Civil Society days - Speaker Biographies

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(In chronological order)

Conny REUTER, Solidar, Liaison Group co-chair Conny Reuter has been Secretary General of SOLIDAR since October 2006. He is also serving as Co-Chair of Liaiso...

Conny REUTER, Solidar, Liaison Group co-chair

Conny Reuter has been Secretary General of SOLIDAR since October 2006.

He is also serving as Co-Chair of Liaison Group of the European Economic and Social Committee’s (EESC); Co-founder and Board member of Social Service Europe (SSE) since 2012; Member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Workers Education Associations (IFWEA) since 2008.

Before moving to Brussels, Conny worked in Paris and Berlin heading the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) Department for School and Youth Exchanges (1998-2006), working at La Ligue de l’enseignement in Paris on European projects (1990-1998) and heading the liaison office of La Ligue in Germany working on Franco-German youth exchanges in professional and vocational training (1985-1990).

From April 2008 to April 2013 he was President of the Social Platform, the platform of European Social NGOs.

He has extended experience in NGO networking, managing EU and international projects and events.  He is specialized in social policies, education and global justice issues.

Luca JAHIER, President of the European Economic and Social Committee. Luca Jahier has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) sinc...

Luca JAHIER, President of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Luca Jahier has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2002. Within the EESC, he has worked extensively on the European Union's social and cohesion policies as well as on international matters. In September 2004, he was elected vice-president of the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship.In October 2006, he was elected vice-president of Group III, member of the Committee Bureau for two years and member of the EU-Croatia and EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committees.From October 2008 to 2010, he was president of the ACP-EU Follow-up Committee and president of the Permanent group on Immigration and Integration. In October 2011, he was elected president of Group III of the EESC, and was re-elected in January 2013 and in October 2015. In this capacity, he has been a member of the EESC's Bureau. Over the course of three terms in office as president, Group III carried out nine studies, and held 42 conferences in 17 EU countries attended by thousands of people and countless meetings with European civil society organisations. He was nominated unanimously by Group III for the post of EESC's President for the April 2018 - September 2020 mandate.

Andrea RENDA, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Regulatory Policy at CEPS, Chair in Digital innovation at the College of Europe. His current research intere...

Andrea RENDA, Senior Research Fellow and Head of Regulatory Policy at CEPS, Chair in Digital innovation at the College of Europe.

His current research interests include regulation and policy evaluation, regulatory governance, private regulation, innovation and competition policies, Internet policy, and the alignment of policies for long-term impacts such as sustainability and decarbonization. He also specializes in EU law and policymaking, and in international regulatory cooperation.

Over the past two decades, Andrea Renda has provided academic advice to several institutions, including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD, the World Bank and several national governments around the world. Between 2006 and 2009, he was the Coordinator of the European Network for Better Regulation (www.enbr.org), a Coordination Action on regulatory impact assessment funded by the European Commission under the FP6 programme. In 2017 Andrea became member of the ESIR (Economic and Societal Impacts for Research) expert group of the European Commission.

Over the last ten years, he has been teaching at the European University Institute in Fiesole (Italy), at Luiss Guido Carli University, in Rome, at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, at the University of Stockholm, at the University of Jordan, at the College of Europe in Bruges and at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Ana GOMES, Member of the European Parliament, S&D, member of the Digital Agenda Intergroup Ana Gomes is a Member of the European Parliament since 2004. S...

Ana GOMES, Member of the European Parliament, S&D, member of the Digital Agenda Intergroup

Ana Gomes is a Member of the European Parliament since 2004. She was re-elected in June 2009 and in May 2014 for a third term.

In this mandate (2014-2019), she is full member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and of the Subcommittee for Security and Defence, as well as full member of the Delegation for the relations with the United-States and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. She is substitute member on the Foreign Affairs Committee and on the Subcommittee on Human Rights. Ms. Gomes has been Rapporteur for Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the PCA with Indonesia, on the "EU CBRN Action Plan" report, the "Maritime Dimension of CSDP" report, on the "Human Rights and corruption" report, among other files.

In her previous mandate, she was elected Coordinator for Foreign Affairs of the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament.

Her main work focuses on foreign affairs, namely security & defence, human rights, justice and home affairs, fight against tax havens and corruption, and the rule of law.

Lora BORISSOVA, European Commission Lora Borissova is currently Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. She is an EEAS (European External Action Serv...

Lora BORISSOVA, European Commission

Lora Borissova is currently Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.

She is an EEAS (European External Action Service) official, previously working as political advisor to the Political Director in the EEAS and as deputy Head of the Election and Democracy Division of the EEAS.

She has previously worked as a member of the High Representative's private office, as well as a policy officer 'Foreign Affairs Councils' at the Policy Coordination Division and as desk officer Palestinian territories in the Directorate General for External Relations of the European Commission.

