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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 35 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 and held various positions, including in the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, as Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and as Head of Cabinet of the 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, fluent in Greek, French, English.

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Michaela Šojdrová

Member of the European Parliament
European Parliament
Michaela Šojdrová
  • Michaela Šojdrová

    Michaela Šojdrová has been a Member of the European Parliament (EPP Group, CZ - KDU-ČSL) since 2014, and is currently serving in the Committee on Culture and Education and in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. During 2010-2014 Ms Šojdrová worked as Director of Department of External Relations at the Czech School Inspectorate and as Representative of the Ministry for Education, Youth and Sports to the OECD. Between 1996-2010 Michaela Šojdrová served as Member of Parliament of the Czech Republic representing Christian democrats (KDU-ČSL), holding the position of Vice-Chair of the Committee for Science, Education, Culture, Youth and Sports. Michaela Šojdrová has been awarded French “Order of Merit” for significant contribution to the Czech-French relations. Her life-long activities include various youth programmes such as scouting, volunteering, education and protection of children rights.

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Grażyna Żebrowska

Director General
Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA)
Grażyna Żebrowska
  • Grażyna Żebrowska
    Dr. Grażyna Żebrowska has been Director General of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) since May 8, 2020. In the years 2019 and 2020 she was working as Director of the International Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Prior to that, from 2003 to 2019, Dr. Żebrowska was the Senior Advisor for science, technology, and higher education at the Embassy of Poland in Washington DC. She was responsible for initiating and facilitating cooperation between Polish and US researchers and academic institutions. Additionally, she was engaged in promoting Polish higher education institutions and research bodies in the United States Dr. Żebrowska is a physicist by profession. She obtained a PhD with scientific applications of physical sciences in the field of medicine at University of Rennes 1 in France and the University of Gdańsk.
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Dana Petrova

Director; Vice-President
Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS); ACA
Dana Petrova
  • Dana Petrova
    Dana Petrova is the Director of the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research (DZS) and the Vice-President of ACA. She has many years of experience in various positions in the field of international education. From 2000 to 2011 she was Head of the Erasmus Unit at the National Agency for EU programmes in Prague, responsible for the overall implementation of the Erasmus programme in the Czech Republic. Later she worked as Director of the Office for International Cooperation at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic (2011-2013) and Senior Project Manager at CHE Consult GmbH, a Berlin based consulting company in the field of higher education (2013-2016). Dana has extensive experience with coordination of EU programmes at national and institutional level, international strategy development and implementation, impact assessment and strategic leadership in international education. She holds an MSc degree in International Politics and Diplomacy (University of Economics and Business, Prague) and currently pursues an MBA degree.
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Ulrich Grothus

President
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
Ulrich Grothus
  • Ulrich Grothus
    Ulrich Grothus is the 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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Vanessa Debiais-Sainton

Head of Unit for Higher Education in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Vanessa Debiais-Sainton
  • Vanessa Debiais-Sainton
    Vanessa Debiais-Sainton is Head of the Unit in charge of Higher Education policies and programme at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. The unit is the lead service for European policies on reform and transformation of higher education, the new European Universities initiative, automatic mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, the creation of the EU student card, and the higher education strand of Erasmus+. In previous posts in the European Commission, Vanessa has worked in DG Research and Innovation. Before moving to the European Commission in 2006, Vanessa spent eight years working for several petroleum and chemical companies.
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Filip van Depoele

Head of Unit, International Cooperation in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Filip van Depoele
  • Filip van Depoele
    Filip van Depoele is an economist by training (University of Leuven, Belgium) and subsequently studied European Economic Integration (College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium) and International Relations (Johns Hopkins University, Bologna, Italy). He worked for a number of years in the private sector (banking) before joining the European Commission in 1997. Filip held several positions in the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs and the Directorate General for Competition before moving to the Directorate General in charge of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. After having managed the Policy Coordination unit for 5 years, he is currently heading the International Cooperation unit.
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​Irina Ferencz

