Meet the Team
No Human Being is permanent, and no definition can truly describe the being. But to identify for practical usage, following are individuals who work, and serve at Emerge
Mr. Devesh Gupta
Devesh Gupta is currently based out of New Delhi, India and is the founder at Emerge. Devesh has been involved in promoting Peace Education, and developing Discriminative Awareness through Self Transformation and Action, by direct classroom interventions through conducting workshops on psycho-socio themes at different schools and universities across the Indian Sub-Continent and in places like Afghanistan, Fiji, Malaysia. Devesh closely worked with The Dais India, International Centre for Sustainable Development for over 5 years as the Director for Youth Development Initiatives. Devesh has been closely advising Mr. Seth Mazibuko at June 16 Development Foundation in South Africa. Devesh holds a graduate degree in Law from University School of Law and Legal Studies, Delhi while having finished his schooling from Modern School Barakhamba Road, New Delhi. Devesh deeply believes in unconditional love, collective consciousness and action to be the centrality of existence and conducts self transformation and awareness building workshops and simulations to work on the themes of Consciousness and Self Realisation, Nuclear Disarmament, Climate Action and Access to Quality Education with various communities, individuals and organisations across the globe. Devesh represented the The Dais at The International Civil Society’s Week in 2017, and the World Assembly 2017 organized by CIVICUS and PIANGO in Fiji. Having facilitated the training of UN Volunteers District Youth Coordinators on Youth Parliament for United Nations Development Program India in 2018, 2019 at United Nations India, and having built capacity of Trainers for United Nations Youth Association, University of Maastricht, Netherlands, National University of Malaya, Malaysia, Devesh has also worked with District Administration Champawat, State of Uttarakhand, and District Administration Central Delhi on the implementation of various targets under Swachh Bharat Mission, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, and Digital India and the localisation of Sustainable Development Goals in Uttarakhand and Delhi.
Devesh deeply enjoys listening to Dire Straits, and Pink Floyd, while spending time with his family, and at the mountains.
Board of Advisors
Mr. Seth Mazibuko
Seth Mazibuko made an immense contribution to the struggle for liberation in South Africa as one of the leaders of the 1976 June 16 schools’ uprising to protest against the imposition of Bantu Education and Afrikaans as a compulsory medium of instruction in the education system. He worked with the calibre of youth leaders such as Tsietsi Mashinini, Sibongile Mthembu, Khotso Seathlolo, Antoneite Sithole, Murphy Morobe, Majakatata Mokoena and others whose contribution in the struggle for liberation might not have been acknowledged.
At the very tender age of 16yrs he was imprisoned at the infamous Robben Island Prison (now an internationally acclaimed museum) and kept with iconic leaders of the Black Consciousness Movement like Dr Saths Cooper, Dr Aubrey Mokoape, Muntu Myeza, Nkwenkwe Nkomo, Terror Lekota (of the 1977 Frelimo rally to celebrate the freedom of Mozambique) and the iconic leaders namely Nelson Mandela, Amhed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu and Zeph Mothopeng: not forgetting leaders from Namibia such as Toivo ya Toivo and his comrades.
When Seth Mazibuko came back from prison he made his contributions in the areas of education and community development, youth leadership development, history and heritage, served in the South African Human Rights Advisory Committee on Migration and worked in the Board and worked as the Chief Operation Officer of the Moral Regeneration Movement.
He was active in Education and he worked in the Quality Learning Project under the Joint Education Trust and funded by the Business Trust. He was deployed in the following areas namely, Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN), North West Province (NW) (now called Bojanala) and in the Eastern Cape. He later joined the Swedish government in support of the Department of Education in the Eastern Cape.
After serving as the CEO of the June 16, 1976 Foundation composed of the Class of 1976, he was approached by a group of young people to assist them in establishing the June 16 Youth Development Foundation whose focus is to also preserve and protect the history as well as the heritage of youth leadership in SA.
Mr. Carl Golembeski
Carl Golembeski is a roadie for the people, dedicated to unlocking the power of sound to connect and serve human beings. As a sound engineer, Carl has built a career touring globally for the past 13 years serving and supporting artists from Pop Stars like Beyonce to devotional bands like KRIPA. More importantly, as Carl notes, sound has informed his path of service. In his own words, “Sound taught me how to be present and listen, and that’s what’s necessary for service. To act from that place of listening.”
At age 17, Carl developed and co-created a safe space for youth for music and art in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania called Homebase. Functioning as a community center for the young people to express themselves and their vision.
Carl co-founded G2 audio solutions, which served as New York City’s major supplier for Pro Tools Systems for live performance playback from 2006- 2015.
In 2007, Carl went with Mary J Blige to South Africa and found the Entertainment Industry caught within a system of deep racism and oppression. Observing the working conditions and the show promoters' treatment towards the students, led Carl to the deeper inquiry of the state of South Africa's Education and technical Sector, simultaneously developing a close relationship with Freddie Nyathela and SARA to support and empower the technical sector in South Africa.
Carl encountered Mr. Seth Mazibuko in 2018, while on a trip to South Africa for the SARA Conference. Mr. Seth Mazibuko and Carl had an instant Heart and Soul connection, and this led to action of Service together for the Children and People of South Africa, particularly for the Soweto Township.
