Mr. Petros Kokkalis

Petros Kokkalis has been actively involved in public service for the past 25 years, developing social innovation focused on human and sustainable development.

In 2019 he was elected MEP with the Progressive Alliance – Syriza ticket, representing Kosmos: an association seeking to put the SDGs in the heart of the European policymaking, and aiming at the empowerment and engagement of civil society and all stakeholders to take bottom-up action for implementing the European Green Deal and the SDGs.

He is a member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and a substitute member of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG), the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), and the Committee on Fisheries (PECH). In the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development he is the co-chair of the SDGs Working Group.

He studied Modern History at the University of Hampshire, and earned his master’s degree in public administration at Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

He was co-founder and secretary of the non-governmental environmental Organization Earth (2009 – 2021) whose work on environmental awareness and education for sustainable development has been awarded by the International Union for the Protection of the Environment (IUCN).

He was elected and served as the Vice-Mayor responsible for economic development and climate change in the municipality of Piraeus (2014 – 2019), where he promoted sustainable entrepreneurship and support of start-ups in the maritime economy.

The European Commission has acknowledged its work, awarding the Blue Growth Piraeus initiative at the European Entrepreneurship Promotion Competition 2018.

During his term of office he led the humanitarian support during the Refugee Crisis in the period 2015-2016 and served as the President of the Municipal Council for Refugees.

Mr. Michalis Sarantis

Michalis St. Sarantis was born in Trikala and he graduated from the 1st High School of Trikala in 1979.

He joined the small family business of his father Stelios, along with his brother Dimitris. There, after learning the process of cheese making, he was actively involved in the production, sales and distribution of the manufactured products.

In 1985, Dimitris and Michalis started their own dairy facilities with their father being their valuable consultant. The following years, the two brothers jointly managed to transform the local dairy facility into an admirable group of companies, which has a leading position in the dairy industry.

Michalis St. Sarantis is currently the Chief Executive Officer of “HELLENIC DAIRIES SA”, which has today products with brand name OLYMPUS, TYRAS, RODOPI, KLIAFA, DOUMPIA and also seven factories.

Finally, it is noted that Mr. Michalis Sarantis is an elected member of the Board. of the Inter-professional Feta Organization.

He is married and has three children, who are also actively involved in the company.

Mr. Spilios Livanos

Spilios Livanos is born in Athens in 1967.

He graduated from Athens College. He studied Economics and Political Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA and International Relations and Comparative Political Analysis at the University of Reading, UK.

He was employed at the European Commission’s Social Fund in Bruxelles, then moved back in Greece as an executive on corporate development of private enterprises. In 2002, he founded a construction and real estate management company operating in Greece and Belgium.

In 2007 he was elected for the first time Member of the Greek Parliament. In 2009 he was appointed Deputy Secretary of Political Planning of New Democracy and in 2013 Secretary General of Political and Strategic Planning of New Democracy.

In 2016 he was appointed Special Counselor for Entrepreneurship to the leader of New Democracy, PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis. In 2019 he served as Parliamentary Representative for New Democracy in the Greek Parliament.

He was a member of the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs, the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Economic Affairs, the Special Standing Parliamentary Committee on the Financial Statement and the General Balance Sheet and the implementation of the State Budget.

On the 4th of January 2021 he was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Food.

He speaks English and French. He is married to Domna Kyrzopoulou, lawyer with whom shares three children, Dionysis, Danae and Alice.

Dr. Nikolaos Thomaidis

Nikolaos S. Thomaidis is Professor of Analytical Chemistry in the Chemistry Department of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He leads a dedicated scientific group (TrAMS group), with constant research activity over the last 25 years. Prof. Thomaidis’ research interests focus on the development of cutting-edge HRMS methodologies for the thorough characterization of foods, but also of environmental and clinical samples, by applying both targeted and untargeted screening workflows.

Sophisticated chemometric tools have been developed, supporting data process and reliable evaluation of the results. Prof. Thomaidis lab has also established an accredited service laboratory according to ISO 17025, performing food analysis in line with European and International standards. His overall research activity is summed up to >250 articles, >8000 citations and a 50-h-index (Scopus ID: 6701846377). As principal investigator he has participated in several research projects, highly contributing to developing new methods and protocols in challenging authenticity and safety issues.

Ms. Alia El-Yassir

Ms. Alia El-Yassir (Canada) has been working with UN Women since 2011.  Prior to assuming her role as Regional Director, she worked with UN Women as Deputy Regional Director and as Representative at country level. In these roles, she has supported normative processes and UN coordination efforts, as well as complex programmes and projects for tackling gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Before taking on these roles within UN Women, she worked with UNIFEM and UNDP. She also has experience in the science education field. Alia is a strong believer in volunteerism and has supported a number of women and human rights NGOs in a volunteer capacity.  She holds a BSc degree in Biology from McGill University and an MSc degree in Desert Studies from Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Mr. Dimitris Skarmoutsos

Globe-trotter and communicative, classic but modern, visionary and innovator, Dimitris Skarmoutsos is the chef who manages well in both Mediterranean and French cuisines, but also in sushi and street food. In every type of meal or cuisine, the starting point of his work is to create tasty and filling food.

