The PAD Link team is a group of highly regarded and respected professionals in their specific areas of interest. The composition of the team provides us with a broad, global reach and an extensive network of experts to select from. The inherent diversity of the team’s educational and professional backgrounds is a particular strength and added value of the organization.
Larry Olomofe is the former deputy head as well as advisor for combatting racism and xenophobia/training coordinator in the OSCE ODIHR’s Tolerance and non-discrimination department. He ran the portfolio on racism and xenophobia, providing advice to various governments on issues such as racism and anti-racism, non-discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance against Christians, hate incidents and hate crimes across the OSCE region. He also designed, managed, and coordinated the ODIHR’s Training Against Hate Crimes for Law Enforcement (TAHCLE) their flagship training/capacity-building programme for law enforcement in the OSCE region. Additionally, he oversaw trainings for prosecutors, judges, and civil society organizations on responding to and prevention of hate crimes and European and domestic anti-discrimination law, as well as ODIHR and OSCE field offices’ staff, human rights commissions and ombuds institutions. During his professional career, Larry Olomofe has conducted trainings, lectures, and a variety of workshop/conference contributions in over forty (40) countries.
Prior to his OSCE work, Larry Olomofe was employed as the Human Rights Trainer/Director at the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in Budapest, Hungary, and was an associate profession offering courses on nationalism, critical race theory, social and political theories and philosophy, cultural studies and international human rights law and structures at a variety of Hungarian universities, including the university of San Francisco (Budapest Programme).
Fairuz Sewbaks holds extensive legal knowledge concerning international human rights law with a specific focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and the human rights of people of African descent. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in public international law and international human rights. Her specializations encompass colonialism and neo-colonialism, women’s rights, human rights and the environment, Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) and the decolonization of international law, as well as societal decolonization.
Besides being a human rights activist, Fairuz Sewbaks is a researcher, international human rights jurist and provides trainings/workshops on conducting human rights research in a decolonial manner. She is furthermore specialized in (neo-) colonialism, apartheid, (anti-) racism, and xenophobia, as well as the decolonization of the international human rights law system. Fairuz is also a vocal proponent of culturally sensitive approaches as a bridge between the universality and relativistic gaps in human rights law. In response to the emerging needs of people of African descent (PAD) and people of color (POC), she created and managed a successful donation campaign and drive which provided essential aid and supplies to evacuated PADs and POCs in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, The Netherlands, and Germany.
Furthermore, Fairuz is a strategic policy advisor and expert in the field of anti-discrimination legislation. She develops anti-discrimination policies while translating them into specific projects. Fairuz also provides information and advice to internal and external stakeholders by means of workshops, training, and publications, among other activities. She establishes scientific research supporting anti-discrimination policies by further defining the problem definition, research approach, and methodology through qualitative and quantitative analysis.
Kerry McLean is an international human rights lawyer and social justice activist. Over the past 17 years, Kerry has lived in Africa, Europe, and Asia, working with local and international organizations on human rights and international development. She has engaged in significant U.N. advocacy, including litigation with treaty-monitoring bodies, writing shadow reports concerning compliance with CERD, CEDAW, and CAT, Human Rights Council advocacy, coordinating civil society organizations for UPR reports, and working with U.N. Special Procedures mandate holders. Kerry has worked on litigation at the European Court of Human Rights and has done advocacy at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She has provided training and delivered lectures on international human rights in the United States and other parts of the world.
Kerry has served as an election observer in Cambodia, Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Abkhazia. She has also served as a trial observer in Turkey for trials involving persecuted lawyers and human rights defenders, and she organizes solidarity activities for Turkey with multiple organizations. She is a member of the Geneva Support Group for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Western Sahara, an international advocacy coalition that supports the fight of the Sahrawi people for independence and self-determination. Kerry was a lead organizer of and served as the spokesperson for the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence Against People of African Descent in the United States, which investigated and evaluated cases of police violence.
Kerry serves as a Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Committee and a Vice Chair of the ABA’s Africa Committee. She is a former national board member of the National Lawyers Guild and current Co-Chair of the NLG International Committee. She is the recipient of the Guild’s 2021 Debra Evenson Venceremos International Award for her work “extending justice beyond borders.” Kerry is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where she received the Jenny Runkles Award for devotion to public interest and was a two-time recipient of the Bates Fellowship for overseas work. She is admitted to practice in New York.
Marvin Hokstam is first and foremost a writer and renowned journalist with a specific focus on Europe’s Black communities and a frequent speaker on Afrocentric matters. His journalism career got its jumpstart in the English-speaking Caribbean where he worked as writer, correspondent and editor for local, regional and international newspapers and news agencies, among which The Daily Herald, the Caribbean News Agency (Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation), Associated Press and Reuters. During his time in the Caribbean, he also served as communications consultant for companies like the International Airport of St. Maarten, Shell Affiliate SOL in Barbados, Special Olympics Caribbean. His Caribbean work won him five regional journalism awards.