Ray PINTO, Policy Director of Digital Europe Ray Pinto is a Policy Director for DIGITALEUROPE focusing on digital transformation issues. DIGITALEUROPE repres...

Ray PINTO, Policy Director of Digital Europe

Ray Pinto is a Policy Director for DIGITALEUROPE focusing on digital transformation issues. DIGITALEUROPE represents the digital technology industry in Europe. Ray leads on policy areas that include emerging technologies (i.e. AI, IoT), platform, data, manufacturing 4.0, jobs & skills, and eHealth. DIGITALEUROPE members include almost 40 National Trade Associations across Europe and the world's largest IT, telecoms and consumer electronics companies. DIGITALEUROPE wants a European Union that nurtures and supports digital technology industries, and that prospers from the jobs we provide, the innovation and economic benefits we deliver and the societal challenges we address. Ray previously worked for Microsoft and is both a French and Canadian citizen.

Maarit PALOVIRTA, the Internet Society Maarit Palovirta is the Senior Manager, Regional Affairs Europe. She joined the Internet Society in November 2013 wher...

Maarit PALOVIRTA, the Internet Society

Maarit Palovirta is the Senior Manager, Regional Affairs Europe. She joined the Internet Society in November 2013 where she focuses on promoting Internet Development and access in Europe through stakeholder engagement, advocacy and initiatives.

Maarit is a senior business development and public affairs professional with a great track record in government advocacy. She has extensive experience in strategy and public policy issues with multiple stakeholders in the EU and CIS countries. She worked with CISCO as a Business Development Manager, Public Sector EMEA.

Christa SCHWENG, President of the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship Christa Schweng is the President of the EESC's Section on Emp...

Christa SCHWENG, President of the EESC's Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship

Christa Schweng is the President of the EESC's Section on Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC). She has been a Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (Employers' Group, Austria) since 1998 and was President of the Labour Market Observatory of the EESC between 2013 and 2015. She is currently senior advisor to the Social Policy Department of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (since 1994).

Her other positions include: alternate member of the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work, member of the Bureau and Governing Board of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (Bilbao) (since 1994) and chair of the latter's Governing Board in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016. She is also a member of the Social Affairs Committee of the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME).

Christa Schweng holds a Master of Law from the University of Vienna and speaks German, English, French and Spanish.

Brikena XHOMAQI, Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) Brikena Xhomaqi is the current Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform (European Civil ...

Brikena XHOMAQI, Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP)

Brikena Xhomaqi is the current Director of the Lifelong Learning Platform (European Civil Society for Education). She graduated in Innovative Project Management at the Polytechnic University of Nice Sophia Antipolis and holds a professional Master Degree in Corporate Strategy and International Development and bachelor in Political Sciences. Originally from Albania, she has studied and lived in Italy, France and currently Belgium for the last fourteen years. She is the former Head of Office of the European Students’ Union (ESU) and Director of the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). She was elected student representative in Italy, France and at European level. She has been the research team member and manager of multiple EU projects for both ESN, ESU, Uniplaces, The Class of 2020, InternsGoPro and EUA related to learning mobility, financing of education, employability among others. She has an experience of more than 10 years in education and non-profit sector  at local, national and European level. Passionate about education, institutional cooperation, civil society and mobility. In her free time she volunteers for the Project Management Institute, Konitza culture association and EU Policy Hub Albania.

Corinne SZTEINSZNAIDER, Coordinator of Michael Culture Association Corinne is Coordinator of Michael Culture (Aisbl) since 2013, the European trans sectorial...

Corinne SZTEINSZNAIDER, Coordinator of Michael Culture Association

Corinne is Coordinator of Michael Culture (Aisbl) since 2013, the European trans sectorial network for valorization of digital cultural heritage (public & private cultural institutions, ministries of Culture, Universities,…) since 2014.

Before she started to work full time for Michael Culture, Corinne worked also for Dédale (2013-2015) (Culture + social innovation + technology) as manager of European and International development within she developed 2 Creative Europe projects linked to art, culture – public spaces and empowerment of citizens and research projects linked to digital and social innovation.

Corinne is now in charge of coordination and development of Michael Culture and especially in charge of relation with ministries and relevant communities (culture, research, art, technology…) and she manages the European projects within the association is involved, mainly under H2020 program.

Teresa BADIA, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe Teresa Badia holds a degree in Art History from the Universitat de Barcelona and a MA in Information...

Teresa BADIA, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe

Teresa Badia holds a degree in Art History from the Universitat de Barcelona and a MA in Information and Knowledge Society by the IN3 (Internet interdisciplinary Institute) of the UOC.

