Dr Stephanie Anderson, EU Security and Communications Researcher, Joins Gold Mercury International Advisory Board

Dr. Stephanie Anderson, Associate Professor of Political Science, and specialist in International Relations and the European Union at the University of Wyoming, has joined the Gold Mercury as an International Advisory Board member and as a BRAND EU programme Ambassador.

Her research focus is on the European Union (EU) as an international actor, international relations, and security issues.

“Prof. Anderson brings more than twenty years of experience researching the European Union to the Advisory Board. She has a great passion for Europe and for the EU as a project of international peace and security. She will be a great asset to our Advisory Board and our BRAND EU Programme.”

– said Nicolas De Santis, Gold Mercury President.

“It is an honour to join such a prestigious and international Board and to support the work of Gold Mercury and the BRAND EU programme. The EU is a vital actor in international affairs, especially in the area of peace and security. BRAND EU can play an important role in communicating what the European Union does more clearly to its citizens and the world.”

– said Dr Stephanie Anderson.

In 2011-12, Prof Anderson was a senior fellow at the KFG – Transformative Power of Europe at the Free University of Berlin researching EU security policy, identity-formation, and crisis management as well as the scholar-in-residence at the EU Centre in Singapore.

In 2008, she published the book Crafting the EU Security Policy:  In the Pursuit of European Identity (Boulder, CO:  Lynne Rienner, 2008).  Her book is based on research she did while a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

Her second book is co-authored with Rob Godby, The Economics and Politics of the Eurozone Crisis (Budrich, 2015).  She has also published in several journals and edited volumes including Armed Forces and SocietyThe SAGE Handbook of European Foreign Affairs, and European Foreign Affairs Review. 

Dr. Stephanie Anderson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, an M.Sc. in International relations from the London School of Economics, and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University. In addition, she holds certificates from the University of Strasbourg III and from the Institute of European Studies at the Free University of Brussels.

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  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members
  • Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members

Gold Mercury Advisory Board Announces New Members

Gold Mercury's ever growing international advisory board has welcomed several esteemed new board members.

The two most recent additions to Gold Mercury’s international advisory board are: Father Luis de Lezama, Founder of the Lezama Foundation, and Carmen Posadas, Award-winning Uraguay-Spanish author. Both are experts in the field of Global Culture.

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Father Luis de Lezama, Founder of the Lezama Foundation and expert in Global Culture.
Father Luis de Lezama is a Basque Catholic priest, and president of Grupo Lezama: one of the world’s most successful high-end restaurant chains, with 20 in Spain plus two other restaurants in Washington, DC, and Seattle. The now legendary Lezama restaurants attract many loyal and prominent clients. Grupo Lezama served meals to the late Pope John Paul II.Lezama has been a journalist, a writer, restorer, businessman and a practical priest. He now practises in the Parish of Santa Maria Blanca in Montecarmelo, Madrid. The Lezama FOUNDATION runs a general school in his parish, with 1,600 students aged one to 16 and have introduced a revolutionary education system (EBI) developed with Microsoft to advance the way children learn for the future.

Carmen Posadas, Award-winning Uraguay-Spanish author and expert in Global Culture.
Carmen Posadas was born in Montevideo (Uruguay), in 1953. She has published more than 15 books for children, stories and essays, and has contributed to a number of scripts for TV & movies. In 1996 she published her first novel, CINCO MOSCAS AZULES (The Last Resort) which was one of the most surprising and successful books of the year. Her second novel, PEQUEÑAS INFAMIAS (Little Indiscretions), won the 1998 Planeta Prize. She is also the author of LA BELLA OTERO (now turned intro a movie), EL BUEN SIRIVIENTE and JUEGOS DE NIÑOS (2006). Her work has been translated into 23 languages so far and in 2003, Newsweek Magazine pointed her out as one of the most outstanding writers of her generation.

