Tomislav Tomašević was born in Zagreb in 1982. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Science in 2010. In 2013, he received his Master’s Degree in the field of Environment, Society and Development from the University of Cambridge. At the age of 16, he joined the Green Action (Zelena akcija), where he performed the duty of President from 2007 to 2012. He was also the President of the Croatian Youth Network (Mreža mladih Hrvatske) and, at the same time, a member of the Youth Council (Savjet za mlade) of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. In 2006, he participated in the launch of the initiative Right to the City (Pravo na grad) and from 2012 to 2015 he was member of the Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Council of the Government of the Republic of Croatia. He had not been a member of any party until the founding of Zagreb is Ours! (Zagreb je naš!) on whose list he entered the City Assembly in 2017. He was elected Mayor of the City of Zagreb on 30 May 2021 in direct election.
Sofia Athayde is Lisbon’s city Councillor for Human and Social Rights. With a degree and master’s degree in psychology from ISPA-University Institute of Psychology, Social and Life Sciences, she is a specialist in clinical psychology from the Order of Psychologists and has a specialization in Bioethics from Oporto’s University Faculty of Medicine. She completed her internship at the Portuguese Victim Support Association (APAV) and has practiced Clinical Psychology for the last 20 years.
She was born in Coimbra and soon became prominent in politics, currently being vice-president of Lisbon Council Political Commission of the CDS-PP. She began her municipal career in 2002 and was a member of the Estrela parish Council until assuming her current role as Lisbon’s Councillor. She is married and mother of two children.”
Tomasz Pactwa has been the Director of the Welfare and Social Projects Department at the City of Warsaw since September 2012. He manages the department, which consists of 10 units. He coordinates implementation of the Warsaw Social Strategy and several thematic programs forming the social policy framework in Warsaw. His team elaborates new programs and projects in a field of social policy. Social innovations using IT technologies created by his team have gained international recognition: Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge EUROPE for project Virtual Warsaw – winning team, Smart 50 Awards 2018 by Smart Cities Connect Foundation for project Looked @fter. He also contributed to the Access City Award 2020 awarded for the overall improvement to the city’s ease of access in a short space of time.
Nicolas Schmit took up office as European Commissioner responsible for Jobs and Social Rights in December 2019. Prior to this, and following a long career of public service in his native Luxembourg, he took up duty as Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the EU in 1998 for a six-year term. In 2004, he was appointed Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
From 2009 to 2018, he held the position of Minister for Labour and Employment in the Luxembourgish government. He served as a Member of the European Parliament for the social-democratic Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei following his election in May 2019. Nicolas Schmit holds a Doctorate in International Economic Relations and a Masters in French Literature from the University of Aix-Marseille.
Elena Kochoska is a disability human rights advocate and activist. Over 20 years she has been recognized, researcher and consultant in the field of human right and the impact of intersectionality in line with the CRPD. She has undertaken many research and analyses and has developed many policies and guidelines considering effective implementation of the CRPD in the realization of the civic and political as well as economic and social right of disability community. She is a board member of the European Network for independent living. She is also a chairperson of the Board of Macedonian Center for International Cooperation. Over 14 years she was a coordinator of the IPPG for the right of persons with disability in the country. She has worked with and served as a consultant to a number of international organizations and foundations.
For the past ten years, Ines has been working at the National Foundation for Civil Society Development in Croatia. In her current role as Assistant for Development, International, and Digital Programs, her primary focus is on designing and implementing development programs that emphasize cultivating philanthropy and fostering a culture of volunteering among children and young people through initiatives such as sCOOLFOOD and the DoGood People Programs.
Additionally, her responsibilities include the contracting and monitoring of the implementation of the National Foundation’s Development and Programme Cooperation. This includes the Regional Development and “Active in the Community” programs, as well as collaboration with Centers of Knowledge, that represent Croatian “think-and-do-tank” civil society hubs.
Beyond her core duties, Ines is actively involved in coordinating the Croatian Network for Cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean, part of the Anna Lindh Foundation. She also participates in all dissemination activities of the National Foundation, which includes managing outreach through social media networks and publications.
Helga Bubanović Devčić, Partner, EY, has more than 20 years of professional experience in the field of EU projects’ management in various sectors and for a variety of different clients and beneficiaries. She has extensive experience in strategic planning and programming, as well as setting up management systems and business processes for different EU programs. Throughout her professional endeavours she has contributed a lot to different institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms in Croatia. In the social welfare sector, she was leading a team who developed first ever in Croatia a common methodology for calculating the prices of social services by state and non-state entities, which resulted in an equal and fair treatment of all social service providers, and in prices that ensure sufficient quality of services provided.
Lora Vidović is the Head of Office for Social Protection, Health, Veterans and Persons with Disabilities. Between 2013 and 2021 she was appointed by Croatian Parliament as Ombudswoman, responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms and anti-discrimination in Croatia. Prior to that, she worked as the Head of the UNICEF Office in Croatia, Deputy Ombudswoman for Children, and Human Rights Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She has been working in the field of human rights protection and promotion throughout her career, with a strong focus on socio-economic rights, the rights of older persons, children’s rights and anti-discrimination. She graduated from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, obtained Master’s degree with the thesis “Ombudsman for Children” and currently is a PhD student at Osijek University.
Jane Dudman is a freelance journalist, event chair & consultant. She is the former public leadership editor of the Guardian, where she worked for 14 years until December 2020. Jane is a senior commentator on UK and global public services, with expertise in central and local government and social housing. She is an experienced chair of UK and global events.
Alfonso is CEO of the European Social Network, which brings together over 165 social services departments in public authorities in 35 countries. Alfonso oversees the Network’s management and strategic direction, leads the policy programme co-financed by the European Commission, the annual European Social Services Conference and European Social Services Awards. He has 15 years’ experience in public policy, has authored and co-authored several publications and is a regular contributor of articles to academic journals, newspapers, and specialist social services magazines. Before joining ESN, Alfonso worked in public policy programme evaluation and project management in the private sector.
He holds an MA in modern languages from the University of Granada, an MA in European Governance from the College of Europe, an MSc in Public Policy from University College London and a Masters in Executive Management of International Associations at Solvay Brussels School for Economics and Management. Alfonso advises public authorities in their social services reforms and teaches on social services innovation, reform, and organisation in master’s degree programmes at the Universities of Barcelona, The Basque Country and the School of Public Administration in Galicia, Spain.