Guy Verhofstadt is a Belgian politician who has served as the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group and Member of the European Parliament since 2009. He was also one of the founders of the Spinelli Group and he was named the European Parliament's representative on matters relating to Brexit. Previously, he served as the Prime Minister of Belgium, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Budget. Furthermore, Verhofstadt was a Member of the Chamber of Representatives for over twenty years.
An experienced diplomat, Veronika Wand-Danielsson currently serves as the Swedish Ambassador in France. Prior to this assignment, she has held several positions in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was the Swedish Ambassador to NATO for seven years. During this period, Sweden has developed and strengthened its partnership with NATO, with its contributions to the missions in Afghanistan and Libya.
Nassira is a French journalist and one of the few female editors-in-chief of a French national media outlet. She began her career as a TV reporter and news anchor at Itele/Canal+ before joining France 2 where she worked as a reporter for the evening TV news. In 2016, she took the helm of the Bondy Blog, a news website that gives voices to the voiceless. In her work, Nassira puts the emphasis on local investigations, especially of marginalised people living on the outskirts of cities, particularly around Paris.
Ignacio is a journalist, political analyst and Founder and Director of www.eldiario.es, an online media political analysis site. Previously Ignacio founded and managed the well-known newspaper Publico. He also manages www.escolar.net, the most popular and widely read political blog in Spain, which was named best political and journalist blog of the year in 2008 and 2009. Ignacio is also the founder of Bitban, a technology and design consulting company for Internet media communication, working with clients all over the world. In 2009 he was awarded the José Manuel Porquet Journalism Prize, the Mujeres Progresistas Prize for declining to publish prostitution ads in Publico and the Nicolas Salmeron for Human Rights Prize.
Aaron currently serves as Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds and Social Dialogue. Previously, he ran the Malta Freeport, which was established in 1988 as the first transhipment hub in the Mediterranean. The company has experienced remarkable growth and currently ranks twelfth among the top European ports. Aaron served as president of the Labour Youth Forum and was elected deputy mayor of Ta’ Xbiex in 2005. During the international financial crisis, he was appointed to a team of economic experts set up by the Young European Socialists and was elected as Education Secretary in the Maltese Labour Party’s Central Administration. Aaron also chaired the progressive think tank IDEAT, the party’s political foundation. In 2014, he founded the Anton Buttigieg Foundation, which seeks to promote social awareness in Malta, focusing on education as the primary tool for economic and social development.
Alexandre, known under the tag name ‘Vhils’, is a Portuguese street artist, best known for his urban murals, his use of urban settings – walls, doors, debris – as ‘canvasses’ or materials for his art, as well as the destructive processes by which he constructs art. Alexandre studied in London, and gained prominence when his work was showcased at the Cans Festival in London. As well as technically and visually innovative, Alexandre’s art has a social function as it attempts to cast a spotlight on situations of social injustice, and to create a dialogue around these. His work has since continued to gain recognition, with his work appearing in cities worldwide and he has been featured alongside street artists of the likes of Banksy.
Jorge is Director of E-Health and Health 2.0 and Innovation Manager at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona. He has over 15 years of experience in biomedicine and healthcare, with a strong focus on technology, working on projects throughout Europe with healthcare providers, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and biotech companies, as well as medical devices and digital health ventures. He regularly acts as advisor and mentor to various healthcare start-ups and entrepreneurial acceleration programs, where he helps create a stronger ecosystem in the biomedical and healthcare industries. Jorge is also Director of Academics at Moebio – the Biomedical Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship –, where he teaches Entrepreneurship and Innovation and is in charge of designing the curriculum. Jorge is a graduate in European Political Economy from the London School of Economics.
Mary is an analyst and journalist specialising in the Euro-Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has worked on Libya since 2011 and lived there throughout 2014. She has conducted research on Libya for the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), the European University Institute (EUI) and IEMED among others, and is a contributing author to an edited volume on the Libyan revolution published by Oxford University Press. Mary has worked on a number of award-winning radio documentaries for the BBC, one of which won a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award.
Cristina is a software engineer and tech entrepreneur, who co-founded one of Silicon Valley’s fastest growing companies, Talkdesk. a platform that allows anyone to quickly create a call centre online. Previously, Cristina has worked as a researcher at INESC-ID, a Portuguese non-profit institution conducting advanced research in electronics, energy, telecommunications and information technologies. Cristina is passionate about Artificial Intelligence and the impact of technology, and advises early-stage start-ups.
Myriam is an academic, broadcaster and writer specialising in issues related to Islam and the Middle East. She is a regular contributor to the Middle East Eye, the New Statesman and the Telegraph. In 2014, she broke a headline story on an exclusive 36-page document written by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al-Qaeda militant behind the 9/11 attacks. Since then, she presented two BBC documentaries, ‘The Muslim Pound’ (2016) and ‘A Deadly Warning: Srebrenica Revisited’ (2015) nominated for the Sandford St Martin religious programming award. Myriam is also a Research Associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies at SOAS University, where she focuses on British-Muslim integration issues. She recently completed her doctorate at Oxford University on the subject of Islamic political movements in Morocco.
Markus is the founder of the Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE), a leading financial intermediary that helps social enterprises scale their social impact by helping them raise hybrid growth capital. FASE has built an open pipeline of investment-ready social enterprises and closed sixteen transactions leveraging around €6m in impact investments. Markus is also a member of the Expert Group on Social Entrepreneurship (GECES), a consultative multi-stakeholder group on social business that examines the progress of measures foreseen by the European Commission. He has experience of working with many social enterprises in finding appropriate financing solutions and scaling-up the impact of proven business models. Markus worked for seven years as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where one of his roles was providing pro-bono consulting for social entrepreneurs.
Alessandro is a former Advisor to the Italian Economic Development Minister on European Affairs, Innovation and Youth, and former Head of Office at the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Previously he was an official at the Council of the European Union dealing with global economic governance (G20/IMF). He has worked for the Italian Prime Minister’s office in Rome as part of the G8 team, as well as for the Italian Ministry of International Trade. He teaches at the LUISS Guido Carlo School of Government in Rome and at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris. He was until recently President of RENA, the Italian association of young professionals promoting innovation, merit, youth empowerment and a new generation of local public policies. He is also the author of two novels.