Speakers and moderators

Master of Ceremony

Ali Al-Jaberi

Ali Al-Jaberi is a professional moderator and studio presenter of high-level events. He is a former Europe correspondent for Associated Press Television News and university lecturer of Public Policy. Ali is multiple award-winning public speaker and works on virtually any topic in public policy. See www.promoderation.nl.

Opening Speeches

Paul Soete

Paul Soete, member of the European Economic and Social Committee since 2016, is the President of the EESC Study Group on Immigration and Integration. He is the former CEO of Agoria, the largest Belgian sectoral employers' federation. His main interests concern social dialogue and social security on different levels. Based on his experience at company level, at sectoral level in the technology industry, at national level in Belgium and internationally with the EESC and the ILO. He is also chairman of the board of the Belgian Social Security Office.

Michael Shotter

Michael Shotter, is a director in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, responsible for Migration and Asylum. He was earlier head of the unit, which is responsible for civil justice policy, having been a member of the European Commission's Legal Service over a number of years. Before his present post, he was Senior Legal Adviser in the private office of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and previously worked in the private office of Commissioner Viviane Reding. He has a degree in law from Cambridge University and a licence spéciale from the Institut d'Etudes européennes in Brussels.

Mahdiyah Ayub

Mahdiyah is a 23 year old Irish Muslim currently working in the field of Human Resources. At grassroots level Mahdiyah has dedicated the last 5 years to advocate for religious and ethnic minorities to bridge gaps in Irish society by using sport as an educational tool. 


Introduction to the Forum: young migrants as actors of youth inclusion

Anila Noor

Anila Noor holds three master’s degrees including development studies (2014) from Erasmus University Rotterdam examining social justice perspectives on gender and conflict as well as forced migration and refugee policies in Europe. As a 2021 ̶ 2022 fellow of the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer (FFVT) programme and 2018 ̶ 2019 fellow for the Open Society Foundations, she has advanced meaningful participation and unpacked the lived experiences of refugees as knowledge. As a representative of different refugee-led initiatives such as New Women Connectors, the Global Refugee-led Network and Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders, she has collaborated on reports and served on panels, including at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University and the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network. She has performed advisory roles for the European Commission and the UNHCR and given guest lectures at Amsterdam University, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Carleton University in Canada, among others. She is a member of the Emerging Scholars Network at the University of New South Wales’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Seyran Khalili

Seyran Khalili strongly believes in the power of values & beliefs that shape who we are and who we eventually become. She is a Kurdish-Norwegian organisational psychologist and project manager for ‘Young Connectors’ at New Women Connectors. She received her B. A in Educational Philosophy at the University of Oslo and her M.Sc. in Organisational Psychiatry & Psychology at King's College London.
Over the past decade, she has been working with advocacy with great commitment to advocate for issues of social injustice, reducing the gap between minorities and the majority through dialogue, information, and community debates. Her profession occurs within a matrix of theory-based innovations in public service, leadership development, and cross-cultural communication. Lately, her interest has been focused on using service design and innovation processes for city development, particularly emphasising the meaningful participation of citizens. Seyran has served as a deputy Board member of the Norwegian NGO "LIM – Equality, Inclusion and Diversity" since February 2017. She is also an associate of Kings College London through completing her Associateship (AKC) studying theology and philosophy of religion. As a young change-maker, she got selected to be a youth ambassador at the Università della Svizzera Italiana through the Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit 2021. She is a member of the GERIS (Global Exchange on Religion in Society) network and is well-grounded in advocacy work in an EU and global context.
Seyran aspires to make a difference in future generations' lives through her advocacy work within civil society that can significantly impact people around them. Especially to work for causes that make this world a better place to live and thrive.

