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Key speakers

In order of appearance

Laura Boldrini
Laura Boldrini was elected President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in March 2013, after being elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in February 2013. In 1989 she began her career in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and has also worked for the World Food Programme and as spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. She obtained a degree in law at La Sapienza University in Rome. Laura Boldrini has received numerous awards and honours, including the official medal of the National Commission on Equal Opportunities and the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Morten Kjaerum
Morten Kjaerum has served as Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights since June 2008. Before joining FRA, Mr Kjaerum was the founding Director of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. With over 17 years in top executive roles, Mr Kjaerum built the Institute, Denmark’s national human rights institution, into an internationally-recognised body. An expert in human rights implementation, Mr Kjaerum has been a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the President of the International Coordination Committee for National Human Rights Institutions. Mr Kaerum has written extensively on issues relating to human rights, in particular on refugee law, the prohibition of racial discrimination, and the role of national human rights institutions.
Benedetto della Vedova

Benedetto della Vedova is Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies from 2006 until 2013, and has been a member of the Italian Senate since 2013. Mr. della Vedova was a Member of European Parliament from 1999 until 2004.  He started his career as a researcher at IEFE Bocconi and IRER from 1987 until 1996, and was then assistant professor for Economics and Agricultural Policies at the Università Cattolica between the years 1990 and 1995.

Dimitris Avramopoulos

Dimitris Avramopoulos is the new EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. He was previously the Greek Minister of National Defence. He was also the Mayor of Athens for eight years, and has served in a number of cabinet posts, including Minister for Foreign Affairs. He has also been the Official Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consul General of Greece to Geneva and the Director of the Greek Prime Minister’s Diplomatic Office.

Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein
Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein became the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2014. Previously, he was Jordan's Permanent Representative to the UN, a post he held from 2010 until 2014 and from 2000 to 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States of America. His professional experience includes international criminal justice, international law, UN peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building, international development, and counter-nuclear terrorism in addition to his other diplomatic assignments.  
Nils Muižnieks
Nils Muižnieks has been the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights since April 2012. He has worked in the field of human rights for the past two decades, including as Director of the Advanced Social and Political Research Institute at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Latvia, Chairman of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Latvian minister responsible for social integration, anti-discrimination, minority rights, and civil society development, and Director of the Latvian Centre for Human Rights and Ethnic Studies. He has published extensively on racism, discrimination and minority rights.
Aydan Özoğuz
Aydan Özoğuz has been the German Minister of State and the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration since December 2013. Ms Özoğuz has served as the Deputy Chair of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 2011. She was first elected as a member of the German Bundestag in 2009, having become a member of the SPD in 2004. From 2001 to 2008, she was a member of the Hamburg state parliament. She received a Magistra Atrium for her studies in Spanish language and literature, English studies, and human resources management.
Ardalan Shekarabi
Ardalan Shekarabi is the Swedish Minister for Public Administration. Prior to being appointed Minister in the Swedish government Mr Shekarabi represented the Social Democratic Party in the Swedish Parliament. He holds an LL.M. degree from the University of Uppsala, where he also performed Research Studies in the field of Public Law. He was born in Manchester in 1978 and he is married with two children.
Rainer Münz
Rainer Münz is Head of Research & Knowledge Center at Erste Group Non-resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, Washington DC, and Senior Fellow at the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI). He has worked as consultant for the European Commission, the OECD and the World Bank. He served as an advisor to the Greek, Dutch and Slovenian presidencies of the Council of the EU. In 2000-01 he was member of the German commission on immigration reform. Rainer Münz is member of several boards and advisory boards, including the Brussels Institute for European and Global Economic Affairs (Bruegel, Brussels), Center for Migration, Integration and Citizenship at Oxford University (COMPAS, Oxford, UK), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM, Geneva)
Iliana Iotova
Iliana Iotova has been a Member of the European Parliament since June 2007, after being elected at the first European elections in Bulgaria after its accession to the EU. For the last seven years she has been a substitute member in the committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, where she has now become Vice-Chair. She has also served on the Employment and Social Affairs, Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committees and she has been Vice-Chair in the special committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering. In recent years, Iliana Iotova has worked actively in the field of asylum, migration and fundamental rights.
Nicola Annecchino

Nicola Annecchino, is Legal Adviser to the Director-General of DG HOME at the European Commission. From 2010 to 2012, he was Head of the Coordination and Planning, Interinstitutional relations, Communication Unit in DG HOME. From 2005 to 2010, he headed a Strategic Policy, Evaluation and Interinstitutional Relations Unit and before that an Immigration and Asylum Unit from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that he worked in the office of the Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1989 to 1992. Before joining the European Commission, Mr Annecchino lectured in International and Community Law at the Faculty of Law from 1985 to 1986. He holds a master’s degree in law (cum laude) from the University of Naples.

