Lavinia Andrei, President TERRA Mileniul III (RO)
Lavinia Andrei is the President of the Foundation TERRA Mileniul III, a NGO focusing mainly on climate change issues. She has a extensive experience in project management and expertise on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change issues. One of the projects initiated and managed by Lavinia was “Green Light for Green Public Procurement”, that contributed to awareness raising on these issues in Romania. Between 2007 and 2010, Lavinia was nominated by the Romanian Government as NGOs’ representative for the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, where she contributed to the European policy in the field of energy, environment and climate change.
Ioana Avădani, Executive Director of the Center for Independent Journalism (RO)
Ioana Avădani is the Director of the Center for Independent Journalism (CJI). She has been working in journalism for over 17 years now and pushed to raise the standards of Romanian journalism, cultivating freedom of press and strengthening associations of journalists. In her capacity at the Center for Independent Journalism, she works to maintain professional standards of journalism and media through the development of a balanced, honest and responsible media in Romania.
Valentin Burada, Program Director of the Civil Society Development Foundation (RO)
Valentin Burada is program director at Civil Society Development Foundation since October 2008. He is interested in civil society and democracy in the Black Sea region. Valentin Burada was the Project Coordinator for the Civil Society Development Foundation between October 2005 and October 2008. He received his BA in political science in 2002 at the University of Bucharest and his MA in political science in 2003 at Università degli Studi di Padova. He also received an MA in International Relations and European Studies in 2004 at the University of Bucharest. Valentin is a 2009 Fellow.
Maurice Claassens, Senior Coordinator for Solidar (EU)
As senior coordinator he specializes in the capacity building of a European Network Organization of 61 member organizations from the European Union. This includes the development and implementation of (funding) lobby strategies, explore new policy fields and develop initiatives that enhance the working of the Brussels based secretariat and the member organizations on Member State level. Furthermore, Maurice coordinates – both political and organizational – all of SOLIDAR’s main events.
Martina Divjak, Head of Advocacy at Center for Information Service, Co-operation and Development of NGOs CNVOS (SI)
Tina is the head of advocacy at CNVOS. She has been working on different issues of NGO development from 2003. She has been focusing on enabling environment for NGOs – legislation, public funding, tax incentives; transparency and accountability of NGOs and quality assurance system of NGOs. She has authored or co-authored several analyses and publications dealing with different aspects of NGO development. She is a president of the Slovenian Government’s Council for development of NGOs. In the past 5 years she has also been working in the area of Western Balkan and Turkey.
Amana Ferro, Senior Policy Officer of the European Anti Poverty Network (EU)
Amana Ferro is a dual Romanian and Portuguese national, born in Bucharest in 1980. A trained political scientist (University of Bucharest) and European Affairs expert (College of Europe), she has worked in Romania, particularly in projects concerning the Roma community, in Portugal, on issues relating to migrants and refugees, and in Belgium, on regional and international development, as well as extensively on EU policy. Amana's interests and field of expertise cover community development, human and minority rights, education and youth issues, European social and economic policy, and democracy and stakeholder engagement. Among others, she has worked with the International Labour Office, the International Organisation for Migration, Amnesty International, the City of London, and Marie Stopes International. She currently works in Brussels as Senior Policy Officer for the European Anti Poverty Network.
Florin Feșnic, Researcher with the Center for the Study of Democracy of the "Babeș-Bolyai" University (RO)
Florin Fesnic is a researcher at the Center for the Study of Democracy in the Department of Political Science, „Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj, Romania. He has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research interests include the study of extreme right-wing parties and the determinants of support for the extreme right, Euroskepticism, democracy and democratization, and the effects of civic education on political culture.
