Participants

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  • Andrej Plenković was sworn in as Prime Minister on 19 October 2016, thus becoming the 12th Head of Government since Croatia's independence. On 17 July 2016, he was elected President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a member of the European People's Party.

    Born in Zagreb on 8 April 1970, Andrej Plenković is married and has two children. He is fluent in
    English, French and Italian and conversant in German.

    Political Career

    • October 2016 Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia
    • September 2016 Won the general elections with a solid pro-European, reformist, centre-right and
    • Christian-democratic agenda
    • June 2016 President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
    • 2013-2016 Member of the European Parliament
    • 2011-2013 Member of the Croatian Parliament
    • 2010-2011 State Secretary - for EU Affairs
    • 2011-2012 Conducted a successful referendum campaign on EU membership

    Diplomatic Career

    • 2005-2010 Deputy Ambassador to France
    • 2002-2005 Deputy Head of Croatia's Mission to the EU
    • 2001-2002 Member of the Negotiating Team on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement
    • 1997-2001 Head of the Department for European Integration
    • 1996-1997 Department for Analysis
    • 1995-1995 Head of the Office of the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
    • 1994 Joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Education

    • 2002 Master of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
    • 2002 Bar Exam
    • 1997 State Exam
    • 1993 Bachelor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb

     
    Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations

  • On 11 November 2011, Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland.

    A passionate political voice, a poet and writer, academic and statesman, human rights advocate, promoter of inclusive citizenship and champion of creativity within Irish society, Michael D. Higgins has previously served at almost every level of public life in Ireland, including as Ireland’s first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

    Michael D. Higgins was born on 18 April 1941 in Limerick city and was raised in County Clare. He was a factory worker and a clerk before becoming the first in his family to access higher education. He studied at the University College Galway, the University of Manchester and Indiana University.

    Michael D. Higgins is married to Sabina Higgins, and they have four children. Sabina Higgins attended the Dublin Stanislavski Acting Studio and was a founding member of the Focus Theatre.

    As a lecturer in political science and sociology in National University of Ireland, Galway, and in the United States, Michael D. Higgins was a passionate proponent for the extension of access to third level education beyond the walls of established Universities. He was centrally involved in the development of extra-mural studies at National University of Ireland, Galway, and he travelled extensively across the West of Ireland to provide accessible evening classes for interested citizens.

    A desire to work more directly for equality and justice led Michael D. Higgins to enter public life and he went on to serve as a public representative at many levels from Councillor and Mayor to 9 years in the Seanad and 25 in Dáil Éireann.

    As Ireland’s first Minister for the Arts in 1993-97, Michael D. Higgins’ achievements included the reinvigoration of the Irish film industry, the establishment of Teilifís na Gaeilge, now TG4, and the repeal of censorship under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Acts. He also established a rich network of local arts and cultural venues which brought a crucial access to citizens across Ireland to these facilities. Moreover, he drove the revitalisation of Ireland’s canal network, resulting in over 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways, supporting thousands of jobs, and creating wealth in many rural and economically-deprived areas of the State.

    Michael D. Higgins has, like many in Ireland, seen generations of his family emigrate. He has a strong interest and solidarity with the Irish abroad and has been a regular visitor to Irish Centres in Britain.

    Throughout his life, Michael D. Higgins has campaigned for human rights and for the promotion of peace and democracy in Ireland and in many other parts of the world, from Nicaragua and Chile to Cambodia, Iraq and Somalia. In 1992, Michael D. Higgins was the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki, in recognition of his work for peace and justice in many parts of the world.

    Michael D. Higgins is also a writer and poet, contributing to many books covering diverse aspects of Irish politics, sociology, history and and culture. He has published two collections of essays — ‘Causes for Concern — Irish Politics, Culture and Society’ and ‘Renewing the Republic’. He has also published four collections of poetry — ’The Betrayal; The Season of Fire; An Arid Season’ and ‘New and Selected Poems’.

    Among the other appointments Michael D. Higgins has held are:

    • Member of Dáil Éireann for 25 years;
    • Member of Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) for 9 years;
    • Ireland’s first Cabinet Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht 1993-97;
    • As Minister, he had direct responsibility for the promotion of the Irish language and for the economic and social development of Irish-speaking areas in the State;
    • Labour Party Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in the Irish Parliament and founder member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs;
    • Lord Mayor of Galway on two occasions;
    • Honorary Adjunct Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway;
    • Regular columnist for the popular ‘Hot Press’ magazine over the period 1982—1992, during which he engaged a young audience in the social issues of the day.