She is dedicated to cultural research and production in various formats. She has carried out several studies on cultural policies, networks and R+D+i for visual arts. Tere has curated exhibitions and projects of contemporary art. She has been professionally linked to the Interarts Observatory in the 90’s, the communication and multimedia agency Goetzinger&Komplizen (Karlsruhe). Tere coordinated the platform DISONANCIAS in Catalonia for the promotion of the relations between artists and research departments of companies and organizations, as well as the network of visual arts production spaces of Catalonia xarxaprod. Until January 2018, Tere Badia was director of Hangar – center for artistic production and research in Barcelona.

Joke VAN DER LEEUW-ROORD, Expert from EUROCLIO Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, historian and founding President, Special Advisor and former Executive Director of E...

Joke VAN DER LEEUW-ROORD, Expert from EUROCLIO

Joke van der Leeuw-Roord, historian and founding President, Special Advisor and former Executive Director of EUROCLIO – European Association of History Educators received her history degree at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She worked from 1972 till 1993 as a history teacher, teacher trainer and history advisor in the Netherlands.

She founded EUROCLIO in 1992, and since she has acquired recognition as an international expert on innovative and trans-national history, heritage and citizenship education. She has initiated and coordinated a multitude of national, trans-national capacity building projects for history and citizenship educators and historians in Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia-in-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia Turkey and Ukraine. She acts as consultant for the UNESCO, OSCE, Council of Europe, the European Union and International Alert. She has contributed through publications, lectures, workshops and advisory work during seminars, conferences and other activities to debates in the field of Cross-cultural History, Citizenship, Heritage Education in almost every European country and beyond.

Currently she is Vice President of the Europeana Foundation, the European Digital Heritage Collection and on-line platform for knowledge exchange between librarians, curators, archivists and the creative industry, The Hague, The Netherlands and Founding Board Member of the Europeana Network Association. She is Secretary General of the Steering Committee of the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning, EUCIS-LLL, in Brussels, Belgium; member of the Advisory Board of the Georg Eckert Institute in Braunschweig, Germany; member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Historical Culture at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlans. She is Editorial Board Member of the Journal “Historical Encounters” and Mentor of WISE Learners Voice in Qatar. She has been decorated in 2009 as Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau and honoured with the Huib de Ruyter Award for Dutch History Education. In 2010 she was finalist for a WISE award. She is Honorary Fellow of the Historical Association in the United Kingdom and Honorary Member of the Bulgarian, Estonian and Georgian History Educators Associations.

Izabela JURCZIK-ARNOLD, European Federation for Intercultural Learning Izabela Jurczik-Arnold was born in Poland and since 2004 has lived and worked in Bruss...

Izabela JURCZIK-ARNOLD, European Federation for Intercultural Learning

Izabela Jurczik-Arnold was born in Poland and since 2004 has lived and worked in Brussels, Belgium. She has university degrees in business administration and in classical music, however her main expertise has been shaped by volunteering and professional experience, focusing on non-formal education and youth work. She has been a trainer for a number of European, national and local NGOs on issues such as organisational management, training design, and various aspects and frameworks of intercultural learning. Since 2007 she works as Training coordinator at the European Federation for Intercultural Learning.

Alma Dora RIKARDSDOTTIR, European Federation for Intercultural Learning Alma Dóra Ríkarðsdóttir is an Icelandic volunteer and trainer, currently on an EVS pr...

Alma Dora RIKARDSDOTTIR, European Federation for Intercultural Learning

Alma Dóra Ríkarðsdóttir is an Icelandic volunteer and trainer, currently on an EVS program at the EFIL secretariat in Brussels. This is the third year she is living and learning abroad. Alma holds a Bsc degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Iceland and will be embarking on a Masters program in International Business at Hult university in San Francisco this fall. Her training experiences come mostly from her 6 years of volunteering for AFS as well as various other external training opportunities such as Dale Carnegie, public speaking coaching and more.

Pierre Jean COULON, EESC Member, President of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN) European and International ...

Pierre Jean COULON, EESC Member, President of the Section for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN)

European and International Confederal Secretary of the French Confederation of Christian Workers (CFTC), former president of the international non-governmental organisation "Right to Energy SOS Future" and vice-president of the Order of International Experts

Mario OETHEIMER, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Department Freedoms and Justice, Head of Sector Information Society, Privacy and Data Pr...

Mario OETHEIMER, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Department Freedoms and Justice, Head of Sector Information Society, Privacy and Data Protection

Dr. Oetheimer (PhD) is Head of Sector Information Society, Privacy and Data Protection at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Mario is managing the Agency’s research project on National intelligence authorities and surveillance in the EU. His areas of expertise with respect to the FRA’s work include: data protection and freedom of expression and international human rights, in particular the European Court of Human Rights’ case law. Mario coordinates the cooperation between the FRA and the Council of Europe.

Christopher WYLIE, Cambridge Analytica Initially working as director of research at Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie revealed in the beginning of the y...

Christopher WYLIE, Cambridge Analytica

Initially working as director of research at Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie revealed in the beginning of the year the unauthorized possession by his employer of personal data from almost 90 million Facebook user accounts. Since his allegations, Mr. Wylie's revelations launched several investigations from governments both in Europe and in America.

