Speakers & Panellists

Diego Esteban Aulestia Valencia, Minister of International Trade, Ecuador

Diego Aulestia Valencia, born in Quito was appointed as Minister of International Trade, in February 2015. This portfolio of State, formed a year ago, is the governing body of the policy of International Trade and Investment, which is conducive to strategically and sovereign economic integration and trade of the country within the international context. In addition, the Minister presides over the Committee of International Trade (COMEX). Mr. Aulestia Valencia is an economist graduated from the Catholic University of Ecuador. He has three Master's degrees: in Economics, which he obtained at the University of Oregon (United States); in Latin American Studies with a major in Economic History, from the School of Economics, in London (United Kingdom); and a third Master's Degree in History, from the Andean University “Simon Bolivar” (Ecuador). He also has a diploma in Urban Studies from the New University of Lisbon (Portugal). Mr. Aulestia stands out for its wide-ranging career in the public and academic sector. He previously served as Minister of Housing and Urban Development, where he was responsible for the implementation of the urbanization and public housing. As a result of his efforts, Ecuador will host the Summit: “Habitat III” from the UN, in 2016, which is held every 20 years.

In addition, Mr. Aulestia Valencia was Ambassador of Ecuador to Portugal and Regional Coordinator of Trade to Europe (April 2012- November 2013); Chairman to the State Bank (May 2008- November 2011); General Secretary of the National Micro Sistema Financiero (October 2007-April 2008); Sub Secretary of Public Policy at the Ministry Coordinator of Social Development (March 2007-October 2007).

Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Ms. Bárcena assumed office as the Executive Secretary of ECLAC in July 2008. She had previously served as the Under-Secretary-General for Management at United Nations Headquarters in New York, Chef de Cabinet and Deputy Chef de Cabinet to the former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan. Prior to her time at ECLAC, Ms. Bárcena served as Co-ordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Sustainable Development Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Ms. Bárcena was the Founding Director of the Earth Council in Costa Rica, a non-governmental organisation in charge of follow-up on the agreements reached at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Ms. Bárcena has taught and conducted research in the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and a Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Germán Bejarano, Chairman’s Adviser Abengoa

Mr. Bejarano holds a degree in Economics from the Autónoma University of Madrid (Spain) and a DEA from Université de Nancy (France). He obtained a Diploma in High European Studies (European Center of Nancy, France). He was appointed Director General for International Economic Relations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2000) and was later appointed Ambassador of Spain in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. He has been head of international institutional relations and an adviser to the Chairman of Abengoa since 2008.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Ms. Bieńkowska has been a European Commissioner since November 2014. Prior to her time at the European Commission, Ms. Bieńkowska was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Development in Poland from 2013 until 2014. She acted as Minister of Regional Development from 2007 to 2013 and as Director of the Regional Development Office in the Marshal's Office of Silesia Region from 1999 to 2007. Ms. Bieńkowska holds a post-graduate diploma from the Polish National School of Public Administration. She also holds a Master's degree in Oriental Philology from the Jagiellonian University obtained in 1988.

Rafael Blanco Canto, President National Council of the Private Enterprise, Dominican Republic (CONEP)

With over 25 years of experience in the hospitality sector, Mr. Blanco Canto is co-founder and Executive Vice President of Viva Wyndham Resorts, a hotel and management company that currently operates more than 2,700 rooms in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Mr. Blanco Canto has also been involved in multiple tourism projects through his personal consulting firm, Proinversión, which he founded in 1979. He served as President of the National Hotel and Tourism Association of the Dominican Republic (ASONAHORES) as well as Treasurer of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA). He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada (CONEP) which is the largest private sector association of the Dominican Republic. Mr. Blanco Canto holds a Master's degree from Georgetown University in Washington DC and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from UNPHU University in the Dominican Republic.

Alfredo Bonet, International Director Chamber of Commerce of Spain

Mr. Bonet was born in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) in 1958. Married and father of three children, he holds a degree in Economic and Business Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid since 1981, and became a member of the body of Spanish civil servants specialised in economy and trade in 1984. He started working in trade policy issues in the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy in Madrid. Between 1987 and 1991 he was posted as Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Spanish Embassy to the US, head of the Trade Commission in Miami (Florida). After two years as Deputy Director General for EU Trade Policy in Madrid, he was posted again as Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Spanish Embassy to Italy, head of the Trade Office in Milan (1993 to 1997). He then moved to the private sector, as General Manager of the international consulting company Altair Asesores, before returning to the public sector in 2001 to become Director-General for Promotion at the Spanish Institute for External Trade (ICEX). In 2004 he was appointed Secretary-General for External Trade at the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade. After six years, he was promoted again to Secretary of State for External Trade in July 2010, a position he held until December 2011. In September 2012 he took the position of Head Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Permanent Delegation of Spain to the OECD in Paris, until April 2015 when he returned to Madrid as International Director of the Spain Chamber of Commerce.

