've worked in the parks movement, written a history of New York City's playgrounds, and served in the office of US Senator Hillary Clinton. After childhood in New Jersey and college at Harvard, I've lived in Hell's Kitchen on Manhattan's west side for the past 8 years. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Technology allows us to connect with people around the world and see our common goals and challenges with increasing clarity. But or me, nothing replaces good old-fashion face-to-face contact. I'm looking forward to sharing those moments you only get in-person -- when someone surprises you with an insight, or a joke; when you can suddenly tell you understand someone's big idea by the way your body language speak with each other. I am excited for those moments of connection -and therefore of shared learning and collaborating -- with our partners in Amsterdam...and with the new faces from New York as well. What cities have you lived in? I grew up in Highland Park, NJ; went to college in Cambridge, MA; a short high school exchange in Moscow, Russia; a recent project in San Francisco, CA; and otherwise, for over 8 years, have been rooted at West 45th Street in New York, NY. What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? My only previous visit to Holland was to perform improvisational comedy.

Kai van Hasselt Please share a short bio of yourself. I grew up in Leiden, NL and studied economics and a minor in urban planning at the University of Amsterdam. Next to my studies, I had a part time job researching socio-cultural trends for a leading Dutch trend watcher. Over time, cities and specifically how and why they transform themselves, became the topic of my interest. In 2004, I started Shinsekai Analysis, an urban strategy advisory boutique, that advises on developments at the cross roads of art, urbanism and economics. Next to that, I organize a course for young art collectors. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I hope we will be able to address some issues that have a common urgency and relevance for young people in New York in Amsterdam. Maybe we come up with something really good ideas... What cities have you lived in? I have lived in Leiden from 1981 to 2000, and thereafter in Amsterdam. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I am -long term- short on TV, Damien Hirst and European agriculture. I am -long term- long on art, NY, president Obama, the euro, Iran, Africa, the Next 11, the Randstad, landscape architecture, externalities trading and that another world is possible.

C. Karim Chrobog Short Bio I am an award winning filmmaker. I started my career at Time Warner's international policy office working with the company's Warner Bros., HBO, Fortune and Turner divisions. In 2005, I launched an independent film company currently producing a film on Ibn Battutah, a colorful, but forgotten 14th century Moroccan adventurer. My latest documentary “War Child” chronicles the life story of Emmanuel Jal, former South Sudanese child soldier turned international hiphop sensation. I am also working on the documentary "Kidnapped”, which is based on real-life events about my family's kidnapping during a vacation gone awry in the South of Yemen three years ago. I am also directing a documentary on storytellers and a film on the ailing news industry in the US. I hold a degree in International Politics and a Certificate in International Business Diplomacy from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. I am fluent in German, Arabic, and English. I reside in Washington, DC. Lived in: Singapore, Brussels, Bonn, Dubai, Washington DC

Kirsten van den Hul Please share a short bio of yourself. Born on the Dutch countryside in a small village called Bathmen, I moved to Amsterdam as soon as I could to study Sovietology at Amsterdam University. I went on to work for several international NGO's in the field of culture and human rights, working on youth participation, community art and women's rights. Because I wanted to experience what it's like on “The other side”I moved to North Africa where I studied Arabic and worked as a teacher. I now work as a change agent, active on the crossroads of culture, diversity and communication. I'm currently setting up a platform for CSR and Community Investment for a foundation called Hart voor Amsterdam, where I try to inspire, engage, support and challenge companies to improve the impact they have on society. I'm also a performance poet and in the process of writing my first novel. I speak 8 languages, including French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. My motto: “I am who I am because of who we all are.” (Desmond Tutu) What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Personal INSPIRATION: sharing dreams with a diverse pool of open minds Professional EMPOWERMENT: interdisciplinary and cross-atlantic reflection, building bridges and networks for future change and cooperation, learning from innovative solutions overseas What cities have you lived in? Bathmen (not quite a city though, inhabitants include more cows than people!), Amsterdam, Netherlands, Tunis, Tunisia, Houmt-Souk, Tunisia What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I am mad about football (soccer for those on the other side of the Atlantic). My favorite team: Ajax Amsterdam of course!

