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Speaker Biographies

Full speaker biographies will appear here shortly, please check back regularly for updates.


Paul Adamson

Paul Adamson

Chairman, Forum Europe


Paul Adamson is chairman of Forum Europe and founder and editor of E!Sharp, an online magazine dedicated to covering the European Union and Europe's place in the world.

He is a member of the Centre for European Reform’s advisory board, Rand Europe's Council of Advisors and the external advisory board of YouGov-Cambridge, a polling think-tank. He is a member of the board of advisors of the European Institute in Washington DC, the advisory board of the Washington European Society and the advisory committee of the EU chapter of Women in International Security (WiiS).

Paul is a Visiting Professor at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, a patron of the University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES) and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences.

He founded the consulting firm Adamson Associates, which was sold to Weber Shandwick and The Centre, which was later sold to Edelman.

In 2012, Paul was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to promoting understanding of the European Union”, a part of the Queen's 2012 New Year Honours Diplomatic Service and Overseas List. In 2016 he was made a Chevalier in the Ordre national du Mérite by the French government.

Alex Barker

Alex Barker

Brussels Bureau Chief, Financial Times


Alex Barker is the FT's Brussels Bureau Chief, covering foreign policy, some of the migration crisis and all things Brexit. He started in Brussels on the single market, financial regulation and competition beat. He was formerly a political correspondent in Westminster and joined the FT in 2005.

Alex Barker has spent the last six years in Brussels working as the FT’s European diplomatic editor and EU correspondent.

Barker started his career in current affairs television. After taking a Masters degree at Columbia University, he joined the FT as a graduate trainee in 2005. His reporting stints have included covering a US presidential campaign and a constitutional crisis in Ankara.

Karl Brauner

Karl Brauner

Deputy Director General, WTO


Karl Brauner has been Deputy Director-General of the WTO since 2013. Prior to that, he held the position of Director General for external economic policy in the German Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin. During that time, he was Germany’s member in the European Union’s Trade Policy Committee taking part in all WTO ministerial conferences since the launch of the Doha Development Agenda.

He is a lawyer by profession, with degrees from Germany and the United Kingdom (Cambridge). After working as Assistant Professor at the University of Bielefeld and practising law, he started his career in the legal department of the Federal Ministry of Economics in Bonn in 1983. In 1986-87, he worked at the German Mission to the United Nations in New York. Further postings abroad were in Athens and Sydney.

At the Ministry of Economics in Berlin, his responsibilities covered a range of issues, such as budget, human resources and general administration. He was in charge of cabinet and parliamentary matters and was also involved in the move of the Government from Bonn to Berlin.

As Director General he administered for 12 years all the instruments of export promotion and was also in charge of export controls. His portfolio also comprised all bilateral economic relations outside the EU.

Marco Cilento

Marco Cilento

Senior Advisor, European Trade Union Confederation


Marco Cilento is an adviser at the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). After obtaining a PhD in Labour Law from the University of Pavia, he has been involved in the trade union movement as an expert on European labour law for the Italian Confederation CISL. From 2001 to 2006, he was the EWC’s coordinator for the European Federation of Agriculture, Food Industry and Tourism sectors (EFFAT). Since 2006 he has been an adviser at the ETUC on migration policies and the coordination of collective bargaining. His research activities in the field of social Europe were developed during his time as Scientific Director of the Italian Research Institute Sindnova, a post he held until 2010 ,and he is still active within the research networks in the field of industrial relations in Europe.

Carl  Dolan

Carl Dolan

Director, Transparency International EU


Carl has worked at Transparency International EU since 2011 and became its director in 2013. He has previously worked in UK Research Councils, the European Commission and the European Foundation Centre. He holds degrees in economics and philosophy from University College Dublin (1991-97) and studied and taught political philosophy at the University of Bristol (1999-2002).

Petros Fassoulas

Petros Fassoulas

Secretary General, European Movement International


Petros has been the Secretary General of the European Movement International since July 2015.

Previously Petros worked as ACCA’s Head of Public Affairs Europe. He was also EU Affairs Adviser at the UK’s Financial Services Authority and before that he was EU Affairs Adviser at the UK Parliament.

Petros also spent 5 years in Brussels, working for the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions as well as in advocacy and lobbying.

Petros comments frequently on EU issues and has featured on BBC News, CNN, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera as well as the Guardian, Le Soir, El Pais, Ta Nea, Der Spiegel, Euractiv, Politico Europe among others.

He holds a degree from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a Masters from the London School of Economics. Petros speaks Greek, English and French.

Maria Heider

Maria Heider

Director EU Affairs, METRO AG


Maria Heider has been Director -EU Affairs at the Metro AG in Düsseldorf since May 2015.
She is responsible to contribute METRO’s expertise as important global and European trading company to the progress of European integration as well as the Single Market by closely aligning with the European institutions and stakeholders in the European Society.
Maria Heider has worked in politics for many years – most of her time in the German Federal Parliament, the European Commission and the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Corinna Horst

Corinna Horst

Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, The German Marshall Fund of the United States


Corinna Hörst is senior fellow and deputy director of GMF’s Brussels office. She supports the executive director in all aspects of strategic planning, operations, personnel, management, and communication. In this capacity, she plays a central role in program planning, networking, and relationship building with the EU institutions, NATO and stakeholders from governments, media, business, as well as nongovernmental and think tank communities. She monitors and frequently comments on transatlantic relations and European affairs and is engaged in various women leadership development and diversity activities.

