The conference will focus on advancing discussions to accelerate the transition from institution-based care to community-based support (deinstitutionalisation, DI) in the EU member states.
The aim of the conference is also to propose new approaches in the development of the concept and financing of DI and the promotion of human rights, and to support the development of the EU-wide framework of participatory social welfare policies.
A transcript of the conference will be provided in real time through StreamText.
Mektory Innovation Centre
Mektory Innovation Centre, Raja 15, 12618 Tallinn, Estonia
Liz Gosme (moderator)
Director of COFACE Families Europe
Liz Gosme is the director of COFACE Families Europe, a network of 59 platforms across 23 countries promoting the wellbeing, health and security of families and their members in a changing society. She is an EU social policy analyst with 15 years of experience in EU affairs representing the interests of civil society organisations. She has worked extensively with various EU institutions contributing to building a social policy architecture for Europe, monitoring key frameworks such as the EU social open method of coordination, the EU Semester, the European Structural and Investment Funds, EU public procurement legislation, the EU urban agenda, EU-SILC monitoring in preparation of the 2011 population and housing census, and taking part in key stakeholder consultative groups for these different frameworks.
Liz Gosme has also worked with national governments and local authorities from across Europe, supporting the development of effective policies to tackle and prevent homelessness. Today, she directs the Brussels-based COFACE team, which advocates for legislation and policy enabling families and their members to benefit from sufficient financial resources, available quality services and adequate time arrangements in order to live and enjoy their family life in dignity and harmony.
Luk Zelderloo (moderator)
Secretary General of European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)
Luk Zelderloo has been professionally active in the disability sector for more than 30 years. He holds a Master’s degree in management, social science and philosophy. For more than 13 years he was active as manager of a social service for persons with disabilities in Flanders. For the last 20 years, he has been working at the European level in the field. He is one of the founding fathers of EASPD, where he is currently the Secretary General.
Luk Zelderloo is also the president of Job-Link – a service providing vocational training and job coaching for persons with disabilities; he is also the president and board member of Social Services Europe as well as the vice president of the European Federation for Family Employment (EFFE). Luk Zelderloo has extensive knowledge of managing EU funded projects. He has acted as a speaker and organiser of conferences on topics such as: education and employment of persons with disabilities, staff training, state aid, poverty reduction, combating sexual abuse, social policies, capacity-building in EEC and stake-holder cooperation.
Minister for Social Protection of Estonia
Kaia Iva has been the Minister for Social Protection of Estonia since 23 November 2016. She served as member of Estonian Parliament from 2007 to 2015. Kaia Iva was born on 28 April 1964 in Türi (Estonia) and graduated from Nõo Secondary School. She has obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree as a teacher of mathematics and physics from the Pedagogical Institute of Tallinn.
Acting Director on Social Policies of European Commission
Manuela Geleng works for the European Commission, where she is the acting director for social affairs and heads the social investment strategy unit and the refugees taskforce in the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Previously, she was the head of the unit responsible for European Social Fund Policy and Legislation. Prior to that, she worked in the private sector as a management consultant and for the United Nations Development Programme in the United States and Central Africa.
She holds an MSc in financial economics from the University of London and a Master's in public administration and management from the Solvay Business School in Brussels. She completed her postgraduate studies at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. She speaks Italian, German, English, French, Spanish and some Russian.
Member of European Parliament and Co-Chair of the Disability Intergroup
Helga Stevens was the first deaf person in Belgium to receive a law degree (Licentiate in Law) in 1993 from the Catholic University of Leuven and a Master's of Law degree (LL.M) in 1994 from the University of California in Berkeley, USA.
In 1996 Helga Stevens started to work for the European Union of the Deaf on the Sign Languages Project. Later she moved on to become General Secretary and then Director. She was the President of EUD from 2005 until 2007.
She has been a Member of the Flemish Parliament and served as Vice President of the Belgian Senate from 2010 until 2011. In 2014, Helga Stevens won a seat in European Parliament and became a Member of European Parliament. She is also co-chair of the Disability Intergroup in the European Parliament.
Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland (Galway)
Gerard Quinn is a professor of law at the National University of Ireland (Galway) where he directs the Centre for Disability Law and Policy. He co-authored the Quinn/Degener Report in 2002 for the UN OHCHR that helped start the process of the drafting the UN CRPD. His latest report for the UN OHCHR (2013) on EU Strutural Funds and community helped the campaign to include ex ante conditionalities on community living in the Regulations.
