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Cittàmetropolitana di Torino



Piero Fassino

Mayor of the City Torino and President of the Metropolitan City of Torino


Piero Fassino has served as Mayor of Turin since May 2011.
After earning a degree in political science he was first elected Councillor in the City of  Turin in 1975, and then Councillor in the Province of Turin in 1980.
Piero Fassino boasts an extensive political career characterized by several prestigious posts at both the national and international level:Member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies (from 1994 to 2011); Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs during the Prodi Government (1996-1998); Minister of Foreign Trade during the D’Alema Government (1998-2000); Minister of Justice during the Amato Government (2000-2001); Secretary General of the DS party - Democrats of the Left (2001-2007) and Head of the Foreign Affairs Forum of the Italian Democratic Party; European Union Special Envoy for Burma/Myanmar (2007-2011), the work done by Mr. Fassino played a decisive role in the democratic transition of the Country; Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Shadow Government led by the opposition parties during the Berlusconi Government (2007-2010); President of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (since 2013).
Mr. Piero Fassino is a renowned specialist in foreign and European affairs and an essayist and writer on politics, economics and social issues.
He is assiduously engaged in promoting the international image of Turin: first capital of Italy in 1861, manufacturing centre for a large part of the XX century and nowadays a city well-known for its industry, finance, higher education and culture.

Alfred Bosch

Vice President of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona


Alfred Bosch i Pascual has served as Vice-President for International Affairs and Cooperation for the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) since June 2015. He is also Councillor and the Chairman of the ERC municipal group at the Barcelona City Council.
Prior to assuming metropolitan leadership Mr Bosch was a Member of the Spanish Parliament where, between 2011 and 2015, he headed the ERC group. Throughout his time as a congressman, he was member of the Constitutional Commission during the 10th legislature of the Spanish Congress, as well as rapporteur of the Law for Transparency.
In 2011 Mr Bosch was the spokesperson for the platform Barcelona Decides, which organized the public consultation on the independence of Catalonia on 10 April 2011. Previously he worked on the preparation of the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games, including  for the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Organising Committee.
He is a Doctor in History and has been Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), as well as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago (US), University of London (UK), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa) and at Hood College in Washington (US). 
Mr. Bosch is also a novelist and essay writer, with several publications focused on Africa and Europe, and publishes articles across various media outlets.

Michael Parkinson

Professor at University of Liverpool


Michael is Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for civic engagement at the University of Liverpool. He is also Executive Director of its Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice. Michael  has acted as adviser on urban affairs to the European Commission, the European Parliament, OECD, EUROCITIES, the Department of Communities and Local Government, the National Audit Office, the House of Commons Select Committees, the Core Cities and a range of cities in the UK and Europe.  He is currently a Board member of the Prime Ministers Regeneration Investment Organisation, a Trustee of the Centre for Cities and of Alternative Futures Group. He was recently a member of the ESRC’s Expert Group on cities. He has generated over £8m in research funds to assess the development of cities, urban policy and regeneration in the UK and Europe. He lectures extensively nationally and internationally. He is a regular contributor to the media. He was made Commander of the British Empire for services to urban regeneration in 2007.
Michael produced for the ESRC a major report UK City Regions in the Boom and Recession (2014) and for the European Commission Second Tier Cities in Europe: In an Age of Austerity Why Invest beyond the Capitals? (2012) He completed in 2010 a major study of the impact of the recession The Credit Crunch, Recession, Regeneration, and the NorthThis updated his original report to government in 2009 The Credit Crunch and Regeneration: Impact and Implications.  He produced the State of the English Cities Report in 2006for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister - the authoritative analysis of cities in Britain. He led CLG’s expert panel on Regeneration and Economic Development Analysis until 2010.  He was Director of the ESRC’s Programme on CITIES: Cohesion and Competitiveness, a major five-year research programme involving 25 Universities. 

