Agazit Abate, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, writes on land rights issues, food sovereignty in Sub-Saharan Africa, and cultural production and storytelling in Africa and its diaspora.
She received her BA in International Development Studies and MA in African Studies from the University of California Los Angeles, UCLA. She studied and wrote on African cinema, cultural production, alternative and community interpretations of development, and narratives of resistance.
Agazit's work at the Oakland Institute, which started first as an Intern Scholar before joining the Institute as a Fellow, has included research and writing on large-scale land investment deals in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of 2011, Agazit co-founded HornLight, an online platform on alternative narratives of the Horn of Africa. She plans to continue writing on land grab and food sovereignty and hopes to delve into fiction, to tell politics like a story.
Christine Ahn, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute, is the Executive Director of the Korea Policy Institute and co-founder of Korean Americans for Fair Trade. She writes and speaks regularly on U.S.- Korea relations, including the nuclear crisis, human rights, free trade, and militarism. Ahn has addressed the United Nations, U.S. Congress, and the South Korean National Human Rights Commission and has worked with the Global Fund for Women, Women of Color Resource Center, Institute for Food and Development Policy, and Legal Aid of DC.
Ahn has appeared on CNN, NBC, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Voice of America, and elsewhere and has published numerous op-eds. She is the editor of Shafted: Free Trade and Americas Working Poor, producer of Fashion Resistance to Militarism, and a contributing author to The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex. Christine was inducted into the OMB Watch Public Interest Hall of Fame and recognized as Rising Peacemaker by the Agape Foundation. She has a Masters in public policy from Georgetown University.
David Bacon, a Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute, is a writer and photojournalist based in Oakland and Berkeley, California. He is an associate editor at Pacific News Service, and writes for TruthOut, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. He has been a reporter and documentary photographer for 18 years, shooting for many national publications. He has exhibited his work nationally, and in Mexico, the UK and Germany.
Bacon covers issues of labor, immigration and international politics. He travels frequently to Mexico, the Philippines, Europe and Iraq. He hosts a half-hour weekly radio show on labor, immigration and the global economy on KPFA-FM, and is a frequent guest on KQED-TV’s This Week in Northern California.
For twenty years, Bacon was a labor organizer for unions in which immigrant workers made up a large percentage of the membership. Those include the United Farm Workers, the United Electrical Workers, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers, the Molders Union and others. Those experiences gave him a unique insight into changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy and migration, and how these factors influence the struggle for workers rights.
Bacon was chair of the board of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and helped organize the Labor Immigrant Organizers Network and the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health. He served on the board of the Media Alliance and belongs to the Northern California Media Workers Guild.
His book, The Children of NAFTA, was published by the University of California Press in March, 2004, and a photodocumentary project sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, Communities Without Borders, was published by the ILR/Cornell University Press in October 2006. In his latest project, Living Under the Trees, sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities and California Rural Legal Assistance, Bacon is photographing and interviewing indigenous Mexican migrants working in California’s fields. He is currently also documenting popular resistance to war and attacks on immigrant labor and civil rights.
He has received numerous awards for both his writing and photography.
Joan Baxter is a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute. An investigative journalist, anthropologist, and award-winning author, she has lived and worked in Africa for more than 25 years - in Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Sierra Leone.
In 2010 and 2011, under the direction of the Oakland Institute program staff, Ms. Baxter researched and wrote the OI's country reports on large land deals in Mali and Sierra Leone, and contributed features on the issue of large-scale foreign investment in African land to Le Monde Diplomatique, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, and Pambazuka News. For many years, she reported from various African countries for the BBC World Service, Associated Press, and many other international media outlets.
For four years, Ms. Baxter was Senior Science Writer at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and traveled extensively on smallholder farms throughout Africa and as far away as Indonesia, writing about agricultural development and research. Since that time, she has undertaken research on mining issues in Sierra Leone for Partnership Africa Canada and the Diamond Development Initiative, written about and edited reports on the work of Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Africa, and worked as a development consultant for German International Cooperation, or GIZ. She has also served as Executive Director of the international non-governmental organization, Nova Scotia - Gambia Association and its Nova Scotia - Sierra Leone Programme. She is a Board member of USC-Canada and its global Seeds of Survival Program.
