Master of Ceremonies
Comedian, actor, writer, director
Negin Farsad was named one of the Funniest Women of 2015 by Huffington Post, named one of the 10 Best Feminist Comedians by Paper Magazine, and was selected as a TEDFellow for her work in social justice comedy. She is the author of How to Make White People Laugh, a memoir-meets-social-justice-comedy manifesto which has been nominated for a Thurber Prize for Humor (published by Grand Central/Hachette). Farsad is host of Fake the Nation, a political comedy round-table podcast on the Earwolf network. She is also the director/writer/star of the romantic comedy 3rd Street Blackout, starring Janeane Garofalo, Ed Weeks, and John Hodgman. You can see her in the upcoming season of HBO's High Maintenance. She has written for/appeared on Comedy Central, MTV, PBS, IFC, Nickelodeon and others. She is director/producer of the feature films The Muslims Are Coming! starring Jon Stewart, David Cross and Lewis Black and Nerdcore Rising starring Weird Al Yankovic (both available wherever movies are streamed/downloaded). She has written good-old fashioned articles for The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Wired and others. She has sued New York State’s MTA over the right to put up funny posters about Muslims and WON. She started her comedy career as a Cornell and Columbia-educated policy advisor for the City of New York.
Actor, writer, and comedian
Former Daily Show correspondent, actor, writer, and comedian, Aasif Mandvi, is the co-creator of the Peabody Award winning, Halal in The Family. Mandvi's feature films include Mother’s Day, Million Dollar Arm, The Internship, The Proposal and Premium Rush. He co-wrote and starred in the indie hit, Today’s Special. He has a recurring role on this season's Younger on TVLAND and has another recurring role in A Series of Unfortunate Events for Netflix. Mandvi wrote, produced, and starred in HBO’s The Brink, opposite Jack Black. He is a recipient of an Obie Award for his critically acclaimed, one-man show, Sakina’s Restaurant. Other stage credits include the leading role in the Pulitzer Prize winning, Disgraced, at Lincoln Center and the Broadway revival of Oklahoma. Mandvi is also the author of a book of personal essays entitled No Land’s Man, published by Chronicle Books.
Poet, Founder of Youth Against Sexual Assault (YASA)
Govind Ramakrishnan is a 12th grader at Trinity School in New York and founder of the non-profit organization Youth Against Sexual Assault (YASA), which seeks to inspire and equip young people to stop sexual violence and lead the revolution for gender equality. He is also a poet of free verse, haiku, senryu, and tanka. who has been featured in the prominent English haiku journal Presence. Last summer, Govind led a haiku and tanka workshop for village children hosted by the Agastya International Foundation in Kuppam, India.
My World in Fifty Words is his first book. Govind has dedicated all proceeds from sales of the first edition to Breakthrough.
After Party Music & Dance
Donna D’Cruz was born in South India and grew up in Australia before settling in New York City. Her personal journey makes her uniquely qualified to weave contemporary rhythms and music with the mystical and spiritual world traditions. Her connections in the club world and the fashion world help her unite different high-profile scenes. Donna has also founded one of the world’s foremost lifestyle brands, Rasa Living, which focuses on music and creating tools for health, enlightenment and conscious entertaining.
Donna performs around the world – St. Tropez, New York, Cabo, Ibiza, St. Barts, Paris, London, Dubai, Istanbul and Udaipur – for everyone from Google Zeitgeist to Bollywood royalty, HSH Prince Albert and HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco’s royal wedding. With her distinctive signature “Rasa Rocks” crystal headphones (designed by Donna D’Cruz for Swarovoski), Donna has become the darling of the international jet-set because of her enormous breadth of musical repertoire and encyclopedic knowledge of music, as well as, her sense of humor, style and her uncanny psychic ability to connect with an audience. As a performer, she is spontaneous, fun and delightfully unpredictable.
Donna is recognized as a “Trendsetter” by Conde Nast, was voted one of Paper Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People,” is a “The Vogue 100″ awardee and was awarded the “Asian Woman in Business Entrepreneurial Leadership” award. She has collaborated with Jean Paul Gaultier, Donna Karan, Dolce & Gabbana, Max Azria and Naeem Khan.