Find out more about our Board

Get to know our Board members by reading their biographies below.

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Kristen Davis, CEO and Founder, CinqC

After more than 25 years in global media, working with organisations including Future Publishing, Ziff-Davis and The International New York Times, Kristen Davis has witnessed the amazing opportunities – and also the deep disruption – that technology has brought to our businesses, society, culture, planet and institutions. 

In 2016, she created CinqC to apply the experience, insight, resilience and agility she has gathered, using technology to advance media to sectors in both the private and public domain. Today, she supports start-ups, large organizations, innovation labs and incubators around the globe seeking to use technology to positively evolve and impact our ever-changing world through new services, products, regulations and policies.

Ms. Davis is proud to be a mentor and coach at the Katapult Accelerator in Oslo, and she regularly works with companies and accelerators in Estonia, the most digitally advanced democracy on Earth.

She is also an external assessor for the Google Digital News Innovation Fund, and chairwoman of the U.S. board of Apopo, an N.G.O. that trains rats to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis.

 
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Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, President International, The New York Times Company

Stephen Dunbar-Johnson is the president, international of The New York Times Company with responsibility for revenue oversight and the strategic development of the Times Company’s international digital and print business. 

Mr. Dunbar-Johnson was appointed president, international of The New York Times Company in October 2013 to lead its global expansion. Previously, he was publisher of The International Herald Tribune (IHT), a position he assumed in January 2008. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of the IHT with responsibility for worldwide commercial operations and strategic development. He oversaw the IHT’s expansion in Asia, the growth of its advertising revenue streams, the development of its conference business, new product development and the restructure of the newspaper’s cost base. 

Before that, he held the position of senior vice president and commercial director, with primary responsibility for newspaper revenue streams. He also played a key role in the integration of advertising and other aspects of the IHT’s commercial operations when The New York Times took full ownership of the IHT in 2003. 

Before joining the IHT, Mr. Dunbar-Johnson was U.K. advertising director of The Financial Times for 12 years, holding various positions in the paper’s advertising department, including manager in France and vice president of advertising in the Americas, based in New York. 

Mr. Dunbar-Johnson was educated at Worth School and Kent University in England. He has completed an executive management program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Sulzberger program at the Columbia School of Journalism

 
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Yannis Harizopoulos, Partner, McKinsey & Company Greece

Biography coming soon.

 
 
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Anthony Kefalas, Vice-Chair, Economist and Co-Author of McKinsey Strategy Plan

Anthony Kefalas is a British (LSE) and USA (WSU) educated doctoral economist. He has served as senior researcher at KEPE, as adviser to the ministers of economics and industry and to the president of OAE, as director of SELPE and ESIP, as editor of the bi-monthly “Agora”, as contributor to major Greek newspapers and periodicals (especially for “Oikonomikos Tachydromos”, Express, Proto Thema etc.)-- in Greece as well as abroad  (Newsweek, IHT)-- as an economic adviser to the NBG and the Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) and as adviser to numerous well-known Greek and non-Greek companies—including Delta/Vivartia, Citibank, McDonald’s, Hoechtief, Orelikon etc.  He has taught economics at Queen’s College (in London), at WSU and the Un. of Oakland (in the USA) and at the Un. of Maryland (European Campus) and Pierce-Deree (in Greece). 

He has published more than 1500 articles on the Greek economy and is the author of four books. His latest book “Aspects of Industrialization: Greece 1945-2010” was published in July by the Sideris Editions and reflects his strong interest in economic policy as well as in the history of Greek enterprises (past and present) and has been given as a textbook at the Economic University of Athens.   

 
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Corinne Momal-Vanian, Executive Director, Kofi Annan Foundation

Corinne Momal-Vanian is executive director of the Kofi Annan Foundation. Previously, she worked in various senior positions and a variety of countries for the United Nations, most recently as director of conference management in the United Nations Office at Geneva from 2015 to 2020, and previously as director of information from 2010 to 2015.
Ms. Momal-Vanian served as special assistant to Kofi Annan in 2005 and 2006, traveling with him to some 20 countries as he worked to resolve crises, defuse tensions, highlight the plight of communities and individuals suffering from discrimination and abuses, build international cooperation and strengthen support for development and justice. She worked for a total of six years in the executive office of the secretary  general, after serving in two regional economic and social commissions of the United Nations.
Passionate about justice, gender equality, inclusion, innovation and learning, Ms. Momal-Vanian chaired the Steering Group of the International Gender Champions from 2016 to 2019, and was a co-organizer of the three editions of TEDxPlaceDesNations.
A French citizen, she holds a master’s degree in business administration from HEC Paris Graduate School of Management, and an advanced degree in international relations from Sciences Po. She recently completed an executive certificate in management and leadership at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

 
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Crystal Patterson, Head of Global Civic Partnerships, Facebook

With more than 15 years of experience in politics, policy and elections, Crystal Patterson leads Facebook's global civic partnerships team, with a focus on civic participation and elections integrity. 
A native of northeast Ohio and a graduate of Northwestern University, Ms. Patterson is based in Washington, D.C.

 
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Abhijit Pawar, Founder and Chairman, AP Globale and Delivery Change Foundation

Abhijit Pawar is a passionate entrepreneur, philanthropist and a visionary.

He is the Founder and Chairman of AP Globale, a purpose driven,impact focused group with diversified business interests across agriculture, angel investments, advisory and consulting, education, infrastructure, manufacturing, media, philanthropy, private equity, real estate, technology, and trading.

