Search form


redirection Speakers

Ian Lesser

Vice President, The German Marshall Fund of the United States – GMF; Executive Director, Transatlantic Center

Current vice president at the American think tank The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), he also serves as executive director of the Transatlantic Center, the Brussels office of GMF, and leads GMF’s work on the Mediterranean, Turkey, and the wider Atlantic. Prior to joining GMF, Dr. Lesser was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Vice President and Director of studies at the Pacific Council on International Policy.


He came to the Pacific Council from the RAND Corporation, where he spent over a decade as a senior analyst and research manager specializing in strategic studies. From 1994-95, he was a member of the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. Department of State, responsible for Turkey, Southern Europe, North Africa, and the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process. Dr. Lesser was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and received his doctorate from Oxford University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the advisory boards of the Delphi Economic Forum, Atlantic Dialogues, the NATO Defense College Foundation, and Turkish Policy Quarterly, and has been a senior fellow of the Onassis Foundation in Athens and the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon.

Reta Jo Lewis

Senior Fellow; Director of Congressional Affairs, The German Marshall Fund of the United States – GMF

She manages programs, exchanges and initiatives designed to engage Congress and their national security and foreign policy staffers on a wide range of transatlantic policy issues and on opportunities for transatlantic cooperation between U.S and European legislative and policy leaders. She joined GMF in 2015, as a Senior Resident Fellow with the Transatlantic Leadership Initiative Program,


where she focuses on leadership development programming designed to advance global engagement on both sides of the Atlantic. Adviser and speaker on subnational engagement and city international diplomacy strategies, U.S. politics, U.S. transatlantic relations, women empowerment, political and social inclusion, she served as the U.S. State Department’s first-ever Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs (2010-13), and worked on cooperation with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), RIO+20 and COP16, COP17 and COP18. Former Director of Business Outreach for the Obama-Biden Transition Project, Vice President and Counselor to the President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Director of the Chamber’s effort focused on the nations' fastest growing business sectors: women and minority-owned businesses. She was a shareholder in the international law firm Greenberg Traurig and Special Assistant to the President for Political Affairs in the Clinton’s administration (1993-95). She is a member of the Nielsen Corporation's, African-American Advisory Council. She has a J.D. from Emory University School of Law, a M.S.A.J. in criminal justice from the American University and her B. A. in political science from the University of Georgia.

Angel Losada

EU Special Representative for the Sahel, European Union

He started his career at NATO when Spain joined the organization and has a wide experience in multilateral affairs after posts in the Spanish Mission to the UN (1990-93) and NATO itself (1996-2000).


He has also worked in conflict situations after serving as Spanish Ambassador to the ISAF Command Chain in Afghanistan after the end of the war (2004-2005). Mr Losada occupied other significant post in the Spanish Diplomatic Service such as Ambassador in Nigeria (2006-11) and Kuwait (2011-14). After working as Spanish Ambassador at Large for Libya and the Sahel, he was named EU Special Representative for the Sahel in December 2015. He graduated in Law at the University of Navarre with Honours Honors.

Mohammed Loulichki

Senior Fellow, Policy Center for the New South

Mr. Loulichki is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, who focuses on Diplomacy, conflicts resolution and Human rights. He has an extensive experience of 40 years in diplomacy and legal affairs. He assumed inter alia the functions of Head of the Department of Legal Affairs and Treaties in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was also Ambassador of Morocco in Hungary, Bosnia – Herzegovina and Croatia (1995-1999), Ambassador Coordinator of the Government of Morocco with MINURSO (1999 – 2001), Ambassador of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva (2006-2008) and New York (2001-2003 and 2008-2014), as well as President of the Security Council (December 2014).


Mr. Loulichki was appointed President of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council (2013), President of the working Group on Peace Keeping Operations (2012), Vice-President of the Human Rights Council (2006), Facilitator of the Universal Periodic Review of the said Council (2006 and 2010) and President of the National Committee in charge of the follow up on nuclear matters (2003-2006).

Richard Lui

Journalist and News Anchor, MSNBC

Previously at CNN Worldwide, he became the first Asian American male to anchor a daily, national cable news show. Lui’s reporting has covered terrorism and conflict and politics in the Middle East, Asia and domestically.


He is also a technologist, launching five technology brands over three technology cycles, most recently a Silicon Valley artificial intelligence company in 2016. Outside of work, Richard travels two or three times each month from New York City to San Francisco to care for his father, an Alzheimer’s patient, and is an AARP Caregiving Champion and an Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion. He is also an ambassador for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes campaign that focuses on caregivers in military families.

