The Speakers.

Watch out for our speaker releases in January!

Atifete Jahjaga

President of the Republic of Kosovo (2011 - 2016)

  • Atifete Jahjaga served as the fourth, and the first woman President of the Republic of Kosovo.

  • Jahjaga is Kosovo’s first non-partisan candidate, the first female head of state in the modern Balkans, and the youngest female world leader to be elected to the highest office.

  • Jahjaga constantly participates in national and international conferences and initiatives aimed at empowering women and supporting the survivors of sexual violence during the war.

  • In 2012 she hosted the International Women's Summit "Partnerships for Change - Empowering Women", providing a venue for women across the Balkans to cross ethnic barriers  and come together to launch a platform for empowerment.

  • In March 2018, President Jahjaga established the Jahjaga Foundation - an initiative that focuses on youth and women empowerment towards achieving social changes Kosovo.

  • She continues to be resolute in her fight against violent extremism and radicalization and a staunch promoter of peace and stability for the Balkans and beyond.

 Zanny Minton Beddoes

Editor in Chief of The Economist

  • Ms. Minton Beddoes is the Editor in Chief of The Economist and has been in this position since February 2015.

  • She is considered to be one of the most influential people in financial journalism, as Editor in Chief of a newspaper that reaches approximately 1.5 million readers.  

  • Prior to this, her roles within the newspaper have been business affairs editor, economics editor and emerging markets correspondent, which was her position within The Economist when she joined the newspaper in 1994.

  • Before her time at The Economist, Ms. Minton Beddoes spent two years at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where her work focused on the transition governments of Eastern Europe and macroeconomic adjustment programmes in Africa. Before this she was part of a small team of advisors to the Finance Minister of Poland.

  • Alongside her esteemed career, Ms. Minton Beddoes has published in Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, edited “Emerging Asia” and has testified before Congress on the introduction of the Euro.

  • Additionally, she has been awarded the Loeb Award in both the “Breaking News” and “Economic Journalism” categories.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Former Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary of the UK and Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee

  • Sir Malcolm has served as minister for 18 years, throughout the entirety of both Margaret Thatcher’s and John Major’s terms. This represented the longest, uninterrupted, ministerial service in the United Kingdom since Lord Palmerston in the early 19th century.

  • During this time he was appointed to the roles of Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary and established himself as an important and respected voice on Western foreign affairs. His many achievements include facilitating the warming of relations with the Soviet Union, pushing for dialogue within the Middle East and negotiating with China over the historic transfer of Hong Kong. In 1997 he was offered a peerage, which he declined, and was knighted in recognition of his public service

  • Rifkind was first elected to Parliament in 1974, where he represented Edinburgh Pentlands till 1997. He was re-elected to the House of Commons in 2005, where he served as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which provides oversight of the UK’s intelligence agencies, from 2010 to 2015.

  • Today, he is a member of the OSCE’s Eminent Persons Group, which has reported on relations between Russia and the West, serves on the Board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington DC and has been appointed a Visiting Professor at King’s College in their Department of War Studies.

Shirin Ebadi

Political Activist and Lawyer

Founder of the Defenders of Humans Center and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

  • Shirin Ebadi is an exceptional role model for every woman and human rights activist internationally. Her continued efforts in championing democracy and human rights in Iran earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. She was the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to be awarded the honour.

  • After obtaining a Law Degree at the University of Tehran, Shirin Ebadi served as the President of Bench 24 of the Tehran City Court in 1975. She became the first woman in the history of Iranian Justice to serve as a judge.

  • Following the Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, she was dismissed, as the belief held by Iranian clerics was that Islam forbids women to serve as judges. Disenfranchised by the Iranian Justice Department’s actions towards her and her fellow female judges, Ms. Ebadi went into early retirement from where she continued to write books and articles. These works focused on fundamental human rights, especially on the rights of women and children.

  • After succeeding in obtaining her lawyer’s licence in 1993, Ms. Ebadi set up a private legal practice. In this capacity, she became known for taking up pro bono cases of dissident figures mistreated by the judiciary. In the year 2000, she was even imprisoned for a short period for criticizing her country’s hierocracy.