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Other recent additions to Gold Mercury’s international advisory board include:

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Professor Roger Zetter, Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies and Former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University and expert in Global Peace and Security.
Throughout his career Zetter’s research and teaching has centred around the institutional and policy dimensions of forced migration, the impact of humanitarian assistance on refugees and asylum seekers and shelter and settlement policies. Roger Zetter has written over 30 peer reviewed papers, 20 book chapters and 10 major research reports. He also served as Editor of the 2012 ‘World Disasters Report’ for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRD). During the course of his career he has been a consultant to many international and intergovernmental organisations.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, Scientist and Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University and expert in Global Health.
Baroness Susan Greenfield is a scientist, writer and broadcaster who specialises in the physiology of the brain. During her career she has conducted extensive research into the impact of technologies on the mind, how the brain generates consciousness and different approaches to neurodegenerative diseases. She is also renowned for her written works, having published a number of scientific books covering topics such as: future society, personal identity, neuroscience and neurobiology. Today she continues to contribute to the scientific field acting as a Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University, whilst also leading a multi- disciplinary research team in exploring novel mechanisms linked to neurodegenerative diseases.

Roza Otunbayeva, Former President of Kyrgyzstan and expert in International Law and Humanitarian Affairs.
Roza Otunbayeva is the former President of Kyrgyzstan. In 2010 Otunbayeva was a key leader of the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan which resulted in the removal of President Akayev. She was then selected by opposition leaders to lead the Kyrgyz interim government and served as president until December 2011 when her term ended.

Peter Waine, Founding Director of Hanson Green and expert in Global Economic and Social Policy.
Peter Waine is the Founding Director of Hanson Green, a specialist search firm which dominates the UK non-executive recruitment market. As Founding Director of Hanson Green, he plays a key role in setting the agenda of how prominent UK businesses are run. Peter Waine is an accomplished author, having co-authored the management book ‘The Independent Board Director’, as well as ‘Takeover’, an acclaimed business novel and ‘The Board Game,’ which has become somewhat of a bible for directors. Waine was formerly a visiting Professor at Warwick and Cass business schools and is also currently National Chairman at CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England.)

Francisco Luzón López of Former General Manager of Banco Santander and expert in Global Economic and Social Policy.
Francisco Luzón López graduated with a degree in Economics and Business Studies from the University of Bilbao before embarking on a highly successful business career. He served as Director at Banco Santander Central Hispano S.A until January 2012, having joined the company in 1996. He was appointed as a Director of the Bank in 1997 and was then re-elected by the general meetings of shareholders in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2007.

Dr William Haseltine, PhD., Founder of Human Genome Sciences and expert in Global Science.
Dr William Haseltine PhD is an American biologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is renowned for his ground breaking work on cancer, HIV/AIDS and genomics. He acts as President of The Haseltine Foundation for Science and the Arts, which aims to foster a relationship between science and the arts. He is involved in Public and International Policy, advising several governments, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Dr Haseltine also founded the Journal of AIDS Research and Retrovirology and The Journal of Regenerative Medicine. His extensive achievements in research have led to him receiving numerous awards and honours throughout his career.

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Middle East Affairs Expert, Antonio Capuano Joins Gold Mercury International Advisory Board

Gold Mercury’s ever-growing International Advisory Board, has recently welcomed Antonio Capuano as its newest member. Antonio Capuano is a renowned Italian politician, economist and lawyer. He served as a member of the Italian Parliament from 2001 to 2006.

His addition to the board has further strengthened our expertise in the area of International Law & Humanitarian Affairs, with his wealth of experience in issues involving the Middle East region providing a great asset to Gold Mercury International.

“In view of the increasing importance of the Middle East in global affairs and the rapid changes happening in the region, Mr Capuano’s knowledge of the subject brings to Gold Mercury great insights on the future of the Arab world. Mr Capuano is fully committed to the development and modernisation of the Middle East”

said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.

Mr Capuano is an expert in Middle East affairs and has advised on this subject to multiple governments and corporations, most notably advising the Italian Prime Minister on matters involving Kuwait and the Middle East between 2009 and 2011. He has a wide range of experience in the academic sector, having previously taught Legal and Jurisdictional Law at the University for Foreigners of Perugia, as well as currently teaching Islamic Law at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Mr Capuano is also an accomplished author and his publications include ‘Atlas of the Arab Spring’ and ‘Electoral Laws: A Defect of Democracy.’

Antonio Capuano stated,

“It is an honour to join such a historic organisation as Gold Mercury International. Gold Mercury’s work advancing anticipatory governance and creating innovative global intelligence tools, has brought a new perspective on sustainable governance and globalisation. I am honoured to be in the position to support and help drive their vision of a better world based on peace and international cooperation.”

