Summer Academy for Strengthening Democracy in

the Euro-Med region (2017)


  Prof. Ahmed Driss

Prof. Ahmed Driss is the President Director of the Centre of Mediterranean and International Studies. He is a member of the governing council of the Académie Internationale de Droit Constitutionnel since 2000. He is the Director of the Tunisian School of Politics.  Ahmed Driss is a Professor of International Relations at the Université de Tunis El Manar and Université Centrale de Tunis. He is also Lecturer at the NATO Defense College (Rome) and the Tunisian Defense Institute. He holds a PhD in Law and Political Sciences.

   André Azoulay

André Azoulay is a senior adviser to king Mohammed VI of Morocco. He previously advised Mohammed's father, king Hassan II. He currently presides over the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, based in Alexandria, Egypt. He is also President of the Executive Committee of the Foundation for the Three Cultures and the Three Religions, based in Seville, Spain, a founding member of the C-100 Davos Forum for the Dialogue of Civilisations and religions, and was formerly Executive Vice-President of the BNP Paribas, Paris.

  Boriana Jonsson
Boriana Jönsson is a women’s rights and peace advocate with a long and extensive experience in development and solidarity cooperation in Africa, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. For over a decade she has been working on women’s empowerment in areas of military conflicts and war, in particular in the Balkans and Middle East. She is actively engaged in the global feminist movement and has been part of boards of different organizations, steering committees and consultative bodies of regional MENA projects on violence against women, peace and security. During 2012-2014 she facilitated the development of the Iraqi National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR1325.

   Mr. Boyko Vassilev, PhD

Boyko Vassilev is TV journalist at Bulgarian National Television. He graduated Journalism and Mass Communications at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski". He specialized in Heidelberg and Hamburg. Since 2001 he has a PhD in Sociology from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski". From 2000 he is a host and producer of the current affairs program "Panorama" at the Bulgarian National TV 1. Member of the Board of the Institute for Regional and International Studies and vice president of the "St. St. Cyril and Methodius" Foundation. Boyko Vassilev is an International reporter and political commentator. He mainly broadcasts developments on the Balkans: the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, strikes against Yugoslavia, the events in Kosovo, Belgrade, Macedonia, Croatia. Author of documentaries. Winner of numerous national and international journalism awards.

   Ms. Desislava Baneva
Ms. Desislava Baneva has more than 7 years working experience as Internal Training Consultant in international companies and more than 3 years’ experience as People Development Coach and Consultant. She designs and delivers social skills training programs and specializes in coaching for personal development and leadership. Ms. Baneva works with groups and individuals from the business, NGOs, youth, community and political organisations.
She has Bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of National and World Economy. Desislava Baneva is a Certified Coach in two programs: Arts and Science of Coaching at Erickson College, Canada and Intunity Coaches, Bulgaria. She is a Group dynamics training expert - Top Consult Centre of Development. She has a specialization in PTTLLS - Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector from Castle College, Nottingham.

   Prof. Dimitrios Triantaphyllou
Associate Professor Dimitrios Triantaphyllou is the Director of the Centre for International and European Studies (CIES) at Kadir Has University in Istanbul and the Chair of the Department of International Relations. He holds a BA in Political Science and History from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA and PhD in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He has previously served in various capacities in a number of research and academic institutions such as the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP); the EU Institute for Security Studies; the London School of Economics; the University of the Aegean; and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS). He also served as an advisor at the Hellenic Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He is Associate Editor of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies (SSCI indexed); a member of the Greek-Turkish Forum; co-convener of the Commission on the Black Sea; a member of the Advisory Boards of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, the International Institute for Peace, Vienna, and the Corporate Social Responsibility Association of Turkey.

   Ekaterina Zaharieva

Ekaterina Zaharieva is the Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria since May 2017. Zaharieva became the Director of Legal, Administrative and Regulatory Services in 2007. She entered politics in 2009 when she became Deputy Minister of Regional Development. She was assigned as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Works in the first and second interim government of President Rossen Plevneliev in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 she became Minister of Justice in the second government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.

