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"The European Education Area: A reality for all"

Sixth European Education Summit

30 November 2023
Brussels (Hybrid format)

About the Summit

The Summit is the annual flagship event of the European Education Area (EEA).

It brings together policy-makers from EU institutions and beyond, and the European education and training communities.

What happened at the Summit

Topics

The main questions that guided the discussions during the 2023 edition included:

  • How can we improve the education and training sectors to the benefit of all?
  • How are the EU countries planning to better invest in quality education and training?
  • How can we ensure that people are equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in the green and digital transitions?

Policy-makers for EU institutions and from EU countries, as well as key stakeholders of the education and training community from across the EU, discussed ideas and best practices in answer to these questions and more.

Together, they brought new perspectives, innovative solutions and creative approaches to help make the European Education Area a reality for all.

Event agenda

Skip event programme

Biography

Iliana Ivanova is the newly appointed Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Previously, she was a member of the European Court of Auditors, Dean of Chamber II responsible for audits in the field of Investment for cohesion, growth and inclusion.

She is a former member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control and Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social Crisis.

She has worked for Sofia City Council, and in the field of investment, business analysis and finances.

Iliana Ivanova holds a master’s degree in International Economic Relations from the University of Economics in Varna, and a MBA from the Thunderbird University in Arizona.

 

Biography

Iliana Ivanova is the newly appointed Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Previously, she was a member of the European Court of Auditors, Dean of Chamber II responsible for audits in the field of Investment for cohesion, growth and inclusion.

She is a former member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control and Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social Crisis.

She has worked for Sofia City Council, and in the field of investment, business analysis and finances.

Iliana Ivanova holds a master’s degree in International Economic Relations from the University of Economics in Varna, and a MBA from the Thunderbird University in Arizona.

 

Biography

He holds a degree in Philosophy and Educational Sciences (Psychology) from the University of Santiago de Compostela.

He has been a member of the Secondary Education teaching staff since 1980, specialising in Social Sciences (Geography-History) and Educational Guidance (Psychology-Pedagogy).

He became an Educational Inspector in the Balearic Islands in 1990 and served as such until August 2021, when he was appointed Director General of Educational Planning and Management at the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and in May 2022 he became the Secretary of State for Education.

Biography

Sabine Verheyen was born in Aachen in 1964. After graduating from the St. Ursula Gymnasium in Aachen in 1983, she studied architecture at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences until 1988.

Sabine Verheyen has been a Member of the European Parliament for the German Christian Democrats (CDU) since 2009. In 2019 she was elected as Chairwoman of the Committee for Culture and Education, after having served as coordinator for the European People`s Party in this committee for five years. She focuses in particular on education and media policy as well as digital agenda issues. Furthermore, she was a member of the special committee on disinformation. As former mayor of Aachen (1999 to 2009), she focuses additionally on issues that are of relevance to the local authorities.

Biography

Elisa Gambardella was elected President of the Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) in 2023, after two years contributing to the work of the Steering Committee of the LLLP and representing it in the Board of Civil Society Europe. Her home organisation is SOLIDAR Foundation, where she is Education and Lifelong Learning Coordinator since 2020, and that she originally joined as Political Adviser in 2018. Elisa has represented SOLIDAR also as a member of the Civil Society Organisations Convention for the Conference on the Future of Europe, and as a member of the plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Before moving to Brussels, she worked for the Cabinet of the Italian Minister of Labour, where she specialised in active labour market policies for youth employment. Overall, she has 10 years’ experience in public authorities, think-tanks and EU civil society organisations and she holds a master’s degree in European Studies from the Roma Tre University.

Biography

Horia serves as President of the European Students’ Union, working on overarching political priorities (such as Bologna Process Ministerial Conference or 2024 European Elections), quality assurance of higher education, learning and teaching policies, digitalisation and social dimension of higher education.

He represents ESU in positions such as co-chair of the Drafting Committee of 2024 Tirana Communique, co-chair of the Bologna Follow-Up group on Social Dimension and representative in the BFUG Board and Council of Europe’s CDEDU. He also follows EU developments on education funding and monitoring through Recovery and Resilience Facility and the European Semester.

Horia holds a Bachelor of Law (received as valedictorian) and a Master of Public Procurement degree from the University of Bucharest and has been active in the student movement for several years.

Biography

Read the biography of Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen

Biography

Read the biography of Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen

Biography

Mariëlle Lucienne Josepha Paul (born 5 November 1966) is a Dutch politician. A member of the conservative liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), she was elected to the House of Representatives in the 2021 general election, and she became Minister for Primary and Secondary Education as part of the fourth Rutte cabinet in July 2023. She previously worked as a communications director for several multinational corporations.

Biography

Kristina Kallas, PhD is a distinguished Estonian politician, political scientist, and educator. As of April 2023, Kristina Kallas is a prominent member of the Estonian government, serving as the Minister of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia.

According to PISA results, Estonia has one of the world’s leading education systems. Minister Kristina Kallas is convinced that technology in education is a means to empower individuals, enhance educational outcomes, and ensure inclusivity, assuring the continued future readiness of the Estonian education system.

Prior to her career in politics, Kristina Kallas was a researcher at the University of Tartu. Simultaneously, in 2015-2019 she was the Director of the Narva College of the University of Tartu. As an expert consultant for several organisations and projects such as OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Kristina Kallas has advised many governments in the area of integration policy, including Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia.

Throughout her career, Kristina Kallas has been committed to equip future leaders with the competences – knowledge, skills, and attitudes – needed to navigate diverse and multicultural societies.

Biography

Marcos Ros is a Spanish Socialist MEP and a full member of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education.

He holds a PhD in architecture and is professor of urban planning on leave at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (EUt+).

Among his main activities in the CULT committee, he has been the representative of the Socialists in the report on the European Education Area.

In addition, his extensive university teaching experience allows him to follow closely the development of the Erasmus+ programme and the European universities initiative in the European institutions.

Biography

Susan Flocken is the European Director of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and has been working for the organisation in Brussels since 2009.

ETUCE represents 127 education trade unions, i.e.11 million teachers and other education employees at all levels of education in 51 countries of Europe. ETUCE is a Social Partner in education at EU level and a European Trade Union Federation within the European Trade Union Confederation. ETUCE is the European Region of Education International, the global federation of education trade unions. 

Promoting a quality teaching profession ETUCE stands up for teachers’ rights, trade union and human rights based on meaningful social dialogue and is an advocator for publicly funded education and access to quality education for all. Susan Flocken engages in ETUCE policy advocacy work with government representatives as well as with European and international institutions across a range of areas: education and training post-2020; European Pillar of Social Rights, equality, social inclusion and democratic citizenship; digitalisation in education; economic governance, promotion of social dialogue and teachers’ working conditions.

Biography

Daniel Wisniewski, PhD MBA – Secretary General of the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE), expert in education policy, member of various Expert Groups on education and training coordinated by the European Commission and the OECD.

Co-Manager of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education with teacher trade unions, Co-Founder and Manager of the Educational Leadership Network Europe (ELNE).   

Biography

Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot is Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at the European Commission's Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

She is in charge of European cooperation on higher education, schools and youth policy, managing Europe's flagship programme for education, training, youth and sport Erasmus+ with a budget over €26 billion 2021-2027.

