Prahlad Kakkar is a leading Indian ad film director. He is the founder and main director for Genesis Film Productions, one of India's leading production houses, established in 1977. He is renowned for his candid and outspoken nature. An avid scuba diver, in 1995 he set up 'Lacadives', a scuba-diving school, along with his wife Mitali Kakar at Kadmat Island, in collaboration with the Govt. of Lakshadweep. He is passionate about preserving marine life and has documented the wonderful life on sea.
Debal Sen is a well known Cardiologist in Kolkatta. The other passion that he has is photography and too in travelling the swath of mountains and river tributaries across Northern and Eastern India. He says “I have been a photographer longer than I have been a doctor'.
Mr. Himanshu THakkar is working as coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) which is an informal network of organizations and individuals working on issues related with water sector with special focus on issues associated with large dams, mostly in India, but including South Asia regional issues. SANDRP’s broad objective is to work on these issues so that democracy, people and environmenta get due place. Being a coordinator Mr. Thakkar believes that transboundary water issues in South Asia and Central Asia can have lessons for each other, since climate change will affect them all. There are countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan which are common to two regions whose issues should be studied and approached carefully.
Bittu Sahgal, the Editor of Sanctuary Asia and the Founder of the one million strong Kids for Tigers program, is one of India’s strongest and most eloquent voices for nature preservation, climate change mitigation and wildlife conservation. Born in 1947, he has made it his life’s mission to direct world leaders away from short-term development objectives that could compromise the ability of the nation to sustain its population of 1.3 billion people in the decades ahead. He believes that India’s ecological foundation is the bedrock on which the nation's economic foundation sits. He also believes that climate change poses the greatest ever threat to the stability of the Indian nation.
Innovations on the Ground: Networking the benefits from People to People (Sustainability and Innovation) Anil K. Gupta is a professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and Co-ordinator, SRISTI and Honey Bee Network, and , Executive Vice Chair, National Innovation Foundation . He established Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) and Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN), two NGOs, respectively to support the Honey Bee Network and to scale up and convert grassroots innovations into viable products. Has also helped set up the NIF (National Innovation Foundation) by Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, to help India become an inventive and creative society and a global leader in sustainable technologies. His Mission is to demonstrate the potential of knowledge rich economically poor people in taking developing societies out of the morass of mediocrity and lead these on to a path of sustainable progress.
Popularly known as the Clothing Man, Anshu left a corporate job in 1998 and founded GOONJ with a mission to make clothing a matter of concern and to bring it among the list of subjects for the development sector. Anshu’s work with GOONJ goes to a core challenge of our times; the growing gap between the urban prosperity & rural poverty. His work has a game changing element in many ways; he has taken the menacing growth of urban waste and used it effectively and efficiently as a tool to trigger large scale development work on diverse issues; roads, water, environment, education, health etc. in some of the most backward and remote pockets of India. With Goonj, Anshu has made the mostly passive urban and rural masses, prime stakeholders and actors in addressing their own needs, solving their own problems. He has woven together a beautiful pipeline system for the channeling of resources to create empowerment and development rural India. He won the 2015 Ramon Magsaysay Award for "his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India, his enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor, and in reminding the world that true giving always respects and preserves human dignity"
Arturo Vittori, the Italian architect is co-founder of the research and design studio Architecture and Vision (AV). After graduating from the University of Florence, he collaborated with Santiago Calatrava, Jean Nouvel and Francis Design on a variety of architectural projects and with Future Systems and Anish Kapoor on the subway station in Naples. Vittori worked on aircraft, yacht and ship design in Toulouse and London, including designs for the interior of the first Airbus A380. AV’s projects have been exhibited internationally as in Centre Pompidou, Paris and are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. Vittori teaches Industrial Design and Architecture at universities in Italy, Switzerland and the United States.
Akshay is an industrial designer and design researcher, and has worked in the areas of renewable energy, sanitation and hygiene amongst others. One of his most challenging and rewarding projects was working as a project manager for the multi-stakeholder Bill & Melinda Gates Project — Project Sammaan — on sanitation, during his time at Quicksand Design Studio.