Laure BATUT, EESC Member, President of the EESC Study group TEN/646 Cybersecurity act EESC Member, Workers Group ; Quaestor ; Member of  EESC ...

Laure BATUT, EESC Member, President of the EESC Study group TEN/646 Cybersecurity act

EESC Member, Workers Group ; Quaestor ; Member of  EESC Social Affairs Section,  of  EESC Transport, Energy, General Interest Services Section, of Permanent Group on the «Digital Agenda» and of the EESC EU-Japan  Contact Group.

Retired; former Member of the Europe-International Department of CGT-FO Confederation, France.  Former deputy General Secretary  & member of the Executive Board  of  the Civil Servants Federation FGF-FO, France.

High Senior Officer of French Customs, Ministry of  Economy & Finance.

Master in Public Law.

Maryse ARTIGUELONG, European Association for the Defence of Human Rights, Consultante informatique retraitée Membre du Bureau Exécutif de l’AEDH, Maryse Arti...

Maryse ARTIGUELONG, European Association for the Defence of Human Rights, Consultante informatique retraitée

Membre du Bureau Exécutif de l’AEDH, Maryse Artiguelong est en charge du groupe de travail « protection des données personnelles » et supervise ainsi le pilotage politique de projets transnationaux cofinancés par l’UE portant sur la protection des données et de la vie privée comme par exemple la production d’une bande dessinée sur les risques des TICs et d’un livret sur le fichage institutionnel. Elle représente également l’association au Bureau du Conseil de l’Europe chargé de la modernisation de la Convention 108, où l’AEDH est membre observateur. Maryse Artiguelong est par ailleurs Vice-présidente de la Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme et Vice-présidente de la Ligue française des Droits de l’Homme. Elle co-anime l’Observatoire des Libertés et du Numérique en France.

Guillaume VASSAULT-HOULIÈRE, CEO and founder of Yes We Hack A graduate in electronics, Guillaume Vassault-Houlière is self-taught and has been passionate abo...

Guillaume VASSAULT-HOULIÈRE, CEO and founder of Yes We Hack

A graduate in electronics, Guillaume Vassault-Houlière is self-taught and has been passionate about computer security from an early age. His professional career has been fuelled by his passion. Recognised for his expertise as a technical director in a security audit firm, he has worked for institutions and prestigious companies, thus contributing to the Bockel report on cyber defence in 2012. As a figurehead of the HackerzVoice (HZV) community – which has been organising the famous "Night of the Hack" since 2003, bringing together more than 1 800 hackers – he was elected president of the HZV association in 2012. In 2013, he created YesWeHack.com, a site dedicated to recruitment in computer security. In 2014, as chief information security officer (CISO), he put together a team for Qwant.com. In early 2016, as YesWeHack CEO, he launched bountyfactory.io: the first "bug bounty" platform compliant with European law.

Jan Robert SUESSER, Vice President, European Civic Forum At present, Jan Robert Suesser is a civic activist, a member of the board of the French Human Rights...

Jan Robert SUESSER, Vice President, European Civic Forum

At present, Jan Robert Suesser is a civic activist, a member of the board of the French Human Rights League and a Vice President of the European Civic Forum. He is graduated from the French National School of Statistics and Economic Administration (ENSAE).

Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN, Member of the European Parliament, EPP Sirpa Pietikäinen is a Finnish Member of the European Parliament representing European People’s Par...

Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN, Member of the European Parliament, EPP

Sirpa Pietikäinen is a Finnish Member of the European Parliament representing European People’s Party (EPP) since 2008. She was Finland’s Minister of Environment in between 1991 and 1995 and a Member of the Finnish Parliament from 1983 to 2003.

At the European Parliament, she is Member in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON), and the Committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA), and substitute in the Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) and in the Women’s Right and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM). In 2015 she was the rapporteur of the resolution on circular economy, and she has given hundreds of speeches about eco-design, waste reduction and policies supporting growth in circular economy.

Anne-Sophie PARENT, AGE Platform Europe Anne-Sophie Parent is Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe, an EU network representing directly 30 million people...

Anne-Sophie PARENT, AGE Platform Europe

Anne-Sophie Parent is Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe, an EU network representing directly 30 million people aged 50+ across the EU-27 which she has been leading since 2002. AGE aims to voice and promote the interests of the 150 million inhabitants aged 50+ in the European Union.

Ms Parent has more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with policy and project development at EU level, having been Director of Autism-Europe for 6 years and President of the Social Platform for 2 mandates. She sits on various advisory committees set up by the European Commission. She is also a member of the Advisory Group of the United Nations – Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE) Generations and Gender Programme, a member of the Advisory Board of the World Demography & Ageing Forum (WDA) and sits on the Steering Committee of the Social Justice Programme of the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium).