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Gold Mercury Board Member Wins Prestigious Freedom to Write Award

Sonia Nassery Cole, Gold Mercury International Advisory Board Member and Director and Producer of the inspirational film ‘Black Tulip’ has won the Freedom to Write Award, granted by the PEN Center USA.

The Oscar nominated film ‘Black Tulip’ addresses the notion that “freedom is never free” and is about a family in Kabul that opens a literary café catering to artists and poets. In the café, poets are offered the opportunity to read their works. The film was shot on location in Kabul, Afghanistan using extensive security precautions despite death threats from the Taliban . The film was nominated for an Oscar in both the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Soundtrack categories in 2011. Nassery Cole also established the Afghanistan World Foundation funding the construction of a hospital for women and children in Kabul, medical care for land-mine victims and other causes.

PEN Center USA has a membership list of more than 800 writers, including poets, playwrights, essayists, novelists (these make up the original letters in the acronym, ‘PEN’), as well as television and screenwriters, critics, historians, editors, journalists and translators. PEN Center USA was founded in 1943. Its mission states that the organisation will “defend and promote freedom of expression throughout the world by advocating for the release of imprisoned writers, and for the protection of writers who suffer political prosecution, persecution, and censorship.” Since 1993, PEN Center USA’s Freedom To Write Program has honoured individuals whose work and experience underscores their mission.

The Freedom To Write Award will be presented to Sonia Nassery Cole at a gala dinner on October 14, 2013, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles.

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Book Launch of Shaking the Skies: Leading Change in the Global Aviation Business

The development and progression of aviation continues to be an essential global technological development. Aviation has opened up the individual to the world and in doing so, created a global village, connected cultures, families and nations.

Throughout his time at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Giovanni Bisignani challenged governments, powerful leaders and airline conglomerates to revolutionise the commercial aviation industry. In his new, aptly named book, Shaking the Skies, Bisignani details the many challenges he faced as he sought to, upon his appointment as CEO and Director General, improve the profile and economics of the aviation industry. Hired “to lead a revolution,” Bisignani presents a remarkable account of an illustrious career that was based around an ethos of ethical leadership, good governance and business determination.

The strongest message that Bisignani seeks to communicate is change. Initially detailing his rise in the aviation industry that led to his appointment at the IATA in 2002, Bisignani’s wealth of experience, run in with Gaddafi in Libya and requests from Mother Teresa tell a fascinating story of how he was able modernise the aviation industry. The story of his rise and how he came to lead one of the biggest associations in the world is also filled with details and facts that demonstrate a man who cared as much about the industry as he did the customer.

His achievements and changes did not seek to purely benefit the IATA and its associated airlines; rather, he pursued a system of change that improved every aspect of the industry. His changes began with management restructuring and, to name one of many successes, led to him enforcing e-ticketing and subsequently making aviation the first ever industry to “enter the paperless world.”

The uniqueness of Bisignani as a CEO is also illustrated and detailed in a concise factual method. Emotively and professionally affected by September 11, Bisignani, during his time at the IATA, greatly improved the environmental and safety procedures of the aviation industry. His continued effort to make flying safer and environmentally friendlier involves global, ethical and unilateral action and is captured entertainingly through meetings with Al Gore, “crazy” technological ideas and a “shooting” incident in Lagos.

The full extent of Bisignani’s developments and contributions to the aviation industry are summed up through a description of how he hopes his changes will lead to “Vision 2050.” Where, as an industry, aviation businesses and governments will co-operate with economic, environmental and moral procedures in mind to ensure airlines continue to be “a force for good.”

The values and ideals which make up Giovanni’s Vision 2050 was the motivating factor behind Gold Mercury International’s decision to co-publish and host the launch of the book. The principle, vision and managerial system which Giovanni outlines in Shaking the Skies corresponds with Gold Mercury’s own views on Global Governance; namely, constructing a future in which ethics, sustainability and visionary leadership underpin an organisations operations.

A central message of Giovanni’s book is the importance of having an effective managerial system in place. This message correlates with Gold Mercury’s mission of seeking to educate organisations about the significance of having a responsible vision that is environmentally friendly and proficiently managed.