He resides and works in Auroville and has been an Indian resident since 38 years. He coordinates projects related to appropriate building technologies, renewable energy, water and sanitation. Conducting workshops and training courses for professionals and voluntary organizations to promote integral choices for a sustainable future. And, since 1995 he is part of Auroville Centre for Scientific Research team which is developing and implementing natural waste water treatment systems.
A practitioner-scholar, design researcher, strategist, educator and author, Mariana Amatullo is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Designmatters, the award-winning social impact department of ArtCenter College of Design, in Pasadena, California. Since establishing Designmatters as a new College-wide program in 2001, and later expanding it into an educational Department with Graduate offerings (through the Media Design Practices Field MFA) and an Undergraduate course of study (the Designmatters Concentration), Amatullo has helped conceptualize and manage a portfolio of global and national educational design projects, research collaborations and publications at the intersection of art, design and social innovation. Her international work leading experiential design projects and initiatives in design for social innovation have included partnerships with institutions and organizations in India, China, Uganda and several countries of Latin America (Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia) and Europe (France, Spain and Great Britain).
Nina Sabnani is an artist and storyteller who uses film, illustration and writing to tell her stories. She graduated in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara and received a master's degree in film from Syracuse University, NY, which she pursued as a Fulbright Fellow in 1997. Her doctoral research at the IDC focused on Rajasthan's Kaavad storytelling tradition. After teaching for two decades at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Nina has made Mumbai her home. She is Associate Professor at the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay. Nina's research interests include exploring the dynamics between words and images in storytelling. Her work in film and illustrated books, seeks to bring together animation and ethnography.
Michelle Laporte has been an instructor for 18 years at Parsons School of Design, New School University in New York City. She has been teaching Sustainable Systems since the course was introduced in 2013, with a special emphasis the roles of art and science in the design process. Her other professional interests include Illustration, graphic design. Asian art, painting conservation, writing, and gallery management. A list of clients includes: Bloomingdale's, MacMillan-McGraw-Hill, Paragon Sports, Ralph Lauren, Sotheby's, The Nation, The New York Times, Scholastic, Inc., Shambhala Sun, Warner Brothers, The Rubin Museum of Art, Tibet House, and Arnold Lieberman Gallery. She also teaches Buddhist philosophy and meditation in New York, and is interested in exploring how contemplative methods can help us cope in our rapidly changing environment.
Xiao Yong is a professor of visual communication design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts CAFA in Beijing.He is also a visiting professor at University of Arts London and was theChief designer for the medal of Beijing 2008 Olympics. He is a Past Board member of CUMULUS and vice-president of ICOGRADA 2009-2011.
Janak Daftari, convenor of Maharashta Jal Biradri and Mithi Nadi Sansad is known as Water Activist, Conservationist, Ecologist, Environmentalist, etc. However Janak says, “I am not an environmentalist. I am an environment worker. I would like to make that distinction.” He is a key activist in Jalsangrah.
Deshna Mehta is the co-founder of a Mumbai based design and publishing studio named Anugraha. After completing a Masters in Graphic Design and Visual Communication at the London College of Communication and The Royal College of Art respectively, Deshna moved to India 3 years ago and co-founded Anugraha, a studio that focuses all its energy in working for initiatives that mainly fall in the cultural, social, educational, environmental and medical zones. Alongside her studio practice, she has been involved in other socially driven self-initiated projects and has co-curated festivals, the most recent being 'The Story of Light' festival earlier this year in Goa. 'Being in it and Being of it', 8 volumes on the Kumbh Mela is Anugraha's first self-published project borne out of 6 weeks of field work at the Kumbh Mela of Allahabad 2013 for which the studio collaborated with a team of over 30 individuals contributing in different capacities. The team at Anugraha was then given the opportunity to spend about a month at the Kumbh Mela in Nashik in August - September 2015. Drawing from the learnings of the documentation of the Allahabad Kumbh, the studio is currently engaged in putting together a two-volume publication and a documentary on the Nashik Kumbh which will be released in March 2016.