Alejandro MOLEDO, New Technologies & Innovation Officer, European Disability Forum Mr. Moledo joined the European Disability Forum in 2013 and coordinate...

Alejandro MOLEDO, New Technologies & Innovation Officer, European Disability Forum

Mr. Moledo joined the European Disability Forum in 2013 and coordinates EDF’s advocacy work on policies concerning accessibility for persons with disabilities on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), research and innovation, and EDF involvement in standardization activities. Among other areas, Mr. Moledo has developed policy positions and recommendations regarding web accessibility, audiovisual services, electronic communications, and accessibility requirements for other ICT products and services.

Mr Moledo is also member of the Spanish Blind Organisation (ONCE), for which he worked as a journalist and regional representative of young visually impaired people inside the organisation (2008-2011).

Gérard PELTRE, President, Ruralité-Environnement-Développement (RED) asbl Gérard Peltre has a large experience in rural development as mayor of a village dur...

Gérard PELTRE, President, Ruralité-Environnement-Développement (RED) asbl

Gérard Peltre has a large experience in rural development as mayor of a village during 37 years and as project developer. He is managing his own agency « InnovDev » as expert consultant and advising local and regional communities in strategic development.

Since 1996, he is president of the international association  Rurality-Environment-Development and impulses a networking dynamics around the recognition of the rural territories. Inside the association, he is assuming various mandates at the European level (Consultative Group for Rural development, Steering group of Rural Development, European Leader sub-group, European Steering group RURBAN). Since 20 years, he is also president of the European Countryside Movement, platform grouping 17 European associations actives in the specific area of rural development.  He is recognized as expert in many French associations and often invited as speaker at national and international conferences.

Prof. Herbert KUBICEK, Institute for Information management Bremen (ifib) Dr. Kubicek worked as Professor for Applied Computer Science at the University of B...

Prof. Herbert KUBICEK, Institute for Information management Bremen (ifib)

Dr. Kubicek worked as Professor for Applied Computer Science at the University of Bremen until his retirement in 2011. He continued his research on usefulness and usability of ICT applications, in particular e-government and e-democracy at ifib, and as scientific director of the Digital Opportunities Foundation in Berlin (https://www.digitale-chancen.de/index.cfm/lang.1). At ifib we worked in the Mobile-Age-Project on the co-creation of two digital district guides for and with older adults. At the DOF his latest project was a field study in 30 senior centers on the use of tablet computers by older adults to find ways for bridging the age gap in internet usage. The conclusions for a responsive approach have recently been published in his book “Nutzung und Nutzen des Internet im Alter” together with Barbara Lippa.

Milad AHMED, MacMillan Cancer Support Milad currently works as a Programme Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, one of the UK’s largest not for profit orga...

Milad AHMED, MacMillan Cancer Support

Milad currently works as a Programme Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support, one of the UK’s largest not for profit organisations, operating across the health and community sector. Milad and his team focus on developing new roles and service for people living with cancer, that can help to meet a range of practical and emotional needs, using new and existing technologies. Milad has previous experience of managing digital services in partnership with technology sector leaders, though the ‘Macmillan Connected’ collaboration with Skype. Before joining Macmillan, Milad oversaw the launch of a text message based support services, as the Head of Support Services at the Muslim Youth Helpline, and supported a number of international delegations hosted via the Foreign & Commonwealth Organisation (FCO) of the UK government. Milad is a graduate in Sociology from Goldsmiths College (University of London) and holds a postgraduate in International Public Policy from University College London (UCL).

Sophie SCHUERMANS, Digital accessibility consultant, Anysurfer Sophie Schuermans has been a digital accessibility consultant at AnySurfer since 2010. AnySurf...

Sophie SCHUERMANS, Digital accessibility consultant, Anysurfer

Sophie Schuermans has been a digital accessibility consultant at AnySurfer since 2010. AnySurfer is a project of Blindenzorg Licht & Liefde, a Belgian non-profit organization that provides services to people with visual impairments. The AnySurfer project aims to improve accessibility of websites, digital documents and applications for people with disabilities.

As part of the AnySurfer team, Sophie gives advice about accessibility to teams that are in the process of building a website or that are trying to improve accessibility of an existing website. She also prepares and delivers digital accessibility trainings to various publics: web developers, graphic designers, web editors, project managers. With her colleagues, she visits several schools every year in order to raise awareness about accessibility with future web professionals.

Myrto-Maria RANGA, 50plus Hellas Dr.Myrto-Maria Ranga is an expert (PhD) in the field of Psychology-Gerontology. She is the CEO of 50plus Hellas. She has a w...

