Hannah Laufer-Rottman

Faces of Hunger, Palms for Life Fund Founder

Hannah is an international professional with extensive experience in successfully delivering poverty alleviation programs to countries and people in need. She joined the United Nations in 1976 and worked mainly with the World Food Programme. She traveled extensively and lived in Africa and in Latin America with long term assignments in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Brazil. Since 2006, she is Executive Director of Palms for Life Fund, supporting access to education, food, water and sanitation for all, with a special attention to girls’ needs. Ms. Laufer-Rottman is an unconditional supporter of human rights and tolerance.


Krishnendu Ray

Food Studies Department Chair at NYU

Dr. Krishnendu Ray, chair of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University is a food studies scholar at NYU. Before joining the faculty in 2005, Ray taught at the Culinary Institute of America, where he was also an associate dean for curriculum development. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from SUNY Binghamton and his master's in Political Science from Delhi University, India. Ray is the author of The Migrant's Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households (Temple University, 2004), as well as several book chapters, including "Exotic Restaurants and Expatriate Home Cooking" in David Inglis and Debra Gimlin, eds., The Globalization of Food (Oxford: Berg, 2009), and "Ethnic Succession and the New American Restaurant Cuisine," in David Beriss and David Sutton, eds., The Restaurants Book: Ethnographies of Where We Eat (Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2007). He is currently working on his next book-length project tentatively titled "Taste, Toil and Ethnicity: Immigrant Restaurateur and the American City." He serves on the editorial board of the journal Food, Culture & Society.


Domingo Pinero

Food Studies Department Undergraduate Director, NYU

Domingo J. Piñero joined the faculty of the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU in August 2002 and became director of the undergraduate program in 2008. He received his B.S. in Nutrition in 1986 from the Universidad Central de Venezuela; an M.S. in Nutrition in 1991 from the Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela; and his Ph.D. in Nutrition with a minor in Demography in 1998 from The Pennsylvania State University. Piñero’s research interests are in pediatric nutrition in Latinos; especially pediatric obesity, and iron nutrition and cognitive development. His current research centers on the prevention of child and adolescent obesity in the Latino community. Piñero earned a New York University Research Challenge Fund Award in 2004 for his pediatric obesity prevention collaborative research at Bellevue Hospital and was the recipient of the 2007 Teaching Excellence Award of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Currently involved in interdisciplinary work in the BODY (Banishing Obesity and Diabetes in Children) project targeting obese children in NYC public schools.


Joey O'Loughlin


Joey O'Loughlin is a photojournalist, producer and writer with more than two decades of experience in news, informational and cultural programming. She earned a masters degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism. Her photographic work and narrative skills support social justice and humanitarian efforts in the United States and around the world. O'Loughlin has gained nationwide media attention for an exhibition of her work, a culmination of three years fostering connections with fellow citizens through Food Bank NYC to present what it means to be hungry in New Work. Hidden in Plain Sight: Portraits of Hunger in NYC is on display at the Brooklyn Historical Society through November 2016. O'Loughlin lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Barbara Turk

New York City's Director of Food Policy

Barbara Turk is New York City's Director of Food Policy. Prior to her appointment in April 2014, she was a Senior Fellow at Community Resource Exchange, where she also served for several years on the board of directors. Prior to joining CRE in April 2007, Barbara was the Executive Director of the YWCA of Brooklyn. Barbara was also Director of HIV CARE Services for the Medical and Health Research Association (now Public Health Solutions), where she and her colleagues administered federal grant funds to New York City for services for people living with HIV and AIDS. Before that she spent almost ten years in city government, as a policy advisor to City Council President Carol Bellamy and Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins. She was Deputy Director for Health and Human Services in the New York City Office of Management and Budget under Mayor Dinkins. She graduated from Goddard College in 1979, and earned a Masters Degree in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 2007.


