Teng Biao – human rights lawyer; formerly a lecturer at the China University of Politics and Law; a visiting scholar at Harvard, Yale Law School, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; and currently a visiting scholar at USALI, New York University. In 2005, Newsweek magazine named Teng one of the “Persons of the Year in Asia.” In 2014, the New York Review of Books called him “one of China’s best-known civil rights lawyers.” A leader of China’s New Citizens’ Movement and founder of the Open Constitution Initiative, Teng was banned from teaching at his own university – the University of Politics and Law in Beijing – because of his activism. Before he started his life in exile, he had served as a defense lawyer for many years on high-profile human rights cases in China. As a consequence, he was kidnapped and tortured by the Chinese authorities.

Teng’s academic research includes criminal justice, human rights, social movement and political transition in China. He co-founded two human rights NGOs in Beijing – the Open Constitution Initiative and China Against the Death Penalty, in 2003 and 2010 respectively. He is one of the earliest promoters of the Rights Defense Movement in China, and the manifesto Charter 08, for which Dr. Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Teng defended for freedom of expression, religious freedom, victims of wrongful convictions, Tibetans and Uighars. He has testified at the United States Congressional Hearings and is a frequently sought-after commentator on major international news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Guardian.

Teng has received the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic (2007), the NED Democracy Award (2008), and Prize for Outstanding Democracy Activist (Chinese Democracy Education Foundation, 2011). China’s Long Arm is his first book.

Brigid Grauman –   a Brussels-based journalist and memoirist,  Brigid was born in Geneva to an Irish mother and American father. Technically stateless, she was given Irish nationality by a special Act of parliament of the Irish Dáil. A Brussels-based journalist, she was for many years Editor-in-Chief of the English-language weekly news magazine The Bulletin. She has interviewed international filmmakers and architects for a range of media that includes The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The Times, Bloomberg, GlobalPost, ARTnews, and many others. As a painter, her work has been bought by Belgium’s Federal Ministry of Culture. Uncle Ottos Puppet Theatre is her first book, and a second she is now working on looks at the Belgian Congo through interviews and historical archives. It aims to debunk widespread misinterpretations of Belgian colonial rule. Bilingual in English and French, she plans to translate Uncle Otto into French.

Jaime Marcial – has helped software development teams around the world design and deliver enterprise and mission-critical software solutions for over 24 years. His passion for software engineering can be traced back to his childhood; he developed his first computer application at the age of 12. He started his professional career in 1994 as a Software Test Engineer, where he developed great analytical and communication skills. Jaime found software issues with ease and tactfully communicated these problems to software developers. He was promoted to a Software Engineer position after six months and embraced this opportunity to take on the most challenging projects. He learned to provide business value through technology by taking the time to understand how software applications improved the business processes of his clients.

Jaime moved on to bigger challenges at Chicago-based MarchFIRST (formerly Whitman-Hart). He worked as a Software Architect designing enterprise systems and managing teams of developers distributed around the world. As he continued to solve mission-critical problems, he discovered that there were many inefficiencies caused by the lack of a common language between management and software engineers, which resulted in to huge economic losses. Ever since, he has been dedicated to studying the human, business, and technical factors needed to improve the software development process and deliver consistent business results. In October of 2001, Jaime joined a team of equally minded software architects at Modularis where he continued to successfully help his global clients turn their software development teams into profit centers.

Jaime’s passion for understanding the dynamics of business led him to pursue a B.S. in Business Management at Lewis University. The dedication to his work and studies was recently recognized with his induction into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honors Society. He continued his formal education in business by pursuing a professional certificate in Digital Marketing from The University of Chicago.

After 20 years of consistent and continuous success delivering software systems around the world, he is now sharing the strategies and tactics, with the business community, required to build profitable software in his upcoming book. Jaime’s advice goes beyond focusing on execution of software projects, demystifying the dynamics of software development with clear and concise language, contrary to most software management books.

For further information please visit his LinkedIn profile at:

Giles Merritt –   the Founder and Chairman of Friends of Europe, the leading Brussels think tank that since 1999 has used innovative methods to bring EU-related issues to public attention around Europe.

A former Financial Times Brussels Correspondent, Giles Merritt is a journalist, author and broadcaster who has for over four decades specialized in European public policy questions. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of 30 most influential “Eurostars”, along with the European Commission’s President and NATO’s Secretary General. Merritt is also Editor-in-Chief of the policy journal Europe’s World, the only pan-European publication that offers policymakers and opinion-formers a platform for presenting ideas and forging consensus. It has a readership of 120,000 senior decision-makers and opinion-formers.

Merritt joined the Financial Times in 1968, and from 1972 until 1983 he was successively FT correspondent in Paris, Dublin/Belfast, and Brussels. From 1984 to 2010 he was a columnist for the International Herald Tribune (IHT), where his Op-Ed page articles ranged widely across EU political and economic issues. He now contributes to Project Syndicate, the global syndicator of high-level op-eds. In 1982 he published World Out of Work, an award-winning study of unemployment in industrialized countries. In 1991, his second book The Challenge of Freedom about the difficulties facing post-communist Eastern Europe was published in four languages. His most recent book is Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future (Oxford University Press May, 2016), was shortlisted for the European Book Prize. An updated paperback edition that assesses the likely effects of Brexit was published by OUP in June 2017, and a French version appeared in October 2017.

Billy Otteman – a Branding Strategist at the Sterling-Rice Group in Boulder, CO, a city that was recently ranked by National Geographic magazine as one of the happiest places to live in the United States, and author of Radiant: A Hands-On Approach to Happiness that is quite simply the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern living.

Zhao Sile is a young Chinese journalist and author who at the age of 27 won the 2018 Society of Publishers in Asia Award, the highest honor for news reports covering the region, as well as five Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards. Published in Chinese in Taiwan, Her Battles, has been a best-seller in major bookselling outlets in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and has won great acclaim in the greater China region. Zhao Sile’s articles have been published in English translation on the websites of Foreign Policy, the Committee to Protect Journalists, China Change, China Digital Times and other outlets covering China. Her book and her journalistic work have gained the interest of Western scholars and journalists focusing on China. Zhao Sile has been admitted to the graduate school of Georgetown University, where she is now studying for her Master’s degree. She is proficient in English and comfortable dealing with the news media, and will be available for publicity work in the U.S. over the next two years.

Loto Vázquez  –  based in Tarragona, Spain,  Loto Vázquez is a young man with a passion like no other: to be happier every day and to do anything required so that all of humanity becomes happier too. He is the founder and CEO of The Happiness Social Network ( and the author of the book Happiness is Easy! (LA FELICIDAD ES FÁCIL) the original Spanish language edition of which is already in its 3rd edition since it was published on December 16, 2016. Loto is also the creator of the renowned program on self-transformation “Unstoppable Like a River.” He is in the midst of writing a second book, Play for Happiness: 52 Exercises to Expand and Discover Your Consciousness, Your Potential, Your Freedom, Your Peace, Your Results, and Your Happiness that will be published in Spain in November, 2018. Find out more about him and his work at