Kalvis Engīzers is a recent postgraduate of the University of Latvia, and now a lawyer in one of the leading law firms in the Baltic States. During his time at the university, he gained particular interest in freedom of speech of persons exercising public authority, but most prominently judges of the constitutional court who are also legal scholars. One of Engizers’ biggest influences regarding free speech was the philosopher and legal scholar Ronald Dworkin, who was a supporter of, and contributor to, Index on Censorship magazine.
Oliver is a PhD student in comparative literature at the University of Oxford. His research analyses the public reception to dissident and subversive representations of war and totalitarianism in glasnost-era Russia and post-unification Germany respectively, with a particular focus on the work of the dissident Soviet writer Vasilii Grossman and the Nobel Prize Winning West German author Heinrich Böll. Oliver is also the online editor of Free Speech Debate, a 13-language, University of Oxford-based online research project studying free speech in the age of the Internet and mass migration.
Jack is from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He runs the online youth media platform Challenges NI, where he’s a regular blogger and interviewer. Jack has also appeared on regional and national television and radio, commentating on political issues. He is currently working in television production before he starts his university degree in History and Politics later this year. He is interested in ensuring that freedom of speech is protected in the context of rising authoritarianism across the world, and that technological advances are not abused for the purposes of mass surveillance.
Marie is a freelance journalist and photographer from Norway. She is currently studying for a BA in Journalism and International Relations at Kingston University in London. Marie has worked part-time as a journalist for over 6 years, and most currently working for a photography firm. Marie was also politically active for many years in Norway, where she at one point was the leader of the local branch of her party. Marie has a passion for the Middle East and was recently in Palestine and has also conducted three volunteering trips working with refugees in Turkey.
What is the youth advisory board?
The youth board is a specially selected group of young people aged 16-25 who advise and inform Index on Censorship’s work, support our ambition to fight for free expression around the world and ensure our engagement with issues with tomorrow’s leaders. The current members are sitting from January to June 2018.
Why does Index have a youth board?
Index on Censorship is committed to fighting censorship not only now, but also in future generations, and we want to ensure that the realities and challenges experienced by young people in today’s world are properly reflected in our work.
Index is also aware that there are many who would like to commit some or all of their professional lives to fighting for human rights and the youth board is our way of supporting the broadest range of young people to develop their voice, find paths to freely expressing it and potential future employment in the human rights, media, and arts sectors.
Yasna is currently a first-year undergraduate studying Economics at Columbia University. In her senior year of high school, she was named a national Coca-Cola Scholar and recognized for her leadership as well as her social entrepreneurship in creating opportunities for various underrepresented communities. She also co-founded two student organizations; one to empower girls in tech and the other to give multiracial students a voice. Using her voice and position she is a strong advocate for intersectionality and helping marginalized communities.
Rodrigo is a 19-year-old Brazilian law student at the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). He is dedicated to fighting for freedom of speech in Brazil, especially amongst the arts community and LGBTQ+ communities. As a member of UFPR’s Law and Arts Clinic, he’s worked towards passing a bill regulating street art in his city of Curitiba, as well as organized talks with renowned artists and curators censored in the recent past. He has a background in constitutional rights and copyright issues, both oriented by freedom of speech.
Ailia Zehra is a journalist affiliated with Daily Times Pakistan, having previously worked at different media houses. Her work includes reporting on human rights, counter-extremism and freedom of speech. She also writes on the political involvement of women, misogyny in politics among other gender issues. Ailia has a keen interest in politics and international relations and is a supporter of civilian supremacy in her country. She was only 12-years-old when she had her first article published. She believes passionately in the power of the pen and aspires to make a difference through meaningful work.
Elizabeth is a 17-year-old high school student in Rochester, New York. Through her involvement with her local Model United Nations, she learned about global threats to free expression in the name of crime prevention. Today, she is interested in protecting free speech in the face of mass surveillance. As a student journalist, she is also interested in the importance of a free press to a free society. In the future, she hopes to practice law focusing on civil liberties.