Friends of Europe is a proud co-founder of the Africa-Europe Foundation. The Africa-Europe Foundation was founded by Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in partnership with the African Climate Foundation and the ONE Campaign, and with a multitude of stakeholders from civil society, business, policymaking and the youth sector across Africa and Europe.

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Strategy Groups

Ibrahim Abubakar
Ibrahim Abubakar

Director of the UCL Institute for Global Health

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Ibrahim Abubakar is a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London and director of its Institute for Global Health, focusing on the epidemiology, prevention and treatment of infections including tuberculosis, hepatitis and HIV. Abubakar was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2020 in recognition of his research in infectious disease epidemiology and migration and health. Abubakar is also the chair of the Welcome Trust Population Health Expert Review Group on Population Health and the Lancet Migration Initiative: global collaboration to advance migration health.

John H. Amuasi
John H. Amuasi

Co-Chair Lancet One Health Commission

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Dr. Amuasi leads the Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) and is also a lecturer at the Global Health Department of the School of Public Health, KNUST. Amuasi’s work currently involves field epidemiologic studies on malaria, snakebite and other neglected tropical diseases, as well as addressing emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. He is also coordinating research on the clinical characterization of COVID-19 in Africa and is the Principal Investigator for some studies on COVID-19 in Ghana, including a phase III clinical trial.

Cristina Bescos
Cristina Bescos

Managing Director for EIT Health Spain

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Cristina Bescos has more than 15 years’ experience in research and management of large international innovation projects in e-Health. Bescos has worked in public research institutions such as the European Space Agency, and in the private sector for Hewlett Packard, Telefonica I+D and Philips. Bescos joined EIT Health from Royal Philips, where she was the European Programme Manager. She has also held several representative positions at the European level in industrial bodies, standardisation committees, expert forums, and innovation projects in the area of ageing and chronic care management.

Alexander Betts
Alexander Betts

Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs at the University of Oxford and 2020-2021 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Alexander Betts is a Professor of Forced and International Affairs at the University of Oxford, where is also the Associate Head of the Social Sciences and a Senior Fellow in Politics at Brasenose College. His research examines the political economy of refugee assistance, with a focus on Africa. Alexander also currently leads the IKEA Foundation-funded Refugee Economies Programme, which undertakes participatory research on the economic lives of refugees in Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. Prior to this, he served as director of the Refugees Studies Centre. Alexander has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian and is the author of “The Wealth of Refugees: How Displaced People Can Build Economies”, which explores policy solutions for the contemporary global refugee crisis.

Agnes Binagwaho
Agnes Binagwaho (ex officio)

Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health and Vice Chancellor and co-founder of the University of Global health Equity

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Agnes Binagwaho is the Vice Chancellor and co-founder of the University of Global Health Equity, an initiative of Partners in Health. Binagwaho previously worked in various high-level government positions, serving first as the Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s National AIDS Control Commission, then as Permanent Secretary, and lastly as the Minister of Health for five years. Binagwaho serves as Senior Advisor to the Director General of the WHO, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics at UGHE.

Eunice Brookman-Amissah
Eunice Brookman-Amissah

Vice-President for Africa at IPAS

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Eunice Brookman-Assimah has a consolidated career in clinical medicine, spanning both the public and private sectors in the UK and in Ghana. She is committed to women’s reproductive health issues and champions women’s rights to equity in health care. In 2001, Brookman-Assimah assumed leadership of the IPAS Africa programme, an international not-for-profit organisation working globally to improve women’s health through a focus on reproductive health. Prior to joining IPAS full-time as Vice-President of Africa, she served as Minister of Health in Ghana from 1996 to 1998 and Ambassador for Ghana to The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Gunilla Carlsson
Gunilla Carlsson (ex officio)

Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health and Vice-Chair of the Strategy Committee

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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.

Dixon Chibanda
Dixon Chibanda

Director of the African Mental Health Initiative (AMARI)

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Dixon Chibanda is a professor in psychiatry and the director of the African Mental Health Initiative (AMARI). He’s based in Zimbabwe, where he works on the Friendship Bench program, a cognitive-behavioral therapy-based approach to kufungisisa, the local term for depression, literally translated into “thinking too much.” At the Friendship Bench, patients receive individual problem-solving therapy from a specifically trained lay health worker which has been successfully scaled up in Zimbabwe and introduced to other countries. He is a principal investigator on several research programs and sits on the editorial board of the Lancet Psychiatry International Journal.

