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Inspirational speakers

These speakers have been especially selected for either their ability to inspire or their inspiring accomplishments.
They all have the same values which emphasise and should inspire you to reach the unreached and touch the untouched.

Further speakers to be confirmed.

Dr. Alison McIntosh

Dr Alison McIntosh is Professor of Hospitality and Tourism at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. She also holds a Visiting Professor position at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. She is known internationally as a leading scholar in critical tourism and hospitality studies. Her successful academic career has spanned over 20 years and her long term research has focused on the social, cultural and economic (triple bottom line) impacts of tourism. Issues of social justice, disability, inclusion, advocacy, community engagement and volunteering are especially important to her work.

In 2011, she was Founding Co-Editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Hospitality & Society, a journal aimed at supporting critical and multidisciplinary perspectives of hospitality. She maintains a strong community and industry engagement, especially with the not-for-profit sector, and, in 2014, was Founding Co-Convenor of the University of Waikato’s Network for Community Hospitality which bridges academia with not-for-profits to tackle social issues facing our societies. Her current work focuses on notions of hospitality as advocacy and welcome to improve the lives of our most vulnerable populations.

Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes

Elizabeth moved to Rwanda a few days after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2006. After volunteering with grassroots projects, she co-founded the nonprofit Amani Africa to provide scholarships to street children, support an orphanage in Kigali, and organize reconciliation and conflict resolution conferences for genocide survivors.

In 2008, Elizabeth and her husband Dave Hughes co-founded the Akilah Institute for Women after witnessing the lack of opportunities for young women in higher education, and the disconnect between the education system and employment needs of the private sector.  In 2016, Elizabeth launched a technology platform, MindSky, to help professionals find their dream careers and employers in East Africa hire the talent needed to grow their businesses.

Carmen Nibigira

Carmen is a PhD Candidate at Clemson University, USA in Parks and Tourism Management. Moreover, she works as Regional Coordinator at East Africa Tourism Platform and as a member of the Board of Directors of Akilah Institute for Women. Her area of research is focused on public policy and political economy of tourism in East Africa as well as on the socio-political fabric of emerging tourism destinations.

Carmen played a leading role in developing and revamping Burundi’s tourism industry working as Director General of the Republic of Burundi National Tourism. Furthermore, Carmen’s work is to enhance East Africa’s tourism competitiveness through effective dialogue for policy reforms and regulation, improved tourism services export capabilities and strengthening tourism private sector’s capacity and sustainability, where she is closely working with governments, NGOs and private stakeholders in shaping the future of the tourism sector through sound policies in the East African Community.