Griffin Dunne

Filmmaker, Actor, Producer

Griffin Dunne was an Academy Award nominee as the director of the Oscar-nominated live-action short film Duke of Groove, which marked a breakout role for its lead actor Tobey Maguire and which also starred Kate Capshaw and Uma Thurman. His feature credits as a director have included the hit Practical Magic, which teamed Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman; Addicted to Love, starring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick; Fierce People, starring Anton Yelchin and Diane Lane; The Accidental Husband, starring Uma Thurman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Colin Firth; and the acclaimed mockumentary Lisa Picard is Famous. As an actor, Mr. Dunne is best known for his starring roles in two unforgettable dark comedies, John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, for which he was a Golden Globe Award nominee. Television audiences have seen him in guest appearances on, among other shows, Frasier, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination; Girls; Damages; and, in a recurring role, House of Lies.


Sanjay Rawal


Sanjay spent over a decade working in the non-profit and government sectors while running a small agricultural genetics company with his father, Dr. Kanti Rawal. After working with Abby Disney and Gini Reticker as a consultant to their hit documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008), he was bit by the film bug. His first  feature, “Food Chains” premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and won numerous awards including a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Film (2015) and the 2016 BritDoc Impact Award.


Fisher Stevens

Filmmaker, Actor, Producer

Fisher Stevens has been in the entertainment business for over 30 years. In 1986 Stevens co-founded the downtown NY theater company Naked Angels, where he produced, directed and acted in many productions.  Stevens produced over 15 films while involved with GreeneStreet, including the Academy Award-nominated In The Bedroom, A Prairie Home Companion, Piñero, Swimfan, Uptown Girls and the acclaimed documentary Once In A Lifetime. After Once in a Lifetime he became very interested in documentary filmmaking. He went on to produce 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove, about the dolphin slaughters taking place in Taiji, Japan. He also directed a U.N. Day Concert: A Tribute to Peacekeeping, a celebration of peacekeepers in the General Assembly at the United Nations, featuring such acclaimed performers as Harry Belafonte. For this concert, Stevens directed the powerful film The War Against War, which takes an in-depth look at the United Nations peacekeeping missions around the globe.  After filming with the peacekeeping unit in Port Au Prince in October, 2009, the UN called on Fisher to return to Haiti and film the aftermath of the January, 2010 earthquake.


Katherine Soll

Director, Teens for Food Justice

Katherine Soll is CEO/Director/Founder of Teens for Food Justice. Soll believes that all New Yorkers should be committed to ending hunger, food insecurity and poor nutrition in one of the world’s greatest cities and that connecting youth to this mission and each other is a critical part of achieving that goal. Teens for Food Justice was built on the concept that hands-on volunteering and helping others builds character and creates a unique level-playing field where people of all backgrounds can contribute equally through hard work and commitment, something hard to find in an increasingly polarized, stratified world. She also believes that service is a powerful tool for tapping young people’s talents, resources, and abilities, helping them flourish and work productively with others, and that youth who help solve social problems become more positive, engaged, hopeful adults who remain active throughout their lives on behalf of social change. A lifelong New Yorker, she has also worked in the for-profit sector in management and marketing.


Andrew Kaplan

Director of Special Projects, Rachael Ray

Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan is the Director of Special Projects for Rachael Ray, and is the Co-Founder and Director of Rachael Ray’s cooking and kids charity, Yum-o! He is also the Founder and CEO of Culinary Advisors LLC, a strategic culinary advisory service. Kappy is a partner of Aisle Ate by Flavour Gallery, a new food-inspired apparel line, which launched in 2015.  Prior to working with Ray, Kappy served as a project manager for the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, overseeing the headline events including Kidz Kitchen and Burger Bash, while also managing the celebrity chef cooking demonstrations. Kappy also provided freelance support in production for additional Food and Wine events, such as the Annual Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado. Kappy is a professionally trained chef earning a culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA); a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Florida International University (FIU); and has deepened his background in nonprofit management as an attendee of the Stanford Nonprofit Management Institute. In his spare time, Kappy serves on the board for the City Harvest Leadership Council, as well as the Development Committee for the Academy for Global Citizenship in Chicago, Illinois. He also spends his time as a founding external advisory board member for the Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Research through his alma matter, FIU. He has lectured at the CIA/Harvard Healthy Kitchens Healthy Lives conference in Napa, CA, and FIU’s Tianjin University of Commerce in China.  More information on Kappy can be found on his personal Twitter or Instagram: @onkappysplate.


