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​Irina Ferencz

Director
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
  • www.aca-secretariat.be
  • ​Irina Ferencz

    Irina Ferencz is the Director of ACA and has been working in international higher education since 2008. Irina has a specific expertise in the area of international student and staff mobility in the European context (data collections, trends, policies), as well as in planning, monitoring and assessing internationalisation activities at institutional and national level. She also has a growing interest in widening inclusion in internationalisation activities. Currently, she is also a PhD candidate at Ghent University, CHEGG, and an occasional reviewer for two higher education journals. She has authored and co-authored multiple publications in the field. Irina holds an MSc degree in European Politics and Policies (KULeuven, Belgium) and a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and European Studies (Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Romania). She is a Romanian national, speaks several languages, and calls Belgium 'home'.

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Ulrich Grothus

President
Academic Cooperation Association (ACA)
Ulrich Grothus
  • Ulrich Grothus

     

    Ulrich Grothus is the President of ACA. He obtained a master’s degree in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin in 1976. He then worked as a journalist before joining the International Division of the former West German Rectors Conference in 1982. He has been working for DAAD since 1988, first as spokesman and head of the president’s office. From 1991, he was consecutively director of all three DAAD program directorates. In between, he served as director of the Paris office from 1998 to 2000 and of the New York office from 2004 to 2008. Grothus was also the Deputy Secretary General of DAAD and the head of the organisation’s Berlin office. Grothus speaks five foreign languages and has given three others a try.

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Dr Martin Penny

Head of Unit, International Cooperation
Directorate General Research and Innovation (DG R&I) in the European Commission
Dr Martin Penny
  • Dr Martin Penny

    Dr Martin Penny is a Head of Unit for International Cooperation in the Directorate General Research and Innovation (DG R&I) in the European Commission. His Unit covers the EU’s international relations in R&I with the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, Russia and Central Asia, implementing the recently adopted Global Approach for research and innovation. Previously Martin worked in the European Research Council Executive Agency, as Head of Unit for Physical Sciences and Engineering and Head of Unit for the Coordination of Call and Project Follow-Up procedures. Between 2005 and 2014, Martin held a series of policy posts in DG R&I in international relations, programme design, and as the political assistant to the Director-General. He worked for the UK Research Councils between 1997 and 2005, including five years as the Director of the Research Councils' Brussels Office. Martin has a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry (Bristol University), an MSc in science and society (Open University), and held postdoctoral research positions in biological and medicinal chemistry at Arizona State University, the University of Manchester and l’Université catholique de Louvain.

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Michael Gaebel

Director, Higher Education Policy Unit
European University Association (EUA)
Michael Gaebel
  • Michael Gaebel

    Michael Gaebel joined the EUA (European University Association) in 2006, where he was first in charge of Global Dialogue and internationalisation, to become in 2009 Head and then later on the Director of the Higher Education Policy Unit. This unit focuses on issues related to higher education learning and teaching, including the Bologna Process, lifelong learning, e-learning and MOOCs, internationalisation and global dialogue. He worked for more than a decade in higher education cooperation and development in the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and Asia. From 2002 to 2006, he was the European Co-Director of the ASEAN-EU University Network Programme (AUNP) in Bangkok.

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Matthijs Landsmeer

Regional Manager for the WANA/MENA region
The Dutch organisation for internationalisation of education (Nuffic)
Matthijs Landsmeer
  • Matthijs Landsmeer

    Matthijs Landsmeer has been working for Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation of education, since 2019. Matthijs is a Regional Manager for the WANA/MENA region for Nuffic’s EU-funded programmes in Jordan and Lebanon, focusing on providing educational projects for Syrian refugees and vulnerable youth in these countries. Furthermore, as a Country Programme Manager he is responsible for the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP), Nuffic’s inclusive capacity building programme, in Bangladesh, Myanmar and Colombia. Within this programme, Matthijs manages institutional collaboration projects and group training projects where Dutch and local knowledge institutes work together on strengthening the educational sector and enhancing labour market access. Matthijs holds an MSc degree in Business Studies from the University of Amsterdam, and a BSc degree in Organisational Psychology from the University of Utrecht. Before joining Nuffic, he worked in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for four years as General Manager of the Argentine-Dutch Chamber of Commerce, as well as in a small consultancy company setting up a training programme around collaboration in public-private partnerships in the Netherlands.

