Professors Without Borders Think Tank

Tessy Antony de Nassau

Opening Speaker

Tessy is co-Founder and President of PROWIBO. In this capacity, she launched the ‘Women in Higher Education Initiative’ at PROWIBO’s Women’s Breakfast in September 2018.

Tessy is the founder and partner of the Global consultancy ‘Finding Butterflies.’ She is also an appointed associate at LSEideas at the London School of Economics. Moreover, Tessy is an ambassador for UNAIDS (Global Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls) and is the patron of UNA-UK. In the past, She spent five years in the Luxembourg military, during which she was deployed in Kosovo as a peacekeeper and the only woman of her draft. She received the Woman of the Decade award from the Women Economic Forum in January 2017, the Humanities medal for spreading humanistic ideas worldwide, and the Global Empowerment Award for her work in Africa. Tessy holds an MSc in International Studies and Diplomacy. 

Panel I: Improving Student Retention in Higher Education

Rachel Warnick

Moderator of Panel I

Rachel specialises in designing and delivering engaging, interactive, and topical courses focused on communications, business and academic skills, and ESOL.  She holds an MSc in International Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies.  She spent fifteen years in business, most notably with Goldman Sachs and the UNHCR, before returning to education.  She is the President and Co-Founder of Nature Océan Indien, a youth-focused environmental NGO. She has an extensive track record of volunteer work in the UK, Africa, and Asia.  She is also a National Geographic Certified Educator.  Canadian by birth, Rachel has lived in fourteen countries on four continents, giving a global perspective to her life and work.

Meenakshi Narain

Prof. Meenakshi Narain received her Ph.D. in physics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and has taught at Brown University since 2007. Narain has been involved with the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) and the DØ experiment at Fermilab (Batavia, IL) and was involved in discovering the Higgs Boson.  

Narain has been engaged in STEM outreach activities to encourage the participation of young women in science. Prof. Narain serves as a member of the “Diversity Committee” of the CMS Experiment and was one of the committee’s founding chairs. She is an informal mentor and faculty advisor of the Physics Department WiSE group. Further, Narain is the co-author of about 400 peer-reviewed journals and has given numerous public lectures and invited conference presentations.

Ren-Neasha Blake

Ren-Neasha is a second-year doctoral student pursuing public administration and policy at the School of Public Service, Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia. She is an educator, mentor, and businesswoman. She hails from St. Mary, Jamaica, and migrated to the U.S. in 2019 with a Fulbright grant through the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica. Ren-Neasha has taught government, international relations, and core research courses and aspires to a government and academia career. She prides herself as a ‘cosmopolitan country girl’ and is fully prepared to inform evidence-based policies globally.

Rashi Yadav

Rashi is a student at the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India, pursuing a B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) and has been interning with Professors without Borders for a year. Her academic interests include International Law and Human Rights. She is passionate about promoting women’s rights and works with a few organisations in pursuance. Rashi believes that everyone should have access to education, and she has the experience of teaching underprivileged children with an NGO called Sarvahitey. Her alternate interests are reading, listening to music and playing a few musical instruments. 

Panel II: Improving Faculty Retention in Higher Education

Jacqueline Akello

Moderator of Panel II & Conference Co-Organiser

Jacqueline Akello is a Higher Education Manager and Institution Development Consultant in Uganda. She has an MSc Development Management from the Open University and over 21 years of development management experience. I have worked with civil society. Jacqueline was one of the pioneer staff at African Rural University charged with overall Finance and Administration. Through this experience, she acquired a deep knowledge of human resource affairs, particularly on policy matters. Jacqueline has participated in the Quality Assurance Forum of Uganda Universities and the East African Quality Assurance Network.  She is actively engaged with improving higher education policy in Uganda.

Handan Tezel

After completing her Chemical Engineering education in Turkey, the USA, and Canada, Handan has been a Professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada since 1988. She served as Vice-Dean -Research for the Faculty of Engineering for 5 years. She also did part-time teaching in France and China and was a visiting Professor in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2010, she received the John V. Marsh Award for Excellence in Teaching. Handan has been involved in many committees to promote women in Engineering. She also gave talks at schools to encourage girls to consider engineering as a profession.

Viviana Meschitti

Dr. Viviana Meschitti is Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Huddersfield (UK). Her expertise includes gender differences along career trajectories and gender equality plans, with a specific focus on academia. She also researches organisational and team learning, leadership, and innovation. She has previously worked at Birkbeck (University of London, UK) for the EU-funded project TRIGGER on gender in science and at the University of Lugano (USI, Switzerland) for the Swiss Federal Programme “Equal Opportunities at Universities.” 

She has a longstanding experience in coordinating mentoring programmes for women. She is a member of the Athena SWAN (the UK Charter for gender equality) self-assessment panel in the Business School of the University of Huddersfield. She is a board member of the Journal of Research in Gender Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Lugano (Switzerland).

Meena Rajesh

Dr. Meena Rajesh is the Vice-Chancellor of G H Raisoni University in Deogarh, Madhya Pradesh, India. She graduated from Kongu Engineering College with a Masters of Business and went on to work in various higher education institutions. For her current position, Rajesh utilises creative and innovative approaches to problem-solving, strategy development, brand management, and operations in the Education sector.

She has over 18 years of teaching experience in multifarious subjects like marketing, human resource management, strategy management, business economics,  and operation management. The Lead India Foundation has recognised her as one of the Power Women Leaders of 2021.