REA National Coordinator, Government of Albania
Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Barbullushi served as a Deputy Minister and then as a Director of Cabinet at Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Albania. She has extensive academic experience, initially as the Head of Department of Political Science and International Relations and then as the Vice-Rector for Research and Methodology at the European University of Tirana. She received her doctorate (PhD) in Russian and East European Studies from the University of the Birmingham, United Kingdom in 2010.
Director, Transport Community, The Permanent Secretariat
Mr. Matej Zakonjšek is an international professional with experience in corporate, non-profit, diplomacy, and government sectors. After completion of his studies in Political Science/International and European Affairs, Mr. Zakonjšek was assigned as a diplomatic attaché responsible for EU Enlargement at the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the EU. He continued his diplomatic carrier at the Embassy of Slovenia in London, UK but at the same time, he was acting as an assistant to the Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the International Maritime Organization. During his carrier, he worked in the private sector in several positions in multi-national companies. In 2015 Mr. Zakonjšek was appointed Head of Cabinet of the EU Commissioner Violeta Bulc, while in 2019 he joined EC, DG MOVE, International Unit covering transport relations with WB6. Since the 1st of August 2020, Mr. Zakonjšek started the role of the first permanent Director of the Transport Community Permanent Secretariat.
Senior Administrator, Head of Task of Special report on EU transport infrastructures, European Court of Auditors
After ten years in the Belgian Ministry of Finances and 20 years in the European Commission dealing with legislation, revenue controls, investigations and financial audits in several Directorates-General, Luc T'Joen joined the European Court of Auditors in 2008, leading teams dealing with performance audits in the fields of structural funds, transport, research and energy. He has been leading most of the important performance audits in the transport field of the last decade.
Mr. T'Joen also provides training both internally and externally on performance auditing techniques and methodologies to transfer the theory as well as practical knowledge to adequately measure results.
Director of Research, Cooperation and Development Institute, Tirana
Ardian Hackaj is the Director of Research at Cooperation and Development Institute – an independent Tirana-based think tank. He has authored research works on the Berlin Process, on youth, migration, connectivity and Belt & Road Initiative in the Western Balkans. During his career, Mr. Hackaj has held management positions at the College of Europe-Bruges, International Organization for Migration, United Nations, and the EU Commission. He holds an MA from College of Europe, a BA in International Economics from Université Lumière, Lyon II, and a University Diploma in European Studies from Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Lyon.
Former Under-Secretary of State for International Trade, Ministry of Economic Development Italian Government, Conte I
Prof. Michele Geraci is former Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, responsible for International Trade and Investment, in the Conte I cabinet. Prior to that, he lived for ten years in China where he worked as macro-economist and professor of finance in various universities. Prior to moving to China in 2008, Mr. Geraci lived in London for 20 years working as Top Telecom Investment Banker in the City of London and as Electronic Engineer. In 2018, he was one of the nominees for Italy’s Prime Minister, before taking the role as under-secretary. He is also a frequent guest on major international media and conference and has been awarded Italian Knighthood honor by Italian President Mattarella. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan. He speaks 5 languages, including Chinese
Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council
Majlinda Bregu took office as the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council on 1 January 2019. From March 2007 to September 2013, she served as Minister of European Integration. Majlinda Bregu is the longest-serving Minister of European Integration in Albania. Mrs. Bregu has been elected as Member of Parliament of Albania, as a Democratic Party member (Centre Right), for three consecutive legislatures (2005-2017). During 2013– 2017 Mrs. Bregu initiated several legal initiatives against gender-based and domestic violence, which are currently in force. Majlinda Bregu was born in Tirana on 19 May 1974. Married and mother of two.
Chairman of Western Balkans Investment Chamber
Marko Čadež is President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CCIS) and the President of the Managing Board of the Western Balkan 6 Chamber Investment Forum. He was appointed to the position of the CCIS President for the first time in December 2014, from the position of Vice President in charge of the chamber system modernization. In June 2017, the CCIS Assembly entrusted him with a new five-year term of office. He was born on 1 June 1977, in Belgrade. He finished his schooling in Germany, where he graduated from the Academy for Marketing Communications in Frankfurt, in 2001. He is an expert on Serbian-German relations and communications, and one of the founders and a Member of the Managing Board of the Serbia-Germany Forum. He was a Coordinator for Serbia and Montenegro of German Deutsche Welle, and Programme Coordinator and Advisor for Political Issues and Communications with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Belgrade.