Quinn was a former Vice-President of the Council of Europe's Social Rights Committee, a former director of research at the Irish Government's Law Reform Commission and a two term member of the Irish Human Rights Commission. A graduate of Harvard Law School and the Irish Bar, he was awarded three lifetime awards for his work on international disability law (Rehabilitation International, US International Council on Disability and the European Association of Service Providers). He sits on the advisory board of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and his current research interests include theories of personhood, belonging and community living. His first daughter has a disability.
President of the Ontario Assertive Community Treatment Association, Canada
John Maher did his medical training at McMaster University, his psychiatry residency at the University of Ottawa, and he is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has a BA and MA in philosophy, with specialisation in medical ethics.
He has been an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team consulting psychiatrist for 14 years. He previously worked at a busy community hospital doing adult and emergency psychiatry and running a day treatment program for patients with personality disorders. He has provided consultations to transitional youth services, a mental health support court, and a community college student mental health service.
John Maher was the founder and executive director of Camp Trillium and the Trillium Childhood Cancer Support Centre, a founding board member of the Canadian Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, Assistant Director of the National Cancer Control Task Force, Executive Director of Cancer Canada, and founder and Executive Director of Families and Children Experiencing AIDS (FACE AIDS).
He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health (McMaster University), President of the Ontario ACT Association (OAA), and chair of the OAA Technical Advisory Committee.
Deputy Secretary General on Social Policy in the Estonian Ministry of Social Welfare
Rait Kuuse has been working in the probation and penitentiary service of Estonia since 1999, he started his career as a probation officer before moving in 2001 to the post of the head of the probation department in the Ministry of Justice. He worked in a number of leading posts until he was appointed to the position of the governor of Tallinn Prison in 2012.
Since spring 2014, he has been working as a deputy secretary general on social policy in the Ministry of Social Welfare. His field of responsibility is the overall coordination of the country’s social policy and its agenda setting. More specifically, under his direct supervision are the issues of social insurance, social welfare services, child and family benefits and policy, equality policies. Rait Kuuse is currently a member of the Social Protection Committee.
He has completed his BA in social work, graduated from an MBA programme on European studies at Tartu University and is currently active in a doctoral studies programme in the University of Tallinn on the subject of deinstitutionalisation.
Head of Unit at European Commission
Emmanuelle Grange joined the European Commission in 1995. She has been in charge of the unit responsible for the internal policy for equal opportunities and non-discrimination within the Directorate-General for Human Resources and Security from 2005 to 2009. She was later appointed responsible for the strategy and management of human resources at the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. She became the head of the Disability and Inclusion Unit on 1 November 2015.
Emmanuelle Grange studied political science in Strasbourg and holds an MA in European political and administrative studies from the College of Europe.
Chair of the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations
Gunta Anča has been a proactive disability rights activist throughout her career. Since 2002, she has been the chair of the Latvian Umbrella Body for Disability Organisations. She is the secretary of the European Disability Forum, and a board member since 2005. She’s active in promoting gender equality not only in the EDF Women’s Committee, but also as a board member of the European Women’s Lobby. Since 2006, she has been a member of the European Economic and Social Committee. Since 2008, she has been an advisor in the Disability Rights Fund.
Director of Eurochild
Jana Hainsworth joined Eurochild as Secretary General in January 2006. She is responsible for the day-to-day running of the network, which brings together over 170 organisations and individuals from across Europe to promote the rights and welfare of children. Jana Hainsworth also managed a network of organisations promoting long-term voluntary service in the youth field and has worked for several years in a research and consultancy firm on different technical assistance contracts for the European Commission.
President of AGE Platform Europe
Ebbe Johansen lives in Denmark and had a career in IBM. Before this he was in Zanzibar for two years for DANIDA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), establishing a new engineering education at Mbweni technical college. After retirement, he has been engaged in voluntary work with DaneAge, and serves as the Vice President. DaneAge is an NGO organization with 130 employees, 18 000 volunteers in 215 departments, and 780 000 individual members.
Johansen represents DaneAge in the AGE Platform Europe, and was elected President of AGE in June 2017.
President of EASPD
James Crowe is the President of EASPD. It has over 130 direct members, over 15 000 organisations across 33 European countries and seeks high-quality services that promote full participation and inclusion in society for all persons with disabilities.
Crowe is a former director of Learning Disability Wales, an umbrella body, with 30 years’ service. Before that he worked for 8 years in England with the Citizens Advice Bureaux organisation, developing welfare rights and debt counselling services. James Crowe has been a school governor, and a trustee of an adoption agency, a supported living support provider, a children’s umbrella organisation, and a supported employment agency.
