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Chester A. Crocker

Professor of Strategic Studies, Georgetown University

Chester A. Crocker is the James R. Schlesinger Professor of Strategic Studies at Georgetown University, where his teaching and research focus on conflict management and regional security issues. He served as chairman of the board of the United States Institute of Peace (1992-2004) and as a member of its board through 2011.


From 1981 to 1989, Crocker was U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs. As such, he was the principal diplomatic architect and mediator in the negotiations among Angola, Cuba, and South Africa that led to Namibia’s transition to independence and to the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola. Crocker is a founding member of the Global Leadership Foundation and member of the Independent Advisory Board of the World Bank. He is the author of High Noon in Southern Africa: Making Peace in a Rough Neighborhood (1993).

Rajendra Abhyankar

Adjunct Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University

Rajendra Abhyankar is currently an adjunct professor at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He retired from the Indian diplomatic service in August 2005 as India’s ambassador to the EU, Belgium, and Luxembourg after more than 37 years of multi-faceted diplomatic assignments.


He was the secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs for the government of India, from 2001-2004. He has served as India’s high commissioner to Cyprus and ambassador to Syria, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. He was India’s deputy high commissioner in Sri Lanka and consul general of India in San Francisco. His other diplomatic postings have been in Geneva, Brussels, Baghdad, and Rome. Since retirement from the diplomatic service, Abhyankar has been involved in academics, track II dialogues, philanthropy and consultancy.

Ahmed Aboutaleb

Mayor, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Ahmed Aboutaleb was born in Beni Sidel, Morocco and graduated in telecommunications in 1987.


He was a press officer at the Ministry of Welfare, Health and Cultural Affairs, head of information at the Social and Economic Council (SER) and manager of the Communications and Publications Sector at Statistics Netherlands (CBS), before he became director of the FORUM Institute for Multicultural Development and director of the Social, Economic and Cultural Development Sector of the municipality of Amsterdam. In 2004, Aboutaleb was appointed to Amsterdam's municipal executive as alderman for work and income, education, youth, diversity and urban policy. In February 2007, he was appointed state secretary for social affairs and employment, and in January 2009 became the mayor of Rotterdam.

Hassan Abouyoub

Ambassador to Italy, Morocco

Hassan Abouyoub has been the ambassador of Morocco to Italy since 2009. Prior to becoming ambassador, he served as itinerant ambassador, ambassador of Morocco to France, and minister for agriculture, implementing Morocco’s commitment to the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and serving as the negotiator for the EU fisheries agreement and the Euro-Mediterranean agreement.


Previously, Abouyoub served as Morocco’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a member of parliament, and minister of foreign trade and investment. Notably, he developed and implemented the reform of Morocco’s trade policy and led the country’s accession to GATT. Furthermore, he has promoted the principle of trade liberalization throughout the Arab World in accordance with the rules and disciplines of the multilateral trade system. Abouyoub’s expertise in the fields of multilateral trade, trade agreements, regional integration, and trade policies is internationally recognized.

Theodore Ahlers


Theodore Ahlers is an economist with extensive experience in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. He recently led the preparation of Africa 2050: Realizing the Continent’s Full Potential (Oxford University Press 2014) for the Emerging Markets Forum.


Over the past 25 years, he held numerous economist and senior management positions at the World Bank, including strategy and operations director for Europe & Central Asia (2007-12), Maghreb department director (2002-07), strategy and operations director for Africa (2000-02), country director for Benin, Niger, and Togo (1996-2000), and lead economist in West and Central Africa (1994-96). He holds a Ph.D. in development economics from Tufts University, Fletcher School.

Obed Akwa

Commandant and Executive Director, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre

Major General Obed Akwa joined the Ghana Army in 1977 and has served as a brigade commander and the Ghanaian contingent commander with the United Nations mission in DR Congo; commander of the Ghana Military Academy, and was a military assistant to the president of Ghana/commander-in-chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.


He has had extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, having served as a deputy commanding officer with the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, a military observer with the UN Iraq–Kuwait Observation Mission, personnel officer with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, and platoon commander with UN Emergency Force II. He was also a member of the UN Military Liaison Team deployed to prepare grounds for the insertion of the UN Protection Force into former Yugoslavia in 1992.

Abdelmalek Alaoui

Abdelmalek Alaoui, Founder, Global Intelligence Partners

Abdelmalek Alaoui is an editorialist, author and founder of Global Intelligence Partners, a pan-African consultancy firm specialized in strategic analysis and business intelligence. He is also the executive president of the Moroccan think tank AMIE Center for Policy.


Alaoui is a political analyst for French weekly Le Nouvel Observateur and a contributor to Forbes on U.S policy, North Africa, and international relations. His books include Intelligence economique et guerres secretes au Maroc (Alphée Editions, Paris), Une ambition Marocaine, des experts analysent la decennie 1999-2009 (Alphée Editions, Paris), Le Maghreb dans les relations internationales (CNRS Editions, IFRI, Paris 2011), and Le Maroc stratégique (Descartes Editions, Paris, 2013). He has a master’s in business administration from HEC Business School and is also a graduate in public policy from Sciences Po Paris.

Amine Mounir Alaoui

Executive Vice President, OCP Foundation

Dr. Amine Mounir Alaoui is currently the executive vice president of the OCP Foundation. Previously he was general manager of CBI, one of the major IT firms in Morocco.


He has also worked at the Moroccan telecom regulator in the early stages of liberalization of telecommunications. Alaoui was professor at University Mohamed 5th in Rabat and consultant for several international organizations such as ITU, UNDP and UNESCO. He is also currently member of the economic, social, and environmental council of Morocco.

Tayeb Amegroud

Fellow, OCP Policy Center

Tayeb Amegroud is the founder of GPower Consultants and an expert in energy planning, and projects development, valuation, financing, and structuring. He is also a non-resident fellow at the OCP Policy Center in Morocco. In his last position, Amegroud was director in charge of renewable projects development, planning and strategy at Office National de l’Electricite (ONE) and member of its executive committee.


Prior to that, he was executive director at Swiss Re in New York and London, and held the same position at Lehman Brothers and various other international financial institutions. Amegroud is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, and holds an engineering degree from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées - Paris, France. Additionally, he holds a master’s of sustainable energy technologies from Southampton University and a DEA (Diplôme des Etudes Approfondies) in mathematics from Pierre et Marie Curie University, Paris.

Ms. Ana Palacio

Member of the Council of State of Spain

Ana Palacio is a member of the Consejo de Estado del Reino de España (Council of State), the supreme consultative body to the Spanish government on legislation and regulation and was appointed in 2014 to be coordinator for the EU Trans-European Transport Network Corridors.


She is also an international lawyer and the founding partner of Palacio y Asociados, a law firm with offices in Madrid, Brussels, and Washington, DC. She was the first woman to serve as the foreign affairs minister of Spain, serving in the government of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (2002-04). Palacio has also served as senior vice president and general counsel of the World Bank Group and Secretary General of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) (2006-08).