Making sense of transitions in an age of crises: a Renewed Social Contract for a new era

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Making sense of transitions in an age of crises: A new social contract for a new era

What happened?

Western support for Ukraine must be maintained to save democracy in Europe from the threat posed by Russia, Friends of Europe’s annual State of Europe event heard on Thursday.

“Ukrainians are fighting for our freedom and for our markets and our democracy and that’s why it’s so important,” Mark Gitenstein, United States Ambassador to the European Union, told participants. “In the answer to threats to democracy […] it is critical that we do not flinch, we do not equivocate, we do not appease.”

Gitenstein was among speakers who stressed the importance of strengthening civil society and the free media in Ukraine – and in Western nations – to ensure continued support for Kyiv from politicians and the public as the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion intensifies the energy and cost-of-living crises.

The point was underscored by Inna Shevchenko, Ukrainian author and activist, journalist at Charlie Hebdo and the leader of the international FEMEN women’s movement. “It’s a war of values […] and no war of values can be won without civil society,” she said. “As long as the rest of the world supports Ukraine, Ukrainians will continue fighting and as long as Ukrainians are willing to fight, the world has to support Ukraine.”

Other issues tackled at the day-long festival of politics and ideas included redefining an inclusive and sustainable model for economic growth; gender equality; rewiring health systems in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic; globalisation; and the Friends of Europe’s drive to define a Renewed Social Contract for the 21st century. 

“We need to rely more on science and innovation. Without innovation, we won’t be able to put through all of these ambitions,” noted Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40). “We need to drive a human-centric digital transformation of our social interaction. We need to foster more societal awareness of the challenges ahead.”

State of Europe 2022

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Schedule

Schedule

Welcome coffee and registration
EARLY BIRD BRIEFINGS — EUROPE 360°
Expand EARLY BIRD BRIEFINGS — EUROPE 360°

This set of parallel early-bird briefings, held by experts in their respective fields, will feature short and inspiring conversations to discuss Europe’s position in the world and the relationship with its neighbours, namely Africa, the United States, China, the Arctic, and the Black Sea.

TABLE 1 – Europe and Africa: turning the rhetoric of an ‘equal partnership’ into practice

Dr Elsa Zekeng

‘Sciencepreneuse’ and Founder of SökerData Ltd.

TABLE 2 – Europe and the United States: closer than ever?

Anthony L. Gardner

Former Ambassador, Permanent Representation of the United States to the European Union

TABLE 3 – Europe and China: partners, competitors, rivals

Yuan Yang

First Financial Times Europe-China Correspondent, Co-founder of Rethinking Economics International

TABLE 4 – Europe and the Arctic: preserving an open and cooperative area of relatively low tension

Clara Ganslandt

Special Envoy for Arctic Matters, European External Action Service (EEAS)

TABLE 5 – Europe and its Eastern Neighbourhood: geopolitical backwater at the forefront of European security

Paul Taylor

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe

PLENARY - SCENE SETTING — Personal stories of change, transition, and livelihoods
Expand PLENARY - SCENE SETTING — Personal stories of change, transition, and livelihoods

As yet another crisis unfolds and EU member states become home to millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war, humanitarian issues are again becoming a priority for the continent.

Adapting to the new realities brought on by the war and other crises over the last years will require supporting and managing transitions not only for Ukrainians but also for communities across the whole of Europe.

Reality bites. The objective of this session is to home in on the real-world experiences of people and communities shattered by crises who are now having to rebuild their livelihoods. Such experiences must be the basis of how we rethink current policies and the purpose of a new social contract in Europe.

SCENE SETTING BY THREE EUROPEAN CITIZENS

Bassel Taylouni

Entrepreneur with a personal story of resilience fleeing the war in Syria, European citizen

Anya Verkamp

Campaign Coordinator with a personal story of resilience overcoming climate change-induced trauma, European citizen

Francesca Vincentie

Artist with a personal story of resilience overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, European citizen

MODERATOR

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

PLENARY - OPENING SESSION — A shift in thinking: in changing times, who should be responsible for building a better society?
Expand PLENARY - OPENING SESSION — A shift in thinking: in changing times, who should be responsible for building a better society?

The ‘fuel or food’ crisis, together with the climate emergency and the highest public debt in history, call into question how we make ends meet. Combined, the crises we have recently encountered have made us fundamentally rethink our models of government, markets and the role of the private sector. Building upon the experiences shared in the scene-setter, this opening session will dive into the role of the state, the health of European democracies, and whether our governments are up to the challenges of the 21st century, with the rising costs of food and living and the climate emergency at the forefront. While the state has long been considered the entity most responsible for individuals’ well-being, changing times call for a re-ordering of society.

This session will suggest that a new system cannot be built upon the same foundation as the old one, and that current democratic governance systems are failing to address some of the most pressing and difficult societal challenges of our time. Climate change, widening social inequality, erosion of the rule of law, and the rise of extreme politics across Europe are both causes and consequences of traditional politics’ inability to cope in the face of accelerating global change. It’s time to bring on a fundamentally new way of thinking and ask new questions, namely whether the responsibilities and roles of the state should be divided and distributed differently throughout society.

  • How ‘big’ should national governments be and what role can taxation play in the current geopolitical environment?
  • How is the role of the private sector changing and what new responsibilities can we expect it to bear?
  • How can the EU adapt itself to a future that will be even more unpredictable and crisis-driven? Will all member states play ball in defining a new social contract for Europe? Will the roles of the EU and the member states change to meet new responsibilities?

This discussion will additionally be supported and informed by ideas and insights from citizens gathered via our Debating Europe platform at its 6.5 million strong user community.

INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSANTS

Mariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, European Young Leader (EYL40)

Sven Smit

Chair of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company

Veronica Tsepkalo

Belarus opposition leader, Founder and Chair of the Belarus Women’s Foundation

MODERATOR

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Coffee break
PARALLEL SESSION I — Redefining the toolkit of modern warfare
Expand PARALLEL SESSION I — Redefining the toolkit of modern warfare

The war in Ukraine has placed the onus on the strength of society in the face of insecurity and gave rise to new whole-of-economy, whole-of-society approaches to warfare. It is redefining the roles of governments, citizens, multilateralism, and non-state actors, such as the private sector and civil society. We have witnessed a range of responses to the war in Ukraine, from economic sanctions and the withdrawal of business activities from Russia to private sector actors providing internet and digital support to Ukrainians on the frontline, and entrepreneurial alliances between hackers and cybersecurity experts to tackle disinformation and protect citizens. The speed of economic sanctions to prevent all-out war was perhaps a defining moment for a more effective form of multilateralism, however, future analysis may struggle to separate the impact of these deterrents from the actions of non-state actors.

  • In which areas of the conflict spectrum (communication, propaganda, technology, etc.) can the private sector and civil society groups have the greatest impact?
  • Where do governments encourage or discourage private sector and civil society initiatives, as they have done regarding foreign fighters, illicit financial flows or arms smuggling to conflict zones in the past? What in this regard makes one war different from another or one side more deserving of assistance?
  • How do we deter aggressive operations or invasions aimed at countries not formally aligned with existing defensive Alliance?

INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSANTS

James Appathurai

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Mark Gitenstein

United States Ambassador to the European Union

Inna Shevchenko

Ukrainian Author and Activist, journalist at Charlie Hebdo, leader at FEMEN International

Yulia Svyrydenko

Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy

Citizen's reaction by

Luca Mapelli

MODERATOR

Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

PARALLEL SESSION II — Globalisation and strategic autonomy in a new geopolitical landscape
Expand PARALLEL SESSION II — Globalisation and strategic autonomy in a new geopolitical landscape

During the COVID-19 crisis, the impact of ‘rampant’ globalisation was called into question and opened up new conversations about supply chains. Suddenly, the world woke up to the effects of inherent interdependency of commodities, technology, and vaccine production. Given the dramatic changes in the geopolitical context over the last couple of months, the aim of achieving the EU’s strategic autonomy, whilst preserving an open economy, is even more crucial. Rethinking globalisation, European strategic autonomy and sovereignty of supply chains are more than buzzwords, as they have now become policy priorities and urgent to-dos. While it is far from the policy ambitions of any government to truly dismantle globalisation, important questions pertaining to building strong and competitive sectors while avoiding risks arising from excessive reliance on third-country institutions and infrastructures imperatively need answers. Given the dramatic energy situation arising in Europe and decades of postponement, Europe is bracing itself for an energy crisis in the coming winter.

  • Now that the war in Ukraine is giving Europe a real-life example of the dangers of interconnected grids and markets, what are the real impacts of globalisation on European citizens and what mitigation measures can be further developed?
  • How should issues of fairness be addressed when regions and localities – whether industrial communities in eastern Europe or rural communities in southern Europe – feel the effects differently?
  • How can the EU’s vision of strategic autonomy to counter supply chain disruption and strengthen resilience be squared with the bloc’s ambition to be a strong multilateral actor on the world stage?

INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSANTS

Marek Havrda

Czech Deputy Minister for European Affairs

Terhi Lehtonen

Finnish State Secretary for the Environment

Bruno Maçães

Author of ‘Geopolitics for the End Time’ (2021) and the bestseller ‘Manifesto of Virtualism’, columnist for the New Statesman, Former Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs

Angela Paolini Ellard

Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO)

Citizen's reaction by

Mariana Pinto Veiga

MODERATOR

Lunch break
PARALLEL SESSION III — Rewiring or revolutionising health systems
Expand PARALLEL SESSION III — Rewiring or revolutionising health systems

COVID-19 opened the pandora’s box of healthcare inadequacies across Europe, but also left hope that member states could overcome their differences to cooperate in radically new ways.

The EU and its member states had to work differently and cut through operational barriers to manage the health crisis through new forms of cooperation, despite limited EU competence in health. The pandemic crucially revealed the links between health and stable, well-functioning societies. The close collaboration and innovation of the past two years could be leveraged to build efficient, cost-effective and high-tech health systems that deliver for all.

A Europe-wide settlement on how to tackle health crises in the future is needed. From revitalising the depleted health workforce to creating a world-class data environment, there are big challenges for health systems to overcome, but also opportunities to build and progress. The identification of health as a strategic sector opens the door to new financial investment and greater interlinks within Europe for health services and supplies. As Europe gets to grip with the big tasks of shaping the green and digital transition, health is a building block in the new vision of European economies and societies.