Crowe represents EASPD on the European Commission High Level Group on Disability. He has served on many governmental committees in Wales. He is a passionate advocate for ensuring that disabled people have greater control and voice over the key decisions in their life.
Head of Department at European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos is the head of the department of Equality and Citizens’ Rights at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). His areas of expertise include equality and non-discrimination, social inclusion, hate crime, and child rights.
He studied social science in the United Kingdom and since 1983 has worked in academic institutions, where he lectured and conducted quantitative and qualitative social research. In parallel, during the 1990s he worked in local and regional government. Later he also coordinated national and transnational research projects. Since 2003, when he started working for the Agency, he has been responsible for several of its major publications and contributed extensively to a number of policy documents.
Project Manager at European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
Martha Stickings works as a researcher managing projects in the Equality Sector of the Agency’s Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department. Her areas of expertise with respect to the FRA’s work include: the rights of persons with disabilities, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, non-discrimination, fundamental rights indicators, and social research and analysis.
She studied politics and sociology and holds an MA in international studies, with a focus on the EU.
Chair of the EEG
Jan Pfeiffer is a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and supervisor with more than 35 years of experience in the field of mental health care. He worked in hospital settings as well, in various types of community based services, including an assertive outreach team in the UK. He was a co-founder of Fokus, and the the first director of the Centre for Mental Health Care Development.
He has been long term advisor to the Ministry of Health, the coordinator of the first Mental Health Policy after change off political regime in the Czech Republic. He was chair of the Mental Disability Advocacy Center, a member of the CPT Committee of the Council of Europe, the long-term chair of the EEG (European Expert Group on Transition of Institutional to Community Based Care). He worked for the international organisation Lumos in the field of deinstitutionalisation of services for children in the European region. As an adviser, he worked for the United Nations Office of the Supreme Commissioner for Human Rights. As an expert on deinstitutionalisation processes - community service development has been working on longer-term national projects in a number of European countries in cooperation with the WHO, the Global Initiative on Psychiatry, the European Commission, the Czech Development Agency.
He is a consultant to Mental Health Europe, International Mental Health Network. He is currently working as a guarantor and methodologist of the pilot development project of the Center for Mental Health in the Czech Republic.
For his activities in the area of mental rights protection, he was named European Hero of the Year in 2004 by the Times magazine.
Senior Advisor of The European Network on Independent Living
Jamie Bolling is the senior advisor of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL). She was a member of the European Fundamental Rights Platform’s Advisory Panel in 2010-2014. Jamie Bolling has a Master's degree in social anthropology and work experience in disability research, international development cooperation as well as other areas concerning disability issues.
Combining her experience in politics as a county counselor and from different appointments at local, regional, national and EU level, with her vast knowledge of the international disability movement Jamie Bolling works for progress in independent living issues and disability hate crime.
Xamuel Gonzalez Westling
Vice president of the Municipal Board of Hofors, Sweden
Xamuel Gonzalez Westling is the vice president of the municipal board of Hofors, Sweden. He is also a rapporteur on deinstitutionalisation of healthcare systems for the committee of regions.
Managing Director of the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People
Anneli Habicht is the managing director of the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People, the Estonian umbrella group for 48 organisations. The topic of DI and user involvement is among the Chamber's priorities as one of the main presumptions for social inclusion.
Being the parent of a youngster with an intellectual disability has led Anneli Habicht to respect the decision-making ability of service users and to value social inclusion as the obvious part of contemporary society.
Coordinator at Estonian Psychosocial Rehabilitation Association
Külli Mäe values the opportunity to apply creativity and innovation, therefore, she chose to set up the first school working on the recovery college model in Estonia. Külli Mäe does her best to ensure that the programs offered by the school provide students with the hope that personal recovery is truly possible and an inclusive reality. Based on her personal experience, she can give examples of how to find internal power resources, to really be present and focused, and take responsibility for your life.
Deputy Chair of the Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Estonia
Monika Haukanõmm is a Member of the Parliament of Estonia and the deputy chair of the Social Affairs Committee and member of the Study Committee to solve the demographic crisis. The Social Affairs Committee is a committee that deals with draft legislation regulating labour, social welfare, social insurance and health care. She is also a Chair of the Board of the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People.