Laura MacCleery Please share a short bio of yourself. I am a non-profit lawyer and progressive political advocate --after law school, I did a state court clerkship and then went to Washington to do policy advocacy for Public Citizen. I challenged Bush Administration nominees that opposed health and safety rules, lobbied in Congress to enhance consumer protections and environmental rules, and helped to bring litigation against lawless federal agencies when warranted. I joined the Brennan Center for Justice in 2008, where I work on campaign finance rules as part of improving the accountability and responsiveness of elected officials to ordinary citizens. I have had op-eds published in Politico, The Boston Globe, Tech President, The Hill and Roll Call, among others. I also teach a class on policy advocacy at NYU School of Law. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To develop a better understanding of European identity and policy issues; to gather with a smart and interesting group and see what cool stuff happens. What cities have you lived in? Washington DC, New York, Denver, San Francisco, Eagle Butte (South Dakota), Montpelier (France) What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I make jewelry as a hobby and have had a small business on the side for more than 20 years. I'm about to open a shop on Etsy. :)

Maarten Bas-Backer Please share a short bio of yourself. I grew up in an international context, with strong interests in design, nature, creativity, history and later the Internet. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I look forward to meeting interesting people and changing my ideas. What cities have you lived in? The Hague, Bucharest, New York, Leiden, Maastricht, Istanbul, Amsterdam. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I love hiking!

Marc Silverman Please share a short bio of yourself. I am currently an associate at a New York City law firm specializing in criminal defense work. Prior to joining the law firm, I served as a law clerk to a United States District Court Judge. Immediately before my clerkship, I served as a public interest fellow and staff attorney at a non-profit organization called Advocates for Children. I am deeply concerned about criminal justice and children's rights, especially regarding education. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I am very excited to join this group of dynamic, creative, and active citizens for the Pioneers Experience. I am hoping to gain inspiration and creative ways of thinking as I search for the intersection of my legal background and passion for education. I am also hoping to meet new people, learn new things, and challenge myself to think about a variety of issues from a different perspective. What cities have you lived in? I grew up in Albany, NY; went to college and law school in New Haven, CT; and now live in New York, NY. I have spent some time in Washington, DC; Oxford, England; and in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I really like to make blueberry pancakes

Mark Belinsky Please share a short bio of yourself. I have been working at the intersection of technology, media and civil society for over five years, with projects extending from Europe, the Middle-East and the Caucasus to South and Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the USA. Inspired by my parents’ escape from the Soviet Union, I have sought to empower other at-risk communities. While working in the Caucasus, I helped to found and develop Bem, a youth progressive action center that serves as a platform for Armenian youth to build an active civil society through technology, art, and media for free-expression. Since January 2007, I have worked closely with Burmese populations in Thailand, India, Bangladesh and resettled communities in the USA, researching their projects and developing media and online strategies for a coalition of pro-democratic Burma-related groups. I also consult on new media strategy and produce films through my company New Words, recently making films for Amnesty International, Guaranteed Health Care Coalition, Norwegian Refugee Council, and Current TV. I have recently been a presenter and trainer on new media and digital organizing for Open Society Institute, United States Institute for Peace, Tufts University, and others. I am a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? "Interaction in itself is a goal; it is also the best way to gain new perspectives� What cities have you lived in? New York, Washington DC, Baltimore Yerevan, Tbilisi What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I cycled across the US

Melissa S. Lee Please share a short bio of yourself. For the past 13 years, I have worked to inform local public policy, research, and community development through the not-for-profit and government sectors. In March 2006, I was appointed to the Mayor’s Office of Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development (CNED). In this role, I am leading CNED in uniting New York City’s economic development agencies to collectively build local capacity of neighborhood organizations while promoting workforce, asset, and business development programming in the Brooklyn community of Bedford Stuyvesant. I am developing an ambitious neighborhood investment plan of public and private programs tied directly to identified community needs. I received a Master in Public Policy from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Redlands. Prior to my graduate education at NYU, I worked as an Economic Development Specialist providing direct technical assistance to small businesses in the Lower East Side post September 11th, and then as Director of Economic Development overseeing local commercial revitalization strategies in Central Brooklyn. In 2005, I was selected to participate in the Coro Leadership New York program, a highly competitive civic leadership program for mid-career professionals from across the public, non-profit, and private sectors in New York City. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I look to acquire from my participation in Pioneers, a strengthened professional skill set that I can use to fortify relationships with existing partners and broaden my reach beyond customary allies. More specifically, I wish to acquire an active citizenship language in what I envision will be defined during the course of the transatlantic dialogue sessions. Once literate, I aspire to construct and embed a process for encouraging civic infrastructure within the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. My work will only be strengthened by the use of such an approach. Additionally, I look forward to interfacing with a cross sector of professional interested in community change. I aim to explore how my current experience, knowledge and practices are measured in comparison to others. I hope to learn from new ideas so that my world view remains relevant, valuable and cutting edge. What cities have you lived in? Brooklyn, New York, Manhattan, New York, and Pasadena, California What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I am an avid mambo (salsa) and cha-cha-cha dancer.