  • What is the right way to balance EU action with member state autonomy to improve health equity and meet citizen demands?
  • Is the issue of the EU’s competency on health still the right question? Or is it time to radically rethink public healthcare in a way that does not leave the EU and each member state working on separate tracks?
  • From quantum computing and advanced home monitoring, to genomics and digital twins, a wave of scientific and digital breakthroughs is about to bear fruit for health. Will they break the bank or help make scarce funds go further?
  • The past two years showed the resilience and innovative potential of health systems. How can the EU and member states go further to create agile health systems that can meet current needs and prepare for future developments – both known and unknown – like climate and demographic change?

INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSANTS

Fabienne Bartoli

Directrice Générale de la Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS), France

Morten Elbaek Petersen

Director of the Danish Public Health Portal Sundhed.dk

Jean-Luc Lemercier

Corporate Vice-President of EMEA, Canada, Latin America, Japan and Asia Pacific at Edwards Lifesciences

Citizen's reaction by

Dana van den Hurk

MODERATOR

PARALLEL SESSION IV — Digitalisation, an essential societal infrastructure. Making it work, making it resilient
Expand PARALLEL SESSION IV — Digitalisation, an essential societal infrastructure. Making it work, making it resilient

In her State of the Union this year, President von der Leyen reiterated Europe’s ambition to finance the transition to a digital and net-zero economy. Increasingly, digitalisation is a fundamental part of societal infrastructure, from connectivity that supports consumer mobile services, through to healthcare, education, agriculture, transportation, industrial capabilities and more. Getting societal infrastructure to work and be resilient means that we need to have a long hard look at the relationship between the public and private sectors and their respective roles to ensure there is no public harm. How do we get this right and what does it need ?

Also, there is a nexus between development in space and digitalisation. A negative impact on our digitalisation agenda will consequently affect Europe’s space capabilities to ensure connectivity remains advanced, affordable, resilient, and effective for all. Space also has a potential to generate new forms of energy. In the current crisis how can this be harnessed in a safe way within a short time frame.

  • How can Europe create an enabling environment for success that fosters a competitive, facilitative, and inclusive ecosystem, and incentivises European-grown companies that are working on connectivity and 5G to remain on the continent?
  • Learning from the current energy crisis what do we need to have in place that doesn’t negatively impact the economic model of today to transition to greener, more resilient alternatives? What do we need to do to accelerate access to credible and efficient supply chains with liberal minded economies?
  • Is there a trade-off between regulation that enhances productivity and innovation with consumers protection?

INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSANTS

Petra De Sutter

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service, Public Enterprises, Telecommunication and the Postal Services, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Murielle Lorilloux

EU Cluster and Enterprise Americas & Asia Pacific Director at Vodafone Business

Pilvi Torsti

Finnish State Secretary for Transport and Communications

Elodie Viau

Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at the European Space Agency (ESA)

Citizen's reaction by

Sophie Bogaerts

MODERATOR

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Coffee Break
CLOSING SESSION AND TABLE CONVERSATIONS — Redefining an inclusive and sustainable model of economic growth
Expand CLOSING SESSION AND TABLE CONVERSATIONS — Redefining an inclusive and sustainable model of economic growth

It is essential to keep an eye on the speed and scale of poverty, joblessness, and access to housing. Part of addressing these issues will be about rejecting perceived norms of economic theory, as well as GDP’s historic role as a basis for borrowing and as the only measure of risk to our economic well-being. Governments can and should increase the percentage of what is acceptable in terms of borrowing against GDP.

Failing to keep people, communities and businesses afloat now will incur a much higher price on the public expenditure – not only social security costs but a whole range of indicators of public sector costs and private sector defaults, especially amongst SMEs, deemed the bulwark of any economy.

The private sector will need to become a partner of governments in seeding a just digital and green transition. The private sector also owns a responsibility to communicate about transition and bring the public on board. A more-than-profit business model is emerging. The reality of the 21st century is that the interdependencies between government, the community and the private sector are inherent and multiple and require nurturing and made to be more resilient.

In times of crisis, the domestic to-do list does not disappear. The climate crisis manifesting itself in myriad ways must be addressed at all levels of governance, from individual initiative through municipalities all the way to European policy making, by coupling EU and national legislation and initiatives to supranational recommendations such as those delivered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

  • The way to a reformed European Fiscal Rule: what should the new rule deliver on and how will European Union Member States reach a consensus?
  • What does a climate-resilient Europe look like in practice and what is the role of the private sector in helping citizens regain trust in the willingness of private companies and public institutions to work with on solving the climate emergency and other crises we face?
  • How do we ensure that the long-term objectives of the Green Deal, the Digital Decade and the Global Gateway are not side-tracked and that these transitions remain inclusive?

All of this points to the need to redefine the social contract for Europe. How we go about this will require governments, the private sector and civil society to engage in frank and honest conversations about their respective roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities. This discussion will be informed by insights from citizens gathered via our Debating Europe platform and will culminate in a policy drafting exercise building on the outcomes of Focus Groups on the role of the private sector and the renewed social contract.


PART ONE – Panel debate

With

Nadia Calviño

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation

Lana Popovic

Europe Operations President, the Coca-Cola Company

Ricardo Mourinho Félix

Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

Elisa Ferreira

European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform


PART TWO – Policy recommendations for a socially just Europe

Parallel conversation tables to produce recommendations for a renewed social contract in Europe

introduction by

Nicolas Schmit

European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights

TABLE 1 – Leveraging Taxation

Francesca Cavallo

Bestselling author of “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”, Founder & CEO of Undercats and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40) 

Gerassimos Thomas

European Commission Director-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD)

TABLE 2 – Just Transition

Patrick Huntjens

Author and Professor, Maastricht University and InHolland University, Ambassador of the Global Research and Action Network for a New Eco-Social Contract

Pascal Lamy

Vice President of the Paris Peace Forum, former director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Trustee of Friends of Europe and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation High-Level Group of Personalities

TABLE 3 – Digital Inclusion and Training

Nicolas Brien

Entrepreneur and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Cristina Pozzi

Co-Founder and CEO at Treccani Futura and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

TABLE 4 – Poverty and Social Inequality

Silja Markkula

President of the European Youth Forum

Ricardo Rio

Mayor of Braga and Winner of the 2021 World Mayor Sustainability Award

TABLE 5 – Employment, Skills and Education

Isabelle Durant

Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Founder & Managing Director of Women's Worldwide Web (W4), Senior Fellow for Women, Peace and Security at Friends of Europe and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

TABLE 6 - Health

Gunilla Carlsson

Member of the Board of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation

Oxana Domenti

World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the European Union

moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Conclusion

Etienne Davignon

President of Friends of Europe, Belgian Minister of State and former European commission vice-president

End of State of Europe: Festival of politics and ideas
Discussants include

Discussants include

Photo of Jamila Aanzi
Jamila Aanzi

Member of the Dutch Appeal Advisory Committee on Childcare Allowance and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jamila Aanzi

Jamila Aanzi is a leading independent strategic consultant, educator and board member. She currently serves on the Dutch government appeal advisory commission to provide advice about the childcare benefits affair. Furthermore, she is a board member of the World Press Photo and the Stichting JES Rijland, an organisation that promotes the rights of youngsters in education and society. For various international clients, Aanzi provides consulting and coaching services about leadership, empowerment, education, diversity and inclusion. Aanzi previously worked as a senior international political trainer for the Max van der Stoel Foundation, with political parties in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and North Africa on diversity, the inclusion of young people and women, EU enlargement and democracy. Previously, she was the Dutch women’s representative to the United Nations, a member of the European Elections Programme Committee of the Dutch Social Democratic Party (PvdA) and the vice president of FNV Young, the youth network of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions.

Photo of Samir Abdelkrim
Samir Abdelkrim

Founder of EMERGING Valley, Member of the Digital Strategy Group at the Africa-Europe Foundation and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Samir Abdelkrim

Samir Abdelkrim is a French entrepreneur, author and tech reporter. Passionate about all things digital, he founded EMERGING Valley as an international summit on African innovation to connect tech start-ups with investors, thinkers and decision-makers across continents. He also leads StartupBRICS, a company that provides insights on entrepreneurship in emerging economies. Abdelkrim is a former chronicler on African tech entrepreneurs for Le Monde and has also featured in Huffington Post, Le Point and Les Echos. His book, “Startup Lions”, chronicles his experience travelling the African continent in search of the most interesting and innovative tech start-ups. With French President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘Summit of the Two Shores of the Mediterranean’ initiative, Abdelkrim was amongst 10 selected to make proposals to relaunch European and Mediterranean cooperation.

Alviina Alametsä
Alviina Alametsä

Member of the European Parliament, Member of the Helsinki City Council and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Alviina Alametsä

A Finnish politician representing the group of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament, Alviina is an advocate of human rights, peace, the environment, as well as mental health and wellbeing. As a Member of the European Parliament, she serves as a Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and as her group’s coordinator for the Subcommittee on Security and Defence. She is also a substitute Member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Development, and serves as a Co-Chair of the Coalition for Mental Health and Wellbeing. She was the shadow rapporteur for parliamentary reports on security in the Arctic and the Sahel region. Alviina also serves as a Member of the Helsinki City Council, where she has led several successful initiatives to tackle discrimination, increase accessibility to natural areas and set up low-threshold mental health clinics in the Finnish capital city. Alviina is one of the initiators of #Terapiatakuu, a citizens’ initiative to speed up and facilitate access to mental health care.

Photo of Alberto Alemanno
Alberto Alemanno

Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris, Founder of The Good Lobby, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Alberto Alemanno

Alberto Alemanno is a leading voice on the democratization of the European Union. He’s currently the Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law at HEC Paris and visiting professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and at the University of Tokyo School of Public Policy. His research has been centred on how the law may be used to improve people’s lives, in particular through the adoption of power-shifting reforms countering social, economic, and political inequalities within European societies and beyond. He is a regular contributor to Le Monde, Bloomberg, Politico Europe, Forbes, and Il Sole 24 Ore, and his scholarly work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Financial Times, as well as Science and Nature.