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Filip van Depoele

Head of Unit, International Cooperation in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Filip van Depoele
  • Filip van Depoele
    Filip van Depoele is an economist by training (University of Leuven, Belgium) and subsequently studied European Economic Integration (College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium) and International Relations (Johns Hopkins University, Bologna, Italy). He worked for a number of years in the private sector (banking) before joining the European Commission in 1997. Filip held several positions in the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs and the Directorate General for Competition before moving to the Directorate General in charge of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. After having managed the Policy Coordination unit for 5 years, he is currently heading the International Cooperation unit.
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Deirdre Lennan

International Cooperation Officer in the Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture
European Commission
Deirdre Lennan
  • Deirdre Lennan

    Deirdre Lennan worked for international cooperation in higher education since 1992, notably with Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, the Russian Federation and then the Mashrek region (Egypt, Lebanon and Syria in particular). Between 2009 and 2021 she followed policy issues with Africa at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, was in charge of the higher education initiatives in the framework of the Africa-EU Partnership and oversaw all Erasmus+ activities with Africa. She is now working in the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Partnerships where she is Head of Sector for Human and Social development policy priorities in the unit in charge of the Strategic Partnerships with Africa.

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Gerhard Volz

Head, Department for International Cooperation in Higher Education
Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation (OeAD)
Gerhard Volz
  • Gerhard Volz

    Gerhard Volz is Head of the recently established Department for International Cooperation in Higher Education at the OeAD (Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation). He is responsible for national and European support schemes in higher education, including Erasmus+ and international collaboration, as well as additional initiatives such as Study in Austria, EURAXESS, and Bologna support projects. Working for the OeAD since 1998, Mr. Volz was initially responsible for higher education cooperation programmes and funding schemes for various regions, such as Central and Eastern Europe, as well as development cooperation programmes worldwide. Between 2007 to 2020 he was acting as Head of Section for Erasmus+ Higher Education and Deputy Director of the National Agency Erasmus+ Austria. Mr. Volz holds a Master’s degree in Political Sciences, History and Educational Sciences (University of Vienna). He has studied and participated in work-related activities in Europe, Caucasus, Asia, Africa.

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​Dr Alenka Flander

Director
Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (CMEPIUS)
  • www.cmepius.si
  • ​Dr Alenka Flander

    Dr Alenka Flander is the Director of the Centre of the Republic of Slovenia for Mobility and European Educational and Training Programmes (CMEPIUS), leading Slovene institution in the field of internationalisation of education and training. In that capacity she is responsible for successful implementation of EU programmes (Erasmus+) in Slovenia, focusing on achieving sustainable impact of the projects and programme and ensuring effective dissemination and integration of programme results into institutional and national systems and practices. Alenka was trained as an electrical engineer and completed her PhD in the Political Science. Her research work is interdisciplinary in nature and encompasses monitoring and measuring the impact of European Programmes in the area of education and training, and research on internationalisation and higher education. She contributed to national or international expert groups and authored publications and articles on internationalisation in higher education and academic profession. She was behind the preparation of Slovene Strategy for internationalisation of higher education adopted in 2016.

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Emily Borzcik

Assistant Director
Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF)
Emily Borzcik
  • Emily Borzcik

     

    Emily Borzcik is the Assistant Director at the Institute of International Education’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE-SRF). She has been with IIE-SRF since 2013 and in 2021 relocated to Brussels, Belgium where she heads the new IIE-SRF Europe Office. From Brussels, Emily works to build and strengthen the program’s relationships with European partners and continues to contribute to other strategic initiatives and the overall management of IIE-SRF. She holds a bachelor's degree in social welfare and Scandinavian studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's degree in international education from New York University. Emily also served with the Peace Corps in Armenia and is working on her Dutch language skills.

