Ashli Akins is a human rights and environmental advocate, artist, and social entrepreneur. When she was 21, she founded Mosqoy, an international charitable organization that works with highland indigenous communities of the Andean mountains in Peru. Mosqoy aims to mitigate the adverse effects of unsustainable tourism and development in the region by facilitating economic opportunities that incorporate community voice and nurture their threatened culture and environment.
Ashli is pursuing her PhD in interdisciplinary studies at the University of British Columbia's Liu Institute for Global Issues, with Dr. Wade Davis (anthropology) and Dr. Michelle LeBaron (law). In 2014, she graduated from the University of Oxford with a master 's in International Human Rights Law; her thesis explored why the loss of culturally significant art is a human rights violation. She previously attended the University of Victoria, where she received a bachelor's degree in environmental studies, Latin American studies, and professional writing. She was recently honoured as one of (and the youngest of) UVic 's top 50 alumni in history who have made a difference in the world.
Ashli uses photography and writing to educate about international human rights and environmental injustices. In 2008, she completed a photography internship with National Geographic, and has published and exhibited around the world. Ashli has been honoured with dozens of awards, and has given hundreds of lectures and presentations globally, including two recent TedX talks: TedXVictoria in 2014 ("Unfulfilled Promises: Cultural Shrapnel of a Traveler") and TedXLangleyEd ("The Creativity of Chaos") in 2015.
Ashli grew up as the daughter of two classical violinists who formed a music school called "Earthnotes" with the motto, "Saving the Earth through Music." She knows the power of the arts to change the world, and to ignite passion and purpose in the hearts of those who may not have otherwise connected to a cause. A close friend to Daniel and many others involved in the Jellyfish Project, she is honoured and excited to be an advisor to such an innovative and meaningful initiative.