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Friday, April 8, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT
Skoll World Forum: Ecosystem Day

Designs for a New Humanity: An Artisanal Path to Economic Justice


Pause. Take a moment. Examine the clothes you are wearing, the rug under your feet, the mug in your hands… Are you aware of the centuries of culture, traditions, and designs that have gone into creating these items or how much of the money and recognition is given to women artisans whose subsistence relies on selling their creations? WFI is hosting a panel with Rebecca van Bergen of Nest, Ruth Jankee of the Rose Town Foundation, Thalia Kennedy of Turquoise Mountain, a scholarly team from Sciences Po, and fellow artisans. Moderated by Dr. Kent Davis-Packard, the panelists will discuss viable solutions to the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of women, working informally around the world, with little protection from industries that seek to exploit their talents, crafts, traditions, and cultures. Together, we will further explore how to best support women artisans in using their skills to break the barriers that prevent their equal participation in their communities and economies. 

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Ruth Jankee, Executive Director, The Rose Town Foundation

Ruth Jankee manages the activities of an inner-city foundation tasked to enhance the built environment, socio-economic status, and community health within the community. She established, staffed and managed the local office of an international NGO to implement a $5 million, 5 year USAID-funded project overseeing grants and capacity building for ten NGOs in Jamaica and four in the Bahamas. Ms. Jankee executed a training and policy development project within tourism entities in St. Ann, St. James and Westmoreland with activities including sensitization sessions with senior management and staff at over 30 properties and training of peer educators. 

Dr. Thalia Kennedy, Creative Director, Turquoise Mountain

Dr. Kennedy joined Turquoise Mountain in 2007, and was the founding director of the Turquoise Mountain Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture. She has a PhD in Islamic Art History and was a visiting scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. In 2011 she was appointed Deputy Director at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. She rejoined Turquoise Mountain in 2015 as Country Director for Saudi Arabia and became international Creative Director in 2017.  

Rebecca Van Bergen, Founder & Executive Director, Nest

Rebecca Van Bergen graduated with her Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in 2006, the same year that Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance. Following her passion to turn craft, the 2nd largest employer of women globally, into a means to correct the gender and income imbalance in our world, she founded Nest at age 24.


In 2017, Ms. Van Bergen joined the distinguished class of World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and was selected by Ashoka as an honored Ashoka Fellow. She is a Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory Fellow, Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow, Cordes Fellow, and GLG Social Impact Fellow. In 2015 and 2016, she received complimentary Clinton Global Initiative membership. Ms. Van Bergen has been spotlighted by the New York mayor’s office as an NYC Catalyst and has also been honored as a PBS Changemaker, a CNN Young Person Who Rocks, and one of the White Houses’s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Enterprises led by a young person.


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