Myrto-Maria RANGA, 50plus Hellas

Dr.Myrto-Maria Ranga is an expert (PhD) in the field of Psychology-Gerontology. She is the CEO of 50plus Hellas. She has a wide experience in life-long learning projects and projects concerning ageing issues such as active and healthy ageing, the activation and participation of older people in the society, research projects on age-friendly technologies and environments and an active member of the European Working Group of Geragogists. The NGO 50plus Hellas is aiming to improve the lives of people over 50 years of age. Dr Ranga has collaborated with the Research Office of Applied Soziology and the Institute of Geragogy FOGERA in the project “Altengerechte Stadt-Das Handbuch” (Age-Friendly City- The Handbook) with the support of the Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Integration of North Rhine-Westafalia in Germany. Founding member of the Lifelong Development Center DIA VIOU EXELIXI, for psychological support, counseling, psychotherapy, myragogy, gerontology, geragogy. Collaborator of the Akademie für Menschliche Begleitung in Essen Germany in grief seminars and personal development and is responsible for research and grief seminars for children and parents who have experienced the loss of a close relative.

Tatjana BABRAUSKIENE, International Secretary, Lithuanian Education Trade Union Tatjana Babrauskiene is working and representing trade unions in the field of...

Tatjana BABRAUSKIENE, International Secretary, Lithuanian Education Trade Union

Tatjana Babrauskiene is working and representing trade unions in the field of vocational education and training and adult learning from 2004. At national level, she is the coordinator for three Lithuanian trade union confederations (VET, CVET and REFERNET) where one of her key tasks is to assess the union’s progress in daily operations at national level and in the international projects they participate in.

At the European level, Tatjana has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2015; she joined the European social dialogue much earlier though when Lithuania became member of the European Union on 1 May 2004.

She has a long experience in advocating for adult education at the European level, including as a member of the European Commission advisory committee on vocational education (ACVT). In 2010, when the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education was established, she was appointed as the Lithuanian delegate of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ESSDE). She is also an expert of the European trade union confederation (ETUC) and the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE).

Serge NOVARETTI, Policy Officer, eGovernment and Trust Unit, DG CNECT, European Commission Serge Novaretti has been a Policy and Programme Manager at the Eur...

Serge NOVARETTI, Policy Officer, eGovernment and Trust Unit, DG CNECT, European Commission

Serge Novaretti has been a Policy and Programme Manager at the European Commission/DG CNECT since 2011, working on Public Services and eParticipation. He is in charge of the e-SENS large-scale pilot, is involved in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF Digital) and in the preparation of the new eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020. 

Elisa LIRONI, Digital Democracy Manager for the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) Elisa Lironi develops and leads ECAS’ Digital Democracy agenda by impl...

Elisa LIRONI, Digital Democracy Manager for the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)

Elisa Lironi develops and leads ECAS’ Digital Democracy agenda by implementing EU projects and research studies in this focus area. She managed the project Digital Ecosystem for E-Participation Linking Youth (Erasmus+ programme) and coordinates ECAS’ part in the EUCROWD (Europe for Citizens programme). Her most recent publications includes the “Potential and Challenges of E-Participation in the EU” (2016) for the European Parliament and “EU Public Consultations in the Digital Age: Enhancing the Role of the EESC and Civil Society Organisations” (2017) for the EESC. She is currently working on research projects on crowdsourcing at the EU level and supports the European Commission’s development of the European Citizens’ Initiative Online Collaborative Platform.

Tom DE GRUNWALD, Co-Founder, SwapMyVote Tom de Grunwald co-founded Swap my Vote in 2015, as a positive platform to help people to make their vote meaningful ...

Tom DE GRUNWALD, Co-Founder, SwapMyVote

Tom de Grunwald co-founded Swap my Vote in 2015, as a positive platform to help people to make their vote meaningful in UK general elections under the country's iniquitous 'First Past the Post' electoral system.

He is a director of Open Rights Group and a member of Democracy Club and Newspeak House, the London College of Political Technologists.

When not working on democratic platforms and civic tech, Tom works as a producer and strategist in broadcast, managing creative teams at award-winning agencies, producing and/or devising social and digital strategy for projects (including Downton Abbey, Magnum Photos, and Unreported World); producing series of Shorts for Channel 4 (including with Scope to help shift attitudes towards disability); and consulting with clients (including BBC Academy and Viacom), and as a guest lecturer (at Zurich University of the Arts), to deliver training on digital engagement strategy and skills.

He opposes the UK's withdrawal from the EU and is working to help the country tread a more productive and harmonious path.

Photocredit: Samuel J Bland

Doru FRANTESCU, Director, VoteWatch Europe Doru Peter Frantescu is the Co-Founder and CEO of VoteWatch Europe. Since the launch of the organisation in 2009, ...