Rachel Streefland

Rachel Streefland (1976) is the deputy mayor for Asylum & Integration, combatting homelessness, urban monuments and heritage and personnel & organisation for the municipality of Utrecht. She plays an active role at local, national and the European level to represent the social interests of the big cities as chair of the Eurocities Social Affairs Forum. As a member of the Christian Union (ChristenUnie) she worked as council member and council group leader for the city of Utrecht. Streefland started her career in education, first as a remedial educationalist, then as a lecturer at the university of Utrecht and later as a lecturer and (project) manager at the Hogeschool of Utrecht (university of applied scienes) After this she started a consultancy agency for change and advice in non-profit organizations. Her aim is that Utrecht will be a city for anyone, so everyone can participate in whatever way he or she likes. Where there is space for everyone and those in need of help and support are able to receive this. Photographer: Bas van Setten

Catriona Graham

Catriona Graham is Director of Advocacy and Partnerships with WOSM European Scout Region. As part of her role with WOSM, she coordinates a partnership with UNICEF for the project “UAct: Scouts in Humanitarian Response for Ukraine”. Catriona has more than 10 years’ experience in migration policy and campaigning, at national level in Ireland with the Immigrant Council of Ireland and European level with the European Women’s Lobby. She is a passionate feminist, and believes firmly in the power of youth participation in effective decision making.

Belén Vallina González

National Spanish. Her career has been developed in international development fundamentally abroad where she has been part of United Nations agencies such as UNIDO, FAO and IAEA in Africa and Latin America as well as in DG ECHO in Asia.Also she has worked in the Middle East and North Africa Division at the OECD Secretariat for Global Relations in Paris.
She created Yaran (which in farsi means cooperation between friends) after evacuating to the person who had been her driver during her missions in Afghanistan and his family weeks after the fall of Kabul. Later she realized that spontaneously she had created a complementary pathway that resettles and integrates refugees in rural areas from Galicia, Spain. Currently she acts as an advisor to the team that has taken over from her in the organization after her appointment as advisor in the Cabinet of the Spanish Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration.

Public attitudes towards migrants

Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer is Deputy Head of the Communication Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME A2). His previous experience in the Commission includes policy coordination on electronic evidence, cybercrime and health technology. He has also worked in the UK Government's Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, as well as in consultancy and advertising.  He has a degree in Modern Languages from Oxford, a Masters in International Relations from the Université Libre de Bruxelles and an Open University Post-Grad Certificate in Information Technology Professional Practice.

Amara Makhoul 

Editor in chief of InfoMigrants. A graduate of Sciences Po Paris school, Amara Makhoul has been an international news journalist for France 24 since 2007, more particularly specializing in the fields of the Middle East and migration. Since 2017, she is the editor in chief of InfoMigrants, a multilingual information site for migrants, produced by journalists from France Médias Monde (FMM), Deutsche Welle (DW) and the Italian agency ANSA.

Fridoon Joinda

I am Fridoon Joinda, a member of the editorial team of Migratory Birds (a project of the Greek NGO Network for Children’s Rights), a newspaper produced by and for refugee, migrant and Greek youth .I grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, and had to leave in 2016 due to the insecurity of journalists and henceforth, I live permanently in Athens, Greece. I am founder & director of Joinda Production, an award-winning filmmaker. I transform my emotions into a desire to film stories of the most vulnerable, making documentaries to encourage people to understand the world using their imagination. In addition, I am studying communication in order to expand my academic knowledge to grow and have more impact.

Luca Barani

Over my 20-year career in Brussels, I have developed an extensive experience of European affairs: drafting EU legislation and providing technical advice, supervising activities funded by the EU funds, evaluating EU policies as well as monitoring policy reforms in the EU Member States.
I also had the opportunity to work for the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU, in the second semester of 2014, in between my duties as EU administrator in various DGs: ENTR, ECFIN, EMPL and HOME.

Presentation of the candidates for the Forum Bureau elections and ideas for the European Migration Forum

Rossella Nicoletti

Rossella Nicoletti has been an elected member of the European Migration Forum Bureau since April 2019. She has over ten years of experience in the European public policy domain, focusing on social inclusion, migration and integration, cohesion policies and fundamental rights. She currently works as a senior project coordinator at Eurocities, the European network of major cities. Rossella manages complex projects with several partners from the local level, NGOs and civil society representatives and leads mutual learning and capacity-building programmes on integration for local authorities. Prior to this, she was the European Migration Network coordinator, supporting the European Commission in managing 27 national contact points and several experts on asylum and migration.

Julie Martinaud

Julie Martinaud is Social Inclusion officer in SOLIDAR, that she joined in 2019. She is French and graduated in 2019 in Governance of International Relations from the Institute of Political Studies at the University of Toulouse, France. She has experience in policy monitoring and project management in the fields of violence against women and girls and decent work, and works currently on inclusion, migration and access to services. During the last European Migration Forum in October 2021, she was elected representative for EU level civil Society at the EMF Bureau. 

