Joannie Marlene Bewa is a physician, and an international expert in public health from Benin Republic. She is currently enrolled as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, specializing in public maternal and child health.
Craig Pittman is a native Floridian and, according to the Florida Heritage Book Festival, a Florida literary legend. Born in Pensacola, he graduated from Troy State University in Alabama, where his muckraking work for the student paper prompted an agitated dean to label him "the most destructive force on campus." Since then he has covered a variety of newspaper beats and quite a few natural disasters, including hurricanes, wildfires and the Florida Legislature. Since 1998, he has covered environmental issues for Florida's largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, winning state and national awards. He is the author of four books, including The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World's Most Beautiful Orchid, which is the only book ever classified as "True Crime/Gardening," and Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country, which won the gold medal for Florida non-fiction from the Florida Book Awards. His fifth book, Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther will publish in January. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and two children.
Virginie Butin, co-founder and curriculum director of the De la Fontaine Trilingual Montessori School in Tampa, Florida, has focused the better part of her career on childhood education. Holding a French degree in business and management, Ms. Butin spent 15 years prior to her work in early childhood education, working for the French Customs and Excise service.
Jim Bittermann is CNN's Senior International Correspondent based in Paris. Since joining CNN in 1996, he has covered the death of Princess Diana in 1997, NATO air strikes on Kosovo in 1998, the earthquake in Turkey in 1999 and the World Cup soccer championships, among other stories.
Melike Eğilmezler Boylan is a Turkish sociologist specializing in contemporary satire. Her first book, Güldürme Beni! Mizah Üstüne Ciddi Söyleşiler (Don’t Make Me Laugh! Serious Conversations About Humor) is a collection of interviews with legendary Turkish writers, directors, actors, stand-up comedians and cartoonists, exploring their role in society. She has a PhD from Turkey’s Middle Eastern Technical University, an MA from Johns Hopkins School of International Studies and a BA from Marmara University in Istanbul. She has also worked for the World Bank and Turkish Government. Eğilmezler Boylan’s research interests include exploring the tension between repression and freedom of expression, humor traditions in Muslim societies and documenting creative social change.
Linda M. Whiteford holds a Doctorate degree in Anthropology as well as a Masters degree in Public Health, and another Masters degree in Anthropology. She is an Emerita Professor and a Founding Co-Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Non-Communicable Disease at USF, and is also co- creator of the Social Marketing for Social Change Certification Program. Dr. Whiteford has consulted for WHO, PAHO, USAID, the World Bank, and the Canadian Agency for International Development, among other international development agencies. She has received National Science Foundation (NSF) research awards, School for Advanced Research Seminar Awards, The Sol Tax Award for Distinguished Service to Anthropology, and selected as Scholar of the Year by various universities. Dr. Whiteford’s research and consulting has occurred in Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina, Ghana, Cameroon, and Malaysia, as well as in other countries. Previously she was Vice Provost for Program Development and Review, Associate Vice President for Global Strategies and International Affairs, and Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at the University of South Florida, and is a highly sought-after speaker, the author of numerous articles, and eight books. Currently she is actively engaged in the University College London project, RReal, applying qualitative methods to global health care, and with the Global Rapid Response Team working with highly infective diseases.