Rudiger Ahrend



Dr. Rudiger Ahrend is Head of the Urban Programme in the OECD’s Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development. In this capacity, he oversees numerous urban projects on metropolitan development and governance, urban productivity, land use, housing, green growth, urban transportation and national urban policies.
He has also overseen numerous reviews and case studies of major metropolitan agglomerations and is the primary author of The Metropolitan Century: Understanding Urbanisation and its Consequences. As Head of the Urban Programme Dr. Ahrend is also in charge of the OECD Working Party on Urban Policies, as well as the OECD Roundtable of Mayors and Ministers.
Having joined the OECD as an official in 2002, Dr. Ahrend first worked as a Senior Economist in the OECD’s Economic Department. Prior to joining OECD, he worked as a researcher and independent consultant. In addition to his work on OECD countries he has conducted extensive research on Russia and other emerging economies. In addition to his OECD work, Dr. Ahrend has published widely in both academic journals and newspapers.
Rudiger Ahrend holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics as well as degrees in Social Sciences and Mathematics from the University of Göttingen, Paris-IX Dauphine, and the Sorbonne.

Annette Solli

County Mayor of Akershus


Anette Solli is the Mayor of Akershus County representing the Conservative party. Solli is a veteran when it comes to regional politics, having been first elected to the County Council in 1991. Since then she has served in all the Standing Committees under the County Council. Solli has also worked as a political advisor for the Conservative party in the Parliament.
As County Mayor, Solli is the highest political leader in Akershus (the county surrounding the capital of Oslo), representing a region with close to 600 000 citizens. The County Council of Akershus is responsible for areas such as upper secondary education and transport, and Solli is committed to making the region a frontrunner of environmental policy. The City of Oslo and Akershus County Council are jointly working towards the reduction of CO2 emissions in the capital region by 50 per cent of the 1990 levels by 2030.
Solli was elected County Mayor of Akershus in 2013 and was re-elected in 2015 for an additional term through 2019. 

Hanna Elise Marcussen

Vice Mayor of the City of Oslo


Hanna Elise Marcussen is the Vice Mayor for Urban Development in the City of Oslo, a position she has held since October 2015. She represents the Norwegian Green Party for which she served as the national co-chair  from 2008 to 2014 and was the party’s first candidate for Oslo during the national parliamentary elections in 2009. During her time as spokeswoman the party grew from about 200 members to 7000. From being a marginal party represented in a few cities, the green party has now become a nationwide party with one representative in parliament and about 300 local government representatives.
After having completed the maximum allowed period as national party co-chair, Hanna worked in the private sector in 2014 as the manager of the Oslo based consultancy firm Bergfald Environmental Advisors. She re- entered the political stage this autumn and was central in the post-electoral negotiations with the Oslo Social Democrats and Socialist Left Party which concluded with a new political platform in Oslo. The new political leadership in Oslo prioritises climate and environmental issues, as well as housing, welfare services and traffic reduction.
Marcussen is a qualified archeologist from the University of Oslo, and has contributed to the excavations of Oslo’s new harbour front development, Bjørvika.

Gábor Bagdy

Deputy Mayor of the City of Budapest


Gábor Bagdy graduated in Economics from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences in 1982, and became a Certified Property Expert at Nottingham Trent University in 2004. He earned a Ph.D in Economics in 1986 at the Budapest University of Economics. He began his career as a scientific researcher at the Economic Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. After the end of communism he became cabinet secretary, then deputy state secretary at the Ministry of Social Services.
A member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Dr. Bagdy went on to work in leadership roles in the banking and real estate sectors in international companies. Since 2002, Dr. Bagdy has been a member of the General Assembly of the Municipality of Budapest. Between 2006 and 2010, he was the floor leader of the Budapest section of the Christian Democrat People’s Party (KDNP), and co-president of the Fidesz-KDNP coalition. In 2010, Dr. Bagdy was also elected national vice-president of the Christian Democratic People’s Party. Elected on the regional list of the Fidesz-KDNP coalition heserved as a member of the Parliament of Hungary from 2010-2014.
In October 2010, Dr. Bagdy was appointed Deputy Mayor of Finance by István Tarlós, Mayor of Budapest and in October of 2014 Dr. Bagdy became a member of the General Assembly of Budapest for the fourth time and was re-appointed  Deputy Mayor of Finance for a second term.

