Dr. Jessica Murfree is an Assistant Professor of Sport Administration at the University of Cincinnati. Her research as a sport ecologist examines the effects of climate change on sport. Primarily, she explores these effects through social and legal implications of extreme weather, climate risks, and environmental injustices. To date, her expertise has informed organizations the United Nations Environment Programme, Climate Week NYC, and Ocean Conservancy. Her research has contributed to sport industry conversations in Forbes and Sports Illustrated and has been featured in outlets like Scientific American and The Athletic. Dr. Murfree was recognized as a 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Sports Honoree.
Ahmed Al-Shahrani was involved in a motor vehicle accident when he was 17, which caused paraplegia. Living with a physical disability for the last 16 years has not stopped him from pursuing and living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Born and raised in USA, his formative years and western education has served to bridge the gap between the East and West.
Ahmed was Accessible Qatar’s Ambassador for mobility impairment from 2016 to 2018 and organised and curated various events for the initiative. He has taken part in numerous community road accident awareness campaigns and has spoken in schools and colleges on the importance of road safety. Ahmed’s faith and positivity are the source of his strength, empowering him to defiantly refuse to be defined by his disability. He believes himself to be ‘Disabled but Definitely Able’ – as summed up at the Definitely Able conference.
Ahmed is active and energetic, and plays a number of sports such as wheelchair basketball, tennis, fencing, swimming, skeet shooting; and in 2016 participated in his first marathon. He launched the first fencing classes for wheelchair users in Qatar under his role as an Accessible Qatar Ambassador.
Linh Do is passionate about climate justice and social inequality. She’s spent the last decade working across advocacy and engagement, media and social enterprise. Linh is currently the Director of the Wattle Fellowship at the University of Melbourne and a board member at Climate Action Network Australia.
In the lead up to the Paris negotiations, she served as the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Verb. There she worked with a global team to localise and humanise stories from the UN climate change negotiations. Linh was most recently Australia and Pacific lead for The Climate Reality Project, Al Gore’s climate change leadership program, and brought over 800 people together in Brisbane during Climate Week Queensland.
Linh has worked with a wide array of individuals from high school students to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Reuters Foundation. She is a co-founder of the technology start-up OurSay, formerly led the community organising program at the Australian Conservation Foundation and has worked with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on communicating policy.
Linh is signed with Claxton Speakers and has previously sat on both non-profit and for-profit boards. Her work has been featured in Al Jazeera, Vogue, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post amongst others. She is a member of Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
Rony Epelbaum is a young professional and former student-athlete from Mexico with a love for sport and nature. He earned a BSc in Sport Administration from the University of Miami in Florida, USA, and recently completed a semester of graduate study in Sustainable Development at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
As a young professional, Rony has collaborated with several sport stakeholders such as Olympic Games Organizing Committees (OCOGs), National Olympic Committees (NOCs), Sporting Federations (IFs), as well as professional athletes. His most recent project focused in the development and implementation of an Olympic pre-Games training camp in Tachikawa, Japan with 150 participants from 30 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the Americas, in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Through these collaborations, he developed first-hand awareness of sport’s potential to become a powerful catalyst for positive change.
In 2021, Rony founded Sport For The Wild, an initiative to design innovative and multilateral collaborations that value the influential power of sport to promote biodiversity conservation and rewilding.
Benjamin Tembo is the Character Development Coordinator at Ascent Soccer Academy in Malawi, South East of Africa. He is passionate about working with young people and building future leaders that are not only educated and ethical, but also aware of environmental sustainability. He graduated from The Masters University in California with an International Business Degree in 2019 and played four years of collegiate soccer.
Nevena works as communications and public affairs consultant at BCW in Brussels, working on sports and politics. She is part of the #BeActive team, managing the European Week of Sport’s communication campaign for the European Commission. Nevena is one of the co-founders of the Green Sports Hub Europe, pioneering sustainability efforts for European sports through the positive engagement of the multi-stakeholders.
Over the past ten years, she had an executive/advisory role within different sports bodies: ENGSO Youth, International School Sport Federation, and UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Youth and Sport Task Force, always at the forefront for giving youth a real say in sports. She has worked on the international development programmes for the Olympic Committee of Serbia and served as General Secretary for ENGSO Youth.
Nevena is connecting the dots across sectors. She is the specialist for strategic partnerships, specifically interested in climate diplomacy, digital diplomacy, and intercultural dialogue with empowered youth and girls at the heart of it. Nevena is UNAOC’s and UNMGCY’s alumni.
Nevena holds a master’s degree in international affairs and politics (University of Belgrade), Mini MBA (WPP), and is currently obtaining an executive certificate in Strategic Management of Innovations (HEC). After her sports career in athletics (running 400m) she pursued her passion for biking, beach volleyball, and water sports.