Photo of Joaquín Almunia
Joaquín Almunia

Visiting Professor at PSIA-Sciences Po Paris, former vice-president of the European Commission and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Joaquín Almunia

Joaquín Almunia is an experienced politician, who is currently a Visiting Professor at LSE and Sciences Po Paris. As the commissioner responsible for competition policy at the European Commission, he led efforts to control the state aid granted to banks during crisis and to ensure fair competition between businesses and companies. Prior to that, Almunia was responsible for economic and monetary affairs during Barroso’s first mandate as European Commission president.

James Appathurai
James Appathurai

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Show more information on James Appathurai

Prior to his current position, James Appathurai has served as the deputy assistant secretary general for political affairs and security policy, and as the NATO Secretary General’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia. He has also held several other positions within NATO, including as NATO spokesperson and as deputy head and senior planning officer for the policy planning and speechwriting section of the political affairs division. Before joining NATO, he was a policy officer at Canada’s Department of Defence.

Dawood Azami
Dawood Azami

Multi-Media Editor (News and Current Affairs) at BBC World Service and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Dawood Azami

Dawood is one of the most promising young journalists and scholars of his generation in the UK. He has been working for the BBC World Service in London as a Senior Broadcast Journalist and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster, where he teaches Globalization, Power and International Governance. He joined the BBC in 1998 and also worked as the BBC World Service Bureau Chief and Editor in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was also a visiting scholar at Ohio State University, USA. He holds three Bachelor’s and three Master’s degrees, including Science, Law, International Relations and Diplomacy. In 2010, Dawood became the youngest person to ever win the biggest award in the BBC, the “Global Reith Award for Outstanding Contribution”. He is also a poet/writer, calligrapher and painter/artist.

Erenik Beqiri
Erenik Beqiri

Film director, screenwriter and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Erenik Beqiri

Erenik is an award-winning Albanian film director and screenwriter based in Tirana. His films showcase the inner struggles of characters and highlight the comic, tragic or grotesque aspects of society. His latest short film, “The Van”, was in the running for the Short Film Palme d’Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival and shortlisted in the Live Action Short Film category for the 93rd Academy Awards. His earlier short films include “Bon Appetit”, “Alphonso” and “Seed Money”. Erenik’s works have featured in several internationally renowned film festivals, including the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Sarajevo Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Brussels Short Film Festival. He has also participated in the Sarajevo Talent Campus programme at the Sarajevo Film Festival as a screenwriter.

Sophie Bogaerts
Sophie Bogaerts

Show more information on Sophie Bogaerts

Sophie Bogaerts is a 22-year-old Belgian from Flanders. She has a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Trade and is currently pursuing her master’s degree MBA in Corporate Finance, at the KU Leuven University. During her bachelor’s, she did an internship at EUMANS as a political networker and community engagement intern, focusing on participatory democracy. As for her spare time, she likes to engage in political debates, read informational books, and she is looking to move abroad next year.

Laurent Bontoux
Laurent Bontoux

Member of the Cabinet of European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovic

Show more information on Laurent Bontoux

Previously serving as Senior Foresight Expert in the European Commission Joint Research Centre’s Competence Centre for Foresight, Laurent Bontoux plays a role in bringing future-oriented systemic thinking into EU policymaking, while striving to be as inclusive as possible and to apply participative approaches. Starting his career off as a food technology engineer and an environmental engineer, he went on to spend three years ensuring the environmental safety of household products at Procter & Gamble in Brussels. Since joining the European Commission in 1993, Bontoux has spent most of his career working at the nexus of science and policy on a wide range of issues, including health and environmental risk assessment, research, environmental technologies, sustainability issues and long-term thinking.

Photo of Laure Blanchard-Brunac
Laure Blanchard-Brunac

Director of Policy and Partnerships at the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI)

Show more information on Laure Blanchard-Brunac

Laure Blanchard-Brunac has over 20 years of experience in sustainable investment, including in development finance and EU policy. Prior to her role as the Director of Policy and Partnerships at EDFI, she worked at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development in various senior functions, the European Commission and the French Development Finance Institution PROPARCO. After spending more than ten years executing debt and equity transactions, Blanchard-Brunac has contributed to the implementation of key EU policy initiatives, especially involving EU financial instruments. She is also an Investment Committee Member of InvestEU, an EU flagship initiative to support sustainable investments in the Union.

Franziska Katharina Brantner
Franziska Brantner

German Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Franziska Brantner

Franziska Brantner is a German politician, who currently serves as Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. She is also the ministry’s Special Coordinator for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Prior to this, Brantner was a member of the Bundestag and a member of the European Parliament, where her work focused on foreign affairs, conflict resolution and rapid crisis response. She also conducted negotiations on the reform of the European External Action Service. Before entering politics, Brantner worked for the Bertelsmann Foundation and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

Nicolas Brien
Nicolas Brien

Entrepreneur and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Nicolas Brien

Nicolas Brien is an entrepreneur, investor and board member. He is a vibrant advocate of EU tech sovereignty and has chaired the European Startup Network, the most influential industry group representing start-ups in Brussels. Brien sits on the boards of companies and foundations in Europe and Asia, including Heritage, Vidacity, Tilder and France Alzheimer. After successfully restructuring EuraTechnologies, Europe’s largest startup incubator, he entered into stealth mode and has been working on a green tech start-up project. He previously led France Digitale, Europe’s largest start-up organisation with over 2,000 start-up members and more than 100 venture capitalists. Prior to joining the digital ecosystem, Brien ran the Direction of Studies at Kantar and was a senior advisor to Najat Vallaud-Belkacem in her role as the spokeswoman of the French government.

Photo of Cristian-Silviu Bușoi
Cristian-Silviu Bușoi

Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE)

Show more information on Cristian-Silviu Bușoi

Cristian-Silviu Buşoi is a Romanian diplomat and politician, who has served as a Member of the European Parliament for nearly 15 years and currently chairs the ITRE Committee. He is a former member of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, in which capacity he was the rapporteur on the reform of the European Single Market. Buşoi briefly served as the president of the Romanian National Health Insurance Agency. He is also a former member of the Romanian parliament, where he sat on the Committee for Health and Family.

Photo of Hala Bugaighis
Hala Bugaighis

Co-Founder of Jusoor and 2017 MENA Young Leader

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Hala Bugaighis is a lawyer and co-founder of Jusoor, a non-governmental organisation committed to independent policy research and human development projects for women with focus on the economic and social empowerment. As a lawyer with 15 years of experience, Hala focuses on commercial, banking, civil and investment laws, and has a sound understanding of law practice in an international context. Through her private companies, Hala has worked as a consultant to many international companies as well as Libyan private and public entities, focusing on development and capacity building. In 2015, Hala was nominated a UN Women Champion for Women Economic Empowerment – an initiative that aims to improve women’s economic standing and potential around the world.

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Malcolm Byrne

Irish Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel and 2014 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Malcolm Byrne is an Irish politician for the centrist Fianna Fáil party (ALDE) and served in local government before entering parliament. He is his party’s spokesperson on further and higher education, research, innovation and science. He speaks and writes regularly on regulating technology as well as the importance of the arts, sport and community volunteerism. He served on the Senate Brexit Committee. Previously, Malcolm worked as the head of communications and public affairs at the Higher Education Authority, the statutory agency in Ireland that allocates public funding to higher education and advises the government on higher education and research policy. Having worked for various lobbying and representative organisations throughout his career, Byrne was also the first commercial manager at myhome.ie, Ireland’s most successful property website. Outside of his professional career, he has completed 37 marathons, including another Dublin marathon last week.

Nadia Calviño
Nadia Calviño

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation

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Nadia Calviño is a Spanish civil servant and economist with extensive experience in the public sector. Under her leadership as the Spanish Minister of Economy, Spain will see an increase in the minimum wage in October 2021. A well-known face in Brussels, Calviño is the former director-general for budget and covered varied portfolios in different European Commission directorates-general, spanning from competition and the internal market, entrepreneurship and SMEs, to financial services and the capital markets unions. An economist by training, she also sits on the boards of governors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

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Edoardo Camilli

Co-Founder & CEO at Hozint - Horizon Intelligence and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A young entrepreneur and security expert, Edoardo started working as a political and security risk consultant after graduating from the University of Bologna. In 2010, he established the International Security Observer, a web-based think tank seeking to foster the next generation of security experts. At the time, he was also working as a research analyst at the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies Niccolò Machiavelli, where his activities focused on insurgency, intelligence, national security policies and organised crime. Edoardo is the co-founder of Hozint (Horizon Intelligence), a consulting firm providing location-based media and social media monitoring services on political, safety and security risks. He is frequently interviewed on security issues by media in Italy and across Europe.

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Gunilla Carlsson

Member of the Board of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation

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Gunilla Carlsson is a Swedish politician with extensive experience in developing the global health agenda. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Strategy Committee of the Global Fund, a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), as well as a Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). Carlsson was previously the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and a Member of the European Parliament. Carlsson was also the Chair of the Swedish-initiated Commission on Climate Change and Development, and worked as Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS.

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Mila Carovska

Former minister of education and science of North Macedonia and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Mila Carovska is the former minister of education and science, as well as of labour and social welfare, in North Macedonia. She has also previously served as the deputy prime minister responsible for economic affairs during the transition government in 2020. Carovska is an avid proponent of human rights whose professional career to date has been marked by a commitment to social work on behalf of the most vulnerable and threatened citizens, whether it be Roma, disadvantaged youth, drug addicts or victims of domestic violence. Projects she has managed over the years include organising drama workshops with children housed in institutions, hosting educational workshops, offering consultations for drug users and their families, and conducting field research. Carovska has used her platform to advocate for gender equality, the elimination of violence against women and anti-discrimination.

Francesca Cavallo
Francesca Cavallo

Bestselling author of “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls”, Founder & CEO of Undercats and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40) 

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Francesca Cavallo is a bestselling author of children’s books, entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Undercats Media. She is the co-creator of ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’, a collection of 100 tales of extraordinary women that has become a publishing sensation. Cavallo’s career began in theatre, where she worked as both a manager for a theatre company and as a playwright. In 2012, she moved to California to co-found a children’s media start-up called Timbuktu Labs, Inc. Since then, she has authored nine picture books that have been translated into more than 47 languages. Her most recent international bestseller is the children’s book ‘Doctor Li and the Crown-wearing Virus’.