Silas Lwakabamba

Vice Chancellor, UNICAF University Rwanda; Former Minister of Education, Rwanda

Former teacher and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), he also served as Director of Training and Extension Services at the UN-sponsored African Region Center for Engineering Design and Manufacturing in Ibadan (Nigeria). He later became Vice Chancellor (Rector) of the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, the National University of Rwanda and University of Kibungo, Rwanda.


His performance earned him trust to be appointed Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure and later Rwanda’s Minister of Education. Professor Lwakabamba has been and continues to be a Chair and a Member of a number of National, Regional and International Boards and Committees such as the governing Board of the Inter-University Council of East Africa, the Executive Board of UNESCO and many others.

Rida Lyammouri

Senior Fellow, Policy Center for the New South

Mr. Lyammouri is Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, focusing on geopolitics and international relations issues.


He has more than eight years of experience focusing on the North Africa and Sahel regions. His extensive experience supporting governmental and non-governmental organizations includes the areas of international development, security, countering violent extremism, and counter-terrorism. Mr. Lyammouri has elaborated more than 200 in-depth research reports that cultivate deeper understanding of regional and domestic challenges. He has also frequently made programming recommendations to address various security, economic, and political challenges related to a specific region or a country in Africa. Mr. Lyammouri has also presented as an expert at various conferences, including at the National Defence University (NDU), the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), in addition to multiple contributions to well-known media outlets such as BBC, NPR, and France24. Mr. Lyammouri holds a Master of Public Policy with an emphasis on National Security from the school of Policy, Government, and International Affairs at George Mason University.

Ade Mabogunje

Senior Research Scientist, Stanford University

Born in Nigeria, where he completed a Master in mechanical engineer at Lagos University, he completed his studies at Stanford, California, with a Ph.D. in 1997. He has worked on artificial intelligence in the Ames research center of NASA and has lead the Real-time Venture Design Lab (ReVeL) in the school of Humanities and Sciences.


This endeavor focused on the role of emotion, identity, and narratives in the design of sustainable ventures for achieving shared global prosperity. Ade studies design teams empirically with a view towards nucleating innovation ecosystems and developing performance metrics for them. These metrics are helping advance our understanding of innovation as well as help in accelerating the capital formation process. Along these lines, Ade has worked in Ahmedabad, India, Abeokuta, Nigeria and in the Silicon Valley, California. He is currently working on a simulation model to support the capital allocation decision making process which takes place before, during, and after the design of innovation ecosystems.

Ricardo Leitao Machado

Founder and CEO, Aenergia

With Aenergia, founded in 2012 as a sustainable and integrated project development company, he committed to deliver a strategic five-year plan, through the development of US $2.5 billion energy related projects in Africa.


Former CEO of Angola Climate Carbon, focused in the carbon transaction intermediation and project management in Africa, former Standard Bank director (2010-11) responsible for the climate change product strategy in Angola, former CEO of Genius Ambiente (2008-2009). Founder and CEO of Forestland, SGPS (2005-08), Adviser of Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (2002-04). He followed the Advanced Management Programme of INSEAD (Singapore) in 2018, has an Executive Master in Business Management with Finance Specialization, ISCTE-INDEG Business School (2009), an Executive Master in Marketing, Instituto Português de Administração de Marketing, Lisboa (2008) and studied Engineering Management and Planning, Escola Superior Agrária de Santarém (2002).

Eniola Mafe

International Development Strategist, Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum

Strategist and international development leader, co-founder of,  a social enterprise developing the next gen farmers through precision data, mechanization and technology. Eniola is also co-founder of  The W Collective (TWC) - a platform  of over 300 members changing the narrative of how gender equality is viewed in the workplace across corporate Africa. Eniola serves as a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum (WEF) where she leads the digital access and adoption work.


Eniola has also guided the adaptation of the global Internet for All methodology across multiple countries, helping government to align these country-level projects with their national development plans.

She managed the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI) Foundation (2013-18), a $90 million corporate social enterprise by Chevron that applies a market-based approach to development, and was a Program manager on Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington. Previously Mafe worked at the Women’s World Banking Ghana in Accra and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City. Named one of OkayAfrica 100 Women in Africa in 2018, she is the Nigeria Ambassador for the Women in Africa Initiative and serves in the Technical Sub-Committee for the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and has served on various non-profit boards. She holds a M.A. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. and a B.A from Spelman College (Phi Beta Kappa).