This page shows a selection of speakers at the Forum. For a full list of speakers please see the individual sessions in the programme.
Ali Can is an author, peacebuilder and founder of the Intercultural Peace Association. Convinced that the breeding ground for xenophobia and rightist ideology is partly based on a deep-rooted fear and ignorance of the ‘unknown’, he will actively approach those who are vocally opposed to ‘those’ refugees, ‘those’ Muslims and ‘those’ immigrants during his Connect-Reflect-Act talk by finding creative ways to break down prejudices. He has recently founded a hotline for citizens concerned about the refugee crisis.
George Ciamba is the Secretary of State for Bilateral and Strategic Affairs within the Euro-Atlantic Area and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania. He has been a career diplomat since 1990. Between 2012 and 2016, he served as Secretary of State for European Affairs; he coordinated all the configurations of the EU Council and participated in the General Affairs Council. Prior to his appointment as State Secretary, George Ciamba was Ambassador of Romania to Greece. Between 2003 and 2005, he served as Secretary of State for Multilateral and, subsequently, Global Affairs in the MFA. During this mandate, he coordinated dossiers related to the EU (The Intergovernmental Conference), NATO, the Council of Europe, the UN and other international organisations. Between 1999 and 2003, Mr. Ciamba was Ambassador to Turkey and the Permanent Representative of Romania to the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (2001 – 2003).
He holds a post-graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Bucharest and attended Stanford University’s Program on International Relations and Economics – the Hoover Institution (1992). He also participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program on Foreign Policy of the United States Information Agency. Mr. Ciamba has published articles in the field of international relations, with a particular focus on the Strategic Partnership between Romania and the US within the scope of Euro-Atlantic integration. He is fluent in English and French.
Kate Gilmore is UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. She brings to the position diverse and longstanding experience in strategic leadership and human rights advocacy with the UN, government and non-government organisations. Prior to joining OHCHR, she was Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Previously she was National Director of Amnesty International Australia and then Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. She started her career as a social worker and government policy officer in Australia. She helped establish Australia’s first Centre Against Sexual Assault at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital and her work over a number of years focused on the prevention of violence against women. In Australia, she was granted honorary appointments to provincial and national public policy and law reform processes, including membership of the country’s first National Committee on Violence Against Women.
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir (Iceland), became Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights on 19 July 2017. She has 35 years of leadership experience working on human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law at the international, national and local levels.
Before this, from 2014 she was Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at UN Women, and Country Representative to Turkey. From 2011 to 2014 she was Country Representative of UN Women to Afghanistan. From 2007 to 2009, she was Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. She was was also the mayor of Reykjavik (1994 – 2003). Throughout her career, she has been involved in policy and development work in conflict and non-conflict countries, aimed at strengthening democratic institutions and human rights. She was one of the founders of the Women’s Party, laying the ground for Iceland’s remarkable progress in gender equality.
António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, took office on 1st January 2017. Having witnessed the suffering of the most vulnerable people on earth, in refugee camps and in war zones, the Secretary-General is determined to make human dignity the core of his work, and to serve as a peace broker, a bridge-builder and a promoter of reform and innovation.
Věra Jourová is currently European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. In 2014, before coming to the European Commission, she was Minister for Regional Development in the Czech Republic. From 2006 to 2013, she worked in her own company as an international consultant on European Union funding, and also was involved in consultancy activities in the Western Balkans relating to EU Accession. In 2003, she was appointed Deputy Minister for Regional Development, a position which she held for three years. She has also worked as Head of the Department of Regional Development in the Vysočina Region, Secretary and Spokesperson of the Třebič Municipal Office.
Ivan Krastev is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Board of Trustees of The International Crisis Group and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. For 2018 to 2019, he has been appointed as the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress. His latest books in English are ‘After Europe’ (2017), ‘Democracy Disrupted. The Global Politics on Protest’ (2014), ‘In Mistrust We Trust: Can Democracy Survive When We Don't Trust Our Leaders?’ (2013). He is a co-author with Stephen Holmes of a forthcoming book ‘The Light that Failed’ on the perils of the politics of imitation. As a chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, he will give an inspiring Connect-Reflect-Act Talk.