Since relocating to the Netherlands in 2012, he has worked as an educator and Project Manager for the Weekend College and StudyMax, educational support activities of the ROCvA in Amsterdam Southeast. In addition, Marvin is the founder AFRO Magazine that focuses solely on African descendant communities in the Netherlands. He also founded and runs The Broos Institute, aimed at introducing Afrocentric perspectives and experiences into mainstream European education.
Bellamore’s journey began during Burundi’s turmoil, where she was born during the war. At the tender age of 10, she embarked on a life-changing migration to Australia, forging her path as a young person of African descent in a foreign land. Over the years, she has embraced her unique background to become a catalyst for change and empowerment in her community.
With an impressive 13 years of experience dedicated to working with young people of African descent (PADs), Bellamore has made a resounding impact as a trailblaser. As the first black female AFL Coach in Australia, she shattered barriers and opened doors for aspiring athletes from diverse backgrounds. Her tenacity and passion for fostering inclusivity led her to serve as a Youth Ambassador and the 16 Days in WA Ambassador, actively advocating to end violence against women. Bellamore’s commitment to empowering the next generation extends beyond sports, as she took on the influential role of chairing Western Australia’s inaugural Youth Ministerial Advisory Council. Her innovative thinking and dedication to positive change earned her a reputation as a competent freelance agent, guiding young PADs talents towards influential roles and elite sporting opportunities across Australia.
Currently, Bellamore holds multiple positions of influence, representing the voices of Youth of African descent as an advisor and consultant. Her involvement in the WA Police African Leaders Advisory Group showcases her ability to bridge the gap between marginalised communities and government agencies. As a youth advocate, she collaborates closely with WA Police, Youth Justice, and WA hospitals, working tirelessly to ensure young Africans are heard, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential.
Jite is a teaching fellow in Language Education at the University of Edinburgh. Jite is a linguist, education policy analyst, and teacher educator. He has a keen interest in language education policy. He has held faculty positions at several universities in the UK and the US, including Beloit College, Wisconsin, University of Missouri, and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. He has participated in a number of EU ERASMUS+ Teaching Mobility Programmes where he presented his research and facilitated seminars/lectures in Turkey and South Africa. His research interests have explored critical multicultural literacy, teacher education policy, multicultural reform efforts in the preparation of teachers, multicultural education and citizenship, and educational leaders within the social and global context of education.
Jite’s recent research explores the broader decolonization debate around language, culture, and curriculum. His work draws on insights from critical race theory and critical discourse analysis frameworks to deconstruct racial discourse and the impact on the minoritized/marginalized groups facing discriminatory practices, including refugees and IDPs. His research has been presented at national and international conferences and published in the Journal of School Leadership; Sage Encyclopaedia for Educational Leadership and Administration; International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities, and Nations; and several technical reports. He has (co)authored chapters in several books and reports, including International Perspectives on Positive Action Measures: a Comparative Analysis in the European Union, Canada, the United States, and South Africa; Making a Difference in Teacher Education through Self-Study: Studies of Personal, Professional and Program Renewal; and No Child Left Behind and other Federal Programs for Urban School Districts.
Sanne Sprik is a human rights activist and community builder with a specific focus on PADs from the Caribbeans. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Social Work.
Sanne Sprik has experience in working with different marginalized groups, including children in foster care, children with a migration background, and those displaced. She furthermore assists PADs living in the Netherlands with practical matters. Sanne was also actively involved in providing her assistance during a donation campaign responding to the needs of PAD communities affected by the war in Ukraine.
Osarumen Izevbokun has, for over 20 years gathered professional experiences that span from administrative, public relations, media/journalism, and activism. He was the international liaison officer of an African institution domiciled in the Donbas area of Ukraine, where he initiated and oversaw an institutional relationship on an international scale. He has over the years operated as a human rights activist in the Donbas area as well – prominent of which was his mobilization of activist personalities and institutions in protest for the release of an African student that has been incarcerated and accused of attempted murder, for defending himself against 4 Ukrainian persons that had attacked him. He also acquired some experience in the media world as a journalist and a member of the editorial board of Dunamis Publications Limited, a faith-based organization, on a volunteer basis.
Osarumen was at the forefront of protecting the rights of minorities in the Donbas area of Ukraine, ensuring that the rights of, especially black Africans were protected in the face of unbelievable racism and social humiliation. And so, his voice became emboldened with his appointment as the Head of Communications of a human rights arts organization called ‘STAN’.
Osarumen, has as well escaped the war thrice – from Lugansk city to the village of Molodogvadesk, afterward escaped with the last train before the Ukrainian economic blockade of Donbas in November 2014. He finally escaped the Russian onslaught on Kyiv on February the 24th of 2022, to Germany, through Hungary. He faced racism and knows racism. While he escaped with his family, he faced the harrowing experience of being racially discriminated against by the Ukrainians and other humanly depraved persons.