Daniel Calleja y Crespo, Director General of the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission (DG GROW)

Mr. Callejera y Crespo started his professional career in the European Institutions in 1986 as a member of the Legal Service of the Commission of the European Communities. In 1993 he became Member of Cabinet of the Commissioner of Transport and Energy, Mr. Abel Matutes and Mr. Marcelino Oreja. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Callejera y Crespo served as Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Mr. Marcelino Oreja, in charge of Institutional Affairs, Audiovisual Policy and Relations with the E.P., and from 2000 to 2004 he was Head of Cabinet of the Vice-President of the European Commission Ms. Loyola de Palacio, in charge of Transport and Energy. In 2004 he was appointed Director for Air Transport at the European Commission (TREN/MOVE). Prior to his present position, Mr. Calleja was Deputy Director General and Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry (ENTR) and Special Envoy for SMEs. Mr. Calleja is a lecturer in EU Law at several universities. He holds a diploma in EU Law (Hons) from the Complutense University of Madrid and a diploma in European Business Law, from the City of London Polytechnic University.

Luis de Carlos, President of the Fundación Iberoamericana Empresarial (FIE)

The FIE is a private foundation launched in July 2013 by a number of leading companies and institutions. The foundation operates in all strategic sectors of the economy in Latin America and invests on both sides of the Atlantic. Luis de Carlos is also the Managing Partner of the law firm Uría Menéndez, one of the most prestigious independent law firms in continental Europe. Mr. de Carlos holds a Law degree (Hons) and a Business Administration degree from the Pontificia Comillas University. Since 1997 he has been a Doctor in Law, LL.M. from the Pontificia Comillas University. He is also Secretary General of the Fundación de Estudios Financieros and has been a member of the Consultative Working Group of the Corporate Finance Standing Committee (CFSC) of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

Vicente Caruz Middleton, President of EuroChile
Mr. Caruz graduated as Civil Engineer from the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. Between the years 1965-1985, he taught at the University of Chile and at the Catholic University of Chile. Mr. Caruz has occupied the position as President of the student centre of the Institute of Engineering of the University of Chile; President and General Manager of the financial corporation FINTESA; Adviser of the National Council of the Association of Professional Engineers; Member of the Board of Directors of Institute of Engineering of Chile; ex-President of the French and Chilean Chamber of Commerce Industry; ex-Director of ALIDE, Latin American Association of Financing Institutions for Development; General Manager of Banco del Desarrollo, Chile and in the 90s, he was elected President for the same bank. Currently, he is Director of Norte Sur, a Chilean Investment Company which purpose is to contribute to the economic, social and cultural development of its areas of influence, by providing quality products and services mainly to medium, medium-low and low income SMEs. He is also Vice-President of the directory of CICA, Conféderation Internationle du Credit Agricole, Zurich, Switzerland; Director of French- Chilean Chamber of Trade and Industry; Member of the Board of Directors of Universidad de Viña del Mar and Member of COFACE-Chile, insurance company.

Mario Cimoli, Director of the Division of Production, Productivity and Management at the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Mr. Cimoli is a Director at ECLAC and Professor of Economics at the University of Venice (Ca’ Foscari). In 1992, he obtained his PhD at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) of the University of Sussex, with a thesis that analysed the effect of technological gaps and trade on growth in developing economies. In 2004, he was appointed Co-director (with Giovanni Dosi and Joseph Stiglitz) of two task forces: Industrial Policy and Intellectual Property Rights Regimes for Development (Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, New York). Mr. Cimoli gives speeches, writes and publishes books and articles on economic issues, industrial policy, science, technology and innovation.

Sergio E. Contreras, Vice-President Mexican Business Council for International Trade, Investment and Technology (COMCE)

Mr. Contreras started his professional career in the Mexico Trust Fund for Tourism Development, as General Manager Financial Investment in 1979. He then pursued as Director for International Affairs of the National Bank for Foreign Trade in 1986. In 1988 he became the General Director of Gruppo Capitalia, Banca di Roma S.p.A., representative Office in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In 2006, Mr. Contreras was nominated as the CEO of the Centre of Excellence for Corporate Governance and became Member of the Board of the Scotiabank Mexico in 2007. IN 2010, Mr. Contreras was nominated Vice-President Corporate affairs of PIRELLI, Mexico and became a few years later President and CEO of LATIN IT CAPITAL SC, a financial consulting firm on investment, economy, international finance and industrial business representation. Mr. Contreras holds a degree in Business Administration of the Business Faculty at Nacional Autónoma University of Mexico and a Master's degree in Business Administration from the UNAM and the Universita Federico II, Napoli, Italy.

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, The Caribbean Export Development Agency
Working at the national, regional and multilateral levels, Ms. Coke-Hamilton has amassed more than 25 years’ experience in trade policy formulation, private sector development, capacity building, project fund development, negotiations and implementation. Ms. Coke-Hamilton has served as the Regional Hub Coordinator for the Caribbean in the Integration and Trade Department of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and as the Director of Trade and Competitiveness at the Organization of American States (OAS). She was also instrumental in the design and implementation of the Master's degree in International Trade Policy (MITP) Programme at the University of the West Indies (UWI), which has provided increased depth to the region’s trade policy capability. In November 2010, Ms. Coke-Hamilton was appointed Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) where she leads the management of the largest Private Sector Development Programme in the Region valued at over €30 million. Caribbean Export is the only regional export development and trade and investment promotion organization of the Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM), and as such she has been charged with driving the region’s exports and helping to position the Caribbean brand on the world stage to successfully compete. Ms. Coke-Hamilton holds a Juris Doctor in Law from the Georgetown University School of Law in Washington, DC, and a BSc in International Relations and Economics from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.