Aubrey Gallegos

Community Engagement & Education Director, POV

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Aubrey developed an early love of the arts and a drive to get involved in social and environmental issues. She graduated from Whitman College with a bachelor’s degree in Rhetoric & Film Studies and her work at POV allows her to combine her passion for social issues with her belief in film’s unique ability to serve as a platform for education, dialogue, and action. Along with her team, Aubrey develops national engagement campaigns for POV documentaries, produces film-specific discussion guides and lesson plans, and facilitates 600+ free screenings and discussions across the country every year. Aubrey has also helped organize events on Capitol Hill and served as a juror and panelist at a number of film festivals, including the Brooklyn Film Festival and Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Prior to joining POV, Aubrey was an environmental educator aboard wooden sailing ships, including the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, co-founded by folk-singer and political activist, Pete Seeger. Aubrey has also worked as POV’s special events coordinator, as an event manager at UnionDocs in Brooklyn, and as a production assistant on a number of independent film and theater productions. She currently serves on the board of Sustain Music and Nature, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting musicians and conservation efforts.


Alejandra Sacio

Digital Communications Director, Skylight

Alejandra grew up between Lima, Peru and California, and began migrating on her own when she became a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Kansas as an undergraduate for Journalism and International Studies. Since then, she has worked in both the U.S. and her home country as a strategic communications professional. After obtaining her graduate degree in International Affairs with a concentration in the field of development from the New School, she has remained in New York City. Most recently, she work at Show of Force as an Outreach and Engagement Manager for the Half the Sky Movement and A Path Appears. Throughout her career, Alejandra has always linked the arts with communications and activism.


Scott Gabriel

Filmmaker, Producer, Founder Arcadia Creative

Scott Gabriel is a director and producer with a passion for international human rights, cross-cultural branding, and narrative film. Scott's commercials include multi-cultural campaigns for Caesars Palace, DISH Network, National Debt Relief, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Western Union. His human rights campaigns have raised over a million dollars for environmental change, family planning, and womens' rights, in countries from Bangladesh to Malawi. He also works in film and television. He was the founding line producer for the hit TV show Impractical Jokers. His films include The Perfect Wedding,The Harrow, and the upcoming Romeo's House. Scott production company, Arcadia Creative, LLC, creates integrated media campaigns for human rights organizations and technology companies, ranging from brand anthems to commercials. He also founded CreateGood Media, a consulting company that conducts media trainings that empower mission-driven organizations to tell their own stories, maximizing their impact-for-cost by using the personnel and resources they already have in their offices. Scott has film degrees from Prague's FAMU and American University and a B.A. in International Relations from American University.


Duffy Higgins

Filmmaker, Producer, Founder A76 Productions

Whether from behind a monitor, or clutching the camera himself, Duffy's directorial approach to storytelling is an intimate and visual affair. He's brought his fresh and dynamic aesthetic to Levi's for ESPN, Citi for the Olympics, TJ Maxx for the Holidays and to Kiehl's for motorcycle ride across 1800 miles of Americana.  Duffy dives into directing headfirst in order to conceptualize clients' and brands' belief systems.  He infiltrates crowds in order to showcase the emotions of attending a festival.  He removes crew and works with actors alone in a room to create intimacy.  He crafts storylines so that an audience can connect to a sentiment and ultimately evoke an opinion. These spots, webisodes, music videos, short films and documentaries have been festival nominated, award-winning, community showcased, celebrity blogged, classroom professed, and client praised.  Most recently he’s worked with ESPN, Victoria's Secret, Maybelline, Levi's, Comedy Central, Google, Skype, Citi, Kiehl's, Sony Music and Women's Health, while currently showcasing his first feature length documentary: Brooklyn Basketball. Duffy was born and raised in Miami, FL; college educated in the great state of Alabama and has called New York City "home" since pre-Y2K


Magen Allen

Communications Manager, Hunger Free America

Magen Allen is an anti-hunger activist specializing in policy and advocacy.  She currently serves as Communications Manager for Hunger Free America, where she oversees the organization's public message. This includes executing media relationships, communications strategy, social and traditional media, as well as writing and overseeing all web content. Magen holds a B.A. in Global Studies from LIU Global, where she spent four years of her undergraduate degree studying social justice issues in Costa Rica, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Turkey, China, South Africa, and the United States. Her undergraduate thesis was on the roles of public and private sector initiatives in the fight against hunger in the United States. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Fabio Parasecoli

