Keynote Speakers

Herman Van Rompuy

President Emeritus of the European Council

Elected as the first full-time President of the European Council in November 2009, Herman Van Rompuy took office when the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. In 2012, he was re-elected for a second (and last) term starting on 1 June 2012 and lasting until 30 November 2014.

At the time of his first election, Herman Van Rompuy was Prime Minister of Belgium. Prior to that, he had served in Belgium as Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007-2008) and in several government positions, including that of Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Budget (1993-1999). He was Minister of State (2004) and Secretary of State for Finance and Small Businesses (1988).

A former economist at the National Bank of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy began his political career in 1973 as national vice-president of his party’s youth movement. He was president of the Flemish Christian Democrats (1988-1993). He served in the Belgian Parliament, first as Senator (1988-1995) then as Member of Parliament (1995-2009).

Herman Van Rompuy holds a Bachelor in Philosophy, and a Master in Economics from the university K.U. Leuven. He is currently professor at the universities of Leuven and Louvain, the College of Europe in Brussels and Sciences Po in Paris, and he is the President of the European Policy Centre.

On 21st of July 2015, the Belgian King Philip announced that Herman Van Rompuy would be honoured the title of Count and his wife the title of Countess.

Peter HinssenPeter Hinssen

Peter Hinssen is a serial entrepreneur, adviser and keynote speaker on the topics of radical innovation, leadership and the impact of all things digital on society and business.

Acclaimed Author

Peter has written three acclaimed business books. ‘The Network Always Wins’ (2014) explains how and why companies have no choice but to become a network when the outside world has evolved into one. In ‘The New Normal’ (2010), he writes about how companies should explore the limits of the digital world, and what happens when technology just becomes ‘normal’. ‘Business/IT Fusion’ (2008) is a guide about how to solve the conflict between business and IT.
Peter is frequently asked to contribute to (international) publications and is a Forbes contributor as well as a LinkedIn Influencer.

Sought-after keynote speaker, business school lecturer & board member

Peter has given numerous keynote speeches around the world, among which those for Google Think Performance, Nimbus Ninety, Gartner, NEXT Berlin, Tedx, PayPal, MasterCard, Microsoft, CIO City, SAS, Accenture and Apple. He lectures at renowned business schools like the London Business School, the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. He is also a multiple board advisor on subjects related to innovation and technology.

Serial Entrepreneur

For more than fifteen years, Peter led a life of technology start-ups. His first company e-COM was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent, his second, Streamcase, by Belgacom, and Across Technology by Delaware Consulting. His third venture (Porthus) was quoted on the stock exchange in 2006 and acquired by Descartes. Between start-ups, he has been an Entrepreneur in Residence with McKinsey & Company, with a focus on digital and technology strategy. Peter’s current company Nexxworks helps organisations become fluid, innovate and thrive in The Day After Tomorrow. 

Eva Egro-PolakEva Egron-Polak

Eva Egron-Polak was educated in the Czech Republic, Canada and France. She studied French Literature, Political Science and International Political Economy. During nearly 20 years at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) she held several senior positions including Vice President, International, prior to becoming the Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU) in 2002.

At the IAU, an independent, global association of universities and associations of higher education institutions based at UNESCO in Paris, Eva Egron-Polak is involved in various policy issues in higher education – internationalization, provision of equitable access to and success in higher education, the contribution of higher education to sustainable development, etc. She has led the IAU to develop policy statements underlining ethics, academic values and higher education’s responsibility to society while also offering new services to the institutions.

Eva Egron-Polak is a member of many international committees at UNESCO, the European Commission, OECD, etc. She serves as a Member of Council of the Magna Charta Observatory, is a Board member of the Global Access to Post-Secondary Education (GAPS) initiative, and is a member of international advisory bodies in the Netherlands, UK and elsewhere. She has taken part in system level reviews of higher education in Egypt, Spain, Ireland and Malaysia. Eva Egron-Polak has co-authored the 3rd and 4th reports of the IAU Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education (2010, 2014, respectively) and presented numerous papers on a variety of higher education topics. In 2014 she was granted an Honorary Doctorate by Mykolas Romeris University in Lithuania.

Janez Potočnik

Former EU Commissioner for Science and Research and for the Environment. Co-Chair of UNEP International Resource Panel

Dr Janez Potočnik (1958) graduated from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (Ph.D. degree 1993). After a successful career starting in 1989 in Slovenia as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Research, Director of the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development (1994). He was appointed Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of Slovenia to the EU (1998). He was also Director of Government Office for European Affairs (2000), Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister (2001) and Minister responsible for European Affairs (2002).

In 2004 he joined the European Commission, first as "shadow Commissioner for Enlargement and then as Commissioner responsible for Science and Research. In 2010 Dr Potočnik became Commissioner for Environment. His term ended on November the 1st 2014. In November 2014 he was appointed for a three-year term as a member and Co-Chair of International resource Panel hosted by United Nations Environment Programme. In the same month he was also appointed as a Chairman of The Forum for the Future of Agriculture and RISE Foundation and a Member of the European Policy Centre's Advisory Council.