Sunday | 05 Feb 2023

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Founder & President

Rym Ayadi – President and Founder of EMEA

Rym Ayadi is the Founder and President of the Euro – Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA). She is Founder and Director of the Euro-Mediterranean and African Network for Economic Studies (EMANES). She is Senior Advisor at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS); Professor at the Bayes Business School, City University of London and Member of the Centre for Banking Research (CBR); Chair of the European Banking Authority – Banking Stakeholders Group (EBA- BSG). She is also Associated Scholar at the Centre for Relationship Banking and Economics (CERBE) at LUMSA University in Rome. Rym Ayadi’s fields of expertise include inclusive and sustainable economic models, international financial systems, sustainable finance, financial markets and institutions, global financial regulation, governance and consumer protection, and socio-economic development and foresight in economies in transition. Her current research focuses on the redesign of a global stable, sustainable and inclusive financial system that better serves economic and societal long-term objectives and with a particular emphasis on the diversity of corporate and business models, private-public partnerships and financing models and the conditions for their success, SME financing and the role of financial markets to achieve developmental objectives and the impacts on business models in finance and role of financial regulation and resolution and impacts on incentives in the financial market. She also works on economies in transition, policy developments and foresight. Rym Ayadi is international academic expert in several international high-level academic and advisory Committees and Boards. She is Academic Member of the European Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee (ESFRC), a shadow academic group of professors of law, finance and economics working on international financial regulation and financial stability, the European Commission’s Financial Services Users Group (FSUG), the European Parliament – Economic and Financial Committee and Committee on Foreign Affairs (EP Think Tank), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), and an invited expert in international organisations including OECD and IMF, among others. She is also member of Finance Watch (FW) a Brussels-based NGO that strives to make finance serve the society since its set-up. She is also the Founder and Co-chair of International Workshop on Financial System Architecture and Stability (IWFSAS), an Annual Conference that provides a forum for academic researchers, practitioners and policy makers to discuss current issues related to the structure and design of financial systems and their impact on macro-financial stability and sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Previously, 2013-2018, Rym served as Professor of International Business and Finance at the Department of International Business, as Director and Board Member of the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins Institute for Cooperatives, and Founding Director of the International Research Centre on Cooperative Finance (IRCCF) at HEC Montreal, Canada; as Senior Research Advisor at the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) (2015-2019) in Piran, Slovenia; and 2001-2013 as Senior Research Fellow and Head of Research of the Financial Institutions Unit at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), a policy think tank in Brussels. She served as an academic senior expert member of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) Stakeholder Group (Between 2011 and 2013). She was the promoter and director of the Mediterranean Prospects Research Network (MEDPRO) an international research network for foresight analysis in the Euro-Mediterranean region (Between 2009 and 2013) funded by the Seventh Framework Program of the EU. She was also Vice President of the European Financial Inclusion Network (EFIN), a European network that promotes mutual learning on financial inclusion which currently part of Finance Watch. She authors several books and scholarly articles on her areas of expertise and is member of several editorial and scientific boards. Rym Ayadi holds a Ph.D. in Economics and Finance from University Paris Dauphine.  

Team

Rob Attree

In a career spanning 30 years as a professionally qualified award winning newspaper journalist, PR writer and copyeditor, Rob has extensive experience in producing or fine-tuning content for both online and offline platforms. Commercially, Rob has assisted a wide-range of private and public sector organisations and has worked extensively with the current team on the editing of numerous academic papers and the associated preparation of media-related material.

Team

Najat El Mekkaoui

Najat El Mekkaoui is a senior economist and professor in economics at the University Paris Dauphine. Her research focuses on the economics of aging, demographic changes in developing countries and social security programs. She was distinguished visiting research fellow at Oxford University (Smith school of Enterprise and the Environment) and research fellow at the Economic Research Forum (ERF). She published and took part in the publication of several works, chapters or papers in her research fields. In addition to teaching and research, she has been involved with the World Bank, the ESCWA, the Moroccan (CNDH, CDG) and the French institutions (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment Center) in studies about households savings, pension reforms and the expansion of social protection programs. She was engaged with the National Council of Human Rights (Morocco) to study the elderly situation in Morocco, to work closely with the institutions dedicated to old-age people (public, private and Ministry) to promote and to protect the rights of older persons. She is currently board member at the Moroccan Central bank and Chairman of the Social Funds Steering Committee, board member at the CDG Prévoyance and at the Scientific council at the Moroccan Capital Market Authority. In EMEA, she works on social and financial inclusion, social protection, social business and ageing.