He is the founder of Delivering Change Foundation, Tanishka Foundation, Young Inspirators Network (YIN), Chairman of the Poona School and Home for the Blind and Trustee of the Sakal Social Foundation, Sakal Relief Fund and Sakal India Foundation.

He has been an Executive Committee Member of Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) and Member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). Abhijit holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is patron of arts, culture and music.

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Alexander Rhodes, Head of Mishcon Purpose, Mishcon de Reya

Alexander Rhodes is head of Mishcon Purpose at Mishcon de Reya. He provides strategic environmental, social and governance (ESG) advice, alongside purpose-driven insights to help clients navigate the opportunities and risks presented by a rapidly changing world.

With more than 15 years of legal and global consultancy experience, Mr. Rhodes is a trusted advisor to a predominantly international client base. He acts on behalf of families in relation to their personal, business and philanthropic interests, as well as businesses seeking to transition to more sustainable and resilient ways of working. He is privileged to have worked closely with governments and global leaders in their efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

A seasoned litigator, Mr. Rhodes has particular expertise in the resolution of complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and public affairs. As a trustee and advisor, his long-term preoccupation has been balancing the imperatives of environmental conservation and human development.

Mr. Rhodes was the founding C.E.O. of the charity Stop Ivory and head of the secretariat to the intergovernmental Elephant Protection Initiative. He is currently a trustee and co-chair of the Strategic Projects Committee of the Tusk Trust. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a conservation fellow of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). In 2018, the ZSL named him Conservationist of the Year in recognition of his work to support African governments in their efforts to combat the illegal ivory trade and in elephant conservation.

 
 
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Annika Savill, Executive Head, United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)

As executive head of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), Annika Savill manages a United Nations secretary general's trust fund that strengthens the voice of civil society, promotes the rule of law and human rights, and encourages the participation of all groups in democratic processes.

Initiatives range from empowering Syrian women refugees in frontline states to working with civil society to support the peace process in Colombia; from strengthening democratic practices in Ukraine to motivating marginalized youths in Tunisia. Since it was established in 2006, UNDEF has disbursed over $160 million to projects covering over 100 countries in post-conflict, transition and consolidation phases of democratization.

Before joining UNDEF, Ms. Savill served in the executive office of the U.N. secretary general from 1997 to 2008, working under Ban Ki-moon and Kofi A. Annan as the secretary general's speechwriter and a senior member of his communications team. Prior to joining the United Nations, she had a 15-year career as an international journalist, serving with The Associated Press, Reuters and The Independent in London, where she was a founding member and diplomatic editor.

Ms. Savill has written about democratic processes in a number of societies in transition. She is the winner of two UN 21 Awards for organizational innovation.

 
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Irina Bokova, Chair, and Former Director-General, UNESCO 

Irina Bokova, born in Sofia, Bulgaria, has been two terms the Director-General of UNESCO from 2009 to 2017. She is the first woman to lead the Organisation.

 

Having graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Irina Bokova was a Fellow at the University of Maryland, Washington, and followed an executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

Before being elected as Director General of UNESCO, from 2005 to 2009 Irina Bokova was Ambassador of Bulgaria to France, Monaco and UNESCO and Personal Representative of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

 

As Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova was actively engaged in the UN efforts to adopt Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 4 on “Inclusive and equitable quality education and life-long learning for all », gender equality, the protection of the world’s cultural heritage against the destruction by extremists in Mali, Syria and Iraq. As a result, the UN Security Council adopted in 2017 the landmark Resolution 2347 declaring for the first time the link between peace and security on one hand, and the protection of cultural heritage.

 

Irina Bokova was on the Forbes List of the world's most influential women for 2016.

 

She has received state distinctions from more than 40 countries across the world and is Doctor honoris causa of leading universities across the world, such as King’s College and University of Edinburgh, UK, Paris-Sud Saclay, France, Boston University, US, Catholic University of Milan, Italy, Tonji University, China, among others.

 

In 2020 she is also elected International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in the category of Scientific, Cultural and Non-profit Leadership.

 

Currently, she is a Member of the Board of “Ban Ki Moon Centre for Global Citizens”, Member of the Concordia Leadership Council, New York, Global Champion of UN “Education Cannot Wait” Fund, Member of the Strategic Committee of the Paris School of International Affairs /PSIA/, SciencePo, and Lecturer on cultural diplomacy, Visiting Lecturer at the University of Geneva,  Miwon Scholar of Peace Studies at Kyung-Hee University, Seoul,  Member of Leaders For Peace, France, Member of the Board of Open Diplomacy Institute and  l’Institut de relations internationales et stratégiques (IRIS), Paris, Member of the International Advisory Council of the Beijing Forum at the University of Beijing, among other activities.

 
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Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, Berggruen Institute

Nathan Gardels is the editor in chief of Noema magazine. He is also the co-founder of and
a senior adviser to the Berggruen Institute.


Mr. Gardals previously served as editor in chief of The WorldPost, a partnership with The
Washington Post, as well as editor in chief of Global Viewpoint Network and Nobel Laureates
Plus, both services of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media.


From 1985 to 2014 he also was editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, the journal of social and
political thought published by Blackwell/Oxford.

 
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Marina Papatsoni, Director General, Business Development and Corporate Affairs, TEMES S.A. 

 As Director-General of TEMES S.A., a premier developer of premium destinations, Marina Papatsoni has been instrumental in building the purpose-driven brand of Costa Navarino, the company’s flagship development in Messinia, where she has strong family roots. Ms. Papatsoni has played a key role in putting this previously little-known part of Greece on the global tourism map also as Head of TEMES’ Aviation Development Department, overseeing the rapid growth of international flights to the regional capital, Kalamata. 