Director
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
  • www.aca-secretariat.be
  • ​Irina Ferencz
    Irina Ferencz is the Director of ACA and works in international higher education since 2008. Irina has a specific expertise in the area of international student and staff mobility in the European context (data collections, trends, policies), as well as in planning, monitoring and assessing internationalisation activities at institutional and national level. She also has a growing interest in widening inclusion in internationalisation activities. Currently, she is also a PhD candidate at Ghent University, CHEGG, and an occasional reviewer for two higher education journals. She has authored and co-authored multiple publications in the field. Irina holds an MSc degree in European Politics and Policies (KULeuven, Belgium) and a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and European Studies (Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Romania). She is a Romanian national, speaks several languages including 'Larish' (a language of the under-two-year-olds), and calls Belgium 'home'.
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Stephan Geifes

Director of the Erasmus+ National Agency Higher Education
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Stephan Geifes
  • Stephan Geifes
    Stephan Geifes is the Director of the Erasmus+ National Agency Higher Education within the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) since Feb 1, 2020. Geifes has been working for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) since 1999. Before his current position he was Head of Division Transnational Education and Cooperation Programmes at the DAAD in Bonn since 2013. Prior to this position he was Director of the DAAD Paris Office from 2001 to 2005, Secretary General of the Franco-German University (FGU) from 2005 to 2008, and Scientific Coordinator at the German Historical Institute of Paris from 2008 to 2012. Geifes has studied History, Sociology, Roman Languages and Political Sciences at the University of Bielefeld, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (EHESS) and at the Institute d’Études politques (IEP) in Paris. After earning a Master’s degree in History from the University of Bielefeld he continued his studies at the École nationale d’administration (ENA) in Paris. He has a PhD in History from the University of Bochum and has published on international higher education exchange.
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Katarzyna Aleksy

Director of Department - Programmes for Institutions
Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA)
Katarzyna Aleksy
  • Katarzyna Aleksy
    Katarzyna Aleksy is the Director of Department - Programmes for Institutions at NAWA Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange.  In 2017 she worked on the concept of the creation and operation of NAWA at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Prior to her leadership at NAWA she worked at the National Agency for Erasmus, and in 2012 she became the Director of the Scholarship Programmes within the EEA and Norway Grants, as well as Swiss-Polish Cooperation Programme. In 2020 she received the award of IROs Forum - a network of the international offices of leading Polish state universities. In the last three years she has presented and been a speaker in sessions organized during APAIE, NAFSA and EAIE conferences, as well as in many national events.
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Vidar Pedersen

European Programmes Director
Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku)
Vidar Pedersen
  • Vidar Pedersen
    Vidar Pedersen is European Programmes Director in the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku). He also the National Agency Director for Norway for the Erasmus+ programme in education and training. Pedersen has held various management positions in Diku and its predecessors since 2004. Previously, he worked for the University of Bergen and the University of Agder. Pedersen studied English, German and Scandinavian languages and holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bergen. He has also studied in the U.S., where he was a Fulbright grantee.
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Christina Bohle

Head of the European Office and Erasmus+ Institutional Coordinator
Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
Christina Bohle
  • Christina Bohle
    Christina Bohle is Head of the European Office and an Erasmus+ Institutional Coordinator at Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany. Christina obtained a master's degree in Cultural Anthropology at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in 2002. After several years of working in the private sector, she joined the International Office in Heidelberg in 2008. In 2012, Christina took the position as Head of the European Office at Philipps-Universität Marburg. She is responsible for Erasmus+ KA1 mobility projects (KA103 & KA107), and is a project coordinator for several Erasmus+ KA2 projects, focusing on structural aspects of quality student mobility and on staff competences in international programs. Since 2017, she is an Erasmus+ expert with the German NA DAAD, specializing on International Credit Mobility, Inclusion and Digitalization in Erasmus+.
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Johannes Gehringer