Director of Food Studies, The New School

Fabio Parasecoli teaches courses on food and popular culture at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, and courses on food and culture in the Food and Wine MBA of the University of Bologna, Italy. Born in Rome, Parasecoli is a former correspondent who traveled frequently to Asia to cover politics and culture. He conducted postgraduate research on contemporary Chinese history for two years in China. Parasecoli gradually shifted his professional focus to food writing. He worked for many years as the U.S. correspondent for Gambero Rosso, Italy’s authoritative food and wine magazine. He has a blog on the Huffington Post, and collaborates with U.S.-based and international organizations and institutions on food-relates issues.


Aria Doe

Founder, the Action Center

Aria, along with her husband, founded a non-profit corporation called The Action Center for Education and Community Development Inc. Their divisions are tri-fold. 1. (Community) They provide services for at risk kids and their families both Nationally (Queens) and in 2010 Internationally (Africa). The services cover the gamut from Educational, Health related, Economic Development and Empowerment for both children and adults. 2. (Education) They provide after-school programming for at risk US students. These services include providing non-traditional opportunities such as fencing, languages, bag-piping, band, tap, college prep 3. (Families) They provide family management, homework for parents assistance, job services, aerobics, health management, toddler learning centers, fatherhood programs, and alternative family services.


Darren Goldstein


Darren is an American actor, currently shooting the third season of SHOWTIME’S Golden Globe winning drama, “The Affair,” where he plays Lobster Roll owner, Oscar Hodges. Films include the upcoming, “Girl on the Train,“Limitless,”  TV credits include “American Odyssey,”“Inside Amy Schumer,” “Nurse Jackie,” "Blue Bloods,""Damages,” “Person of Interest." He appeared on Broadway in 2010 in “Bloody,Bloody Andrew Jackson.” and has worked off Broadway at The New Group, Public Theater, Vineyard Theater & Atlantic Theater.  Darren holds an MFA from NYU's Graduate Acting Program.


Katie Finneran


Katie is an American actress and currently shooting the third season of Netflix's critically acclaimed drama, Bloodline.  In 2012, Katie co-starred on NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show" and starred on Broadway as Miss Hannigan in the Tony nominated revival of "Annie." In 2010, she won a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in the Broadway revival of "Promises, Promises." She also was awarded the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award in 2002 for her performance in the Broadway revival of "Noises Off."


Alex Hoffman

Program Director, Xavier Mission

Alex Hoffman graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a concentration in human services. After graduation she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and was placed at Xavier Mission to provide capacity building services. When she finished her term she could not bear to leave Xavier and was hired as a receptionist at the Church of St. Francis Xavier. She joined the staff of Xavier Mission full-time in April 2014 as Program Director. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Welcome Table soup kitchen, Customer-Choice Food Pantry, Hurtado Men’s Shelter, All Saints Clothing Room, and Fresh Food Project. Hoffman is currently attending graduate school for a Master in Social Work degree and continue her learning at school and in the field.


Kriti Sehgal

Co-Founder, Owner Pure Fare, Agno Grill, and Yoku Table

Kriti Sehgal is the co-founder and owner Pure Fare, Agno Grill, and Yoku Table - some of the most innovative fast casual restaurants in Center City, Philadelphia. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Sehgal chose to remain in Philadelphia and make her mark on the city’s burgeoning culinary scene. She began her foray as a restaurateur with Pure Fare, an exciting new concept combining her love of seasonally influenced, locally sourced and globally inspired food with a fast, convenient and on the go environment. Within two years, she began to expand her culinary portfolio by opening the wildly successful Agno Grill, a restaurant whose menu was inspired by the beauty, culture, and timeliness of the Mediterranean region. In 2016, Ms. Sehgal opened her third restaurant, Yoku Table, which was inspired by her love of the freshness and vibrancy of Southeast Asian cuisine.


