The DEF Digital Academy is guided by an Advisory Board which is constituted of the following experts:

Mr. Osama Manzar, Founder & Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation : Mr. Manzar is the founder director of the Digital Empowerment Foundation {DEF), a Pan India ICT for development agency. He is also the founder of the DEF Digital Academy, as India’s alternative bottom up ICT Skills and Training academy for the grassroots.

Shaifali Chikermane is an expert in creative design and is playing a leadership role within DEF to provide digital design-based solutions to the organisation’s various community-centric programmes, websites and publications. An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, she has a professional experience of over 20 years of experience. A designer and expert on information design, she is an enthusiastic volunteer for many educational institutes like the Aurobindo Ashram’s Mirambika School. Ms. Chikermane also works as a freelance designer and consultant, providing design and information development services to organisations.

Amir Ullah Khan, Professor of Economics, Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad: Amir Ullah Khan is Professor of Economics at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad, visiting Professor at the Indian School of Business and  Advisor to the government of Telangana.  His educational background includes a degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the Osmania University and a Masters diploma in Management from the Institute of Management at Anand. He has a PhD from the Jamia Millia Central University at New Delhi. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Business and Law at the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia and Head of Strategy and Planning at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is the Editor of the Journal of Development Policy and Practice published by Sage. His latest book, edited with Dr Rajiv Kumar is titled Education and Health: Special focus on UP.

Mridula Chandra, Secretary & Chief Executive at Health & Social Development Research Centre: Mridula Chandra is a post-graduate from the Delhi School of Social Work and holds more than 20 years of experience in the social development sector. She is the moving force behind the Health & Social Development Research Centre (HSDRC). Anything that is visualised and successfully accomplished by HSDRC is due to the sustained, unabated and self-less efforts of Ms. Chandra and her colleagues.

Rajen Varada, CEO of Open Knowledge Community: Rajen Varada has been an ICT practitioner since 1995 and continues to be actively engaged in designing and implementing proof of concept solutions for rural development using technology and in particular ICT. He has developed solutions for health and early childhood care (Sisu Samrakshak – UNICEF), disaster (SMS4Help – Solution Exchange), district e-Governance (Parishkaram and Samadhan – government of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal), and most recently ‘Labnet’ — a migrant labour tracking and services portal. He has been actively involved for the past nine years in studying, evaluating and mentoring ICT innovations which impact the social sector. Mr. Varada has been one of the thinkers behind movements like public sector software in India, he and actively supports community ownership of technology – from community radio and community TV to open source applications.

Shalini Kala, Independent Consultant: Shalini Kala holds an Advanced Degree in Economics, and has worked on issues of agricultural policy reform in India for her M.Phil dissertation. She has 20 years of professional experience in the field of rural development, particularly in the areas of food and agriculture, focusing on knowledge networking, livelihoods and capacity building both in India and the Asia-Pacific region. Most recently, Ms. Kala was at the World Food Programme (WFP) where she worked on design, testing and advocacy of innovative approaches for food aid as a tool of development. She has also been associated with the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and has worked on various USAID projects.