Search form


redirection Speakers

Karim El Aynaoui

President, Policy Center for the New South

President of the Policy Center for the New South and Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University.


From 2005 to 2012, he worked at the Central Bank of Morocco as Director of Economics and International Relations. Prior to this, he served as economist at the World Bank.

He holds scientific and advisory positions in various institutions, including the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, the International Forum on Innovation for Agri-Food Systems, the Moroccan Capital Market Authority, and the French Institute of International Relations. He is also counselor to the CEO and Chairman of the OCP Group and serves as global member of the Trilateral Commission and board member of the OCP Foundation. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Bordeaux.

Obiageli Ezekwesili

Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI); Former Minister of Education, Nigeria

Nobel Peace Prize nominee, she is the Founder and Convener of the #RedCardMovement (RCM), a citizen’s centered advocacy movement which she started on Twitter in January 2018 with a focus on transforming the nation’s politics. She ran for office in the 2019 presidential election in Nigeria. Since 2015 and to date, she serves as the Senior Economic Advisor of the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI) in Abuja.


She is a leading chartered accountant and co-founder in 1994 of Transparency International, former Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa Region Program. She has held several key positions within the Nigerian government including (from 2002) senior special assistant to the President of Nigeria on budget monitoring and price intelligence, where she led the institutional reform of the country's Public Procurement system through the establishment of the Due Process system in public contracting. She was a member of the 12-person Economic Team of President Olusegun Obasanjo (2003-07) and in this capacity, negotiated the OECD G-8 anticorruption Transparency Compact with Nigeria which was announced at the 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit in the United States.

As Minister of Solid Minerals Development (from 2005) she reformed Nigeria's mining sector to internationally recognized standards especially through her work on a new Minerals Act, a world class and autonomous Nigeria Geological Survey Agency. Ezekwesili served as the pioneer Chairperson for the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI, 2004-07) and led the voluntary sign-on of Nigeria to the global EITI Principles. She supervised the first ever publicly disclosed physical, financial and process audits of the oil and gas sector. As Minister of Education (from June 2006) she led an extensive and comprehensive reform program, and her blueprint for overhauling the sector is a reference document from which other countries in Africa have borrowed ideas. In 2012, she became a senior advisor on Africa Economic Development Policy at the Open Society Foundations in New York, assisting the Mano River governments with economic policy reforms.

Following the abduction of 219 girls from their secondary school in Chibok in 2014, Dr Ezekwesili co-convened the viral ‘#BringBackOurGirls’ campaign on social media, which trended internationally and has world-wide support from international personalities including the former First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Through sustained advocacy of the #BringBackOurGirls, freedom was secured for 107 of the abducted girls and the Movement continues to advocate for the remaining 112 ChibokGirls. She sits on numerous board and has received many awards.

Matthias Fekl

Former Minister of the Interior; Former Minister for Foreign Trade, France

Minister of Interior of the fifth Republic of France (March-May 2017), he served as State Secretary of Foreign Trade, Tourism Promotion and French People Abroad (2014-2017). He is a lawyer at the Paris Bar and works as a corporate lawyer at the KGA Law firm (alternative dispute settlements, international investments, public law).


He is also a board member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in France and writes a piece about Europe twice a month in the newspaper L’Opinion. After studying at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lettres et Sciences humaines), Sciences-Po and ENA, he became administrative judge and has been teaching public law at Sciences-Po in Paris (2005-10). He has been elected in France as a Socialist Party (PS) candidate both on the local and national levels and is involved in several progressive think tanks.

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega

President, Council of State, Spain; President, Women for Africa Foundation

She is also President of the Women for Africa foundation. As the first female Deputy Prime Minister in Spanish history, she has inspired many women to pursue politics and defend the rights of women.


Shortly after obtaining her law degree and becoming a judge, she entered politics where she took on various roles as Secretary of State of Justice, parliamentarian and general secretary of the Socialist Parliamentary Group. Maria Teresa has also been a member of the Civil Society Advisory to UN Women. In 2012, she founded the Mujeres por Africa Foundation, for the purpose of contributing to the development of Africa through the drive of its women.

Renato Flôres

Director, International Intelligence Unit; Professor, Graduate School of Economics, Fundação Getulio Vargas

Economist, interested in regional Integration, with special knowledge of the European and Latin American experiences, having been one of the editors of the Regional Integration Manual (Routledge, London, 2011) and the co-ordinator of two (EC funded) Jean Monnet Networks.