   Ambassador Hatem Attalah 
Ambassador Hatem Atallah  is the current Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation. Coming from a rich diplomatic background, he was a Tunisian ambassador in several countries including The United States of America, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Ethiopia. He also served as Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa, UNEP and UN-Habitat. He was appointed Diplomatic Advisor to the Head of the Tunisian Government until February 2015. Ambassador Atallah participated in numerous summits of the African Union and the United Nations and to several ministerial meetings. He also acquired a long experience in organization of cultural activities: exhibitions of paintings, Cinema Days, musical performances, lectures on history and heritage, and debates on inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

   Iliana Yotova
Iliana Iotova graduated Bulgarian and French philology at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski.” She specialized at the National School of Administration (ENA-École nationale d'administration) in France and at the Center for European Studies (Centre des Etudes Européennes de Strasbourg) in Strasbourg.
She worked as a reporter, editor, news presenter and Head of the News Directorate at Bulgarian National Television (1990-1997).
She was Director of the press service of the National Council of political party BSP (1997-2007).
She was Assembly Deputy in the 40th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria (2005-2007). She has been Chair of the Bulgarian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie and Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
She became a Member of the European Parliament from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in June 2007. She was member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) during her first mandate as MEP (2007-2009).
During her second mandate as MEP Iliana Iotova was Deputy-chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering (CRIM); she was Deputy-chair of the Delegation to the EU-Moldova Parliamentary Association Committee; she was member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries (PECH), of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (PETI), of a Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, deputy-member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), and of the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union (DMAG).  During this mandate Mrs. Iotova became author of the European Parliament’s first report on the Black Sea and fishery in it.
During her third mandate in the European Parliament (2014-2017) Iliana Iotova was elected deputy-chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and for deputy-member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development (REGI). Mrs. Iotova was deputy member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Iliana Iotova was deputy-chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the EU – Montenegro Stabilization and Association Parliamentary Committee, and also member of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly Union for the Mediterranean.
The basic priorities and topics she has been working on include: fighting terrorism, personal data protection, the refugee crisis, Bulgaria’s membership in the Schengen area. She is author of reports and proposals in the European legislation on tackling the migration crisis. In the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development she was author of the first European Parliament report on the policy of cohesion of mountainous regions in the EU.
She was member of the Supreme Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (2000-2016). She was elected Deputy Chair of the BSP Sofia City Council in January 2006, a position she held until 2012.  Iliana Iotova was elected for member of the Executive Bureau of the Bulgarian Socialist Party in 2012 and was its member until 2016.

  Ms. Irina Alexieva, PhD

Irina Alexieva is Executive Director of the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”. She has over 20 years of professional experience in international development, NGO work, media, business and political affairs. Throughout her outstanding career she has been focusing her expertise in the MENA region, post Soviet space and Western Balkans. Her interests are in the field of leadership development, women empowerment, youth and citizen participation, political parties trainings. She is the Executive Director of the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza”, an NGO providing leadership training to political and civic leaders, which belongs to the network of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe. Currently Irina is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the World Forum for Democracy, an annual gathering of the Council of Europe.
Before joining the NGO sector she was one of the best TV and radio journalists in Bulgaria, interviewing some of the most influential leaders in the global political and economic scene, among them Nobel laureates, heads of global companies and financial institutions. She is the author of many documentaries and one of the most awarded journalists in the country. Ms. Alexieva has a diploma for Strategic Management for Leaders of NGO at Harvard Kennedy School.
She has a PhD in Public Communications and Information Studies from the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Her PhD thesis is on Communicating Climate Change. She also has a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the American University in Bulgaria and a MA in Economics from the University of National and World Economy. Irina specialized in journalism in Columbia, Missouri University in the USA and studied the development of civic and political dialogue in Southeast Europe and the former Soviet Union in Norway.