Angela Filote, Head of EC Representation in Bucharest (EU)
Angela Filote is the Head of EU Representation in Romania. With over 20 years' experience in corporate communication management, she has worked in Romania, Turkey and Egypt. In 1993, Angela Filote was recruited to set up the press and information team in the European Commission's new diplomatic representation in Romania. In 2006 she moved to Ankara, Turkey where she used her experience of the EU (pre)accession process to manage the EU Delegation's main communication projects. She then worked as Deputy Head of the EU Delegation in Egypt. Since 2011, Angela Filote has been working in the Commission's Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development where she has been mainly responsible for communicating on the Common Agricultural Policy.
Karen Fogg, Former Head of EC Delegation in Bucharest (EU)
Karen Fogg has worked for the EU Commission and was the Head of Delegation in Ankara (1998-2002) and before that in Bucharest (1993-1998). She worked on PHARE and Enlargement since 1990. Prior to that, she worked in development cooperation in central Africa and on food security issues. Joining the Commission in 1973, she first worked on employment, social policy and education. She was assistant secretary general of the International European Movement from 1970-73. Karen Fogg, a British citizen, studied in Bristol, Bruges and Manchester, focusing on European integration and East-West relations.
Goran Forbici, President of the European Network of National Civil Society Associations (SI)
Goran Forbici is Director of the Centre for Information Service, Co-operation and Development of NGOs (CNVOS), the Slovenian umbrella body of civil society organisations. He has been for many years actively involved in the development of supportive environments for NGOs in Slovenia, Western Balkans and EU. He is also President of the European Network of National Civil Society Associations (ENNA) that brings together 23 national umbrella bodies, platforms and resource centers representing and advocating cross-sectoral interests of NGOs in 18 EU member states, Norway and Turkey.
Cristian Ghinea, Director of the Romanian Center for European Policies (RO)
After eight years of writing for the Romanian media, Cristian Ghinea went abroad in 2007 – 2008 to study EU Governance at the London School of Economics. He was previously involved in civic projects with major Romanian NGOs and founded the Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE) in 2009. The Center is the main EU-dedicated think tank in Romania and it covers key policy areas for the country`s role within the EU: anticorruption, rural development, Eastern Partnership. CRPE is member of the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA). CRPE has a local branch in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova.
H.E. Astrid Emilie Helle, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Council of Europe
National approaches to problems facing European society discussed in the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, and the Europe-wide responses to such challenges formulated under the auspices of this collective forum, are ensured by the constant touch of the member states with the organization. Since 2013, Ms. Emilie Astrid Helle is theI utenrikstjenesten fra 1992. Underdirektør i Utenriksdepartementet 2001-03. Permanent Representative of Norway to the Council of Europe.
Oli Henman, European Representative of CIVICUS (UK)
Oli has considerable experience in working with civil society in Europe and in South America. He started work in the favelas and rainforests of Brazil on participatory budgeting and is a specialist on engagement between civil society and governments. He is the European Representative of CIVICUS: the World Alliance for Citizen Participation, where he is active in promoting good practice in engagement and developing key forums for dialogue. In his previous role at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) he spearheaded the development of the European Network of National Civil Society Associations (ENNA) that links national bodies for NGOs across Europe; he was also a co-drafter of the Council of Europe's Code of Good Practice on Civil Participation.
Georgi Iliev, Protest Network (BG)
Georgi Iliev is actively involved in the Bulgarian Protest Network, a hub for the self-organization of active citizens, protesting against any governmental injustice. The network aims to turn into a constantly active instrument for coordinated civil engagement and control, defending the values of freedom, democracy and civil society.
Pawel Krzeczunowicz, Civil society expert (PL)
Paweł Krzeczunowicz has for a dozen years been involved in dialogue with NGOs throughout Eastern and Southern Europe. He was elected by a group of Polish NGOs to act as their Representative in Brussels and ran the Polish NGO Office in Brussels to assist his country's NGO community to prepare for membership of the European Union. He continued his involvement with civil society issues working in the secretariat managing the EEA & Norway Grants, participating in setting up of grant schemes in support of civil society in fifteen countries. He has come to understand very clearly the operational challenges and funding traps faced by local civil society grantees and funders.