A longtime proponent of sustainability, Ms. Papatsoni is on the Steering Committee of the Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO), the fruit of cooperation between Stockholm University, the Academy of Athens and TEMES. These and other environmental initiatives have earned Costa Navarino numerous international awards, including the WTTC’s “Best Sustainable Destination”.

She is also co-founder and Managing Director of Greka Icons S.A., a TEMES group member that is today a leading exporter of authentic food products inspired by the culinary history of the Peloponnese.

After completing her studies and working in the USA, she held executive positions at Intracom Holdings and Adel Saatchi & Saatchi before joining TEMES.

Driven by a personal passion to help the vulnerable, Ms. Papatsoni is closely involved in initiatives to tackle women trafficking, the exploitation of migrants and the plight of stray animals.  

Having visited more than 70 countries, she is a regular contributor to travel magazines and has authored a book of poetry.

 
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Burak Cakmak, Co-Founder, The Digital Fashion Group

Burak Cakmak is a strategic catalyst with extensive experience in corporate, academic and non-profit organisations building innovation driven sustainable solutions.

He is the co-founder of Thean.co, a strategic fashion consultancy and The Digital Fashion Group, a European collaboration between fashion and technology.

Most recently he served 5 years as the Dean of Fashion at Parsons School of Design where he led the implementation of a new innovative curriculum for fashion design and business programs. During his tenure, he leveraged his expertise in sustainable design to emphasise socially conscious and transformational design to formulate the educational approach and training of the next generation of creators. His experience includes directional roles at corporate and non-profit institutions including Swarovski Group, Gap Inc and Kering’s luxury brands.  Under his leadership, he oversaw implementation of best-practice industry standards across all business functions, including raw material sourcing, supply chain management, manufacturing, and retail operations.

He sits on the board of ‘Nest’, a non-profit organisation building a new handworker economy, and is on the expert panels for innovation focused initiatives the Global Change Award, Kering’s K-Generation Award and LVMH Prize.

He has been invited to speak at a number of prominent, globally recognized conferences including the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, WebSummit and Fashion Asia Hong Kong. He has served on expert juries including the CFDA + Lexus Fashion* Initiative, and Open Style Lab and has lectured as a visiting professor at SKEMA Business School in France and China.

 
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Achilles Tsaltas, President, Democracy and Culture Foundation

Achilles Tsaltas is president of the Democracy & Culture Foundation, the independent, nonprofit entity that organizes the Athens Democracy Forum in association with The New York Times and other related activities.

With over 30 years of experience in media, Mr. Tsaltas has been responsible for creating and managing strategic partnerships with some of the world’s most renowned corporations.

Born in Australia of Greek origin, Mr. Tsaltas started his media career in 1989 in the advertising department at News Corporation. During his tenure, he launched the business magazine Business Asia, and relaunched the paper’s The Australian Magazine.

Mr. Tsaltas moved to Hong Kong in 1999 to join The International Herald Tribune as deputy managing director, successfully launching print sites and publishing partnerships throughout Asia. In 2004, he moved to Paris as vice president, international circulation and served in a number of executive roles in his two decades of service with The New York Times Company, ultimately relocating to London to become vice president, international conferences in 2014.

In 2019, Mr. Tsaltas established the Democracy & Culture Foundation. With a mission to empower society through citizen engagement and better governance, the Foundation develops, programs and convenes the two conferences he conceived at The Times – the Athens Democracy Forum and Art for Tomorrow.

He has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sydney and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of New South Wales. He also completed the Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program at the Columbia School of Journalism.

 
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Nicolas Berggruen, Chairman, Berggruen Institute

Nicolas Berggruen is the Chairman of the Berggruen Institute, which addresses fundamental political and cultural questions in our rapidly changing world. Focusing on Great Transformations in the human condition, brought for example by climate change, restructuring of global economics and politics, and advances in science and technology, the Institute seeks to connect deep thought in the human sciences—philosophy and culture—to the pursuit of practical improvements in governance. To this end, Nicolas formed the 21st Century Council, the Council for the Future of Europe and the Think Long Committee for California; all dedicated to the design and implementation of good governance—drawing from practices in both East and West.

 

Committed to leaving a legacy of art and architecture, he sits on the boards of the Museum Berggruen, Berlin, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He is a member of the International Councils for the Tate Museum, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the President’s International Council for The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles. He has collaborated on projects with such renowned architects as Richard Meier, Shigeru Ban and David Adjaye; and is presently planning the Institute’s new headquarters in the Santa Monica mountains with Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and Los Angeles’ Gensler.

 

Mr. Berggruen is co-author with Nathan Gardels of Renovating Democracy: Governing in the Age of Globalization and Digital Capitalism (University of California Press) and Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century, a Financial Times Book of the Year, and co-publisher of Noema Magazine. Berggruen was previously a member of the 21st Century Council, Council for the Future of Europe, Globalization and Geopolitics, and Think Long California.

 

Nicolas Berggruen is also Chairman of Berggruen Holdings, the investment vehicle of the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust.

Ouided Bouchamaoui, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2015

From May 2011 to January 2018, Mrs. Bouchamaoui was the President of UTICA, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, first woman elected to this position.

In 2013, with the Tunisian General Union of Lab or (UGTT), they launched the initiative of the National Dialogue, joined by the League of Human Rights and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, they formed The Quartet, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

Identified as one of the most influential businesswomen in Africa, she was awarded the “Best Businesswoman of the Arab World” in 2013, under the auspices of the G8 Deauville Partnerships. In January 2015, the Tunisian President, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi made her Grand Officer of the Order of the Republic, and His Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, decorated her with the Royal Order of the Polar Star in November 2015. She also received in December 2015, the “Legion d’Honneur” from the French President, Mr. François Hollande.

