10/ 10 - The Imagine Forum

The Imagine Forum: Youth on the Move

Höfði Reykjavik Peace Centre’s International Conference

10 October 2018 in Veröld Vigdís´s House from 09:30 - 17:00

Borders have a vast impact on young people fleeing arduous situations, seeking new opportunities and respect for their rights. They are forced to flee, exposing them to sexual and gender based violence, abduction, exploitation, forced recruitment, detention, hunger and death.

Despite their difficult situation displaced young people can and should play an important and positive role in shaping their future and establishing sustainable peace worldwide. Technological advancements have brought forth opportunities to empower, educate and train young displaced people. The main objective of the dialogue taking place in Reykjavík on 10/10 will be shedding a light on this highly important role of young displaced persons and the valuable contribution of entrepreneurs and activists in creating positive change will be one of the main objectives of the dialogue taking place in Reykjavík on 10/10 2018.

Confirmed speakers include JJ Bola, Pia Oberoi, Sophia Mahfooz, Nazanin Askari, Kathy Gong, Harald Quintus-Bosz and Adam Elsod.

Click here to register to the conference!

Click here for the Conference Programme

JJ Bola

One of the speakers at the conference on October 10 is JJ Bola. JJ is a writer, slam poet, educator and former refugee from DRC who was brought up in London from the age of 7. He has published three collections of poetry and his debut novel, No Place to Call Home, was published in the UK in 2017. He was one of Spread the Word's Flight Associates 2017. JJ reads, speaks, workshops and performs all over the UK and has made international appearances. He joined UNHCR at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018 to take part in a Facebook Live with Cate Blanchett and Iraqi refugee, Aya Abdullah.


Pia Oberoi

Dr. Pia Oberoi is the Advisor on Migration and Human Rights at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, where she leads the work of OHCHR's migration team and advises the High Commissioner on policy and legal issues related to the intersections between migration and human rights. Prior to this, Pia led the migrants' rights work of Amnesty International's International Secretariat, and also advised NGOs and policy think tanks in several regions of the world. An expert on international human rights law and policy related to migrants, Pia has written and published extensively on related issues, including in the context of the current challenges of migration governance. Pia holds an MPhil and a DPhil in International Relations from St Antony's College, Oxford University. Her DPhil thesis was published by Oxford University Press in 2006 as “Exile and Belonging: Refugees and State Policy in South Asia”.


Kathy Gong

Kathy Gong became a chess master at 13, and four years later she boarded a plane with a one-way ticket to New York City to attend Columbia University. She knew little English at the time but learned as she studied, and after graduation she returned to China, where she soon became a standout among a rising class of fearless young technology entrepreneurs. Gong has launched a series of companies in different industries. One is Law.ai, a machine-learning company that created both a robotic divorce lawyer called Lily and a robotic visa and immigration lawyer called Mike. Now Gong and her team have founded a new company called Wafa Games that’s aiming to test the Middle East market, which Gong says most other game companies are ignoring.


“It is through adversity that you will come up with the most creative solutions”

– Sophia Mahfooz

Sophia Mahfooz

“For refugees and immigrants alike, one of the biggest mental barriers is the mentality of scarcity. The rug has been pulled from under you. The advice I would give to them is: use your disadvantage as a launchpad. It´s through that friction and adversity that you will come up with the most creative solutions” - Sophia Mahfooz

Sophia Mahfooz will be giving a talk at the Imagine Forum:Youth on the Move conference on October 10. Sophia is a former refugee from Afghanistan who has been living in San Francisco since 2015 where she served as COO of Girls in Tech and has worked with dozens of global technology firms around the world on diversity and inclusion initiatives, including Facebook, Apple, Cisco, and many others. Sophia’s current projects aim to use her expertise in technology, education and policy to improve conditions for people displaced by war. She runs the SVIP–a non-profit organization working to provide graduating engineering students from around the world access to the unique experience of working with high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and serves on a committee in the UK Parliament working on initiatives in Afghanistan.


“Integration is a fluid term, it´s being used to push down refugees”

– Adam Elsod

Adam Elsod

“Integration is a fluid term, it´s being used to push down refugees and concentrate responsibility on the refugees themselves, social inclusion on the contrary, emphasises on the notion of rights and holding powerholders accountable” - Adam Elsod.

Adam Elsod will be giving a talk at the Imagine Forum:Youth on the Move conference on October 10. He is an award-winning activist, educator and social entrepreneur. He is a member of the advisory council of the Council of Europe and the pool of trainers of the European Youth Forum. Adam has been working for the last 10 years for democracy, human rights, youth empowerment, social inclusion and refugees in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe in different capacities. Adam is a co-founder and chairman of The Young Republic. He is also a cofounder of the Network for Refugee Voices.


Harald Quintus-Bosz

Harald Quintus-Bosz is one of the lecturers at the Imagine Forum. He is co-founder and CTO of Cooper Perkins and is also a lecturer at MIT’s D-Lab where he teaches Design for Scale, a class focused on manufacturing product design for products headed to the developing world. Harald has over twenty five years of product development experience, is a member of the Forbes Technology Council and holds an S.B. from MIT and an M.S. from Stanford University in Mechanical Engineering.


Nazanin Askari

“We need to improve our society towards an ideal one by making diversity the means of power and a reason for pride.” Nazanin Askari

Nazanin Askari is a feminist and activist. She came to Iceland as a political refugee in 2012, after she had been tortured and incarcerated for her political opinions in her home country Iran. She fled here country when she was facing up to 15 years in prison for speaking up for women´s rights. Nazanin is still fighting for women´s rights, now in Iceland, but she was a candidate for the Women´s Movement in Reykjavík in the last municipal elections.

Recordings from The Imagine Forum 2017

Get a glimpse of the speeches from 2017!