Hélder de Sousa Silva

Vice-president of the Lisbon Metropolitan Area


Hélder de Sousa Silva is Vice-Chairman of the Metropolitan Council of Lisbon and Mayor of the Municipality of Mafra.
Born in Mafra, Hélder Sousa Silva graduated in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, the largest and most reputable school of Engineering, Science and Technology and Architecture in Portugal. He also obtained a degree in Military Sciences, transmissions branch, from the Military Academy. He continued to pursue his studies, obtaining a MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, also from the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.
He is currently a PhD student in Strategic Studies at the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (ISCSP), Universidade Técnica de Lisboa.
Hélder Sousa Silva was member of the Portuguese Parliament for the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Group during the XII Legislature as well as being Member of the Municipal Council of Mafra. As council member he established the Advanced Centre for Forest Defence against Fires, whose integrated model was then replicated by the Municipal Centre for Civil Protection. He also promoted the creation of the Grouping of Humanitarian Associations of the Municipality of Mafra, the first such association at a national level. Meanwhile,  he envisioned and led the application process that culminated in the attribution of the "World Surfing Reserve" award to Ericeira, the first in Europe and second in the World.
He has vast experience as Director of Technical Services of the National Service for Fire and Civil Protection, Army Officer, university lecturer and representative in various public and private entities. His areas of interest are politics, security, safety and civil protection, tourism, as well as information technology and telecommunications.

Jean-Yves Sécheresse

Deputy Mayor of the City of Lyon and Councillor of the Metropolitan Area of Lyon


From 2008 to 2014, during Mayor Gérard Collomb’s second term, Jean-Yves Sécheresse served as Vice President of Greater Lyon for Metropolitan Strategy. One of Mr. Sécheresse’s biggest successes as Deputy Mayor was the implementation of a cooperative program with the neighboring cities of Saint-Etienne, Bourgoin Jallieu and Vienne, which led to the creation of Pole Métropolitain.
Currently Third Deputy Mayor of Lyon for Public Order and Safety and President of the Departmental and Metropolitan Fire and Rescue Service, which counts 6,000 firemen and 116 firehouses, Jean-Yves Sécheresse continues to be an active participant in the implementation of the Lyon Métropole territorial strategy.
He is the Deputy President of SCOT, the Territorial Coherence Plan for the Lyon urban agglomeration, and a member of the Supervisory Board of the National Federation of SCOT Territories. He also represents Lyon Métropole President Gérard Collomb for relations with the metropolitan area.
Since 2001, Jean-Yves Sécheresse has been President of the Socialist Group in the Lyon Municipal Council and President of Halle Tony Garnier, the city's main event venue.

Pierre Mansat

Head of Metropolitan issues at Grand Paris, City of Paris


Pierre Mansat, a union and political activist, worked at La Poste (postal sorting centre at Saint Lazare railway station) from 1974-1989. In 1995 he was elected to the Paris City Council where he served three consecutive terms as Councillor. From 2001 to 2014 he was Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of the relationship with the authorities of the Paris Metropole.
Initiator of the Metropolitan Conference (2006) and of Paris Metropole (2009) Mr Mansat was Vice-President of the Paris Planning Agency and president of the CAUE 75 (Environment, Architecture and Urban Planning Council). In 2011 he became president of the Greater Paris International Workshop and was re-elected in 2014.
In 2014 Mr Mansat was appointed Inspector General of the City of Paris in charge of a mission on the Greater Paris Metropolis for the Mayor of Paris.
Mr Mansat holds a Master’s degree in public management from the Paris Institute of Political Studies and has been an auditor of the IHEDATE (Territorial Development Institute).
Pierre Mansat is Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor.

