Board of Advisors

Christopher BennettHead of Communications

CHRISTOPHER BENNETT began his career as a political speechwriter for various American and Canadian politicians and before bringing his experience in strategic message development into the Corporate Communications sphere. He was the Executive Producer and Creative Director of TEDx Vancouver from 2009 until 2018.

In 2015, Adweek magazine reported that Bennett would become Sprint’s first in-house Executive Creative Director for a massive new creative initiative: YellowFan Studios. In this role, Bennett pushed Sprint forward with a new expansion strategy that included a re-imagination of their social media creative, experiential marketing and original content production ― all of it developed around more effective consumer storytelling.

In 2017, Bennett moved back to Canada and was named the new Executive Producer and Creative Head for the Vancouver Film School.

@CiBennett

Carol ShabenLiterary Consultant

CAROL SHABEN is an award-winning author and journalist. Her first book, Into the Abyss, was a national bestseller, selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and an Amazon.com Book of the Month. Carol’s most recent book, The Marriott Cell, co-written with Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, was long listed for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize, named one of The Globe & Mail’s 100 Best Books of the Year, and won the Ontario Historical Society Huguenot Award. Carol is the recipient of two National Magazine Awards, including a Gold Medal for Investigative Journalism, and was nominated for Best New Magazine Writer. She is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia Creative Writing Program in Vancouver, Canada, and a Faculty Editor at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Literary Journalism Program.

@CarolShaben

Richard MiniterInvestigative journalist specializing in National Security and Global Affairs

RICHARD MINITER is an investigative journalist and author whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, Washington TimesThe Washington Post, The Wall Street JournalThe Atlantic MonthlyNewsweekThe New RepublicNational ReviewPJ Media, and Reader’s Digest. He was the former editorial writer and columnist for The Wall Street Journal Europe, as well as a member of the investigative reporting team of the Sunday Times in London and the National Security columnist for Forbes. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books: Losing bin LadenShadow WarLeading from Behind, and has most recently written Eyes on Target: Inside Stories from the Brotherhood of the U.S. Navy SEALs. In April 2014, Miniter was included by C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb in his book Sundays at Eight as one of Lamb’s top 40 book author interviews of the past 25 years for Miniter’s investigative work on 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In 2012, Miniter founded the American Media Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides investigative news stories to leading newspapers, magazines, radio and television news outlets around the world.

@RichMiniter

Lindsey SnellInvestigative Journalist specializing in al-Qaeda and Political Islam

LINDSEY SNELL is an award-winning American investigative and video journalist specializing in conflict and humanitarian crises. She has produced documentary-style videos for MSNBC, VICE, Vocativ, ABC News, Ozy, Yahoo News and Discovery Digital Networks. Her print work was published in Foreign Policy, the Daily Beast, Al Araby and others. One of her pieces, on Aleppo schools hit by airstrikes, won an Edward R. Murrow award in 2016.

In July 2016, Lindsey was on one of her many trips to film in war-torn Syria when she was kidnapped and held hostage by Al-Nusra, the former affiliate of al-Qaeda in Syria at the time. She managed to escape across the border to Turkey with the help of a militant from another faction. As soon as she arrived in Turkey, she was arrested by Turkish soldiers, who accused her of being a CIA agent, and jailed her for two months.

@LindseySnell

Abdelsatar HetietaInvestigative Journalist specializing in Middle Eastern and North African Affairs

ABDELSATAR HETIETA is an award-winning Egyptian journalist, novelist and political analyst specializing in Middle Eastern and North African affairs. He was the bureau chief of the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. Hetieta reported from the front lines of conflict zones and in countries such as Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, the Persian Gulf, the Horn of Africa and Iran. He has authored a number of books, including Sheikh Nabil’s Resthouse, about the Arab fighters in Afghanistan and how most of them failed to integrate upon returning from the battlefield to their communities in the early ’90s. His novel The Autopsy revealed the extent of corruption in the circles of the ruling regimes of third-world countries. His novel titled A Night in the al-Malki Prison won first place in the Al Rewaya competition in Egypt in 1997. The manuscript shed light on the problems the Bedouin tribes faced on the Egyptian–Libyan borders. Hetieta himself is of Bedouin origin, having been born into the Awlad Ali tribe of Egypt and Libya.

