Lisa Grans holds a PhD in Public International Law from Åbo Akademi University (2018) and has published extensively on the issue of women’s rights, with a particular focus on violence against women. Her expertise also includes the prohibition of discrimination, the prohibition of torture and linguistic rights. Grans has worked practically for over 20 years with promoting the human rights of women and other disadvantaged groups in cooperation with the relevant governmental bodies in countries such as Georgia, Kosovo and Turkey, having been based in the latter two.
I am an anthropologist with a long and multifaceted experience in researching Africa and in acting as the PI for research projects on Africa. Thematically I have examined various societal changes that take place in the coming together of global and local regimes of economic and socio-cultural value. My specific research topics include the following: women traders and socio-economic empowerment in Tanzania; youth cultures' and culture industries' social and economic significance in South Africa; music industry structures, practices and value chains in South Africa and Europe; clothing and fashion industry-related entrepreneurships in South Africa and Tanzania; emerging black middle classes. I am fluent in KiSwahili language.
Saila-Maria Saaristo is currently a doctoral student at the doctoral program "Political, Societal and Regional Changes" at the University of Helsinki. The PhD research focuses on forced evictions and social movements resisting evictions at the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon. The study looks at evictions as a gendered and racialized phenomenon that occurs in the context of financialization of housing and commodification of the city, drawing from the experiences of the Global South to look at the Global North. Saaristo has solid experience on planning, management and monitoring and evaluation of development cooperation programs and projects, acquired during 9 years with various agencies, such as the EU Delegation to Tanzania, MFA project in Mozambique, UN-Habitat, and international and national NGOs. Thematically her professional focus is on gender equality and women empowerment, housing and slum upgrading, civil society, and democracy and elections. Saaristo speaks fluent Portuguese, Spanish and English, and basic French and German,
Researcher of world politics with an emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. In my PhD project, I examined the post-war realities of former girl and women soldiers in Liberia and gained my doctorate in 2017. My recent publications include a book 'Liberia's Women Veterans: War, Roles and Reintegration' (Zed Books 2018) and several peer-reviewed articles on gender, post-war reconstruction, child soldiers, inequality, and visual research methods. I have lived, studied and/or worked in Liberia, Senegal as well as Zambia and am eager to develop innovative ways to study and understand different phenomena around the world.