Monika Haukanõmm graduated from the department of social work at the University of Tartu. She has been involved with the topic of persons with disabilities on different levels all her working life – she has worked with clients on the local government level, shaped policy for persons with disabilities at the Ministry of Social Affairs, represented Estonia on an international level, and is currently involved with non-governmental organisations.
Campaign Coordinator at European Network on Independent Living
Nataša Kokić, the campaign coordinator at ENIL (European Network on Independent Living) coordinates the 'EU Funds For Our Rights' campaign. She has been working in the social inclusion and employment policies field for the past 9 years and has managed several projects/programmes in the Western Balkan Region in the field of social inclusion, employment and education. Nataša Kokić has a university degree in French and Italian language and literature, a Master's degree in European studies and and advanced Master's degree in Human Rights. She spent past 20 years as a human rights activist.
Policy and Advocacy Officer at COFACE
Magdi Birtha earned her PhD at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway in 2015. Her research focused on the implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the national and EU level. In prior to that, Magdi Birtha held a variety of positions in the field of human rights, ranging from academic research fellow to project manager. In the past 9 years, she has developed expertise in several areas, including deinstitutionalisation and social policy. She holds a Master's degree in Sociology from ELTE University in Budapest. Magdi is currently working as policy and advocacy officer at COFACE-Families Europe.
President of Inclusion Europe
Executive Director of Inclusion Europe
Chief of Cabinet of the Minister for Health Right, Welfare and Health and Social Care Integration, Tuscany Region
Marco Brintazzoli is currently the chief of cabinet of the Minister for Health Right, Welfare and Health and Social Care Integration in the Tuscany Region. Prevoiusly, he was the deputy director and the director of procurement of goods and services at the Florence Local Health Authority (LHA).
Brintazzoli has a Bachelor of Law from the University of Florence
CEO of AS Hoolekandeteenused
Maarjo Mändmaa is CEO of AS Hoolekandeteenused, a state-owned company that provides social welfare services to more than 2 200 people with mental health disabilities. Since 2007 Mändmaa and his team have deinstitutionalised care homes and transformed them to service networks within communities - networks that encourage their clients to live a more active way of life. His career includes posts as the head of the public sector and Social Innovation Task Force at the Government Office, Secretary General of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, and voluntary work for the people’s movement of Friendly Estonia.
Associate Population Affairs Officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Lisa Warth is an associate population affairs officer at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe where her work focuses on policy responses to population ageing. Prior to joining UNECE’s Population Unit in January 2017, she worked at the World Health Organisation’s Ageing and Life Course Department where she coordinated the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities. She holds a doctorate in social policy from the London School of Economics.
Acting Head of Europe for Lumos
Irina Malanciuc is the head of Europe at Lumos. She started her career as a paediatrician, then worked at the Institute of Mother and Child Healthcare, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova, and UNICEF. She was involved in national and international projects regarding residential child care system reform in Moldova, as well as in other former soviet countries, supporting governments in evaluating residential institutions and contributing to strategic planning on DI. At Lumos, she coordinates the activity of country programmes from the European region, promoting children’s rights and welfare.
Borja Arrue Astrain
Policy Officer at AGE Platform
Borja Arrue Astrain is the project and policy officer at AGE Platform Europe, the European NGO and network of organisations that advocate for the rights and wellbeing of older people in Europe. Borja Arrue Astrain gained experience in social policy at the European Social Observatory (OSE) and the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission. He joined AGE in 2014, where he is responsible for the advocacy work on access to quality long-term care for older people and the fight against elder abuse.
Director of FEANTSA
Freek Spinnewijn is the director of FEANTSA. FEANTSA is the European umbrella of NGOs working with homeless people. FEANTSA has member organisations in 30 European countries. As one of its priority topics FEANTSA works on institutional discharge and promotes deinstitutionalisation as a necessary element of effective homelessness policies.
Freek Spinnewijn studied medieval history and European law and policy at the University of Leuven (BE). After some short work placements at the UN in Geneva and the EU in Brussels, he became director of EPSO, a European network of seniors’ organisations. In 2001, Freek Spinnewijn took up his current position of director of FEANTSA. Freek sits on board of several European organisations such as the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), and Social Services Europe.
Lecturer at Tallinn University
Zsolt Bugarszki is a Hungarian social worker and social policy expert who has been living and working in Estonia since September 2013. His main field is mental health and disability care and over the last 20 years he has been dealing with the process of deinstitutionalisation in Eastern Europe and in the post-Soviet countries.