She launched and manages the European Solidarity Corps,an EU youth volunteering programme, and coordinated the 2022 European Year of Youth. She launched flagship actions under the European Education Area and the EU Youth Strategy, such as European Universities, Teacher Academies and DiscoverEU.

She has previously held various positions within the European Commission in the field of strategy and investment in education, employment policy, European Semester, European cohesion funds, cultural policy and business statistics.

She studied economics, business, political science and EU affairs in Sweden, France and Belgium, including an Erasmus student exchange.

She is an Eisenhower Fellow. Twitter: @sophiabrussels

Biography

Kyriakos Pierrakakis is the Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports in the Cabinet of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Member of the Hellenic Parliament since 2023. He is a computer and political scientist.

In 2007 he earned a Master in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and in 2009 a Master of Science in Technology and Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Athens University of Economics and Business. Currently, he is a Doctoral Candidate in Political Science at Heidelberg University.

From 2019 to 2023 he served as Minister of Digital Governance. During his tenure, he digitized and simplified government services through the development of citizen-centric digitals platforms such as gov.gr, Greece’s single point of access to government services, digital IDs and driving licenses (Gov.gr Wallet app), and electronic healthcare and prescription records (MyHealth app). As Minister of Education, he aims to build a modern and more inclusive educational system designed to help students unlock their potential.

Kyriakos Pierrakakis was born in 1983 in Athens. He is married and has three children. He speaks English and French.

Biography

Jiří Nantl is the Deputy Minister of Education of the Czech Republic since June 2023.

He previously served as Deputy Governor of the South Moravia Region from November 2020 to June 2023 where he was in charge of Education, Smart Region and Public Health.

Jiří Nantl has been Director of CEITEC – Central European Institute of Technology, a research institute in molecular biology affiliated with Masaryk University, Brno, since 2016 as is formally on leave from this position during his appointment as Deputy Minister. He has had an extensive career in university leadership in a number of positions, and he currently is Vice Chair of Appeals Committee at EQAR (European Register of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Educations) as well as member of the Slovak Republic´s Government Research Council.

Jiří Nantl previously served as Deputy Minister of Education also from 2012 to 2013 and politically is affiliated with the Civic Democratic Party (ECR).

Biography

Elina Laavi works as the Minister’s Political State Secretary in the Finnish Government. Ministers’ State Secretaries assist the Ministers in matters related to political guidance and management.

Elina Laavi is the State Secretary for the Minister of Science and Culture Sari Multala in the Ministry of Education and Culture, where Ms. Laavi is responsible for matters related to higher education, science policy as well as culture and art policy, with the exception of church matters. Elina Laavi is also the State Secretary for the Minister of Local and Regional Government Anna-Kaisa Ikonen in the Ministry of Finance. In the Ministry of Finance Ms. Laavi is responsible for matters related to general administrative policy, employer policy, contracts, state share system and questions related to the Åland region. In addition, Ms. Laavi is responsible for the management of the state regional administration reform and the state share system reform.

Ms. Laavi has previously worked as the Chief of Public Relations in the National Coalition Party, the Head of Public Affairs in The Finnish Pension Alliance, Director at the city of Lahti and as the Cooperation Director of the municipalities around the capital region. In addition, she has established the first independent Montessori elementary school in Helsinki. Laavi has also worked as a Special Adviser to the Minister. On July 2023, Ms. Laavi was elected as the Director of Economic Development of the City of Lahti. Ms. Laavi is on leave from her position as the Director due to her position as the State Secretary.

Biography

Victor Negrescu is a Member of the European Parliament, Vice-President of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT), being part of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament.

Victor Negrescu has been the rapporteur of the European Parliament for the report on Shaping Digital Education Policy and responsible of the S&D Group for the report on the European schools system, as well as an active promotor of the allocation of 10% for quality and inclusive education of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans, and 2% to the cultural and creative sector. He managed to obtain in this regard the support of the Budgets Committee members and integrated that in the official position of the European Parliament.

In his activity as MEP, he strongly advocates for consistent investments in education, culture, digitalization and youth, by Member States and the European Commission. He is the MEP with the most significant pilot projects and preparatory actions, generating in both mandates initiatives that go up to more than €90 million in the fields of education, digitalization, health, entrepreneurship, culture and media. An example in this regard is the preparatory action “Increasing access to educational tools in areas and communities with low connectivity or access to technologies”, totalling €1,2 million allocated to 80 projects involving over 100 rural schools from 10 EU countries.

As Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs in 2017-2018, Victor Negrescu was responsible for the preparations for the Presidency of the European Council, highlighting consistently the importance of the education and digital sectors for Europe. Victor Negrescu holds an MBA in executive business, a PhD in development cooperation and has accomplished several education programs in prestigious Romanian and international universities and education institutions. In 2009 he started teaching at the Dimitrie Cantemir University in Bucharest and since 2012 he is a lecturer at the National School of Political Science and Public Administration (SNSPA), where he has developed a Master's programme in English on Development, International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, as well as two research centres – the Institute for International Cooperation and Development and the Institute for Global Digital Policies. In the same time, he is currently teaching at the University of Saint Louis, the Brussels branch of the Louvain Catholique University. He was also Vice-Rector of SNSPA in 2019, the main responsibility being the coordination of projects and activities aimed at developing the European profile of the university.

Biography

Aurel Laurenţiu Plosceanu has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and its Employers' Group since 2007. Mr Plosceanu has been involved in activities across all sections of the EESC. Prior to his appointment as Vice-President for Communication, he served as President of the EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC), EU Chair of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (2020-2023) and President of the Audit Committee from 2015-2017.

In his native Romania, Mr Plosceanu has been Vice-President of UGIR (the Romanian Industrialists General Union) since 2016 and President of ARACO (the Romanian Association of Building Contractors), which is a member of FIEC (the European Federation of Construction Industries) since 2007.

Other past professional experiences include the position of CEO at ABC Asigurari Reasigurari SA from 2000 to 2007, President of the Social House of Building Workers from 1999 to 2016, member of the Board of the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest and member of the Romanian Economic and Social Council (both from 2007 to 2011), President of the Romanian Association of SMEs in Insurance from 2005 to 2007 and Co-President of the Romanian Alliance of Employers' Confederations from 2007 to 2013.

Mr Plosceanu studied at the Bucharest Construction Institute and obtained an Executive MBA from the National Institute for Economic Development. In addition, he studied at the Law Faculty of Nicolae Titulescu University Bucharest and completed post-university studies at the National Defence College.

Biography

Inge Molenaar is the director of the National Education Lab AI (NOLAI) and associated professor of educational sciences at the Behavioural Science Institute at Radboud University in the Netherlands. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of technology enhanced learning taking multiple roles from entrepreneur to academic.

Her research focusses on technology empowered innovations to optimize human learning and teaching. The application of data, learning analytics and Artificial Intelligence, in understanding how learning unfolds over time is central in her work. Artificial Intelligence offers a powerful way to measure, understand and design innovative learning scenarios. Dr Molenaar envisions Hybrid Human-AI Learning Technologies that augment human intelligence with artificial intelligence to empower learners and teachers in their quest to make education more efficient, effective and responsive. In the National Education Lab AI (NOLAI) a collaboration between the Dutch government, schools, research and industry, we believe that a multistakeholder, interdisciplinary approach is essential to develop the next generation educational technologies and a shared understanding of responsible use of AI in education.