Shareholder and director of the Hedi Bouchamaoui Group (HBG Holding) since 1988, she is also involved for many years in Foundations. She has joined the Foundation "Business for Peace", the Foundation "Cultura de Paz", "Global Hope Coalition" and recently "Leaders for Peace".

Additionally, on October 27, 2017, Mrs. Bouchamaoui was elected Vice-President of the United Nations' European Center for Peace and Development - University for Peace in Belgrade and joined the Board Members of University of Peace of Costa Rica.

Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, appointed Mrs. Bouchamaoui as President of the Steering Committee of the Summit of the Two Shores and invited her to be a member of the Consultative Council for Gender Equality.

She intervenes for political conflicts or within companies, as well as to initiate dialogue with Unions.

Mrs. Bouchamaoui speaks French, English, and Arabic.

 

Mete Coban MBE, Chief Executive, My Life My Say

As the Founder and Chief Executive of My Life My Say, Mete is best known for founding the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Better Brexit for Young People and for contributing to the increase of turnout for young people at the 2017 and 2019 UK General Elections.


The youngest ever elected Councillor in the London borough of Hackney at the age of 21, he is also Chair of the Skills, Economy & Growth Commission. Previously, he worked on the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s election campaign, leading on youth engagement.

 

In the New Years 2020 honours list, Mete received an MBE for services to young people recognising his efforts to make politics more accessible for the younger generation. He also received the UK Government’s National Democracy Change-Maker of the Year Award in 2018. Mete has been shortlisted for One Young World Politician of the Year 2019, which celebrates the most impressive, impactful, young politicians around the world.

 
 

Achilles V. Constantakopoulos, Chairman & CEO, TEMES S.A.

Achilles Constantakopoulos is a graduate of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.

 

Since 1997 he has been leading TEMES S.A., developers of Costa Navarino, where he currently holds the position of Chairman & CEO. He is also the Chairman of IONIAN HOTEL ENTERPRISES S.A., owner of the Hilton Athens hotel.

He is Chairman and Managing Director of COSTATERRA S.A. (investments and real estate development) and a member of the Board of Directors of AEGEAN AIRLINES S.A., CHIPITA S.A. and SETE (Greek Tourism Confederation).

Mr. Constantakopoulos is President of the Captain Vassilis & Carmen Konstantakopoulos Foundation and a member of the board of “The Hellenic Initiative”, a non-profit organization.

Bernard-Henri Lévy, French Philosopher, Filmmaker and Activist

Bernard-Henri Lévy is a French philosopher, filmmaker and activist, and the author of more than 30 books, including the forthcoming book "The Virus in the Age of Madness."

 

Brunello Cucinelli, Chairman and C.E.O., Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A.

Brunello Cucinelli was born into a peasant family in Castel Rigone, a 15th century little hamlet nearby Perugia, in 1953.

After obtaining a diploma as building surveyor, he enrolled in the faculty of Engineering but then dropped out. In 1978 he set up a small company and captivated the market with his idea of dying cashmere. Since when he was a boy, he witnessed his father working in an unwelcoming environment and became a close observer of the world, thus developing his dream to promote a concept of work that ensured “being moral and economic dignity’

This is a key element to understand his personality and the success of his business, which Brunello considers not only as a wealth-generating entity, but also as a framework to develop and nurture his dream of a capitalism that enhances the human being. His knowledge of the great figures of the past has always fed his dreams and ideals, but he is always looking ahead towards the distant future, and each action and accomplishment of his is designed to last over the centuries.

In 1982, after marrying Federica Benda and having two daughters, Camilla and Carolina, Brunello moved to Solomeo. This place became the venue to make his dreams come true but also a great workshop in which he could build his success as an entrepreneur and humanist. The increasingly international market warmly welcomed his made in Italy quality products, and enabled him to implement his ideals. In 1985 he purchased the fourteenth century tumbledown castle in the hamlet and made it into his corporate headquarters; in 2000, with a view to meet the market’s growing demand with adequate production facilities, he acquired and refurbished an existing facility at the foot of the hamlet of Solomeo instead of building new ones.

The new buildings in Solomeo Forum of the Art, including the Neohumanistic Aurelian Library, the Gymnasium, the Amphitheatre and the Theatre, became the ideal venue for culture and art. The desire to list the company in the Milan Stock Exchange was born around this time and became reality in 2012. This move, too, was not driven by financial reasons alone, as Brunello saw a wider participation in his business activity as an opportunity to spread his ideals of a new capitalism, a truly “Humanistic Capitalism”.

The experience of the Forum of the Arts, built exclusively by Umbrian master craftsmen, spawned the idea of the “Solomeo School of Arts and Crafts ”, which was established in 2013 and was inspired by William Morris and John Ruskin. Brunello’s vision entails that the memory of an important humanistic factor such as craftsmanship is preserved and passed on to future generations; therefore the school is the workshop where this aspiration becomes reality.

In 2014, the Project for Beauty was presented, an initiative supported by the Brunello and Federica Cucinelli Foundation; the project entails the creation of three huge parks in the valley at the foot of the Solomeo hill (the Agricultural Park, the Secular Youth Club Park and the Industry Park) recovering part of the property occupied by old abandoned factories and using it to grow trees, orchards and lawns. This initiative symbolizes the crucial value of earth, “from which all things are”, as Xenophanes put it. With this project Brunello highlights the duty to restore the dignity of the land and, feeling like a sort of small custodian of the creation, he shows that “Beauty will save the world” whenever the world will in turn save Beauty.

