Meet Our Guest Speakers
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Consulate General Lahore
Brian Brendel is U.S. Foreign Service Officer. He is currently serving as the Deputy Public Affairs Officer in Lahore, Pakistan. Mr. Brendel has spent two decades working in traditional publishing and new media in the private sector and for the U.S. government. His previous assignments with the U.S. government include serving in Washington DC, Beijing, and Chennai. He has hired over 100 employees and interviewed thousands of candidates for positions in the private industry and within the U.S. government.
Institute of International Education
Huma Haque is a Program Manager for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship, a Fulbright Exchange Program, at the Institute of International Education in Washington D.C. Prior to joining IIE, Ms. Haque was the Associate Director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, where she managed the Emerging Leaders of Pakistan fellowship program and oversaw several other projects covering Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Iran. She started her career in the private sector as a management consultant for Accenture, where she focused on the Communications and High-Tech sector. Ms. Haque has over 15 years of experience in Educational and Cultural Exchanges, Public Diplomacy, International Policy.
The Asia Foundation
Sofia Shakil serves as The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Pakistan, with additional regional program responsibilities. An experienced policy economist, Sofia brings nearly 25 years of experience in the development sector, with a focus on human development, public sector policy, and governance reform. She has held several positions with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and international NGOs; and brings to this role her extensive knowledge of and passion for Asia’s economic and social development. Sofia previously served in this role in 2017-18 and rejoined the Foundation in 2020. Prior to returning to the Foundation in February 2020, most recently Sofia served as the Principal Knowledge Management Specialist for Innovations within the Asian Development Bank’s East Asia Regional Department.
Hera is the Founder of CHAYN - a global volunteer-run project crowdsourcing resources on the web to address gender-based violence. Chayn has reached more than 360 000 people through its resources which are designed with survivors of abuse. Born in Scotland, raised in Pakistan, and living in the UK, Hera knew from early on she wanted to empower women. Hera is a passionate believer in using the power of open source technology and open data to solve the world's pressing issues. Hera was on the Forbes 30 Under 30 and MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list.