Ewa Kulik-Bielinska, Director of Stefan Batory Foundation and Chair of the European Foundation Centre (PL)
A member of the Solidarity movement in the 1980’s, Ewa Kulik-Bielinska has been leading the Stefan Batory Foundation since 2010. The foundation works for the strengthening of Polish democracy, its civic institutions and for developing international cooperation and solidarity, while also supporting a varied number of grant making programs.
Nele Leosk, Program Director of the e-Governance Academy (EE)
Nele Leosk is a PhD researcher in political science at the European University Institute (EUI). She is a Fulbright-Schuman fellow at the National Center for Digital Government at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Governance Lab at New York University. Her research interests include: governance and democracy innovation, e-governance, e-democracy and e-participation. Before her PhD research, she was a Program Director at e-Governance Academy (eGA), advising public sector leaders on public sector modernization in more than 30 countries in Europe, Western Asia and in Africa.
Grzegorz Makowski, Director of the Anticorruption Programme at the Stefan Batory Foundation (PL)
Grzegorz Makowski is the director of the Public Integrity Program of the Stefan Batory Foundation. He holds a PhD in Sociology. Since 2002 he cooperates with Collegium Civitas (a non-public university established by the Polish Academy of Sciences) as a lecturer and assistant professor. In the past he worked, inter alia, as the field research specialist in SMG/KRC A Millward Brown Company, assistant professor in the Institute of Applied Social Sciences, at Warsaw University and program director at the Institute of Public Affairs, a leading Polish non-governmental think-tank.
Peter Medved, Director of the Ekopolis Foundation (SK)
Peter Medved leads the Ekopolis Foundation, currently one of the most important funding sources for the NGOs and other civil society actors in Slovakia. Since its establishment in early 90’s, the foundation has supported close to 3,000 projects focused on sustainable development and strengthening democracy. Support is directed to a broad range of actions - from small local community projects to strategic national initiatives. Along with grant making, Ekopolis provides professional technical assistance to its constituencies and operates its own projects in the areas of urban planning, sustainable mobility and soft tourism.
Adam Michnik, Historian (PL)
Adam Michnik is a Polish historian, essayist, former dissident, public intellectual, and the editor-in-chief of Poland's largest newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. He was one of the most relentless opponents of the communist regime. A legendary figure of the Polish anti-communist opposition, he was imprisoned, first, after the 1968 March Events, then, after the imposition of the Martial Law in 1981. Adam Michnik also played a crucial role during the Polish Round Table Talks, as a result of which the communists conceded to call elections, which were subsequently won by Solidarity.
Vintilă Mihăilescu, Professor at the National School of Political Sciences and Public Administration (RO)
Vintilă Mihăilescu heads the Sociology Department of the Political Science Faculty (The National School of Political Science and Public Administration). He is an anthropologist, permanent contributor for Dilema Veche mazagine and a member of the board of the Resource Centre for Public Participation.
Mariana Milosheva - Krushe, Managing partner of CREDA consulting (Creative Development Alternatives) (BG)
Mariana Milosheva-Krushe is managing partner of CREDA consulting (Creative Development Alternatives). She has over 20 years’ experience in the areas of democracy and civil society development in Bulgaria and Central and Eastern Europe. As an NGO activist in Bulgaria in the 90’s she has developed and tested innovative initiatives for Roma inclusion. She also has extensive knowledge on issues of civil society and donors policies in the region, based on leading over 35 evaluations in various areas of civil society in Europe in the past 15 years.
Miguel Ongil, Podemos (ES)
Miguel is an economic analyst, specializing in social and political issues related to the European Union. In the past 10 years he has worked in the UK, Germany and Belgium and actively engaged with social movements in Spain and Europe.