Dr Molenaar has received multiple grants among which an ERC Starting Grant to develop the first Hybrid Human-AI Regulation system to train young learners’ Self-regulated learning skills with AI and she is a Jacobs Foundation Fellow. she holds Master’s degrees in Cognitive Psychology and International Business studies and a PhD in Educational Sciences (University of Amsterdam).

Biography

Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva has been Director at the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) since 2016. She is currently Director for Innovation, Digital Education and International Cooperation. She is responsible for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which are key components of the Horizon Programme. She also coordinates the EU Digital Education Action Plan.

Antoaneta joined the European Commission in 2008. She has occupied various management and expert positions across the Commission and dealt with a wide range of topics such as external relations and enlargement, internal security and police cooperation, cyber security, stakeholder relations and international affairs. Antoaneta has also worked as a diplomat to the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU in Brussels for five years. She is a graduate in political science at Sofia University, with training and qualifications in European studies from Germany (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung) and the UK (Sussex University).

Biography

Born in Genoa, Paola Frassinetti moved to Milan during her childhood. There she attended the Classical Lyceum Carducci (upper secondary school in humanities) and continued her studies in law at the Catholic University of Milan, later becoming a civil lawyer.

Her passion for politics began during upper secondary school, leading her to hold leadership roles in various parties such as the MSI, AN, PdL and Fdl. Elected provincial councillor in Milan, she was then councillor for education and school buildings.

During the legislatures of 2006, 2008, 2018, 2022 she was elected to the Chamber of Deputies, actively contributing to the Culture and Education Commission and also holding the role of vice-president. Currently, in her fourth mandate, Paola Frassinetti holds the position of Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education and Merit in the Meloni Government.

Biography

Dr Veronika Varga-Bajusz is Deputy State Secretary for Higher Education at the Ministry of Culture and Innovation. She graduated in law. Previously, she worked as Head of the Department for Youth Affairs from 2015-2018, and then worked on legal regulation in the field of education. From 2020-2022, as Director General of the Tempus Public Foundation, she headed the National Office of the Erasmus+ programme and managed all other international mobility programmes.

Biography

Felicitas Rield works at the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s long-term financing institution headquartered in Luxemburg.

Felicitas is the Director of the Innovation and Competitiveness Department within EIB’s Projects Directorate that is responsible for the due diligences of investments in R&D- intensive sectors, including the engineering, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical and telecoms industries, education, health and digital infrastructures.

Before her appointment, she was Head of the Life Science and Health Division, which she joined in 2007 as Life Science Specialist. She was responsible for the life sciences, pharmaceutical and health sectors. Before joining the bank, Felicitas worked at the European Investment Fund as an Investment Manager with a particular focus on technology transfer. Her main tasks involved, among others, the analysis of technology transfer, the development of financial instruments targeting this particular area and the implementation of these funding structures.

Prior to that, she worked as a strategy consultant for L.E.K. Consulting in Munich and Los Angeles. There, she focused on Private Equity / M&A and Life Sciences. Her work included business planning, market research, development of market entry strategies as well as financial and commercial due diligences. She earned a Master of Science from the Philipps University of Marburg with a major in human genetics and molecular biology and was a visiting researcher at Stanford University in Palo Alto.

Biography

Lou Aisenberg is Strategic Development Manager for the Innovation, Data and Experiments in Education (IDEE) programme at J-PAL Europe / Paris School of Economics. She leads in particular the policy and training strands of the programme.

IDEE is a long-term initiative supporting the development and use of actionable evidence in education in France (and beyond), stemming in particular from experimental research. The initiative is implemented in partnership with the French Ministry of Education, as well as leading research labs in economics, sociology, psychology, cognitive sciences and education.

Prior to joining J-PAL in 2021, Lou worked as a Programme Manager at the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the UK Government-designated What Works Center for Education. Previously, she worked for five years as a Policy Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), where she coordinated and conducted policy research and advice on skills and social innovation policies around the world.

Lou holds a master's degree in political studies from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and a bachelor's degree in political sciences and law from Panthéon-Assas, both based in Paris (France).

Biography

Stefan Zotti is team leader in the European Commission/DG EAC, responsible i.a. for the Jean Monnet actions, the Education for Climate Coalition and investment in education policies. Before rejoining the Commission he was Director General of the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH) and Vicepresident of the Brussels-based Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). Between 2010 and 2013 he served as member of cabinet of Commissioner Johannes Hahn (Regional policy). Stefan holds a PhD in Theology (bioethics) and a master in European Studies.

Biography

Dr Athena Michaelidou was appointed Minister of Education, Sport and Youth on March 1, 2023.

Dr Michaelidou is a graduate of the Cyprus Pedagogical Academy and has received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Thessaloniki. She has an M.A. in Education from the University of Manchester and has completed a Ph.D. in Educational Studies at the University of London, specializing in educational research and evaluation. Having served as a public-school teacher, she then went on to teach as a professor of Pedagogy at the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, also serving in the positions of its Head of the Research and Evaluation Department, Head of the Educational Research and Evaluation Center and, finally, as its Director. In this capacity, she served as Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth (MOECSY) and has represented the Ministry abroad in working groups of the European Commission on education issues. She also worked as collaborating educational staff at the Open University of Cyprus and the University of London.

Dr Michaelidou has coordinated a number of horizontal actions and innovations of MOECSY and has coordinated and taught for many years seminars and programmes on educational innovation, action research and educational policy. Her research interests mainly concern professional development and the introduction of innovations in education.

In July 2022, by decision of the Council of Ministers, Dr Michaelidou was appointed as Acting Permanent Secretary of the Deputy Ministry of Culture, bringing her extensive knowledge of educational administration to build a strong foundation for the newly established Deputy Ministry.

Dr Michaelidou comes from Kyrenia, and is a mother of two.

Biography

Dr. Sc. Iva Ivanković was born on April 23, 1982, in Croatia. She graduated from the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation, majoring in speech and language pathology. She worked as a speech and language pathologist for 12 years in a kindergarten. She received her Ph.D. in the field of pedagogy on the topic of Intercultural determinants of bilingual education in 2017. Since 2019, she have been an assistant professor at the University of Zagreb. Her areas of interest are special pedagogy, didactics, and bilingual education models.
Since December 2022, she has been working as the state secretary in the Ministry of Science and Education, responsible for preschool education, primary and secondary education, adult education, and the education of members of national minorities

Biography

Dragoș Pîslaru is a Romanian economist and former Labour and Social Affairs Minister in the 2016 government. He is a member of the European Parliament since 2019 on behalf of REPER, affiliated to the European political family Renew Europe and Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

He was the co-rapporteur of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the largest financial instrument created by the European Union for the economic recovery of the Union after the pandemic and pushed for the creation of the social and children & youth pillars of the RRF.

As Chair of the EMPL Committee, Mr Pîslaru has spearheaded efforts to address pressing social and employment challenges facing the European Union. His leadership has been instrumental in fostering dialogue among MEPs, policymakers, and stakeholders to develop policies that prioritize children and youth, skills development, job creation and social inclusion.

Dragoș has been a strong supporter of the Child Guarantee and he is leading the Working Group on monitoring the implementation of Children Guarantee of the Parliament, a new permanent entity of the European Parliament.