     

    Source: President of Ireland website, April 2018

  • Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University's nineteenth president in 2002. Under his leadership, Columbia stands again at the very top rank of great research universities, distinguished by comprehensive academic excellence, historic institutional development, an innovative and sustainable approach to global engagement, and unprecedented levels of alumni involvement and financial stability.

    President Bollinger is Columbia's first Seth Low Professor of the University, a member of the Columbia Law School faculty, and one of the country's foremost First Amendment scholars. Each fall semester, he teaches "Freedom of Speech and Press" to Columbia undergraduate and graduate students. His most recent book, Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century, has placed Bollinger at the center of public discussion about the importance of global free speech to continued social progress.

    As president of the University of Michigan, Bollinger led the school's historic litigation in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, Supreme Court decisions that upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education. He speaks and writes frequently about the value of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity to American society through opinion columns, media interviews, and public appearances around the country. Columbia remains one of the most diverse universities among its peer institutions and has seen the number of applicants to Columbia College and the selectivity of admissions at the school reach record levels.

    As Columbia's president, Bollinger conceived and led the University's most ambitious expansion in over a century with the creation of the Manhattanville campus in West Harlem, the first campus plan in the nation to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's highest certification for sustainable development.  An historic community benefits agreement emerging from the city and state review process for the new campus provides Columbia's local neighborhoods with decades of investment in the community's health, education and economic growth.

    The first two buildings, the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the Lenfest Center for the Arts opened in the spring of 2017. The Jerome L. Greene Science Center is the headquarters of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, a cornerstone venture among Columbia's expanding interdisciplinary initiatives in neuroscience, nanotechnology and precision medicine. The home of state-of-the-art performance, screening, and presentation spaces, and a vibrant, publicly accessible venue for Columbia's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, the Lenfest Center allows Columbia University's School of the Arts to realize the creative vision of students and faculty, while becoming an active, engaged partner with the thriving cultural life of Upper Manhattan.

    Bollinger's commitment to excellence in architecture is evident across Columbia's campuses, from Renzo Piano's master plan for Manhattanville, to Rafael Moneo's design for the Northwest Corner Building on the historic Morningside campus, to the new Columbia Sports Center at Baker Field designed by Steven Holl.

    Among Bollinger's signal achievements at Columbia are the development of a network of eight Columbia Global Centers on four continents and the creation of new venues on the University's home campus supporting global conversations and scholarship, including the World Leaders Forum and the Committee on Global Thought

    From November 1996 to 2002, Bollinger was president of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he also served as a law professor and dean of the law school.

    He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is widely published on legal and constitutional issues involving free speech and press, and his books include: Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern EraImages of a Free PressThe Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America; and Contract Law in Modern Society: Cases and Materials.  In January 2010, Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide Open: A Press for a New Century was published by Oxford University Press.

    Bollinger has received the National Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund for his leadership on affirmative action. He also received the Clark Kerr Award, the highest award conferred by the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, for his service to higher education, especially on matters of freedom of speech and diversity. He is the recipient of 10 honorary degrees from universities in this country and abroad.

    Bollinger is a director of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company) and serves as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

    After graduating from the University of Oregon and Columbia Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of the Law Review, Bollinger served as law clerk for Judge Wilfred Feinberg on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Chief Justice Warren Burger on the United States Supreme Court. He joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty in 1973.

    Bollinger was born in Santa Rosa, California, and raised there and in Baker, Oregon. He is married to artist Jean Magnano Bollinger, and they have two children and five grandchildren.

  • Jim Yong Kim (@JimYongKim), M.D., Ph.D., is the 12th President of the World Bank Group. Soon after he assumed his position in July 2012, the organization established two goals to guide its work: to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity, focusing on the bottom 40% of the population in developing countries. In September 2016, the World Bank Group Board unanimously reappointed Kim to a second five-year term as President.