Team

Giovanni Barci

Giovanni holds a BSc in International Studies (University of Trento), a MSc in Economic Policy (Utrecht University) and a Diploma in European Affairs (Italian Institute for International Political Studies). He gained experience working for the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), a leading Brussels-based think tank, where he conducted research on financial regulation, credit markets and EU budgetary policies. Giovanni is also currently collaborating with the Economics Department of the European Investment Bank, working on green finance. His main research interests include macroeconomics, monetary policy, EMU, financial markets. At EMEA, he is engaged in research on socio-economic development in the Euro-Mediterranean and Africa.

Team

Nektar Baziotis

Nektar is a Founder and Entrepreneur, with more than 20 years experience in International Business Development, IT Project Management, IT Business Consulting, E-Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. Successfully delivered IT products and services for the UN, European Commission, European Parliament, organizations, companies, and startups in several countries. With formal education in Maths (AUTH), International Business (Wharton), MBA (Sheffield) and AI (MIT). Started his career in 1998 and promoted after internship to team leader, with a long experience in Project Management and Business Consulting in the area of IT, web and apps. Co-Founder of Apogee Information Systems in 2005 with the main focus of websites, custom web applications, and e-learning. He has managed and successfully delivered to various institutes and organizations, several projects and products in the EU countries and the USA, for public and private sector partners and clients. Previously, he has been the director, team leader and project manager in international companies as well as for EU’s governmental agencies. Strong communicator and dealing successfully with challenges. Researching cutting-edge technologies and methods on E-Learning, AI, and VR.

Team

Sandra Challita

Sandra is a faculty member at ESDES Business School in Lyon. She is also an associate researcher at the International Research Centre on Cooperative Finance (IRCCF) of HEC Montréal, at the University of Montpellier France, Montpellier Research in Management and “Labex entreprendre” Units. She received her Ph.D. in Finance at the University of Montpellier. Her thesis adopts a comparative approach of strategies and performances of cooperatives and investor owned firms in different fields. She adopts an interdisciplinary vision within her research. Sandra has presented her work during international academic conferences and has published and is in publication process of scientific articles in peer review journals. Sandra current research focuses on financial performance and risk of different types of financial institutions. Sandra also holds a master’s degree in finance (104) from Paris Dauphine University and a Bachelor degree in Management from Saint Joseph’s University Beirut. She speaks Arabic, French and English.In EMNES, she contributes to the research on finance, financial inclusion and financial development.

Team

George Christopoulos

George Christopoulos specialises in intelligence & communications strategy. He has over 20 years of experience as a geostrategic intelligence analyst, and communications & marketing manager, in various companies and organizations. He currently serves as Intelligence & Communication Officer at the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA), a Barcelona based regional think tank, supported by 35 Universities & Research Institutions from 17 countries. He is responsible for intelligence and reporting of important socio-economic developments, dissemination of deliverables and social media communication. He also holds the position of Marketing Director of Apogee Information Systems, an IT company specializing in e-learning, web applications and content management systems. George also serves as a member at the Board of Directors of the Italian-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce of Athens, elected for the period 2022 – 2026. The Italian-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce of Athens is the 2nd largest bilateral Chamber of Commerce in Greece. On February 2022 George received the Gold Cross of Sabbas the Sanctified, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Previous to that, George worked as a senior consultant in geostrategic intelligence, communication, and crisis management. He was responsible for threat-monitoring, corporate intelligence, competition monitoring, political trends and actors monitor, general communications and positioning strategy for large corporations and organizations. He has participated to EU IT projects such as the Icarus AI enhanced e-learning, the OpenTEA e-learning platform, the European Observatory for Sustainable Agriculture – OPERA and WP7 NOMAD – Policy Formulation and Validation through non-moderated crowdsourcing. He has also worked in the energy sector, specializing in business intelligence and marketing of renewable energy projects, and as Marketing Manager in the IT sector, specializing in Document and Knowledge Management. George studied Business Administration – Marketing at the University of Bath.