New Horizon Project, Brussels
Shada Islam is a respected and well-known Brussels-based commentator on European Union affairs who now works independently as an advisor/analyst/strategist on questions related to Europe Africa Asia Geopolitics Trade and Inclusion.
Shada is a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe and a member of the European Policy Centre’s prestigious Strategic Council as well as a Senior Adviser at its Europe in the World programme. She is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for Global Development. Shada worked for nine years as Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, an influential independent think tank based in Brussels and now runs her own Brussels-based global strategy and advisory company, New Horizons Project. In 2017, Shada was selected as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels by the magazine Politico. She is also a Solvay Fellow at the Vrije University Brussel (VUB).
Presidential professor at The Graduate Center, CUNY
Branko Milanović is a Visiting Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center City University of New York and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. Milanovic’s main area of work is income inequality, in individual countries and globally, including in pre-industrial societies. He has published articles on these topics in The Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics and Journal of Economic Literature among others. His book Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization (2016), addresses economic and political issues of globalization. It was translated in sixteen languages and awarded the 2017 Bruno Kreisky Prize and 2018 Hans Matthöfer Prize. Branko was awarded (jointly with Mariana Mazzucato) the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Knowledge. His most recent book is Capitalism, Alone.
Head of Office SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs) in Brussels
Dušan works on international relations and security with focus on the EU, NATO and southeast Europe; democratisation, issues of transition in former socialist countries, nationalism and ethnic strife as well as political communication and media performance in situations of tensions and conflict. Between 2003 and 2013, Dušan was research associate in the SWP division EU External Relations. Previously, he was researcher and subsequently head of the Media and Democracy Programme at the Dusseldorf-based European Institute for the Media (EIM) (1996-2003). Before, he was i.a. senior editor at Radio Free Europe in Munich, the foreign editor of the Belgrade weekly Vreme, and co-founder of the Beta Press Agency in Belgrade during the critical years of 1991-1993.
Romano Prodi served twice as the Prime Minister of Italy, from 1996 to 1998 and from 2006 to 2008. He was also President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2005. Currently he is President of the Foundation for Worldwide Cooperation. Romano Prodi began his career as an assistant professor of industrial organisation and policy in 1963 at the University of Bologna. He then became an associate professor in 1966 and a full professor in 1971.From 1978 to 1979 he was Minister of Industry of Italy and from 1982 to 1989 he was chairman of the Institute for Industrial Reconstruction (IRI), which was the largest Italian public holding. In 1995 Romano Prodi founded the "Olive tree" centre-left coalition, winning the 1996 election, which lead to his first appointment as Prime Minister. In July 2008 he was appointed Chairman of the UN-AU High Level Panel for Peacekeeping in Africa. From February 2009 to December 2013, he was Professor-at-large at Brown University (USA) and since 2010 he is Professor at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. He was also visiting professor at Harvard University. He is married to Flavia Franzoni and has two sons.
Director ad Interim at Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels
Steven Blockmans is Director ad interim of the Brussels-based think tank CEPS and professor of EU external relations law and governance at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of 'Tough Love: the European Unions relations with the Western Balkans' (AP 2007). His latest book, 'The Obsolescence of the European Neighborhood Policy' (RLI 2017), deals with the emergence of a more realist EU foreign policy as applied in its outer periphery. He is an editor of twenty academic volumes, including 'The EU Role in Global Governance' (OUP 2013), and a rapporteur for high-level task forces on 'More Union in European Defence' (Solana 2015) and 'Regroup and Reform: Towards a More Responsive and Effective European Union' (Huebner 2017). Steven has advised governments in Europe and Asia on their relations with the EU and is a frequent media commentator.