SPEAKERS

Majd Al-Naber is the Team Leader and Senior Researcher in the Sustainable Development pillar at West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute. She takes a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses the fields of climate change, food, poverty, gender, culture, water, agriculture and energy from a transboundary dimension. She is a specialist in integrated water resources management and water policy for arid land. She holds a double degree PhD of Philosophy from the Wageningen University, The Netherlands and SupAgro, Montpelier, France.  Her doctoral research investigated the dynamics and governance of groundwater use in the MENA region.

Farah Al Shami is a Research Fellow at the Arab Reform Initiative. Her work focuses on Arab Youth Trajectories in Contexts of Conflict; Social Protection in the Post-Covid19 Era in the Arab Region; and the Role of New Labour Movements in Transitions in Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and Algeria, among others. She was a Program/s Officer and Junior Researcher at the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), the United Nations-Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), and the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Previously, her work covered a wide array of economic development, political economy and political sociology topics in the Arab region. 

Tayeb Amegroud is a consultant in energy planning and projects development and a senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South. He has 25 years of combined experience in energy projects and investment banking.  He was also the Director in charge of Renewable Projects development, Planning and Strategy at Office National de l’Electricite (ONE) and member of its executive committee. Tayeb’s references include assignments with various international institutions and companies including the World Bank, UNEP, the Moroccan Ministry of Energy and the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture. Prior to that, Tayeb was an Executive Director at Swiss Re in New York and London.

Sara Benjelloun is a Migrations Research Associate at PACTE Social Science Research Center, Université Grenoble Alpes, Sciences Po Grenoble and the French National Centre for Scientific Research. She received her PhD degree in political science from Université Grenoble-Alpes in 2019 and her MS degree in political science – international relations from the doctoral school of Sciences Po Paris in 2015. Her published texts are focused on migration from the perspectives of human rights, state of law, foreign policy and Euro-Mediterranean relations. Sara Benjelloun has taught in different universities and worked on several governmental and non-governmental research projects related to migration and Euro-Mediterranean relations.

Koert Debeuf is the Editor in Chief of the EUobserver and Research Fellow at the Institute for European Studies (Brussels University) and at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict (Oxford University). He lived and worked in Cairo from 2011 to 2016 and is former strategic advisor of the Belgian Prime Minister. He is an author, columnist and commentator on international affairs. His latest books are “Inside the Arab Revolution” (2014) and “Tribalization. Why War is Coming” (2019). 

Arkan El-Seblani is the head of the regional team on anti-corruption and integrity in the Arab countries, UNDP. He is an international development professional specialized in supporting democratic governance reforms, with a focus on anti-corruption and the rule of law. He is currently leading UNDP’s projects on anti-corruption and integrity in the Arab countries. He has more than 15 years of experience in the UN, in private practice in Lebanon and the United States of America, and in the Public Prosecution Office of the State of Qatar. 

Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega joined Ifri’s Center for Energy & Climate as a Director in September 2017. Prior to joining IFRI, he spent six years at the International Energy Agency (IEA), notably as Russia & Sub-Saharan Africa Programme Manager where he conducted oil and gas market analyses and was responsible for institutional relations with these countries and regions. He also held various other positions, such as at the Robert Schuman Foundation, where he was in charge of a Ukraine observatory. A French and German national, he holds a Ph.D. from Sciences Po Paris in international relations.

Josep Ferré is the Director General of the European Insitute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). He has more than 20 years of experience in conceptualising and leading policy-oriented research projects and an extensive background in cooperation development programmes. He was the Director General of the Spanish branch of the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), and the Executive Secretary of the Azahar Program of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). He also worked as Head of Mission of the Spanish International Cooperation in Mauritania and Programme Coordinator at the Technical Cooperation Office of the Spanish Embassy in Morocco.

Senén Florensa is the Chair of EuroMeSCo General Assembly, President of the Executive Committee of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), and director of the quarterly Afkar-Ideas and of the IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook. Former President of the World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies WOCMES, Secretary for International and European Affairs of the Generalitat of Catalonia as well as General Director of the Institute for Cooperation with the Arab World, the Mediterranean and Developing Countries (ICMAMPD), Spanish Ambassador to Tunisia, Ambassador at Large at the cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Madrid, Consul General of Spain in Rome and Ambassador Permanent Representative of Spain to UN and the International Organizations in Vienna.

Markus Loewe is research team leader at the German Development Institute (DIE), Bonn, where he has been working since 1999. He studied development economics and political science in Tübingen, Erlangen and Damascus and got his PhD from Heidelberg University for a thesis on micro-insurance. His research covers social protection, poverty reduction, industrial policies, micro, small and medium enterprise development and the concept of the social contract. His regional focus is the Middle East and North Africa. 

Paolo Magri is Executive Vice President of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and Professor of International Relations at Bocconi University.  He is member of the Strategic Committee of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, member of the Europe Policy Group of the World Economic Forum (Davos) and member of the Board of Directors of the Italy-China Foundation. He is also member of the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) and of the Military Center for Strategic Studies (Ce.Mi.S.S.). He is a regular speaker, writer and commentator to diverse media outlet on global issues, US foreign policy, Iran and Middle East. 

Maciej Popowski is acting Director-General in the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission. Ambassador Popowski is a Polish diplomat with 25 years of professional experience. He was director for EU affairs at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time of Poland’s accession negotiations. He was also Deputy Head of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the European Union. Previously, he was Poland’s first permanent representative in the EU’s Political and Security Committee. From 2011 until 2015 he was Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service.

Amel Saidane is the president of TunisianStartups, the association giving a voice to Tunisian startups. She is the co-founder of BetaCube, a venture builder in Fintech and mobility solutions. She is also the co-founder of Digital2Value, an SME digital transformation platform. She is an innovation and digital transformation activist acting for instance as a board member for the Digital Center of Excellence of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and as Tunisia steering committee member for Digital Arabia Network, a platform supporting the digital transformation in the Arab world. Prior to that, she has worked in Tunisia for some of the largest multinationals (Microsoft, Siemens, Nokia).

Jan Schneider is the Head of the SVR’s Research Unit, the Expert Council on Integration and Migration, where he coordinates a team of junior and senior researchers, since 2013. He is also a Research Fellow at the Hamburg Institute of International Economics. Before joining the SVR, he held several research positions with the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) and the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (BPB). He earned his PhD at Giessen University’s Institute of Political Science.

Katarzyna W. Sidło is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE). She specialises in geoeconomics and political economy of the broadly understood MENA region, with a specific focus on the EU Southern Neighbourhood. In her most recent work she has focused on trade (and otherwise) relations between the EU and MENA, foreign (Chinese, Russian) influences in the region, and women’s economic empowerment. She holds degrees in Economics and Arabic and Islamic Studies and gained her professional and research experience in Poland, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the United Kingdom, and Georgia. 

Gamal Soltan is a senior research fellow in Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), former director of the ACPSS, and a member of the advisory board of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS). He served as an Associate Professor of political science in the American University in Cairo, where he taught Middle East politics, Egyptian foreign policy, and research methods. His research interests include Middle East and Mediterranan politics, and political transition in the Middle East. He received his PhD in Political Sciences from Northern Illinois University. 

Henrike Trautmann is the Acting Director of the Southern Neighbourhood Directorate at DG NEAR, the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission. She is also the Head of the Regional Programs and Cooperation Unit (DG NEAR B2) within this Directorate. She has worked in the European Commission for more than 25 years, focusing on external relations. She has dealt with Common Foreign and Security Policy, communication, humanitarian assistance and civil protection, as well with a number of policy files related to resilience building in fragile countries.