Armin Cerkez
Armin Čerkez

Founder & CEO of Youth Power and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Armin founded Youth Power, an influential Bosnian NGO which pushes for non-violence, human rights and tolerance in the country. The inspirational work he did on Program Y led to the inclusion of gender-based violence prevention in school curricula. Coming from a region that has historically suffered from religious violence, Armin has championed the need for more inter-faith dialogue. He has also brought his message directly to citizens, providing lessons to prevent alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and violence in schools.

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Hélène Conway-Mouret

Member of the French Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces

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Hélène Conway-Mouret is a French academic and politician with in-depth knowledge of security and defence issues. She has been a central figure in France’s relations abroad, serving as the Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee in the Senate, rapporteur for the budget of the equipment of the Armed Forces, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of French citizens living abroad. She also founded the Delegation for Women’s Rights and Equal Opportunities in the Senate.

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Daniel Dăianu

President of the Romanian Fiscal Council, former member of the European Parliament, former Romanian finance minister and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Daniel Daianu has held various positions in the political and economic sphere and has authored several books on European and economic issues. A Romanian politician, author, professor of economics, he currently serves as Member of the Board of the National Bank of Romania. Formerly a Finance Minister of Romania, Daianu was the Chief Economist of the National Bank of Romania and later became Member of the European Parliament.

Mihai Danila
Mihai Danila

Senior Investment Manager at the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Mihai is a value-oriented investor from the United Kingdom with extensive experience in the financial sector. He is the current Senior Investment Manager at Abu Dhabi Growth Fund. Previously, as Vice-President at BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world, his work focused on event-driven and special situation investments in both public and private markets throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mihai is a former executive director in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, covering multi-billion transactions across Europe and the Middle East, prior to which he worked in mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley. Mihai is also a national contests laureate in piano, maths and business ethics.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Minister of State, President of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs, former NATO secretary-general and former Dutch foreign minister and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is a Dutch politician who notably served as the 11th Secretary-General of NATO. He also previously worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch delegation of the NATO headquarters in Brussels. He now works as President of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) of the Netherlands, an independent body which advises government and parliament on foreign policy. Furthermore, he was appointed to the Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Leiden University.

desutter
Petra De Sutter

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service, Public Enterprises, Telecommunication and the Postal Services, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Petra De Sutter’s work currently focuses on mainstreaming the green agenda within wider Belgian federal government policy, and the challenges of digitalisation and sustainability. Committed to a socially equitable Europe, she strives to improve the rights and protections of refugees and the LGBTQI+ community. De Sutter has championed women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and tackled bio-ethical questions, including surrogacy and commercial egg donation, in the Belgian Senate and the Council of Europe. As a member of the European Parliament, she was the first green chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO). Prior to entering politics, she was a gynaecologist and fertility expert.

Ciaran Devane
Sir Ciarán Devane

Chair of Irish Health Service Executive, Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sir Ciarán Devane is the Director of the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University. He also chairs the Irish health service and serves as a Trustee of the British-Irish Association. A chemical engineer by training, Devane held a 20-year career in industry and management consulting before becoming chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support and subsequently chief executive of the British Council. Notably knighted for services to cancer patients he has served on the boards of NHS England and Social Finance Limited.

Stevan Dojčinović
Stevan Dojčinović

Investigative reporter, Editor-in-Chief of Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Stevan is a Serbian reporter, specialising in the investigation of organised crime, corruption, privatisation deals and money laundering. He is the Editor-in-Chief of KRIK and the Regional Editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) for the Balkans, prior to which he was the founding editor-in-chief of the Center for Investigative Journalism of Serbia. The author of “Šarić”, a book which dissects the role of the Balkan mafia in international cocaine smuggling, Steven also teaches journalists how to collect and analyse business data and property records. He has received national and international recognition for his journalistic work, most notably as the recipient of the Knight International Journalism Award, the CEI SEEMO Award for Outstanding Merits in Investigative Journalism and the Serbian National Award for Investigative Reporting. He was also a member of the award-winning OCCRP investigative team that uncovered links of the former Serbian government to organised crime.

Oxana Domenti

World Health Organization (WHO) Representative to the European Union

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Prior to being appointed as WHO Representative to the European Union, Dr Oxana Domenti served as Senior Adviser to the WHO Regional Director for Europe on multilateral affairs. Before joining WHO, Dr Domenti was Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to Switzerland, and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations Office at Geneva (2018–2020), the World Trade Organization and other international organizations based in Geneva. Dr Domenti was also a member of Parliament in the Republic of Moldova.

Mikołaj Dowgielewicz
Mikołaj Dowgielewicz

Deputy Secretary-General of the European Investment Bank (EIB), former Polish secretary of state for European affairs and economic policy, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sorin Ducaru
Sorin Ducaru

Director of the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen), former assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges at NATO and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sorin Ducaru is a Romanian diplomat with longstanding experience in transatlantic and international relations. His expertise lies in emerging security challenges and the impact of new technologies on security. He previously served as NATO’s assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges and chaired the cyber defence committee, leading the alliance’s work on cyber policy development and implementation. Ducaru now chairs the Secretary-General’s Senior Advisory Board for the review of the NATO Headquarters. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and a Special Advisor to the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, which works to develop norms and policies for the security and stability of cyberspace.

Isabelle Durant
Isabelle Durant

Former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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With a distinguished career in Belgian and European politics, Isabelle Durant has held the offices of Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Transport and Energy, and Senator in the Belgian Government. She also served as Vice-President of the European Parliament, President of the European Union Council of Ministers of Transport and as Deputy-Secretary General and Acting Secretary General of UNCTAD. With a wealth of experience collaborating with civil society and the private sector, her time as European Parliament Vice-President included responsibility for relations with civil society. Durant has held posts as a senior consultant on the empowerment of women in local government for the UNDP and as a member of Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium.

Lukasz Dziekonski
Lukasz Dziekonski

CEO and Managing Partner of Montis Capital Fund and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Lukasz is the CEO and Founding Partner of Montis Capital Fund. There, Lukasz oversees the formulation of financial and operational strategies. Previously, he was head of the Marguerite Fund office for the Central and Eastern Europe and member of the management board for the Marguerite Fund 2020 for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure in Luxembourg. He is also on the supervisory board of Pomeranka Development, InvestGas and Energa Operator in Poland, and of PZU Ukraine Insurance Company and Kredobank, also in Ukraine. Lukasz began his career as an adviser in the European Parliament, focusing on energy policy and security as well as EU relations with Russia and Ukraine.

Tomáš Ignác Fénix
Tomáš Ignác Fénix

Farmer & Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Tomáš Ignác is the Vice President of the European Council of Young Farmers – the voice of Europe’s next generation of farmers towards the European institutions. He also runs a 50-ha organic fruit and wine family farm in southern Moravia and cooperates with agricultural and environmental institutions as part of his farm business. The motivation to farm in this less favoured region is a holistic approach to (re-)build the countryside. Previously, Tomáš actively engaged in the NGO Antikomplex, working on the German Czech reconciliation. In addition, he led the LGBT Christian community called Logos for four years. His ambition is to advocate for a sustainable agricultural policy and a strong bond of the European nations and between rural areas and cities.

Erzsébet Fitori
Erzsébet Fitori

Group Head of EU Affairs and Relations at Vodafone Group

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Erzsébet Fitori is responsible for Vodafone Group’s engagement with the EU institutions and key EU stakeholders. She currently heads Vodafone’s Brussels office and represents the company as Board Director in industry organisations. She is the former director-general of FTTH Council Europe, the pan-European trade association representing over 160 innovators, network operators and investors across the fibre value chain. In this role, she focused on growing the organisation by driving its membership base, revenues and engagement with key policymakers. Prior to this, Fitori represented over 100 challenger telecoms operators as the director of the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA). She oversaw ECTA’s public policy, regulatory and PR activities, and led engagement with the EU institutions, national regulators and governments. Fitori is also the former head of regulatory affairs at Telenor Hungary in Budapest.

Mary Fitzgerald
Mary Fitzgerald

Non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute and Trustee at Friends of Europe

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Mary Fitzgerald is a researcher and analyst specialising in the Mediterranean region with a particular focus on Libya. She has consulted for a number of international organisations including in the areas of peacebuilding and civil society. She has worked with the International Crisis Group (ICG), the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) among others. She is a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College London and an Associate Fellow at ISPI in Milan. Mary has also worked on wider initiatives with UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the British Council and other cultural organisations. Her writing has appeared in publications including Foreign Policy, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian.

Markus Freiburg
Markus Freiburg

Founder & CEO of Financing Agency for Social Entrepreneurship (FASE) and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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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.

Štefan Füle
Štefan Füle

Former EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy and former special envoy to the OSCE and the Western Balkans

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Štefan Füle is a Czech politician and diplomat who previously served as the Czech Special Envoy to the OSCE and the Western Balkans. Having started his career in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he worked as Czech Ambassador to Lithuania and to the UK, as well as becoming Czech Permanent Representative to NATO. In 2010, he became the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy where he was instrumental in setting up and developing the Eastern Partnership with six countries in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus.

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Mariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Having previously served as the commissioner for digital economy and society, Mariya currently serves as the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Digital Economy and Society. Mariya is a former member of the European Parliament, in which role she was active as both the head of the Bulgarian European People’s Party (EPP) delegation and vice-president of the EPP party. She was also involved in a wide range of parliamentary committees, having served as the EPP Group coordinator for the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), and as a member of the committees on agriculture and rural development (AGRI); civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE); petitions (PETI); and the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM). The recipient of several international awards, she is passionate about initiatives related to young people and has established six European information centres in Bulgaria.

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Mina Gaga

Greek Alternate Minister of Health

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In addition to her role at the Greek Ministry of Health, Mina Gaga is an advisor to the WHO and serves on the European Diploma Examination Committee HERMES. She is the Director of the 7th Respiratory Medicine Department and Asthma Centre at Athens Chest Hospital Sotiria, the largest lung cancer centre in Greece. A clinician by trade, Gaga also undertakes clinical research with a focus on lung cancer and asthma. Having served as president of the Central Health Council of Greece, she has also held several roles at the European Respiratory Society School and the European Board of Accreditation in Pneumology, contributing to the development of international guidelines and requirements for asthma and lung cancer care.