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Katarzyna Aleksy

Director of Department, Programmes for Institutions
Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA)
Katarzyna Aleksy
  • Katarzyna Aleksy

    Katarzyna Aleksy is the Director of Department, Programmes for Institutions at NAWA, the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange. In 2017 she worked on the concept of the creation and operation of NAWA at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Prior to her leadership at NAWA she worked at the National Agency for Erasmus, and in 2012 she became the Director of the Scholarship Programmes within the EEA and Norway Grants, as well as Swiss-Polish Cooperation Programme. In 2020 she received the award of IROs Forum - a network of the international offices of leading Polish state universities. In the last three years she has presented and been a speaker in sessions organized during APAIE, NAFSA and EAIE conferences, as well as in many national events.

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Márton Beke

Head of Unit, Higher Education Policy and Development
Directorate for Higher Education, Tempus Public Foundation (TPF)
Márton Beke
  • Márton Beke

    Márton Beke is currently Head of Unit for Higher Education Policy and Development at the Tempus Public Foundation (TPF). His teaching and research activities included Literature and Cultural Studies, especially in the field of Czech and Central European Studies. He has been working for Tempus Public Foundation since 2012 and has been involved in several European projects and was coordinator of the ECCE Mundus (Enhancing Cross-regional Cooperation in Erasmus Mundus) initiative that promoted joint degrees and cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Central Asia. He is currently responsible for the Erasmus+ Centralised Actions the CEEPUS programme and the European Higher Education Area reforms projects – the current PROFFORMANCE project aims at developing an assessment tool and incentive systems for higher education teachers. He is also involved in internationalisation and policy development in higher education and takes part in the activities of working groups of the EHEA and the European Commission. Márton has an academic background in humanities and holds a PhD in philosophy.

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Hilde Haaland-Kramer 

Head, Department for Global Cooperation and Capacity Building
Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills
Hilde Haaland-Kramer 
  • Hilde Haaland-Kramer 

    Hilde Haaland-Kramer is Head of the Department for Global Cooperation and Capacity Building at the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills and has worked in international higher education since 1997. She holds a MA in International Relations from American University, Washington D.C. and a BA in Political Science from California Lutheran University. Hilde has extensive experience from both government and higher education sectors, having served 7 years as the Educational Attaché at the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York and worked with international education and quality assurance at the University of Bergen. Before joining the directorate in 2019, she was the administrative head of the Center for Care Research at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

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Lloyd Huitson

Senior Advisor for Learning & Teaching
CESAER
Lloyd Huitson
  • Lloyd Huitson

    Lloyd Huitson is CESAER’s Senior Advisor for Learning & Teaching. He has over a decade of experience in the international higher education environment, including over four years at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, where he worked in the Higher Education and International Cooperation units. Beforehand, he volunteered on a range of education and internationalisation topics for Erasmus Student Network. Lloyd obtained his bachelor’s degree in Languages and Contemporary European Studies, and then a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, from the University of Southampton, which he complemented with several years teaching English, French and Spanish as foreign languages in a range of contexts. In his current role, Lloyd contributes to CESAER’s activities in learning and teaching; advocates at European, national and regional levels; represents the association externally; and serves and advises its governing bodies, committees and task forces.