Sylvia Caminer

Director, Producer DolGer Films

Sylvia Caminer is an Emmy Award winning director/producer and president of DolGer Films, an active production company. She is currently in production on the feature documentary, 2 B Me, which explores the gender spectrum with a focus on youth. Previously she directed/produced the award winning feature doc's Tanzania A Journey Within & An Affair of the Heart, which chronicles the unique relationship between pop icon Rick Springfield and his intensely devoted fans. On the narrative side most recently DolGer Films was the U.S. production company for the Harvey Keitel film, Chosen, hitting theaters in October.  Previous feature producing credits include Aftermath, Grace, Dutch Book, Love N’ Dancing, Breaking Point, Blue Moon and The Deli. For television, Sylvia directed/produced the popular Travel Channel program's Great Hotels, Passport To Europe and Passport To Latin America. She has also produced various programs for TLC, WE, Lifetime & PBS and also directed/produced several web series. DolGer Films is in development on the crime series, The Hunter and the Mystic, recently selected by WeForShe as one of the top 16 un-produced teleplays written by  women. Sylvia is slated to make her narrative feature directorial debut with Chickadee starring Chris Cooper, Raoul Bova and Julie Kavner based on a controversial 1920’s landmark case. She is also developing several other projects as a director/producer The Exchange, an urban drama she penned with John Gallagher and Blackout Girl based on the award-winning, critically acclaimed memoir tackling the relevant topics of youth, addiction and sexual violence.


Carolyn Dimitri

Associate Professor, Food Studies, NYU

Carolyn Dimitri is an applied economist deeply interested in addressing the social problems of the food system, which arise from the highly efficient, market-based process that transforms agricultural commodities into the food we eat.  She is currently an Associate Professor of Food Studies at New York University, and has a research and teaching portfolio that spans a variety of topics related to the food system.  Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Dr. Dimitri worked as a research economist at the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture, where she was immersed in researching organic food systems and farm policy. Dr. Dimitri earned a PhD in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BA in Economics from SUNY Buffalo.


Aashish Kumar

Associate Professor of Radio, Television, and Film at Hofstra University

Professor Kumar has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in documentary, advocacy videos, interactive media, and television studies in the Radio/TV/Film Dept. He is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker and social action scholar whose work turns a spotlight on issues such as emerging democracies, social stigmas, globalization, migration, civic engagement, and grassroots advocacy.  His films have been shown in domestic and international film festivals, used in grassroots community advocacy, and distributed to academic institutions.  Most recently he was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant to spend six weeks this summer in Durban, South Africa, working with media students and faculty in developing strategies for grassroots community media work.  This is Prof. Kumar’s second Fulbright Award – he is also the recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar award in 2008 which allowed him to spend a semester in India teaching graduate documentary students and working on his documentary film on reverse migrants. One of Prof. Kumar’s favorite courses at Hofstra is Media Action Project, in which students partner with nonprofit organizations and learn how to use media to stimulate change in society.  Prof. Kumar’s most recent documentary follows the life of “reverse migrants” – Indian high-technology workers whose jobs were moved to India from the United States.  “Software from the Hard Rocks,” released in this summer 2014, explores how globalization transforms our sense of place and home. Kumar has also been recognized for several films championing grassroots advocacy, including “The Community I Serve,” which called for the humane treatment of those with mental illnesses by law enforcement.  It won “Best of Festival” and the “Award of Excellence” at the 2009 Festival of Media Arts by the Broadcast Education Association, and honorable mention a the Columbus International Film and Video Festival. His 2002 documentary, “Raising Our Voices,” addressed hate-crime victims and has been screened at the Smithsonian Institute, the Dallas Asian-American Film Festival, and more than 200 academic institutions and community-based organizations. In 2003, “Raising Our Voices” was added to the Library of Congress’s permanent collection of media related to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Currently Prof. Kumar is working on an interactive-media documentary on the LGBTQ experiences of South Asian American millennials and their families. He also serves as the Co-Director for Hofstra University’s Center for Civic Engagement, a university institute designed to educate students in democratic values by actively engaging them as knowledgeable citizens in collaborative partnerships with their campus, local, state, national, and global communities.

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