She is also president of the Brussels chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS) and co-founder of The Brussels Binder, an online database of female policy experts. Her recent book “Women Leading The Way in Brussels,” co-authored with Claudia de Castro Caldeirinha (John Harper Publishing, 2017) looks at women leadership in Europe and Brussels, including vignettes of women who exercise leadership across different sectors in Brussels.

Before coming to GMF in 1999, she was a teaching associate at Miami University, teaching American and world history and worked as assistant project manager at a publishing company in Germany. Hörst has a PhD and master’s degree in history and studied at Miami University in Ohio, United States, the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Cora Jungbluth

Cora Jungbluth

Senior Expert International Trade and Investment, Bertelsmann Foundation


Dr Cora Jungbluth is an economic expert in the program Mega Trends at the German Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh. Her research focus is on foreign direct investment and international trade (especially the role of emerging economies). Her studies and reports have been referenced in national and international media, such as the Economist, NPR, Xinhua News, El Pais, or CGTN. Cora also is a frequent speaker on various issues related to her research, such as investment from emerging economies or investment screening mechanisms. She has, for example, presented her research at several policy institutions of EU member states and at the European Parliament. Before joining Bertelsmann Stiftung, Cora was assistant professor at the Institute of Chinese Studies of the University of Freiburg. As a freelancing consultant, she has worked on Asia-related projects with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), among others. Cora studied Chinese Studies and Economics at Heidelberg University, Shanghai International Studies University and Tsinghua University, Beijing. She holds a PhD degree in Chinese Studies from Heidelberg University.

Olaf Koch

Olaf Koch



Olaf Koch has been with METRO AG since 2009 when he was appointed a member of the Management Board serving as Chief Financial Officer until December 2011. As of January 2012, Olaf Koch was appointed Chairman of the Management Board.
Prior to joining METRO, Olaf was Managing Director Operations at the Private Equity company Permira Beteiligungsberatung GmbH which he joined after a tenure at Daimler Chrysler AG, having occupied a number of managerial positions: from 2002 to 2007 he was Member of the Management Board of the Mercedes Car Group, responsible for Finance, Controlling and Strategy. Prior positions at Daimler Chrysler AG included an appointment as Vice President for Corporate e-Business, and Director of Corporate e-Business Strategy and Corporate War Room.

Katrina Sichel

Katrina Sichel

Communications Specialist,


Following a BA Honours Degree in Modern Languages at Oxford University, Katrina undertook intensive training in directing and presenting for television and radio. Her subsequent jobs ranged from developing pilots for a leading UK production company and delivering media training to multinationals to heading up sales and marketing in the post-Soviet states for the world’s largest language learning company. As Director of a TV PR agency specialising in achieving broadcast coverage for major private and public sector clients, Katrina produced packages for the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky. Since moving to Brussels in 2007, she has worked extensively in communication for the European Institutions, as Campaign Manager/Consultant on multimedia campaigns across the EU-27 and as a Presenter/Moderator for live events and debates including, in 2011, European Mobility Week, EU Sustainable Energy Week and the Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize.

Christian Verschueren

Christian Verschueren

Director General, EuroCommerce


Dr. Verschueren has been Director-General of EuroCommerce since July 2011. In this function, he is the chief spokesperson for the retail and wholesale sector. As head of a team of 20 professionals making up the EuroCommerce secretariat, he leads and coordinates major advocacy and communication activities at the EU level.

Before joining EuroCommerce, Christian Verschueren led ACE, the alliance for the beverage carton industry. Between 2000 and 2007, he was Director-General of CropLife International, the global federation of the plant science industry. Prior to that, he occupied various management and leadership positions in FEDESA and COMISA (now IFAH-Europe and IFAH), the European and global associations for the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Verschueren graduated as doctor of veterinary medicine at the University of Liège, Belgium. He also qualified as veterinarian-specialist in internal medicine and for companion animals. He holds a PhD from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Dr. Verschueren is a guest lecturer at HEC Paris. He is also an ambassador of WWF Belgium, a Board member at Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (Veterinarians without Borders), a development NGO and at Natagora, a nature conservancy organisation.

Jeremy Wates

Jeremy Wates

Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau


Jeremy Wates has served as Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Europe's largest network of environmental citizens' organisations, since May 2011. In a career that has included grassroots activism, freelance consultancy, working as an international civil servant and organic farming, respect for the environment has always been a central preoccupation.

Prior to joining the EEB, Jeremy served for more than a decade as Secretary to the Aarhus Convention with the Geneva-based United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The Aarhus Convention is the world’s most far-reaching international treaty on access to information, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters.

During the 1990s, Jeremy led the campaign by the European ECO Forum, an NGO coalition, to persuade governments to start work on a treaty on environmental democracy and then coordinated the input from civil society organizations into the official negotiations over the text of what was to become the Aarhus Convention.

In the 1980s, Jeremy founded the Irish environmental organization Earthwatch, the Irish member of Friends of the Earth International, and led the organization for more than a decade. From 1991 to 1993, he represented the Irish EEB members on the EEB Board.

Jeremy holds an MA Honours Degree in Philosophy and Social & Political Sciences from Cambridge University, UK. His permanent home is in West Cork in the south-west of Ireland where in the ‘80s and ‘90s he combined his environmental activism with small-scale organic farming and where he and his wife brought up their four children in their early years. Hobbies include playing the mandolin (Irish traditional) and piano (mainly classical), singing in a choir, hiking, skiing and yoga.

In 2011, Jeremy was awarded the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award.



Wednesday 21 November, 2018
16.00 to 23.30




Concert Noble

Rue d’Arlon
84 Aarlenstraat
1040 Brussels

Tel: +32 2 738 75 96

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