Eugenio Comincini

Vice Mayor of the Metropolitan City of Milano


From 2002 to 2007 Mr Comincini was Municipal Councillor in Cernusco sul Naviglio and was elected President of the Permanent Council Commission on Social Services. He was Provincial Councillor of Milan from 2007-2009 and since June 2007 has served as Mayor of Cernusco sul Naviglio.
As Mayor Mr Comincini has been a member of the Democratic Party’s provincial and national directorates and is a member of the Regional and National Executive of ANCI - Association of Italian Municipalities. Since February 2010, he has been President of Legautonomie in Lombardy, an association of municipalities, provinces, regions, and mountain communities committed to the enhancement of local and regional administrations.
Since June 2013 Mr Comincini has been a member of the Strategic Policy Committee of CAP Holding, a Consortium for potable water and since June 2014 he has been the President of the Committee. In September 2014 he was elected to the Metropolitan Council of the Metropolitan City of Milan and has served as Vice Mayor of the Metropolitan City since.
In 1995 he obtained the Diploma of European Union Studies at the University of Toulouse, France. In 1996, he graduated in Political Sciences at the Catholic University of Milan and in 2005 he obtained a Master in management of non-profit organisations and social enterprises from the Bocconi University in Milan.

Nicolaas Beets

Dutch Urban Envoy, Dutch Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Affairs


Mr Nicolaas Beets has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Delft (1979). He is a career diplomat in the Dutch Foreign Service. He began his career as a junior diplomat at the Dutch embassies in Sudan, Indonesia and Suriname.
From 1995 - 2000 Mr Beets worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Head of the Taskforce for EU Enlargement (1995-2000).
After 2000 he was appointed as the Dutch Ambassador to EU Member States Finland (2008-2012) and Latvia (2000-2004). In addition, he has been Ambassador to Kuwait (2012-2015) and Saudi-Arabia (2004-2008).
From October 2015 the Dutch Minister of the Interior has appointed Mr Beets as the Dutch Urban Envoy. One of his tasks is to work on the EU Urban Agenda and the shaping of the ‘Pact of Amsterdam’. This will be the main subject at the informal ministerial Meeting on Urban Development in Amsterdam on May 30th, 2016.

Marco Cremaschi

Professor at Sciences Po, Paris


Marco Cremaschi, an internationally renowned expert in Urban Policies, is professor of Urban Planning and the director of the Master in Urban Planning and Design at the Urban School, SciencesPo, Paris. Former director of the Master in Urban Design at the University Rome Tre, he is a member of the PhD program at the Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI Aquila) and of the IUAV at the Université de Venise. He has been at the IFU Paris, post-doc at IUAV Venice, Marie Curie at UCL, Fulbright scholar at Pittsburgh University, national representative in UN Habitat: Istanbul+5 in New York in 2011 and visiting professor at several universities.
His research focuses on a comparative approach to large urban projects in different countries. Of late, he has been working on the changing spatial organization of European cities and  consequent impacts on urban policies. Recent work includes: Immigrants in small Italian municipalities: the implication for policies of the crisis (funded by Horizon 2020).
He is the president of Planum (, and the Scientific coordinator of Urban@it. His latest publications include: Will this be the century of the city? Let’s not miss it again, 2014; and Changing Places, 2011.

Nicola Schelling

Director of Stuttgart Region and President of Metrex


Dr. Nicola Schelling is Regional Director of Verband Region Stuttgart and President of Metrex, the Network of European Metropolitan Regions.
Prior to this Dr. Schelling was Head of the Baden-Wurttemberg State Representation to the European Union in Brussels and was responsible for European Policy as well as cross-border and interregional activities in the State Ministry of Baden-Wurttemberg.
The Verband Region Stuttgart is responsible for regional planning, public transport and the promotion of economic development in the Stuttgart region. In addition it fosters culture, sports, tourism and trade fairs.