Shaking the Skies: Leading Change in the Global Aviation Business will be launched on the 20th May 2013 at the Royal Aeronautical Society, London.

Visit the Shaking the Skies Twitter page for news and extracts about the book.

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  • Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
  • Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
  • Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board

Emeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board

Gold Mercury International continues to expand its International Advisory Board with the addition of Roger Zetter, Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies and a former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. He is an expert on refugee affairs and forced migration, and his extensive knowledge will provide a great asset to the work of Gold Mercury International.

His expertise is particularly valuable in the area of International Law & Humanitarian Affairs where we have identified forced migration as a key global challenge. His dedication to researching issues relating to refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people over the years, mirrors the importance Gold Mercury itself places on developing research to address universal challenges. Throughout his career, Zetter has proven himself as a visionary leader in his field and illustrated the need for international cooperation and intervention. Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International welcomed Roger Zetter’s entrance to the Advisory Board stating:

“Roger Zetter is a global authority on forced migration and refugee affairs. Gold Mercury has followed his career and work over many years. His work in understanding the key issues regarding the status and identity of refugees is key pillar in this area. Roger is breaking new ground in the study of forced migration and its related challenges including human rights, economic impact and fiscal stress, fragile states and environmental displacement.”

Roger Zetter gained degrees from Cambridge and Nottingham Universities, before going on to undertake his DPhil at the University of Sussex. The thesis he completed during this period of study dealt with the complex subject of Refugee Labelling and Access. Throughout his career, Zetter’s research and teaching has focused on key areas including: institutional and policy dimensions of forced migration, the impact of humanitarian assistance on refugees and asylum seekers, shelter and settlement policies and the effect of exile and repatriation on refugees.

Zetter is also an accomplished educational contributor, having written over 30 peer reviewed papers, 20 book chapters and 10 major research reports. During the course of his career, Zetter has acted as a consultant to many international and intergovernmental organisations and governments including the UNHCR, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, IOM, EU, World Bank, UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), IFRC and Oxfam.

In recent years, his work has focused on three areas of study. The first explores the cause and consequences of European deterrence and restrictionism, as well as the life of refugees and asylum seekers and their integration into society. The second deals with the environmental impacts of climate change on population displacement and migration. In 2009, his knowledge in this area led him to be funded by the governments of Norway and Switzerland and also by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to conduct research into ‘Protecting Environmentally Displaced People: Developing the Capacity of Legal and Normative Frameworks.’ His research into this issue continued with funding by the Macarthur Foundation in 2011 to conduct a two year study into ‘Environmentally Displaced People: Rights, Labels and Policies.’ The third theme, with the World Bank, has been to develop tools to measure the macro- and micro- economic impacts of refugees and to promote developmental responses in situations of forced displacement, alongside humanitarian needs.

Recently, Zetter also served as Editor of the 2012 ‘World Disasters Report’ for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRD). Gold Mercury is honoured to also have him serve on our Advisory Board. Roger Zetter shares the vision of Gold Mercury International stating:

“Forced migration is one of the key global challenges of our time. I am honoured to join Gold Mercury, a historic organisation focusing on advancing sustainable global governance that recognises the challenges presented by forced migration and refugees as a crucial global governance issue. I am excited to bring my expertise in this area and by the prospect of working with Gold Mercury International in supporting their mission to clarify global governance issues and advance the concepts of international cooperation and global citizenship as bastions of sustainable development.”

adminEmeritus Professor Roger Zetter, Global Expert on Refugees and Forced Migration, Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board
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Kerry Kennedy, Gold Mercury Award Laureate, Speaks out about Gun Control in USA

Moral Courage is the ability to confront fear, pain, threat, danger, hardship, uncertainty or intimidation in the face of opposition, shame, scandal, continuous discouragement, torture or even death.