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Anthony L. Gardner

Former Ambassador, Permanent Representation of the United States to the European Union

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Anthony served as US Ambassador to the EU from 2014 to 2017, during which time he played a key role in negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), the EU-US Privacy Shield Agreement and the Umbrella Agreement facilitating the transatlantic transfer of data between law enforcement authorities. Prior to this position, he was managing director of a London-based equity firm and served in senior roles at the Bank of America, GE Capital and GE International. He also served as director for European Affairs on the US National Security Council, where he was responsible for US relations with the EU.

Zarifa Ghafari
Zarifa Ghafari

Former mayor of Maidan Shahr and Founder of Assistance and Promotion for Afghan Women Organisation (APAW)

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Zarifa Ghafari is an Afghan human rights activist, politician and entrepreneur. Appointed mayor of Maidan Shahr at the age of 26, she became the youngest mayor and one of the first female mayors in Afghan history. Known for her efforts to advance women’s rights in Afghanistan, Ghafari is regarded as a role model to women in her country. When the Taliban took over the Afghanistan government in August 2021, she fled with her family to Germany. Today, Ghafari hopes to raise the unspoken voice of Afghan women throughout the international community to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Mark Gitenstein
Mark Gitenstein

United States Ambassador to the European Union

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Ambassador Mark Gitenstein is a lawyer who recently retired from Mayer Brown LLP, where he had served over the last 30 years as partner and counsel. Gitenstein has previously served as US Ambassador to Romania. He began his career with 17 years of service in the US Senate on the judiciary and intelligence committees, working for then-Senator Biden for 13 of those years. Since 2009 he has, either as ambassador or as counsel to NGOs and commercial clients, focused on preserving and fortifying democracy by ensuring transparency in equity markets, fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law, particularly in central and eastern Europe.

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Ana Gomes

Former member of the European Parliament and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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An established and experienced diplomat, Ana Gomes has cemented a reputation as a strident supporter and defender of democracy, human rights, social justice and the rule of law. She has previously been involved in the EU Middle East Peace Process and has led several EU election observation missions in Africa and South-East Asia. Gomes is also a vocal critic of the maladministration of EU law by multinational corporations to minimise tax costs and the negative impact this has on European citizens, governance and society.

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Dalia Grybauskaitė

Former president of Lithuania and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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The former president of Lithuania and European commissioner, Dalia Grybauskaitė currently serves as the Co-Chair of the United Nations High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI). Previously, she has chaired the Council of Women World Leaders and held several positions as a Lithuanian diplomat and politician, including as the country’s finance minister, as well as minister plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian embassy to the United States and at the Lithuanian Mission to the EU. Notably, Grybauskaitė played a key role in improving the relations between Lithuania and the EU as the deputy chief negotiator of Lithuania’s Association Agreement with the EU.

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Jakob Haesler

Managing Director at Foxdixneuf and European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Prior to founding Project Alloy, Jakob was the CEO and Co-Founder of Tinyclues SAS, a Paris-based software startup with the objective of industrialising datamining on Big Data with the help of advanced machine learning algorithms in a Cloud Computing environment. Previously he was a partner and consultant at McKinsey & Company in Germany and France where he worked on topics ranging from Banking to Public Sector Reform to Global Public Health issues, notably the creation and distribution of child HIV treatments. Prior to McKinsey he briefly worked at the World Bank. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science from the University of St. Gallen. Jakob is also a founding partner of the “Cercle du Leadership”.

Audrey Hanard
Audrey Hanard

Chair of the Board of Directors at bpost and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Audrey is a Belgian businesswoman with a wealth of experience in advising corporate, government and philanthropic clients on a range of development and social impact topics. As an Associate Partner at Dalberg Advisors, she works with clients to improve education, employment and health outcomes worldwide through the development, implementation and impact evaluation of inclusive development strategies. Audrey currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors at bpost, leading the Belgian postal operator’s transition from a mail to parcel network. She is the Chair of the Board at Be education, an organisation that supports the improvement of education in Belgium. Audrey is also the Co-Founder and former operational director of Spectralys Biotech, a start-up that provides a unique protein analysis technology for the biopharmaceutical industry. She was previously the president of Groupe Vendredi, a think tank focused on societal issues in Belgium, and head of philanthropy at Telos Impact, a venture philanthropy firm.

Solveigh Hieronimus
Solveigh Hieronimus

Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, Co-Lead of McKinsey’s global Center for Government (MCG) and Member of the McKinsey Global Institute Council

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Solveigh Hieronimus leads the global McKinsey Center for Government (MCG) and predominantly serves clients in the public sector on topics related to digital and data strategies, sustainability, public health and public finance. She is a leader in McKinsey’s Organization Practice and a member of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Council, which advises on MGI research on global economic, business and technology trends. Previously, Hieronimus has held various positions at the United Nations, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. She is passionate about all things EU and serves on the European Commission’s high-level expert panel for the Future of Work.

Maria Lucia Hohan
Maria Lucia Hohan

Fashion Designer and CEO of fashion brand Maria Lucia Hohan and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Maria Lucia is an internationally renowned fashion designer, who has seen her clothes worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna. After working several years in Paris and Milan as a textile designer, Maria Lucia returned home to Romania to open her own shop with a modest 800 euros investment and two second-hand sewing machines. After gaining a substantial number of followers on social media and being discovered by Hollywood, she currently runs her renowned fashion brand with 70-woman employees from Bucharest. Additionally, Maria Lucia is a strong advocate for women’s rights and has publicly criticised the excessive consumerism upon which the fashion industry thrives.

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Aarti Holla-Maini

Secretary-General at Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA)

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Aarti Holla-Maini has been Secretary-General of the GSOA since 2004. She is a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space, the WEF Global 5G Coalition Network and the WEF Essential Digital Infrastructure & Services Network. Under Aarti’s leadership, GSOA & its member CEOs lead the effort to showcase the benefits of satellite communications for a more inclusive and secure society – vital to bridging the world’s digital divide, achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the 5G ecosystem. Aarti has over two decades of experience in the aerospace industry, starting at Daimler-Benz Aerospace/EADS (now Airbus) in Germany. In 2000, she moved to Brussels, representing Airbus interests in the European satellite navigation program: Galileo.

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Edita Hrdá

Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU

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Edita Hrdá has a long and distinguished career in diplomacy, with over 25 years of experience in the field. In her current capacity, she manages the relations of the European Union with North and South American countries. Prior to her role in the EEAS, she served as the permanent representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations. She also worked in Latin America as the ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay, and has held high-level positions in the Czech Ministry for Foreign Affairs, including as director of the American department and the director of multilateral economic affairs.

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Patrick Huntjens

Author and Professor, Maastricht University and InHolland University, Ambassador of the Global Research and Action Network for a New Eco-Social Contract

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Dr Patrick Huntjens is the author of the award-winning ‘Towards a Natural Social Contract’ (2021). He lectures as Professor of Governance of Sustainability Transitions at Maastricht Sustainability Institute (MSI) and School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Maastricht University, next to his position as Professor of Social Innovation and Governance for Sustainability at Inholland University of Applied Sciences. In this role, he was awarded the national title of ‘Professor of the Year 2021’. He currently serves as Chairman of the National Round Table on the Food System Transition (2021-2025), a multistakeholder knowledge and innovation programme by the Netherlands Government.

Hera Hussain
Hera Hussain

Founder of CHAYN and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Hera is the Founder and CEO of CHAYN – a global non-profit that creates resources on the web to address gender-based violence. CHAYN’s multilingual resources, designed with, not for survivors, have reached more than 500 000 people. Raised in Pakistan and living in the UK, Hera committed early to tackling violence against women. She believes in using the power of open-source technology, trauma-informed design and hope-filled framing to solve the world’s pressing issues. Hera is an Ashoka Fellow, and was on the Forbes 30 Under 30 and MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list.

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Mo Ibrahim

Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Africa-Europe Foundation, Founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, Founder of Mobile Systems International (MSI) and Celtel International, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim built his fortune in telecommunications, landing him a place on the Forbes 2011 Billionaire list. One of his many successful ventures was Celtel International, operating as one of Africa’s leading mobile telephone companies which pioneered mobile services in the continent. In 2006, he established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in order to support good governance and exceptional leadership on the African continent. His approach is two-fold: to reward responsible leaders through the annual Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, and to highlight countries with good governance through the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG). In shedding light on democracy and human rights in African nations, Ibrahim aims to re-brand Africa and change the perceptions many have of the continent.

baron daniel janssen
Baron Daniel Janssen

Member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission and former president of the Board of Directors of Solvay

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Baron Daniel Janssen is a Belgian businessman. Having worked at the Union Chimique Belge as an engineer, he successively became Director of Research and Development and then President of the Executive Committee. Afterwards, he became CEO and then President of the Board of Directors of Solvay. Additionally, Janssen is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission.

Sarah Jones
Sarah Jones

Emmy winning journalist and author of ‘A Kids Book About War’, Sarah Jones Reports LLC and European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Sarah is an Emmy award-winning journalist with a passion for explaining tough topics to young audiences. She films, edits, writes, produces and reports her own work. Sarah recently authored “A Kids Book About War” and now hosts the children’s news podcast, “Sarah Jones Breaks It Down”. Maintaining a large social media presence, she is among the most influential women on social media, specifically on conversations surrounding artificial intelligence, and has advised senior US and allied military and government officials on social technologies. Sarah has held fellowships at the International Women’s Media Foundation and International Reporting Project, where she reported on health and development in the Philippines. She has also previously worked for Al Jazeera America, CNN, Gulf News (Dubai) and ITN’s Channel 4 (UK). Most notably, she founded the international moment of silence to remember fall journalists, which reached over nine million people in its first year through in-person events held worldwide.