He has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to championing the interests of youth and working towards a brighter future for the next generation, influencing EU legislation and the European Year of Youth in 2022.

Dragoș holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a PhD in Economics from the National Institute of Economic Research, within the Romanian Academy.

Mr Pîslaru has been named the second most influential MEP on social policies (EU Matrix, 2023) and the most influential MEP on economic policies (VoteWatch.eu, 2020).

Biography

Leads Eurochild's strategic planning of funded partnerships and programmes. She leads network & relationships management to strengthen the sustainability and impact of Eurochild's programmes and campaigns. 

Biography

Arianna Lazzari has more than 10 years of experience dealing with issues relating to ECEC policy developments in cross-national perspective, pedagogical approaches to the education and care of young children within different EU Members States traditions, professionalism and professional development of practitioners working in early childhood settings across Europe. She is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Education Science of Bologna University (UNIBO) and previously collaborated - as a researcher - with several universities and research institutions in Europe, such as VBJK - Centre for Innovation in the Early Years and Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium), PPMI – Public Policies Management institute (Vilnius, Lithuania) and UEL - University of East London (UK). She has extensive experience in working with policy makers, academic researchers and ECEC institutions as well as schools.

In recent years, she has been responsible for coordinating UNIBO local research unit within several EU-funded projects focusing on policy advocacy (i.e. Erasmus+ KA3 project “InTrans: Ensuring Warm and Inclusive Transitions” from 2020 till 2023) and trans-national research (i.e Erasmus+ KA2 projects START from 2016 till 2019 and TRACKS from 2017 till 2020). As a freelance researcher, she was involved in several projects commissioned by the European Commission – DG Education and Culture (Competence Requirements in ECEC, 2011 - coordinated by UEL; Literature review on the role of ECEC in promoting educational attainment including social development of children from disadvantaged backgrounds and in fostering social inclusion, 2013 – coordinated by UGhent; Study on the effective use of ECEC in preventing early school leaving, 2014 – coordinated by PPMI) and Eurofound (Early childhood education and care: working conditions, training and quality of services, 2015 – coordinated by VBJK).

Arianna has worked closely with the European Commission Thematic Working Group on ECEC (mandate 2012-2014), as she was responsible for reviewing research evidence supporting the policy statements in the ‘Proposal for key principles of a Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care’ (2014) and for authoring the report ‘The current state of national ECEC quality frameworks, or equivalent strategic policy documents, governing ECEC quality in EU Member States’ (NESET Ad Hoc Report, 2018). She has served as an expert to the NESET network on education issues and she recently co-authored the analytical report ‘Governing quality Early Childhood Education and Care in a global crisis: first lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic’ (2021). Currently she is acting as an independent consultant for the EEA Working Group on ECEC (mandate 2021-2023): in this role, she has been assisting the WG coordinator in the publication of Policy Briefs and Reports on the issue of Monitoring and Evaluation of quality in ECEC.

Biography

Michael Teutsch is Head of Unit ‘Schools and multilingualism’ in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. The unit is a policy and programme unit contributing to the building of a European Education Area.

Michael deals with

  • policy cooperation in the areas of schools and multilingualism on topics such as key competences development and equity in education, teachers' professional development, learning for environmental sustainability, language learning, or quality early childhood education and care
  • with the European flagship programme Erasmus+ in the areas of schools, vocational education and training, and adult learning
  • and the digital education platforms eTwinning, the European School Education Platform, and the European adult learning platform (EPALE).

He joined the Commission in 2001, to work on labour mobility issues in Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Before that, he had worked in the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and in research projects in Germany and Italy on the European structural funds, and on transport and environment policy.

Biography

Mika Saarinen is the Director of the Finnish Erasmus+ National Agency at the Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI.

Mika has over twenty years of experience with international cooperation and development of education and training both within Finland, at EU-level as well as globally. Over the years he has participated in policy work, conducting studies and surveys, writing guides and manuals as well as lecturing widely within these fields.

Some of the topics Mika has most recently worked on is the strategic impact of internationalisation, how internationalisation and regional development are interlinked, the skills and competences gained through international experiences and their links to working life trends, as well as the greening of international activities.

Currently Mika sits on number of national and international committees and governing boards related to EU-cooperation and global affairs. Mika has a master’s degree within theoretical philosophy from the University of Helsinki, Finland and he also has done further studies in international politics and adult education. He is also a graduate from the Lester B. Pearson United World College, Victoria B.C., Canada.

Biography

Ismael is originally from Spain, where he grew up in a Spanish/English household. He
later moved to Portugal where he lived for a year and then settled down in Brussels in
2010. He is currently serving as Executive Coordinator in CESES (Confederation of
European Senior Expert Services) and Board Member of the European Youth Forum after
working and volunteering for 7 years in the civil society, volunteering, education and
training and youth sector from a local to an international level in a variety of
organisations, academically possessing a legal background. His professional career
started off as Outreach and Projects Officer for Youth for Exchange and Understanding
International, also his nominating organisation within the European Youth Forum.

His expertise lie in project management, communications, public speaking, international
relations and linguistics. He is able to work and communicate at mother tongue level in
English, French and Spanish and fluently in Italian, in addition to possessing an
intermediate level in Dutch and Portuguese.

He was also working closely with and for European bodies like the Youth Partnership
between the Council of Europe and the European Commission where he was the Host of
the Under 30' Podcast and also previously formed part of expert groups in
communications within the EC for the European Union’s Youth Dialogue, currently part of
an expert group for communications in DG Home and board member of the EU-UK
Youth Advisory Board. His main interests are philosophy, literature and politics.

Biography

Hello, my name is Kasper, and I’m one of the two ambassadors that was chosen to come to Bruxelles and speak on behalf of our big citizen panel. I am from the northern part of Denmark where I have lived most of my life and I am 23 years old. I have been part of multiple European exchange programs both Erasmus+(2014) in France and Comenius in Austria (2018).

I’m currently studying to become a “Biomedical laboratory scientists” that I hopefully will finish in the summer of 2025. Besides my studies I have 3 part time jobs, 2 in the public healthcare system and 1 as a cleaning assistant in the private healthcare system. I also have 2 volunteer jobs, one as a mentor at my school and 1 at the dormitory I live in.

I’m very excited to be a part of this education summit and I hope to learn a lot.

Biography

My name is Karolina Karkusińska. I am a 23-year-old Polish citizen interested in the culture and political affairs of my country. Having graduated from a technical high school with a specialization in chemical analysis, I am currently pursuing a degree in computer science at the University of Łódź. In my professional life, I work as a process automation specialist at a bank, where I actively seek new experiences and opportunities for growth.

In addition to my academic and professional pursuits, I have a passion for reading books on forensic and scientific topics during my leisure time. Exploring the intricacies of these subjects allows me to expand my knowledge and broaden my perspectives. Furthermore, I find joy in traveling, as it provides me with the opportunity to immerse myself in diverse cultures and gain a deeper understanding of the world.

Eight years ago, I had a transformative experience participating in a school exchange program. During this week-long exchange, I lived with a German family, learning their language and delving into their culture. This encounter not only fuelled my interest in cross-cultural experiences but also inspired me to actively engage in the discourse surrounding educational mobility. It was a pivotal moment that continues to shape my outlook on learning and understanding different perspectives.