Kerry Kennedy, human right activist and Gold Mercury Award Laureate for Humanitarian Affairs knows moral courage well. She is the President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, a global human rights organisation based in Manhattan. She has defended and worked with many human rights activists, the real and most often unsung heroes of our society. She has now joined a cause close to her heart, the advocacy group ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ in Washington, a network of more than 850 executives from cities and towns nationwide calling for heightened gun control. The organisation is co-chaired by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group is calling for tighter gun laws, an issue Kennedy feels strongly about, “It’s almost impossible to describe the pain of losing your father to a senseless murder or the anger and fear of knowing that that murder might have been avoided if only our leaders had acted to stop the violence.”  Her uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed in Dallas when she was only four. Her father, Robert Kennedy, was murdered four years later in the midst of his 1968 presidential run. Following his murder, Kerry Kennedy – the seventh of 11 children- had to grow up without a father. Kennedy and other speakers from the group called on Congress to enact firearm reforms proposed by President Obama, including universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“Kerry Kennedy is one of the most passionate and committed individuals I have met. She is on a constant mission to advocate and defend freedom, human rights and a better society for future generations. Her work to fight for and educate us all on human rights is fundamental in the current unstable world that we live in,”

said Nicolas De Santis President of Gold Mercury International.

Watch Kerry Kennedy on MSNBC’s Politics Nation with Al Sharpton where she pleaded to take swift action to save American lives and introduce universal background checks on guns.

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Gold Mercury Award for Humanitarian Affairs and Speak Truth to Power

Kerry Kennedy was recognised with the 2006 Gold Mercury Humanitarian Award for her work as an internationally renowned human rights activist, the Founder of both The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and the ‘Speak Truth to Power – Voices Beyond The Dark Programme.’ Her dedication to defending and raising awareness of human rights over many years continues the legacy of her father, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. She began her work in human rights in 1981 and since this time has led more than 40 delegations to various countries in the search for equal justice. Kennedy established the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in 1987 in order to protect the rights codified under the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Her commitment and work regarding human rights covers diverse issues such as child labour, indigenous land rights, freedom of speech, judicial independence, ethnic violence and women’s rights. Her book ‘Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who are Changing our World’, is a powerful representation of those individuals, from more than forty countries who are seeking to advance human rights. The book features interviews with these human rights defenders and is accompanied by powerful portraits from world renowned photographer Eddie Adams.

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Visit The Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights

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Scientist Baroness Susan Greenfield Joins Gold Mercury International Advisory Board

We are delighted to announce the addition of Baroness Susan Greenfield to the Gold Mercury International Advisory Board. As a Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University, Baroness Greenfield leads a multi-disciplinary research team exploring novel brain mechanisms linked to neurodegenerative diseases.

Baroness Greenfield specialises in the field of physiology of the brain and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience, pertaining to the areas of Global Health and Global Science and Technology. Her work has reflected Gold Mercury’s principles and vision, through her research developments to address universal challenges, most notably in regards to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, she has worked tirelessly to bring attention to these health challenges and to educate the public on ways in which we can address them.

Throughout her career, Greenfield’s research has centred on the physiology of the brain, studying the impact of technologies on the mind, how the brain generates consciousness and approaches to neurodegenerative diseases. Nicolas De Santis, President and Secretary General of Gold Mercury International noted:

“Understanding how the human brain works is one of the grand challenges of modern science. Baroness Greenfield is a visionary in her field. Not only from the perspective of providing a better understanding of how the brain works and about human consciousness but also about the future of neurodegenerative diseases. Such knowledge is and will be vital for our future society and how it deals and prepares to help the millions of people suffering from brain related disease.”

Baroness Greenfield is also renowned for her written works, having published a number of scientific books covering topics such as: future society, personal identity, neuroscience and neurobiology. Her books include ‘Journey to the Centers of the Mind: Toward a Science of Conciousness’ (1995), ‘The Human Brain: A Guided Tour’ (1998), ‘Brain Story: Unlocking your Inner World of Emotions, Memories and Desires’ (2001). She has also published a neuroscientific theory of consciousness called ‘The Private Life of the Brain’ (2003).

Baroness Greenfield has also developed an interest in studying the impact of modern technologies on development and the way in which a young person feels and thinks. She discussed this topic in her books ‘Tomorrow’s People: How 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way we Think and Feel’ (2003) and ‘ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century’ (2008).

Her latest book ‘2121: A Tale from the Next Century’ is a novel set just over a hundred years from now and describes a dystopia centred around the impact of extreme technologies on how future generations think and feel. The book will be released in July 2013.

During the span of her career, Baroness Greenfield has been honoured with numerous awards and accolades, including 30 honorary degrees from universities around the world. In 1998, she received the Michael Faraday Medal from the Royal Society and in 2000, she was elected to the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians.

