Keynote Speaker

9:00-10:30 | Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Photographer: Christopher Dilts / The Obama Foundation

Sasha Fisher is the co-founder and executive director of Spark MicroGrants and and part of the inaugural class of Obama Fellows. Spark supports emerging Governments and leading civil society to develop inclusive democratic processes across West, East Africa and beyond. Spark has developed a streamlined village planning process paired with a seed grant that equips families to drive local change, such as through launching a farm to improve food security or a school for the children. Since 2010 Spark has enabled over 200 villages across six countries to launch local initiatives, increase female and youth participation in civic life, and advocate to local government. 94% of Spark partner villages continue to meet and take action together. Sasha holds a BA from the University of Vermont in Studio Art and a self-designed major in Human Security; a paradigm for development that recognizes the rising legitimacy of non-state actors in securing basic human needs.

Innovation Speaker

9:00-9:30 | Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Mario Merialdi is Senior Director, at BD Global Health. He is tasked to help lead the maternal and newborn health strategy and establish BD’s technologies and market position in this important area of unmet health need. He works closely with the BD’s Medical Affairs function, BD’s geographic regions and with the Greater Asia R&D organization to advance plans for clinical trials and development of the BD Odon Device. Dr. Merialdi joined BD in 2014 from the World Health Organization (WHO), where he most recently held the position of Coordinator in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research. Dr. Merialdi achieved his medical degree at Parma University, Italy where he also completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He subsequently obtained a Master of Public Health and PhD in International Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. In 2001, Dr. Merialdi joined WHO in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research, as a Medical Officer. In 2007, he was appointed Coordinator of the Improving Maternal and Perinatal Health Team, and was promoted in 2011 to Coordinator for Research, Evidence and Norms leading the department’s research program and managing a team of 35 staff.