Meet the distinguished lineup of experts who will join our team of instructors for our course on “Freedom of Expression, Artificial Intelligence and Elections,” organized by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, in collaboration with UNESCO, UNDP, and with support of the Electoral Assistance Division (EAD) of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA).

This course is offered in English,  FrenchSpanishPortuguese and Arabic.

Adeline Hulin is Head of Unit for Media and Information Literacy and Digital Competencies at UNESCO Headquarter. She previously worked as the global coordinator for the UNESCO Project Social Media 4 Peace that aims at curbing online harmful content on social media while promoting freedom of expression in conflict prone environment. She was based in the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels where she was also in charge of the partnership with EU Institutions in relation to Freedom of Expression and digital issues. She previously worked for the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in Vienna where she was among others responsible for programs promoting media self-regulation and ethical standards. Her educational background includes a PhD in Political Science from the University Paris II Panthéon Assas, a Master Degree in Journalism from the University Paris Dauphine and a BA in Political Science from the Bordeaux Institut d’Etudes Politiques. She authored a RSC Working Paper for the European University Institute, Statutory media self-regulation: beneficial or detrimental for media freedom and wrote the monograph Autorégulation des médias en Europe: impact, perspectives et limites.

Maarten Halff leads the development of United Nations policy on elections and electoral assistance. He has worked in the field of elections and peacebuilding for over 20 years, and in that time has advised authorities in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Nepal and Somalia – among other places. Maarten is a core member of the Electoral Integrity Initiative launched by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2013. He joined the United Nations in 1996, after obtaining a master’s degree in international law from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.

Begoña Lasagabaster:  Currently Director of the Division for Gender Equality at UNESCO, she was previously UN Women’s Representative to Tunisia and Libya. After starting her career inthe European Parliament in Brussels, as a lawyer in Spain, and as a member of the Congress of Deputies in Madrid, she worked on women’s leadership and political participation at United NationsDevelopment Fund for Women and UN Women in New York. She has degree in Law and Advanced European Studies.

Janet Love joined the Electoral Commission as a part-time Commissioner in April 2016, and then full-time as Vice-Chairperson in November 2018. She was appointed for a second term in October 2023. Having played a role in fighting for freedom as an anti-apartheid activist in the 1970s, Ms Love went into exile in 1978. She returned to South Africa as part of the underground structures of the liberation movement in 1987 and, later, was involved in negotiating South Africa’s new constitution. She served as a Member of Parliament in the first democratic Parliament. Ms Love has a strong commitment to human rights and, in her capacity as National Director of the Legal Resources Centre from 2006 to 2018, she has taken up public interest and constitutional cases on behalf of marginalised communities and individuals. Before joining the Electoral Commission in 2016, Ms Love served a seven-year term (2009-2016) as a part-time member of the South African Human Rights Commission. Ms Love studied through the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of London and has post-graduate qualifications in public administration and development management, including an MSc degree in public financial management.

Gayan Peiris is the Head of Data and Technology at the Chief Digital Office, UNDP. As a digital strategist and advisor, he’s dedicated to revitalizing UNDP’s organizational culture with cutting-edge skills and a forward-thinking culture for stronger results and greater SDG impact. Gayan’s current work entails being at the forefront of driving UNDP’s global digital transformation and data strategy. His leadership spans critical areas such as Governance, People, Culture, Technology, Societal Impacts of AI, and Partnerships, where he champions UNDP’s internal digital advancement and plays a pivotal role in executing its comprehensive data strategy. Gayan also has a track record of incorporating people’s voices into policy-making. He has led data collection and analysis efforts for global initiatives like UN75 and MYWorld, collecting over 10 million voices globally through public and private sector partnerships”

Niamh Hanafin is a seasoned communication for social change specialist. She joined UNDP’s Global Policy Centre for Governance (GPC) in 2020 in response to growing calls from country offices for support in responding to COVID19 disinformation. Niamh now leads UNDP’s global information integrity workstream, collaborating across UNDP and externally to improve understanding of and responses to information pollution in the contexts where UNDP is engaging. She is the architect of UNDP’s strategic guidance: Information Integrity: Forging a Pathway to Truth, Resilience and Trust. Niamh represents UNDP in global forums, leads UNDP’s information integrity research agenda and provides guidance to regional hubs and country offices on programmatic responses.  Prior to UNDP, Niamh spent 8 years with Search for Common Ground, leading multi-million-dollar peacebuilding portfolios in Africa and Asia.  She has over 20 years’ experience designing and managing innovative communications programming promoting children’s rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation, reproductive health, and women’s rights.  Niamh holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Dublin City University and a Master’s degree in Communication for Development from Malmo University. She has lived in Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique, Angola and Madagascar and worked in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Central African Republic.

Odanga Madung is the Senior Researcher for Elections and Platform Integrity at the Mozilla foundation, Co-Founder of Odipo Dev and a data journalist based out of Nairobi. His insightful investigations into social media companies have led to crucial changes in their operations within and beyond Kenya. More Recently his work on Disinformation for hire, hatespeech and content moderation has revealed the extent to which technology giants’ negligence and centralization disproportionately leads to harm within societies, especially in so-called “rest of world” countries.  He was formerly a fellow at the DW Akademie and Mozilla; you can find his byline and work in publications such as The Guardian, WIRED, Buzzfeed News, and The New York TImes.

Olivia Sohr is a sociologist and journalists who works at Chequeado -the first fact checking organization in Latin America- since its foundation in 2010, where she is currently the Director of Impact and New Initiatives. She coordinates different journalistic projects within the organization, among them LatamChequea, a network of Latin American fact checkers that brings together 40 organizations from 18 countries. She has worked to counteract disinformation in four presidential elections in Argentina, in addition to coordinating and investigating with colleagues in the region the common false narratives that circulate during electoral periods. As part of her work at Chequeado, she participates in the development of new technologies to take advantage of their advantages in fact-checking work and to identify the threats that Artificial Intelligence developments, among others, can bring to the information ecosystem. Olivia holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis and a Master’s degree in Sociology, specializing in Media from the École d’Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).

Samson Itodo is an experienced community organizer and development practitioner with two decades of experience in constitution building, governance reform, electoral governance, civic engagement, and political organizing. He serves as the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa and founding convener of the Not Too Young To Run Movement. He provides strategic policy advice to parliamentary committees, electoral commissions, political parties, civil society organizations, and academic institutions. In 2018, he was appointed by the Gates Foundation as a Goalkeeper and honoured by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) Washington DC as the 2018 Rising Democracy leader in Africa. He was also inducted into the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the African Youth Awards in 2017. Samson is a member of the Board of Kofi Annan Foundation and the Board of Advisors of International IDEA. He previously served as lead researcher for WFD on developing case studies on candidate selection processes and its impact on the emergence of women candidates in African liberal parties.  Samson leads one of Nigeria’s largest citizen movements on electoral integrity, #WatchingTheVote. He has led international election observation missions to Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, United States of America, and South Africa. Samson holds bachelor’ and master’ degrees in Law, both from the University of Jos, and a Master’s of Public Policy from the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. He teaches Election Law at the Nassarawa State University where he currently serves as a Visiting Scholar on Election Law.

These speakers are dedicated to understanding and navigating the complex relationship between technology, democracy, and freedom of expression. Join us as we explore the future of democracy in the digital age with their insights.