Her latest book, Dust from our eyes - an Unblinkered Look at Africa, was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in the United States. She is the author of four books on Africa, including A Serious Pair of Shoes – an African Journal (2000), which won the Evelyn Richardson Award for non-fiction at the 2001 Atlantic Writing Awards.
Mikael Bergius, a fellow of the Oakland Institute, works on linkages between global environmental policies, local resource use, and land rights. He is also interested in the political economy of climate change and how biofuels emerge in the interface between commercial solutions to climate change and the neoliberal agricultural regime.
In 2012 Bergius completed a research project in Tanzania that analyzed the impacts of large-scale biofuel production on local households. He has a background in development studies from the University of Agder in Norway and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. He is now pursuing a masters degree in International Environmental Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Aas.
Lim Li Ching
Lim Li Ching, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute, works with the biosafety and sustainable agriculture programs at Third World Network, an international NGO based in Malaysia. Co-editor of the book Biosafety First, Ching has been actively participating at the UN Biosafety Protocol negotiations, its related experts’ meetings and other international, regional and national biosafety meetings.
Li Ching was a lead author in the East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP) sub-global report of the International Assessment on Agricultural Science, Technology and Knowledge for Development (IAASTD) (2009), and also contributed to the Agriculture chapter of the UN Environment Programme's publication, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication (2011).
Shepard Daniel is a Fellow at the Oakland Institute and has worked as the Land Policy and Governance Analyst at the Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa, a project at the Oakland Institute. She writes on topics of international food security, international trade and the environment, and global governance issues related to trade, land policy and land investment. Most recently, her research has focused on large-scale land acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa and the role of the IFC and private equity finance in promoting land deals. Her publications include (Mis)Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab and The Great Land Grab: Rush For World's Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor. Shepard is a member of the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) research network and holds a Masters in Environmental Planning and Management from the University of Chile in Santiago and is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
Elsadig is a research consultant with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (HIFIS) at UC Berkeley, where he works on issues related to the global south's social and racial justice, mainly focusing on food sovereignty and the systematic crisis of the global food system as it relates to socioeconomic and ecological impacts of large-scale land deals in the African continent, and political Islam movements in East and North Africa.
Prior to joining HIFIS, Elsadig directed the global justice program of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University, where he also served as an associate editor of the Institute’s journal Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary in Global Contexts. Before joining the Kirwan Institute, Elsadig worked with various international grassroots and advocacy organizations around issues of internal displaced persons, indigenous population, human rights, immigration, structural racism, and social justice in Sudan, Greece, Colombia, and the United States.
Elsadig received his MA in social justice & sustainable development and a graduate diploma in conflict transformation across cultures, both from the SIT Graduate Institute; prior to that he studied political science and political economy and international affairs at Ohio State University and Panteion University in Athens, Greece, respectively. Since 2010, he had lectured every fall at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University on conflict theories and communication.
Luis Flores, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, researches the implementation and effects of the Ethiopian government's development strategy, including its forced resettlement plan. Luis authored the OI report, Development Aid to Ethiopia: Overlooking Violence, Marginalization and Political Repression. His other research interests include the role of credit in post-1970s US political economy, post-colonialism, and migration.
He is also a Judith Lee Stronach Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. With his research, he seeks to construct a transnational history of the Great Recession, allowing for the connection of international development and domestic financial critiques. Specifically, his research looks at the 1990s integration of amnesty recipients into mortgage markets, drawing links between the economics that led to their displacement and the economics that integrated them into the housing bubble.
A recent UC Berkeley graduate, Luis holds degrees in Political Economy and History. Luis' senior thesis traced the development of market logic in US research universities to a series of Progressive-era and wartime projects and debates, complicating narratives that point to the start of privatization in the 1970s. His writing has been featured in the Berkeley Political Review, The Daily Californian, the Berkeley Planning Journal, and the Berkeley Undergraduate Review. Luis started at the Oakland Institute as an Intern Scholar.
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute, is the Senior Scientist and Coordinator of the Sustainable Agriculture Program at Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). She is a lead author of the UN- sponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD).
