Former Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service
Pierre Vimont was the first Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), from December 2010 until March 2015. Since 2016, he is mediator for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to this, Mr. Vimont served as Ambassador of France to the United States in 2007-2010, and chief of staff to the French minister of Foreign Affairs in 2002-2007. From 1999 to 2002, he was Permanent Representative of France to the European Union.Pierre Vimont joined the French Foreign Service in 1977. He holds the title, Ambassador of France, a dignity bestowed for life to only a few French career diplomats.
He holds a degree in law from Pantheon-Sorbonne University, and is a graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and the National School of Administration (ENA).
President of the European Forum Alpbach
Franz Fischler, Austria´s former Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries of the European Union, is the President of the Eco Social Forum Europe (Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO) since December 2004. He also runs his own consultancy business and is a lecturer in great demand. He started his career in 1979 in the extension service and served as Austrian Federal Minister for Agriculture and Forestry from 1989-1994. In his role as Minister, Franz Fischler led the negotiations on agriculture issues for Austria´s accession to the European Union. For nearly a decade (1995 to 2004) M. Fischler then successfully shaped European Agricultural Policy as the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries of the EU.
Native of Tyrol, Austria, Franz Fischler holds a PhD from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
After completing school, Navid Kermani studied Islamic Studies, Philosophy, and Theater in Cologne, Cairo, and Bonn. He completed his PhD on the aesthetic reception of the Koran.
From 2000 to 2003 he was a long-term Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, and in 2005 he received his post-doctoral degree (“Habilitation”). From 2005 to 2007 he worked as a director and “curator for extraordinary events” at the city theatre of Cologne (Schauspiel Köln). Together with Guy Helminger he hosts the “Literary Salon” at the Stadtgarten Cologne since 2006. Since 2009 he is Senior Fellow at the “Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg Essen” (Institute for Advanced Study). He is a member of the German Academy for Language and Poetry and the Academy of Sciences in Hamburg. For his literary and academic work he was awarded numerous prices, the latest being the Buber-Rosenzweig Medal and the Hannah-Arendt-Price, both in 2011.
Writer, psychoanalyst & professor at the University Paris Diderot
Julia Kristeva is a French-Bulgarian writer, psychoanalyst, Professor at the University Paris-Diderot and a member of the Paris Psychoanalytical Society. She is a Doctor Honoris Causa in numerous universities in the United States, Canada and Europe, where she teaches regularly.
Officer of the French Légion d’Honneur, officer of the French Ordre du Mérite, she was awarded the Hannah Arendt Award in December 2006 and the Vaclav Havel Prize in 2008. She has written numerous essays – La Révolution du langage poétique, Histoires d’amour, Soleil noir (dépression et mélancolie), the trilogy Le génie féminin : Hannah Arendt, Mélanie Klein et Colette, Cet incroyable besoin de croire – but also novels, such as Les Samouraïs, Meurtre à Byzance or Thérèse mon amour. All her work has been translated into English and most of her books are also available in many other languages.
Former Prime Minister of Finland
Paavo Lipponen was Prime Minister of Finland from 1995 to 2003, and Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Finland from 1993 to 2005. He also served as Speaker of the Parliament of Finland from 2003 to 2007 and was his party’s nominee in the 2012 Finnish presidential election.
Paavo Lipponen studied philosophy and literature at Dartmouth College. He also holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Helsinki, obtained in 1971.
French-Romanian film director and screenwriter
Radu Mihăileanu left Romania in 1980 to go to Israel, and then to France, where he graduated from the IDHEC cinematographic institute in Paris. In the 1980s, he worked as an assistant director, notably with Marco Ferreri. His first full-length movie as a film director, Trahir (1993), received several awards. His second movie, Train de vie (Train of life, 1997) was an international success and received two awards at the Venice Film Festival. After meeting with Ethiopian migrants in Israel, Radu Mihăileanu started a new project leading to Va, vis et deviens (Live and Become, 2005), for which he received the Best Original Screenplay César Award and awards at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2009, Le Concert reached 1,9 million spectators. In addition to his work as a filmmaker, he published a book of poems in 1987, entitled Une vague en mal de mer.