Policy Officer - Higher Education Unit in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Johannes Gehringer
  • Johannes Gehringer
    Johannes Gehringer is a Policy Officer in the Higher Education Unit of the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, in the European Commission. Johannes is mainly dealing with the design and management of Erasmus+ higher education student and staff mobility actions (KA131, KA103), higher education cooperation projects (cooperation partnerships KA220-HED, strategic partnerships KA203) and European University alliances. He has been working with the European Commission since 1996 and has held various positions within the EC. Since 2007, Johannes has been working on education policies and higher education programmes. During this period, he was also seconded to the EU Council Presidencies of Cyprus and Greece. His academic background includes three master's degrees and ranges from computer science, languages, international politics to business administration. He studied in Vienna, Paris, Zaragoza, Chicago and Brussels.
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Veronika Kupriyanova

Senior Policy Coordinator
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
Veronika Kupriyanova
  • Veronika Kupriyanova
    Veronika Kupriyanova is Senior Policy Coordinator at ACA. Before re-joining ACA in November 2020, Veronika worked for the European University Association (EUA) and several consulting companies specialising in higher education and research. Veronika spent two years in Berlin hosted by the Humboldt University of Berlin with the fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung and later worked as a researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She is experienced in a wide range of higher education and research topics and has a keen interest in policies and programmes supporting internationalisation at the institutional, national and European level. Veronika holds a joint Master’s degree in World Politics from the Moscow State Institute in International Relations (MGIMO) and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). She speaks three official languages of Belgium in addition to her mother tongue (Russian).
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Rossella Cravetto

Policy Officer
European Commission
Rossella Cravetto
  • Rossella Cravetto
    Rossella Cravetto is a policy officer at the European Commission. She has a master's degree in International Relations and Diplomatic Affairs from the University of Turin. She also spent one year at Sciences Po in Lille thanks to the Erasmus programme. After 8 years in DG Research and Innovation, she has moved to DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, where she promotes investment in education and training. She is currently involved in the preparation of the InvestEU programme, where she helps to define new financial instruments in support of education and training. She is also in charge of establishing an expert group on quality investment in education, and she follows closely the European Semester process and the Recovery and Resilience Facility. She was part of the team that drafted the Communication on achieving a European Education Area by 2025.
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Wendy Sonneveld

Senior Policy Advisor, European Affairs
Ghent University
Wendy Sonneveld
  • Wendy Sonneveld
    Wendy Sonneveld is a Senior Policy Advisor European Affairs at Ghent University. In this role, she is responsible for EU policy and Public Affairs activities of the Research Department, in close collaboration with the Education Department. She provides intelligence on policy developments of the European Research Area, Vision 2030, Horizon Europe, synergies, etc. She is chair of the CESAER Taskforce Competitive Funding, the joint EU Research working group of both Belgian Rectors Conferences and Member of the Research Council of the Artevelde University of Applied Sciences. Until 2012, she worked for the Netherlands applied scientific research organisation TNO where she had the daily management of the Brussels Office. She obtained two Masters Degrees in French linguistics and literature and European Studies at the University of Amsterdam, including an Erasmus exchange at Science Po Grenoble, and a Master in Advanced Sciences in European Politics at the University of Geneva.
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Giovanna Filippini

Director, International Relations Division
University of Bologna
Giovanna Filippini
  • Giovanna Filippini
    Giovanna Filippini is the Director of International Relations Division at the University of Bologna since 1999. Graduate in Business Administration, she has been working for the University of Bologna with administrative responsibilities since 1993. Her main expertise is the management of international relations, focusing on student mobility, joint degree programmes, student services and the ECTS system. She is involved in several European projects focused on university administration, management of joint programs and quality in mobility programs. From 2009 to 2013 she chaired the Education, Training and Mobility task force of the Coimbra Group and in 2010/11 was a delegate appointed by the Italian Minister of Education in the WG “Mobility” of the BFUG. She coordinated the technical Secretary of the Italian network of Universities in the Brazilian program “Science without Borders.” She takes part in the coordinating group on emergencies of the University of Bologna and coordinates the WP mobility in Una Europa alliance
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Nadia Manzoni