Kim Jørgensen
Kim Jørgensen

Director General and Permanent Representative of the European Investment Bank to the EU institutions 

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Kim Jørgensen currently holds the position of Director General and Permanent Representative of the European Investment Bank to the EU institutions in Brussels. Previously, he worked at the European Commission where he was Head of Cabinet to Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager. Jørgensen has held various positions within the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as Denmark’s Ambassador to Turkey and Permanent Representative of Denmark to the EU. He also spent two years as State Secretary for Foreign Policy at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica

Deputy Speaker of the Latvian parliament, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2017 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A Latvian politician, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica is a Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, the Latvian parliament, where she sits on the Committee of Foreign Affairs and Committee of European Affairs. She serves as a Head of the Latvian Delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Previously, Kalniņa-Lukaševica held numerous posts at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as the parliamentary secretary, in which role she was responsible for ensuring cooperation between the ministry, the Latvian parliament and the European Parliament. She has also represented the Latvian government at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meetings of development and trade ministers. Kalniņa-Lukaševica started her professional career at Jurmala’s city council and then went on to work at the Strategic Analysis Commission of the President of Latvia, where she served as an advisor to the president.

Nektarios Kalantzis
Nektarios Kalantzis

President of the European Local Leaders and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Nektarios is a Greek politician with a passion for good local governance. He currently serves as the President of the European Local Leaders, a committee of young European politicians that have been elected at the regional or local level. The initiative aims to promote creativity and share pioneering ideas among the new generation of locally elected officials throughout cities across Europe, with a focus on climate change, environmental protection, smart cities and new technologies. Nektarios is also the President of the Union of Young Local Councillors of Greece, which brings together newly elected regional and municipal councillors, governors, deputy mayors and mayors in Greece and organises events on the role of local governments in the development of smarter and greener cities. He is also the Municipal Councillor of the Pallini Municipality in Greece, prior to which he has served as a member of the Municipal Council.

Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver

Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, Leader of the Dutch green party GroenLinks, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2018 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Jesse Klaver currently serves as the green-left party leader in the Dutch parliament, with a mandate focused on environmental and educational issues. In his time as party leader, Klaver was instrumental in capturing 10 additional parliamentary seats, rising to an all-time high of 14, and making GroenLinks the fifth most important group in the House. Previously, Klaver was the spokesperson for finance, environment and education, and sat on a wide range of parliamentary committees. He has publically opposed tax evasion and has co-authored a memo on protecting the Dutch flora and fauna.

Anna König Jerlmyr
Anna König Jerlmyr

Former Mayor of Stockholm and former member of the Swedish Riksdag, Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Anna is Mayor of Stockholm and Chair of the City Executive Board. She has a background in economics and communications, and previously served as a member of the Swedish Riksdag. Upon entering the Stockholm City Council, she was appointed Vice-Mayor for Social Affairs and Chair of Stockholm’s Police Authority. She served as Opposition Vice-Mayor representing the Moderate Party. In addition to her role as Mayor, Anna is President of the European city network EUROCITIES and sits on the steering committee of the global climate network C40.

Leszek Konrad Jażdżewski
Leszek Konrad Jażdżewski

Editor-in-Chief of Liberté! and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A Polish writer, speaker and activist, Leszek is the Editor-in-Chief of Liberté!, a journal which he founded over a decade ago to promote freedom, share ideas and counter populism. He is the co-creator of Freedom Games, an interdisciplinary event that gathers 4,000 attendees and 350 speakers to discuss the key challenges Western societies must face in the 21st century. Leszek is also the Founder and CEO of Bookme, an app which makes reading internet-friendly. He currently serves on the Council of European Forum for New Ideas and recently completed a policy fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence, where his work focused on how the narrative of change could counter the rise of populism in EU member states, overcome the European identity crisis and strengthen transnational governance.

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Gert Jan Koopman

European Commission Director-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

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Gert Jan Koopman is the Director-General of the Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, prior to which he served as the director-general of the European Commission’s budget department. In this role, he contributed to putting in place the European Union’s €800bn NextGenerationEU recovery plan, as well as the €18bn MFA+ for Ukraine. He has worked to enable its financing on the capital markets through a sovereign-style funding system. Having served the EU for nearly three decades, Koopman was previously in charge of state aid control at the Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition. His earlier assignments included senior management posts in the department for economic and financial affairs, the Commission’s economic service, as well as enterprise and industry, which supervises the smooth running of the single market. 

Miroslav Lajčák
Miroslav Lajčák

EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue at the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Miroslav Lajčák has more than 30 years of experience in foreign policy, having dedicated his professional life to diplomacy, representing both the Slovak Republic and the international community. He has served as the Slovak foreign and European affairs minister four times, as well as the ambassador to Japan and several southeastern European countries. Lajčák was also the executive assistant to the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Balkans and has held several other supporting positions in institutions such as the EEAS, the UNGA and the OSCE.

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Pascal Lamy

Vice President of the Paris Peace Forum, former director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Trustee of Friends of Europe and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation High-Level Group of Personalities

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Pascal Lamy is a French politician and the Vice President of the Paris Peace Forum, a new innovative global governance initiative. He served as the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for two consecutive terms, prior to which he was the European commissioner for trade and head of cabinet for former Commission president, Jacques Delores. Currently an associate professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, Lamy also frequently lectures at the Institut Jacques Delors and speaks on issues related to globalisation, global governance, international trade, international economics and regional integration. He has written several publications on the European Union and the ‘harmonising’ of globalisation.

Jean-Luc Lemercier
Jean-Luc Lemercier

Corporate Vice-President of EMEA, Canada, Latin America, Japan and Asia Pacific at Edwards Lifesciences

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Prior to assuming his current role at Edwards Lifesciences, the global leader in patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease, Jean-Luc Lemercier served as the vice-president of transcatheter heart valves of the EMEA region. Under his leadership, the company successfully launched the SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve technology and built its leadership position in Europe. Lemercier also serves as Chair of the Cardiovascular Sector Group of MedTech Europe, the association representing the medical technology industry in Europe.

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Philip Lowe

Partner at Oxera, former European Commission Director-General for Competition and Energy and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Philip Lowe is a distinguished British EU policy veteran. He joined the European Commission in 1973, and held a range of senior posts as Head of Cabinet and Director in the fields of regional development, agriculture, transport and administration, before becoming Director-General for Development in 1997. Later on, he headed the Directorate-General Competition and then Directorate-General Energy. Afterwards, Lowe served as one of five non-executive directors of the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Board. He is currently Executive Chair of the World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma Initiative.

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Bruno Maçães

Author of ‘Geopolitics for the End Time’ (2021) and the bestseller ‘Manifesto of Virtualism’, columnist for the New Statesman, Former Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs

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Bruno Macaes is a former Minister of European Affairs in Portugal and represented his country in Brussels during the eurozone crisis, the first Ukraine war and Brexit. He has published four books since 2018, mostly focused on geopolitics, China, Russia, and technology. Bruno has a doctorate in political science from Harvard and has recently held fellowships at Renmin University in China and the Hudson Institute. Since 2020 he is a fellow at the Wilfried Martens Centre in Brussels and since 2022 a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. His latest book, Geopolitics for the End Time, was published in September 2021

Magid Magid
Magid Magid

Founder and Director of Union of Justice, Trustee of Friends of Europe and 2019 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Magid Magid is a Somali-British race and climate justice activist, organiser and author, who moved to the United Kingdom as a refugee at the age of five. He is the Founder and Director of Union of Justice, an independent European people of colour-led organisation dedicated to racial and climate justice. He is also the Co-Chair of the refugee charity, City of Sanctuary Sheffield. Magid served as a Green Party member of the European Parliament, representing Yorkshire and the Humber for nearly two years until the UK’s exit from the EU. He is the former lord mayor of Sheffield, the youngest person ever and the first Green Party councillor to hold the office. Squatting on a staircase in Sheffield town hall and sporting a pair of Dr Martens, Magid’s inaugural portrait became an internet sensation. Magid was named one of TIME’s 100 rising stars shaping the future of the world.

Luca Mapelli
Luca Mapelli

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Luca Mapelli is a 30-year-old European citizen from Milan, Italy. After having achieved a high school diploma in foreign languages, he graduated first in European Economics & then in Economics and Political Science, at the University of Milan. During this time, he had the chance to spend 4 months in Brussels as an intern at the European Social Observatory (OSE). Since his graduation, he has been working as an analyst and researcher in the private sector.

Karen Melchior
Karen Melchior

Member of the European Parliament Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM)

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Karen Melchior is a Member of the European Parliament and sits on the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, in which she is active in forming the position of the liberal Renew Europe group. She is fighting to ensure that access to safe abortion is treated as part of healthcare and made available to all women across Europe. She is also a Member of the Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup, which works to advance equal rights for LGBTI people across Europe.

Ayman Mhanna
Ayman Mhanna

Executive Director of the Samir Kassir Foundation and 2017 MENA Young Leader

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Ayman Mhanna is Executive Director of the Beirut-based Samir Kassir Foundation, one of the leading press freedom NGOs in the Middle East. In this capacity, he oversees the foundation’s advocacy, monitoring, research and training activities. Ayman has previously held the position of Executive Director of the Global Forum for Media Development, focusing on monitoring violations targeting journalists and providing them with the necessary support. He has also extensively worked with issues related to election observation, electoral reform and civil society involvement. Until recently, he was a lecturer on policy development and communications at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. In 2016, he was appointed Secretary-General of the Democratic Renewal Movement, a secular, social-liberal political party in Lebanon.

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Meghan Milloy

Co-Founder & Executive Director of Republican Women for Progress and 2017 North American Young Leader

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Meghan Milloy is the Co-Founder of Republican Women for Progress (RWFP) and the Director of Strategic Communications at the Institute for International Bankers. Prior to this, she was a fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation, where her work focused on trade issues in the German public and private sectors. Meghan previously served as the chair of Republican Women for Hillary (RWFH) and director of financial services policy at the American Action Forum (AAF). During the Obama administration, Meghan worked as a presidential management fellow at the Small Business Administration on matters of financial inclusion and as a counsel with the House Financial Services Committee. She was an intern at the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the George W. Bush White House. Meghan has also worked in the office of former Senate majority leader Trent Lott and has volunteered for the campaigns of Haley Barbour, George W. Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton.

Mario Monti
Mario Monti

Italian Senator for life, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, former Italian prime minister, former European commissioner and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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As the Chair of the World Health Organization (WHO) Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, Mario Monti spearheads attempts to rethink health policy priorities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. A distinguished economist and Italian lifetime senator, Monti has cemented his reputation as a committed supporter of the single currency and a talented negotiator, leading a government of technocrats in the wake of the Italian debt crisis in late 2011. He chaired the High-Level Group on Own Resources, a consultative committee of the European Union, aimed at proposing new forms of revenue for the European Union’s budget, which resulted in the final ‘Future Financing of the EU’ report arguing for new tax sources.