Team

Maria Ruiz de Cossío

Maria Ruiz de Cossío holds a degree in International Business from the University of Barcelona. Since 2017, she has participated in the management of multiple international projects, initiatives and events covering different parts of the life sciences and healthcare value chain in Catalonia and internationally. Maria joins the team to work as Project Officer and will contribute to EMEA’s activities with her transversal experience with legal, technical, financial, reporting and communication aspects of EU project management.

Team

Doriana Cucinelli

Doriana Cucinelli is Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Financial Intermediaries at University of Milano Bicocca, Italy. She is also SDA Fellow in Banking and Insurance at SDA Bocconi School of Management and associate researcher at the International Research Centre on Cooperative Finance (IRCCF) of HEC Montréal. Her main research interests are risk management in banking, bank business models, financial education and financial behavior. Doriana is author of national and international publications and has presented at many national and international conferences. She holds a Ph.D. in Banking and Finance at University of Roma Tor Vergata and a Laurea cum laude in Finance and Risk Management at University of Parma. She was visiting fellow at Cass Business School in 2017.

Team

Tânia Duarte

Tânia Duarte is an Independent Sustainable Finance Consultant and the Lead Researcher of the CBR Conduct Costs Project. She was co-founder of the CCP Research Foundation. Her main research interests include sustainable finance, conduct risk management and responsible investment and banking. Tânia is co-author of international publications on conduct risk and culture on banking, and she is also co-author of the book “The Financial Sector and the Sustainable Growth – The new finance for the XXI century”. She holds an MBA in Finance at Porto Business School and a post-graduation degree in Sustainable Development. As a member of the CFA Society of UK, she holds an Investment Management Certificate.

Team

Yeganeh Forouheshfar

Yeganeh Forouheshfar, is an economist and a researcher at EMEA, she holds a PhD in economics from Université Paris-Dauphine. Her research interests are economic modeling, entrepreneurship, digitalization, sustainable transition and demographic change. She is also an affiliate researcher at DIAL and a Member of EMANES network. Yeganeh is involved in the implementation of EMEA’s EU-funded projects: CREACT4MED and INVESTMED and in charge of mapping of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) as well as blue and green economy in the South Mediterranean countries. In parallel, Yeganeh is currently working on several research projects and development of data observatories.

Team

Walid Mathlouthi

Walid is a Senior Data Scientist Consultant. He holds a Ph.D. in Data Science from HEC Montreal. He was researcher at the International Research Centre on Cooperative Finance (IRCCF) at HEC Montreal & a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Canada. He is an expert in Python, R, and SAS, and he has a deep knowledge of Machine Learning and Applied Statistics.

Team

Xavier Mallofré Pujadó

Xavier Mallofré Pujadó is EMEA Financial Officer. He is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Barcelona since 2008. He has extensive professional experience as an economic, financial and accounting advising national and international companies and law and accounting firms. Xavier has a degree in Economics and Business Sciences from the University of Barcelona, and a Master’s degree in Financial Management from CEF.

Team

Kirsty Fairhurst

Kirsty Fairhurst is a recent graduate in European and Global Law from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. She carried out her undergraduate degree in law at the University of Edinburgh being awarded a 1st. Between her studies, she has worked as a research and policy assistant on various international environmental projects dealing with the energy transition, the circular economy, and the just transition. She enters EMEA as Assistant Project Officer. She will support EMEA’s activities by working on the communication, monitoring, and evaluation of European projects which focus on challenges facing the Mediterranean and Africa.