Kalliopi Kalaitzi
Kalliopi Kalaitzi

Medical Doctor at Asklepieion Public Hospital and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Kalliopi Kalaitzi is a medical doctor in a public hospital in Athens, specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a focus on healthy aging and lifestyle medicine. Having previously worked in the field of aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery for over eight years, Kalliopi has also held a number of executive positions at the drug prevention centre, Serios, and experience working for a variety of NGOs which focus on youth health and drug abuse. She is also the youngest elected official to have served as a prefectural counsellor and as regional commissioner in Greeze. Kalliopi is the Co-Founder of the BrainGain Initiative, which aims to reverse brain drain in Greece. She currently serves as member of the board member of the Greek Cardiology Foundation and the president of an NGO, which focuses on prenatal, maternal and women’s health.

Ilona Kickbusch
Ilona Kickbusch

Founder and Chair of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

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Ilona Kickbusch is a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and is co-chair of UHC 2030. She acts as Council Chair to the World Health Summit in Berlin and has been involved in German G7 and G20 activities relating to global health. Kickbusch is also programme chair of the leaders in health network SCIANA and co-chair of a Lancet FT Commission on “Governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world”. At the World Health Organization, she was key instigator of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and WHO’s Healthy Cities Network. She was previously the director of the Global Health Division at Yale University School of Public Health.

Caroline Kwamboka Nyakundi
Caroline Kwamboka Nyakundi

Director of African Renaissance

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Caroline Kwamboka Nyakundi is an international development and policy advocacy expert. She has more than 18 years’ experience in advancing Sexual Reproductive & Health Rights (SRHR), Reproductive, Maternal, New-born and Adolescent Health (RMNAH), as well as gender equality and women’s empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa. Her counsel has inspired duty bearers to improve policies and sustain financial investments for health and gender across 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. She continues to deliver strategic, diplomatic, technical and evaluative advice as a consultant for international organisations like the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights that works in Europe and in Africa.

Wuleta Lemma
Dr Wuleta Lemma

Honorary Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Digital Health and AI at Wollo University (Ethiopia), CEO of Lalibela Global-Networks and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health

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With more than 28 years’ experience, Wuleta Lemma brings expertise across several fields including international public health, healthcare management, pandemic surveillance and health information system development. She previously worked on developing global digital health and eGovernment solutions, and strategising infectious diseases programme implementations to support health systems worldwide. Lemma has also served as a technical expert in M&E, digital health, data quality and use, technology in health, and HIV/AIDS for different international organisations, and she introduced the first accelerated diploma training programme in Ethiopia to train young health information technicians.

Peter Munene
Peter K. Munene

Chief Executive Officer of the Faith to Action Network

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In his current role at the Faith to Action Network, Peter K. Munene advocates for society’s most vulnerable groups, especially children and youth. During his tenure with DSW, Munene established strong partnerships with parliamentarians, especially the Tanzania Parliamentarians Aids Coalition (TAPAC) and within regional bodies such as the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Munene has also served as Kenyan delegate to the International Labour Conference (ILO) and participated in the drafting and negotiations leading up to the adoption of the ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

Björg Pálsdóttir
Björg Pálsdóttir

Co-founder and CEO of the Training for Health Equity Network

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Björg Pálsdóttir is co-founder and CEO of the Training for Health Equity Network: THEnet, a global partnership of health workforce education institutions committed to reducing health inequities and increasing social accountability. She leads THEnet’s capacity development, evaluation, and advocacy efforts. Björg is the Technical Lead of a Working Group on Equity at the Data and Evidence Hub of the World Health Organization and Chairs an Innovation Collaborative at the National Academies of Sciences in the United States. Björg co-founded the Center for Global Health at New York University.

Peter Piot
Peter Piot

Special Advisor on COVID-19 to the President of the European Commission and former executive director of UNAIDS

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Dr Peter Piot is currently the Special Advisor on COVID-19 to the President of the European Commission, the EU Chief Scientific Advisor Epidemics and the Handa Professor of Global Health. Concurrently, he is a visiting professor at the Rega Institute, KU Leuven, the University of Antwerp and the National University of Singapore. He was the founding executive director of UNAIDS and former under-secretary-general of the United Nations, as well as the former director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. In 1976, he co-discovered the Ebola virus and has led pioneering research on HIV, women’s health and infectious diseases.

Continue to Partners

Founded by

  • Friends of Europe

    The think tank for a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-thinking Europe. Friends of Europe is Brussels' most innovative think-tank, and for two decades has been showcasing new ideas on Europe's future while challenging outdated ones.

  • Mo Ibrahim Foundation

    The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) is an African foundation, established in 2006 with one focus: the critical importance of governance and leadership in Africa. It is our conviction that governance and leadership lie at the heart of any tangible and shared improvement in the quality of life of African citizens.

In partnership with

  • The ONE Campaign

    The ONE Campaign, a global movement and international not-for-profit organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease.

  • The African Climate Foundation

    The African Climate Foundation is the first African-led strategic climate change grant-making foundation


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