He is at present studying consumption patterns of the world emerging middle-class, for the design and branding of quality goods affordable to them. A former elected member of the Permanent Group of Experts of the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, at the WTO, Geneva, he also acted as negotiator for the Fourth Protocol of the Agreement on Telecommunications, after the Uruguay Round, and still serves in trade delegations involving Brazil.
He has also been a regular member of the Brazilian Delegation in the BRICS Academic Forum and is serving on many boards, such as the Brazilian branch of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (CEBRI), EUBRASIL, a group based in Brussels to foster business relations between the EU and Brazil, and the International Forum for Clean Energy, a Chinese initiative established in Macao. He is also a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), London. He consults for international organizations, the Canadian, Swiss, Indonesian and Japanese governments, private multinationals and large Brazilian companies and financial institutions.

Kassie Freeman

President and CEO, African Diaspora Consortium

The ADC is a global organization whose mission is to positively impact economic, educational and artistic opportunities and outcomes across the African Diaspora, with a particular focus on populations dispersed during the transatlantic slave trade and different migration periods in the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and North America. Current Senior Advisor to the Provost and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, ADC’s lead partner along with Tuskegee University and the University of Notre Dame.


Former elected Interim President of the Southern University System, the nation’s only Historically Black College System. Having studied at the Universities of Oslo and Vienna, she specializes in comparative and international education. Her research interests include African Americans in higher education, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and teacher education. She is the author or editor of five books and currently serves on the German Marshall Fund (GMF) Board of Trustees, among others. She was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities for two terms.

Linus Gitahi

Executive Chairman, Tropikal Brands

Former CEO (2005-15) of the Nation Media Group, a public company operating in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. Former CEO of West Africa (2003-06), Executive Chairman of Tropikal Brands (Afrika), Chairman of Oxygene Marketing Communications, Board Member of Simba Corp and Allianz Insurance, Trustee of the United States International University, Board Member of Kenya Association of Manufacturers.


Mr. Gitahi received an award for starting and supporting Baraka Foundation which educates bright kids from poor backgrounds.

Sarah Glover

Manager of Social Strategy, NBC Owned Television Stations

Prior to joining NBC, she worked at NBC10 Philadelphia, Philadelphia Daily Newsand The Philadelphia Inquirer. She led the Daily News video team on the “Tainted Justice” series, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010.



She traveled to the Middle East in 2016 to contribute to the discourse shaping 21st century journalism at the World Media Summit in Doha, Qatar. She has a passion for developing the next generation of journalists and broadening the skills of veteran journalists. She founded the "Diverse Social Media Editors & Digital Journalists" Facebook Group, a platform for education, advocacy and training for journalists of color. She has a dual bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a master’s degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Notably, Sarah served as the 21st president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) 2015-19. She brought an international resurgence to the 4400 members association based in Washington. She led a delegation of Black journalists to China, brought digital training to Colombia and enriched a cultural exchange of ideas in the Middle East and across the United States. She has bolstered NABJ’s advocacy efforts, produced an industry-recognized three-year strategic plan, broke records with fiscal success for four consecutive years and established a $1.3 million scholarship endowment.

Tesfahun Gobezay Kinfie

State Minister, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Ethiopia

He has served in Information Network Security Agency (INSA) for more than 10 years, in different positions including Intelligence Analysis and Policy Analysis.


He has qualification in national security policy and process, media regulation and intelligence analysis, and received his bachelor's degree in Political Science and International Relations from Addis Ababa University in 2007 and his master's degree in Transformational Leadership and Change in 2012 from University of Greenwich, London.

Anabel González

Former Minister of Foreign Trade, Costa Rica Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics – PIIE;

Non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (Washington, USA), she is an international consultant on trade, investment and economic development. Former Senior Director of the World Bank’s Global Practice on Trade & Competitiveness (2014-18), she led the Bank’s agenda on trade, investment climate, competitiveness, innovation and entrepreneurship.


She previously served as Minister of Trade of Costa Rica (2010-14), where she led the country’s strategy to join the OECD, negotiated several free trade agreements, and contributed to attract over 140 foreign direct investment projects. In her more than 15 years of service at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, she served as Ambassador and Chief Negotiator, Vice-minister, and Director General for Trade Negotiations. She has also worked as Director, Agriculture Division, World Trade Organization; Senior Consultant on Trade, Inter-American Development Bank; and Director-General, Costa Rican Investment Promotion Board. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Trade and Investment and has presented on these topics in over 60 countries around the world.