We are proud to announce the keynote speakers of our opening ceremony. Under the overarching theme of ‘Dare to Doubt; Developing New Perspectives’, these inspirational speakers will share their professional experiences and personal visions with the audience. It gives us great pleasure to introduce to you the following speakers:
– United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon
Ms. Sigrid Kaag was appointed Under Secretary-General and the Special Coordinator for Lebanon by the UN Secretary-General in December 2014. Prior to that she served as Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator of the United Nations – Office for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (UN-OPCW) Joint Mission to eliminate the declared chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Ms. Kaag has gathered a wealth of experience in the political, humanitarian and development affairs during her career in Middle East, Geneva and New York. Ms. Kaag served as Assistant Secretary-General with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for several years. In addition, Ms. Kaag obtained extensive experience on refugee and migration issues serving with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA). Before joining the United Nations, she served with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Shell International.
Ms. Kaag was awarded with the Carnegie Wateler Peace Prize in November 2016. She holds a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from Oxford University, and a Master in Middle East studies from Exeter University. Ms. Kaag was awarded an honorably degree in Law by Exter University in 2014. Ms. Kaag is fluent in Dutch, English, French and German, and proficient in Arabic and Spanish. She is married with four children.
– Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration
Following a career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands, Hugo Siblesz was appointed Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration beginning in 2012. After serving in the Dutch military as a platoon commander, Hugo Siblesz joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands in 1973. Following various functions at the UN Department of the Ministry, he joined the Legal Advisor’s Office as Assistant Legal Advisor in 1980. In 1990, he left the Legal Advisor’s Office to become Political Counsellor at The Netherlands’ Embassy in Paris and subsequently at The Netherlands’ Permanent Mission to NATO in Brussels. In 1994, he was appointed Director of Consular Affairs, and as such was responsible for management, legal and policy issues to the Dutch consular network worldwide. In 1998, he was appointed Deputy Director-General for Political Affairs and three years later Director-General for Political Affairs, the principal advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on policy matters. Between 2006 and 2012, he served as Ambassador to France (co-accredited in the Principalities of Monaco and of Andorra).
– Programme Officer, Afghanistan/Operations, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, NATO Public Diplomacy Division
From 1989 until 1995, Eric Povel worked for a number of public affairs consultancies in The Hague as lobby consultant for companies, NGO’s and governmental bodies to represent their interests in The Hague and in Brussels.
As of May 1995, Eric Povel works in NATO’s international staff. Firstly as the Netherlands Information Officer in the Public Diplomacy Division (PDD) at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
During NATO’s enlargement process in the late 90s, he was also responsible for NATO information activities in some of the new and candidate member states.
After NATO’s Kosovo air campaign in 1999, Eric Povel also became the media planner for NATO’s yearly Crisis Management Exercise (CMX).
As of 1 July 2006, he started working in the NATO Press and Media Section as a press officer to set up the Media Operations Centre (MOC) dealing with Afghanistan. As of January 2010, he dealt with all media aspects related to major NATO operations, missile defence and many other defence-related issues.
As of July 2011, Eric Povel was the Strategic Communications Coordinator, heading the PDD StratCom Cell in support of the Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, responsible for all operational and doctrinal StratCom issues at NATO HQ.
Since October 2012, he is the Program Officer in the Engagements Section of PDD dealing with Afghanistan and NATO’s other Operations. He also holds country responsibility for Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.