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Mikel Irujo Amezaga

Delegate of the Government of Navarre in Brussels
Committee of the Regions
Mikel Irujo Amezaga
  • Mikel Irujo Amezaga

    Mikel Irujo Amezaga, PhD in European Law, worked in Thomson Reuters, the world's leading source of legal intelligent information, from 1996 to 2015. After two periods of leave when he worked at the European Parliament (in 1999-2002 as assistant and in 2007-2009 as member of the European Parliament, MEP), he went back to the company in 2009, being responsible of the EU Procurement and Programmers Unit. In September 2015, he is appointed as Head of the Navarra Delegation in Brussels and Member of the Committee of the Regions. He has been the rapporteur on two Committee of the Regions opinions on Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3) and inter-regional cooperation and, secondly, Strengthening Innovation in Europe's Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth. Involved in several networks, he was chairing the Vanguard Initiative Network last year, and he is currently the coordinator of the thematic platform partnership on social economy (link).

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Ulrich Grothus

ACA President
Academic Cooperation Association
Ulrich Grothus
  • Ulrich Grothus

    Ulrich Grothus is president of ACA. Before his retirement in July 2018, he was Deputy Secretary-General and head of the Berlin office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He obtained a master’s degree in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1976. He then worked as a journalist before joining the International Division of the former West German Rectors Conference in 1982. He worked for DAAD from 1988 through 2018, first as spokesman and head of the president’s office. From 1991, he was consecutively director of all three DAAD program directorates, for the Southern and Northern hemisphere and for supra regional internationalization programs. In between, he served as director of the Paris office from 1998 to 2000 and of the New York office from 2004 to 2008. Grothus speaks five foreign languages and has given three others a try.

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Marit Egner

Senior Adviser - Department of Research Administration
University of Oslo
Marit Egner
  • Marit Egner

    Marit Egner is Senior Adviser in the Department of Research Administration at the University of Oslo (UiO) in Norway. She is the Project Coordinator of the Academic Refuge project, an Erasmus+ strategic partnership focusing on academic values and welcoming at-risk scholars and refugees to campus. Her responsibilities at UiO are within international research cooperation outside Europe, and she is the institutional contact person for North–South Cooperation and for Scholars at Risk. She is also part of the team organising the UiO Research Leadership Programme. Before joining the University of Oslo in 2007, she worked for nine years at the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) as a credential evaluator, including on the recognition of refugee qualifications. Marit holds a Master’s degree in Human Geography from UiO. She was Chair of the EAIE Expert Community Cooperation for Development (2010–2014) a member of the EAIE Board (2014–2016).

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​Wajid Khan

MEP
European Parliament
​Wajid Khan
  • ​Wajid Khan

    Member of the European Parliament (MEP)

    Foreign Affairs Committee

    Human Rights Subcommittee

    Wajid Khan is a Labour MEP for the North West of England, working on foreign affairs, human rights and a number of issues across his constituency. Prior to this Wajid was a community leader, academic and a taxi driver.

    In the European Parliament, he was an author of the report on the defence of academic freedom in the EU's external action. He also led on numerous other initiatives and events expressing concern over attacks on higher education around the world, underscoring the importance of academic freedom and institutional autonomy to democratic society, and calling for EU-funded action to ensure the protection of at-risk students and scholars.

    Previously, Wajid was a senior lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire for 12 years, and a course leader in community leadership for 11 years. Prior to this, Wajid worked in the voluntary sector with young offenders, as well as teaching education programmes for homeless young people. The Burnley race riots in 2001 inspired Wajid to develop a number of community cohesion projects, which gained him the Higher Education Active Community Fund (HEACF) Volunteering Award for social and community cohesion in 2004.

    Wajid’s work in community development has seen him address the Civil G8 on inclusive education in Moscow, and contributed to European-wide ‘Volunteurope’ conferences in Germany, France, Poland, Bosnia and Italy.

    Within the UK, Wajid has developed higher education programmes to increase academic participation amongst women in the south Asian community. Wajid has directed international leadership conferences in Oman, Turkey, Pakistan and the USA and has represented the University of Central Lancashire in collaborative projects with Russian NGOs.

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Markus Laitinen

Senior adviser
University of Helsinki
Markus Laitinen
  • Markus Laitinen

    Markus Laitinen is an established international higher education professional. He is based at the University of Helsinki, Finland, where his career extends over 25 years. He is currently the senior adviser to the University’s leadership in internationalisation, with responsibilities in strategic management and policy development. In 2014 he was elected to a leadership position at the European Association for International Education (EAIE), and he served as the Association’s President in 2016-2018. During this period, he chaired the Association’s Board, and led its strategic development. As Immediate Past President, he currently sits in the EAIE’s General Council. Markus Laitinen is an active speaker and author in university internationalisation, and he holds a Master’s in Social Sciences (international politics) from the University of Helsinki. He gets his most creative ideas running long-distance.