Biography

Biography

After ten years as an advisor to Charles Picqué, I wished to become more personally involved on the ground, with the citizens. I was elected as a member of the Brussels-Capital Region Parliament from June 2009 to June 2019. As a Brussels elected official, I also served in the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation within the Education committee.

In Ixelles, I held the position of Alderwoman from September 2013 to June 2019. I was notably responsible for Public Instruction. This period was fascinating and very rewarding for me, as the theme of education has always been close to my heart. Finally, I was appointed as Minister of Education in September 2019. It's a wonderful challenge that I embrace with great enthusiasm.

Biography

Hon. Clifton Grima is the Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation

Hon. Grima is a lawyer by profession. He graduated as a Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2010 and was elected in Parliament in October 2016. He has served as a Member of the Maltese Parliament ever since. Following the June 2017 General Election, Hon. Grima was entrusted with a Cabinet role as Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organizations. In 2021 was appointed as Minister for Education and Sport.

As Minister, Hon. Grima is currently responsible of Malta’s Education sector and Sport industry. He is known for his input in the setting of new strategies aimed at the development of new future-oriented sectors. 

Hon. Grima was also responsible for a complete overhaul of the laws regulating the voluntary sector aimed at ensuring more accountability and transparency. As part of the aforementioned goal he set up a national authority dealing with sport governance and integrity and an authority, EquestriMalta, to serve as a regulator for equestrian sport.

With the aim of putting Malta on the world sports map and hosting competitions on an international level Hon. Grima pushed for the development of Malta's sport strategy and the modernization of Malta's sport infrastructure.

Biography

João Costa is Minister of Education in the XXIII Constitutional Government.

He is a Full Professor of Linguistics at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of NOVA University Lisbon. He holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Leiden, Netherlands and he has been a visiting researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.

He graduated in Linguistics from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon.

He has been Secretary of State for Education in the XXI and XXII Constitutional Governments.

Until November 2015 he has been the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, at NOVA University Lisbon.

He has been Chair of the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (Talis).

He was chair of the Scientific Council for the Social Sciences and Humanities of the Foundation for Science and Technology until November 2015.

He has been member of the Scientific Committee of the National Reading Plan, of the National Commission of the International Institute of the Portuguese Language and of the Advisory Council of the Camões Institute.

He has been also Chair of the European Association of Linguistic Students (SOLE) and the Portuguese Linguistic Association.

Besides his teaching and research activities at the University, he has been a guest lecturer at several universities in Brazil, Macau, Spain and the Netherlands.

Biography

Domènec Ruiz Devesa has been an advisor to the Minister of the Presidency (2011), an advisor to the Spanish Socialist Delegation in the European Parliament (2014-2018) and deputy head for Political and Parliamentary Affairs in the cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. In 2019, he was elected Member of the European Parliament, where he is the spokesperson for the Constitutional Affairs Committee for the Socialists and Democrats group and a member of the Culture and Education Committee. He also carries out his parliamentary responsibilities within the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, as well as in the inter-parliamentary delegations with the Republic of Iraq, of which he is Vice-President, beside the delegations of Mashreq and Palestine. He also holds the Presidency of the Union of European Federalist and is a member of the Executive Board of the Spanish Federal Council of the European Movement.

Biography

Tanya Hristova is a mayor of Gabrovo Municipality, Bulgaria. She obtained master’s degrees in English philology and Finance and specialized in the domain of programme and project management.

Tanya Hristova is a mayor of Gabrovo since 2011 and during her three mandates the sustainable development was placed as a key policy. Gabrovo is among the municipalities in Bulgaria that manages to attract serious amount of European funding thus investing in different areas with the aim to increase the quality of living, studying and working. Main areas of support are education, social affairs, development of ecological infrastructure, investments in the cultural and tourism potential with special focus and attention to establishing sustainable entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. In 2021 the city was awarded the European Green Leaf Award. Currently the development objectives of the community are associated with involving the resilience and inclusivity aspect in the implementation of key priorities and putting systemic and holistic efforts to become climate neutral and smart city by 2030 (part of the EU missions in Horizon Europe).

Since 2012 Tanya Hristova is the leader of the Bulgarian delegation of the local authorities represented at the European Committee of the regions (CoR) in Brussels and a full member of the Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER) and Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC).

In 2017 she was a rapporteur of the adopted opinion CDR 6048/2017 on Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture

Since October 2022, Tanya Hristova is the chair of the Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) at the European Committee of the Regions.  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The SEDEC commission is in charge of employment, social policies, education, training (including lifelong learning), sports and culture related dossiers. SEDEC is also responsible for equality, social economy and youth files, as well as research, innovation and artificial intelligence. ​

The SEDEC commission also manages the Knowledge Exchange Platform (KEP), which is a form of cooperation with the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.

Furthermore, the SEDEC Commission is working closely with European Commission's Directorate for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) on various topics, as agreed in the Action Plan for Enhanced Cooperation between them. This joint action plan of the CoR and DG EMPL sets out the main policy areas for intensified collaboration such as the Skills Agenda and the European Pillar of Social Rights and the main instruments. Joint CoR-European Alliance of Apprenticeships (EAfA) activities – in areas related to apprenticeships and vocational education and training– are also managed by SEDEC.

Biography

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Britta Breser, M.E.S. is a professor of democracy education at the University of Vienna and works in research and teaching on civic and citizenship education at the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz.

Her research focuses on didactics of democracy, inclusive civic education and citizenship education in a European and global context.

Research topics:

  • Civic education research & diversity
  • Citizenship education in a global and European context
  • Transnational Democracy & European Union
  • Political communication & media competence
  • Controversy and heterogeneity in didactics

Biography

Stefan Zotti is team leader in the European Commission/DG EAC, responsible i.a. for the Jean Monnet actions, the Education for Climate Coalition and investment in education policies. Before rejoining the Commission he was Director General of the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH) and Vicepresident of the Brussels-based Academic Cooperation Association (ACA). Between 2010 and 2013 he served as member of cabinet of Commissioner Johannes Hahn (Regional policy). Stefan holds a PhD in Theology (bioethics) and a master in European Studies.

Biography

Dr. Giorgi Amilakhvari is Minister of Education and Science of Georgia since March, 2023.

In accordance with the division of powers and responsibilities conferred by the Government, he is responsible for general, vocational and higher education as well as science.

He is also a member of International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) since 2019.

Amilakhvari was elected as a member of the 10th convocation of the Parliament of Georgia in 2020. During his term in office, he chaired Education and Science Committee of the Parliament. He was also a member of Legal Education Standards Development Council in 2020.

From 2019 to 2020, Amilakhvari was Deputy Chairman of Accreditation Council in Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes. From 2015 to 2020, he was Rector and Associate Professor at Tbilisi Open University.

In 2014-2017, Amilakhvari graduated from Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law with academic degree of Doctor of Law (Hamburg, Germany). He graduated from Tbilisi State University in 2006 and was awarded the Degrees of Bachelor and Master in Law. From 1999-2000, he also participated in Academic Year in America (AYA) Program, pursuing his studies at Alamo High School, Texas, USA.

Biography

Dan Perciun is the Minister of Education of Moldova since July 2023. He was previously the Head of the Moldovan Parliamentary Committee on Social Protection since 2019. The focus of his activities in Parliament were the reform of the social protection system, reform of the pension system, digitalization, gender equality and the implementation of gender friendly policies. He was also responsibile for the implementation of the Energy Vulnerability Fund designed to targetedly assist with energy costs during the difficult winters of 2022-2023.