Ognyan Minchev, Executive Director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (BG)
Ognyan Minchev is a non-resident fellow with GMF's Balkan Trust for Democracy and the executive director of the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS), an independent think tank providing policy analyses on regional and international security and cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. He is also Chair of the Board of Transparency International-Bulgaria, an anti-corruption organization, and a professor of political science at the University of Sofia-Bulgaria, and has been a Fulbright fellow (1991-1992) with the Department of International Relations at UCLA, and a visiting fellow (1999) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (D.C.).
Vlad Mixich, Journalist (RO)
Vlad Mixich is a journalist for one of the major Romanian online news portals, Hotnews.ro. He is interested in civil society and democracy topics, the European Union and NATO security in Europe, Russia and the United States
Veronika Móra, Director of the Ökotárs Foundation (HU)
Veronika Móra has been working with the Hungarian Environmental Foundation (HEPF) since 1997 and holds the position of the director since 2007. With HEPF and earlier, she has been working on a variety of issues related to ecological consumption, gene technologies and public participation. Since 2003 she has been leading HEPF’s Civil Partner program aiming to improve the legal-fiscal environment of civil society, but she also gained experience in managing and overseeing grant programs of various sizes, not least the Hungarian NGO Fund under the EEA/Norwegian Financial Mechanism. She is a biologist (MSc) by education, but also has a MA degree in organisational psychology, and most recently gained a diploma in environmental law.
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Professor of Democracy Studies at the Hertie School of Governance (RO)
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi is a democratisation and policy analysis expert with research interests in the area of Europeanisation, state building, institutional transformation, and development of modern governance. She chairs the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State Building Research and co-directs the EU FP7 five-year research project ANTICORRP. She constantly serves as an adviser on issues of governance measurement and anticorruption to the European Commission, UNDP, Freedom House, NORAD and World Bank. In 1996 she founded the think tank Romanian Academic Society (SAR), which has since played an important role in promoting good governance in Romania, and inspired and advised many civil society anti-corruption coalitions in other countries.
Valeriu Nicolae, Regional Director for Advocacy at World Vision Eastern Europe, Middle East, South Caucasus (RO)
Founder and President of the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities in Bucharest, Nicolae also co-founded the European Roma Policy Coalition. Former senior consultant for the Open Society Institute, he is a human rights activist working for a better society. He takes pride in his most important achievement: establishing the first mentorship and counselling service for ethnic minority children, in the Ferentari ghetto in Romania.
Otilia Nuțu, Policy analyst - energy and infrastructure with Expert Forum (RO)
Ana Otilia Nuțu is a policy analyst focused on energy and infrastructure. She has worked as a consultant for the World Bank and as a civil society advocate for policy and regulatory reform in Romania. Otilia Nuțu cofounded a think tank where she is engaged in a project monitoring the Romanian energy regulator, and often appears in the media with analysis of the energy sector. She holds an MA in Public Policy at the Central European University.
Bridget O’Loughlin, Coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement Campaign, Council of Europe (EU)
Bridget O’Loughlin has been appointed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe as Campaign Coordinator of the No Hate Speech Movement. Her extensive experience with the Council of Europe in intergovernmental work, legal advice, protocol and administration places her in a key position to coordinate the Campaign – both inside and outside the organisation, working with national campaigns, the online campaign community and partners including other international organisations and the social media.
Bogdan Olteanu, Deputy-Governor of the National Bank of Romania, Honorary Ambassador of the World Wide Fund for Nature (RO)
Bogdan Olteanu has acted as Deputy Governor for the National Bank since 2009, holds a Ph.D in law and a vast political experience as a former Minister and Speaker of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. Also Chairman of the Court of International Commercial Arbitration, attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania, Bogdan Olteanu has also been a supporter of green causes with WWF since 2012.
Luben Panov, Program Director of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-profit Law (BG)
Luben Panov is Program Director of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL) since 2009 and has served as the organization’s director since its founding in 2001. BCNL is an organization working for improving the legal framework for NGOs in Bulgaria and providing assistance to NGOs. He has worked on issues such as registration and operation of NGOs, taxation and fiscal framework for civil society, tax incentives for donations, social contracting.