He has been working in different countries in this region promoting person-centred community-based services as an alternative to large institutions. Being aware of the limited resources of middle-and low income countries, he is continuously seeking for innovative, creative models that can be implemented in a challenging economic and social situation.
Jean Pierre Wilken
Jean Pierre Wilken is a social scientist and health psychologist. His research areas include integrated approaches to social work and healthcare, disability studies, and methods of practice-based research. Since 2002 he has been working in the Research Centre for Social Innovation at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. His focus is on participation, care and support for persons in vulnerable positions. Jean Pierre Wilken is involved in a number of research programmes around the changes in the welfare state, and how it affects citizens in vulnerable positions as well as the work of social and health professionals.
Since 2013, he has also connected with Tallinn University, Estonia, as a visiting professor. He is the author of dozens of publications, including those about psychosocial rehabilitation and the participation of persons with mental health problems, transitions in the care sector and community based services.
International Correspondent for Helpific
Ashley Misleh, from the state of Massachusetts in the USA, is the international correspondent for Helpific. She is an active volunteer in local organisations as well as in her community.
Ashley studied marketing at Middlesex Community College and then worked in Hospital Management in Boston. Her passion for Disability Rights advocacy led her to Job Coaching and Employment Development for a non-profit. On her downtime, she loves to explore New England with her husband and two young children.
COFACE member from Lisbon, Fundação LIGA
Gonçalo Solla has a degree in business administration from Universidade Católica, Lisbon, and started his career in multinational environments, in leading companies from various sectors, including FMCG, insurance, consulting and pharma. He joined Fundação LIGA in 2012, one of the most prominent Portuguese NGO’s, where he has successfully led a turnaround process, with emphasis in strategic planning, project optimisation, cost reduction and on the implementation of a detailed financial reporting system.
Geof Cox has been involved in social enterprise for over 30 years, and for the last 20 years has worked as a freelance social enterprise developer and an associate of a number of top social enterprise consultancies, including international development organisations such as Social Enterprise International. He is also an associate member of the UK National Development Team for Inclusion and the British Council Global Social Enterprise Programme.
Cox is a specialist in organisational change and restructuring, especially around the start or expansion of trading activities by public or voluntary sector bodies.
Cox is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and RSA Connector for France, a master of arts (MA, Keele, 1982), a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a BAHons from Nottingham.
Deputy Secretary General at the Ministry of Social Affairs in Estonia
Ain Aaviksoo oversees the digital transformation and innovation of social security area in Estonia, including health, labour and social matters. Ain Aaviksoo currently chairs the mHealth working group of the European Commission's eHealth Network. He lectures at Tallinn University of Technology and the Medical Faculty of University of Tartu.
Aaviksoo obtained his MD from the University of Tartu and his MPH from Harvard University. He has earlier work experience as a physician, senior level civil servant, international level consultant on large system transformation and technology adoption in healthcare, health policy researcher and CEO of public policy think tank Praxis, and health-tech entrepreneur. Ain Aaviksoo has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles and contributed into several book chapters on health policy and e-health, he is also a regularly invited keynote speaker on e-services and e-society at international healthcare or public policy events.
Board Member at the Estonian Association of Blind People
Jakob Rosin is a Board Member at the Estonian Association of Blind People, concentrating mainly on ICT accessibility. As a technology journalist, he also constantly keeps himself up to date with latest technologies and developments.
He also works as a radio DJ in Estonian Public Broadcasting, hosting the Breakfast show on Fridays.
Josef Hilbert is a sociologist and honorary professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany). He is the head of Institute Work and Technolgy (IAT) at the University of Applied Sciences in Gelsenkirchen (Germany) and its research department 'Health Industries and Quality of Life'. Hilbert's research fields include innovation eco-systems in health and care industries, working conditions in health and care industries, ICT use in health and care industries, and the Silver Economy.
Chief Executive Officer at SENTAB
Tarmo Pihl is the co-founder and CEO of Sentab, an entertainment, connectivity and digital therapeutics platform for older adults. He started his career as a high-tech innovation consultant and has been working with high tech companies ever since. He has an MSc from the University of Tartu, where he majored in finance and international economics. Tarmo Pihl is a co-founder of innovation consulting company Invent Baltics and Modesat Communications OÜ, a technology based company focused on developing and commercialising world leading communication solutions for wireless backhaul applications. After the acquisition of Modesat by Xilinx Inc (NASDAQ: XLNX), Tarmo Pihl has been working in Xilinx as a Director for Marketing. In 2015, he joined Sentab full time as the CEO.