Doru FRANTESCU, Director, VoteWatch Europe

Doru Peter Frantescu is the Co-Founder and CEO of VoteWatch Europe. Since the launch of the organisation in 2009, Doru has headed the development of the political data analysis and the digital communication strategy. The findings of his reports on the actual voting behavior of Parliamentarians and Governments in the EU decision-making have reached millions of people and have been regularly quoted by media across the EU and internationally (including Le Monde, La Repubblica, BBC, Euronews, CNN, etc). Doru has also worked with organizations from 20 Member States in a pan-European project which aimed at bringing European issues in the local public debates. A social entrepreneur with background in political science and journalism, he speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian.

Aline MUYLAERT, Co-Founder, CitizenLab Aline Muylaert (24) is Co-Founder and Head of Sales at CitizenLab, an e-democracy platform used by 80+ governments. Sh...

Aline MUYLAERT, Co-Founder, CitizenLab

Aline Muylaert (24) is Co-Founder and Head of Sales at CitizenLab, an e-democracy platform used by 80+ governments. She has a passion for urban planning and realizing projects that have a direct, positive impact on society. Aline was named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2018 list and was a StartHer Awards finalist, Europe's biggest competition for female-(co)founded startups.

Nicolas PATTE, Director of Communication, Cap Collectif Nicolas Patte drives the communication of the French company Cap Collectif, which has been campaignin...

Nicolas PATTE, Director of Communication, Cap Collectif

Nicolas Patte drives the communication of the French company Cap Collectif, which has been campaigning for several years for a greater participation of the citizens in the public decision-making processes. It all started in 2013 with an initial project called Parliament & Citizens, a platform destined to parliamentarians and citizens—making possible the collaborative drafting of the law. Since then, Cap Collectif has extended the concept to six participatory apps covering the needs of the whole society—working in particular with governments, local authorities and the organized civil society. Since 2015, a participatory budget has been deploying on a dozen of French territories, from cities of modest size to metropolises.

Lenneke HOEDEMAKER Lenneke Hoedemaker studied European Studies at the University of Amsterdam (MA). She is also a trained filmmaker. In 1994 she started work...

Lenneke HOEDEMAKER

Lenneke Hoedemaker studied European Studies at the University of Amsterdam (MA). She is also a trained filmmaker. In 1994 she started working in Brussels at the European Commission, DG Development. Thereafter she spent 4 years at the European Parliament working as an assistant to two Dutch liberal MEPs. In 2000 she moved to South Africa to work as a volunteer in a shelter for street girls in Johannesburg. Commissioned by the Royal Dutch Embassy in South Africa, she made a number of short documentaries to help local NGOs find funds. Back in the Netherlands she joined WPF, (now Rutgers) coordinating volunteers and managing the communications department. In 2006, Lenneke started her own business as a free-lance facilitator, conference and event moderator. Her clients include public sector, commercial undertakings and non-profit organisations.

Catelijne MULLER, EESC Member, Rapporteur of the Opinion on Artificial Intelligence. Catelijne Muller is a member of the European Economic and Social Committ...

Catelijne MULLER, EESC Member, Rapporteur of the Opinion on Artificial Intelligence.

Catelijne Muller is a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and rapporteur of the recent EESC opinion “Artificial Intelligence and Society”. The EESC identifies 12 societal impact domains of AI and gives a number of concrete recommendations to address these.

Catelijne is an EU policy advisor for several trade union confederations in The Netherlands.

Paul LUKOWICZ, Embedded Intelligence Department, German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) Paul Lukowicz is Scientific Director at the German...

Paul LUKOWICZ, Embedded Intelligence Department, German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI)

Paul Lukowicz is Scientific Director at the German Research Center for AI (DFKI GmbH) and full Professor of AI at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) in Germany where he heads the Embedded Intelligence group. Previously he headed the Embedded Systems Lab at the University of Passau as full Professor. Paul Lukowicz holds an MSc. (Dipl. Inf.) and a Ph.D. (Dr. rer nat.) in Computer Science and an MSc. in Physics (Dipl. Phys.). His research focusses on context aware ubiquitous and wearable systems including sensing, pattern recognition, system architectures, models of large scale, self-organized systems, and applications.

Chiara TOMASI, Public Policy and Government Relations Analyst, Google Chiara works on AI, cloud and other emerging technologies in the Google Brussels policy...

Chiara TOMASI, Public Policy and Government Relations Analyst, Google

Chiara works on AI, cloud and other emerging technologies in the Google Brussels policy team. She was previously a consultant on public affairs and communications at Brunswick Group. A self-declared policy geek, throughout her career she has worked on a broad range of EU issues ranging from tech policy to energy and agriculture.

Virginia DIGNUM, Associate Professor, Delft University of Technology Virginia Dignum is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Manag...

Virginia DIGNUM, Associate Professor, Delft University of Technology

Virginia Dignum is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology. She received a PhD in 2004 from the Utrecht University, on A Model for Organizational Interaction. Prior to her PhD, she worked for more than 12 years in consultancy and system development in the areas of expert systems and knowledge management.