Andrei Pleşu, Philosopher (RO)
Andrei Pleşu is a Romanian philosopher, essayist, journalist, literary critic and art critic. He has by turns been Minister of Culture (1989–1991) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1997–1999), and member of the Council for the Study of the Archives of Romania’s former secret police Securitate (2000–2004). He was awarded the New Europe Prize in 1993. This was the impetus for the New Europe College, which Andrei Pleşu founded in 1994 in Bucharest.
Oana Preda, Executive Director of the Resource Center for Public Participation (RO)
Oana Preda is one of the founding members of the Resource Center for Public Participation (CeRe), one of the most relevant NGOs in the area of activism and citizens’ participation in Romania. She is now the director of CeRe and is working with public institutions, NGOs and citizens to promote participatory decision-making and good governance. Besides her office time, Oana is a civic activist fighting for many causes relevant for the Romanian society.
Ionuț Sibian, Executive Director of the Civil Society Development Foundation (RO)
Ionuț Sibian is the executive director of the Civil Society Development Foundation (FDSC), one of the most influential NGOs in Romania. After Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007, Ionuț Sibian was appointed the representative of the Romanian NGOs in Brussels, at the European Economic and Social Committee. He had previously been the President of the Federation of Romanian Development NGOs (FOND) and a Board member of various European and Romanian NGOs. Ionuț Sibian has an MA in International Relations from the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies and another one in East-European Studies, granted by the European Union.
Steffen Stierle, Member of the Steering Committee of ATTAC Germany - STOP TTIP (DE)
Steffen Stierle is an economist and works as research assistant for the left parliamentarian group in the German parliament (Deutscher Bundestag). He is involved in the Anti-TTIP-campaign of Attac Germany and member of the steering committee of the cititzens’ initiative “Stop TTIP”.
Björn van Roozendaal, Programmes Director with ILGA – Europe (NL)
Before joining the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Björn van Roozendaal has taken the lead in developing the international advocacy work of COC Netherlands, and as such has worked with various international organisations, including the UN, OSCE, EU and CoE. He is currently a member of the board of trustees of the Planet Romeo Foundation and also serves on the LGBT rights working group of Liberal International. At ILGA-Europe, he is responsible for the overall management of the Programmes Service Area and its team. He oversees the implementation of ILGA-Europe’s strategy on building capacities of the LGBTI movements throughout Europe.
Dovilė Šakalienė, Executive Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (LT)
Dovilė Šakalienė is the executive director at the Human Rights Monitoring Institute and Managing Director of the NGO Programme Lithuania under the EEA Grants. She incorporates her experience in international business consulting and university teaching (Antisocial behaviour; Psychology of Criminal Behaviour) into active human rights work since 2004. Professional and academic interests include human rights (with focus on persons in closed institutions and vulnerable groups), violence in close relations, hate and extremism, ethics and value systems, cognitive information processing, extremely violent behaviour.
Laura Ştefan, Anti-corruption expert (RO)
Laura Ștefan is the Law and Anticorruption Coordinator for Expert Forum. She has over 10 years of professional experience combining public sector and private sector practice. Laura Ștefan also acts as an international expert in the areas of judicial reform, anticorruption and money laundering for the European Commission, UNDP, OECD and other international organizations. In 2011 she was appointed by the European Commission as one of the 17 members of the Expert Group on Corruption. Between 2005 and 2007 she served as Director in the Romanian Ministry of Justice, being responsible for the anticorruption policy. She drafted and advocated for the adoption of key anticorruption legislation, designed awareness programs and worked on reforming of the Public Prosecutors Office.
Gabor Toka, Professor at the Central European University (HU)
Gabor Toka’s research interest is primarily in voting behaviour and democratic institutions, and particularly the impact of the former on the latter. He is also interested in public opinion, survey methodology, and East European politics. He is co-author of Post-Communist Party Systems: Competition, Representation, and Inter-Party Cooperation (Cambridge University Press, 1999), and author or co-author of over five dozen articles on electoral behaviour, public opinion, political parties and democratic consolidation in edited volumes and journals. He also works as senior researcher and Member of the Board for the Median Research Centre, Bucharest.
