"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage." - Thucydides

Rachel Whetstone

Vice President, Public Policy and Communications

Rachel Whetstone joined Google in 2005, after 15 years advising senior politicians and companies on their strategic communications. She leads the company's global teams for public policy and communications.

Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in history from Bristol University.

Sami Ben Gharbia

Advocacy Director, Global Voices

Sami Ben Gharbia is an experienced human rights campaigner, a Tunisian who has lived in exile in the Netherlands for the past eleven years. He first joined the Global Voices community as a result of the comments thread when we featured his Tunisia Prison Map back in September 2006.

As Director of Advocacy Mr. Gharbia has established Global Voices as a hub for communication between different anti-censorship and free speech initiatives around the world.

Harald Staun

Media Editor, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonttagszeitung

Harald Staun is media editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, the sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He completed his M.A. degree in political science, comparative literature, and American Cultural History, at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. Before joining the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in 2001, he has been working as author for various newspapers and magazines, covering cultural, political and technological subjects. Since 2006 he is in charge of the media section of the paper.

Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary-General of the Council of Europe

Mr. Jagland was born on 5 November 1950 in Drammen, Norway. He was the President of the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) from 2005 to 2009. He was recently elected Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize every year. He has held two of the most influential governmental positions in Norway: Prime Minister (1996-97) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (2000-2001).

After serving as Foreign Minister, Mr. Jagland was Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and the enlarged Foreign Affairs Committee in the Storting for four years (2001-2005).

He also served as Chairman of the EEA Consultative Committee during this period (2000-2005). In addition, he has held a number of other parliamentary positions, such as head of the Storting’s Delegation for Relations with the European Parliament for six years.

He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Oslo centre for Peace and Human Rights, and Member of the International Board of Governors at the Peres Center for Peace.

Mr. Jagland served as Vice-President of the Socialist International 1999-2008, and Chair of the Social International Middle East Committee from 2000 to 2006. He was a member of the Sharm El-Sheikh Fact-finding Commission (The Mitchell Commission) from 2000 to 2001.

Jean-François Julliard

Secretary General, Reporters Without Frontiers

Born in Bordeaux Jean-François has followed cinema and audiovisual studies. He holds a Master’s degree in information and communication of the Institut de Presse – Université de Paris 2 – Panthéon and a DESS (postgraduate) degree in journalism techniques.

Jean-François Julliard joined the Asia research division of RSF in 1998. He has directed successively the Maghreb/Middle East and the Africa divisions. In 2004, he was appointed research coordinator and in 2008 he was named deputy General Secretary. He has played a very active role in the campaign for the boycott of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, notably in the action led by RSF at the Olympia torch-lighting ceremony.

Annette Kroeber-Riel

Senior European Policy Counsel Germany, Austria & Switzerland, Google

Annette Kroeber Riel joined the Google Germany GmbH in 2007 as European Policy Counsel. In this role, she represents Google’s political interests in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Prior to joining Google she worked for VeriSign as well as for its former subsidiary Jamba! in Berlin leading their governmental relations throughout Europe. Earlier, Annette was an attorney specialized in telecommunication and media in a Frankfurt-based US law firm .

Annette Kroeber Riel holds a law degree from the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, a "Licence en Droit" from the University Paris X/ Nanterre and spent time in Kuala Lumpur completing her legal clerkship.

Dean Wright

Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards, Thomson Reuters

Dean Wright is Reuters’ Global Editor for Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. In this position, he leads the process of reviewing, establishing and encouraging adherence to standards wherever journalism is produced across Thomson Reuters. Reporting to Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger, he also works with editors throughout Thomson Reuters to lead innovation and changes in approaches to journalism, with a particular focus on multimedia storytelling. He works closely with Schlesinger in enhancing and maintaining Reuters Editorial’s relationship with the Reuters Board of Trustees and upholding and promoting the Reuters Trust Principles.

He writes a column for Reuters.com on ethics and standards and has contributed videos on those subjects to You Tube's Reporters Center.

Wright, a U.S. citizen, joined Reuters in 2005 as Editor, Media, and Senior Vice President for Consumer Services. In that role, he led Reuters consumer editorial efforts, including websites in the U.S., the U.K., Japan, China and India, and was also responsible for Reuters’ sports and lifestyle coverage. During his tenure, the audience for Reuters news websites nearly doubled.

A news veteran with more than 35 years’ journalism experience, he came to Reuters from MSNBC.com, where he served as Editor-in Chief. During his t ime at MSNBC.com, the website won numerous awards, including recognition from the National Press Club as the Best Journalism Site in the U.S. for two consecutive years. A pioneer in Web journalism, Wright joined MSNBC, a joint venture between Microsoft Corp. and NBC News, in 1996 as one of its original senior producers.

Before joining MSNBC, Wright’s journalism career included service at major newspapers in the United States and Canada and with The Associated Press. As a reporter and editor, he has covered subjects as diverse as journalism standards and ethics, U.S. and Canadian politics, Olmec art and pop music. He lives in New York.

Andrew Puddephatt

Director, Global Partners & Associates

Andrew has worked to promote human rights for twenty years and has specific expertise in programme development and evaluation with a focus upon transparency, the role of media in society, and implementing human rights.

Andrew has led human rights organisations in the not-for-profit sector for more than fifteen years. He was Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, a pioneering organisation working on freedom of expression from 1999 to 2004; Director of Charter88, the UK's leading constitutional reform organization, between 1995 and 1999; and General Secretary of Liberty, the principal domestic human rights organisation in the UK, between 1989 and 1995. Andrew has played a leading role in securing a Bill of Rights for the UK and in January 2003 was awarded an OBE for services to human rights.

He is an expert representative of the Council of Europe, the EU and the Commonwealth Expert working groups on freedom of information and freedom of expression. Andrew holds several Board positions in the non-profit and public sector: he is Vice-Chair of Danish-based International Media Support, a Danish based NGO that provides emergency support to journalists in conflict areas; a trustee of the Sigrid Rausing Trust; chair of UK organization Coordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse; chair of the Audit Committee for the UK's Parliamentary Ombudsman; and he is on the board of the European Council for Foreign Relations.

Prof. Rita Süssmuth

Former President of the German Federal Parliament and former Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Women, Youth and Health

In 2006 Prof. Süssmuth became the Chair of the EU High Level Group on 'Social Integration of Ethnic Minorities and their full Participation in the Labor Market'. She also joined the OECD Development Center Project 'Gaining from Migration' Advisory Board in Jan 2006. She was member of the Global Commission on International Migration, which presented a report to Kofi Annan in October 2005 called 'Migration in and interconnected World: New Directions for Action'. She is the President of the OTA-University in Berlin.

Prof. Süssmuth was Chair of the Independent Council of Experts on Migration and Integration, appointed by the German Government from May 2003 until December 2004. She is also a member of the Steering Committee, "Intercultural Conflict and Societal Integration" at the Social Science Research Center Berlin and holds a series of other assignments and memberships with national and international bodies. From 2000 to 2001, Prof. Süssmuth presided over the ‚Independent Commission on Migration to Germany' which resulted in the July 2001 report on ‚Steering Migration and Fostering Integration'.

Prof. Süssmuth has a long distinguished political and academic career. She held several senior positions including Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Member of the German Federal Parliament. She has also been Director of the Research Institute "Woman and Society" and Professor of International Comparative Educational Science at the Universities of Bochum and Dortmund.