Melle van den Berg Please share a short bio of yourself. I am 28 years old and currently employed as a consultant on public security. I spend most of my free time working on the online magazine I've founded. De Speld ( is a Dutch satirical news site, comparable to The Onion, where one of the other participants is employed. In my previous jobs, I was an organizer of film festivals and was manager of the oldest art house cinema in The Netherlands. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? My starting point for the Sessions is channeling the creative energy flowing from the people involved into a constructive workform. My aim is to achieve something tangible, in the form of a festival, a concrete policy proposal to be implemented in either or both cities or a school program. I have some ideas on what to do, but am looking forward to shaping these up in the Sessions. What cities have you lived in? Zutphen (NL), Amsterdam (NL), Berlin (G) What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I once participated in a Soundtrack Quiz. I won an Ipod by correctly identifying all songs played in one of the medleys of Moulin Rouge ("Is it (Everything I do) I do it for you by Bryan Adams?")

Najiba Abdellaoui Please share a short bio of yourself. I was born on September 4th 1981 in the Netherlands, which makes me 27 years old and Dutch. I was also, as a daughter of first generation Moroccan immigrants, partly raised in Morocco, which makes me Moroccan- Dutch (in the statistics). I studied International Business at Tilburg University and am now a management trainee/ communication coordinator at TNT. Hip-hop lyrics inspired me to start writing at the age of 14 and I have been writing ever since. Last year, I co-wrote a children's book and won the Dutch poetry slam nationals. What else to tell... maybe that I can go on for ages about good books, good movies and good food :-). What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? - Meet energetic and inspiring new people - Learn a lot - Come up with crazy creative and innovative ideas as a group on how we can contribute to society - Really making the ideas happen, starting with the youth in Amsterdam/ NY. What cities have you lived in? Zutphen (the Netherlands, Berkane (Morocco) Tilburg (the Netherlands), Woerden (the Netherlands) What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? The fact that I love to travel with public transport and be a witness of conversations and everyday life of strangers. That can be very inspiring. It's probably also the reason why I don't have my driver's license yet...

Nani Jansen Please share a short bio of yourself. Born and raised in Amsterdam to a Dutch mother and Malian father, I have lived in Amsterdam, New York and Bologna. Once, I thought I would become a dentist (one of the flying doctor kind), but luckily I changed my mind and became a lawyer instead. Having gone back and forth between Amsterdam and New York for about 5 years while studying and working at and around the UN, I currently live in Amsterdam where I work for a law firm on issues of privacy and data protection. Outside office hours, I am working on my own research in international law, currently focused on women's reproductive rights and R2P. My artistic endeavors are limited to appreciating other people's work, dancing tango and crying at the opera, but - in my defense - I spend an awful lot of time doing that. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? One of the reasons I chose to study international law is because of its obvious interaction with other disciplines (international relations, economics, etc.). I hope to find a similar interaction (or rather: synergy) at the Pioneers sessions. Hearing and seeing how people with so many different backgrounds will approach the sessions' topics will hopefully open my mind to new ways of thinking and offer new perspectives. That, I expect, will serve as a great source of energy and inspiration. What cities have you lived in? Amsterdam, New York, Bologna and (very briefly) in Rome. What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? When I grow up, I would like to be Kofi Annan. I am also addicted to pomegranates.