Christian Tordo

Deputy Mayor of the City of Nice


Mr. Christian Tordo, a graduate of the HEC business School of Paris with a long and successful career in the private sector,  has been Deputy Mayor in charge of Finance and Economy for the City of Nice and Vice President of the Nice Cote D’Azur (NCA) Metropolis in charge of Economic Development since 2008.
In April 2014, as Deputy Mayor his responsibilities included Economic Development, Employment, Industry and Digital Innovation for both the city of Nice and the NCA Metropolis.  In February 2015 he was also put in charge of Urbanism and Real Estate Development.
In addition to serving as Deputy Mayor Mr. Tordo is the President of the board of the EPA-EcoValley sustainable development project.  He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for NCA and a member of the supervisory board of the Cote d’Azur Savings Bank (CECAZ).
Mr. Tordo’s built his early career  working with Texas Instruments and his roles included financial responsibilities for the company’s European organization and serving as General Manager of its French subsidiary from 1994 to 2013.

Michal Olszewski

Deputy Mayor of the City of Warsaw


Mr Olszewski graduated in journalism and political science at the University of Warsaw and has served the City of Warsaw since 2007 as Director of the EU Funds Department and Director of the Investment Service Department. In 2011 appointed the Deputy Mayor of Warsaw. As Deputy Mayor responsible for the development strategy of Warsaw he supervises European funds, economic development, housing, environmental protection, waste management, and infrastructure.
From 2007-2015 Mr Olszewski chaired the Committee of EU Policy and International Cooperation of the Association of Polish Cities and since 2012 has co-chaired the Taskforce for Functional City and metropolitan Functional Areas of the Joint Commission of Government and Local Authorities. Since 2012 he has served as Chair of the Steering Committee of Integrated Territorial Investments of the Warsaw Metropolis.
He began his career in 1997 at the Office of the Committee for European Integration, being responsible for strengthening the potential of local authorities for European integration and EU funds absorption. Later at the Ministry of Economy and Labour, and then at the Ministry of Regional Development he was in charge of strengthening the absorption abilities of local authorities.
Mr. Olszewski is currently the Chair of the Warsaw Council for Innovation Policy and represents the EUROCITIES association at the European Commission High Level Group for Smart Cities. In 2015 he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit by the President of the Republic of Poland  as well as the  Medal of Honour for Services for the Territorial Self-Government by the Minister of Administration and Digitalization.

Raffaele Cattaneo

Member of the Committee of the Regions and President of the Regional Council of Lombardy


Raffaele Cattaneo graduated in Economics and Business at the Cattolica University of Milan and went on to work at the Milan Chamber of Commerce from 1988 to 1995, first as Head of Cabinet under President Piero Bassetti and then as an Executive. From 1990 to 1995 he was Budget Councillor for the Christian Democratic party in the Municipality of Induno Olona in the province of Varese. In 1995 Mr Cattaneo became one of the closest advisors to Governor of Lombardy Roberto Formigoni’s cabinet and, from 1995 to 2000, was responsible for strategic planning for the administration. In 2000 he was appointed General Vice Secretary of Lombardy’s Regional Council.
In 2005 Mr Cattaneo was elected Regional Councillor and appointed Under Secretary to the Presidency in charge of the implementation of the regional government programme. In July 2006 he was appointed Councillor for Infrastructure and Mobility of the Region of Lombardy, a post which he held through 2013 when he was re-elected and became the President of the Regional Council of Lombardy.
Since June 2014 Mr Cattaneo has been a permanent member of the European Union’s Committee of the Regions and in 2015 he was appointed Chair of the Commission for the Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget (COTER Commission).
In January 2014 he was appointed Coordinator of the Subsidiarity working group of the Conference of the European Regional Legislative Assemblies (CALRE) and has served as President of CALRE since 2015. 