Biography

Yevhen Kudriavets is the First Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine.

He has more than 10 years of experience in the management of international and governmental educational projects. He has been active in supervising and developing strategies to drive international affairs, museums foundation, generating and building an education diplomacy system, managing a network in 50 countries with 125 partners.

Yevhen Kudriavets is also currently active as:

  • Director at Genius Olympiad Ukraine, New York, Kyiv
  • Executive Board Member at International Federation of Invention`s Associations, Geneva
  • International Board Member at International Junior Science Olympiad Global, Amsterdam
  • Diplomacy Counsellor to CERN Council Members at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva

Yevhen Kudriavets holds a PhD in Economics and a Master’s Degree in International Relations (GMAP) from Fletcher School at Tufts University, Medford, USA.

Biography

Dr. Pilvi Torsti is a Finnish education expert working as the Director of the European Training Foundation. Dr. Torsti has served in academic, political and founder roles in the fields of education, learning, research, science, innovation and employment in Finland and globally since 1990s.

During her political career Dr Torsti has served as a State Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture 2013-2015, Member of Parliament including the education and future committees 2017–2019, a State Secretary of the Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs & Ministry of Traffic and Communications 2019-2023, and a member of Helsinki City council and city board 2012-2023. She has been involved in the preparation and implementation of the Youth Guarantee and education future vision 2030 which included major secondary education and continuous learning reforms in Sanna Marin’s government 2019–2023.

Dr Torsti has been an adjunct professor in the University of Helsinki since 2012. She worked as a director of two internationally organized research projects, Finns and their history in 2008–2011 and Youth and History in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999–2003. She is a specialist on former Yugoslavia region and issues related to war and peace, history politics, historical thinking, and generational experiences.

Dr. Torsti served as the founding CEO of the start-up company HEI Schools 2015-2017. HEI schools focuses on early education and works in over 40 countries having University of Helsinki among its co-founders. Dr. Torsti is also co-founder of United World College in Mostar which opened in 2006 as the first secondary school open to all nationalities in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina utilising over 40-year experience of international education in bringing young people together. Since 2016 Torsti has chaired the board of the school’s governing foundation Education in Action. Dr. Torsti serves in the Advisory Board of NGO Dream a Dream in India and has previously volunteered in Nepal.

Dr. Torsti has been awarded two international peace prizes for her work for the UWC Mostar and was nominated as the Adjunct Professor of the year and Knight of the First Class in 2020. Pilvi is UWC graduate (1995) and Eisenhower Fellow (2013). She is married with three children.

Recent publications:

  • Adopt a Global Vision and Curriculum to Meet UN Transforming Education Goals. Article by Dr.
    Pilvi Torsti, Visjal Talreja and Joanne McEachen. Diplomatic Courier 01/2023.
  • Peace Agreement Ended the War but Created Permanent Crisis. Article on Finnish National
    Defense Magazine 06/2022.
  • David Sutcliffe. Pioneer of International Education. His Life, His Words and His Legacy. Sarajevo:
    Bridge to the Future. Reid, Colin, Maclehose, Andrew, Thomas Henry and Torsti Pilvi (ed.) 2021.
  • Obligatory School 100 years in Finland. Article on secondary school reform. School and History
    Annual book 2021. Helsinki: School History Society.

Biography

Elizabeth Fordham is the OECD’s senior advisor for global relations in education and deputy head of the division for policy advice and implementation. Elizabeth leads the OECD’s reviews of national education policies in non-member countries as well as the OECD’s technical reviews of education and skills in accession candidate countries. Prior to joining the OECD 2014, Elizabeth served as an education specialist at UNESCO for nearly a decade, most recently as policy lead for cooperation with BRICS countries. Elizabeth Fordham was a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the EHESS, Paris, and has a BA Hons and MPhil from the University of Cambridge, UK, and a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

Biography

Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva has been Director at the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) since 2016. She is currently Director for Innovation, Digital Education and International Cooperation. She is responsible for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, which are key components of the Horizon Programme. She also coordinates the EU Digital Education Action Plan.

Antoaneta joined the European Commission in 2008. She has occupied various management and expert positions across the Commission and dealt with a wide range of topics such as external relations and enlargement, internal security and police cooperation, cyber security, stakeholder relations and international affairs. Antoaneta has also worked as a diplomat to the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU in Brussels for five years. She is a graduate in political science at Sofia University, with training and qualifications in European studies from Germany (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung) and the UK (Sussex University).

Biography

Dr Igor Papič was born on 24 May 1966 in Ljubljana. He is a Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana. From 2011 to 2013, he was the Vice Dean for the field of pedagogical work, from 2013 to 2017 the Dean of the Faculty, and from 2017 to 2021 the Rector of the University of Ljubljana.

He holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. In the 1990s, he was a trainee at the Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution Department in Erlangen, Germany. In 2001 he was a visiting professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

He has led numerous national and international research and development projects. In 2009, together with his partners, he founded one of the first spin-off companies of the University of Ljubljana. He has been invited to lecture at the University of Manitoba, the University of Manchester, the University of Alberta, Sichuan University and elsewhere.

From 2006 to 2017, he was Chair of the Programme Council of the Smart Grid Technology Platform. He is President of the Electrotechnical Association of Slovenia. He was one of the initiators and the first President of the Rectors' Forum of the Universities of South-Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, and in 2020 he was the first President of the EUTOPIA European University Alliance.

He is committed to a knowledge-based society and to accelerating the transfer of knowledge from academia to everyday life, which is a prerequisite for the successful development of Slovenia in the coming decades.

Biography

Prof. Genka Petrova-Tashkova is a pharmacist and pharmacoeconomist, Professor and Head Secretary at the Medical University - Sofia. She was a Deputy Minister of Education and Science in the Governments of Kiril Petkov and Stefan Yanev.

She graduated in Pharmacy at the Medical Academy - Sofia in 1984 and in Economics and Labor Organization at the University of National and World Economy - Sofia in 1991. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy with a thesis on "Drug needs and usage - analysis and forecasting" (1994).

She majored in Health Economics at Canterbury Business School. She is a Doctor of Pharmaceutical Sciences with a thesis on "A model of the reform of the pharmaceutical sector in countries in transition from the Balkan region - an analysis of the application of theoretical concepts."

From 2008 to 2016, she was Vice-rector for scientific activities of the Medical University - Sofia. For two mandates, she headed the "Organization and Economics of Pharmacy" Department at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the MU-Sofia, she was scientific supervisor of 16 doctoral students. She is an external expert at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research.

She is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Business Management of the University of Nantes, France, at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, at the University of Sarajevo and the University of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as at the Carol Davila University in Bucharest. In 2010, she was among the founders of the Bulgarian Association for Drug Information.

She has over 400 publications in refereed and indexed journals and 15 monographs and textbooks, four of them outside Bulgaria.

Biography

I have been, since 2019, a Full Professor in English Linguistics in the Department of English Philology, which
I joined in 1991, at a time when the BA degree in English Philology was first being offered. Before that, I was
a lecturer in the University of Deusto (1989-1991) and the University of Leeds (UK) (1987-1989).

