Dr. Natalia Kanem is an international advocate for women’s and children’s health and education, with long experience in philanthropy. Her work re-examines the relationship of culture and tradition to the transformation of public health conditions for under-served people around the globe.
From 2005-2011, Dr Kanem served as founding President of ELMA Philanthropies, a major services organization promoting health and education for African children and youth. Earlier she co-founded the Harlem Center for Health Promotion, while involved with the first successful trials for HIV/AIDS pediatric drug treatment. A former Deputy Vice President of the Ford Foundation for global programs to bolster peace and social justice, she also led the US Council on Foundation’s accountability task force. She is a director of King Baudouin Foundation US, TrustAfrica and Nike RED’s sports programs in Africa.
Dr Kanem has been honored by the American Medical Association, the University of Washington, the University of Benin, African and Latin American community groups, and the African Women’s Development Fund. A magna cum laude history and science graduate of Harvard College, she holds a Columbia University medical degree, tropical medicine certification from the Walter Reed Institute, and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington.
Ceronne Prevatt, M.A., Adv.Dip. Special Education, Dip. Education, has had a passion for training from the first group of dolls she ‘taught’ at the age of four. Since then, she has served as Curriculum Coordinator and Life Skills Technical Adviser in the Trinidad and Tobago Ministries of Education and Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, respectively.
She is a Consultant in life skills ‘train-the-trainer’ programmes and conducts pre-service and in-service training for life skills facilitators. She also facilitates international life skills training workshops for government, private organizations, and community and non-profit groups.
Her articles and publications include: Life Skills Development Tutor Guidelines, English for the Caribbean (Heinemann), Kaleidoscope Reading Series for Children (Ginn); and career enhancement tutor manuals.
Sheila Graham brings to the Area Youth Foundation a variety of life experiences that all seem to have been preparing her for the demands of her work with the young people with whom she interacts in the project.
Her studies in Literature at UWI (B.A.) and Drama at Catholic University of America (M.A.) have provided the underpinnings for her artistic direction of the programme. She directed the theatrical production company, TCL, (The Company Limited), for seven years during which time noted Caribbean theatre practitioners Earl Warner and Alwin Bully were active participants. It was this association that led her to produce, in 1997, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka’s “The Beatification of Area Boy” which serendipitously led to the formation of the Area Boy Project, now the Area Youth Foundation. Throughout her life she has had a fascination with the possibilities of art as an agent of social change and has been involved, both as observer and participant, in community drama projects in countries such as Cuba, Colombia, Brasil, and especially in Jamaica.
In ten years as a professional with the Organization of American States, she provided technical assistance to both governmental and non-governmental organizations throughout the Caribbean and countries in Latin America, in the design and implementation of development projects in the areas of education and the arts.
James Bell is General Manager of the Area Youth Foundation. In 1999 he became the first recipient in Jamaica of a business start-up under the Prince of Wales Youth Business Trust and established Grafico Unlimited, a graphic design and print company of which he is Managing Director.
James is a founding member of AYF. Since coming in as a teenager, he has been associated continuously with the Foundation, acquiring skills and assuming growing responsibilities along the way. His functions now encompass being Company Secretary, Financial Officer, Coordinator of Projects and Stage Manager.
James is also a pastor and founder of the H.O.L.Y. Network, a faith-based community organization which provides remedial literacy and life-skills training to young school drop-outs.
Walter Russell is a musician (keyboards), producer, artist manager and promoter. His is road manager and engineer for rising star Romain Virgo, collaborates in productions with Penthouse Records and has his own label, Future World Productions. (See fwfp.blogspot.com).
Walter holds the Diploma in Music – Jazz and Popular Music Studies, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Jamaica. He works as Music Animator in Area Youth Foundation’s programmes in which he leads workshops in song creation and recording.
He’s a big Soca fan and has originated a fusion he calls Yardie Soca. Walter is interested in networking with young artists and promoting quality music Caribbean-wide.
Adwoa Agyeman is Grants Administrator at TrustAfrica, a foundation that supports African democracy, enterprise and knowledge-building. Adwoa previously spent three years at the Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids in Washington, D.C., on the launch of an initiative to prevent and reduce smoking in low-and middle-income countries. She assisted with the design and implementation of the campaign’s grant-making process as its portfolio grew to more than 100 grants totaling over US$21 million.
Earlier she worked at the Moriah Fund as senior program associate for their Women’s Rights & Reproductive Health and the Economic Justice programs, which granted an average of US$3.5 million annually. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Smith College in the USA, where she majored in government and minored in African studies. She is a Ghanaian raised in Papua New Guinea and now residing in Senegal.
Adwoa speaks English and Twi and is working on her French.