Peter Austin

Planning Advisor and Chair of Eurocities Working Group


Peter Austin is a chartered planner, originally from the UK, where he qualified with an MA in 1986. Austin has lived and worked in Norway since 1988, where he has been a planning advisor in Oslo’s Urban Development department since 2007. most recently  in regional planning and international cooperation in urban development issues.
Previous to his current work, Austin coordinated strategic planning in two Norwegian Counties (Buskerud and Akershus), as well as leading analyses of demography, housing markets and economic development as the basis for strategic plans. In 2001-2007, Austin held consultancy posts for Asplan Viak and PwC respectively. There he led a number of studies, including local government finance in the Oslo region and Norwegian cities, market-issues in the planning system, segregation, Norwegian regions’ international engagement and the Oslo region’s international competitiveness.
Austin is a leading participant on urban planning for Oslo in EUROCITIES and METREX. He is chair of the Working Group for Metropolitan Areas in EUROCITIES, which he helped establish in 2010. This Working Group has about 20 active member-cities and has produced a major output of analysis and policy documents. This network has helped to coordinate the EUROCITIES project “Metropolitan areas in action” (MAIA), and to organise an exchange-learning programme for members between city-regions and countries.
Austin has most recently coordinated policy and analysis for a newly adopted strategic plan for transport and land-use, covering Oslo and its surrounding county of Akershus, being the functional urban area for Norway’s capital.

Enzo Bianco

Mayor of the City of Catania and Chief of the Italian Delegation at the Committee of the Regions


Enzo Bianco boasts a long and distinguished political career at the local, national and European levels. In 1998 Mr. Bianco was elected Mayor of Catania, Sicily’s second largest city, and served three consecutive terms before definitively entering the national arena. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1992 and in 2001, and served as Minister of Internal Affairs from 1999-2001. Mr Bianco headed the Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence (COPACO) in 2001 and was elected to the Senate of the Republic of Italy in 2006 and again in 2008. In 2013 Mr Bianco was once again elected Mayor of Catania and in 2015 he was elected head of the Italian Delegation to the Committee of the Regions of the European Union.
Throughout his career Mr Bianco has held a leadership position in the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI). He was elected President  in 1995 and again in 1999 and 2014, and currently holds the office of President of the National Council.
Mr. Bianco has received numerous honours and awards including the Grand Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany, he was Officer of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic and Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Mr. Bianco graduated in law in 1974 and practiced as a lawyer before joining the research department of CREDIOP from 1978 to 1982. He was Managing Director of a major engineering firm from 1983 to 1988 and also National Secretary of the Republican Youth Federation.

Thomas Hermann

Mayor of Hannover, Chairman of the city council


Mr. Hermann studied social sciences at Hannover University from 1979 until 1986. After his studies he worked as a research associate at the Institute for Political Science of the Leibniz University of Hannover. From 1998 until 2000 he was employed as personal adviser and office manager to the Minister for Social Affairs of the State of Lower Saxony. Since 2000 Mr. Hermann works as an adviser for civic commitment and self-help in Lower Saxony’s Ministry for Social Affairs.
Since 1980 he is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and since 2001 a member of the Hannover City Council. In 2014 he was elected as a Mayor of the City of Hannover (1st Honorary Lord Mayor).
He is engaged in several organizations such as the United Services trade union, the Workers’ Welfare Association (“Arbeiterwohlfahrt”), the Jazz Club of Hannover and many other associations of the city.
In Hannover, Mr. Hermann particularly enjoys the lively districts, the tolerant people and the cultural diversity.

Jacek Jaśkowiak

Mayor of the City of Poznan


Jacek Jaśkowiak is a devoted community worker, sports activist, and former businessman. He graduated from the Faculty of Law, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, where he also earned his postgraduate studies degree in accountancy, finance and taxation. He was awarded a scholarship from GFPS (Association for Student Exchange in Central and Eastern Europe) to the University of Bielefeld in Germany.
He gained his professional experience in commercial companies in the 1990s, including under Dr. Jan Kulczyk at Kulczyk Tradex. From 1997 to 2014, he founded and ran his own company providing accountancy and advisory services to foreign entrepreneurs. Together with business investors he contributed to creating employment for thousands of people in Poland.
Owing to his public activity, in 2010 he was appointed as a candidate for Mayor of Poznań, representing the urban movement My-Poznaniacy and was elected Mayor of Poznań in 2014.