Luigi Manconi
Luigi Manconi is a Member of the Italian Senate, where he chairs the Commission for the Protection of Human Rights. He was a Member of the National Parliament from 1994 to 2001 and Under-Secretary of State for Justice from 2006 to 2008. He performed the role of Guarantor for the protection of rights of people deprived of liberty at the Municipality of Rome from 2003 to 2006. Among his recent publications are ‘Let’s welcome them all’. ‘A reasonable proposal to save Italy, Italians and immigrants’ (with Valentina Brinis) and ‘When they opened the cell’ (with Valentina Calderone), both published by ‘Il Saggiatore’. Luigi Manconi teaches Sociology of Political Phenomena at the IULM University in Milan.
Giuseppe Iuliano
Giuseppe Iuliano is Vice President of the External Relations Section of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). He has been the Italian member of the EESC since 2006. He is a Member of the EESC Integration Forum and General Rapporteur on European Migration policies. He graduated in International Law and Journalism. He is responsible for the area of international politics at the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions (CISL).
Raphaël Sodini

Raphaël Sodini, has been Councillor for immigration and asylum in the Cabinet of the French Ministers of the Interior since 2012. He has served as Head of Department for family benefits and housing assistance in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and as councillor of the Administrative Court of Paris from 2010 to 2012. In 2005, Mr Sodini became inspector in charge of the emergency homeless housing facility and asylum seekers Directorate of the ‘Hauts-de-Seine’ area of France, where he was also in charge of inspecting governmental initiatives for foreigners, youth, children and family from 2002 to 2006. Since2010, he is lecturer in public law at the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) and the Institute of Public Management and Economic Development. He is the author of the book ‘The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’. 

Mario Morcone
Mario Morcone is the Head of the Civil Liberties and Immigration Department at the Italian Ministry of the Interior, a post he also held from 2006 to 2010. In 1999, he was Deputy for Civil Administration in Kosovo and UN administrator in the Region and City of Mitrovica. He was also General Director of the Civil Administration at the Ministry of Interior, Head of the Department of Fire Fighters, Public Rescue and Civil Defence, Special Commissioner for the temporary management of the Municipality of Rome, as well as Director of the National Agency for the administration and destination of goods seized and confiscated from organised crime. From 2012 to 2013, he was Head of Cabinet of the Ministry of the International Cooperation and Integration.
William Lacy Swing
William Lacy Swing is on his second five-year term as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), after being re-elected in June 2013 by IOM’s governing body. From 2003 till 2008, as UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ambassador Swing led all facets of the largest UN peacekeeping operation in history. Prior to his work in the DRC, Ambassador Swing served from 2001 to 2003 as the Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Western Sahara and Chief of Mission for the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). During his diplomatic career at the US Department of State, Mr  Swing was ambassador six times. Through his diplomatic assignments, he has acquired a deep understanding of the multiple factors affecting international migration.
Eva Åkerman Börje
Eva Åkerman Börje is an Ambassador at the Secretariat for the Swedish Chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. She has been Director of the Migration and Asylum Policy Department at Sweden’s Justice Ministry, working on migration and development, global cooperation on migration issues and the external dimension of the EU’s migration policy. She has also worked at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and the EFTA Secretariat.
Nicolas Beger

Nicolas Beger is the director of the Amnesty International European Institutions Office, which specialises in EU human rights policy inside the EU and globally, the Council of Europe, regional campaigning, research and media as well as organisational development. He was previously director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO), working in the area of EU conflict prevention and peacebuilding policies. Nicolas has a background in anti-discrimination policy, conflict prevention, and gender policy, as well as professional training and mediation qualifications. He is a long-standing LGBT activist with a specialisation in transgender issues.