Before joining PANNA in 1996, Ishii-Eiteman worked in Asia and Africa in rural development projects for over 12 years, facilitating government-farmer-NGO collaborations on sustainable agriculture in Southeast Asia, and developing a farmer-based pest management education project in Thailand. Previously she worked on agricultural projects in Somali refugee camps and on women's health and literacy projects with Khmer refugees. Her doctoral research focused on Thai farmers' rice cultivation practices and biological control of rice insect pests. She speaks Thai and French.
Ashwin Parulkar, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, writes on hunger and the right to food in India, where he is currently a research scholar at the New Delhi based think tank, the Centre for Equity Studies. He works with fellow colleagues on projects that involve field-based research in the poorest communities in India on a range of issues pertaining to social and economic exclusion. Currently, he and a colleague are looking into the plight of migrant Muslims in a slum located in the city of Jaipur. Some of these people have had their citizenship and access to basic services, such as the public food distribution system, revoked by the state government after the May 2008 terrorist attack in that city. Other work includes investigations into government responses to reported starvation deaths in rural communities throughout hunger-prone states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh.
He is a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and has written on foreign land acquisitions in Africa for the World Policy Journal. In 2010-2011, he was the South Asia Analyst for Freedom House's Freedom in the World Report, where he wrote on the status of civil and political rights in Bhutan, India, Indian Kashmir, and Nepal. He has served as a consultant and researcher for numerous international human rights and development organizations, including the International Food Policy Research Institute, UNICEF, ActionAid India, the International Service for Human Rights, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
He completed an MA in international relations and an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University as well as a BS from Case Western Reserve University.
Lukas Ross, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, is interested in biofuels, the global palm industry, and the role of finance in large scale land investment deals. He received an MA in International Relations and Film Studies from the University of St. Andrews and an MPhil in Politics from Cambridge University. Prior to joining the Oakland Institute as an Intern Scholar, he researched worker-owned cooperatives and other alternative economic models at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
At the Institute, he is investigating the nascent demand for aviation biofuel. Building upon the Oakland Institute's previous work on land deals in Africa, he now hopes to explore how similar themes of commodification and dispossession are increasingly relevant to the politics of land in the US. Eventually he plans to begin a PhD on the function of corporate social responsibility initiatives in the oil producing regions of South Sudan.
David Solnit is a climate justice, global justice, anti-war, arts, and direct action organizer, an author, a puppeteer, and a trainer. He was a key organizer in the shutdowns of the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and in San Francisco the day after Iraq was invaded in 2003.
He is an arts organizer, puppeteer and a co-founder of Art and Revolution, using culture, art, giant puppets and theater in mass mobilizations, for popular education and as an organizing tool. He has co-created visuals for the campaigns of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, National Peoples Action and numerous mobilizations and actions. David is a direct action, strategy and cultural resistance trainer who currently works with Courage to Resist, supporting GI resistance to war and empire.
Solnit edited Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World. With Army veteran Aimee Allison he co-wrote Army of None; How to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World. He co-wrote and co-edited with Rebecca Solnit (introduction by Anuradha Mittal) The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle (AK Press 2009).
David lives in San Francisco where he works as a carpenter.
Senior Fellow Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker, investigative journalist, poet, playwright, and photographer who has covered dozens of war zones and conflicts from Bosnia and Peru to Sri Lanka, DR Congo, and Timor Leste. He is the author of Indonesia: Archipelago of Fear and Oceania, an attack against neo-colonialism in the Pacific. He has collaborated with UNESCO in Vietnam, Africa, and Oceania on various publications and he writes and photographs for publications including CounterPunch, Z Magazine, Newsweek, Asia Times, People's Daily, China Daily, Irish Times, A2 and Asia-Pacific Journal (Japan Focus).
His films include Terlena - Breaking of The Nation, a feature-length documentary film about the Indonesian massacres in 1965; One Flew Over Dadaab, a film about the biggest refugee camp in the world; and Rwandan Gambit, which exposes the Rwandan and Ugandan plunder of DR Congo on behalf of Western imperialism. He is working on several new documentaries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and he frequently speaks at major universities including Columbia, Cornell, Oxford, Cambridge, Sydney, Hong Kong, Auckland, and Melbourne. The cofounder and coeditor of Mainstay Press and Liberation Lit, he presently lives in Asia and Africa. Learn more at his website.