    During his first term, the World Bank Group supported the development priorities of countries at levels never seen outside a financial crisis and, with our partners, achieved two successive, record replenishments of the World Bank Group's fund for the poorest. The institution also launched several innovative financial instruments including facilities to address infrastructure needs, prevent pandemics, and help the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes by climate shocks, conflict, and violence.

    Kim's career has revolved around health, education, and improving the lives of the poor. Before joining the World Bank Group, Kim, a physician and anthropologist, served as the President of Dartmouth College and held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2003 to 2005, as director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS department, he led the "3 by 5" initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which greatly to expand access to antiretroviral medication in developing countries. In 1987, Kim co-founded Partners In Health, a non-profit medical organization that now works in poor communities on four continents.

    Kim has received a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, was recognized as one of America's "25 Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report, and was named one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World."

    Source: World Bank Group 

  • Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has been, prior to joining the State House, the Managing Director of the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation as well as Professor of Organic Chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius. Since 2001, she has served successively as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro Vice Chancellor (2004- 2010). She has also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research (1995-1997).

    Ms Gurib-Fakim earned a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Surrey (1983) and a PhD from the University of Exeter, UK (1987). During her academic journey, she has participated in several consultation meetings on environmental issues organized by international organizations. Between 2011-2013, she was elected and served as Chairperson of the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa, and served as an Independent Director on the Board of Barclays Bank of Mauritius Ltd between (2012-2015).

    As a Founding Member of the Pan African Association of African Medicinal Plants, she co-authored the first ever African Herbal Pharmacopoeia. She has authored and co-edited 28 books, several book chapters and scientific articles in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She has lectured extensively across the world; is a Member of the Editorial Boards of major journals, has served on Technical and national committees in various capacities. Elevated to the Order of the Commander of the Star and Key by the Government of Mauritius in 2008, she has been admitted to the Order of the Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the Government of France in 2010 and is the recipient of 4 DSc (s).

    Elected Fellow of several academies and societies, Ms Gurib-Fakim received several international prizes including the 2007 l’Oreal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, the African Union Commission Award for Women in Science, 2009.

    On 05 June 2015, she was sworn in as the 6th President and the First Female President of the Republic of Mauritius. She was elevated to the Order of GCSK by the Government of Mauritius, admitted to the Order of Francois 1er des Deux Siciles by Prince Charles of Bourbon and received the ​Legion d’Honneur from the Government of France in 2016. In 2017, she received both the lifelong achievement award of the United States Pharmacopoeia-CePat Award and the American Botanical Council Norman Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award. In 2018, she received the Order of St George at the Semperopernball, Dresden, Germany and the Global Energy Parliament Award, State of Kerala, India.

    In June 2016, she was in the Forbes List for the 100 ‘Most Powerful women in the world’ and 1st among the Top 100 Women in Africa Forbes List 2017. She is honoured as one of Foreign Policy’s 2015 Global Thinkers.​

    Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Mauritius

  • Dr. Alassane Outtara was elected as the 5th President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire for the first time in 2010. An economist by training, President Ouattara holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration from Drexel Institute of Technology, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

    In 1968, he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he held positions of increasing responsibilities, and later joined the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where, at the Age of 40, he became Deputy Governor and later Governor of the Bank. 

    In April 1990, while Côte d'Ivoire was hit by an unprecedented crisis, Dr. Alassane Ouattara was appointed by late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny as Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Coordination of the Stabilization Program and Economic recovery. A few months later, he was appointed as Côte d'Ivoire's first Prime Minister and Head of Government, until December 1993. He then returned to the IMF where he served as Deputy Managing Director; the highest position held by an African in this institution, to date. 

    After his rich international career, Dr. Ouattara decided to return to his home country in 1999, where he took the presidency of the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR) - one of Côte d'Ivoire's major political parties. In 2010, Dr. Ouattara won the presidential election with 54.10% of votes. 

    President Ouattara is considered as the father of the new emerging Côte d'Ivoire. He introduced many economic reforms that have transformed Côte d'Ivoire and improved the livelihood of millions of Ivorians.

    Under President Ouattara's leadership, Côte d'Ivoire became the 3rd fastest growing economy in Africa. Based on the tremendous economic growth and social progress experienced during his first presidential term, President Ouattara was brilliantly reelected for a second term in October 2015, on the first round of elections, with 83.66% of votes.

    Source: Office of the President of Côte d'Ivoire

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