Marie Paule D. E. N'Guessan

Marie Paule was born in Ivory Coast in 1993, but has been living in Italy since 2003. She graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Bologna and was elected as Representative of Civil Society Organizations at the "European Migration Forum" in 2019. In 2017 she started collaborating with the association Interculturale Universo APS and in 2020 she became the Responsible for the Community integration programme. 
Since November 2021 with her association and with the Municipality of Bologna, she has been coordinating the Anti-Discrimination Helpdesk and since June she has been the Coordinator of the ECCAR Working Group in the context of the UN Decade for People of African Descent and Colonial Heritage. 

Keynote talk

Ylva Johansson

Twitter: @YlvaJohansson
Ylva Johansson (born 13 February 1964) was appointed European Commissioner for Home Affairs in December 2019. From Sweden, she was Minister for Employment in the Swedish Government from 2014 to 2019, Minister for Welfare and Elderly Healthcare from 2004 to 2006 and Minister for Schools from 1994 to 1998. Ms. Johansson was educated at Lund University and the Stockholm Institute of Education. She is married with three children.

Christa Schweng

Twitter: @EESC_President
Christa Schweng was elected President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in October 2020. She has been an EESC member for 22 years, working as rapporteur for several opinions. She is the outgoing president of the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship and chaired the Labour Market Observatory from 2013 to 2015. Ms Schweng gained deep expertise in social and employment issues, working as an advisor both at EU level and in her native Austria. Outside the EESC, she works for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. She has been a member of the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work since 1995 and has held every three years the rotating presidency of the Board of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work since 2001. She chaired the SMEunited Social Affairs Committee between 2001 and 2009.
Christa Schweng holds a master's degree in law from the University of Vienna.

Interactive debate


Beate Gminder


Ms Beate Gminder, Deputy Director-General or Migration & Home Affairs, European Commission, is heading the Task Force Migration Management and the Directorates “HOME Affairs Funds” and “Innovation and Audit”. She is leading the efforts of the European Commission and its agencies to support Member States operationally in migration challenges, particularly in Greece and Cyprus but also in view of the Ukrainians fleeing the war. The Deputy Director-General is overseeing the implementation of the Home Affairs Funds (Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, Internal Security Fund, Instrument for Financial Support for Border Management and Visa Policy) in shared and direct management in all Member States and the Schengen Associated Countries, and it is also in charge the relationship with the Court of Auditors and the ex-post audits of the Funds.
Ms Gminder is a career official of the European Commission, with various postings in communication jobs as well as spokesperson for food safety and consumer protection, adviser to Commissioners and as Head of Human Resources in interior and justice affairs. Directly before taking on the post as Director in 2018 and Deputy Director-General in 2020 in DG HOME, she worked as Secretary General of the European Ombudsman.

Giuseppe Varacalli

Giuseppe Varacalli, member of the Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs, European Committee of the Regions.

Giuseppe Varacalli, known as Pino, born in 1958, married to Sara, and has four children, official in the Calabria Regional Health Department, former mayor of Gerace (RC), now member of Gerace municipal council, alternate member of the European Committee of the Regions, member of the National Council of Anci (National Association of Italian Municipalities) and member of ANCI regional council for the Calabria Region, President of Federsanità Anci Calabria.

Michael McLoughlin

Michael McLoughlin is Head of Advocacy and Communications with Youth Work Ireland, Irelands largest youth organisation. Michael is responsible for youth advocacy, communications, policy submissions, media relations and campaigns. Michael is a former board member with the Children’s Rights Alliance and chairperson of Leargas, Irelands National Agency for ERASMUS+. As an EESC member he has been rapporteur on the EU Youth Strategy, The Reinforced Youth Guarantee and the Lives in Dignity White Paper on integrating the long term forcibly displaced. Michael has been involved in refugee support and conflict resolution projects in Turkey, Bosnia and Jordan.

David Vondrácek

David Vondráček has been a member of the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU since 2017, where he deals with the issue of migration. The migration policy of the European Union has been the focus of his work in the Czech public administration since 2007. He worked in the European Asylum Support Office as an expert on the implementation of asylum legislation.