About Us

Common Action Forum (CAF) is a transnational, non-profit organization established in Madrid, Spain in 2015. It acts as a global network, bringing together prominent and emerging intellectuals, academics, politicians, journalists and activists from diverse backgrounds.

Mission and Values

CAF advocates for an alternative narrative that allows for engaging in fair, global cosmopolitanism. In addition, it seeks to strengthen institutional dynamics adequately equipped to support an active citizenship and a new social contract. These objectives are achieved through encouraging independent platforms of cooperation, research, innovation and advisory in order to shape a progressive agenda that offers alternative solutions to today’s challenges. Some of these urgent issues include rising neo-fascism and xenophobia, increasing inequalities, the social impacts of technology and the environmental limits of the planet.

Annual Events

Since its creation in 2015, CAF organizes its Forum each year. In 2019, CAF launched a new format consisting of two annual events, gathering experts and relevant actors to engage in a series of discussions that can give fruit to further progressive initiatives that move CAF’s mission forward. The first event, the OCTAGON, takes place in Madrid in November. All members of the Foundation convene and participate in a series of round-tables, closed sessions and meetings. The second annual event, CAF’s Annual Forum, is open to the public, and has been hosted in Mexico since 2019.

Projects and Collaborations

The Forum supports long term projects as a strategy to develop a solid platform for digital citizenship and research, which also provides the opportunity to build collaborative relationships with several organisations worldwide. These projects thrive thanks to the participation and/or support of the United Nations, the European Commission, the Spanish National Research Council, University Carlos III of Madrid, ANUDI, European Alternatives, Google Labs, BBC News Labs, the Technical University of Madrid, Berkeley University and others.

Advisory Board

Ayo Obe
ADVISOR

Ayo Obe is a legal practitioner and partner in the Lagos-based law firm, OgunsolaShonibare. Ms. Obe chairs the Board of Trustees of the Gorée Institute (Senegal) and is Co-Vice Chair of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

Celso Amorim
ADVISOR

Celso Amorim is a former Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil. He served on panels of the UN Security Council and was named the «world’s best foreign minister» by Foreign Policy magazine.

Eduardo Barcesat
ADVISOR

Eduardo Barcesat is a constitutionalist lawyer, professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Advisor to the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies of the Argentine Nation and Human Rights Advisor of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO).

Emad Shahin
ADVISOR

Emad Shahin is Dean of the College of Islamic Studies (CIS), Hamad bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation and a Senior Fellow at Georgetown University. He formerly served as Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics.

Guillaume Long
ADVISOR

Guillaume Long is a French-Ecuatorian politician and academic, who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, as well as Minister of Culture and Heritage and Coordinating Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent under the Correa government.

Herta Däubler-Gmelin
ADVISOR

Herta Däubler-Gmelin is a German lawyer, academic and Social Democratic politician who served as Germany’s Minister of Justice and as a member of the Bundestag. She continues to practice law, as well as teaches political science at the Free University of Berlin.

Javier Solana
ADVISOR

Javier Solana is a Spanish physicist and former Secretary General of NATO. Solana currently serves as Chairman of the Aspen Institute in Spain, and has held a number of positions in the Spanish government, including Minister of Culture and Minister of Education and Science.

John Ralston Saul
ADVISOR

John Ralston Saul is an award-winning essayist and novelist. A long-time champion of freedom of expression, he served as President of PEN International and has written extensively, with his most renowned work considered to be «The Unconscious Civilization.»

Board of Directors

Wadah Khanfar
CHAIRMAN & CO-FOUNDER

Wadah Khanfar is the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Common Action Forum. Former Director-General of the Al Jazeera Network, he was named one of the «Young Global Leaders» in the 2008’s World Economic Forum and was first in Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.

Rafael Heiber
CEO & CO-FOUNDER

Rafael Heiber is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Common Action Forum. Geographer and Climatologist with a MSc in Territorial Planning and a PhD in Sociology, his expertise includes the political links between technology, space and citizenship. He participates in academic activities and publishes in the international media.

Thembisa Fakude
DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN

Thembisa Fakude is a Researcher at the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies as well as a contributor and analyst for several newspapers. He is former Bureau Chief of the Channel’s Media Network in Southern Africa and former Chairperson of the Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa (FCSA).

Arlene Clemesha
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Arlene Clemesha is a renowned academic, TV commentator and professor at the Centre of Arab Studies at São Paulo University. She has written several books on the Middle East and is a member of the Coordination Committee of the UN International Coordinating Network on Palestine (ICNP-UN).

Bilaal Hoosein
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Bilaal Hoosein is current Director of Programmes for Al Jazeera English. With a background in political science, he has nearly two decades of experience as a journalist, producer and an international broadcast market sales and acquisitions expert.