Former Director General for DG Education and Culture
Odile Quintin, a French lawyer, has been Director General for DG Education and Culture at the European Commission from 2006 to 2010. With the Slovak Commissioner, Jan Figeĺ, she had responsibility for policies on education, training, youth, culture, sport and citizenship. In this role, she played a major part in increasing the recognition of these fields at Community level. In addition, within the scope of the portfolio of the Romanian Commissioner, Leonard Orban, she also had responsibility for policy on multilingualism.
Odile Quintin entered the European Commission in 1971. Over the first eleven years at the Commission, she held various positions at DG Agriculture and then at DG External Relations. In 1982, she joined DG Employment, where she spent a large part of her career. From 2000 to 2005, she worked as the Director General for DG Employment.
Former Ambassador of Palestine to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg
From 2005 to 2015, Leila Shahid was Ambassador of Palestine at the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg. She previously served as General Delegate of Palestine in France between 1993-2005, UNESCO 1993-1996, the Netherlands 1990-1993, Ireland 1989-1990.
Born in exile in Lebanon of Palestinian parents, Leila Shahid studied Anthropology at the American University in Beirut and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.
Leila Shahid believes in the importance of culture and art in her political and diplomatic work. She initiated the two important cultural events on contemporary Palestinian art and culture in France in 1997, Le Printemps Palestinien, in collaboration with the Quai d’Orsay and l’Institut du Monde Arabe ; and in Belgium in 2008, Masarat, with the Communaute Francaise de Belgique and les Halles de Schaerbeek.
Independent Curator and Art Management Consultant
Pooja Sood is the founding member and Director of KHOJ International Artists’ Association, an artists’ led registered society aimed at promoting intercultural understanding through experimentation and exchange. As a founding member of KHOJ she coordinated the KHOJ International artist’s workshop in Delhi from 1998-2001, facilitated the workshops in Mumbai (2005), Srinagar (2007) and Dharmashala (2012), among many others. In New Delhi, she has developed a radical space for alternative art practice at the KHOJ studios, which runs workshops, international residency programmes and diverse projects.
Ms. Sood was the Regional Coordinator (2000-2011) of the international artists’ network facilitated by the Triangle Arts Trust, UK. Starting in 2000, she has researched and facilitated the establishment of organisations in the region (Vasl Arts Trust in Pakistan, Britto Arts Trust in Bangladesh, Sutra in Nepal, Teertha in Sri Lanka) thereby developing a south Asian network for the arts.
Former President of Latvia
Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, was elected on 17 June 1999 by the Parliament for a four-year term as President of Latvia and re-elected for a second term in 2003. Outspoken pundit on social issues, moral values, European historical dialogue, and democracy, she was awarded the 2005 Hannah Arendt Prize for political thought. She was named Special envoy on the reform of the United Nations in 2005 and was an official candidate of the Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) for the position of Secretary General in 2006.
Since 1999, she has received many medals and awards, twenty-seven Orders of Merit and ten honorary doctorates.
27 February 2013 - More Europe mourns the loss of Stéphane Hessel who supported the initiative since its very beginning.
Stéphane Hessel was a diplomat, ambassador, writer, concentration camp survivor, and former French Resistance fighter. He participated in the editing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. In 2004 he was awarded the North-South Prize by the Council of Europe and in 2008 the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights. In October 2010, his essay Time for Outrage! was published in an edition of 6,000 copies. It has sold more than 3,5 million copies worldwide and has been translated in more than 14 languages.
In 2011, Stéphane Hessel was named by Foreign Policy magazine to its list of top global thinkers “for bringing the spirit of the French Resistance to a global society that has lost its heart.”