  • Today, following the Iranian government’s crack-down on her activism in 2009, Ms. Ebadi lives in exile. She nevertheless continues her work, educating on and advocating for human rights and democracy

Sharon Donnery

Deputy Governor of the Irish Central Bank

  • Sharon Donnery has accumulated vast experience in central banking on both the national and international stage. In over 20 years working in the Irish Central Bank (ICB), she has progressed from an Economist in the Monetary Policy Division to occupy a number of prestigious positions including becoming the head of her division, the Director of Credit Institutions, and Deputy Governor and Acting Governor of the ICB. Through these varied roles, she has gained an exhaustive knowledge of the ICB and Central Banking.

  • Ms. Donnery has overseen many surprising and complex developments with the organization, from Irish Central Bank assuming the responsibilities of the Irish Financial Services Regulator in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to assisting in managing the Bank’s response to Brexit.

  • On the European stage, she has been involved with many ECB committees, including chairing the High-Level Working Group on Non-Performing Loans which aims to replicate the success of the ICB to reduce the amount of defaulted loans and has been Vice-Chair of the European Banking Authority's Standing Committee on Consumer Protection and Financial Innovation.

Yves Daccord

Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross

  • Yves Daccord is Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva, a post he has held since 2010. Since its inception, the ICRC has won three Nobel Peace Prizes for its role in protecting victims of international and internal armed conflicts.

  • A former journalist, TV producer, and international relations expert, his ICRC career has spanned more than two decades in a variety of posts and challenging contexts – including Israel and the Occupied Territories, Sudan, Yemen, Chechnya, and Georgia. 

  • Prior to his appointment as director-general, he held the posts of head of communication division and director of communications. He has been the Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) since January 2015 and he is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). 

  • He holds a degree in political science and an honorary doctorate in social sciences from the University of St Gallen, awarded in 2017.

Gina Miller

Founding Partner of SCM Direct

  • Gina Miller is one of the most successful and high-profile businesswomen in the UK, with an active voice in ensuring that both politics and the financial system are egalitarian. As such she was named the UK’s most influential person of African or African-Caribbean heritage by Powerlist in 2017 and is a Global Ambassador for Peace in the Tutu Foundation.

  • Miller has seen unprecedented success in the financial sphere as a unique advocate for ethical capitalism. She established SCM Direct in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to be the antithesis to all other established wealth management companies, providing its investors full openness and accountability.

  • Going even further to ensure a marketplace that fully informed and protected its consumers, Miller founded the True and Fair Campaign in 2012, to push UK regulators to ensure that companies presented their fees upfront in an easily readable manner, and for a legally enforceable code of ethics to be put in place for the investment industry. This ceaseless integrity earned her the nickname of “black widow spider” in the city of London.

  • Ms. Miller has also been a key figure in the Brexit saga, and has brought legal action against the government twice in recent years; first ensuring that MPs could vote on the triggering of Article 50 which would begin the process of exiting the European Union, and again last year in forcing the courts to rule that Boris Johnston’s prorogation of Parliament was illegal.

  • These remarkable victories have ensured that the parliamentary and legal framework around Brexit is fully aligned with Britain’s constitution and demonstrate Miller’s commitment to transparency.

Gina Miller

Founding Partner of SCM Direct

  • Gina Miller is one of the most successful and high-profile businesswomen in the UK, with an active voice in ensuring that both politics and the financial system are egalitarian. As such she was named the UK’s most influential person of African or African-Caribbean heritage by Powerlist in 2017 and is a Global Ambassador for Peace in the Tutu Foundation.

  • Miller has seen unprecedented success in the financial sphere as a unique advocate for ethical capitalism. She established SCM Direct in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis to be the antithesis to all other established wealth management companies, providing its investors full openness and accountability.

  • Going even further to ensure a marketplace that fully informed and protected its consumers, Miller founded the True and Fair Campaign in 2012, to push UK regulators to ensure that companies presented their fees upfront in an easily readable manner, and for a legally enforceable code of ethics to be put in place for the investment industry. This ceaseless integrity earned her the nickname of “black widow spider” in the city of London.

  • Ms. Miller has also been a key figure in the Brexit saga, and has brought legal action against the government twice in recent years; first ensuring that MPs could vote on the triggering of Article 50 which would begin the process of exiting the European Union, and again last year in forcing the courts to rule that Boris Johnston’s prorogation of Parliament was illegal.