I have a DPhil in Linguistics by the University of York (UK) (1992), where I also completed an MA in Theoretical
Linguistics, and I have a BA in English Philology by the University of Deusto (1986).

My research is about language as a human biological property, focusing on its architecture (syntax) and its
acquisition. I am particularly interested in cross-linguistic comparison, with languages as instantiations of
that property, in what this comparison can reveal about the properties of language as a cognitive system. I
am a member of the consolidated research group GRATECOM (Gramática Teórica y Comparada).

I was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1993-94), a position which I
also held at UCLA and the University of Lancaster (2006-07).

I have taught undergraduate courses in the BA in English Studies and the BA in Modern Languages, Culture
and Communication, as well as postgraduate courses in the MA in English Applied Linguistics and numerous
doctoral programmes.

I have been Vicerrector for International Relations (2013-2017), Vicedean for Undergraduate Studies (2009-
2013) and Head of the Department of English Philology (2003-2006).

Biography

Dr Sofia Costa D' Aguiar is a civil engineer and holds a PhD in Geotech and Environmental Engineering. She was nominated for the Women of the Industry, Research and Development award by the prestigious business and technology magazine ‘L'Usine nouvelle’ in September 2020.

Before joining EELISA as Executive Director she was Head Innovation and Digital Transformation at SNCF (France’s national railway company) where she worked for over 10 years as an applied researcher. She later managed teams in innovative transversal projects and led the digital transformation process of the company.

Dr D' Aguiar is a Portuguese native speaker and fluent in Spanish, English and French. She is a professional with multicultural experience and is deeply committed to making an impact through the opportunities offered by global scientific and technological contexts.

Biography

Dana Reignier-Tayar is a French LLM. candidate in International Criminal Law at the University of Amsterdam (EPICUR). She has earned an undergraduate double degree in public law and mandarin Chinese at the University of Grenoble-Alpes (UNITE!).

During her studies at this university, she has had the opportunity of becoming a participant and later board member of the European Student Assembly (ESA), a grassroot project gathering every year over 200 students from the European Universities Alliances (EUAs) in order to create policy recommendations on the future of Europe. This project is part of the European University Communities (EUC voices) and is co-funded by the European Union in the context of an Erasmus+ grant.

The European Student Assembly allows all selected participants to explore the world of European policy-making and its stakes as well as develop a unique experience of which they are the makers and disseminators. It is also an opportunity for EUAs students to gather around a common voice and further develop transnational cooperation.

Biography

Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot is Director for Youth, Education and Erasmus+ at the European Commission's Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

She is in charge of European cooperation on higher education, schools and youth policy, managing Europe's flagship programme for education, training, youth and sport Erasmus+ with a budget over €26 billion 2021-2027.

She launched and manages the European Solidarity Corps,an EU youth volunteering programme, and coordinated the 2022 European Year of Youth. She launched flagship actions under the European Education Area and the EU Youth Strategy, such as European Universities, Teacher Academies and DiscoverEU.

She has previously held various positions within the European Commission in the field of strategy and investment in education, employment policy, European Semester, European cohesion funds, cultural policy and business statistics.

She studied economics, business, political science and EU affairs in Sweden, France and Belgium, including an Erasmus student exchange.

She is an Eisenhower Fellow. Twitter: @sophiabrussels

Biography

Niall Collins TD is Minister of State with responsibility for Skills and Further Education at the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. He was appointed to this role in July 2020.

He has been a TD in Limerick since 2007, most recently for the Limerick County constituency. He has also proudly represented the Limerick and Limerick West constituencies.
Before his election as a TD, Niall served as a member of Limerick County Council for the Bruff Local electoral area. He was elected to the council in 2004.

He is a qualified accountant, and worked with Ernst & Young along with working as a part-time lecturer in accounting and auditing at Limerick Institute of Technology.

Prior to his election to Dáil Éireann, Niall was also deputy CEO of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board.

Biography

Bogdan Cristescu was appointed State Secretary in the Ministry of Education on 26 June 2022.

Before his appointment as Secretary of State, he was Director of the National Centre for Policy and Evaluation in Education. He has over 25 years of professional experience in pre-university education in Romania, having been a mathematics teacher, mathematics inspector and deputy general school inspector at the Iași County School Inspectorate. He was an expert in numerous reform projects of the Romanian educational system. He has strong expertise in curriculum development, teacher training and quality assurance.

In 1997, Bogdan Cristescu graduated from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, majoring in Mathematics and holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Pitesti in 2007. He also completed a Master's program at Ca'Foscari University, Venice, Italy and a master programme at the University "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" of Iași.  He has attended the Cycle des Hautes Etudes Européennes, organised by the National School of Administration in France.

Biography

Aurel Laurenţiu Plosceanu has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and its Employers' Group since 2007. Mr Plosceanu has been involved in activities across all sections of the EESC. Prior to his appointment as Vice-President for Communication, he served as President of the EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC), EU Chair of the EU-Serbia Joint Consultative Committee (2020-2023) and President of the Audit Committee from 2015-2017.

In his native Romania, Mr Plosceanu has been Vice-President of UGIR (the Romanian Industrialists General Union) since 2016 and President of ARACO (the Romanian Association of Building Contractors), which is a member of FIEC (the European Federation of Construction Industries) since 2007.

Other past professional experiences include the position of CEO at ABC Asigurari Reasigurari SA from 2000 to 2007, President of the Social House of Building Workers from 1999 to 2016, member of the Board of the Technical University of Civil Engineering Bucharest and member of the Romanian Economic and Social Council (both from 2007 to 2011), President of the Romanian Association of SMEs in Insurance from 2005 to 2007 and Co-President of the Romanian Alliance of Employers' Confederations from 2007 to 2013.

Mr Plosceanu studied at the Bucharest Construction Institute and obtained an Executive MBA from the National Institute for Economic Development. In addition, he studied at the Law Faculty of Nicolae Titulescu University Bucharest and completed post-university studies at the National Defence College.

Biography

Silvia Gómez Recio is the Secretary General of YERUN. She was the first person appointed when the network opened a Brussels Office in October 2016. She is responsible for the strategic leadership, networking actions and the implementation of the network’s strategy and objectives. Various are the groups that the network has established among its members to support and exchange best practice sharing, namely on EU Policy, Careers, Open Science, Sustainable Development, and Knowledge Valorisation among others. 

The Young European Research University Network (YERUN) is a group of like-minded young research universities in Europe that strengthens and facilitates cooperation in the areas of research, education and services which benefit society. In 2023, a total of 23 young research universities are part of YERUN. 

Before YERUN, Silvia worked as the representative of Coventry University in Brussels and as EU Policy Adviser at the European Federation of Nurses. Spanish of origin, she has lived in Brussels since 2010.

Biography

Jöran Mandik (he/him/they) is an urban designer and researcher as well as a facilitator, cultural producer and podcaster. He has been active as an urban practitioner since 2017 working at the intersection of art, urbanism, research and education as a member of Floating e.V., Urbane Praxis e.V. and the action-research project Making Futures Bauhaus+ (Berlin University of the Arts and raumlaborberlin). As a producer for Floating e.V. he is actively involved with many of Floating’s activities and is contributing his own programs as well.

Floating University Berlin is a self organized space, where practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds meet to experiment, learn, co-create and imaginatively work towards possible futures. It is run as an association, the Floating e.V.