Policy Officer - Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Nadia Manzoni
  • Nadia Manzoni
    Nadia Manzoni has been working for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture since 2013. Currently she is coordinating a team responsible for translating European higher education policies into the Erasmus+ programme. Previously she worked as a policy officer overseeing files which foster employability of higher education graduates and financing of higher education systems as well as an education policy analyst in the European semester process, having studied education studies at the University of Cambridge and European studies at the University of Vienna.

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John Delap

Senior Policy and Project Officer
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
John Delap
  • John Delap
    John Delap serves as Senior Policy and Project Officer on the ACA secretariat team where he is focused on inclusion in international higher education.  He completed a master’s degree in International Peace Studies at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland in 2007.  He worked as a Project Officer with the Access & Civic Engagement Office of Technological University, Dublin from 2007 – 2017 leading the foundation of a mentoring programme for socio-economically disadvantaged students. John delivered trainings for European youth networks on a range of issues, including human rights, migration, LGBTQIA+ justice and youth participation in democracy.  John also worked in Brussels as a Project Manager with the European Students’ Union and in the USA as an Analyst in the Office of the Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity at Princeton University.  John speaks English and French and is learning Italian.
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Stijn Delaure

Policy Officer, Academic R&I and Research Organisations in the Directorate General for Research and Innovation
European Commission
Stijn Delaure
  • Stijn Delaure
    Stijn Delaure is a Policy Officer in the ‘Academic R&I and research organisations’ unit of the European Commission's Directorate General for Research and Innovation, in particular dealing with policy developments for higher education sector and research careers, in the context of the new European Research Area (ERA). Stijn obtained a PhD in biotechnology in 2003 and was researcher in academia and business, research and policy adviser at KU Leuven, active in LERU and other university umbrella organisations, before he joined the European Commission in 2017 as policy officer and sherpa for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.
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Kostis Giannidis

President
Erasmus Student Network
Kostis Giannidis
  • Kostis Giannidis
    Kostis Giannidis is the President of the Erasmus Student Network, the leading organisation in the field of student mobility, representing more than 350.000 international students annually. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece with a bachelor degree in Theology and he is an Erasmus+ alumnus. Kostis is a passionate advocate of the Erasmus generation. He believes that learning mobility is the driving force for the creation of a better world, enriched with empowered young people. He strives to ensure that international students receive quality education abroad and are equipped with the necessary skills to become active citizens
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Albina Szeles

Interim Co-director
Centre for Global Engagement, Coventry University
Albina Szeles
  • Albina Szeles
    Albina Szeles is an Interim Co-director at the Centre for Global Engagement, Coventry University where she leads a broad range of internationalisation activities. Her work includes international student and staff mobility projects, internationalisation of the curriculum and creation of academic programmes, Collaborative Online International Learning and partnership development. She previously held management and academic positions in the Faculty of Business, Environment and Society. Albina has over ten years' experience in internationalisation of higher education and is an international management graduate from several universities in France, Italy, the UK and Russia. Her research interests are in mobility, digital learning and transnational education (TNE).
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Deirdre Lennan

International Cooperation Officer in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Deirdre Lennan
  • Deirdre Lennan
    Deirdre Lennan has been working for international cooperation in higher education since 1992. She worked for the EU's Tempus programme with a specific focus first on cooperation with Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, the Russian Federation and then the Mashrek region (Egypt, Lebanon and Syria in particular). Since 2009 she follows policy issues with Africa at the European Commission's Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, is in charge of the higher education initiatives in the framework of the Africa-EU Partnership and oversees all Erasmus+ activities with Africa. She is also involved in the international dimension of Erasmus+, in particular for capacity building in higher education, and covers all development related issues for the DG.
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Anni Kallio