Brunello Cucinelli has received wide national and international recognition for his “Humanistic Capitalism”. Considered as “a concrete thinker, a cultural promoter and a true modern-day patron of the arts”, Brunello Cucinelli was awarded an honorary PhD in Philosophy by the University of Messina in 2018. The most prestigious honors that have been bestowed on him over the past years for his humane working environment include his appointment as “Cavaliere di Gran Croce al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic) and “Cavaliere del Lavoro”(Knight of Industry) assigned by the President of the Italian Republic, his honorary degree in Philosophy and Ethics of Human Relations, awarded to him by the University of Perugia as a tribute to his merits, and the Global Economy Prize, received from the prestigious Kiel Institute for the World Economy, with a noble mention stating that he “perfectly embodies the figure of the Honorable Merchant”.

 

George Papndreou, Former Prime Minister, Hellenic Republic

George A. Papandreou served as Greece’s prime minister from 2009 until 2011 during the outbreak of the Greek financial crisis, managing to avoid the country’s bankruptcy, while applying a series of structural reforms for modernizing the country.

As a member of the Greek Parliament from 1981 to 2015, Mr. Papandreou served in several government posts, notably as undersecretary of culture and minister of education before becoming foreign minister between 1999 and 2004. During his tenure and in collaboration with his Turkish counterpart, the late İsmail Cem, he achieved a breakthrough in Greek-Turkish relations, initiating a gradual rapprochement following the Imia crisis that almost brought the two countries to war in 1996. He also played a key role in the negotiations that led to Turkey's candidacy for membership of the European Union in 1999, and the accession of Cyprus in 2004.

Currently Mr. Papandreou is president of the Socialist International, the largest global political alliance consisting of 147 social democratic, socialist and labor parties around the world. In 2015, he founded the Movement of Democratic Socialists, which joined the Democratic Alignment coalition of Greek center-left parties in 2017.

 

George Tsopelas, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company Greece

George D. Tsopelas joined McKinsey’s London Office in 1994 and is the managing director of McKinsey & Company Greece.

Mr. Tsopelas has worked extensively in the financial services, public, tourism, infrastructure, energy and industrial sectors across all major areas and functions. During the last five years, he has led numerous efforts in the public, tourism and infrastructure sectors.

For the “Greece 10 Years Ahead” program, he analyzed Greece’s structural economic challenges and barriers to competitiveness and growth, deep-diving into 13 sectors and determining vertical and horizontal reforms, working with the prime minster, core ministers, the European Troika, and major industrial associations. 

For “Greece’s Growth Roadmap,” he focused on prioritizing six major investment and infrastructure developments, developing action lists per ministry for the materialization of reforms, and articulating a compelling vision and growth plan for the country. He worked with the prime minister alongside the ministers of development and finance.

Working with the minister of development, the strategic allocation of the 2014-2020 E.U. structural funds totalling €21 billion involved the bottom-up quantification of investment and infrastructure needs per industrial sector to allocate the funds to the most critical investment and infrastructure projects.

Working with the minister of tourism and the Tourism Federation on the Tourism Strategic Plan for 2013-2020 and Action Plan for 2013-2014, he developed a detailed plan for six core tourism ‘products’ covering all major source markets.

He was involved in the design, setup and launch of “Marketing Greece,” a new entity that essentially took over the task of developing the marketing strategy and implementing ‘below the line’ promotion and marketing campaigns for Greek tourism from the state. Financed by the private sector, ‘Discover Greece’ is the distinctive online traveling web portal he helped to establish in 2013.

Alongside the minister of finance and the head of economic policy, he worked on Greece’s fiscal adjustment and public debt in several areas, including pension and taxation reforms. He also worked with the head of the Public Debt Unit to prepare all content materials necessary for the country’s return to the capital markets after a six-year absence.

He also focused on planning and preparing the investment in the largest infrastructure and mixed real estate project ever undertaken in Greece.

Mr. Tsopelas holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, an honors degree in economics and econometrics from the Athens University of Economics and Business, and an honors degree in business administration from the Hellenic American College, where he was the recipient of the President’s Award.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Mr. Tsopelas was an entrepreneur, serving as managing director of Chartographica Hellenica, and managing partner of G.D.T Management Services. He started his career as a financial analyst at Procter & Gamble.  

Mr. Tsopelas previously served as president of the Athens Children’s Charity Association.

 
 

Mark Thompson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The New York Times Company

Mark Thompson became president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company in November 2012. He has directed the company’s strategy and presided over an expansion of its digital and global operations. Under his leadership, digital subscriptions have grown from 500,000 to nearly four million, and the company set a goal to reach 10 million subscriptions by 2025. The Times has successfully expanded into other digital products like cooking and crosswords, has launched one of the world’s most successful podcasts and recently premiered “The Weekly,” a new TV news program for FX and Hulu.

Before joining the Times Company, Mr. Thompson served as director general of the BBC from 2004, where he reshaped the organization to meet the challenge of the digital age, ensuring that it remained a leading innovator with the launch of services such as the BBC iPlayer. He also oversaw a transformation of the BBC itself, driving productivity and efficiency through the introduction of new technologies and bold organizational redesign.

Mr. Thompson joined the BBC in 1979 as a production trainee. He helped launch “Watchdog” and “Breakfast Time,” was an output editor on “Newsnight,” and was appointed editor of the “BBC Nine O’Clock News” in 1988 and “Panorama” in 1990. He became controller (programming and scheduling chief) for the BBC2 TV Network and director of television for the BBC before leaving in 2002 to become C.E.O. of Channel 4 Television in the United Kingdom.