Team

Christine Devisser

Christine Devisser is a recent graduate from the Master’s program in International Development offered by the Institut of Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals. She completed her undergraduate in the School of Business Economics at Maastricht University in International Business. She has experience working in the private sector developing new business units and monitoring their evolution. She has also worked with local NGOs in Colombia to fight child malnutrition. Christine is interested in sustainability, development economics, and public policy to enhance human well-being. At EMEA, she will support the Project Officer in the management, implementation, and monitoring of EMEA’s activities and European Projects.

Team

Sara Ronco

Ms Ronco has over three years of experience in performing qualitative and quantitative research which she gained during several missions undertaken abroad, mostly as volunteering activities (i.e. Kenya, Costa Rica, Italy). She has a BA in International Relations from the University of Turin and a master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Florence. In 2017 she won an extra-EU competitive grant awarded by the University of Florence for a four-month study period at the University of Costa Rica. There, she collaborated with the academic multidisciplinary program CadenAgro in a project investigating the economic and social role of some typical national staple food compared to the imported ones. Recently she has been involved in data collection and editing activities of the IEMed, in the Euro-Mediterranean Policies and EuroMeSCO department, and she has relevant experience in supporting international projects. Her main research interests are: Development Economics, International Trade and Sustainable Global Value Chains, Food Security and Agricultural Economics, Poverty and Inequality.

Team

Anna Santamaria

Anna Santamaria has more than 25 years of experience in management in the private sector. She holds a Bachelor’s degree and master in business administration from University Ramon Liull in Spain. In EMEA, Anna is responsible of the office administrative management.

Team

Mais Sha’ban

Mais Sha’ban is an Assistant Professor of Banking and Finance at Al-Zaytoonah University of Jordan. Her research interests include bank stability, bank performance, financial inclusion, and sustainable finance. She holds a PhD in Finance (University of Essex, United Kingdom), MSc in Finance (Swansea University, United Kingdom), and a BA in Banking and Finance (Yarmouk University, Jordan). Mais teaches a number of modules including financial management, investment management, and financial analysis.

Team

Ivan Hajdukovic

Ivan Hajdukovic is an economist with a strong background in quantitative methods and data analysis. His main areas of interest are macroeconomic policies, international economics, environmental economics, humanitarian and sustainable development. He obtained his PhD in Economics (Summa Cum Laude) at the University of Barcelona in July 2021. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lausanne and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Geneva. From May 2020 to July 2022, he worked as a data analyst and consultant at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He has previous experience with a research internship at the World Trade Organization and as a research assistant at the Institute for New Economic Thinking of the University of Oxford. He has produced academic research and policy work, both independently and in conjunction with research teams, on issues ranging from macroeconomic policies, international trade to energy resources and environmental quality, and has worked on operational and data collection exercises in a humanitarian context. He joined EMEA as a researcher and will support the implementation of EMEA projects and activities by carrying out data collection, data analysis and economic policy research on sustainability and environment.

Team

Elena Stotts-Lee

Elena is a recent graduate from the Economics of Public Policy program, a Master’s in Specialized Economic Analysis offered by the Barcelona School of Economics. She completed her undergraduate with honours at Trinity College Dublin in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Sociology (PPES). Elena brings a diverse set of skills and experience to the EMEA team. In addition to acting as a research assistant at Trinity and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, she has worked for several NGOs providing direct service to migrant and refugee communities. Elena is interested in researching the effect of climate change on the social and economic lives of people around the globe. At EMEA, she has had the opportunity to support in the development of the TRIS (transparent, responsible, inclusive, and sustainable) indicator panel and assist with the implementation of EMEA’s Sustainable Transition Action Initiative.

Team

Riccardo De Angeli

Riccardo De Angeli is a recent graduate in Development Economics from the University of Florence, and he holds a BSc in International Relations from the same institution. Throughout his academic years, he collaborated mainly as a volunteer with some NGOs and associations in Florence. His main research interests include rural and local development, social inclusion, and sustainable agri-food value chain. He joined EMEA as a research assistant. He will support EMEA’s activities by conducting studies and literature searches using database and analysing and summarizing data.