Programme Manager
Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI)
Anni Kallio
  • Anni Kallio
    Anni Kallio works as a Programme Manager at the Finnish National Agency for Education EDUFI (also an Erasmus+ National Agency) in Finland. She has been employed by EDUFI (formerly Centre for International Mobility CIMO) since 2007 and is currently in charge of Erasmus+ actions for higher education. Before joining the national agency, Anni Kallio worked as an International Relations Coordinator at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. She has over 20 years of experience from internationalization of higher education at both practical and policy level.
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Maria Kelo

Director
European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)
Maria Kelo
  • Maria Kelo
    Maria Kelo is the Director of ENQA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (since 2011). Her tasks within ENQA include managing the work of the ENQA Secretariat, supporting and coordinating ENQA member agencies, managing projects, and representing the association and its members in policy making processes. Maria has expertise in both policy and practice of quality assurance, and speaks regularly at international events on related issues. Prior to joining ENQA in 2011, Maria worked for nine years in the field of international higher education. During these years Maria carried out a number of project and studies on international higher education, in particular in the fields of transnational education, student mobility, student services, promotion of European higher education, and human resource management in higher education. Maria is a graduate of University College London (1996-2000) and London School of Economics (2001-2002).
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Martin Bogdan

Project Officer
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
Martin Bogdan
  • Martin Bogdan
    Martin Bogdan is a project officer at ACA where he first started as a trainee in 2019. In ACA he mostly worked on the CARe project, which deals with labour integration of refugee researchers in Europe. Before joining ACA, he did a Blue Book Traineeship in the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission in the unit working on Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees. In his pre-Brussels life, Martin worked for a number of NGOs and media in different capacities and briefly taught social sciences and history in an international school. He has a joint MA in European studies from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and Jagiellonian University Krakow, MA in cultural anthropology and museum studies from University of Zagreb and BA in anthropology and information science also from the University of Zagreb.
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Nicolai Netz

Senior Researcher
German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW)
Nicolai Netz
  • Nicolai Netz
    Nicolai Netz studied modern languages, cultural science, political science, and economics at the Universities of Bonn, Florence, and Maastricht. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Hanover. In 2008, he joined the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW). In his work, he examines the educational and professional careers of students and graduates. His current research focuses on the determinants and effects of high-skilled mobility. In the past, he has extensively published research on the access to and outcomes of international student mobility.
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Dorota Maciejowska

Chair, Academic Exchange and Mobility Working Group
Coimbra Group
Dorota Maciejowska
  • Dorota Maciejowska
    Dorota Maciejowska is the Chair of the Academic Exchange and Mobility Working Group of the Coimbra Group network. From 2015 to 2020 she was the head of the Jagiellonian University International Relations Office. Currently she is responsible for the European Universities initiative, Una Europa, at Jagiellonian University as well as several other university networks, including: the Coimbra Group, The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, and the SYLFF Network and IROs Forum as Network President (2019-2020). In 2019, she was awarded the Internationalization Star national prize in the Management Star category. In 2016, she was awarded a scholarship of the US Department of State as part of the EducationUSA Leadership Institute. She speaks three foreign languages. She is the author of a number of publications and presents frequently at conferences and seminars in the field of internationalization of higher education and management of students and staff mobility.
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Božidar Grigić

Head of Higher Education Unit
Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (CMEPIUS)
Božidar Grigić
  • Božidar Grigić

    Božidar Grigić has been working in Higher Education field since 2011, firstly on institutional level as a researcher at University and since 2014 as coordinator of different international financial mechanisms on national level at CMEPIUS, Slovenian Erasmus+ national agency. In the last two years he has strategically lead and coordinated all activities in area of higher education as head of the unit. He is also active member of international Erasmus+ working group working closely with European Commission and other national agencies. Through those years he has moderated numerous workshops and monthly delivered presentations on different topics in HE area at national and international events.

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