Lina Liakou

Councillor of ther City of Thessaloniki


Lina Liakou was elected city-councillor at the municipality of Thessaloniki in 2014 and was appointed by the mayor to oversee issues of civic engagement.
She is also Managing Director and Chief Resilience Officer of the Metropolitan Development Agency of Thessaloniki, an inter-municipal entity that coordinates the Sustainable Urban Development strategy of the metropolitan region of Thessaloniki and the implementation of the Resilience Strategy of Thessaloniki in the context of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative.
Her previous professional experience includes being an associate at the nonprofit organization School of ARCHitecture for All and co-founder of the architectural studio URBAN3 in Athens.  Lina Liakou is an architect and urban designer from the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. 

Asier Abaunza Robles

Councillor for Urban Planning of the City of Bilbao


Mr. Asier Abaunza studied Agriculturalal Engineering at the Public University of Navarra and specialized in  Prediction and Assessment of Environmental Impacts  at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Between 2007-2015 Mr. Abaunza served as Traffic and Transport Councillor in the Bilbao City Council (representing the Basque National Party) and since 2015 he is Councillor of Urban Planning.
In addition to his political posts Mr. Abaunza  has had various professional responsibilities in the field of transport, mobility, governance and housing: Chairman of various District Councils of Bilbao, President of the Executive Board of the municipal entity Funicular Artxanda, Counsellor of the Board of Directors at the Municipal Housing Entity, Technical Assistant at the Urban Planning Department of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, Teacher at the Agricultural Technical School of Derio (Bizkaia), engineer at various private companies and adviser to the General Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Basque Government.

Iván Tosics

URBACT Programme Expert and Director of Metropolitan Research Institute of Budapest


Iván Tosics is one of the principals of the Metropolitan Research Institute (MRI), Budapest. He is mathematician and sociologist (PhD) with long experience in urban sociology, strategic development, housing policy and EU regional policy issues. Since 2011 he is one of the Thematic Pole Managers (Programme Experts) of the URBACT programme. He teaches at the University of Pécs, Department of Political Studies, Doctoral School. 
He is vice chair of the European Network of Housing Research (ENHR) and executive committee member of the European Urban Research Association (EURA). He is also the Policy Editor of the journal ‘Urban Research and Practice’.
Mr Tosics publishes extensively on integrated urban development, urban renewal, and metropolitan areas topics. He works regularly for the European Commission, DG Regio, related to the Urban development Network and the EU Urban Agenda. He was working for DG Regio in the Cities of Tomorrow programme, preparing an issue paper on ‘Governance challenges and models for the cities of tomorrow’. He was one of the organizers of the high-level conference on Demographic changes during the Hungarian EU Presidency. He represented for many years the Municipality of Budapest in EUROCITIES, as chair of the Economic Development Forum in 2007-2008 and as member of the Executive Committee in 2009-2010. He was the leader of a consortium working on the medium and long term Urban Development Strategy of Budapest.

Dario Nardella

Mayor of the City of Florence and President of the Metropolitan City of Florence


Dario Nardella was born in Torre del Greco (Naples) and graduated withhonours from the University of Florence where he earned a Ph.D. in Constitutional Law. In addition he studied  the  violin at the Conservatorium Cherubini in Florence. Professor Nardella teaches Cultural Heritage Law at the University of Florence and began his political career in 2004 when he was elected Councilman for the City of Florence. He served as legal advisor to the Minister of Institutional reforms during Romano Prodi’s premiership. In 2008 he was selected by the U.S. State Department as a young Italian politician to attend the International Visitor Leadership Program.
In 2009 he was once again elected to the Florence City Council and appointed Vice Mayor by former Mayor  Matteo Renzi. In February 2013 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament and a Member of the Commission for tourism, industry and trade.
During Mayor Renzi’s transition to Prime Minister in February 2014 Mr. Nardella was appointed Regent of the City of Florence through the following elections. In May 2014 Mr. Nardella was elected Mayor of Florence  and since June of the same year has served as the coordinator for metropolitan cities in the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI).