In 2001, she was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List, as well as being granted a non-political Life Peerage. In 2003, she was awarded the L’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur by the French Government and was also given the American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award. In 2005, she was appointed Chancellor of Herriot Watt University. In 2010 she was awarded the Australian Medical Society Medal, and the following year she was invited to join the Advisory Board of the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences at the Institute for Technology, Deli.

In 2012, Baroness Greenfield became Vice Patron of POWER International and was selected to serve as the Parliamentary Patron of the Westminster Higher Education Forum. She also became a Governor of the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health. She stated:

“Gold Mercury works to improve our understanding of key challenges in global areas including Global Health. It is an honour to join the Gold Mercury International Advisory board and support their global governance work. Advancing Global Health Governance is a key pillar of a sustainable future society.

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Filmmaker, Activist and Philanthropist Sonia Nassery Cole Joins Gold Mercury’s International Advisory Board

A recent addition to the expanding Gold Mercury International Advisory Board is Sonia Nassery Cole, Founder of the Afghanistan World Foundation. The International Advisory Board is comprised of individuals who have made a significant contribution to world affairs, business and governance, and Sonia Nassery Cole is no exception.

She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience regarding Afghanistan and strengthens our global areas of culture, peace & security and international law & humanitarian affairs through her work as a filmmaker, activist and philanthropist. She has also demonstrated Gold Mercury’s key principles of visionary leadership and sustainability through her role with the Afghanistan World Foundation and her work as a champion of human rights. As Nicolas De Santis, President and Secretary General of Gold Mercury International noted:

“Sonia Nassery Cole has worked all her life and risked all to defend the freedom and independence of the people of her country. She is determined and committed to continue such hard work through her feature films and her philanthropic work for women and children. She will not rest until Afghanistan is one day a totally free, safe and peaceful nation again. It is an honour to include her among our board members.”

Born in Afghanistan in 1963, Cole fled the Soviet-occupied country at the age of 14 by walking to neighbouring Pakistan. Three years later she had relocated to the United States and began to work with the United Nations. During her teenage years she corresponded with President Reagan in a bid to assist her homeland in breaking free from Soviet occupation. He invited her to visit the White House and she aided his efforts to get Congressional authorisation for stinger missiles to be sent to Afghanistan. She continued to campaign tirelessly for her home country, organising a major fundraising event to publicise the plight of Afghan refugees as part of her role on the Board of The Afghanistan Relief Committee. She worked throughout the 1980’s aiding the Afghan resistance movement, helping to raise critical funds in order to better the lives of countless refugees.

In 2002 she founded the Afghanistan World Foundation, whose mission is to provide support at the grass roots level in order to improve education, economic development and emergency health services, as well as to expand social opportunities for women and improve the conditions for children. Much of their work improving mobile medical services, centres around the issue of land mines in Afghanistan, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

Whilst working with the Afghanistan World Foundation to rebuild schools in 2004, Cole directed her first short film “The Bread Winner”. The film documents a day in the life of a nine year old Afghan boy who sells newspapers on the streets of Kabul in order to support his family. The film also illustrated the broader story of the hardships faced by many Afghans every day. The film premiered at the Milan International Film Festival in 2007 and was subsequently shown at eight other festivals around the world.

In 2009, Cole returned to film making by writing, directing and producing her first feature film, “The Black Tulip”. This film became the first American -backed film produced in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The film centres around a family in Kabul who open a restaurant called The Poet’s Corner, where they encourage freedom of expression from artists and writers. However the Taliban soon become aware the activities in the restaurant and the family begin to be targeted. “The Black Tulip” also depicts the struggles of everyday people in Afghanistan and examines the power of resilience following a tragedy. The film garnered international praise and recognition, becoming the official Afghan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards.

Today, Cole continues be at the forefront of awareness and relief campaigns through her work as Chairman of the Afghanistan World Foundation. Sonia Nassery Cole will be a valued new member to our Board, sharing the future vision of Gold Mercury International. She stated:

“It is an honour to join such a historic organisation that regards peace and cooperation as the key pillar of future international relations and global sustainability. Gold Mercury’s work to create a new global mind set based on the idea that we are all global citizens sharing universal values is a great step forward towards eradicating the prejudice and mental barriers of the past.”

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