November 9, 2011

Amal Hamidallah-van Hees (A Letter to an Iranian Woman from Her Arab Friend) is the director of Bridging the Gulf Foundation for human security in the Gulf region. Van Hees has a long history of working in the field of democracy, agency and participation, peace and security, human development, economic justice, gender and human rights mainstreaming in the MENA region. She has worked as a lecturer at American Webster University, with Amnesty, International (Netherlands), UNESCO, and Mamma Cash. She has participated in different international panels and debates, written various articles, and conducted research, monitoring and evaluation in the field of NGO work, civil society strengthening, and capacity building.

Anita Hunt, (How to Organize a Community) is an enthusiastic and active supporter, advocate, and curator of human and civil rights news on FaceBook, Twitter, and various other social networking platforms. Known to her large online network of friends and fellow activists simply as “Liss” (Twitter: @lissnup), Anita has created many online advocacy campaigns and websites, a burgeoning portfolio of artwork in support of civil activism, and is the author of several related articles and guides.

Antonia Bertschinger(“One Has to Do All One Can for Human Rights”) has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Basel, Switzerland. She is a former Human Rights Advisor for the Embassy of Switzerland in Iran and currently the Head of Membership & Activism at the Swiss section of Amnesty International. Antonia published a book about Iran in which she seeks to explain Iran’s history and culture to a general public. She has written on Iran and human rights for several Swiss newspapers.

Arturo Desimone (A Rebellion in Civil Society and Facebook Interview with Tunisian Activist)is an Argentinean-Arubian writer and activist, born in Aruba, Dutch Caribbean to an immigrant-refugee family. After leaving high school at 15 to work in the black market cigar trade, he took courses in writing and mythology online with the New School of New York. Recently he moved to the Netherlands and currently lives in Amsterdam.

His poetry has been published in Brown Critique literary quarterly and he is working on projects inspired by Polish and Tunisian travels and his short period of homelessness. Previous interviewees include activists from Israeli Anarchists Against the Wall (IAAW)

Davi Barker was born in California and blogs at the San Francisco Examiner. During childhood travels he was struck by the wonders of nature — a lightning storm over a primordial desert in Arabia, the cherry blossom petals sprinkling down on the floating markets in Thailand. He spent his adolescence as an outsider. Davi has recently started to understand that alienation is not unique, but a universal similarity that crosses all cultures and religions, caused by our separation from our true self and our separation from nature.

Eric Asp (Questions for Amsterdam50) is an American videographer/writer/pastor living in Amsterdam, together with his wife and three children. He studied Communications and Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University but has found daily life and a continuous supply of Moleskine journals to be his best teacher. His casual and critical observations on life, love, and faith can be found on-line at His previous submission to the Civil Society Zine can be found here: Killing the Church with Networking.

Hooman Askary (Fighting for Women’s Rights: An Interview with Mahnaz Afkhami) (MA) is a freelance journalist/researcher and a regular contributor to Arseh Sevom. He is currently conducting research on foreign-based media broadcasting into Iran within the Media and Communication Studies programme of Örebro University in Sweden. He has previously researched Iranian cultural hybridity. During his years as a student back in Iran at the University of Tehran and later at Allameh Tabatabai University he actively participated in student protests and wrote articles under the pseudonym “Koorosh Afshar.” As a journalist, Hooman Askary has produced radio reports for RFE/RL Persian broadcast service, Radio Farda.

Jasmin Nordien (From Monitoring to Building: Questions for South African Peace-Worker Jasmin Nordien) is a mother and a peace-worker (practitioner) with sixteen years experience in both local and global civil society institutions focused on conflict transformation, peace-building, and gender; primarily in South Africa during the transition period (since 1993) and more recently in India, The Netherlands, and Sweden.

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