Andrei Țărnea, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Romania (RO)
He is a member of the Aspen Institute Romania and currently serves as the executive director of the Institute. He is a career diplomat having joined the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1998. His diplomatic career includes working in bilateral affairs, serving with the ministry's spokesperson, and as head of the early warning unit in the policy-planning department. He was advisor to the foreign minister between 2002 and 2004. Previously he worked for the Centre for Policy Studies and Comparative Analysis, and co-led a political and social affairs think tank. He also worked in the private sector and the Romanian Senate where he served as an advisor and researcher with the legal affairs committee. During 1996 he was the executive director for a mayoral electoral campaign in Bucharest. He was on foreign posting in Brussels between 2004 and 2010 as director of the Romanian Information Centre in Brussels, and Councilor to Romanian Embassy. In 2007 he took on the role of director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Brussels and he served as vice president and then president of EUNIC Brussels between 2008 and 2010.
Toni Vidan, Friends of the Earth Croatia (HR)
Toni Vidan is a founding member of Zelena Akcija (ZA) - 1990, Executive Board Member (1991 - ongoing), and served as President of ZA (1996-2001). His main recent project is coordination of the “Solar Academy”, an educational centre on sustainable energy, developed in devastated former military barracks on Island Šolta near Split. In 2013 he was elected as member of European Economic and Social Committee.
Codru Vrabie, Civil Society activist, Funky Citizens
Educated in political science and law, with an MA in European Public Affairs from Maastricht University, Codru Vrabie has been involved with anti-corruption reforms in Romania for more than 10 years. He served two mandates as civil society representative on the National Integrity Council and just ended his service in the Steering Committee at FOI Advocates Network. Well known for his activism, Codru currently works in matters related to good governance, public administration and justice reform.
Renate Weber, Member of the European Parliament (RO)
Renate Weber is a Romanian lawyer and an elected deputy in the European Parliament since 2007. She is a member of the National Liberal Party (PNL) in Romania, which is part of the EPP Group (Group of the European People's Party). Renate Weber brought to the European Parliament her valuable expertise in human rights and civil liberties issues, gathered throughout many years of work in civil society organizations. She currently sits as a full member on the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL), and also holds membership of Committee on Petitions (PETI). Based on the previous experience with other committees as full member she is a strong voice on topics relating to Schengen area, asylum and migration, fighting terrorism and trans-border crime, data protection, mass-media standards, human rights and civil liberties protection across the EU and the world.
Zuzana Wienk, Executive Director of the Fair Play Alliance (SK)
Zuzana Wienk is a program director of Fair-Play Alliance, a leading Slovak watchdog NGO. Fair-Play Alliance uses techniques like investigative analytical journalism to disclose cases of illicit practices in politics and state administration. It is also known for using modern IT tools to increase transparency, and has received international prizes for its web projects. Zuzana Wienk graduated from the Commenius University in Bratislava with a major in journalism. Before founding the Fair-Play Alliance, she worked as a reporter and columnist and recently served as a member of the Press Board, a self-regulatory body for ethics in print media. She is among the most quoted Slovak political analysts.
Kuba Wygnański, Director of the Klon/Jawor Association (PL)
Kuba Wygnański started his public activity as a Solidarity activist. He participated in historical Round Table talks. After 1989, he became deeply involved in numerous initiatives to support civil society in Poland and other countries. He has established several NGOs, including the KLON/JAWOR Association (a research and information centre for Polish non-profit organisations) and the Forum of Non-Governmental Initiatives (FIP) which plays key role as a representative of the Polish Third Sector. Currently he is a member of the Public Benefit Council and Chairman of the Programme Board of the Polish Public Television.