On April 1st 2011 Barbara Kasumu will become the new Chief Executive of Elevation Networks. Many believe she has quite a tough act to follow, so today we thought we´d let people know more about our new leader:
Barbara has worked in 9 countries, met 6 heads of state, worked with over 20 organisations, contributed to 3 publications, and has worked with over 3,000 young people in the last 4 years. She represented the United Kingdom in the 2010 G8 and G20 summits respectively; meeting Prime Minister David Cameron. She is currently a consultant for the Commonwealth Secretariat, and sits on the Diversity Board for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG). Barbara is an Associate of the National Youth Agency (NYA), and has had many speaking engagements including at the recent International Award council meeting in the presence of HRH Prince Edward and Lord Paul Boateng. She is the 2009 UK Young Activist of the Year!
Barbara is the founder of the Visible Women (VW) Campaign, and has held the role of Head of Programmes & Strategy at Elevation Networks in recent times. Having completed a first degree in Politics at Queen Mary University of London; Barbara is currently studying a Masters in International Public Policy at University College London (UCL).
Barbara has been a youth consultant for the Department for International Development– Civil Society Youth Working group; supporting the implementation of the “Youth Guidance Project”. She has also been a member of the international steering committee for the Commonwealth Youth Forum that feeds into the bi-annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Barbara previously sat on the Young People´s Local Grants Committee for the Big Lottery Fund, was a member of the Youth Leadership Team for the Big Challenge, and was on the school governing board for Highshore School in South London.
In 2009, Barbara finished her tenure as Regional Coordinator for the Student Volunteering Network and as a Youth
Advisor for Oxfam GB, where she ensured that young people remained on the agenda with Oxfam´s campaigns and policy work. As a trainer and facilitator Barbara has worked with reputable organisation such as the Scottish Youth Parliament and the British Youth Council. Barbara was previously selected to be a Young Advocate for the Changemakers Foundation where she worked with think tank of the year; Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to help to improve the LGIU´s practice and policy regarding the inclusiveness of young people.
In 2007 Barbara was selected as the Commonwealth Youth Representative for the election observer mission for the Kenyan General Election in December 2007, chaired by former President of Sierra Leone Dr Kabbah. In 2008 Barbara chaired the international steering committee for the Royal Commonwealth Society´s Youth Leadership Programme that took place in Cyprus on the theme of “Youth and Peacebuilding”. Whilst in Cyprus Barbara met with President Demetris Christofias and also with the leader of the Northern Republic of Cyprus. She also met with UN agencies including UNDP and the UN Peacekeepers to assess the reconciliation efforts.
Barbara has been recognised as a Global Changemaker by the British Council and invited to attend the African Youth Summit in Cape Town, South Africa alongside the World Economic Forum which was hosted by Kofi Annan GCMG. Ahead of the G20 meetings Barbara co-facilitated the Department for International Development (DFID) White Paper Youth Consultation. She also attended the 16th Commonwealth Education Ministers Meeting and Commonwealth Youth Forum which was included in the Queen´s Speech.
In her spare time Barbara enjoys writing poetry and performing original spoken word pieces; previously hosting bi-monthly social events at the Rich Mix arts centre dubbed the `cultural hub of London´. She won the WordUpSlam at Theatre Royal Stratford in November 2007 for her work. Barbara´s was shortlisted for the Third Sector Young Thinker of the Year Award 2009 where she was highly commended for her piece on `young people, entrepreneurialism and gang culture´
(Modified October 2013)