Her research focuses on the complex interconnections and inter-dependencies between people, organizations and technology. Her work ranges from the engineering of practical applications and simulations to the development of formal theories that integrate agency and organization, and includes a strong methodological design component. 

Jim DRATWA, Head of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, European Commission. Jim Dratwa’s research and publications address the int...

Jim DRATWA, Head of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, European Commission.

Jim Dratwa’s research and publications address the interconnections between knowledge, values and action. He heads the team tasked with Ethics in Science and New Technologies at the European Commission, he is the Secretary-General of the EC International Dialogue on Bioethics and the EC representative in the international organizations dealing with the ethical implications of science and new technologies. Jim Dratwa holds degrees in physics, philosophy, politics and the life sciences. He received the Fulbright Scholar Award, was Harvard Boas Fellow, Ramón y Cajal Scholar, and was pre- and post-doctoral Fellow at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and with the program on Science, Technology, and Society. He has taught at the Ecole des Mines de Paris, Harvard University, and the universities of Brussels, where he is currently based. He is Invited Professor and Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.

Anna BYHOVSKAYA, Trade Union Advisory Committee, OECD Anna Byhovskaya is a senior policy advisor to the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) cov...

Anna BYHOVSKAYA, Trade Union Advisory Committee, OECD

Anna Byhovskaya is a senior policy advisor to the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) covering innovation and technology policies, the digital economy and the Future of Work, the OECD Ministerial Council and Forum, as well as the G20 and G7 processes jointly with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). She worked as a policy coordinator on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), at the OECD and as a TV journalist in Paris and Berlin.

Heather GRABBE, Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute. Heather Grabbe, as both the director of the Open Society European Policy Institute an...

Heather GRABBE, Director of the Open Society European Policy Institute.

Heather Grabbe, as both the director of the Open Society European Policy Institute and director of EU affairs, works to ensure that open society values are at the heart of EU policies and actions, both inside and outside its borders.

From 2004 to 2009 she was senior advisor to then European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, responsible in his cabinet for the Balkans and Turkey. Before joining the Commission, she was deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, the London-based think tank, where she published widely on EU enlargement and other European issues. Her writing has appeared in the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian, among others.

Dr. Beate WAGNER, co-initiator of the Digital Charta Beate Wagner is a political scientist and has been managing director of the Global Young Academy since 2...

Dr. Beate WAGNER, co-initiator of the Digital Charta

Beate Wagner is a political scientist and has been managing director of the Global Young Academy since 2016. Before that, she was secretary-general of the United Nations Association of Germany for over ten years. From 2008 to 2015, she was closely involved in organising the Internet Governance Forum Germany, a multistakeholder forum with links to the UN Internet Governance Forum. Her interest in the challenges facing fundamental rights in the digital era largely springs from her many years of work on human rights as part of the Forum Menschenrechte (Human Rights Forum) civil society organisation. She is currently a member of the German Institute for Human Rights and serves on its board of trustees on a voluntary basis. Beate Wagner also teaches political science part-time at Martin Luther University in Halle.

Charlina VITCHEVA, Deputy Director-General, Joint Research Centre Charlina Vitcheva was appointed Deputy Director General of the JRC in September 2016. Previ...

Charlina VITCHEVA, Deputy Director-General, Joint Research Centre

Charlina Vitcheva was appointed Deputy Director General of the JRC in September 2016.

Previous to this, she was Director of Smart and Sustainable Growth and Southern Europe at DG Regional and Urban Policy, and also held a position in Inclusive Growth, Territorial and Urban Development and Northern Europe.

Before joining the Commission, Charlina spent 15 years in the Bulgarian public administration including at the Permanent Representation in Brussels, dealing mainly with agricultural and fisheries issues.

During this period, she was actively involved in the accession negotiations of Bulgaria and headed, between 2000 and 2004, the negotiations teams in the area of agriculture and rural development, food safety and fisheries.

Alessandro MANTELERO, professor of Law at the Polytechnic University of Turin, special focus on data protection, Big Data, AI, IoT. At the Polytechnic Univer...

Alessandro MANTELERO, professor of Law at the Polytechnic University of Turin, special focus on data protection, Big Data, AI, IoT.

At the Polytechnic University of Turin, he is legal expert on data protection and big data regulation at SmartData@PoliTO Center and programme coordinator of the Double Degree program in Management and IP Law (Polytechnic University of Turin – Tongji University of Shanghai).

In 2016, he was appointed Expert Consultant by the Council of Europe to draft the Guidelines on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data in a world of Big Data (2017).  He is the coordinator of the Italian node of the Internet Privacy Engineering Network (IPEN), which is an initiative founded in 2014 by the European Data Protection Supervisor.

His publications and research interests cover the field of law & technology, with a special focus on data protection, big data, AI, IoT, robotics and smart cities. He is member of the Editorial Board of Computer Law & Security Review and Associate Editor at the European Data Protection Law Review.