Baela Raza Jamil, CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) centre for education and conscious-ness and Founder of the Children’s Literature Festival Pakistan is a public policy special-ist and an activist at heart. She leads the citizens’ accountability learning initiative, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan that has triggered many ac-tions for learning including the CLF and the Teachers Literature Festival; these are nationwide social movements. She is the Commissioner to the International Com-mission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission) chaired by Gordon Brown. Baela has worked with provincial and federal govern-ments as a technical advisor in education sector reforms, policy, public private partnerships, innovations and financing. Baela is a member/chair of several adviso-ry boards globally viz., the global Platform for Girls Education; GAML at the UNESCO Institute of Statistics(UIS); Global Business Coalition for Education(GBC Ed); and People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network). She is the managing trus-tee of the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET).
Ameena Saiyid joined OUP in 1979 in Lahore, working in sales and editorial, with responsibility for the Punjab and NWFP, and later moved to Karachi. She left OUP in 1986 to set up her own publishing house, Saiyid Books, which grew into a successful business. In 1988, she was invited by OUP to rejoin as head of OUP Pakistan becoming the first woman to head a multinational company in Pakistan. In 2005, Ameena became the first woman in Pakistan to be awarded the Order of the British Empire, awarded in recognition of her services to women’s rights, education, democracy, intellectual property rights and Anglo-Pakistan relations. In April 2010, she became the first woman elected to be president of the 150-year-old Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI).
Ameena retired as a managing director at OUP where she expanded operations from Karachi and Lahore to the rest of the country, opening offices in Islamabad, Peshawar, Multan and Faisalabad. She put in place global best practices and benchmarks to enable OUP Pakistan to operate at a high level of efficiency. Ameena guided the exponential growth of the Urdu publishing programme. In 1997, OUP Pakistan published 37 books in the Jubilee Series to celebrate 50 years of Pakistan’s independence.
Ameena’s aims are to promote education and the culture of reading and writing. Ameena has been working to promote Pakistani authors by publishing and promoting their books in Pakistan and abroad, and by ensuring that their intellectual property rights are protected.
Rumana Husain cofounded the Bookgroup in 1988, focusing on children’s Urdu language books, where she worked in a voluntary capacity for almost a decade, after which she was its Director for four years. She has written and illustrated over 60 children’s books and numerous teacher’s manuals for the Bookgroup, the Oxford University Press, the Education Research and Development Centre (ERDC) and Peak Publications (Danesh Publications). She also co-founded NuktaArt - a bi-annual art magazine, published for ten years, of which she was Senior Editor. She is the author of two major books on Karachi: ‘Karachiwala - a subcontinent within a city’ and ‘Street Smart – professionals on the street’. Rumana Husain’s book ‘Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan’ in the graphic story series (OUP) won the Jang-UBL Award and her book ‘Laal Badaam’ (Pratham Books) won the All India Publishers’ Award.
She has conducted a number of teacher-training workshops in Pakistan and has developed numerous teachers’ manuals for several publishers including the Oxford University Press. In October 2010 she was invited to attend a children’s book festival in South Korea as an illustrator for a Peace Story book, an anthology with 22 stories from around the world. She also contributes articles to daily Dawn and The News, and Libas magazine. She has taught art, environmental studies and illustrations at the Karachi Grammar School, The C.A.S School, and the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture respectively. She worked as Head Activism and Outreach at the Children’s Museum for Peace and Human Rights (2001 to 2008). She is the advisor of Children’s Literature Festival (CLF), Honorary General Secretary of the Karachi Conference Foundation, and Founding Member and Member Executive Committee of the ‘I Am Karachi’ Society, championing one of its core projects; the Walls of Peace.
Fauzia Aziz Minallah is a prominent and a well known artist, author, photographer, environmentalist activist and a political cartoonist based in Islamabad. She is also the founder of Funkor Child Art Center. She has been painting since the age of 12 when she was a student of SS Haider (an eminent artist from Peshawar). She likes to think of her art as windows to the soul that reflects inner emotions. Fauzia Minallah's passion for art and books is an outcome of her activism for heritage, conservation, environmental and social matters. Through children’s literature she raises issues of peace, tolerance and justice. Her involvement with children is through the platform of Funkor Child Art Centre, carrying out art and book reading workshops for children living in shanty towns, for special children; refugee and Internally Displaced children (IDPs) and so on. Funkor was short listed for the Bremen Peace award in Germany in 2009, as one of the nominated projects and organizations, which are exemplary in their work for peace, justice and integrity of creation for democratizing art education and making it accessible to kids from low-income families, so that they too can playfully discover their own creativity.
A graduate of the Pratt Institute, New York, she has created a number of well known cartoon characters in her books, such as Amai, The Bird of Light. Her picture book Sadako’s Prayer (winner of the Hiroshmia Citizen’s Award for Peace Education) and Amai and the Banyan Tree won the Khaliqya award at the Children’s Literature Festival in Peshawar in 2012.
Fauzia is the winner of the Junior Global Challenge in Rome 2012 and the Ron Koivc Peace Prize 2010. She is also the female editorial cartoonist of Pakistan to have won the All Pakistan Newspapers Award for Best Cartoonist.
Peter Jacob is a human rights activist, trainer, freelance journalist and researcher. He has been associated with several national and international human rights organizations in his career as NGO professional since 1988. He was involved in coordinating campaigns for abolition of column for religion in the National Identity Card (1992) and the Separate Electorate (1999-2001).
He researched and coauthored “Working Conditions of Agricultural Labour in Punjab” (2001) and “Life On The Margins”, a research study on situation of minority women in Punjab and Sindh Provinces. He published several fact-finding reports and books in Urdu including, ‘Insani Haqooq Ke Irteqa’ and ‘Insani Haqooq Ka Bainulaqwami Nizam’ (Sanjh Publications). Peter Jacob studied Political Science, Rural Development and Law in Pakistan and earned an LLM degree from University of Notre Dame (US) in International Human Rights Law (2014). He is currently working as the Executive Director of Centre for Social Justice, a Lahore based research and advocacy organization.
Mahtab Akbar Rashdi is a politician by profession. She is an advisor of CLF and board member of Hum Network Ltd., as well as Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan. She also has extensive experience as a bureaucrat where she headed several departments including education, information and culture. She has served as a member of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh from June 2013 to May 2018. In 2004, she was awarded the Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan in honor of her services.
Mahtab holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from the Government Girls College Hyderabad. Later, she received her Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Sindh. She has also had the honor of being a Fulbright Scholar, where she did her Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. She has also starred as an actress in many Pakistani dramas.