    Prof. Mariana Malinova
Mariana Malinova is Associate Professor and Head of the Department at New Bulgarian University, Lecturer on Arabic and Semiotic Studies at Sofia University. She is editor in chief of the Journal  Orientalia and Member of the Union Europeenne des Arabisants et Islamisants. She was a Research Fellow of Andrew Mellon Foundation, Research Fellow of Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and Research Fellow of the Japanese "Sasakawa" Foundation. She is an author of the book "History of the Translation Movement in the Abbasid Caliphate (VIII-X centuries)“ and of articles dealing with the contemporary and medieval Islam.

   Mr. Nikola Yordanov
Nikola Yordanov is a Management Trainer/ Consultant, Chairman of the Bulgarian Association for Training and Development ( He has MA in Psychology. Nikola has more than 25 years development experience – providing training, consultative, coaching and research services to NGOs, public institution, international donors and businesses in Central and Eastern Europe. Delivered more than 4000 hours of training to more than 800 institutions and groups. Between 2000 and 2007 worked for the OSCE Mission to BaH, including as a Deputy Director of Department. Provides training and coaching in Bulgarian, English, Russian and Serbo-Croatian.

   Mr. Petar Karaboev
Mr. Petar Karaboev is Vice editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Capital daily”. The journalist is interested in foreign affairs and geopolitics. He is an alumnus of the Second Summer Academy for Strengtening Democracy at the Euro-Med Region.

    Prof. Rumyana Kolarova
Prof. Rumyana Kolarova is the Dean of the “Political studies” department at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. She is Former Minister of Education of the Republic of Bulgaria. She holds Philosophy and Sociology degrees from the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. She has specialized at the London School of Economics and Political Science, at the New School for Social Research (New York, USA) and at Florence's European University Institute. Kolarova is a lecturer on Comparative Politics at the Sofia University and is the author of over 50 scientific publications. Between 2013 and 2017 she was appointed as the President's Secretary for Civil Society Relations.

     Mr. Ruslan Trad
Mr. Ruslan Trad is a freelance journalist with focus on Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Founder of the first Bulgarian blog about MENA politics, Intidar, and founder of Forum for Arab Culture, NGO based in Sofia, and co-founder of Bulgarian weekly journal for conflicts, De Re Militari. He held lectures about political movements in the Middle East in Sofia University, New Bulgarian University, and Bulgarian Diplomatic Institute. He is travelling often in the Middle East with reportages from Lebanon, Southeast Turkey, Tunisia, Iraq and Syria.

      Mr.Stefan Georgiev

Stefan Georgiev was born in Gabrovo, Bulgaria in 1985. He graduated Sofia University with Bachelor degree in Sociology and Master degree in Political Studies. He has specialized working with NGOs in the United States in 2010. He works as sociologist and researcher in private company. But during the Summer Academy his task is to facilitate the group process in some of the sessions. His main field of expertise is working with small groups in learning environment but mostly through non-formal methods in variety of topics. He is a trainer and facilitator of group processes since 2011 when he graduated a long term program for group-dynamic trainers.


      Mr. Yassine Souidi

Yassine Souidi is a young Moroccan, aged 30 with a PhD in Biology with specialization in Public Health. He holds the position of a researcher at the Center of Studies and Research on Values in Rabita Mohammadia of Ulama. He held several positions in various national and international NGOs with different topics such as youth health, dialogue of civilizations, intercultural exchange, entrepreneurship and leadership. He has managed several innovative projects at national and international level. He has represented Morocco in the official delegation to several international events like the International Youth Forum in Mexico and the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism in Washington. He is focused on training and development skills of young people in disadvantaged areas about radicalization and violent extremism. Yassine is also interested in the analysis of public policies especially those of youth. Deeply interested in astronomy and photography. Mr. Souidi is an alumnus of the First Summer Academy for Strengtening Democracy at the Euro-Med Region.