  • These remarkable victories have ensured that the parliamentary and legal framework around Brexit is fully aligned with Britain’s constitution and demonstrate Miller’s commitment to transparency.

Carlo Cottarelli

Director of the Observatory on the Italian Public Accounts and Former Executive Director of the IMF

  • Mr. Carlo Cottarelli is an Italian economist and author, admired for his esteemed career and influential works. As Director of the Observatory on the Italian Public Accounts at the Catholic University of Milan, he is considered to be one of the most prominent academics in fiscal affairs and macroeconomic policy.

  • Mr. Carlo Cottarelli’s reputation draws upon a long career at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), where he first joined the European Department, to then proceed as a member of the Monetary and Capital Markets Department as well as of the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department. His extremely valuable work within these departments allowed him to climb the career ladder at the IMF, becoming Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department in 2008.

  • Having held this position for five years, Mr. Carlo Cottarelli returned to Italy to serve as the Extraordinary Commissioner for the Spending Review under Prime Minister Letta. He held this role until 30 October 2014, when he was appointed Executive Director of the IMF until October 2017.

  • More recently, on 28 May 2018, Mr. Carlo Cottarelli was designated interim Prime Minister of Italy by President Sergio Mattarella, yet soon backed down in light of the agreement between the Five Star Movement and the League.

Professor Avinash Dixit

John J. F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton University

  • Professor Avinash Dixit is considered to be one of the most significant economists of his generation.

  • Holding the position of John J. F. Sherrerd ’52 University Professor of Economics at Princeton, he has retired from teaching but has left a longstanding legacy within economic literature and continues contributing with his research to this today. ​Most undergraduate economics students may be familiar with his book "Thinking Strategically", as it is widely used as an introductory game theory text. ​However, his contributions don't end or start there.

  • Having completed his undergraduate studies, he pursued his Ph.D. at MIT, supervised by Nobel-laureate Robert Solow. One of his largest contributions to economic literature is his 1977 paper with Joseph Stiglitz which provided a foundational model of monopolistic competition.

  • Another is his collaboration with ​Robert Pindyck, "Investment Under Uncertainty" which is essential reading for economics and business graduate students. For a decade he was a joint appointee at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, training a string of future policy-makers on economic development, international trade, and strategic interactions.

  • One could argue that he is a true academic and scholar in every sense of the words.

Giampaolo Di Paola

Former Defence Minister of Italy and the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

  • Giampaolo Di Paola has spent his career continuously serving in many high-level positions in national and international security and has gained a unique insight into international negotiation, security, and defense.

  • Di Paola entered the Italian Navy in 1963 and has continued to serve in the Italian military for 50 years. As the Chief of the Cabinet Office of the Italian Ministry of Defence, he was responsible for Italy’s response to NATO expanding for the first time in 17 years to include the several Eastern European nations and NATO’s establishment of the Kosovo Peace Force. 

  • In 2001 he was appointed to the position of Secretary-General of Defence and was made chief of defense in 2004, where he supervised the strategic planning of the Italian armed forces’ participation in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans as a part of NATO and an EU coalition.

  • In 2008 Di Paola was named as the chairman of the NATO Military Committee, which advises NATO on strategy and defense, including nuclear planning. Soon after, Prime Minister Monti appointed him to his cabinet as Minister of Defence.

Marta Santamaria

Assistant Professor of Economics at Warwick University

  • Professor Santamaria is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Warwick University. Her diverse and innovative research greatly contributes to the understanding of issues concerning the macroeconomics of development.

  • Before joining Warwick, Professor Santamaria received her Ph.D. in Economics from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and went on to serve as an advisor to Master’s thesis students at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

  • She has been recognized for her research multiple times receiving the Young Economist Award from the European Economic Association in 2019, alongside awards for the best student paper at the 9th European meeting, Urban Economics Association and the best graduate paper at the Sardinia Empirical Trade Conference, FREIT.

  • Her study on the gains of reshaping infrastructure with evidence from the division of Germany provides important insight into the impact government spending could have on improving income when channeled into the right avenues.

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