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Monika Steinel

Senior Policy Analyst
European University Association
Monika Steinel
  • Monika Steinel

    Monika has been with EUA since June 2010. In her position as Senior Policy Analyst she supports the Secretary General in overall policy development and association management, and focuses on the essential values that underpin the work of universities in Europe and elsewhere.

    Until August 2012 she worked as Project Officer in EUA’s Governance, Autonomy and Funding unit, where she coordinated the Autonomy Scorecard project, which maps and compares university autonomy in Europe’s higher education systems.

    Monika’s academic background is in archaeology and history. She holds a PhD from University College London, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of York.

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Kati Verstrepen

Chairwoman
Liga voor Mensenrechten (League of Human Rights)
Kati Verstrepen
  • Kati Verstrepen

    Kati Verstrepen was elected Chairwoman of the Liga voor Mensenrechten in 2017. Since 1988, she has been a member of the Antwerp bar, during which time she also founded her own lawyer’s practice. Over the course of the years, she assumed different position at the bar and specialized in migration law. For the past 15 years, Kati was a member of the board of directors of the Orde van Vlaamse Balies and dean of the Bar of Antwerp. She has been teaching migration law to legal trainees at the Antwerp bar since 1998.

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Sjur Bergan

Head of Education Department
Council of Europe
Sjur Bergan
  • Sjur Bergan

    Sjur Bergan is Head of the Education Department of the Council of Europe and leads the current Council of Europe projects on Competences for Democratic Culture and the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees. He has represented the Council of Europe in the Bologna Follow Up Group and Board since 2000 and chaired three successive working groups on structural reforms 2007 - 15. Sjur was a member of the editorial group for the Council’s White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue and a main author of the Lisbon Recognition Convention as well as of recommendations on the public responsibility for higher education; academic freedom and institutional autonomy; and ensuring quality education. Sjur Bergan is series editor of the Council of Europe Higher Education Series and the author of Qualifications: Introduction to a Concept and Not by Bread Alone as well as of numerous book chapters and articles on education and higher education policy. Sjur was also one of the editors of the Raabe Handbook on Leadership and Governance in Higher Education (2009 – 15).

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Olga S. Hünler

Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellow
Institut für Ethnologie und Kulturwissenschaft in Universität Bremen, Germany
Olga S. Hünler
  • Olga S. Hünler

    Dr. Olga S. Hünler is a Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellow hosted at Institut für Ethnologie und Kulturwissenschaft in Universität Bremen, Germany.

    She graduated from the Psychology Department of the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. She completed her graduate studies in the clinical psychology program at the same university. During her Ph.D., she was a visiting researcher at European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations for a year. After completing her Ph.D. Thesis (in December 2007) on the psychological integration of newcomer Turkish immigrants in the Netherlands, she started to work as an Assistant Professor at a private university in Turkey. Between 2012 and 2016, Olga S. Hünler was the vice president of the Turkish Psychological Association. She has teaching experience in several universities, including, J. W. Goethe-Universität, Universität Bremen, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Erasmus Exchange), Izmir University of Economics, Middle East Technical University, and Ege University.

    She is one of the lead educator of Massive Open Online Course titled Dangerous Questions: Why Academic Freedom Matters?

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Stefaan Smis

Professor of international and human rights law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Stefaan Smis
  • Stefaan Smis

    Stefaan Smis is professor of international and human rights law at the Faculty of Law and Criminology of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). His research focuses on international law, international protection of human rights, states in transition, the prosecution of grave violations of human rights, and regional integration in Africa. At the University of Westminster (UK – London) he has a part-time position as a reader in international law.

    Stefaan Smis is editor-in-chief of the international peer reviewed journal Human Rights & International Legal Discourse and member of the editorial board of the Revue de droit africain. He is a former member of the ILA Committee on Indigenous Peoples, corresponding editor for Belgium of the International Legal Materials and member of the Law&Dev (law and development) inter-university network.

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James R. King

Director
Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF)
James R. King
  • James R. King

    James R. King is Director of the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF), the only global program that arranges and funds fellowships for threatened and displaced scholars at partnering higher education institutions worldwide. A former Fulbright Fellow in Jordan, King holds a Master’s degree in Islamic Studies from Columbia University. He has published extensively on Yemen, including original research on the country’s Zaydi community through a grant with the American Institute for Yemeni Studies. Previously, King worked on a state stabilization initiative in Yemen and on a project to measure the quality of governance within contemporary Muslim-majority states.