Nicky Zwaan Please share a short bio of yourself. I was born 1971 in Toma, Burkina Faso, West Africa. As a child, I moved a lot. At age 18, I went to University. During my studies in Cultural Anthropology and Literature, I was dancer, cook, making photos, drawings, always busy designing everything around me where ever I worked, from the lights, the set designs, the interior, menu card, posters, clothes... I decided to concentrate my energy and go to the Rietveld Academy, the art academy of Amsterdam. Since graduating in 2000, I am working full time as a visual artist. Projects involving light and movement in various ways. I am a teacher at the Rietveld Academie. My husband and I have designed our own energy sustainable house, which we are building now. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Getting to know the other Pioneers, whom I would not have met otherwise. Finding ways to work with our individual qualities and interests, which seem to be many. Used to choosing myself what to work on, with whom and where, the goal of the process being the artwork, I am looking forward to engaging in a different context. For a change there are 20 to 40 of us, all eager to participate. In this case the goal is not so clear, we are creating it together along the way. Spending some time away from my own practice enables me to concentrating on our shared subjects. I am expecting the unexpected, not knowing what will happen with all the other Pioneers involved. I like that. What cities have you lived in? Burkina Faso: Toma and Ouagadougou, Cameroon: project Funda (near Bamenda) and Limbe. Haiti: Gonaives. The Netherlands: Gorinchem, Sleeuwijk, Oegstgeest, Wijchen, Nijmegen and Amsterdam. What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I collect stories like below, use them illustrating ideas in a book I’m working on. An Illusion Created By Many Small Non-illusory Events: I read about someone who takes all 100 envelopes at the same time out of their box and holds them between his fingers. Right in the middle he feels a marble floating, which is strange; there are no marbles in his house. Besides, he knows marbles don’t float. When the man tries to take it out, the marble is nowhere to be found. Nothing but the 100 empty envelopes, each a little bit thicker where the V-form of the closure is made stronger. Still, repeating the movement, the experiencing of the marble is real as ever, because his 'old marble hand' connects and translates the feeling to a known experience.

Philip Bakker Please share a short bio of yourself. I’m a 25 year old pioneer, producer, trendwatcher, entrepreneur. I am founder of the Get Entertained foundation, which primarily is focused on coaching & guiding young talents to professional entertainers. I’m also founder of an successful urban radio station in Amsterdam. I like to work with young people by thinking outside the box to achieve new possibilities as I go. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I really like to achieve a unique sustainable network in Amsterdam & New York. A network that not only grows but also creates new opportunities for several businesses. But besides that I expect to be confronted with another type of thinking that lives in New York. What cities have you lived in? All my live I lived in Amsterdam. But then I’m still young and have the ambition to expand my entrepreneurship in all the big cities over the world. What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? Did you know that I have broken 3 bones in my body already as an entertainer on stage? My nose, my right finger and my little left toe!

Rina Vazirani Please share a short bio of yourself. Born and raised in New Jersey, I’ve spent the majority of my life in the New York metropolitan area. I currently live in Manhattan and am a litigation associate at a New York law firm. The bulk of my work involves corporate clients, but I also work with Tibetan refugees who are seeking asylum. Prior to law school, I studied both statistics and marketing. My not-so-secret passion is traveling whenever I can! What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? To meet interesting people and brainstorm about how to get young professionals involved with their cities and governments. What cities have you lived in? Philadelphia, New York, Amsterdam, Santiago (Chile) What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I spent eight years training in bharatnatyum, a form of North Indian classical dance.

Roos Stallinga Please share a short bio of yourself. I was born in Haarlem, after which Harlem in New York was named. My father was a journalist who traveled a lot. My mother was mostly at home, later she worked in a museum. I have one younger sister. As a child I loved to climb trees, wander around, draw, and watch people. Later I got into traveling, sports, partying and art. After studying Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, and 3 years of living in New York City, I realized that what I want most is to create, and inspire others with my work. At the moment I am working on a book: a bike guide of NYC, with bike routes all over town, stops & sights, portraits & interviews with New York cyclists; personal drawings, photographs and stories. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Exchange ideas and experiences with a bunch of passionate people. Create new ideas together, and ways to implement them. Explore the ties between Amsterdam and New York. Inspire and be inspired. What cities have you lived in? Haarlem, Amsterdam, Barcelona, San Francisco New York What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? Don't really know. To me it's all normal. That I cut the rim of my socks because the elastic bothers me?

Sabra Dahhan Please share a short bio of yourself. I am learning to become the kind of doctor I would like to have as a patient, write columns and many diary fragments, encounter friends all over the world, try to be a great friend and lover and hope to have happy patients and children one day. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I never set up goals in my life, but I do believe in challenges. The challenge for me would be to be able to form a team that will effectively connect creativity, experience and knowledge to form a long-lasting inspiration source for the things we individually do in our young lives. What cities have you lived in? Amsterdam, Rabat and Beirut What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? That I have a talent in meeting the strangest and most extraordinary people.