@Hetieta

Abdullah BozkurtInvestigative Journalist specializing in Turkey, political Islam, radicalism

ABDULLAH BOZKURT is a Sweden-based investigative journalist, analyst and author specializing in intelligence, security and foreign policy. He runs the Nordic Research and Monitoring Network, which investigates terrorism, radicalism, crime and military matters. He is also the president of the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), a monitoring group that tracks human rights violations in Turkey. Bozkurt is the author of the book Turkey Interrupted: Derailing Democracy, which details the rapid slide in democracy in his native country, Turkey.

Bozkurt served in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, for years as Bureau-in-Chief for Turkey’s one-time largest English daily, Today’s Zaman, which was seized by the Turkish government. He later established the Muhabir News Agency, a news service that was also shut down by the government. He moved to Sweden in 2016 to continue his work. As correspondent for Turkish dailies, he covered the United Nations in New York City and the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Taha SiddiquiInvestigative Journalist specializing in Pakistan, South Asia and the Asian region, including China, Afghanistan and Iran

TAHA SIDDIQUI is an award-winning Pakistani journalist currently living in exile in Paris. He is the founder of safenewsrooms.org, a digital media platform documenting censorship in Asia and focusing on South Asia, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Prize for Independence by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Awards.

While in Pakistan, Siddiqui reported for multiple international news organizations such as the New York Times, the Guardian, Al Jazeera English and France24. His focus areas include terrorism, civil–military affairs and human rights. In 2014, he won the prestigious Prix Albert Londres award, also known as the French Pulitzer, for his  documentary on the spread of polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Siddiqui went into exile to France with his family in February 2018 after surviving a kidnapping and possible assassination attempt in January 2018. The attempt was carried out by armed men whom he believes belonged to the Pakistan Army, which had been threatening him for years because of his reporting, commentary and analysis on Pakistan and the region.

He currently teaches journalism at Sciences Po and continues to write for leading international publications. Siddiqui is also a social media strategist curating content for various international human rights organizations. He is currently authoring a book about his homeland, which is expected to be published in 2019.

@TahaSSiddiqui

Theo PadnosInvestigative Journalist specializing in political Islam and Syria

Dr. THEO PADNOS is an American journalist and author. He was released by the al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria in August 2014, after being held hostage for almost two years.

He received his doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He fluently speaks French, Arabic, German, and Russian.

Theo taught poetry to prisoners of a local jail in Vermont.

His first book, My Life Had Stood — A Loaded Gun, was written about his experience dealing with disaffected youth. In his second book, Undercover Muslim, he highlights the topic of Islamic extremism. He has also written articles for magazines such as the New Republic, The Huffington Post and the London Review of Books.

NetFlix runs a documentary film titled Theo Who Lived about the Middle Eastern journey that led to his 2012 kidnapping after he entered Syria to report on the civil war.

@theopadnos

Martin SchibbyeInvestigative Journalist specializing in Scandinavia and social and environmental issues

MARTIN SCHIBBYE is a Swedish journalist based in Stockholm. He has written for newspapers and magazines in Scandinavia, and is a regular guest on the Swedish public service radio. He strives to report on social and environmental issues from the perspective of those being affected — be it human trafficking in India or land-grabbing in Cambodia. He often focuses on stories marginalized by the media.

Martin was arrested in Ethiopia in 2011 while on assignment investigating human rights abuse and oil exploration — a reportage that was widely publicized after his arrest. He was unjustly imprisoned for 14 months under an anti-terrorism law.

After his release, Schibbye wrote 438 Days, a book about his battle for freedom and his experience inside the notorious Kality Prison in Addis Ababa for 438 days. The book has been adapted into a film that grasps the nuances of his fight for survival.

In 2013, he returned to work as a freelance writer and journalist. In 2015, he founded Blankspot — a crowd-funded digital platform dedicated to long-form journalism, which focuses on neglected stories from all corners of the world. Martin also founded the Kality Foundation, which works to improve the safety of freelance journalists and supports imprisoned journalists worldwide.

@martinschibbye