Mairead McGuinness is First Vice-President of the European Parliament in charge of dialogue with religious and non-confessional organisations. She welcomes FRA’s efforts to create a space for dialogue on religion and human rights and is delighted to contribute to this dialogue during the Fundamental Rights Forum. She is also responsible for relations with national parliaments, and serves on the European Parliament’s Agriculture, Environment and Constitutional Affairs Committees. She previously worked as a journalist, broadcaster and commentator.
Dunja Mijatović was elected Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on 25 January 2018 by the Parliamentary Assembly and took up her position on 1 April 2018. She has been working to promote and protect human rights for the past two decades, acquiring extensive knowledge in the field of international monitoring, in particular as regards freedom of expression. Previously, she served as OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (2010-2017), Director of Broadcast of the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2010), Chair of the European Platform of Regulatory Agencies (2007–2010) and of the Council of Europe's Group of Specialists on Freedom of Expression and Information in Times of Crisis (2005-2007). She regularly lectures in national and international fora and has been awarded several human rights prizes. She has also being active in supporting NGO activities in the field of human rights education and asylum.
Aya is a Member of the UNHCR Global Youth Advisory Council. She also participated in the UNHCR-led Global Refugee Youth Consultation in Turkey and worked on peer-to-peer support projects with refugee youth in Gazientep, Hatay and Kilis. As a Connect-Reflect-Act speaker, she wants to inspire participants to incorporate the voices of refugees at every stage when building projects and programmes, as well as help realise the dreams and aspirations of refugee youth.
Claude Moraes is Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
Dr Josef Moser has been Austria’s Federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice since 8 January 2018. Prior to this he was became Austria’s Minister of Justice on 18 December 2017. A well-known expert on administrative law with a reputation for numerous reform proposals, he was president of the Austrian Court of Audit and Secretary General of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) from 2004 to 2016. He has held various positions within the public administration including management functions within Carinthia’s financial administration and the Austrian parliament.
Michael O’Flaherty is FRA’s current Director. Previously, he was Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has also been the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. In addition, he has held a number of senior UN posts in the field, supported UN headquarters in various human rights programmes, been a Vice-Chairperson of the UN Human Rights Committee and has sat on the advisory boards of numerous human rights groups and journals internationally. His recent publications include volumes on the law and practice of human rights field operations, the professionalization of human rights field work and human rights diplomacy.
Emily O’Reilly was first elected as the European Ombudsman in July 2013. Following the European Parliament elections, she was re-elected for a five year mandate in December 2014. As European Ombudsman she investigates maladministration in the institutions and bodies of the European Union. She was awarded the Schwarzkopf Europe Award in 2017 for her work.
Sirpa Rautio, Chair and Finnish member of the FRA Management Board, has over 25 years of experience in human rights (e.g. the World Bank Nordic Trust Fund, the Council of Europe, the OSCE/ODIHR, the UN and the EU). She has been the director of the Finnish Human Rights Centre since 2012. The Centre, together with the Finnish Parliamentary Ombudsman Office is Finland’s A-rated National Human Rights Institution. She has extensive experience working in post-conflict settings and countries in transition, including former Yugoslavia. She is a lawyer by profession.
Since 2015, Anna Rurka holds the position of elected President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University Paris Nanterre, Vice President of the European Committee for Home-based Priority Action for the Child and the Family (EUROCEF, INGO with participatory status with the Council of Europe). Her professional and social engagement activities focus on participation of vulnerable people, access to rights and services, as well as systemic and institutional analysis of the power relations in public policies.
Zara leads stakeholder engagement for ProjectScotland, a NGO supporting and promoting youth volunteering in Scotland. Previously she was Director of the European Network on Independent Living, where she co-founded their thriving youth network. Zara is a passionate advocate for equity, inclusion and human rights education and has worked locally, nationally and internationally to support people to engage with policy.
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. She is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has is a fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico.
Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read ‘Frankly Speaking’ commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. She also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.
Mario Oetheimer is a member of the Agency’s Opinions Committee and coordinates exchanges between the Agency and the Council of Europe.
His areas of expertise with respect to the FRA’s work include: data protection and freedom of expression; disability and human rights; the European Court of Human Rights. He previously worked for the Council of Europe for thirteen years – first with the Council of Europe media division and then with the European Court of Human Rights research division.
He studied law, and is the author of the book Harmonisation of Freedom of Expression in Europe (2001) in French. He has authored several articles on freedom of expression and the European Court of Human Rights.