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​Marita Häkkinen

Coordinator at Student and Academic Services
University of Jyväskylä
​Marita Häkkinen
  • ​Marita Häkkinen

    Marita Häkkinen is a coordinator at University of Jyväskylä’s Student and Academic Services. Since early 2016, she has been working in SIMHE (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland) study counselling services for migrant and refugee prospective students, tasks including also integration training at academia and variety of functions to support migrants’ study and career paths in Finland.

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​David Crosier

Higher education system and policy analyst
Eurydice
​David Crosier
  • ​David Crosier

    David Crosier joined Eurydice, the EU's education information network in 2008. He is involved in all the network's studies on higher education issues in Europe. He coordinated the recent report, Integrating Asylum Seekers and Refugees into Higher Education in Europe, , published in January 2019, which provides an overview of national policies and measures in this area. He is currently working on the next edition of the Bologna Process Implementation Report that will be produced for the Bologna Ministerial Conference in June 2020.

    Before joining Eurydice, David worked for the European University Association on policies and projects related to the development of the European Higher Education Area.

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Marija Mitic

Policy Officer
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
  • www.aca-secretariat.be
  • Marija Mitic

    Marija Mitic is Policy Officer at ACA, where she has worked since 2014. Marija’s responsibilities at ACA include a wide variety of tasks – from membership services, project and event management, policy analysis to representation of ACA in Brussels and globally. Marija’s interest and expertise lie in intercultural learning and diversity studies, EU lifelong learning policies and international cooperation in higher education. Marija is a big fan of Brussels, where she initially came for music, but stayed for many additional reasons, including its international setting.

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Mathieu Schneider

Associate Professor in history of music and Vice-President of the University of Strasbourg
University of Strasbourg
Mathieu Schneider
  • Mathieu Schneider

    Dr. Mathieu Schneider is Associate Professor in history of music and, since 2014, vice-president of the University of Strasbourg. Taught in France and Germany, he is an acknowledged expert for culture and arts in France and is member of various committees for funding arts, evaluating curricula in arts and culture. He has been curating two exhibitions and is frequently invited in concert halls and opera houses to give speeches and conferences. He has also participated and organized several conferences on Science and society, especially on the interactions between universities and the territories they belong to and on the scientific and on social commitment of the universities. In 2017, he launched a worldwide network of over 100 academic and non academic institutions on the “3rd mission” of the universities and coordinates their work in order to produce a white paper on the subject by 2025.

    Since 2015, he has been involved in welcome programs for refugee students and researchers and their integration into higher education and society. He is now coordinating the network of French universities committed to refugees (réseau MEnS) and invited in several universities or institutions on that topic.

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​Christian Gerhus

Coordinator study-start for new immigrants
University of Siegen, Germany
​Christian Gerhus
  • ​Christian Gerhus

    Christian Gerhus started studying German linguistics and literature after a professional training and working experience as programmer. While studying he started teaching German as foreign language for international students at University Siegen. Furthermore he mentored Asian students and supported their integration. In 2015 he voluntarily taught German in a refugee camp on universities campuses. Together with Majdi Bido he established the project "Refugees helping refugees” and started working as coordinator for immigrant´s issues. Currently Mr. Gerhus is responsible for prospective international students inside and outside of Germany.

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Majdi Bido

Assistant preliminary studies for new immigrants
University of Siegen, Germany
Majdi Bido
  • Majdi Bido

    Majdi Bido is 33 years old. He is a Syrian-Kurd. In Syria, he was working for UNHCR at ICT and Safety departments. He fled from Syria at the end of 2014 to Germany due to security reasons. Early 2015 he started to learn German at the University Siegen for a year. Since April 2016 he is studying for a Master Degree in Business IT.

    During learning the language in 2015 he worked voluntarily at a Refugee Camp which was settled at University campus. A the end 2015 he established together with Mr.Christian Gerhus the project “Refugees helping refugees”. He is working as a project assistent and also as councelor for new immigrants.

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Adinda van Gaalen

Senior Policy Officer
Nuffic
Adinda van Gaalen
  • Adinda van Gaalen

    Adinda van Gaalen works as a senior policy officer at Nuffic in the Netherlands and is a part time PhD candidate at Ghent University in Belgium. Adinda is both an advisor to the board of Nuffic and an advisor to HE institutions in developing internationalisation strategies. In addition she works as trainer and auditor. Working with both institutional and national level decision makers as well as practitioners she has developed ample expertise on challenges related to internationalisation. Her research activities allow her to bring relevant data to discussions on a range of internationalization-related topics. Her fields of interest include internationalisation strategies and policies, ethical issues and sustainable internationalisation. Adinda has (co) authored a number of publications and she was an elected member of the EAIE General Council from 2014-2016. Adinda previously worked as a policy adviser, head of the international office and lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

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Themis Christophidou

Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Themis Christophidou
  • Themis Christophidou

    Themis Christophidou is the Director-General for education, youth, sport and culture of the European Commission, since March 2018.

