Board of Directors
HBEF is managed by a board of trustees comprising of Kenyan professionals from diverse backgrounds, who are committed to positively transforming the community through the education of need children. The following are the current Kenyan board members:
Mr. Chris Mburu: International Human Rights lawyer (Chairman)
Chris Mburu is the founder and chair of the Hilde Back Education Fund. His passion to start the foundation came from the selfless act of a Swedish woman who sponsored his primary education and part of his secondary education. Chris went to study law at the University of Nairobi and later complete a Master's in Law degree from the Harvard law School, on a Fullbright scholarship. Chris is currently the head of the anti-discrimination sction of the UN Human Rights Agency based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Mr. George Kihara Thang'wa: Education Advocate (Vice Chairman-Board)
George Kihara Thang'wa has been involved in the operations of the Hilde Back Education Fund since its inception, and acted as the Fund's coordinator between the years 2002 and 2005.George holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the Moi University, Kenya and a PGD Mass Communications from the University of Nairobi.An educationist by profession, George is currently involved in humanitarian world working as the Regional Director - East and Central Africa at RET International headquartered in Geneva (www.theret.org) protecting vulnerable adolescents and youth through Education, Livelihood support, demobilization and rehabilitation of child soldiers and Peace Building and capacity building of the youth.
Ms. Jane W. Muigai (Member)
Jane has been a board member and a sponsor since the inception of HBEF. She has a strong passion for social justice. She has worked internationally as a refugee lawyer with the United Nations for over 15 years. Jane holds a law degree (LL.B) from the University of Nairobi and masters in Law (LL.M) from Harvard Law School.
Mr. Martin Mburu: Marketing Specialist (Member)
Martin Njau Mburu was born in Mitahato village in Kiambu close to five decades ago. He received his education in Mombasa and later joined the University of Nairobi where he graduated in 1988 with a BA in Sociology. A career Marketer / Salesman, Martin is currently based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania working with Japan Tobacco as C&TM Operations Director for West, East & Central Africa Region. Martin has a strong passion for education and the promotion of the Boy Child Agenda. He has been involved in HBEF since the early days and also is involved in The Corner Brook School, an upcoming Boys High School in which he helps to spear head the Boy Child Agenda.
Ms. Faith Karanja: Educationist (Member)
Faith is a member of the HBEF Board, and a secondary school English teacher. She has over 21 years teaching experience, and is a woman representative in the Kenya Union of Post Primary Schools (KUPPET) Kiambu County. In addition, Faith is a community worker and secretary to Coffee and Tea Company Group (COPTECA) Central Kenya.
Ms. Wendy Patten: Chairlady USA
First met Chris Mburu when they were law students in Boston in 1992. Their shared commitment to human rights and public service helped them forge a lasting friendship. As a lawyer, Ms. Patten has worked in community based legal services in the United States, where she represented immigrant and refugee women and as the U.S. Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch. She also held senior attorney positions at the US Department of Justice and served as Director for Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House. Currently, Ms. Patten is Senior Policy Analysts at the Open Society Foundations in Washington, where she engaged in advocacy and Policy work on human rights, national security, and immigration issues. In 2010 and 2011, she also served as the OSCE Special Representative on gender Issues. Ms. Patten is honored to help support HBEF and its mission of making access to education a reality. She is inspired by Hilde Back's small act of extraordinary generosity decades ago and by the impact of the charity established in her name on the lives of so many children across Kenya today.
Dr. (Ms.) Heinke Bonnlander: USA
Heinke lives in Albany, Oregon USA and holds a doctorate in Public Health with an emphasis in international health. She has over ten years' experience of managing Refugee Programs providing Primary Health Care (Health, Nutrition & HIV/AIDS) in Rwanda, Tanzania, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Heinke loves to work with children and is passionate about the mission of HBEF to decrease hideous violence and build a future of peace and prosperity.
Mr. Michael O'Flaherty: Ireland
Professor Michael O'Flaherty is chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and holds the Chair in Applied Human Rights and is Co-Chair of the Human Rights Law centre at the University of Nottingham. He is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and currently serves as a vice chairperson, His most recent books are, Human Rights Diplomacy: Contemporary Perspectives (ed. With others, Martinus Nijhof, 2011). The Professional identity of the Human Rights Field Officer (ed., with G. Ulrich, Ashgate, 2010), Human Rights Field Operations, Law, Theory and Practice (ed., Ashgate, 2007). Michael has served in a number of senior positions with the United Nations in the field and at headquarters, and from 2000 to 2002 chaired the UN reference group on human rights and humanitarian action.
Dr. (Mr.) Adam Abdelmoula: USA
Adam Abdelmoula is a Sudanese lawyer currently serving as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait. Prior to this he was the Chief of the Middle East and North Africa Section at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also served with the UN in Liberia, Iraq and Somalia. Before joining the UN, Adam worked for Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), Human Rights Watch / Middle East, the Fund for Peace all in New York and the Arab Lawyers Union in Cairo. He began his career as an attorney in the Sudan, where he established the first bro bono law practice from 1982-1989. Adam holds an LL.B from University of Khartoum (Sudan), an LL.M from Harvard and SJD from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Ms. Thetu Kishoiyian: USA
Thetu Kishoiyian, resides in Sarasota, Florida and is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for KB Capital Markets a Trading Company, formerly KB Capital Inc – a lending outfit. Thetu is a good friend of Chris and his family, and is happy to embark on such a worthy journey with HBEF. She has grown quite passionate about the Fund's mission to make high school accessible and to advocate for literacy.
Ms. Margaret Wanjiru Kihara: Ireland
Ms. Wanjiru Kihara was born and raised in Kenya. She worked in various government institutions in Kenya for ten years before relocating to the United States and later to Ireland. She works as a Clinical Specialist in Occupational Therapy for the HSE (Health Services Executive), Dublin North-east region of Ireland. Wanjiru holds a Diploma in Counseling Psychology from Amani Counseling Institute, post graduate training from the Augusta State University and California State University, and a 1st class Honors, Masters in Rejabilitation studies from University College Dublin.
Ms. Shelagh Gustavison: Canada
Shelagh Cummins is a Business Trainer and Consultant at BizTrainHer.com, a boutique firm specializing in training and content strategy for women in business. She works with experts, authors, coaches, and speakers – peope who have loads of content that the world needs to hear. Shelagh curates, organizes, repurposes and develops materials to offer your loyal audience. She advises on how to package them as perfect solutions by turning knowledge into tools to sell. She is also the co-founder and co-facilitator of MomBizRetreat.com – a business intensive weekend getaway for mom entrepreneurs.