Loris Di Pietrantonio
Head of Unit at the European Commission
Loris Di Pietrantonio is currently the Head of Unit for the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD): Policy and Legislation. The unit promotes the ESF, the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) and FEAD as effective instruments for the delivery of a critical mass of investments to cope with key employment and social challenges.
He was previously the deputy head of the unit dealing with employment and social aspects of European economic governance, focusing on economic policy coordination through the European Semester cycle as well as the design and implementation of employment policies. In the past he has also been involved with design of policies, evaluations and impact assessments in the areas of information technologies addressing societal challenges and digital inclusion.
Loris Di Pietrantonio holds an MA in European economics from the College of Europe, Bruges Belgium, an MA on energy management from BI Norwegian School of Management and ESCP-Europe (France) and a degree in international relations with a specialisation in economics from the University of Trieste.
Expert for the ESF Thematic Network on Inclusion
Fintan Farrell has been involved in the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) since its inception in 1990. He has had various roles in the network, including president, policy officer and director. At present, his main work for EAPN is as a project manager for the European Minimum Income Network (EMIN), which aims at the progressive realisation of the right to adequate and accessible minimum income schemes throughout Europe. Fintan Farrell is also the thematic expert on inclusion for the ESF Transnational Platform where he works with national managing authorities and other stakeholders to generate knowledge and expertise on using the 20% ESF funds earmarked for social inclusion.
Farrell was previously the president of the Platform of European Social NGOs (Social Platform). From 1995 to end 2001, he was the director of the Irish Traveller Movement, an organisation defending the human rights of Irish Travellers. During this period Fintan was part of the team that represented the Irish Community Voluntary Sector in the National Social Partnership arrangements.
Farrell is a great believer in participation and has contributed to the development of this practice, which seeks to empower people experiencing poverty and social exclusion.
Social Policy Officer at Mental Health Europe
Laura Marchetti is a policy officer and project assistant at Mental Health Europe (MHE), where she works on social policies, employment, work-life balance and the transition to community-based care.
Laura has been working in the field of human rights at European and international levels throughout her career. More specifically she has focused on the rights of persons with disabilities, children’s rights, deinstitutionalisation, economic and social rights.
Laura is also the coordinator of the European Expert Group on the Transition from Institutional to Community-based Care (EEG), a broad coalition gathering stakeholders representing people with care or support needs and their families, including children, people with disabilities, homeless people, people experiencing mental health problems; as well as service providers, public authorities and intergovernmental organisations.
Expert on inclusion of people with disabilities at PES Network
With a background in social sciences and communication science, Karen Warson has worked at the Flemish PES (VDAB) for 20 years. She has been active in different areas of the employment service of which the last five years as an expert on increasing employment for persons with disabilities and achieving an inclusive labour market. She strongly beliefs in cooperating with private partners and stakeholders and using the model of supported employment to achieve inclusive employment for all.
Senior Scientist at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre
Gianluca Misuraca is a senior scientist at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre where he has been conducting research in the area of ICTs for governance and social inclusion since 2009. He is currently leading the research on ICT-enabled Social Innovation to support the Social Investment Package (IESI) in collaboration with DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.
Before joining the European Commission, Misuraca was the managing director of the Executive Master in eGovernance at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). During his career he held several positions as policy advisor for different international organisations, cooperation agencies and consulting in the area of eGovernment, regional development, research and innovation.
Misuraca's background is economics with focus on the interface between ICTs and public sector innovation. He holds a diploma of specialisation in EU economics and law, a diploma in security management, an executive masters in eGovernance and a PhD in the management of technology.
Adviser at the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs
Gerli Aavik is an adviser for the Social Welfare Department in the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, focusing on the protection of the rights of people with disability and developing person-centred services. She is also active in academia, and is currently doing a PhD in innovation and governance, looking into ways how ICT and smart governing can be used to increase efficiency in the public sector. The co-creation of public services has been an important element of both her academic research and practical work.
Director at DG EMPL of European Commission
Andriana Sukova-Tosheva is an economist with a long experience in the public sector (more than 15 years, from researcher to a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture) as well as in the NGO sector (five years) and business management (chairperson of the board of directors of a big foreign company).
After Bulgaria's accession to the EU, Sukova-Tosheva joined the Cabinet of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva. In August 2010 she was appointed as the Director in DG EMPL where she is currently in charge of all funds in the DG – ESF, FEAD, EaSI and EGF.
Sukova-Tosheva has numerous post-graduate trainings in the UK, Italy, Japan and USA.