    She is a civil engineer with 33 years of experience in private and public sector management. After having worked in the private sector for 15 years, she joined the European Commission in 2001. Having held various positions in the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban policy, she worked as Deputy Head of Cabinet of Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism, youth and sport in 2010-11. From 2011 to 2014, Themis Christophidou was the Head of Cabinet of Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, and from 2014 to 2018, she was the Head of Cabinet of Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management.

    Themis Christophidou is an alumna of the civil engineering faculty of the Metsovio Polytechnic University of Athens, specialised in transport infrastructure and urban transport. Born in Famagusta, Cyprus, she is trilingual Greek, French, English.

    Twitter : https://twitter.com/ChristophidouEU

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Lauren Crain

Director of Research and Learning
Scholars at Risk
Lauren Crain
  • Lauren Crain

    Lauren Crain is the Director of Research and Learning at Scholars at Risk, where she develops and manages workshops, publications and other educational resources to promote academic freedom and other core higher education values. She also leads planning for the biannual SAR Global Congress. Prior to joining SAR, she was the Program Coordinator for the Aspen Institute’s Justice and Society Program, and a Consultant for the National Council for Research on Women (now the International Center for Research on Women), where she also served as Co-Chair of their Emerging Leaders Network, a skills-building and networking group for entry and mid-level nonprofit professionals. She holds an MA in Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and a BA in Politics from New York University.

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Nassim Obeid

Researcher - Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
University of Oslo
Nassim Obeid
  • Nassim Obeid

    Dr Nassim Obeid from Syria. PhD in Linguistics from Mysore University, India, he was a senior lecturer in 2011 at Damascus University. Head of the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at Damascus University at Swaida city Syria 2015-2017. Due to the war in Syria, he was forced to resign from his permanent position, and he moved to Norway by the help of the Scholars at Risk in 2017. He is currently a researcher based at the Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian studies, University of Oslo, in a temporary position.

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Sinead O’Gorman

Director
Scholars at Risk Europe
Sinead O’Gorman
  • Sinead O’Gorman

    Sinead O’Gorman directs Scholars at Risk Europe, the European office of the Scholars at Risk network, based at Maynooth University, Ireland. SAR Europe engages with European partners and SAR national sections to promote academic freedom and advance opportunities for at-risk scholars. Ms. O’Gorman joined SAR’s New York office in 2007 as the organization’s Deputy Director. Ms. O’Gorman previously held program and research positions at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York, the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA) in London and at the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) in Dublin. She holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, an MA in French from the Université de Montréal, a BA in English and French from Trinity College Dublin, and was a pensionnaire étranger at the Ecole normale supérieure (rue d'Ulm). Ms. O’Gorman also holds a Diploma in Translation (DipTrans) from the Chartered Institute of Linguists.

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Julia Kracht Araújo

Senior Desk Officer in the section Higher Education Programmes for Refugees
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Julia Kracht Araújo
  • Julia Kracht Araújo

    Since 2016 Julia Kracht Araújo has been senior desk officer in the section Higher Education Programmes for Refugees of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Bonn. The section administrates the programmes “Welcome – Students helping refugees” and “Integra – Integrating refugees into higher education”.

    Julia is responsible for the organisation of events for universities and stakeholders related to the topic, for the marketing and the monitoring of the programmes.

    Before, she worked for various sections of DAAD, such as the Latin America and the China section. She has master degree in German and American Literature from Bonn University and spend some time studying abroad at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

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​Sini Piippo

Senior Programme Manager and International Contact Point for Finland in the Erasmus+ programme
Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI
  • www.cimo.fi
  • ​Sini Piippo

    Sini Piippo is a Senior Programme Manager and International Contact Point for Finland in the Erasmus+ programme at the Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI where her work focuses on internationalization of higher education. Her work includes different initiatives linked to higher education in emergencies: supporting at-risk scholars in Finland, building the capacity of the higher education in crisis areas as well as supporting integration of refugees and migrants. She has also worked in Eritrea in the framework of managing a bilateral capacity building programme.

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​Kaisu Piiroinen

Senior ministerial adviser
Ministry of Education and Culture, Department for Higher Education and Science Policy in Finland
​Kaisu Piiroinen
  • ​Kaisu Piiroinen

    Kaisu Piiroinen works as senior ministerial adviser in Ministry of Education and Culture, Department for Higher Education and Science Policy in Finland. Her main tasks there are related to immigrant and international students, steering HEI´s, indicators and Erasmus- programme. She leads the steering group of SIMHE- action (Supporting Immigrants in Higher Education in Finland). The aim of SIMHE-project is to enhance the identification and recognition of prior learning of highly educated immigrants of different statuses and make it easier to direct immigrants to higher education on a national and regional level.

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