His book, “Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics?” based on lectures he gave as a visiting professor at Oxford University, was published in the U.K. and U.S. in September 2016.

Mr. Thompson was educated at Stonyhurst College and Merton College, Oxford.

Kishore Mahbubani, Distinguished Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

A veteran diplomat, professor of philosophy and author, Kishore Mahbubani is currently a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. His careers in diplomacy and academia have taken him from Singapore’s chargé d'affaires to wartime Cambodia in the mid-‘70s and being appointed president of the United Nations Security Council from January 2001 until May 2002, to serving as the founding dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy from 2004 to 2017.

Mr. Mahbubani writes and speaks widely on the rise of Asia, geopolitics and global governance. He is also a prolific author, having published eight books: “Can Asians Think? Understanding the Divide Between East and West”, “Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the West,” “The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East,” “The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World,” “Can Singapore Survive?”, “The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst for Peace” (co-authored with Jeffery Sng), “Has the West Lost It?: A Provocation”, and “Has China Won? The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy”, which was released in March 2020.

Mr. Mahbubani’s articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Financial Times and Foreign Affairs have earned him global recognition as “the muse of the Asian century.” Throughout his career, he has consistently challenged conventional wisdom on the big questions of our time.

Mr. Mahbubani has been listed among the world’s top 100 public intellectuals by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine, and named among the Top 50 individuals who will shape the debate on the future of capitalism by The Financial Times. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October 2019.

 

Clover Hogan, Climate Activist

Clover Hogan is a 21-year-old climate activist, researcher on eco-anxiety, and the founder of Force of Nature - a youth-led organisation empowering Gen Z to step up, rather than shut down, in the face of the climate crisis. She has worked alongside the world’s leading authorities on sustainability, consulted within the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies, and mobilised mindsets within classrooms across the UK.

 

In June, Clover launched the Force of Nature podcast - a 9-part series with ordinary people doing extraordinary things to save the planet. Clover also serves as a trustee to Global Action Plan, and is on the advisory boards of the National Community Lottery's Climate Action Fund; the Teach the Future campaign; and the COP26 President-Designate Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council. 

 

Ian Sielecki, Founder, Polemix

Ian Sielecki is the Founder of Polemix, a new social network bringing together the world’s brightest youth and global leaders from both sides of any polarizing issue, under the motto “Hate is for losers“.
He was speechwriter to President Macri of Argentina and Chief of Speech and Strategy to the country’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Faurie. Previously, he worked for the NYT Athens Democracy Forum as organizer of the International Youth Debate. He is also the founder and former president of the Transatlantic Debates Association, which held exceptional debates over the years with the world’s top young speakers, and ministers, ambassadors and thinkers.

He worked at the US Senate for the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and at the Assemblée Nationale in France, where he wrote speeches for the assembly’s President.
‍Ian studied Political Science and History at Sciences Po and the University of Cambridge (Jesus College). He then completed a Masters of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, where he was president of the Student Council of his campus. He was debating vice-champion of France in 2014.

 

Ai Weiwei, Artist

Ai Weiwei is renowned for making strong aesthetic statements that resonate with timely phenomena across today’s geopolitical world. From architecture to installations, social media to documentaries, Ai uses a wide range of mediums as expressions of new ways for his audiences to examine society and its values. Recent exhibitions include: Ai Weiwei: Resetting Memories at MARCO in Monterrey, Ai Weiwei: Bare Life at the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum in St. Louis, Ai Weiwei at the K20/K21 in Dusseldorf, and Good Fences Make Good Neighbors with the Public Art Fund in New York City.

 

Ai was born in Beijing in 1957 and currently resides and works in Berlin. Ai is the recipient of the 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International and the 2012 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent from the Human Rights Foundation

 

Kabelo Mahlobogwane, Chief Ambassador, THUMA Foundation

Kabelo is an award winning Educator, Social Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, Unionist, Education Activist, Democracy and Social Justice Champion. He is also the founding Gauteng Secretary and currently the National Spokesperson for the Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA) which organises about 20 000 educators nationally. He has spoken at international events like the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program and Social Justice Summit. He plays a consultancy role in various education and youth empowerment matters globally and international media houses. Kabelo has held several leadership responsibilities while still a student at the University of Pretoria and after. He has over 8 years of professional working experience and in leadership roles. He is Chief Ambassador at THUMA Foundation, a democracy and social justice organisation which was founded by the former South African Public Protector, Professor Thuli Madonsela. He is also the Curriculum Coordinator for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Southern Africa – South African Alumni Chapter. Some of his accolades includes being named the top 10 Social Justice Champions for 2020 by Champion SA and the 100 South African Shining Stars for 2020 by Inside Education. He has recently started his entrepreneurial journey and he is the co-founder and executive director of The Marking APP – a mobile and web app which automatically marks school assessments while giving learners access to immediate feedback, online support and study resources. Through this project, Kabelo has received grants and support from institutions like the Young African Leaders Initiative, the Trevor Noah Foundation, Gordon Institute of Business Science Entrepreneurship Development Academy and the SAB Foundation. He is passionate about education, especially using it as a tool to alleviate poverty, bring about social justice and to strengthen democracy.

