It is my distinct pleasure to present to you Indego Africa’s inaugural Board of Advisers. As you can see from the biographies below, this talented group, which also includes Ambassador Michael Arietti, Cameron Cowan, Zachary Kaufman, Jackson M’vunganyi, Elchi Nowrojee, Tamsin Smith, and Samantha Taylor, hails from diverse professional, experiential, and cultural backgrounds.
What this Board of Advisers shares is a longstanding belief in the mission of Indego Africa and the principles upon which it is built. As importantly, this Board of Advisers maintains a firmly-held commitment to supporting Indego Africa’s artisan partners and a resolve to marshal our wealth of experience and expertise to serve Indego Africa as it deepens its impact in Rwanda and beyond.
I know that I can speak for this entire group when I say that we have long awaited this opportunity to formalize our respective roles in driving Indego Africa forward. We are honored to serve as advisers to this dynamic young organization and truly look forward to the bright future that lies ahead for us all.
-Steve Foresta, Chair of the Board of Advisers
Please read on, or click HERE, for full biographies of each member
Steve Foresta is a partner at the international law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in New York and is the firm-wide leader of the Litigation Practice Group. He has extensive experience handling all phases of complex litigation and has tried numerous cases in state and federal court and before arbitral panels in the U.S. and abroad. Steve is also an active participant in Orrick’s pro bono and associate training programs, and in recognition of his unwavering commitment to professional development, he received Orrick’s Excellence in Mentoring Award for 2010.
Steve also devotes a substantial amount of time working with community service organizations. During the summer of 2009, Steve traveled to Rwanda with his son Michael to work with Indego Africa’s staff, artisan partners, and Generation Rwanda interns, and he’s been a devoted Indego Africa supporter ever since. Steve also serves as Chair of the New York Board of Advisors of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit legal center whose mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. Steve graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1987 and received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar.
Ambassador Michael R. Arietti
Michael Arietti, now retired, is a United States diplomat and a career foreign service officer with the Department of State. He served as the United States Ambassador to Rwanda from 2005 to 2008.
Ambassador Arietti joined the Department of State in 1973 and is a member of the Senior Foreign Service. Before his tenure in Rwanda, he held the position of Director of the Office of West African Affairs. During this period he was directly involved in efforts to bring about peace in Liberia, as well as coordination of American cooperation with ECOWAS headquarters on regional issues.
Ambassador Arietti has previously served as Deputy Permanent Representative at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Geneva and as Deputy Chief of Mission in Lusaka, Zambia. He has also served at U.S. Embassies in Sweden, Australia, and Iran. Within the Department of State, Ambassador Arietti has served as Director of the Office of UN Peacekeeping Operations, as Director of the Human Rights Office and in other positions responsible for arms control negotiations, and Middle Eastern issues. He has also worked on environmental issues, including the protection and sustainable use of African timber resources. Prior to joining the Department of State, Ambassador Arietti served as a Peace Corps volunteer in India.
Cameron (Cam) Cowan
Cam Cowan is a partner in the Capital Transactions and Real Estate Practice Group for the international law firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C. He serves as counsel to financial institutions, corporations and government agencies in complex financings in the United States, Europe and Asia and as an advisor on financial markets regulation. Cam also advises nonprofit organizations focused on microfinance and impact investment in developing countries.
Cam has been recognized as one of the top structured finance lawyers in the world by The Best of the Best Experts Guide. Cam also has been selected as one of the top structured finance lawyers in the United States by Chambers Global, listed in Band 1 for Capital Markets: Securitization, and as the top ranked lawyer in the world based on personal nominations by Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World's Leading Structured Finance and Securitization Lawyers. Cam is listed in Who’s Who Legal – Capital Markets, in The International Who’s Who of Capital Markets Lawyers, in Lawdragon 500 and in The Best Lawyers in America. Cam was named Best Lawyers 2011 Lawyer of the Year for Washington, D.C., structured finance.
Cam previously was a partner in the global finance group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he served as a member of the Executive Committee and in various leadership roles in the firm, including Senior Partner for Transactional Practices and Senior Partner for Asia, and where he oversaw the opening of its Washington, D.C., and three China offices. Cam is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Virginia Law School Foundation. He received a B.S. from Syracuse University, magna cum laude, in 1975, an M.B.A. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1975, and a J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law in 1981.
