We are very excited to announce that the following people will be speaking at the conference. 

Jyrki Katainen
Vice president of the European Commission

“Solidarity, youth empowerment, lifelong skills and active citizenship are all key building blocks for our societies today and for the future. This is important not least for refugees, especially for refugee children and youth. The European Scout Region is organising a European competition for encouraging all Scouts and young people in Europe to welcome and integrate refugees. We can all learn from these experiences and I look forward to announce the top three best practices on 10 December in Brussels.”

Usaama Kaweesa

He is 28 years-old and from the UK, volunteered on the Time to be Welcome project in Greece as both a general participant and then as a team leader. His motivation for getting involved with the project stemmed from his own personal background as an immigrant. He claims it’s because of this history, “I feel an affinity with those who have been forced to give up their homes to seek safety and a better life elsewhere in the world.” During his time in Greece, he worked in both Athens and Thessaloniki, where he gained both a powerful insight into inclusion techniques for working with unaccompanied minors, and also a deep understanding of how to support international volunteers on such projects.

Mrs Floor van Houdt 
Head of Unit in charge of “Youth, Volunteer Solidarity and Traineeships Office”

She has been involved in youth policy and programme activities in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture since 2009. Before joining the Commission in 1995, she studied law and European Studies in the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium and worked as a European affairs consultant. During her career in the European Commission, Mrs van Houdt has dealt with different topics, including youth, research, entrepreneurship and maritime policies. She has, amongst others, coordinated the work on the Entrepreneurship Green Paper and Action plan, and was a member of the Task Force that launched Maritime Policy, with specific responsibility for maritime businesses. Currently, she is responsible for actions in favour of young people, including the EU Youth Strategy, youth activities under Erasmus+, the European Solidarity Corps, the European Youth Portal and, more recently, Discover EU. She is also in charge of the EC’s Traineeships Office.

Pavel Trantina
Member of the European Economic and social Committee (EESC)

Born in 1975 in České Budějovice, Czechoslovakia. Studied history and political science at the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University in Prague. Worked as political analyst in the Office of the President of the Czech Republic (1996-2002), International Commissioner of Junák – Association of Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic (1998-2008, mostly as a volunteer), Chairman of the Czech Council of Children and Youth (2004-2007), Director of the Department of EU Affairs at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, responsible for the preparation of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council (2007-2009), and Coordinator of recognition of non-formal education in the ESF funded project „Keys for life“ (2010-2011) focusing on recognition of non-formal education. Currently works as a grant specialist/fundraiser for Junák – Czech Scouting.

Member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) since 2006, specialized in children and youth issues, education, situation of young people at the labour market and volunteering, 2011-2015 Vice-President of the EESC Group III, 2015-2018 President of the EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship, since April 2018 again Vice-President of the EESC Group III. Author of the EESC Opinion on the cost of non-immigration and non-integration (to be adopted in December 2018).

A volunteer for more than 27 years on different levels in several organisations. Since 2013 until May 2017, he was the first President of the European Alliance for Volunteering.

Gabriella Civico
European Volunteer Centre Director

Gabriella is from the UK but has lived for many years in Spain and Portugal before moving to Belgium. She has a degree in Social Policy and Education from Surrey University (UK) and a Masters in Education in E-learning from the University of Hull (UK). Her professional background is in business and the Youth NGO Sector where she has worked as an administrator and also as a trainer and expert. Through her work in the youth field she was involved in the campaign to establish 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering. Gabriella has volunteered since childhood in a variety of fields including Youth Advocacy, International Development, Disability, Environment, Immigration, Human Rights, Sports etc. She has worked closely with CEV since July 2010 in her role as Project Manager for the EYV2011 Alliance until the end of the project in March 2012  when she became CEV Director.

Carina Autengruber
Vice president of the European Youth Forum

Carina has been active in the Austrian Nature Youth (ÖNJ) and the catholic parochial youth movement (Jungschar) since she was 10 years old. From 2014 to 2016 she was the European Youth Delegate of the Austrian National Youth Council (ÖJV). Carina is currently doing her Master degrees in political science, development studies and gender studies at the University of Vienna. Furthermore, Carina works for a consultancy, where she is responsible for data management.

Chip – Veerle Haverhals
European Scout committee member

Chip is a member of the European Scout Committee since 2013, as a volunteer, and overseeing the areas of operation of Communication, External Relationships & Funding, and Partnerships. Professionally she is working as a Real Time Subtitler for one of the Belgian Broadcasters and cooperating with the University of Antwerp. She has four kids of which the oldest one recently also joined Scouting.

The Mission of Scouting is to contribute to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society.

Chip is very proud of what Scouting is offering to its members, but also to society as a whole. The ‘My Europe, My Say’-campaign is one of the examples, but also this event, where we provide training, create understanding, openness for all (young) people to be part of a (youth) movement and thus create better integration, mutual understanding of cultures and values, respect towards differences and seeing those as opportunities.

Mohammad Tahan
Syrian Refugee in Belgium

Mohammad is a refugee in Belgium from Syria. Mohammad has been living and studying in Belgium for the last two years. In Syria, Mohammad was a Scout. He has now joined a Scout  group in Namur and he is part of the staff team in charge of providing educational activities to the youngest members.

Nuria Diez Guardia
Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
Policy Officer

Nuria has a degree in Economics from Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) and an MSc in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (Spain). She also studied Political Science and is now studying Anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia (Spain). She joined the European Commission in 2001 and has worked in areas of employment and social affairs, education, gender equality and migration and integration. She is currently a policy officer working on integration and skills in the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission.

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