Vincent Cochetel
Vincent Cochetel has served as Director of the Bureau for Europe at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) since March 2013. He was previously UNHCR Regional Representative for the Unites States and the Caribbean from 2010 and 2013. Vincent Cochetel joined UNHCR in 1986, initially managing field offices in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as participating in several emergency missions in Asia, West Africa, and Europe (North Caucasus). Before joining UNHCR, Mr Cochetel worked together with the European Commission and with the European Court of Human Rights.
François Crépeau
François Crépeau is United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants since 2011. The focus of his current research includes migration control mechanisms, the rights of foreigners, the interface between security and migration, and the interface between the Rule of Law and globalization. He holds the Hans and Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law and is scientific director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, at the Faculty of Law of McGill University.
Samuel Azzopardi
Samuel Azzopardi has served as Mayor of Victoria, the capital city of Gozo in the Republic of Malta since June 2009, and as President of the Gozo Region since 2010. He is a member of the Committee of the Regions (COR) and participates in its CIVEX and COTER Commissions. He was rapporteur of a COR opinion on EU Financial Instruments in Home Affairs (2012). This opinion dealt with the legislative proposals concerning the Asylum and Migration Fund and the Internal Security Fund as the first funding generation since the Lisbon Treaty came into force, integrating all aspects of Home Affairs funding under the community method. Samuel Azzopardi is active in promoting human rights, especially in relation to migration policy. 
Özlem Cekic
Özlem Cekic is a Danish politician and has been a Member of Parliament for the Socialist People’s Party since 2007. She is one of the first female MPs with an immigrant background in Denmark. Before pursuing a political career, she worked as a trained psychiatric nurse. Currently Ms Cekic is the party’s political spokeswoman on health, psychiatry, media and gender equality. Known for her opposition to discrimination against ethnic minorities, she is active in public debates about integration and ethnic equality. Her first book was about her own life, from her birth in Turkey until she became Member of Parliament. Ms Cekic received the friendship award of the organisation SOS against Racism in 2007.
Angelino Alfano
Angelino Alfano is the Italian Minister of the Interior since April 2013 and Member of the Council of the European Union for the Justice and Home Affairs sector. In 2013 he founded the New Centre-Right Party, becoming its leader. He was the Italian Minister of Justice from 2008 to 2011.  He represented Italy in numerous international meetings: chaired the G8/Justice summit in Rome (2009); participated in the Review Conference of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (CPI), held in Kampala (Uganda); represented the Italian position on ‘transnational organized crime’, addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations. In 1996 he was first elected to the Regional Assembly of his native Sicily and in 2001 he was elected to the national Chamber of Deputies. Since 1989 he has been working as journalist for numerous national and regional newspapers. He is a lawyer obtained a law degree from Milan's Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and a doctorate in corporate law from the University of Palermo.
Maija Sakslin
Maija Sakslin is the Chairperson of FRA’s Management Board and Finland’s Deputy Parliamentary Ombudsman. She is a specialist on constitutional and EU law, with particular expertise in fundamental social rights and social security coordination in the EU. Previously, Maija Sakslin was a researcher at the Social Insurance Institution in Finland and at the Institution of International Economic Law at the University of Helsinki. She participated in a number of working groups and committees reforming the Finnish constitution. She also took part in various EU research projects, among them the Observatory for Migrant workers and Training and reporting on social security coordination (trESS).


Sandra Sarti
Sandra Sarti has been the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Italian Ministry of the Interior since August 2013. She has worked in the Ministry of Interior since 1982 where she has held positions such as the Asylum Office Director, Italian Representative to the European Refugee Fund and Deputy Director of the Immigration and Asylum Central Civil Services. She holds a degree from La Sapienza, the University of Rome.
Friso Roscam Abbing
Friso Roscam Abbing has been the Head of the Communication Department at FRA since 2009. Prior to this, he was a Member of Cabinet of the European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot, the Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice, where he was responsible for refugee policy, fundamental rights and citizenship issues. From 2004–2008, he was spokesman for European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini, the Commissioner responsible for Freedom, Security and Justice issues. He has a background in refugee policy issues, both from an intergovernmental and a non-governmental perspective. Between 2000 and 2004, he headed the EU Asylum Polices sector at the European Commission's DG Justice, Freedom and Security. From 1994 to 2000 he led the EU Office of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).