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Richard Werly

European Affairs Correspondent, LeTemps; Editorial Coordinator, Académie Centrafricaine de Presse

Journalist at the Foreign Service of the Swiss daily newspaper Le Temps, and collaborator of Libération, Richard Werly is also a former correspondent in Asia. The reporter covered the war in Iraq between 2003 and 2004.


Accredited at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, he follows humanitarian issues closely and is a member of the steering committee of the Geneva International Film Festival on Human Rights. This committed man also heads the monthly magazine of the Lebret-Irfed Center on Development: Development and Civilizations.

Rosa Whitaker

President and CEO, The Whitaker Group

Rosa Whitaker is broadly recognized as a leading expert on Africa trade, investment and business issues. Named in 2010 as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s top global thinkers, Ms. Whitaker served as the first-ever Assistant United States Trade Representative for Africa under the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush.  Ms. Whitaker is President and CEO of The Whitaker Group (TWG), a premier transaction advisory, investment facilitation and project development firm specializing in Africa.


The partner of choice for Fortune 500 companies, TWG has facilitated billions of dollars in capital flows and investments across the Continent and recently started making its own direct investments in African companies. Rosa Whitaker was one of the hands-on architects of the historic African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America’s first comprehensive trade law with African countries. AGOA provides duty -free access to the US market for essentially all African-made products. AGOA continues to be the center-piece of US-Africa economic policy.  As the lead US negotiator for bilateral and multilateral trade agreements involving Africa, she was the prime mover behind a series of unprecedented initiatives to enhance US trade, investment and economic cooperation with African countries. Ms. Whitaker also served as a career US diplomat specializing in African economic matters.
The recipient of many awards and honors, Ms. Whitaker is a regular contributor on Africa business issues in international media outlets.

Lanxin Xiang

Professor, Graduate Institute of Geneva

Xiang Lanxin is Professor of International History and Politics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva.


He was an associate professor at Clemson University, USA, till 1996. He was Director of China Policy Analysis at HEID. He held the Henry A. Kissinger Chair of Foreign Policy and International Affairs at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in 2003-04. He has also held a Chair of International Affairs at Fudan University in Shanghai, and Zijiang Chair at East China Normal University and a Visiting Chair at Foreign Affairs University, (CFAU), Beijing. He is a Senior Associate at CSIS in Washington, DC, and Contributing Editor at Survival, IISS, London. A graduate of Fudan University in Shanghai, he has a PhD from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University. His primary interest is Chinese history and politics and China’s relations with the US and Europe, with publications that include three English books and five in Chinese. In 2003-2004 academic year, he was a senior fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund in USA. Since 2015, he has been Director of Center of One Belt, One Road and Eurasian Security, China National Institute for SCO Studies, Shanghai.


Olakunle Gilles Yabi

Founder, West Africa Citizen Think Tank (WATHI)

A political analyst and economist, Dr Gilles Olakounle Yabi is the founder and president of WATHI, a participative and multidisciplinary think tank on West African issues ( WATHI is a think tank focused on knowledge dissemination as well as a transnational citizen movement and a state of mind. WATHI's ambition is to serve as an open platform to address structural challenges faced by West African countries and African countries generally.


Dr Yabi spent seven years as senior political analyst and later as project director for the West Africa Project of the International Crisis Group, a think-tank dedicated to conflict prevention and resolution. Holding a Ph.D in Development economics from the university of Clermont-Ferrand in France, Gilles also worked as a journalist for the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique in Paris. Since November 2013, Gilles has been working as independent consultant in the fields of conflict analysis, security and political governance in West Africa, while setting up WATHI. Gilles has published over the last twelve years dozens of articles, reports, book chapters mainly on political gouvernance, conflict situations and socioeconomic challenges of West Africa.

John Yearwood

Executive Board Chairman International Press Institute

An award-winning multi-media journalist, John Yearwood is president and CEO of Yearwood Media Group, a global consulting and conference moderating firm.


He also serves as executive board chairman of the Vienna, Austria-based International Press Institute and is former World Editor of the Miami Herald. Under his leadership, the World Desk won numerous awards, including McClatchy Company President's Awards and the Arthur Ross Award for best coverage of Latin America. Yearwood’s coordination of the Herald’s Haiti earthquake coverage contributed to the newspaper being named a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. Yearwood is a regular guest on national and international radio and television news programs, such as National Public Radio, Al Jazeera and BBC. Those organizations include the German Marshall Fund, OCP Foundation, Toronto Global Forum, Conference de Montreal, American Jewish Committee, Asian Leadership Conference and the United Nations.

William Zartman

Professor, John Hopkins University

I. William Zartman Jacob Blaustein; Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Organizations and Conflict Resolution at SAIS and a senior fellow and member of the International Steering Committee of Processes of International Negotiations (PIN) Program formerly at Clingendael, Netherlands; he is also a member of the International Academic Advisory Council on Mediation of the UN Department of Political Affairs.


He is former president and founding Executive Secretary of the Middle East Studies Association, founding president of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, founding treasurer of the West Africa Research Association, and past president of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies. He received his doctorate from Yale and an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Louvain, a lifetime achievement award from the International Association for Conflict Management, a distinguished fellow award from the US Institute of Peace, a distinguished honoree award from CIGI, and a distinguished scholar award from the Peace Section of ISA, and is Commander of the Moroccan Ouissam Alawite.


Khalid Zerouali

Wali, Director, Migration and Borders Control, Ministry of Interior, Morocco

Khalid Zerouali is currently Wali, Director in charge of Migration and Frontier Surveliance at Morocco’s Ministry of Interior. As part of his mission, Khalid Zerouali is in charge of the coordination among law enforcement agencies, including those in charge of the fight against transnational crime and illegal migration.


From 2013 to 2015, Khalid Zerouali managed the Direction of General Affairs, whith the mission to coordinate among law enforcement agencies.
From 2008 to 2015, Khalid Zerouali had also managed the Center of Monitoring and Coordination (Centre de Veille et de Coordination) at the Ministry of Interior, which is responsible of crisis and emergency situation management. 
Zerouali had a previous experience in aeronautical industries, as an aerospace engineer, and as an expert in the supervision of civil aviation security.
Khalid Zerouali received his engineering diploma in aeronautics from the University of Texas Austin; and an MBA from the « Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées de Paris ». He also obtained several certificates in strategic subjects such as the fight against terrorism and crisis management.

Lionel Zinsou

Former Prime Minister of Benin

Co-President of the Fondation AfricaFrance pour une croissance partagée. Former Prime Minister in charge of economic development, evaluating public policy and promoting good governance in Benin. Former CEO of the Private Equity firm PAI and Chair of the French-African Foundation for Growth. He started his career as a lecturer in economics at Paris University and was a member of the Department of Industry’s Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office. 


In 1986, he joined Danone where he held various positions including Corporate Development Director and then CEO of the grocery division. In 1997, he joined the Rothschild Bank as General Partner; he was Head of the Consumer Products Group, Head of Middle East and Africa. He graduated from Ecole Normale Supérieure, Sciences Po, the London School of Economics and La Sorbonne in history and economics. He is a “professeur agrégé de sciences économiques et sociales”.