Zachary (Zach) Kaufman
Zachary Daniel Kaufman (www.zacharykaufman.com) is an attorney, professor, writer, speaker, and social entrepreneur. A graduate of Yale University (where he was the student body president and co-captain of the wrestling team), Oxford University (where he was a Marshall Scholar), and Yale Law School (where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review and co-founder and co-president of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs), Zach focuses his research, writing, and teaching on International Law, particularly International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice. His first book, After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond (www.aftergenocide.com), which he co-edited with Dr. Phil Clark, was co-published by Columbia University Press and C. Hurst & Co. in 2009. Zach is also the editor of the forthcoming book Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World, which will include a chapter about Indego Africa.
Zach is currently an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and will soon re-join the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. Zach’s professional experience has focused on the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of atrocities, including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and terrorism. He has worked at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; the United States Departments of Justice and State; the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and for the Former Yugoslavia; the International Criminal Court; Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law; O’Melveny & Myers; and Google’s Global Public Policy and Government Affairs department.
Zach is the founder, president, and chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Kigali Public Library and an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga, Rwanda. Together, these non-profit organizations are fundraising and collecting books for, raising public awareness about, and building Rwanda’s first-ever public library. Zach also serves as a consultant to other non-profit organizations and social enterprises.
Jackson Muneza M'vunganyi
Jackson Muneza M'vunganyi is the host of Upfront—Voice of America Radio, a fresh, fast-paced show aired in both the U.S. and in Africa that talks to and with teens and young adults about trends, lifestyles, health, entertainment, and other issues touching the lives of listeners. Jackson’s broadcasting career has been multi-faceted so far, working in both radio and television, in Africa and the United States.
Beyond his broadcasting merits, Jackson also volunteers his time with African communities in the Diaspora on issues affecting the continent. A native of Rwanda, Jackson holds a B.A. in Multimedia Development from American University in Washington, D.C. and an M.A. in Information Management from the University of Maryland.
Eruch (Elchi) Nowrojee
Elchi Nowrojee, Director and Counsel, is Co-Head of Legal - Americas for the Asset Management division of Credit Suisse. Elchi provides legal coverage principally for the Alternative Investments businesses of Credit Suisse in the Americas. He is based in New York. Prior to joining Credit Suisse in November 2006, Elchi specialized in complex financial transactions, including private investment fund formation, strategic partnerships and private acquisitions at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. While there, Elchi represented a number of clients investing in African companies, forming African investment funds and working with other Africa-related businesses. He assisted in legislative monitoring for African multilateral clients and participated actively in African business development.
Elchi currently sits on the Sub-Committee on Africa of the Advisory Committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. He is also the immediate past Chair of the Committee on African Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Elchi has worked and lived in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Elchi holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a M.Phil. in International Relations from St Antony’s College at Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. in African Studies from Yale College.
Tamsin Smith is the founder of Slipstream Strategy (www.SlipStreamStrategy.com), a consultancy dedicated to helping philanthropists, executives, international organizations, non-profits, and inspired individuals bring good ideas to life. Prior to forming Slipstream Strategy, Tamsin served as president of (RED), the for-benefit brand that harnesses private-sector ingenuity and influence to activate the buying power of the public in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Recruited by (RED)’s founders Bono and Bobby Shirver, she helped (RED)’s corporate partnerships to include Converse, Gap, Motorola, Emporio Armani, Apple, Hallmark, Dell, Microsoft, Starbucks, and American Express in the UK.
Before joining (RED), Tamsin shepherded Gap Inc.’s public-policy strategy, joining the global specialty retailer in 1997 and creating and leading the company's government affairs department for nine years. Tamsin began her career with six years on Capitol Hill, serving as senior legislative assistant to two members of the U.S. House of Representatives and associate staff to the House Appropriations Committee. Tamsin graduated Kenyon College Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors in literature and holds a Masters in Law & Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Samantha (Sam) Taylor
Sam Taylor is the Founder of Reputation Dynamics, Inc., a company that provides a value-add network of brand marketing, issues management and communications, as well as social responsibility services for the lifestyle and professional services industries. She is also Senior Advisor to The Synergos Institute, a non-profit dedicated to reducing poverty and promoting social equity in emerging economies around the world including the African continent. Formerly, Sam was the Chief Marketing Officer of GMHC, the nation’s oldest non-profit HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services provider where she spearheaded a once-in-27-year rebranding initiative in 2009.
A native of London, Sam spent an impressionable part of her childhood growing up in Kenya, East Africa where she was engaged in community work with The East African Women’s League. She is also a founding member of The CMO Club and an advocate and speaker for ‘Doing Good in Society,’ where she consults with a diverse range of organizations who are about to start, or currently engaged in, developing sustainable responsibility program initiatives aligned with business impact.