 

Olafur Eliasson, Danish-Icelandic Artist

Visual artist Olafur Eliasson (b.1967) grew up in Iceland and Denmark. In 1995, he founded Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, which today comprises a team of craftsmen, architects, archivists, researchers, administrators, cooks, art historians, and specialised technicians. Natural phenomena—such as water, light, ice, fog, and reflections—feature prominently in Eliasson’s often-large-scale artworks. Olafur Eliasson’s art is driven by his interests in perception movement embodied experience and feelings of self. He strives to make the concerns of art relevant to society at large. Art for him is a crucial means for turning thinking into doing in the world. Eliasson’s works span sculpture painting photography film and installation. Not limited to the confines of the museum and gallery his practice engages the broader public sphere through architectural projects interventions in civic space arts education policy-making and issues of sustainability and the climate crisis.

 

Colombe Cahen-Salvador, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, NOW

Colombe has been working on cross-border mobilisation to tackle global issues in a progressive manner for years. As the co-founder of the global campaign movement NOW!, she has created a +10,000 people strong organization to promote democracy worldwide, proposed drastic actions to curb the climate crisis, advocated for a higher participation of women in political power, and pushed for a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, among many other topics. Previously, she co-founded the political movement Volt Europa that mobilized 60,000 young people across Europe and elected representatives at the 2019 European Elections and local elections.

 

Andrea Venzon, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, NOW

Andrea is a political activist passionate about bringing people together behind a new vision for the planet. As the co-founder of NOW!, he has built the global community from the ground up by deploying innovative techniques of community organizing in tens of countries. He also worked to advance the movement’s philosophy, both on the ground and by collaborating with high profile politicians and activists. He was previously the main founder of the first pan-European political movement Volt Europa, and was elected its first President. As such, he drew 60000 people to join this endeavour, and led the party to its first electoral success at the European elections of 2019. Before being converted to politics and activism in 2017, Andrea used to work as a “boring” management consultant, as he likes to say.

 

Nathan Law, Politician and Activist

Nathan Law is a young Hong Kong activist, currently in exile and based in London. During the Umbrella Movement in 2014, Nathan was one of the five representatives who took part in the dialogue with the government, debating political reform. Upholding non-violent civic actions, Nathan, Joshua Wong and other student leaders founded Demosistō in 2016 and ran for the Legislative Council election. Nathan was elected with 50,818 votes in the Hong Kong Island constituency and became the youngest Legislative Councilor in history. Yet his seat was overturned in July 2017 following Beijing’s constitutional reinterpretation, despite international criticism. Nathan was later jailed for his participation in the Umbrella Movement. The persecution sparked global concern over Beijing’s crackdown on human rights and democratic movement in Hong Kong.In 2018, Nathan and his fellow student activists Joshua Wong and Alex Chow are nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by US congressmen and British parliament members. Due to the risk imposed by the draconian National Security Law, Nathan left Hong Kong and continues to speak up for Hong Kong people on the international level. In 2020, he was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME.

 

Chaker Khazaal, Palestinian-Canadian author, reporter, and speaker

Born in 1987 as a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon, Mr. Khazaal grew up in the Bourj el Barajneh camp in Beirut. At a young age, he participated in several local plays and starred in the Palestinian film “Sugar of Jaffa.” He later immigrated to Canada. As one of four recipients of the Global Leader of Tomorrow Award in 2005, he studied at York University in Toronto, graduating in 2009 with a B.A. in international development studies.

Mr. Khazaal worked as a public speaker and web show host before publishing his first novel, “Confessions of a War Child (Part One)” in March 2013; followed by part two, subtitled “Lia,” in 2014; and the third novel in the trilogy, subtitled “Sahara,” in 2015. In 2017, he released his fourth novel, “Tale of Tala.” Witnessing the blast at the port of Beirut, Khazaal penned his 5th novel OUCH! a memoir with a twist in 17 days. An intense journey of pain and psychological conflict, the novel was released on October 17, 2020. 

Mr. Khazaal is an advocate for refugees and aspiring young writers. A savvy communicator, he has spoken via a number of platforms and at events worldwide. 

In 2015, Esquire Middle East named him Man of the Year, and in 2016, he was ranked first by Arabian Business magazine in the 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40.

 

Laura Chinchilla, Former President, Republic of Costa Rica

Former President Laura Chinchilla is a political scientist with a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

She was the first woman to be elected president of Costa Rica (2010-2014). Previously, she served as minister of public security (1996-1998), congresswoman (2002-2006), minister of justice (2006-2008), and vice president (2006-2008). During her political career, Mrs. Chinchilla prompted police and justice reform measures to tackle crime and violence, digital and open government, the promotion of women's rights, and early childhood protection. She also promoted environmental sustainability policies, especially on preserving marine biodiversity, for which she was distinguished with international awards.

Mrs. Chinchilla has worked as a consultant with various international organizations, such as: the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She has been part of the advisory boards of the UNDP`s Human Development Report and the Global Happiness Report, and board member of the International Olympic Committee, the World Leadership Alliance - Club de Madrid, the Inter-American Dialogue, the Concordia Summit, and the Euro-America Foundation. Mrs. Chinchilla has headed various Electoral Observation Missions in the Americas and chaired the Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age. She has taught at the Institute of Politics and Public Policy of Georgetown University (USA), the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (México), and the Universidade de Sao Paulo (Brazil).

 

Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Chairperson, Qatar Museums Board of Trustees

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has played a pioneering role in the fields of culture, education and outreach, spearheading and supporting a number of local and international organizations.

As chairperson of the Qatar Museums board of trustees, Sheikha Mayassa guides the vision for future museums, cultural institutions and heritage sites in Qatar, with the aim of transforming the country into a vibrant cultural center in the Middle East and beyond. 

