Pedro Fuentes Cid was born on 6 January 1939 in the city of Holguín, Cuba. His family was wealthy, owning farms and cattle, producing meat and milk. They also ran a sugar cane plantation. After Castro’s joining of forces with the communists, he became active in the resistance once again, obtaining weapons for guerrilla units. In a 1961 shootout with the government soldiers he was arrested. He was at risk of receiving death penalty but in the end got sentenced to sixty years in prison. He had spent close to sixteen years in prisons and labor camps, undergoing much suffering. He worked both in a stone quarry and at a plantation. After his conditional release, he helped political prisoners escape Cuba via Venezuela. He himself left the country in 1978. He graduated from a law school in Miami and became an attorney.
Ambassador Martin Palouš was the Czech Ambassador to the United States (2001-2005) prior to taking office as the Czech Republic’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2006-2011). He has also served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Czech Republic, and, before that, Czechoslovakia. One of the first signatories of Charter 77, he was a founding member of the Civic Forum and was elected in 1990 to the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly, where he served as a member of the foreign affairs committee. Ambassador Palouš is currently director of the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy at Florida International University and is also a member of the Prague Society for International Cooperation, a respected NGO that aims for the development of a new generation of responsible and well-informed leaders and thinkers.
Antonio Stango is an Italian political scientist, an expert of human rights at international level, a writer and editor. After leading several non-governmental organizations, he is currently the President of the Italian Federation for Human Rights. he was a member of the Board of Directors of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, in FoReF (Forum for Religious Freedom), in the international committee of "In Search of Justice", in "Non c'è pace senza giustizia" and other non-governmental organizations. He also followed for many years the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva also as representative of the Partito Radicale Nonviolento, Transnazionale e Transpartito, which has the status of consulting entity at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Caroline Vernaillen is a political scientist and expert on direct democracy and citizen participation. She is the Global Manager PR & Community building at Democracy International. In this role she seeks to link organisations and people working on democracy issues worldwide. Democracy International’s goal is to collect best practices from around the world and organise networking and learning opportunities for people working on direct democracy and citizen participation issues everywhere.
At Democracy International, among other things, she organises the yearly Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy, the largest conference devoted to direct democracy worldwide. It favours a multidisciplinary approach, welcoming participants from academic, political and civil society perspectives.m LBS and a BBA from Bocconi University.
Andrea Venzon is a community organizer and political activist. Since 2017, Andrea reached millions of people by founding Volt Europa, a pan-european political party, and then moved on to create Atlas, a grassroots global movement counting members in 130+ countries.
Andrea holds an MPA from Columbia University, a MiM from LBS and a BBA from Bocconi University.
Colombe Cahen-Salvador is a community builder & activist, currently co-directing Atlas, the global, pro-democracy political movement uniting people across the world.
She previously co-founded Volt Europa, the pan-European political progressive party. Before that, she worked at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, at the United Nations (OHCHR) and at the Norwegian Refugee Council. She holds an LLB degree from Warwick Law School and a Master of Laws from Duke Law School.