Carl introduced Mr. Seth Mazibuko to Devesh Gupta and together they developed a grass roots team based out of Soweto, to execute the Commemoration of 45th Anniversary of June 16,1976 led by the June 16 Youth Brigade and the grass root team from Soweto, while also empowering The June 16 Development Foundation to act and support the Youth of Soweto. Since then, Carl, Devesh and Mr. Seth Mazibuko with Emerge have been laying down the vision for 50th Anniversary of June 16,1976 Movement, and for the present and future of all generations of Soweto.
Today Carl spends a lot of his time currently serving at Hanuman Maui helping spread and preserve the virtue and heart legacy of Baba Ram Dass on the North Shore of Maui delivering meals to the homeless, recording kirtan albums and Carl is living out Ram Dass’s call to “love everyone, serve everyone, and remember God.”
Mr. Yousef Aouad
Yousef Aouad was born in Lebanon and spent his teen years studying by candle-light during the Lebanese civil war. At 17 he journeyed to the United States to attend The Ohio State University where he earned a BSc in Mathematics in 1983 and a BSc in Chemical Engineering in 1984. He worked for a couple of companies before joining Procter and Gamble in Brussels, Belgium in 1990. He is currently a Research Fellow at their facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ms. Jessica Persons
Ms. Persons is a licensed professional environmental engineer and senior technical consultant from the United States of America. She has over 12 years of experience working in the environmental regeneration industry in site characterization and regeneration, and previously 5 years as a process engineer in the paper manufacturing industry. Her higher education credits consist of the following:
•B.S. Chemical Engineering (University of Idaho) in 2002
•M.S. Environmental Engineering (Clemson University) in 2008
•Research Thesis entitled "Microcosm Evaluation of Vinyl Chloride Bio-Oxidation under Anaerobic Conditions" under Dr. David L. Freedman
During her time at Clemson University and during her professional career, she has supported her local Engineers Without Borders and Water For People chapters.
In 2019, Jessica traveled to India where she had the opportunity to meet Mr. Devesh Gupta.
Mr. Rushil Bhatt
Rushil is a third generation South African Indian. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant (South Africa) and a CFA Charterholder. He has worked as a private equity principal and investment banker in Sub-Saharan Africa for over 15 years. Rushil has been doing various spiritual practices over the last 5 years which has led him to also work with organisations that focus on social action.
Members at Emerge
Ms. Maria Papatheodorou
Who am I and Where am I in this life?
I think the best answer (with a bit of humor) to that is: I don’t really know. I can state some facts: I am 19 years old, I have finished school for a year now, so I moved from Athens (where I spent my teenage years) to Munich so as to enroll into university. Currently I am studying Political Science and Technology at Technical University of Munich and Philosophy at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
Well humor aside the truth is I am in that phase of life where one knows where exactly in life they stand and what they will do. One reads and learns and laughs and lives, in order to realize where in life they stand and in some way they know what they are and stand for, but not for sure, its just a feeling. Well that’s me. I have realized some things about the world, such as but not limited to environmental issues and social injustices and I have come to the end that I want to dedicate my life to making the world a better place. I just don’t know in which way yet and what my place in the world is, but I am eager to find out.
Looking back in time I think there were a lot of moments when I realized something in the world is not right. But I believe one of the strongest moments that sparked my interests in environmental and climate issues was when my mother showed my I believe 10 year old self a graph of different temperature rise scenarios. She explained to my like you would explain to a child that the world might become very hot in the future, if humankind doesn’t act soon enough. But that I shouldn’t worry, because the politicians were on it. We would simply have to do our share. So I started doing my share.
Ms. Agul Christina Deng
I was born and partly raised in Ethiopia; I moved to U.S when I was 12 years old. Since I have been young, I always want to want help and give back to the community.The inspiration to walk on the path of service came from my grandfather. I was not quite sure what path in life I wanted to walk on. However, it did not take long for me to figure out what I have been passionate about.
I was born in a refugee camp where there were not many opportunities for advancement of life than basic sustenance. However, my mom was able to seek an immigration asylum to come US in 2011. When I first step my foot in the United States, I wanted to work with the UN and looked forward to to it for changing a lot of people's lives like mine got changed.
When I arrived at the US, I did not know how to read or write but I came in at a perfect age. I was put in the 6th grade and ever since, I have worked very hard to learn English and get to the current position I am in today. Despite all the struggle my family and I went through. I was the first child from my mother children to complete high school and went on to college. I am a role model for my younger siblings and other children in South Sudan. Additionally, I am attending college with a full basketball scholarship. I am blessed to be in this position, and my goal and purpose is to help young generations to fulfill their dreams.
My mom looks up to me to be the kid that will change our lives and lead the way for others in our community. So, knowing my purpose, It fuels my spirit to grind harder every day. In addition, I use my talent in basketball as a tool to pay for my education and make connections that I couldn't have made without it. Also, basketball took me to places which I couldn't travel to, on my own.
I want to be an ambassador or a diplomat and work with UN to better this world; and basketball has given me an opportunity to attend college and major in International Relations which will help me to get into any of these field. Above all, basketball has made my dream come true for being among the first South Sudanese women’s national team . I went back to home (South Sudan) after a tournament in 2021. While I was home, I learned so much about how tough life can be on citizens that are still living there in poverty. And ever since, I have been inspired by that and want to make an impact on as many lives as possible. And I know my grandfather would proud of me to follow his footsteps.