Mónica Bello, Curator & Head of Arts, CERN

Mónica Bello is a Spanish curator and art historian. In her curatorial work, she focuses on the narratives of today’s techno-scientific culture and the way artists instigate new conversations around emergent cultural phenomena, such as the role of science and new knowledge in the perception of reality. Since 2015, she has held the position of Curator & Head of Arts at CERN at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva.

John Denhof, President of the Nova KBM Management Board

John Denhof has been the President of the Nova KBM Management Board since early 2017. He is an experienced senior executive, having held various leadership positions at Citibank in emerging and developed markets. His area of expertise is Retail Banking for both mass and affluent segments. During his 29 years in the financial services industry, Mr. Denhof planned and implemented the repositioning and turn-around of several banks for sustainable growth and profitability, developed distribution channels, improved digital servicing capabilities and enhanced the value proposition for clients launching numerous business innovations. He has an MBA from The American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and BS in politics from Michigan State.

Bernd Fesel, Director, European Creative Business Network

Bernd Fesel has dedicated his professional career to art, creativity and culture. He has held various positions and been involved in many projects in these fields. He has served as Managing Director of the Federal Association of German Galleries and later Managing Director of the European Gallery Association, advisor f.e. of the German UNESCO Commission and German Federal Foreign Office, and creative industries advisor for the European Capital of Culture RUHR 2010. He launched the first national conference on creative industries in Berlin, and initiated the European Research Partnership on Cultural Creative Spillovers. Currently he is also Visiting Professor at the Institute for Culture and Media Management, KMM Hamburg.

Graça Fonseca, Minister of Culture, Portugal

Graça Fonseca holds a PhD in Sociology from ISCTE/University Institute of Lisbon, an MA in Sociology from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra and a Graduate Diploma in Law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. In her long career, she has held various positions in the government of Portugal and has served as Minister of Culture since October 2018. She has also been a City Councillor at Lisbon Municipality and a researcher at the Center for Social Studies at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra.

Marino Furlan, Founder and President, Intra Lighting Group

Marino Furlan graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. With his wife Marjeta, a fashion designer, they entered the world of luminaires and established their own company in 1989. After 30 years, Intra Lighting is increasingly asserting itself as the leading provider of architectural luminaires and smart lighting solutions around the world. Marino Furlan is a man with a clear vision, daring plans and great enthusiasm, and is constantly and intensively involved in the development of lighting products and solutions, relying on innovation, creativity and determination.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport

As European Commissioner, her focus is currently on the definition and implementation of the new Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, and the cultural strand of Creative Europe programmes. In her role as European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society between 2017 and 2019, she proposed the new Digital Europe programme, worked on the EU Strategy on AI, disinformation online and cybersecurity, and launched the EuroHPC strategy. She was elected Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009, 2014 and 2019. Gabriel is a board member of the United Nations youth programme Generation Unlimited (GenU) and an avid fighter for gender equality. She holds an MA in political sciences and international relations.

Matej Golob, Co-founder and Managing Partner, CorpoHub

Matej Golob transforms established organisations into lean and agile innovation leaders, and plays an important role in regional start-up ecosystems and programmes, and is therefore well positioned to bridge these two worlds. Balancing motivational and hard-driving cycles, he guides teams through treacherous waters full of untested assumptions toward product-market fit and scaling. He is Managing Partner of CorpoHub, a diligent networker, TED-ster and insatiable learner, and is about to finish his “7 marathons on 7 continents”  challenge.

Kristi Hodak, Associate Design Director, McKinsey & Company

Kristi Hodak currently holds the position of Associate Design Director at McKinsey & Company, where she is learning and exploring how to implement transformational services in a sustainable way. Her goal is to design services that shape better behaviours, interactions and communication between people and communities. She makes services that allow people to spend time on things that are meaningful to them. She has previously worked in banking, telco, education & employment, retail, health care & innovation and government services.

Majken Kalhave, Director, Creative Denmark

Majken Kalhave is Director of the newly established Creative Denmark. Creative Denmark is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that raises the awareness of Danish creative strongholds internationally. The aim is to foster relations between international stakeholders and Danish solutions, products and competencies across the creative industries. Kalhave has a background in international marketing and in building international public-private partnerships and relations within primarily urban development and sustainable solutions.

Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities

Lamia Kamal-Chaoui is OECD Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities who leads the OECD’s work related to SMEs and entrepreneurship policy; regional, urban, rural and local development; subnational statistics; multi-level governance; and decentralisation and tourism.

Nasser Kamel, Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean

A career diplomat for the Egyptian government, Nasser Kamel held the position of Ambassador of Egypt to the United Kingdom from 2014 to 2018. He was also Ambassador to France in the 2006–2012 period, during which time he took part in the drafting of the Joint Declaration of the 2008 Paris Summit that marked the launch of the Union for the Mediterranean. Between 2012 and 2014, he was Assistant Minister for Arab and Middle Eastern Affairs. From 2004 to 2006, he was Director of Egypt’s Public Information Service. Previously, he served in various embassies around the world

Wishnutama Kusubandio, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia

As Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama Kusubandio is responsible for developing the tourism industry in Indonesia along with 17 creative industry sectors, including music industry, film industry, fashion and cuisine. Before his appointment as minister in 2019, he worked in the media and entertainment industry for over 20 years and produced many popular TV programs in Indonesia. Wishnutama also acted as Creative Director of the Indonesian Choice Awards, the most anticipated and prestigious awards show in Indonesia since 2014. He was also Co-Founder and CEO of NET TV, one of the biggest national TV networks in Indonesia.