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Dr. Hilligje van’t Land

Secretary General
International Association of Universities (IAU)
Dr. Hilligje van’t Land
  • Dr. Hilligje van’t Land

    Dr. Hilligje van’t Land serves the global higher education community as Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU) - global NGO with UNESCO Associate Status. For two decades, she has fostered the key role of higher education in societal transformation, supervises the overall programme activities of the IAU, develops the Association’s strategic plans. She positioned the IAU as partner in UNESCO work on Education for sustainable development and in the UNESCO Futures of Education initiative, and higher education as a key stakeholder for the UN Agenda 2030 – Transforming our world. Hilligje van’t Land strongly believes in the importance of international cooperation and intercultural understanding, developed multilateral projects, represents IAU in working groups and expert committees including at the Council of Europe, UNESCO and the UN. Hilligje van’t Land holds a PhD in comparative francophone literature, speaks six languages. 

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​Piet Van Hove

Vice-President; Senior Policy Advisor for Internationalisation
EAIE; University of Antwerp
​Piet Van Hove
  • ​Piet Van Hove

    Piet Van Hove is currently Vice President of the EAIE and Senior Policy Advisor for Internationalisation at the University of Antwerp, where he previously obtained a Master of Laws. He has been active in internationalisation of higher education since 1995, working on policy formulation and execution in the area of student and staff mobility, development cooperation, services for international staff and students, international educational projects and strategic networking. Piet has been active in the leadership of several professional associations and nonprofits at the national and international level for many years. He presents frequently on the different aspects of internationalisation of higher education.

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Simone Burkhart

Head of the Division, Scholarship Policies and Financial Support
DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
Simone Burkhart
  • Simone Burkhart

    Simone Burkhart is the head of the Division Scholarship Policies and Financial support at the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). Her current tasks and topics include ensuring the quality of the selection and funding processes, reviewing and adapting the extensive DAAD programme portfolio, the implementation of monitoring systems and issues of equal opportunities in the awarding of scholarships. Simone Burkhart works at the DAAD since 2008; she initially headed the "Evaluation and Statistics" section, afterwards she was responsible for the division "Strategy and Strategic Planning". Simone Burkhart studied Public Policy and Management at the Universities of Konstanz and Prague with working and research stays in Russia, Brussels, and Ecuador. After her studies she worked as a post-doc scholar and research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. She earned her PhD in political science at the University of Cologne.

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Lucy Swan

Deputy Head of the Unit, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
European Commission
Lucy Swan
  • Lucy Swan

    Lucy Swan is the Deputy Head of the Unit in charge of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions at the European Commission, which deals with the mobility and training of researchers and the development of excellent doctoral programmes. Before that, she was assistant to the Deputy Director General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Since she joined the European Commission in 2004, she has worked in the Directorate General for Environment, the Secretariat General and the cabinet of Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

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Maija Airas

Counsellor of Education, Head of Unit for International Higher Education Cooperation
Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI)
Maija Airas
  • Maija Airas

    Maija Airas (Ms) is Counsellor of Education and Head of Unit for International Higher Education Cooperation at the Finnish National Agency for Education. She has devoted a major part of her professional career to promoting internationalization in Higher Education and her professional interests range from diversity and inclusion in Higher Education to global education and development. Airas holds a master degree in political science from the University of Helsinki.

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Wim Gabriels

Director
Erasmus Student Network (ESN)
Wim Gabriels
  • Wim Gabriels

    Wim Gabriels is the Director of ESN and he has a thorough experience in project management of European-level projects and a deep understanding of the educational landscape in Europe. He has experience in project coordination but also of grant-specific regulations, project reporting, contact with stakeholders outside the partnership and strategic planning. He is also experienced in planning effective communication and dissemination, having a Bachelor in Communication Studies (Communication Science) and a Master in Communication Studies (Media Sociology and Strategic Marketing) from University of Antwerp. Wim has also worked at the International Relations Office of Vrije Universiteit Brussels and he has represented ESN in various other roles, notably as a Board member in the Erasmus Student and Alumni Association. In these last two capacities he has build an extensive knowledge on non-EU projects and programmes in order to build an global awareness of European higher education. Active in the field of Diversity and Inclusion and Community Engagement, Wim strives to make Internationalisation of Education contribute to society.

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