Sameer Padania Please share a short bio of yourself. I work at the human rights organisation WITNESS, where I run the Hub, the first online video-sharing community for human rights. Before joining WITNESS in New York, I wrote "Reflecting the Real World 2", a report documenting the impact of new media on British public television’s global coverage, and also wrote and edited a human rights vlog for WITNESS and Global Voices Online. Before that, I worked for six years at the media development organization Panos London, designing and managing initiatives to support and strengthen local radio and online journalism worldwide. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Exchanging ideas, learning through doing, approaching things from new perspectives, and building stronger links with European peers. Also having some concrete impact, whether it is through helping inform donor perspectives, or otherwise, at this initial stage. What cities have you lived in? London, Barcelona, New York What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? As a teenager I tried to learn Dutch from a textbook, and thought I had got pretty far, until I tried to speak it, when I realized I had no idea how to pronounce any of it...

Sarah Denie Please share a short bio of yourself. My life is about development and change. That's what I find exciting, that's what scares me sometimes and gives me mountains of joy on most days. After finishing high school in a tiny Dutch village and a slightly bigger Venezuelan city, I decided to study International Economics in Maastricht, the Netherlands and Santiago de Chile. Since then, I've been trying to find ways to combine my international - systems - and economic thinking, with grassroots changes and social entrepreneurialism. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? Learning from smart and slightly eccentric people about their lives and worldviews. Getting to know New York, its people and its issues. Building a bridge between Amsterdam and New York active citizens and social entrepreneurs; both within and outside the group of Pioneers. What cities have you lived in? Leiden, Delden, Maastricht, Amsterdam (Netherlands) San Cristobal (Venezuela) Santiago (Chile) Mumbai, Delhi (India) What's one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? I've always wanted to sing in a band, and it's about time I start doing it!

Sebastian P. Jackson Please share a short bio of yourself. At the intersection of art, commerce and technology, my track record as a concept developer/art director covers the design and realization of high quality film, television and interactive media, to the translation of communication strategies in the latest multi-channel advertising formats. I’m British and a resident of that other ‘Long Island’, IJburg. I speak fluent Dutch. Uniquely situated between London, Paris and Berlin, Amsterdam is a hybrid, as I am. It absorbs and assimilates outside influences, as I do. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? I liken the Pioneers Experience to that of a Particle Accelerator – a place where and process in which dynamic thinkers, creators and implementers can meet and where new ideas and alliances can be mobilized. Essentially an unknown journey, but one that recognizes the importance of the culturally informed perspective (both globally orientated and locally authentic), with possible arrival at a place where urban innovations can emerge. An exhilarating prospect… What cities have you lived in? London, Marrakech, Amsterdam What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? My ancestor, John Winthrop – was founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and 1st governor of Massachusetts. His ‘City upon a Hill’-sermon has proven resonant to this very day. John Winthrop jr., Stuyvesant’s counterpart, followed in his father’s footsteps, and became co-signee of the 1664 ‘Artykelen van ‘t overgaen van Nieuw Nederlandt’, effectively transforming New Amsterdam into New York.

Steve Lambert Please share a short bio of yourself. Born and raised in California, I now live in Brooklyn. I teach a creative activism class at Hunter College called "Judo" and foundations courses at Parsons, and am a Senior Fellow at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology. As an artist, I strive to make work relevant to those outside museums and galleries art that is accessible, fun, might make you laugh, and still able to deal with serious issues. Through this approach, my art ends up less on white walls and more on city streets, online, and discussed on CNN and in Newsweek as well as Punk Planet Magazine. What are your goals for your Pioneers Experience? 1 - To learn about Amsterdam - how the city works and how the culture operates to expand my concept of what is possible. To act as an observer and absorb as much information as I can. 2 - To share some of my research on creative and effective social change strategies, and using humor and creating spectacles for activism. What cities have you lived in? San Mateo, California San Francisco, California (perhaps the most liberal city in the US) Davis, California (the most bicycle friendly city in the US) Brooklyn, New York What’s one fun fact not on your CV/Resume? My CV is pretty fun already, but my father was a Franciscan Monk and my mother was a Dominican Nun and I was raised without organized religion.


The participants in the Pioneer Conference

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