Rafael Correa Delgado, President of the Republic of Ecuador (CELAC Pro-Tempore Chair)

Mr. Correa was elected President in late 2006 and took office in January 2007. Prior to his role as President, Mr. Correa served as Economy and Finance Minister in 2005. Between 1993 and 2005, Mr. Correa held the positions of Senior Lecturer and Director at the Department of Economics, and Professor of Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Quantitative Economics and Economic Development at the San Francisco de Quito University. In 1993 he was appointed Director at the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) in Ecuador, with administrative oversight and supervision of improvement programmes for the national educational system. Mr. Correa also worked as a consultant and a technical advisor for projects on telecommunication, innovation and economic-related issues. He is an author of numerous articles and publications about the vulnerability of the Ecuadorian economy, structural reforms and growth in Latin America, and the monetary union for the Andean Community (CAN). Mr. Correa holds several degrees in economics from universities in Ecuador, Belgium and the United States.

Michl Ebner Vice-President of EUROCHAMBRES

Mr. Ebner is an Italian politician who started working as a journalist in 1971 until 1979 at the daily newspaper "Dolomiten". In 1979, he was appointed as a Member of the Chamber of Deputies in Rome where he stayed until 1994. Between 1994 and 2009 he served as Member of the European Parliament representing the Südtiroler Volkspartei, where he sat in the Committee on Agriculture. As MEP has was also President of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Slovenia and member delegation of the Joint Parliamentary Committee EU-Croatia. Since 2008, Mr. Ebner is President of the Chamber of Commerce of Bolzano, President of the Institute for Economic Development of Bolzano, Vice-President of the regional union of the Chambers of Commerce of the region Trentino Alto Adige, Vice-President of the Export Organisation South Tyrol – EOS and part of the Board Director of Fiera di Bolzano (Bolzano Exposition Centre). In 2010, he has been appointed to Vice-President of the Bank Banca di Trento e Bolzano. Mr. Ebner studies Law at the universities of Bologna, Innsbruck and Padua.

Roman Escolano, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank

Mr. Escolano, a Spanish national, started his professional career in 1989 as a State Economist. He became Adviser to the Secretary of State for European Communities in 1991. In 1992 Mr. Escolano was appointed Director of the Spanish Trade Office in Thailand. Later he became Advisor to the Minister of Labour and Social Security (1998) and a Member of the Board of Directors of Correos, FEVE and ICEX (2000). From 2000 to 2004 he was Director of the Economics Department at the Prime Minister’s Office . Prior to his function at the European Investment Bank, Mr. Escolano was the Chairman of Instituto de Credito Oficial (ICO). Mr. Escolano holds a degree in Economic and Business Sciences from the Autonoma University of Madrid and followed an Advanced Management Programme at IESE Business School.

Manuel Estrella is the President and Founder of ESTRELLA
Mr. Estrella is a businessman who has diversified his business by acquiring a major share in Multimedios del Caribe, the parent company of El Caribe newspaper and the CDN television and radio stations, in the Hospital Metropolitano de Santiago, in the Aeropuerto Internacional del Cibao, in Ferretería Ochoa and in Industrias Tucán, and more recently in AES Dominicana, an energy solutions provider. At present, he also chairs the board of the new Cibao Fútbol Club, the team that will represent Santiago in the Dominican Soccer League. As a professor, he taught in the structural area of the Civil Engineering Department of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra for ten years, and he is currently a Member of the university’s Board of Directors. He has been a Board Member of the Asociación de Industrias de la República Dominicana, Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada, Junta Monetaria, the American Chamber of Commerce, Fundación Institucionalidad y Justicia and Asociación de Comerciantes e Industriales de Santiago, which he presided for three consecutive terms. He is currently the President of the Centro Cultural Dominico-Americano. Mr. Estrella holds a Civil Engineering degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM) and also Master's degree in Business Management and a Master's degree in Corporate Finance in 2003.

Guillermo Fernández de Soto, Director of Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF)'s Office for Europe

Mr. Fernández de Soto is a Colombian laywer and diplomat. Prior to entering CAF as Director for Europe, Mr. Fernández de Soto held multiple posts in Colombian and international organisations. Between 1998 and 2002 he was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, and in 2002 he was appointed Secretary General of the Andean Community. Between 2004 and 2007 Mr. Fernández de Soto held the post of Ambassador of Colombia to the Netherlands. Mr. Fernández de Soto was also President of the United Nations Security Council, President of the Inter-American Juridical Committee (IAJC) of the OAS, Co-Agent to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Colombia, President of the Ibero-American Association of Chambers of Commerce (AICO) and President of the Colombian Committee of Economic and Social Council for the Pacific Basin among other important positions. He is the author of a large number of publications on the international relations of Colombia and Latin America and on regional integration. Mr. Fernández de Soto has a strong academic background in law and economics from the Javeriana Pontificial University, specialising in Socio-Economic Sciences, and post-graduate studies in International Relations from Georgetown University and Conflict Management from Harvard University.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, President of the EU-LAC Foundation

A career diplomat, Dr. Ferrero-Waldner began her professional career in the private sector in the 1970s and entered the Austrian diplomatic service in 1984. She was Secretary of State (1995-2000), Minister of Foreign Affairs in her native Austria (2000-2004) and European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighbourhood Policy (2004-2010). In 2004 she was a candidate for the People’s Party for the function of President of the Republic of Austria. Currently, apart from being President of the EU-LAC Foundation, Dr. Ferrero-Waldner is also Board Member of various enterprises and foundations.

Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, Director General of the European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)

Mr. Frutuoso de Melo is a Portuguese national and a long-standing European Commission official. He was recruited in 1987 and has gained wide experience in various policy areas. Mr. Frutuoso de Melo has assumed important management responsibilities in the European Commission for more than 20 years. After 10 years in the Directorate General (DG) for Development he held positions in the Directorates General for Human Resources and Fisheries, before joining, in 2004, the private office of Commissioner Olli Rehn, then responsible for the EU enlargement process. In 2006, Mr. Frutuoso de Melo was appointed Director in the Secretariat General of the Commission with responsibilities for relations with the European Parliament and other EU entities. In 2009-2012 he was Deputy Head of the private office of European Commission President Barroso before becoming Deputy Director General in DG Human Resources and Security. Since November 2013 he has headed the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development. Before joining the Commission Mr. Frutuoso de Melo worked in the civil service of Portugal and in the private sector. He holds a degree in law, having also studied development policy, history and public management.

Antonio Garamendi Lecanda, President of CEPYME, Vice-President of CEOE

Mr. Garamendi Lecanda, a Spanish entrepreneur, has been dedicated to the world of business from an early age, through his involvement in family businesses, projects initiated by himself and presence on the Boards of Directors and Advisory Councils of large companies. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of Red Eléctrica in Spain, in 1999 and re-elected on July 2003. He has been general delegate of Equitativa, S.A. in the region of Vizcaya, adviser at the Bankoa, President of Handyman and of a Business Communication Group including La Gaceta de los Negocios, Money Magazine, Radio Intereconomía and OTR News Agency. He was the advisor of Babcock & Wilcox Spanish, Red Electrica de Telecomunicaciones SA and Tubos Reunidos, S.A, Vice President of Entel Ibai S.A. and Member of the Strategic Committee of Sodexho Pass Group, SA. Today his private business activity is focused on the sectors of metal, construction, real estate, insurance and hospitality, participating as a shareholder or director in various companies. Mr. Garamendi has been part of the Board of Trustees of the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, a member of BILBAO METROPOLI-30 and chairs the foundation AYUDARE, whose main activity is to open water wells in Ethiopia. Mr. Garamendi obtained a Law degree from the University of Deusto.

Eduardo García Moreno, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Institutional Services at Repsol

Mr. Eduardo García is Director of Corporate Responsibility and Institutional Services at Repsol, a private oil company operating in more than 30 countries. Mr. Garcia’s mandate is to help his company to identify and understand the full range of its stakeholders expectations and concerns, and to help Repsol’s business decision makers to take them into account systematically. He coordinates the making and updating of Repsol’s Sustainability Plans around the world, and is responsible for the following up of the company’s performance in accountability, transparency, ethical behaviour and respect to the stakeholders’ interests. After getting a Ph.D in Geology, Mr. García joined Repsol in 1990, and he has spent his entire career in this company. He took charge of Repsol’s Corporate Responsibility in 2007.

Evangelina Gómez Durañona, Executive Director of the Ecuadorian Consortium for Social Responsibility (CERES)

Ms. Gómez Durañona has broad experience in organisational management, sustainability and institutional relations. Her professional path started in Galapagos where she resided for ten years and worked as Executive Director of the Scalesia Foundation and collaborated at the Charles Darwin Station. Upon her return to Quito, she worked at the Institute of Applied Ecology at the San Francisco de Quito University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and a degree in Management Skills from the San Francisco de Quito University. Recently, Ms. Gómez Durañona obtained a degree as a specialist in social responsibility from the University of Castilla La Mancha. Currently she represents CERES in the Vice Presidency of the Metropolitan Council of Social Responsibility of the city of Quito. Furthermore, Ms. Gómez Durañona acts as a speaker and trainer at national and international events.

Francisco N. González Díaz , CEO of ProMéxico
On June 10th, 2013, Mr. González was appointed CEO of ProMéxico by the Minister of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, as a request of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Mr. González leads the country’s efforts to promote exports, attract foreign direct investment and internationalize Mexican companies. His career spans more than 20 years in the private and public sector, committed to the growth of the country. Within the public sector, highlights its participation as Chief of Protocol of the Uruguay GATT Round. He also served as Director of Innovation and Quality of Nacional Financiera and Deputy Director General of Strategic Planning at the Mexican Ministry of the Interior. Francisco Gonzalez has extensive experience in promoting Mexico abroad. Since 2002, he has held important positions related to this task; among them, he served as Commercial Counselor for Germany, Central and Eastern Europe at BANCOMEXT; Regional Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at ProMéxico; and Ambassador of Mexico to the Federal Republic of Germany. Mr. González holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and another one from the University of Texas at Austin.

Walter Koren, Director General, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber – ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

An Austrian national, Mr. Koren holds a Master's degree in Economics obtained at the University of Graz and the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. He studied Law at the Universities of Vienna, Graz and Salzburg, and holds the degree of Doctor of Law. Mr. Koren started his professional career in 1981 by joining the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ), Austria’s official Foreign Trade Promotion Organisation. Between 1982 and 1988, he worked as Commercial Attaché at the Austrian Trade Commission in different countries (Guatemala, Iran, South Korea). He became Deputy Trade Commissioner in 1988 and Trade Commissioner at the Austrian Trade Commission in 1997. As of 2002, Mr. Koren is Director General of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

Emma Marcegaglia, President of Business Europe

Ms. Marcegaglia is the President of Business Europe, a leading body representing European companies and national business federations from 35 countries and advocating for growth and competitiveness. She also holds other roles: Vice Chairman and CEO of Marcegaglia S.p.A. and President of the LUISS Guido Carli University, President of Mita Resort S.r.l. and Member of the Board of Directors of Bracco and Gabetti Property Solutions S.p.A. In the past she has been President of Società Turismo & Immobiliare, Vice President of Italia Turismo; Member of the Management Board of Banco Popolare, Italcementi and Indesit Company and Member of the Board of Directors of Finecobank. She has also held the positions of President of Confindustria and Italian Representative in the High Level Group for energy, competitiveness and environment created by the European Commission, Vice President of Confindustria for Europe, National President of Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs, President of YES (Young Entrepreneurs for Europe) and National Vice President of Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs. She graduated in Business Administration from the Bocconi University in Milan and holds an MBA from New York University.

Danilo Medina, President of the Dominican Republic

Mr. Medina's political career began with the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in 1973, when he supported Professor Juan Bosch and his project of founding the PLD. Mr. Medina was later elected as a deputy of Congress in 1986, 1990 and 1994. During the 1990-94 term he was the spokesperson for the PLD and President of the Commission on Social and Provisional Matters of the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO), headquartered in Brazil. In 1994, he was elected President of the Chamber of Deputies. He was Secretary of State of the Presidency from 1996-2000 and 2004-2006, coordinating the actions of government agencies and the proper functioning of the public administration, the autonomous institutions and other decentralised entities of the State. Mr. Medina is a chemical engineer, graduating from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) in 1978. He also has an Economics degree from the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC), where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1984.

Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development

Mr. Mimica is a Croatian politician and diplomat who has served as European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development since November 2014. Mr. Mimica graduated from the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Economics in 1976. Between 1979 and 1997 he held positions in various government bodies related to foreign relations and foreign trade policies. In 1997 he was appointed assistant to the Croatian Minister of Economy and served as Croatia's chief negotiator during the country's accession to the World Trade Organisation and the European Union Association Agreement. In September 2001 he became Minister of European Integration. He was elected to the Croatian Parliament in 2003 as a representative of the Social Democratic Party, and again in 2007. Since January 2008 he has served as deputy speaker of the Croatian parliament and is also the chairman of the parliament's committee for European integration. In 2011 he was selected as Deputy Prime Minister of the Croatian government, responsible for Internal, Foreign and European policy. In 2013-2014 Mr. Mimica held the post of European Commissioner for Consumer Policy.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission

Ms. Mogherini is an Italian politician and diplomat. She was appointed High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission in the Juncker Commission on 1 November 2014. Ms. Mogherini was Italy's Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation from 21 February 2014 until 31 October 2014 in the centre-left Cabinet of Matteo Renzi. She was Head of the Italian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (2013-2014) and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe between 2008 and 2013. Ms. Mogherini has been a member of the Italian Institute for Foreign Affairs (IAI) since 2008 and she holds a degree in Political Science obtained at the University of Rome in 1994.

Juan Temístocles Montás Domínguez, Minister of Economy, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic

Mr. Temistocles Montás Domínguez is a economist and Dominican politician. He previously served as Technical Secretary of State to the Presidency of the Dominican Republic from 1998 to 2000 and from 2004 to 2007, and he's a member of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). Mr. Temistocles Montás Domínguez was elected member of the first Central Committee of the PLD in 1973. He also served as Vice-Secretary of Political Education, Coordinator of Special Agencies and Organisations Special Secretary of the PLD. He was elected member of his political committee in 1990 together with Dr. Leonel Fernández and Lic. Danilo Medina (current President). He also held the post of Press Secretary of that political organisation and is now the Secretary of International Relations of the PLD. He has been since 1990 the coordinator of the technical teams that have prepared the Government Programmes of the PLD. Mr. Temistocles Montás Domínguez was a Deputy to the National Congress by the PLD for the period 1986–1990. He also serves as Adviser to the Chamber of Deputies of the Republic. Mr. Temistocles Montás Domínguez served as CEO of the Dominican Electricity Corporation, now the Dominican Corporation of State Electrical Companies (CDEEE) from 1996 to 1998. In 1998 he was appointed Technical Secretary of the Presidency until 2000, playing a key role in the economic and financial area. In August 2004 he was appointed for a second time Technical Secretary of the Presidency, under the new Government of the PLD. Mr. Temistocles Montás Domínguez holds a Ph.D. in Engineering from the Technical University of Madrid and also a Master's degree in Economics.

Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

Mr. Moreno assumed the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in October 2005. He also chairs the Board of Executive Directors of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and the Donors’ Committee of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), both institutions of the IDB Group. Before joining the Bank, Mr. Moreno served as Colombia’s Ambassador to the United States (1998-2005). In Colombia, Mr. Moreno served as Minister of Economic Development, President of the Instituto de Fomento Industrial, and manager of social investment policies, including the housing strategy for low-income families. In the private sector, he advised major Colombian companies and foreign investors. Mr. Moreno holds a degree in Business Administration and Economics from the Florida Atlantic University (1975), and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management (1977).

Escipión J. Oliveira Gómez, Deputy Executive Director Caribbean Export Development Agency

Mr. Oliveira joined the Agency in November 2008 as Manager of Special Projects and Manager of the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (CTPSDP). From 1990 to 1997 he worked as Economic Attaché of the Dominican Embassy to the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Belgium and Director of the DR Tourism Office for the BENELUX countries (1994-97). From 1997 to 2001, he was National Representative of the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) in the Dominican Republic and Director of the “Private Sector Support and Foreign Trade Department” of the National Authorising Officer’s Bureau for the EDF. In 2000 Mr. Oliveira was appointed Deputy Minister and Deputy National Authorizing Officer for the EDF of the Dominican Republic. Under this responsibility he represented the CARIFORUM Group as one of the three delegates of the region on the “ACP Ministerial Trade Committee” and the “Joint ACP-EC Ministerial Trade Committee” that negotiated the First Phase of the Economic Partnership Agreements between the ACP and the EU. From 2002 to 2005 Mr. Oliveira worked as Expert Private Sector of the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group) in Brussels, participating in the review of the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou. Before joining Caribbean Export, he was Sector Coordinator, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and Tourism at CDE’s Headquarters in Brussels where he also assumed the posts of Regional Coordinator for Southern and Eastern Africa (2005-2008) and interim Head of CDE’s Sub-regional Office in Botswana (2008). Mr. Oliveira holds a Master's degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance (1994), a Post Graduate Diploma in Business (1992) from "Université Catholique de Louvain" (UCL) (Belgium) and a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the "Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo” (DR).

Juan Cristobal Paredes Friedemann, Director General, TA-Energía

Mr. Paredes Friedemann is a Civil Industrial Engineer, with 10 years' experience in the renewable energy sector. Prior to his position as Director of TA-energia, he worked several years in the hydraulic energy sector in Chile conceptualising and developing hydraulic related projects. Mr. Paredes Friedemann also had an extensive experience in the photovoltaic energy sector where he worked for investment groups (Infacal inversions) or large consortia (Consorcio Npasur Solarco). Mr. Paredes Friedemann worked in the biogas energy sector where he took care of pre-feasibility projects. He also benefits from a sound experience in the wind energy sector where he used to work on due diligence projects. Finally, Mr. Paredes Friedemann acquired a relevant experience working in the carbon market industry where he used to work for a German consultancy company (3c Consulting). Mr. Paredes Friedemann holds a degree in civil engineering from the Universidad Catolica de Chile. 

Ingo Plöger, President of the Business Council of Latin America (CEAL)

Mr. Plöger started his professional career in 1978, joining Kienbaum Consultants as General Manager and Partner. He also became a Member of the Advisory Board of Zivi Hercules, Companhia Melhoramentos, Herion and Varig. In 1993, Mr. Plöger assumed the position of CEO of Companhia Melhoramentos de São Paulo and some years later became Chairman of the Board of Melpaper, a Companhia Melhoramentos de São Paulo enterprise. He was the President of the German-Brazilian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in São Paulo for four years and President of the Integrated Council of the German-Brazilian Chambers in Brazil and President of the Mercosur German Chambers Alliance. During his professional career, Mr. Plöger has served as President, Chairman, Co-chairman and Member on numerous business-related Boards and Committees in Latin America. In 2014 he was appointed International President of CEAL. Mr. Plöger graduated from the Technological University of Darmstadt, Germany, and holds a post-graduate degree in Economic and Labour Sciences from the Technological University of Munich.

María Aminta Quirce, Banco Nacional General Director, Banca Mujer
Ms. Aminta Quirce joined Banco Nacional in 2010. She has been responsible for structuring the Banca Mujer programme since then. Ms. Aminta Quirce previous experience includes working for the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and a USAID-funded Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that aimed to support other NGOs that had programmes benefiting micro-entrepreneurs. Ms. Aminta Quirce also has experience in other sectors related to international commerce, added value chains and competitiveness areas. She has been a Member of the Board of Directors of the National Museum and Junta de Protección Social (welfare administration board). Ms. Aminta Quirce has a degree in Economics from the University of Costa Rica and has participated in different seminars at INCAE (Harvard Business School in Costa Rica) and University of California, San Diego.

Welmer Ramos González, Minister of Economy Costa Rica

Mr. Ramos González started his professional career as an economist in the Section of Agricultural Economics of the Central Bank of Costa Rica. Mr. Ramos González has extensive teaching experience, and has taught economic policy, economic globalization, macroeconomics and international finance at several universities of Costa Rica. He has served as Legislative Counselor for several years, advising on matters such as the reform of the Organic Law of the National Banking System, Project Solidarity Tax, and several laws strengthening management tax and fiscal transparency, among others. Mr. Ramos González is active as Parliamentary Counselor of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, Postgraduate Professor of University Fidelitas, Postgraduate Professor of Alma Mater-University Fundepos, Chairman of the Central American Evaluation Association (ACE) and Professor at the University of Costa Rica. Mr. Ramos González holds a Master's degree in Evaluation Programme and Project Development obtained at the University of Costa Rica and a Master's degree in Business Administration with emphasis on Finance from the Inter American University.

Andrés Rebolledo, Director General for External Economic Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile

Mr. Rebolledo holds a degree in economics from the University of Chile and has extensive experience in international trade. In 1991 Andrés Rebolledo joined the Directorate General for International Economic Relations (DIRECON) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was in charge of Mexico, Central America and ALADI in the Latin America & Integration Department. In the following years, Mr. Rebolledo became Head of the Latin America & Integration Department where he was responsible for preparing, negotiating and managing the Free Trade Agreements signed with Latin American countries. In 1997 Mr. Rebolledo earned a graduate degree in International Economics and Economic Development at Complutense University, in Madrid. He then returned to DIRECON and became Head of the Market Access Department. From 2005 to 2008 Mr. Rebolledo was Director of Bilateral Economic Affairs and in 2009 he was appointed Chilean Ambassador to Uruguay and Chile's Permanent Representative to ALADI. From 2010 to early 2014, Mr. Rebolledo worked as a consultant on Integration and Trade at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Washington DC. He was appointed Director General of DIRECON in March 2014.

Ángel Rivera Congosto, Senior Executive Vice President in the Retail & Commercial Banking Division, Banco Santander

As from April 2013, Mr. Rivera Congosto has joined Banco Santander as Senior Executive Vice President in the Retail & Commercial Banking Division. He is responsible for Corporates, SME's & Institutions. He is also member of the Board of Santander Perú and Banco Santander Uruguay. Previously, Mr. Rivera Congosto was linked to Banco Popular Español for over 24 years as the Group’s General Manager of Business. During the last six years, he was responsible for the banking activity of the Group in Spain that included Retail Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, Asset Management, Private Banking, International Banking and Real Estate. He has a degree in Business Administration & Tourism and has attended the Senior Management Programme (PADE) at the IESE (University of Navarra) as well as various financial programmes in the United States and Australia. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Banking & Finance. In addition, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the University School of Financial Studies (CUNEF), member of the Board of Trustees of the Spanish Banking Foundation for Financial Studies (FEBEB), lecturer for the Portfolio Management and Financial Markets Master’s course at the La Coruña School of Finance and co-authored the books Managing Liquidity Risk (Work Papers International Banking School, 1999), Expertos en personas (A people expert) (Ed. Pearson Educación, 2004) and En busca del compromiso (Searching for Commitment) (Ed. Almuzara, 2006) and 31 Claves para la Gestión de Riesgos en Entidades Bancarias (Colegio de Economistas de Madrid, 2015).

Carlos Ruiz, Director of CEPYME

Hans Schulz, Vice President for the Private Sector and Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations, a.i., of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

Mr. Schulz is responsible for overseeing the Structured and Corporate Finance Department (SCF) and Opportunities for the Majority Sector (OMJ), as well as coordinating with the Multilateral Investment Fund and the Inter-American Investment Corporation. Earlier assignments with the IDB include managing the private sector financial markets team, serving as an advisor to the IDB’s Executive Vice President and leading infrastructure project development as an officer. In addition, Mr. Schulz served at the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) in Venezuela, the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Chile, and West LB in Germany. A German citizen, Mr. Schulz holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from Southern Illinois University and undergraduate degrees in economics and business from Marburg University in Germany.

Julio Cesar Silva Bustos, Vice-President of Confecámaras Colombia
Prior to his position as Vice-President, Mr. Silva Bustos was the Development Director of Confecámaras, where he was responsible for implementation in Colombia of different programs co-financed by the Inter-American Development Bank (FOMIN). He was also responsible for implementing the National Procedure Simplification Programme for Entrepreneurship under the Convention between Confecámaras and the Government of the Netherlands. He led the start-up of the Single Business Registration Window and Social RUES, the country's most important information centre which allows employers to advance paperwork from and to any of the 57 Chambers of Commerce. He participated in the regulatory process of the Single Registry, under Law 80 of 1993 and Law 1150 of 2007. Mr. Silva Bustos also coordinated business programmes implemented in 53 chambers of commerce in the country during the years 2012 and 2013. He coordinated the Cooperation Agreement No. 261 of 2015 signed with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. Finally, Mr. Silva Bustos was the representative of Confecámaras in the Superior Council of Small and Medium Enterprises. Mr. Silva Bustos holds a degree in Corporate Finance and Senior Management in Advanced Coaching for Leadership.

Claire Skentelbery, Secretary General of the European Biotechnology Network

Claire Skentelbery completed a PhD in biochemistry before moving into scientific marketing and communication, and acted as the National Contact Point for Framework Programme 5, before becoming an independent consultant in biotechnology development. While in the UK, she split her time between supporting the development of the Cambridge cluster through her role in ERBI, the regional biotech network (now One Nucleus) and freelance proposal writing. Along with a group of clusters across Europe, she helped to create the Council of European BioRegions, which is now an independent non-profit organisation in Belgium. Claire is the Network Manager for CEBR asbl, and also the Secretary General of the European Biotechnology Network, a scientific network with the mission to build partnerships. These networks allow her to pursue an overall mission to remove geographical, political and other barriers to scientific exploitation.

Dr. Laimdota Straujuma, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia
Prior to her position as Prime Minister, Dr. Straujuma was Deputy Director of the "Latvian Agricultural Consulting and Educational Support Centre" Ltd. from 1993 to 1997. She then became the Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia between November 1999 and October 2000. In 2000, she continued her professional carreer as State Secretary of successively the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Regional Development and Local Government. In 2010, she became Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development and in 2011 she served as Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Latvia until 2014. Dr Straujuma holds a PhD. In Economics (Dr.oec.) with a Doctoral Thesis on the Assessment of the Use of Manufacturing Resources by the Latvian Companies.

Fernando Torija, Head of Division – Spain, Banks & Corporates

Mr. Fernando Torija has worked for the last 13 years at the European Investment Bank. He is currently responsible of the relationship with Banks and Corporates in Spain. He has worked previously as a responsible for the origination of projects in Mercosur and Chile until 2011 and in the area of credit risk management for infrastructure and public sectors until 2008 for the same institution. His personal experience in the private sector includes 5 years in investment banking at Deutsche Bank in London and 7 years at Citibank both in New York and Madrid. He has a Business degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, a Law Degree at the National Distance Education University (UNED, Spain), and a Post-graduate Master's Degree in Finance from the ¨Comercial University” at Deusto in Bilbao, Spain. Mr. Torija is a qualified Solicitor by the Solicitor´s School in Madrid and has complied with all the requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New York, U.S.

Katia Trusich Ortiz, Vice-Minister of Economy in the Ministry of Economy, Public Works and Tourism, Chile.

Ms. Trusich Ortiz is the Chilean government member responsible for SMEs, Social Economy, Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility. She chairs 5 public-private sector Joint Commissions at national level - SMEs, Finance for SMEs, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Economy and Digital Economy. Katia Trusich Ortiz is a lawyer from the University of Chile. She also holds an MBA from the University Adolfo Ibáñez and completed doctoral studies at the University of Salamanca where she undertook research on the environment. Her experience in the public sector is linked to her current position: Ms. Ortiz was Director of Biotechnology Innova Chile of CORFO and Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Economy, Mr. Alvaro Díaz. In the private sector, she was a lawyer and general manager of Pesquera SA Yelcho. In 2011, she was nominated among the "100 Women Leaders of Chile". At the time of her nomination, she was general manager of the biotechnology company Genzyme for Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

Roland Verstappen, Global Director Public and Governmental Affairs Heinneken

Mr. Verstappen started his professional career in 1982 as Legal Counselor for Komatsu Europe. He then became In-house Legal Counselor for Ford Motor Company in Belgium in 1988 and Senior European Attorney for Ford of Europe that same year. Mr. Verstappen continued his career inside Ford of Europe as Manager EU Policies and Regulations in 1993, Director Governmental and EU Affairs in 1995 and Executive Director European Governmental and Economic Affairs in 2000. He became Vice-President International Affairs and Vice-President International Affairs and Corporate Responsibility of Arcelor-Mittal respectively in 2006 and in 2009. He became the Global Director Public and Governmental Affairs of Heineken in 2012. Mr. Verstappen holds a MA European Law, obtained at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium and a Law Degree with Distinction from the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Núria Vilanova, President of Atrevia

Ms. Núria Vilanova is the founder and President of Atrevia, the largest communication consultancy company in Spain, with a team of 300 employees and offices in Portugal, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Belgium and the United States. Ms. Vilanova's professional profile is highlighted by her commitment to the development of knowledge, business platforms and social responsibility. She is a member of the board of several foundations, a creator of two research centres and author of three books. She serves as President of the Iberian Chapter of the Business Council for Latin America (CEAL). Ms. Vilanova is also a Member of the Board and the Executive Committee of the Business Circle and is a Member of the Board of Directors of Womenalia.

Dr. Wm. Warren Smith, President Caribbean Development Bank (CDB),
Dr. William Warren Smith is the fifth President of Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the regional development finance institution based in Barbados. He was elected at a special meeting of the CDB Board of Governors held on October 29, 2010, and assumed office on May 1, 2011. At the time of his election, Dr. Smith was acting in the capacity of Vice-President (Operations) at CDB. His substantive position on taking up that acting appointment from August 16, 2010, was Director, Finance and Corporate Planning. Dr. Smith first joined CDB in 1985 and was seconded by the Bank in 1987 to set up the corporate planning function at the regional airline, LIAT (1974) Limited. He subsequently served as Chief Executive Officer of LIAT, before returning to CDB in 1998. He has also held high-level positions at a number of other institutions in the Region including Director of the Economics and Planning Division at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica; and Vice-President, Investments at Life of Jamaica Limited. Dr. Smith is an alumnus of Cornell University in the United States of America, and graduated magna cum laude with an AB in Economics (Hon) in 1974. He went on to read for a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics, and for a Ph.D. in Resource Economics and Public Policy. Dr. Smith is a national of Jamaica.