Ama Ata Aidoo
Ama Ata Aidoo is a noted Ghanaian novelist, playwright, and lecturer who focuses on issues of gender in African society and tensions between Western and African world views. A graduate from the University of Ghana, Legon, Ama Ata Aidoo has served as a Fellow of the Advanced Creative Writing Program at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA; and during the early 1980s, as Minister of Education (Ghana). At various times during her career, Ama Ata Aidoo has lectured in the Department of English at the University of Cape Coast; and has served on the Board of Directors of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the Artis Council of Ghana and the Ghana Medical and Dental Council. She is the author of several plays, short stories and novels, including: The Dilemma of a Ghost; Anowa; No Sweetness Here; Our Sister Killjoy-or Reflections for a Black-Eyed Squint; The Eagle and the Chickens and Other Stories; Birds and Other Poems; An Angry Letter in January; The Girl Who Can; and Changes: A Love Story (1991), for which she received the Commonwealth Writers Prize.
A native of Ghana, born and raised in Accra and with significant communications and marketing experience in the US and UK, Kofi has worked as an Account Director at Leo Burnett Chicago and Leo Burnett London on Kellogg’s, Diageo, the Shelter/Douglas+Gordon partnership, Coca-Cola and globalgiving.com, as the Senior Strategic Planner on Nike at Wieden + Kennedy,and as the Managing Director of Publicis Ghana. As an Account Director, Kofi won a Bronze Effie for his work on Froot Loops, led successful digital efforts for Fruitabü and globalgiving.com, and delivered an innovative partnership campaign for Shelter and Douglas+Gordon – widely acknowledged to be the first of its kind in the U.K. As a Strategic Planner, Kofi crafted the strategy for Nike’s global Beijing Olympics effort, carved out an ownable and exciting space for Nike SPARQ Training within the cluttered and dormant cross-training category, and repositioned Nike Running to win core runners back to the brand. And as Managing Director of Publicis Ghana, Kofi opened the doors of the first majority-owned network agency on the African continent, defined the “go-to-market” model for Publicis in Africa, and developed a world-class agency operation serving clients like Nestle, P&G, Vodafone, Renault, and Western Union.
Maya Ajmera is the founder and most recently the President of The Global Fund for Children, a non-profit that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Under Maya’s sixteen years of leadership, GFC has awarded over $22 million in capital to nearly 500 grassroots organizations in 75 countries touching the lives of over 1.5 million children. In addition, GFC has a dynamic media program focused on children’s books, films, digital media, and documentary photography. She is an award winning children’s book author including Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, Faith, and To Be a Kid with over 2 million readers worldwide. Maya is a recipient of numerous leadership awards including the 2011 Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. She is sought out nationally and internationally to address audiences on local and global philanthropy, global children’s rights, international development, and social entrepreneurship. Her work and life story have been profiled by such media outlets as CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Financial Times, NPR, and many others. Maya serves on the board of visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She is Vice Chairman of the board of Echoing Green, is a trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and a board member of New Global Citizens and The Global Fund for Children. She serves on numerous advisory boards including the Center for Advanced Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, American India Foundation, The Golden Baobab Prize and many others.
Osayimwense Osa is the founding editor of the Journal of African Children's & Youth Literature (JACYL) and a professor of English at Virginia State University in the United States. Osa has been a fellow at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany and the International Institute for Children's Literature, Osaka, Japan. He is the author of African Children's and Youth Literature in the Twayne's World authors series and the editor of The All-White World of Children's Books and African American Children's Literature. Osa has published numerous essays and reviews on African children's literature in various professional journals. He recently completed a Fulbright study abroad program in Senegal and Gambia and has taught in various colleges and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. Prof. Osa has two adult sons, two adult daughters, and three grandchildren—two boys and one girl.
Daniel (Dan) Weiss was a Publisher at Large at St. Martin's Press, where he was the publisher of a list of titles targeting young adults, in print and online. Prior to joining St. Martin's Press, in 2001, Dan initiated and closed the transaction wherein SparkNotes.com, a start-up online publisher, was acquired by Barnes & Noble, Inc. The company, presently known as Spark Publishing, LLC, is a wholly owned subsidiary with over 750 titles in print, over 2000 titles online and is the largest study site on the web, with revenue streams from both content and advertising. Weiss left Barnes and Noble in 2009 as Publisher, BN educational publishing and joined Webook.com, an innovative online writer’s social network, as a special consultant and Board member. Webook.com is one of the largest sites for writers, agents and publishers on the Internet. Prior to his position at Barnes and Noble, from 1980 to 2001, Weiss was the founder of Daniel Weiss Associates, the foremost creator and producer of commercial series fiction for adults and children. His career in publishing began in l974 with positions at Golden Books, Scholastic and Simon and Schuster.