Sheikha Mayassa graduated from Duke University, North Carolina in 2005 where she was vice president of the Duke International Association, vice president of the university’s HIWAR group promoting political dialogue, and a delegate for the 2001-2002 Model United Nations. She went on to complete postgraduate studies at Columbia University. 

Named by Forbes among the most powerful women in the world, Sheikha Mayassa is also the head of the Doha Film Institute, Qatar’s first international organization dedicated to film financing, education and production.  

In addition to her work on cultural initiatives, Sheikha Mayassa is the chairperson of Reach Out to Asia, or ROTA, a philanthropic nongovernmental foundation dedicated to assisting victims of natural disasters, and aiming to improve the quality of primary and secondary education in Asia.

 

 

Ibijoke Faborode, Co-founder and Executive Director, ElectHER

Ibijoke is a Co-founder and Executive Director of ElectHER- a non-partisan Pan-African political organization, where she drives the vision to bridge inequality gaps in African democracy by Engaging critical stakeholders, Encouraging women to Decide, Equipping them to Run and Enabling them to Win elections. In a bid to strengthen women’s representation in Nigeria, her organization recently launched a $10 million fund to empower 1000 women and directly fund 35 women in the 2023 elections.

She has worked with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, leading on Policy, trade and investment relations across West Africa, and with Paris-based Pan-African publication- The Africa Report, where she led on communication campaigns for governments and some of the biggest brands in Africa,

She has a Bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations from Nigeria, a Masters’ degree in Project Management from France, an Executive certification in Business Analytics from Imperial Business School, and currently enrolled in an Executive Masters programme in Social Business and Entrepreneurship at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Ibijoke is passionate about social innovation design and always looking to collaborate on solutions that seek to tackle inequality and poverty in Africa.
Amongst other recognitions, she’s a One Young World 2019 Dutch MFA scholar and a 2019 Public Service Nominee for The Future Awards Africa.

 

Itzik Yahav, Co-founder and President, Sapienship

Itzik Yahav is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and the co-founder and president of Sapienship – a social impact company that advocates for global responsibility through initiatives in the fields of entertainment and education. Prior to founding Sapienship with his husband, Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, Yahav acted as Harari's agent and business partner, publishing the bestselling books: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind; Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow; and ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ – that sold over 30 million copies in 60 languages. In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Yahav and Harari donated 1 million USD to the World Health Organization's solidarity fund. Yahav has a background in art and production, and holds a Bachelor's degree in graphic design.

 
 

Peter Weibel, Director, Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe

Prof. Peter Weibel has been Director of the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe since 1999.

 He studied literature, medicine, logic, philosophy and film in Vienna and Paris. In his function as artist, curator, teacher and long-standing director of various institutions, Peter Weibel became a central figure in European media art.

He has been appointed as full member both of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts Munich (since 2009) and the European Academy of Science and Arts in Salzburg (since 2013) as well as Honorary Member of the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow (since 2015).

Peter Weibel was artistic director of the Seville Biennial (BIACS3) in 2008 and of the 4th Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2011.

Over the years Peter Weibel was decorated with several awards such as the Käthe Kollwitz Prize (2004), the French distinction “Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” (2008), the Oskar-Kokoschka-Preis [Oskar-Kokoschka-Prize] (2014), the Österreichische Kunstpreis - Medienkunst [Austrian Art Prize - Media Art] in 2017 and in 2020 the Lovis-Corinth-Prize.

Fatima Zaman, Advocate, Kofi Annan Foundation

Fatima Zaman is currently an Advocate at the Kofi Annan Foundation, working on building peace, security and overcoming extreme violence in conflict. Her work involved advising the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations and working with key stakeholders to enhance and uphold human rights. She has extensive knowledge and experience of working in this field at the local and international level. Ms. Zaman is also a member of the Inaugural Class of Obama Scholars, selected by President and Mrs Obama to receive a prestigious, one-of-a-kind leadership scholarship from the Obama Foundation. She was also named as the Chairman's Asian Woman of Achievement, with judges commending her for her internationally groundbreaking work on bringing improvements to peace, security and countering violent extremism in conflict countries. In the laudatio, judges earmarked her as a future Nobel Prize winner.

 
 

Eric Li, Venture Capitalist and Political Scientist, Shanghai

Biography coming soon

Maria Schmidt, Historian

Mária Schmidt is a Hungarian historian, currently serving as the government commissioner in charge of the memorial year to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Hungary’s transition to democracy in 1989.

Ms. Schmidt graduated from the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in history and German. From 1996 she worked as a senior lecturer at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, eventually becoming an associate professor in 2000 after earning her Ph.D. in history in 1999. She subsequently completed a postdoctoral degree in 2005 and has been a university professor since 2010. She has taught at various prestigious universities around the world as a scholar or visiting professor.

Ms. Schmidt was chief advisor to Viktor Orbán during his first term as Hungarian prime minister from 1998 to 2002. She then served as a trustee of the Stiftung Ettersberg, the international foundation dedicated to the comparative study of European dictatorships and their transition to democracy, from its founding in 2002 until 2013. She is a former member of the Scientific Council of the Bucharest-based Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, and previously served on the Academic Committee of the House of European History project under the auspices of the European Parliament. In 2013, she was a member of the World War One Centenary Memorial Committee, as well as chief curator of an exhibition devoted to the war and its aftermath. She also served as the government commissioner of the memorial year to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian uprising in 2016.

Ms. Schmidt is director general of Budapest’s House of Terror Museum, an exhibition chronicling the darkest aspects of Hungary’s Communist and fascist past. She is also director general of the Institute of the 20th Century and the Institute of the 21st Century.