Advisory Council


The Members of the GELF Advisory Council contribute with their reflections and advice based on the rich expertise and the wisdom they have acquired from inside and outside the educational field.


Cybele Amado de Oliveira

Brazil, Chapada for Education and Research (ICEP)

Chapada Project, founded in 1999 by Cybele in the region of Bahia, works towards establishing mechanisms for accountability so that parents, teachers, administrators and elected officials take ownership of their part.

Cybele is a former teacher and was honoured with several awards, a.o. Social Entrepeneur of the Year 2013 by the Schwab Foundation and the Ashoka-McKinsey Award in 2009.


Martin Burt

Paraguay, TeachAManToFish, Global Shaper, Board member Schwab Foundation. Martin is a former mayor of Asuncion & chief of staff cabinet of Paraguay;

Martin has founded Fundacion Paraguaya in 1985 spearheaded to daring programs for microfinance and entrepeneurship. It has now 300 staff and 28 offices across Paraguay.

Martin was awarded in 2005 by Skoll and is a Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum.



Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Hungary, flow theory, Quality of Life Research Center

Mihaly is seen by many as the worlds leading researcher on positive psychology and is known for his research in happiness, motivation, creativity and especially flow.



Zanele Mbekizanele-mbeki-sm

South Africa, Womans Development Bank (WDB), former first lady

The WDB was founded by Zanele Mbeki and others in 1992, of which she is now the chairperson. She is a qualified social worker, lectured in various arena, studied in 3 continents, worked for the UNHCR and is a former board member of the Schwab Foundation. She supports and is involved with various ngo’s like LocalVoice4Development and Kagiso Trust.



ben-okriBen Okri

Nigeria, writer, novelist, essayist

He is considered by the Guardian among others as one of the foremost African authors in the post-modern and post colonial traditions.

Ben started writing when he was 14, won the Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel The Famished Road in 1991 and is honorary Vice-President of the English Centre for the International PEN.


Mona Polaccamona-polacca

USA, Hopi Grandmother, Grandmother Council

Mona has worked to further social justice for indegenous people from an early age. She is an author in field of social sciences and served on several committees for Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations.

She is widely known for her leadership in the Native American revitalisation movement.




Jan Pronk

Netherlands, columnist & lecturer, former Minister & UN special representative

Jan is professor at the Hague Studies of Social Sciences and a visiting professor at the UN University for Peace in Ciudad, Costa Rica since 2009. He is perceived by people from left to wright as an integer committed politican and professor, and was called the Minister for the national conscience. He has been four times Minister in the Netherlands, and has held since 1977 various positions within the UN, from the UNCTAD to the UN Mission in Sudan.



Vandana Shivavandana-shivajpg

India, scholar, environmental activist, globalization author

Vandana is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization. She is a known figure of the global solidarity movement and for her appeal to value the wisdom of many traditional practices.

She received the Right Livelihood Award in 1993 and numerous other prizes.

And more to come