Floating’s temporary architecture is built on a 1930s rainwater retention basin. A fully functioning urban infrastructure, that simultaneously is home to a diverse range of animals, plants and algae who have taken root and given birth to a unique landscape: a human-made environment reclaimed by nature, where polluted water coexists with the relatively new presence of Floating University, forming a natureculture (Haraway) or a third landscape (Clément).

Since 2018, Floating e.V. has been organising educational-cultural programme asking questions of co-habitation, conviviality, care, more-than-human entanglement, the future of architecture, soil, urban water cycles, toxicity and more. Starting out as an “Off-Shore Laboratory for Cities in Transformation”, an experiment in learning outside of institutions, Floating has evolved to become a natureculture-learning-site, that is more deeply connected with the basin’s ecosystem, its inhabitants and natural processes as well as the politics that underpin our very existence on site. At Floating, learning occurs on all of these levels of activity.

Biography

Gyula Cserey is Head of Unit for Strategy and Investments in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC). His unit is the lead service for driving the implementation of the EU education flagship, the European Education Area that is meant to be achieved by 2025. Before moving to DG EAC in 2018, Gyula has spent more than 10 years in other Commission departments and EU institutions covering competition, external affairs and labour market policies. He holds a doctorate in law and political sciences.

Biography

Biography

Thomas Byrne is a Fianna Fáil TD who was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media (Sport and Physical Education) in 2022. He is the former Minister for European Affairs.

He has served as a member of Dáil Éireann from 2007 to 2011, and subsequently since 2016. He was a Senator between 2011 and 2016.

Minister Byrne attended Trinity College Dublin, where he attained a Bachelor of Laws. Before being elected to public office, Minister Byrne qualified as a solicitor in Ireland and as an attorney-at-law in New York State.

Minister Byrne married his wife, Ann Byrne, clinical nurse manager and former Meath ladies' footballer in September 2006. They live in Meath and have three children, Sinéad, Tomás and Daithi.

Biography

Tomasz Frankowski is a former Polish national footballer. He played in several football clubs such as Jagiellonia Białystok, Wisła Kraków, RC de Strasbourg, Potiers, Martigues, Elche, Nagoya Grampus Eight, Wolverhampton Wanderers, CD Tenerife and Chicago Fire. He is the third most successful goal scorer in Polish football league history.

Following his election to the European Parliament in 2019, he is a member of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) and a coordinator of the EPP Group in this committee. He is also a co-Chair of the Sports Group in the European Parliament and the EP rapporteur on the future of the EU sport policy report.

Biography

Laurent Petrynka is the president of the International School Sport Federation (ISF) since 2014 and, a member of the IOC Olympic Education Commission from 2020.

For over 20 years, President Petrynka has fully dedicated himself to Education and school sport whilst advocating the importance of Physical Education and sport practices at school, promoting healthy lifestyle habits. Furthermore, Laurent Petrynka strongly believes that all school students should have the opportunity to experience sport at the international level as a unique multicultural platform conveying key educational values.

During the course of his career, he held the position of National Director of the UNSS (National School Sport Union) until 2018 and was appointed as inter-ministerial coordinator of the SNU (Universal National Service) under the authority of the Ministry of Education in France (HF).

Biography

Laura Capranica is Full Professor of Sport Sciences at the University of Rome Foro Italico, acting as President of the master’s degree in Sport Sciences and Techniques, Visiting Professor in several European Universities under the Erasmus programme, and has been the coordinator of the PhD programme Sports Exercise and Ergonomics. Prof. Capranica is co-chair of the European COST Action DE-PASS, President of the “European Student as Athlete” (EAS) Network, partner of European-funded studies and projects, and member of the Consultative Committee of EPAS Council of Europe. She had been awarded a Fulbright Student Fellowship at Indiana University (1986), a Fulbright Scholar Fellowship at Indiana University and University of Kansas (1992), and a Mobley International Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Public Health of Indiana University, Bloomington, USA (2011).

Prof. Capranica authored more than 180 scientific papers and has given over 200 lectures and communications in national and international conferences and meetings on the identification of determinants (e.g., social, psychological, biological, organizational, and technical) for sport practice and performance in the lifespan; the development of the knowledge-based tools and resources needed to understand the effects of sport and exercise on human health; and the enhancement of bilateral translational links between laboratory and field evaluations of sports performance.

Biography

I am Willemijn van Aggelen. I am 26 years old and I work in Dordrecht, as a community sport motivator. I am responsible for the target group 6-12 years. I connect the dots between several organisations in the work field. During the week I have a lot of contact with all the schools in Dordrecht to talk about sports. One of the examples of connecting the dots is the swim project. The Netherlands is surrounded by water and Dordrecht as well, so we think it is important for every child to leave primary school with a swim degree. Not everyone can afford it, because swim lessons are very expensive. I am connecting the schools, the swim organization and the bus organization to each other, so we can make sure the children are going to swimming pool with their parents.

Besides my work as a sport motivator, last year I was asked to be the ambassador of the European Week of Sport, especially for gender equality between men and women. It is an honour to be still an ambassador of this important week. We need to stimulate and motivate people to sport, not only during that week, but the whole year! I think it's very cool that they asked me to be an ambassador. I am just a normal girl from the Netherlands who likes to sport and work in de sport 😊 For the gender equality it's quite interesting to see that still men get more paid than women, why? I hope that we can change this, to talk about this subject over and over again! It's my mission to change something about this, start locally and talk about it with different kind of persons. Spread the word, I would say!

During my free time I play hockey in my village. I play hockey for more then 18 years and I also give training to girls with different ages. Now I train and coach girls U-14-1 and the coolest thing of doing this is that you can develop their skills and let them grow as a hockey player, but also as a person. I get so much energy of doing this every week! I hope I can inspire them to be a trainer and coach themselves in the future. Now I train and coach with a friend of mine, who I had in my group a couple years ago, when she was 14 years herself.

Other things I like to do in my free time is playing golf, tennis and padel.

Biography

Georg HÄUSLER is currently the Director for Culture, Creativity and Sport in the European Commission (DG EAC). Prior to that, he was Director in another Commission department for seven years.

He joined the Commission in 1999 and has had several senior posts including as Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Dacian Ciolos, from 2009 to 2014.

Before he began his Commission career, he was Secretary General of an EU-wide NGO.

He studied law (PhD in 1993).

He is 55 years old and married, with one son.

Biography

Minister for Higher Education, Scientific Research, University Hospitals, Youth Assistance, Houses of Justice, Promotion of Brussels and Youth.

Member of the liberal party “Mouvement Réformateur”, Françoise Bertieaux previously led her political career in the service of the citizen for 20 years, as deputy - then group leader - in the Parliament of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation with the main center of interest: education, higher education and youth.

 

Biography

Iliana Ivanova is the newly appointed Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Previously, she was a member of the European Court of Auditors, Dean of Chamber II responsible for audits in the field of Investment for cohesion, growth and inclusion.

She is a former member of the European Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control and Vice-Chair of the Special Committee on the Economic, Financial and Social Crisis.

She has worked for Sofia City Council, and in the field of investment, business analysis and finances.

Iliana Ivanova holds a master’s degree in International Economic Relations from the University of Economics in Varna, and a MBA from the Thunderbird University in Arizona.