Guest speakers

Guest speakers

Keynote: Kirsty Coventry

Kirsty is a role model and hugely inspirational figure for many women and young people across Africa and the world of sport. Her memberships on the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency, International Surfing Federation and FINA are playing a key part in expanding the global Olympic movement and the development of sport.

Affectionately known as Zimbabwe’s ‘National Treasure’ and ‘Golden Girl’, Kirsty continues to invest her time and experience in Africa. She is a member of the ANOCA Athlete’s Commission, Vice-President of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, provides coaching and swimming lessons at her non-profit organization, the Kirsty Coventry Academy, and has recently launched a program for low-income and underserved areas – HEROES: Empowering children through sport.



Anna Brazier is a development consultant with a BSc in Ecology and MSc in Sustainable Development. Her work involves supporting training and communication projects relating to the environment, agriculture and food.




Takunda Chingonzo is the founder of The TechVillage, a collaborative working space for early stage tech startups and the founder of Velociti, an accelerator based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Currently working with 20 startups, Takunda’s vision is to help build 100 start-ups in and around Africa by the year 2020. He was recently featured on the Forbes Africa 30 under 30 list titled: Tomorrow’s billionaires’ for the work that he is doing. From interviewing president Obama at theUS Africa Summit, to speaking at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the Global Philanthropy Forum, Takunda passionately articulates his desire to see a connected Africa leveraging on technology built by Africans for Africans.



Kudakwashe (Kuda) Chitsike has over 20 years of experience working on human rights, democracy and governance issues in Zimbabwe. She has written extensively on transitional justice, democracy and governance with special emphasis on women’s issues.




Ambassador Philippe Van Damme has been Head of the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe since October 2014. An economist by training, he has vast experience in development and trade cooperation in Africa. For the EU, he served in Togo and Niger and was EU Head of Delegation to Guinea before being appointed to Zimbabwe.




Tinashe Nyahasha is the CEO of Controvert Media, a technology and media company that is mostly known through its top most brands: Techzim and Pindula. Techzim is a digital publication that exists to report on, explore and discuss the opportunity of technology particularly the internet on the African continent.



Dr Rory Pilossof is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Free State in South Africa. He is an economic historian and works mainly on labour, agriculture and decolonisation in southern Africa.





John Taylor is the Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Harare. He has been in the Foreign Service for 15 years and has also served in Sweden, Indonesia, Japan, Afghanistan, and in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the State Department, he spent six years in the Air Force, where he was a Peacekeeper nuclear Intercontinental Ballistic Missile missileer. In the 1980s he lived in Hiroshima, Japan, where he met and conversed with a number of atomic bomb survivors.



Cindy La Reau – Migrant workers.

Cindy has served in the U.S. Foreign Service for 11 ½ years, spanning five different countries. She is an Office Manager who currently supports the Deputy Chief of Mission




David McGuire has been the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) for the U.S. Mission to Zimbabwe since September 2016. Prior to his arrival in Harare David served as PAO in Sydney, Australia; PAO in Helsinki, Finland; Press Officer in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Cultural Affairs Officer in Managua, Nicaragua; and as Consular Officer in Madrid, Spain. Prior to joining the State Department David worked in educational reform and development at Brown University.


Reilly Travers: Rhino Conservation

Born and bred on Imire, and trained as a guide in South Africa, Reilly Travers returned to Zimbabwe after working in Kenya to oversee the management of the family conservancy. Reilly is in charge of anti-poaching, game management and overseeing the rhino breeding programme on Imire.  He is also highly involved in engaging the Wedza community in community based conservation, a model he feels will change the way in which private conservancies and National Parks in Africa are run.


Ms. Nyaradzo Mashayamombe is founding executive director of Tag A Life International Trust (Ta-LI), an advocacy organization that promotes girls’ rights and women’s empowerment in Zimbabwe. She is also a board member of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, the country’s largest coalition of women’s organizations.



Georges van Montfort – The Structure of the United Nations

Country Director for UNDP Zimbabwe – is a dedicated development professional with over 10 years working experience in and for Africa. Prior to joining UNDP Zimbabwe, he was the Regional Advisor and Cluster Leader for East and Southern Africa in UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa in New York (2011-2017) overseeing the work of 17 UNDP country offices in the sub-region. He has served as Deputy Resident Representative in UNDP Lesotho (2008 – 2011) prior to which he was management advisor in UNDP’s internal Management Consulting Team (2004-2008), promoting operational efficiency and a focus on development results at global, regional and country level. Georges started his career with UNDP, in Tunisia as a programme and coordination analyst (2002-2004). Prior to UNDP, he worked as management consultant and analyst at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) supporting post-merger integration in the private sector in Europe and the Americas (1998 – 2002). He has a master degree in Mathematics and computer science from Delft University of Technology (Netherlands). Born on 31 January 1974, Georges is married and father of two.


Sgt Martinez – Hong Kong Sovereignty

Sgt Martinez was born on 27 November 1992 and raised in Houston, Texas. Sgt Martinez graduated from Denison University with a Bachelors of Arts in History in 2015. Sgt Martinez entered the Marine Corps on 08 August 2015, attending recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California. Sgt Martinez then attended MCT at Camp Pendleton, California before attending training at Ground Supply School in Camp Johnson, North Carolina. Here, Sgt Martinez received his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of Supply Administration and Operations Specialist (3043).

Sgt Martinez received orders to Supply Company, 2ND Supply Battalion in Camp Lejeune. While there, he was promoted to Lance Corporal and then meritoriously promoted to Corporal. Sgt Martinez received orders to attend Marine Security Guard School for class 2-17 as a Watchstander. Sgt Martinez’ first assignment was to American Embassy Harare, Zimbabwe as the MWR/Ball NCO. Here, Sgt Martinez received was promoted to his current rank.