Lindsey-Nefesh-Clarke_EYL40
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Founder & Managing Director of Women's Worldwide Web (W4), Senior Fellow for Women, Peace and Security at Friends of Europe and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke is Founder & CEO of W4.org, a social enterprise dedicated to protecting girls’ and women’s human rights and promoting their empowerment around the world, with a focus on Sustainable Development Goal 5b: harnessing technologies. Nefesh-Clarke worked in human rights and development in Africa and Asia at Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, Enfants d’Asie, before founding W4. Named a “Women in IT Role Model” by the European Commission and one of the “Inspiring Fifty” women leaders in Europe’s technology sector, Nefesh-Clarke is a board member of the Women’s Economic Imperative (WEI), which aims to advance the work of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She is also a Senior Fellow for Friends of Europe’s Connect Europe initiative, and a member of the advisory board of UN Women France.

Aleksandar Nikoloski
Aleksandar Nikoloski

Vice-President of the Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity and 2022 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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A Member of the Assembly of North Macedonia, Aleksandar is the Vice-President of the country’s main opposition party, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization – Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). Committed to tackling corruption and pursuing the country’s EU membership, he serves as the Chairman of the National European Integration Council, in which role he facilitates the country’s EU accession talks. Aleksandar is a Vice-President of the European People’s Party group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), where he also sits on the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. He previously served as vice president of PACE and first vice-chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, as well as the Monitoring Committee. Prior to his entry in politics, Aleksandar was the secretary of FRESTA, a programme led by the Danish Foreign Ministry to promote the NGO community and interethnic dialogue in south-eastern Europe.

Alojz Peterle
Alojz Peterle

Former member of the European Parliament, former prime minister of Slovenia and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Alojz Peterle is a Slovenian politician and a former member of the European Parliament, where he chaired the Delegation to the EU-former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee. Before his time as an MEP, he became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Slovenia. During his mandate, Slovenia introduced major democratic reforms and became an independent sovereign state. Additionally, Peterle has invested considerable efforts in raising the political awareness of fighting and preventing cancer.

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Wolfgang Philipp

Acting Director & Head of Service of the European Commission Directorate-General of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (DG HERA)

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Wolfgang Philipp is an experienced scientist and policy-maker. He has worked for over 15 years for the European Commission on health-related issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention, chronic and rare diseases. Philipp is currently, after a short period as deputy, the Acting Head of the Unit for crisis management and preparedness in health at the European Commission Directorate General for Health and Food Safety.

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Andris Piebalgs

Senior Fellow at the Florence School of Regulation, former European commissioner for development and energy, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Andris Piebalgs is an experienced Latvian politician who occupied key positions at both the national and European levels. He is currently a member of the Latvian political party UNITY. Previously, he worked in the Latvian diplomatic service, first serving as the Latvian ambassador to Estonia, where he helped resolve a sea border issue between the two states. He went on to become the Latvian ambassador to the EU, in which role he helped establish Latvia as the EU candidate country. Afterwards, Piebalgs served as the European commissioner for energy and then as the European commissioner for development.

Mariana Pinto Veiga
Mariana Pinto Veiga

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Mariana Pinto Veiga was formerly a corporate attorney and currently works as a marketing professional in a Slove company. She has lived in three countries with very different social and cultural aspects: Slovenia, Italy, and Brazil. She had acted as a volunteer mentor for public and non-profit organizations that promote the development of startups and small businesses. As a side project, she creates content about cheese, encouraging people to better understand where their food comes from and how to choose better options by making their own instead of buying processed products.

Dragoș Pîslaru
Dragoș Pîslaru

Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) and former Romanian minister of labour, family, social protection and the elderly

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Dragoș Pîslaru is a Romanian economist and politician. He serves as a member of the European Parliament on behalf of USR PLUS, affiliated with the European political group, Renew Europe. He sits on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and Subcommittee on Tax Matters (FISC). Pîslaru is also the co-rapporteur on the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the largest financial instrument created by the European Union for the economic recovery of the bloc after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martin Porter
Martin Porter

Executive Chair at Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

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Throughout his carreer, Martin Porter has founded and headed numerous well-established initiatives. Having previously held the role of executive director at the European Climate Foundation (ECF), with a particular focus on the ECF’s EU and industrial innovation strategy, Porter has also led I24C, an initiative looking at sustainable industrial innovation and competitiveness. His experience also includes co-founding Brussels’s first ‘think-do tank’, known as The Centre; senior positions at Edelman, where he was General Manager of the Brussels office and Chair of the European Public Affairs Practice; and Senior Advisor on sustainability, industry and innovation at FTI Consulting Strategic Communication.

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Hans-Gert Pöttering

Former president of the European Parliament, former chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Hans-Gert Pöttering is a long-serving and highly-decorated German politician. He was the only deputy who served as Member of the European Parliament continuously since the first direct election in 1979 until 2014. Apart from positions on various committees and subcommittees, he also served for two years as President of the European Parliament. He also served as the Chairman of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Natalia Pouzyreff
Natalia Pouzyreff

Member of the French National Assembly

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Natalia Pouzyreff was elected as a Member of the French National Assembly for La République En Marche! (LaREM) in June 2017. Natalia currently sits as Secretary of the Defence Committee. She is also heavily involved in industrial strategy and the civil nuclear sector. She has been instrumental in promoting a sovereign Europe and has been put in charge of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) questions for LaREM. Having undergone training as a professional engineer, she has spent many years working in the defence and aerospace sector.

CRISTINA POZZI
Cristina Pozzi

Co-Founder and CEO at Treccani Futura and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Cristina is an Italian businesswoman and social entrepreneur with a passion for emerging technologies and a goal to ensure everyone has access to a digital future. She is the CEO of Tercanni Futura, an Italian cultural EdTech hub and the product of the Treccani Scuola acquisition of Impactscool. Cristina co-founded Treccani to raise awareness about innovative education, stimulate reflection on the ethics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and encourage citizens to adopt a more forward-thinking approach to technological change. She led Impactscool as CEO for five years, prior to which she co-founded Wish Days, where she served as general manager and a board member. Her motto, “the future is open source”, acknowledges that the future is shaped by and accessible to everyone. A published author, Cristina is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute for Ethical AI in Education and an Independent Advisor on the Advisory Board of Fondo Italiano d’Investimento SGR.

Andrea Rappagliosi
Andrea Rappagliosi

Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs for EMEA, Canada and LATAM at Edwards Lifesciences

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A member of the regional executive leadership team at Edwards Lifesciences, Andrea Rappagliosi leads the company’s government affairs, market access, communication and patients advocacy engagement. He previously worked at Sanofi as the vice-president of European public affairs, prior to which he held positions in the public affairs and market access policy area at Baxter Healthcare, Serono International and GSK. A founding member of the Global Policy Forum at HTAi, the scientific and professional society for those who produce or use health technology assessment (HTA), Rappagliosi currently chairs the MedTech Europe HTA Committee and serves on the Board of the European Patient Safety Foundation (EUPSF).

Stefano Sannino
Stefano Sannino

Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS)

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Prior to his current role, Stefano Sannino served as deputy secretary-general for economic and global issues at the EEAS. Throughout his career, he has held various senior positions at the European Commission, including director-general for enlargement and director for crisis management at the Directorate-General for External Relations. A renowned Italian diplomat, Sannino formerly served as ambassador of Italy to Spain and Andorra and as the permanent representative of Italy to the EU. He was also previously the diplomatic advisor to the Italian prime minister and his personal representative to G8 summits.

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski

Member of the European Parliament, former Polish minister for European affairs and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is a Polish diplomat and politician who is currently Member of the European Parliament. He was a Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which he also chaired for two years, and served as Vice-President of the European Parliament. Prior to his career in Brussels, Saryusz-Wolski became the first Polish Minister for European when this office was created in 1991.

Marietje Schaake
Marietje Schaake

President of the CyberPeaceInstitute, Director of Policy at the Stanford Cyber Policy Centre, former vice- chair of the European parliament delegation for relations with the United States and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Jamie Shea

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

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Retiring from NATO in September 2018 after 38 years at the organisation, Jamie Shea has occupied a number of senior positions at NATO across a wide range of areas, including external relations, press and media, and policy planning. As NATO’s spokesperson, he was the face of the alliance during the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts. He later worked as the director of policy planning in the private office of former secretary general Rasmussen during the preparation of NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept. Shea is also a regular lecturer and conference speaker on NATO and European security affairs.

Sven Smit
Sven Smit

Chair of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) and Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company

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Sven Smit is currently spearheading McKinsey’s work on the Western European region. During his 30-year-long career at McKinsey, Smit has acquired experience on the analysis of business growth, examining the way megatrends influence it, and defining the lessons of diversified growth. As Co-Chair of MGI, he leads research on global economic trends and topics, such as productivity and growth, urbanization, innovation and technology, labour markets and the Future of Work, emerging markets and Europe’s economic outlook, focusing on the social contract and how it has changed over the past 20 years – and especially this year.

Paul Tang
Paul Tang

Paul Tang, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Economy and Monetary Affairs

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Paul Tang currently holds the role of Member of the European Parliament for the Socialists and Democrats. He is a member of the parliamentary committees on economy and monetary affairs, budget and industry & energy. Tang has led research at the Dutch Centraal PlanBureau and contributed to the ongoing discussions on how the economic growth and the social welfare state relate to each other, worked on climate change policies and authored political-economic scenarios for Europe. Interested in the impact of political choices on the lives of people, Tang ran as MP for the Dutch Labour Party and served for four years as a spokesperson on financial and fiscal affairs. In the European Parliament, Tang battles for more jobs for Europe, a healthy financial sector at the service of society and more legitimacy for Europe.

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Paul Taylor

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe

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Paul Taylor is a Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe and the author of the think tank’s European Defence Cooperation report series. He previously spent four decades working for Reuters as a foreign correspondent in Paris, Tehran, Bonn and Brussels, as bureau chief in Israel/Palestine, Berlin and Brussels, as chief correspondent in France, as diplomatic editor in London, and finally as European affairs editor. Taylor’s assignments have included covering the Iranian revolution, the Cold War Euromissile crisis, the 1991 Gulf War, German reunification, the Maastricht summit, France in the 1990s, EU enlargement, the Eurozone crisis and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.