Petra Kežman, Head of Department for Public Diplomacy and International Cooperation in Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia

Petra Kežman coordinates Slovenian international cultural relations since the beginning of 2019, with Creative Forum Ljubljana being among major projects. Before that, she was the national coordinator for the Union for the Mediterranean – a role, in which she already engaged for reinforced Euro-Mediterranean cooperation in various areas. She also worked at Slovenian Embassies in Paris and Buenos Aires where she organised dozens of cultural and public diplomacy events.

Vojka Kos, Strategic Marketing Director, JUB Group, Slovenia

With over 20 years of experiences in finishing works in construction, Vojka Kos has gained invaluable knowledge of consumers in the industry. Her business path has guided her from working in a public institution as a young researcher in the field of chemistry, a sales representative and an R&D engineer to employment as technical consultant and later Strategic Business Unit Manager. As Strategic Marketing Director, Kos can effectively combine her knowledge of the market, brands and chemistry with her passion for finding best solutions for users.

Primož Mahne, Design Research Lead and Brand Strategist, Gigodesign, Slovenia

Primož Mahne is Design Research Lead and Brand Strategist at Gigodesign. His responsibilities include design research projects aimed at identifying business and innovation opportunities for prominent national and global brands. He has worked in various sectors, from heavy machinery and automotive industry to consumer packaged goods and service organisations. As an active partner of both editions of the Competence Centre for Design Management (KCDM), he shares his knowledge and experience with 37 partner companies. He advocates solving key business challenges by applying design and the latest findings in human decision-making.

Eva Matjaž, Programme and Research Director, Poligon Creative Centre, Slovenia

Eva Matjaž holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Social Work and Sociology. She is the co-founder of the first Slovenian creative centre Poligon, Slovenia Coworking and Slovenia Crowdfunding initiatives, research institutes Memo Institute and Intakodalje and Slovenian’s first library of things – Knjižnica REČI. Her research focuses on alternative models of wealth, opportunities and pitfalls of new work and economy models, and the potential of creative communities.

Marin Medak, Co-founder, Della Spina, Slovenia

Marin Medak is Co-founder of Della Spina, a prescription eyewear startup with a unique try-at-home experience. Before pursuing business ideas, he led successful sea kayaking and ocean rowing expeditions, including a Slovenian-British rowing expedition across the Atlantic Ocean.

Erol Ok, General Manager / Acting President of Institut Français

Since January 2020, Ok has been General Manager / Acting President of Institut Français. Between 2014 and 2019, he was Director General of the National Picasso Museum in Paris. In the 2012–2013 period, he was Deputy Director of the Cabinet of Fleur Pellerin, Minister of the Digital Economy, Innovation and SMEs. Previously, he has held various positions in the French government.

Ana Osredkar, Co-founder and Director, Servis 8, Slovenia

Ana Osredkar believes in the power of creative problem solving, aligning teams around a common purpose and breaking down organisational silos. As a service designer, she helps organisations fix broken services and design new ones. She does this by talking to people about their experience and problems with using a service or a product, and prototyping different solutions to establish how these can work in real life. She is Co-founder and Director of Servis 8, the first service design studio in Ljubljana.

Marko Peljhan, Theatre and Radio Director & Conceptual Artist

Marko Peljhan is a theatre and radio director, conceptual artist, tactical media worker and researcher, living and working between California and Europe. He has founded and co-founded several still active arts organisations, for instance the Projekt Atol and LJUDMILA, one of the first media labs in Eastern Europe. He has received many awards for his work, including the 2001 Golden Nica Prize at Ars Electronica with Carsten Nicolai, and his works have been exhibited internationally at multiple biennales, exhibitions, festivals, museums and art institutions worldwide. Since 2002, he has worked as lecturer at the University of California Santa Barbara; since 2010, he has served as Director of the Systemics Lab located in the California Nano Systems Institute; and since 2017, he has been Chair of the UCSB Media Arts and Technology Program.

Tomasz Pilewicz, PhD, MBA Business Marketing Manager responsible for new healthcare products and services launches, Philips.

In parallel to work at Philips, Tomasz Pilewicz is Assistant Professor at Warsaw School of Economics for entrepreneurial finance and international entrepreneurship. He obtained a Professional MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from Vienna University of Economics and Business and Technical University of Vienna, and gained a PhD in economics from Warsaw School of Economics, specialising in innovation of economy.

Luka Piškorič, managing director of Poligon Creative Centre, Slovenia

Luka Piškorič is a co-founder and Managing Director of Poligon, Institute for development of creative industries and Poligon Creative Centre. With over 20 years’ experience in cultural and creative industries, he works internationally as an expert for bottom-up development of CCI and creative hubs. Luka is a member of the Council of the Cultural Policy Designers Network and member of the Board of Directors of the European Creative Hubs Network.

Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Slovenia

Zdravko Počivalšek has been Minister of Economic Development and Technology since 2014; under his leadership, the Ministry has adopted various measures to ensure a stable, predictable and competitive economic environment for the growth and development of Slovenian companies in the domestic and foreign markets. Before his appointment as minister, he successfully worked in the private sector for many years. In 2005, he received an award from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for his exceptional achievements in business and enterprise in 2004, and was named Manager of the Year  2010 for his lasting achievements in business. He graduated from the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana.

Amalia de Pombo, Director of Arts, Ministry of Culture of Colombia

Director of Arts, Ministry of Culture. Amalia studied Literature at the University of the Andes and has a master’s degree in Communication of Public and Political Institutions from the Complutense University of Madrid. Between 2012 and 2018, she was director of Development and Communications at the Hay Festival in Colombia. From 2007 to 2012, she directed various projects in the Corferías Centre in Bogotá among them Expoartesanías, the Book Fair of Bogotá (FILBO) and the Fantasy and Leisure Salon (SOFA). Between 2002 and 2007, she worked for the Ministry of Culture, first as minister’s private assistant and later as director of the Teatro Colón in Bogotá.

Peter Purg, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Nova Gorica, School of Arts

Peter Purg currently leads the New Media module in the Digital/Media Arts and Practices graduate/postgraduate programme at the School of Arts, University of Nova Gorica, where he holds the position of Associate Professor, working as projects coordinator and expert in the realms of digital culture and media. Having obtained a PhD in media art, communication science and literature from the University of Erfurt (Germany), his scientific inquiries now include media arts pedagogy, interdisciplinary collaboration, media ecology and community art.

Dr Stanislav Raščan, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia

Dr Stanislav Raščan is a career diplomat, employed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1994. During his long service at home and abroad he has held the positions of Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the OSCE in Vienna, among others. He is also Assistant Professor of international security policy at the Faculty of State and European Studies, and has published over 150 articles, co-authored a number of books and written two monographs on international politics. He is a medical doctor and holds a doctorate in political sciences.

Ragnar Siil, Founder and Director, Creativity Lab

Ragnar Siil is Founder and Director of Creativity Lab, an international cultural policy and creative industries think-tank and consultancy based in Estonia. Ragnar is also Director of the Board of the Cultural Policy Designers Network, a European network of independent cultural policy experts. He is a strategy adviser for governments, cultural organisations and creative enterprises, and a researcher on creative clusters and cities management, and frequently acts as a guest lecturer at numerous universities across the world. He has worked on cultural policies and strategies in over 30 countries.

Sonja Šmuc, General Manager, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia

Sonja Šmuc has been General Manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia since October 2017. She has dedicated her professional career to business and management. Before joining CCIS, she held the position of Executive Director of the Managers’ Association of Slovenia for 12 years, and served as treasurer of CEC – European Managers. For a while, she was Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Manager, specialising in leadership and management. She is author of more than 700 business related articles, co-author of a book on managing export risks and recipient of the 2006 bronze prize for innovation in publishing awarded by CCIS. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana.

Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Founder and CEO, Creative Business Network

Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning is the Founder and CEO of Creative Business Network (CBN), a global initiative for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors from creative industries. With over 20 years of experience in the sector, he has served in key leadership roles within the EU and internationally. He is former Managing Director of the Center for Cultural and Experience Economy, former Chairman of the European Creative Industries Alliance and co-chair of OMC Group on Access to Finance for Cultural and Creative Sectors.

dr. Aleš Ugovšek, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Slovenia

Aleš Ugovšek leads technology development and innovation at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia. An innovator himself, he presents an active link between different actors of innovation ecosystems. He is the coordinator of the Slovene Innovation Award and Innovation Day project, recipient of the Puh Certificate of Recognition for significant achievements in the field of wood science and a recipient of the national Golden Innovation Award. He moderates public events, panel discussions and workshops and co-hosts the Gravitacija podcast about ideas and innovation.

Žiga Vraničar, Head of Strategic Development, Renderspace, Slovenia

Žiga Vraničar is Head of Strategic Development of the digital agency Renderspace. He devotes a great deal of his time to understanding the complex universe of interconnectedness between the needs of users and those of companies and organisations, which has led him to working on various projects in the fields of strategic marketing, communication, research, user experience and service design for domestic and international clients.

Gitte Zschoch, Director, EUNIC

Gitte Zschoch has been Director of EUNIC since 2018. EUNIC is the European network of organisations engaging in cultural relations. Previously, she was the founding director of the Goethe-Institut’s branch in Kinshasa, and has held different roles for the Goethe-Institut in Seoul, Tokyo, Johannesburg, and in the Munich main office, where she was Deputy Head of Communications. She formerly worked as an independent cultural manager and writer with a focus on visual arts and literature. She holds an MA in Modern Korean Literature from Seoul National University and a BA in Comparative Literature from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich.