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Austria / Head office

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Edward Strasser

CEO

The Innovation in Politics Awards have been co-founded by Edward Strasser, whose professional career includes positions in politics and public relations. Since 2000, he has been a partner at the Skills Group, a leading Austrian PR firm. Before that, Edward was a member of the staff of the Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party in Austria. He has initiated several political projects, including a press agency for migrant issues in 2011, and is co-founder of respekt.net, an internet-based crowdfunding platform for civil society projects. Edward Strasser is a lecturer at the University of Vienna’s Department of Communication and was previously Secretary General of the Austrian Association of Public Relations Professionals. His political work focuses on bridge-building projects and cooperation across the political spectrum.

Belgium

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Stephen Boucher

Stephen Boucher is the founder and CEO of dreamocracy, a think and do tank dedicated to mobilising collective intelligence for the common good. He is the author of the Petit manuel de créativité politique - Comment libérer l'audace collective (“Little manual of political creativity”). He was previously CEO of consoGlobe.com, France’s largest online media on sustainable lifestyles, and director for European policy at the European Climate Foundation (ECF). A Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Sciences Po Paris graduate, he co-directed the Jacques Delors Institute for four years before the ECF. He currently teaches on matters related to policy innovation, civic techs and political influence at Sciences Po in Paris, the Solvay Brussels School and the Université Catholique de Louvain.

Bulgaria

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Alexander Dourchev

Alexander Dourchev is the founder of All Channels Communication group Bulgaria (ACCG), a leading Bulgarian communications agency. The EU commission’s representative office in the country has been a partner and key client of All Channels since 2006. in 2013, the European Parliament Office in Bulgaria also chose All Channels as its trusted communications partner. Alexander has worked with almost all of the political parties in Bulgaria on various political projects. He is a professor at the American University in Bulgaria and at Sofia University. He has a master’s degree in political management and public policies from New Bulgarian University, as well as a certificate in national programme management skills for young leaders and politicians from the Bulgarian School of Politics. Alexander was the chairman of the Bulgarian Association of PR Agencies from 2011-2014 and its deputy chairman between 2009 and 2011.

France

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Lena Morozova-Friha

Lena Morozova-Friha is the Managing Director of the Paris-based pro-European think and action tank Europanova. Its mission is to promote a strong, political and democratic Europe by fostering public debate, promoting young talented individuals and bringing together the brightest minds around commonly shared European values and interests in order to propose innovative and creative ideas to local and European decision-makers. In this framework Lena and her team managed pan-European projects involving experts, politicians, organisations and students from all over Europe. Graduated from Sorbonne and College of Europe, Lena has an extensive background and network in the EU institutions, multinational private sector and media. Settled in France since 2003, she lived and studied in Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, United States, Spain, Belgium and Poland. Convinced that the future of the European Project lies in the hands of innovative people connected to the realities of the citizens and able to build trust in their future, Lena has begun a new chapter in the development of Europanova’s activities by joining the Innovation in Politics Awards.

Ireland

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Fidelma Joyce

Fidelma Joyce brings 20 years of experience of working in communications, public affairs, and European affairs to the Innovation in Politics Awards. She has worked as an advocate for women’s rights, youth rights, human rights, equality and social justice. Fidelma has supported youth, community and voluntary groups to connect with political processes and influence public policy at local, national and European level. She has led the communications and public affairs work in human rights and social justice bodies in Ireland and prior to that worked on youth policy and youth work development for the European Youth Forum in Brussels. Fidelma has an educational background in marketing and equality studies.

Italy

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Martin Slater

Martin Slater is the founder and CEO of Noesis Group, one of Italy’s leading communication companies. He has broad experience of working in both the private and public sectors. After obtaining a degree from the University of Essex he went on to complete a PHD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specialising in the study of european politics, Martin then taught and carried out research for several years at the Universities of Harvard, Clark (both USA), Essex (UK) and Turin (Italy) before moving to the UK treasury where he advised ministers on agricultural and trade policies. In 1992, Slater set up a communications company in Milan. Previously, he had done extensive research on Italian politics and had also been a professor at Turin University. Martin had developed extensive networks within Italy. Running a business gave him a new perspective in understanding the importance of the political area to the economic, social and cultural development of the country. “politicians can make a real difference to people’s lives, both positively and negatively.”

Lithuania

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Dalia Bankauskaitė

Dalia Bankauskaitė is an Adjunct Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, D.C and Media Program Director at Vilnius Institute of Policy Analysis (VIPA). Her research focus is strategic communication, society’s resilience and trust building, society’s mobilization and motivation as state crafting. She has extensive professional experience in dealing with the public and private sectors in integrated communication and marketing, and project management in Lithuania, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia in the field of European integration. In addition, she has diplomatic experience with the Lithuanian Embassy in Moscow. Ms. Bankauskaitė holds a Master’s degree from the LSE, UK and EMBA from Baltic Management Institute (BMI) in Lithuania.

Poland

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Julia Kozak

Julia Kozak is a member of the council of experts at think tank (an independent analysis centre serving as a platform for the exchange of experience and views on management, leadership and globalisation issues) and the Polish academy of PR experts. She has 20 years of extensive experience in the field of integrated communication. She established the Polish office of FleishmanHillard, an international public relations and integrated communication agency, and led the company for 13 years. Julia and her team started one of the first public affairs companies in Poland. She has managed projects and communications for leading Polish and international companies and institutions. Julia has worked with teams from over 20 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia, planned communication activities for more than 200 companies and private and public organisations, winning a number of Polish and international industry awards. She was the Vice President of the Association of Public Relations Companies (PPRCA) for four years and a member of the American Chamber of Commerce for 11 years.

Sweden

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Lisa Pelling

Lisa Pelling is the Chief Analyst at Stockholm-based independent think tank Arena Idé, which is financed primarily by the Swedish Trade Union Movement. Arena Idé is part of the Arena Group, together with the publishing House Atlas, Communications and Campaign Consultancy Arena Opinion and leading Cultural and Political Magazine Arena. Lisa was appointed Political Advisor to the Swedish Minister for Development and Migration in 2002 and to the Swedish Fforeign Minister in 2005. Before joining Arena Idé in 2013 she was the Programme Manager for Migration at Global Challenge, a think tank. In the same year, she completed a PHD in Political Science at the University of Vienna. Lisa Pelling is a columnist for Daily Digital Newspaper Dagens Arena and often appears as an expert and commentator in other media, such as Swedish State Television SVT and Public Service Radio SR.

Switzerland

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Daniel Heller

Daniel is partner at Farner Consulting, Switzerlands leading Communication Consulting Agency with offices in Zurich, Bern, Lausanne and St. Gall. He has over 25 years experience in Strategic Leadership, Governance, Corporate Affairs and Crisis Communications. Daniel heads the Public Affairs unit at Farner Consulting, presides the Innovation Board and leads Farners Innovation and Startup Communications Desk. He was long-term Member of the Parliament in the Canton of Aargau, Switzerland, for 10 years he was Chairman of the Parliamentary Group “Freisinnig Demokratische Partei” (FDP). Beside Daniel is the President of the Board of Directors of the Cantonal Hospital Baden, the Clinic Barmelweid, the finance Institutes Clientis Bank Küttigen Erlinsbach and Reuss Private Group. Daniel holds a PhD in history and political Science from the University of Zurich.

United Kingdom

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David Schoibl

David Schoibl brings over 20 years of experience in connecting people and politics to the Innovation in Politics Awards. He has been working in public affairs for 13 years, connecting companies, NGOs, interest groups, professional bodies and trade organisations with the political process at the EU level. His professional work for UK and EU market leader Dods group has seen David work in business development at a senior level, advising clients on how to align their strategic aims with EU policy processes. As a former Chair of the Labour Movement for Europe in the United Kingdom, a party-affiliated pro-European membership organisation, and as an activist campaigning for voter participation across party-political lines among EU citizen communities, David has built a strong senior network in EU institutions; among politicians and policy-makers; in UK organisations, think tanks and community groups; and among activists and pro-European organisations in other European countries. David‘s educational background is in history, politics, sociology and european studies.