Bassel Taylouni
Bassel Taylouni

Entrepreneur with a personal story of resilience fleeing the war in Syria, European citizen

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Away from his family and birthplace, Bassel Taylouni sought a brighter future in a country where he can pursue his dreams. Belgium provided him with the opportunity to start a new life from scratch and to be an entrepreneur.

Since the moment Mr. Taylouni had set foot in Belgium six years ago, he has been able to overcome numerous challenges throughout this journey. These experiences have led him to achieve many milestones including the establishment of Bas Ice Cream in Ghent, an atelier that focuses on serving high-end ice cream and handcrafted sweets.

Ece Temelkuran
Ece Temelkuran

Award-winning Turkish novelist, political commentator and author of "How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship" and "Together: 10 Choices for a Better Now"

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An award-winning Turkish novelist, political thinker and public speaker, Ece Temelkuran is the author of the internationally acclaimed book “How to Lose a Country”. She won the Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book award for her novel “Women Who Blow On Knots” and the Ambassador Of New Europe Award for her book “Turkey: The Insane and the Melancholy”.  “Together: A Manifesto Against the Heartless World”, her latest book, was recently shortlisted for the Terzani Award in Italy and serves as the basis for lettersfromnow.com, a digital communication project. Temelkuran was a visiting fellow at Saint Anthony’s College Oxford and is currently a Fellow at The New Institute in Hamburg, working on a project “A New Vocabulary for 21st Century Progressives”. She also sits on the advisory board of Progressive International and regularly contributes to Internazionale magazine.

Anna Terrón Cusí
Anna Terrón I Cusi

Director at FIIAPP, former Spanish secretary of state for immigration and emigration, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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With a rich political career spanning more than 20 years, Terron previously served as Spanish Secretary of State for Migration, Secretary for the European Union of the Government of Catalonia, and Member of the European Parliament. As President of Instrategies, Anna Terron offers strategic support to institutions, organisations and companies on managing diversity, immigration, asylum and international mobility. She is advised European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström on migration and Mediterranean issues. She currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of the United Nations University’s Institute on Globalisation, Culture and Mobility.

Gerassimo Thomas
Gerassimos Thomas

European Commission Director-General for Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD)

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Prior to his current assignment, Gerassimos Thomas served as the Greek deputy minister for environment and energy. He has held various positions at the European Commission, including as deputy director-general for energy, director of finance at the European Commission Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), head of cabinet and spokesperson for the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, and deputy spokesman for the Commission president. He is the former chair of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) Steering Board and previously sat on the board of directors of the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund.

Veronica Tsepkalo
Veronica Tsepkalo

Belarus opposition leader, Founder and Chair of the Belarus Women’s Foundation

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Veronica Tsepkalo was one of the three leaders of the national democratic movement in Belarus. Along with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Maria Kalesnikava, she succeeded in bringing together an unprecedented number of people to protest against a regime that violates human rights, falsified presidential elections and uses brutal violence against its citizens. The trio have recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and have already received International Democracy and Sakharov Awards. Currently, Veronica is supporting Belarusian women who have been on the receiving end of the regime’s cruelty, as the chair of the Belarus Women’s Foundation.

Baron Frans Van Daele
Baron Frans Van Daele

Belgian Minister of State, former chief of staff to the King of Belgium, former head of cabinet to the president of the European Council and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Kirsten van den Hul
Kirsten van den Hul

Director of DutchCulture, former member of the Dutch Parliament; Writer, Change Agent and Columnist and 2013 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Kirsten is the director of DutchCulture, an Amsterdam-based network and knowledge organisation for international cultural cooperation. She has been elected in the Dutch national Parliament in 2017. Prior to starting her political career, she was working as a ‘change agent’. As such she has been involved in a number of different change projects for companies and organisations such as Nike and Amnesty International. She is also a columnist for several Dutch newspapers on issues ranging from women’s rights to international relations. Trained as an Eastern Europe specialist, she has worked for several international NGOs, including international women’s fund Mama Cash and the European Cultural Foundation. After working as a Communication Officer for LPG multinational SHV Gas, Kirsten also worked as a Programme Coordinator for Cultuurfabriek, a communications and production agency. While there she set up WOMEN Inc., a platform for debate and interaction, and was also involved with several other social and cultural projects.

Dana van den Hurk
Dana van den Hurk

Show more information on Dana van den Hurk

Dana van den Hurk became passionate about the health care sector, and specifically the well-being of the employees in that sector, after her mother got diagnosed with cancer. Currently, she works as a HR-professional in the first Dutch hospital that implemented Positive Health. Van den Hurk strongly believes health care should be approached more holistically. Also, she is an advocate for a more advanced digital health infrastructure across Europe. In favor of information sharing with regards to research and patient-related information. Therefore, she is critical about the monopolistic position software companies are having in the system.

Tinne Van der Straeten
Tinne Van der Straeten

Belgian Minister for Energy

Show more information on Tinne Van der Straeten

As the newly-minted Minister for Energy of the De Croo government, Tinne Van der Straeten wants to work on ambitious climate and energy policies while keeping energy affordable. She has a long history with Groen, one of Belgium’s green parties, and served in the Chamber of Representatives of the Federal Parliament before taking up her current position. Van der Straeten previously worked as a climate and energy lawyer, building a successful law firm which works for many major players in the electricity sector and industry.

Wietse van der Werf
Wietse van der Werf

Founder & CEO of Sea Ranger Service and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Wietse van der Werf

Wietse is an award-winning Dutch social entrepreneur and conservationist, pioneering regenerative blue economy ventures. Wietse has received wide recognition for his innovative approach to mobilising businesses, governments and citizens to form uncommon partnerships for the social, economic and ecological regeneration of European coastal and ocean areas. His current venture, the Sea Ranger Service, trains unemployed young people from port cities with the help of navy veterans to manage Marine Protected Areas in European seas. A new type of professional sailing vessel has been developed for the Sea Rangers, with cost-effective sea operation and zero emissions.

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Elodie Viau

Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at the European Space Agency (ESA)

Show more information on Elodie Viau

Elodie Viau is the Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at the European Space Agency (ESA). Before joining ESA, Viau worked for SES, one of the world’s leading satellite owners and operators, for over a decade, most notably serving as director of SES New Space Segment Development and, until recently, as vice-president for SES Technology Programme Management. At SES, she was also a satellite programmes senior engineer, in which role she served as a deputy programme manager for six satellites and programme manager for three satellites built by Airbus Space.

Anya Verkamp
Anya Verkamp

Campaign Coordinator with a personal story of resilience overcoming climate change-induced trauma, European citizen

Show more information on Anya Verkamp

Anya is originally American Peruvian with an Irish passport from her grandmother. She is currently the coordinator of the campaign Justice is Everybody’s Business, mobilising for a strong EU Due Diligence legislation to hold European corporations accountable for their value chains. Anya is a civil disobedient, action trainer, and organiser with several collectives, including Stop Alibaba, XR Belgium, and Code Rouge. She has a master’s degree in Ecological Economics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, a stronghold of research on degrowth and sufficiency policies.

Francesca Vincentie
Francesca Vincentie

Artist with a personal story of resilience overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, European citizen

Show more information on Francesca Vincentie

Francesca Vincentie is an artist with a clear mission—to overlap differences between people and create a sense of belonging through her art. She does this with the help of her home region Västerbotten’s strong storytelling culture, where she approaches universal themes through personal stories with an original expression. Vincentie is currently based in The Netherlands but sees herself as a quite nomad European citizen with her mixed heritage, where she carries out her artistic practices in many different countries. She believes art to be a powerful tool for change and a beautiful method to unite people and carry each other’s voices.

Veronika Wand-Danielsson
Veronika Wand-Danielsson

Swedish Ambassador to Germany and Trustee of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Veronika Wand-Danielsson

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.

André Wilkens
André Wilkens

Director of the European Cultural Foundation (ECF)

Show more information on André Wilkens

André Wilkens is the director of the European Cultural Foundation in Amsterdam which mission is to grow a European sentiment. In March 2022 the Foundation activated the Culture of Solidarity Initiative’s Ukraine edition in response to the war in Ukraine. The Culture of Solidarity Initiative was originally launched in 2020 in response to the Covid19 crisis.
André is also the Board Chair of Tactical Tech, the co-founder of the Initiative Offene Gesellschaft and a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
In the past he worked as Strategy Director of Stiftung Mercator, as Director of the Open Society Institute Brussels and as Head of Strategic Communications of UNHCR in Geneva.
André is the author of two books, on Europe (Der diskrete Charme der Bürokratie, S.Fischer 2017) and on Digitalisation (Analog ist das neue Bio, Metrolit 2015), and a regular media contributor.

Dirk Wouters
Dirk Wouters

Advisor at the Royal Palace to Princess Astrid, former Belgian ambassador to the United States of America and to the EU, and Trustee of Friends of Europe

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Jon Worth

Political Blogger and Campaigner, #CrossBorderRail Project and 2012 European Young Leader (EYL40)

Show more information on Jon Worth

Jon is one the best-known political bloggers and commentators on all things EU politics and Brexit. His commentary on his blog (jonworth.eu) and Twitter account (@jonworth) are well known in Brussels and EU circles. His work around Brexit and especially his famous Brexit diagrams have been featured in international media, including The New York Times and ARD. Jon is a Visiting Lecturer on politics and online communication at the College of Europe in Bruges. He also leads workshops at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, the University of Maastricht and the Italian School of Public Administration in Rome. The Founder of Trains for Europe, a campaign that demands the European Union take action on the issues surrounding long distance rail travel in Europe, Jon is an experienced campaigner, having previously organised a number of online campaigns for United Kingdom politicians and the Atheist Bus Campaign.

Photo of Ben Wreschner
Ben Wreschner

Chief Economist at the Vodafone Group

Show more information on Ben Wreschner

Ben Wreschner is the Chief Economist for Vodafone Group. Having been in the digital sector for 20 years, he has worked extensively in the policy and public affairs environment representing Vodafone at key meetings with various institutions. Wreschner is also the Chairman of the European Policy Group for the GSMA mobile industry association.

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