Erion Veliaj

Mayor of the City of Tirana


Mr. Erion Veliaj has a BA degree in Political Science from the Grand Valley State University of Michigan, USA, and a MSc in European Studies from the University of Sussex, UK.
Mr. Veliaj entered politics after a long engagement with civil society, international organizations and media. In 2003, Mr. Veliaj founded the movement "MJAFT" (Enough), an organization that unified the activist and protest spirit of the Albanian youth, which in 2004 received the United Nations Award for civil society. He led the "MJAFT" organization until November 2007. Then Mr. Veliaj joined the European Stability Initiative, a key proponent of EU enlargement.
In 2011, Mr. Veliaj joined the Socialist Party of Albania as Secretary for Youth and Migration. In the parliamentary elections of 2013 he was elected as a Member of the Albanian Parliament in Gjirokastra.  Soon after he was appointed as the Albanian Minister of Social Welfare and Youth where he reformed the entire Social Security system, introduced the National Youth Action Plan and revamped social services and vocational training.
Mr. Veliaj was the Albanian Socialist Party’s choice for the capital city in the local elections held June 2015, where he won by a landslide against the opposition.  On July 30th, 2015 Mr. Veliaj was sworn as the Mayor of Tirana, Albania where he currently serves.
Z. Veliaj is proficient in bothEnglish and Italian, and fluent in German and French.

Ernest Sultanov

Coordinator of MIR-initiative


Ernest Sultanov is the Coordinator of the MIR Initiative. He is a lawyer and manager with extensive experience in company restructuring and in the realization of Public-Private Partnership projects in Europe, Russia and China. As Head of External Affairs and International Development of High Speed Railways (Russian Railways) he was responsible for launching the Eurasian High-Speed Corridor Moscow-Beijing project. He was formerly Head of Legal for European steelmaker Lucchini S.p.A. (Severstal Group).
Mr. Sultanov is also a writer and columnist at the major Russian newspapers Kommersant, Vedomosti and The Moscow Times.
He holds a PhD from the Moscow State University of International Relations and an MBA from the Milan Polytechnic Institute and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies.
Together with the Mayor of Turin Mr Piero Fassino during the International Book Fair last May he presented “Metro of METR: White book on the future of mobility in the METR region” and in November 2015 he formed the Railway Silk Road Cities Forum.

Hermínio Loureiro

President of the Metropolitan Area of Porto


Mr Loureiro is President of the Metropolitan Area of Porto and President of the Municipality of Oliveira de Azeméis. He previously served as member and President of the Municipality of Oliveira de Azeméis.
Mr Loureiro has held various political posts including: Vice President and President of the District Political Committee of the Young Social Democrats (JSD) of Aveiro;national director and vice president of the Congress Bureau of the Young Social Democrats (JSD) of Aveiro; national adviser, Deputy Secretary-General and member of the National Policy Committee of the Social Democratic Party; Deputy to the National Assembly between 1995 and 2002;Deputy coordinator of the Parliamentary Committee on Youth ; chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Euro-2004; Secretary of State for Youth and Sport;  Secretary of State for Sport;  Secretary of State for Sport and Rehabilitation.
In the field of athletics and sports Mr Loureiro has served as Basketball Marketing Director of União Desportiva Oliveirense; Member of the Directive Commission of Basketball Club League; and President of the Portuguese Professional Football League.
Mr Loureiro is currently the Executive of the LPFP Commission on behalf of the Portuguese Football Federation Vice-President as well asVice president of the Olympic Portuguese Committee.
Mr. Loureiro holds a degree in Business Management from the Independent University in Lisbon.

Omar Al-Rawi

MP of the City of Vienna


Omar Al Rawi, is an Iraqi native with a strong command of Arabic, German and English. Having graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the Vienna University of Technology he was elected a member of the Vienna Provincial Parliament and the Vienna City Council in 2001.
Within City Council Al Rawi has served on various Committees including on Urban Development, Traffic and Transport, Climate Protection, Energy Planning and Public Participation. He is currently a member of the City Council Committee on European and International Affairs and a substitute member of the Committee on Housing, Housing Construction and Urban Renewal. Mr. Al Rawi is an expert spokesperson of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) on urban development

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(05 febbraio 2016)