Renata Ávila
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Renata Ávila is a human rights lawyer and digital rights advocate. Avila sits on the International Board of Creative Commons, is a Steering Committee Member of the Information Society Advisory Council for the OECD and is a Coordinating Collective Member of DiEM25.

Sami Zeidan
MEMBER OF THE BOARD

Sami Zeidan is an award-winning Senior Presenter with Al Jazeera English. He has worked with a number of the largest broadcasters in the world, interviewing several legendary world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, as well as reporting high-profile events.

Fernando
Ron-Martín

SECRETARY OF THE BOARD

Fernando Ron-Martín has been practicing law in Madrid since 1989, leading his firm in civil rights defense, including obtaining a UN Resolution condemning Spain for violation of the economic, cultural and social right to housing.

Daniela Expósito
LEGAL ASSISTANT

Daniela Expósito works as legal and academically offers professional practices in social research and advisory. Her expertise is Public Administrative Law, International Law of Human Rights and Environmental Law.

Thematic Clusters

Andrés Lomeña
ALTERNATIVE ECONOMY

Andrés Lomeña holds degrees in Journalism and Literary Theory, as well as a PhD in Sociology. He teaches philosophy and published Ficcionologia (2016), El Periodista de partículas (2017), Rescoldos Mentales (2018) and the script of the award-winning short-movie Psicopolis. He writes for the Huffington Post.

Colleen Boland
DIVERSITY & IDENTITIES

Colleen Boland holds a PhD in Sociology of Migration at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She formerly worked as a Managing Editor of an international public health quarterly at Johns Hopkins University, USA. She obtained her MA in Middle East Politics from SOAS, University of London.

Fernanda Ribeiro
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

Fernanda Ribeiro is a Chevening Fellow and currently works for the United Nations in Genève. She holds an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College London and an MA in International Public Law and Administration from the École Nationale d’Administration.

Gaspard Estrada
GEOPOLITICS & DEMOSCOPY

Gaspard Estrada is Director of the Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean at Sciences Po, France. His research focuses on political communication and electoral campaigns. In addition to academic publication, he is a regular contributor in the international press.

Mi You
MEDIA ARTS & TECHNOLOGY

Mi You is a curator at Academy of Media Arts Cologne, where she lectures on media theory with a social-political approach. With a PhD in Art and Media Studies, she is Fellow at Zentrum Paul Klee Fellow (Switzerland) and Independent Curators International (USA). Mi is also a member of the Academy of Arts of the World.

Patricio Cabello
DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP

Patricio Cabello is Researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Education at the University of Chile. He holds his PhD and MAs in Anthropology and Social Research Methods. Leading several projects, he has consulted for UNESCO and UNICEF.

Rafaela Rodrigues
GLOBAL HEALTH

Rafaela Rodrigues is a political scientist and a researcher. She holds an MA in International Politics and her research focuses on global health, international cooperation and public policy. She formerly worked for the United Nations as well as for other institutions on south-south cooperation initiatives.

Renata Ávila
LAWFARE & CIVIL RIGHTS

RenataÁvila is a human rights lawyer and digital rights advocate. Avila sits on the International Board of Creative Commons, is a Steering Committee Member of the Information Society Advisory Council for the OECD and is a Coordinating Collective Member of DiEM25.

Executive Team

Rafael Heiber
CEO & CO-FOUNDER

Rafael Heiber is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Common Action Forum. Geographer and Climatologist with a MSc in Territorial Planning and a PhD in Sociology, his expertise includes the political links between technology, space and citizenship. He participates in academic activities and publishes in the international media.

Colleen Boland
RESEARCH MANAGER

Colleen Boland holds a PhD in Sociology of Migration at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She formerly worked as a Managing Editor of an international public health quarterly at Johns Hopkins University, USA. She obtained her MA in Middle East Politics from SOAS, University of London.

Tristán Torrejón
PROGRAM MANAGER

Tristán Torrejón has a degree in Literary Theory from the Complutense University of Madrid and a master’s degree in Cultural Management from the Carlos III University. With extensive experience in the organization of forums and high-level conferences, he was a program assistant at the diplomatic cultural center Casa de América.

Irene López
PROJECTS MANAGER

Irene López has a degree in International Relations and a Master’s in Human Rights. She has worked as chief of staff, analyst and consultant for political parties in both Spain and Ecuador. She served as an international aid worker in refugee camps and headed political advocacy at various organizations.

Mercedes Bellavista
LOGISTICS MANAGER

Mercedes Bellavista has performed several roles, such as manager’s assistant, executive secretary, as well as project manager. She worked with international companies, consulting firms and foundations in Spain, Switzerland, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Sofía Gohlke
SYMUN COORDINATOR

Sofia Gohlke has a degree in Political Science from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and has two masters, one in protocol and the other in communication and political marketing, both from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares with an internship at the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.