Rather associated with «experimental» Greek cuisine, the chef introduces modern recipes, with respect to the Greek tradition, and focus on local ingredients, which he promotes with passion. In his hands, humble dishes like spinach with rice or a pumpkin pie go to the next level. Traditional dishes like moussaka seem innovative, while baked eggplants with lentils add an unexpected surprise to every meal.

Everything started while living in USA, where Dimitris Skarmoutsos completed his studies in economics from UCLA, and continued studying in the Culinary Institute of America. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, he apprenticed to world-class chefs, learned all the secrets for international cuisines and worked for top restaurants and hotels until 2000. In 2001, he returned back to Greece to focus on Greek cuisine. His move was faced with success considering the fact that while working as a chef in «Alatsi» he won the Golden Skoufos («Toques d’or») and Gourmet awards, leading to wider recognition.

His successful television career started in 2010, with prime time shows («Master Chef» and «Junior Master Chef», «Without Recipe», «Blind Taste»), establishing him as one of the most recognizable, familiar και popular personalities in Greek gastronomy.

Ms. Alexandra Nikolakopoulou

Alexandra Nikolakopoulou received her law degree from the University of Athens after which she was called to the Athens Bar. She completed her DEA in European law at the University of Toulouse. After three years working for the legal Unit of the European Commission’s Consumer Protection Directorate General she joined EuroCommerce, the European Association of retail and wholesale companies, where she worked as a food law advisor.

She joined DG SANTE in 2003 (ex DG SANCO) where she serves today as Head of Unit in the Unit ‘Farm to Fork Strategy’ in the Food Safety Directorate. She has been leading and coordinating the work for the adoption the EU Farm to Fork Strategy and she is in charge of some of the main initiatives of the strategy such as on the general framework for sustainable food systems, front of pack labelling and nutrient profiles, origin labelling, sustainable labelling, food waste.

Throughout her career in DG SANTE she has been dealing with issues relating to food labelling and general food law. More specifically she was responsible for the preparation, negotiation and adoption of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of Food Information to Consumers and of the recent Transparency Regulation.

Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou

Dr. Dionysia-Theodora Avgerinopoulou, M.P., is a leading future in Environmental Law and Policy. She currently serves as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament and the Chair of the Special Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection and its Subcommittee of the Watercourses of the Hellenic Parliament.

She has served as the Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership Organization in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Head of Water of the Commission on Environment and Energy of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France. Dr. Avgerinopoulou has also served as the Chairperson of the Standing Committee for the UN Affairs of the Inter- Parliamentary Union, in Geneva, Switzerland, Chairperson of the Circle of the Mediterranean Parliamentarians on Sustainable Development, and the Vice-Chair for the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, in Athens, Greece.

Dionysia received a first degree in Law from the Faculty of Law of the National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, Greece and an LL.M. in International Legal Studies from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. She also holds a Doctorate in International Environmental Law (J.S.D.) from Columbia University School of Law in New York, NY. Dionysia is the author of several articles and a book on environmental and international issues and has presented her work at several international conferences. She teaches Public International Law, International Environmental Law, European Environmental Law, Law of Sustainable Development, Global Environmental Governance and Climate Change Law.

Dionysia is an attorney-at-law by profession. She has previously worked, among others, at the Legal Service of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, the Permanent Mission of the European Union at the United Nations in New York, U.S.A., the Center on Environmental and Land Use Law of the New York University School of Law in New York, the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Yale Law School in New Haven, C.T., U.S.A. and the International and Foreign Law Institute in Athens, Greece.

She has been elected four times as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament and three times as the Chairperson of the Special Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection and its Subcommittee of the Watercourses. She has served as President of the Parliamentary Committee of Friendship between Greece and Botswana, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Committee of Friendship between Greece and Norway, Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee of Friendship between Greece and the Netherlands, and a Member of the Parliamentary Committees of Friendship between Greece and Albania, Canada, Japan, Israel,  Kenya, Singapore, U.S.A., and Russia. She has served as the Deputy Secretary of Volunteerism and NGOs and the Deputy Head of the Environmental Policy Sector of the New Democracy Party. Dr. Avgerinopoulou was a member of the Committee regarding the Genetically Modified Organisms of the Greek Ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, and the parliamentary representative of her Party for the Law on Biodiversity that implemented the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and introduced the National Biodiversity Strategy for Greece.

In 2011, Dr. Avgerinopoulou was elected as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum for her global leadership in environmental protection issues. In the same year, she received the “Green Star” Award by UNEP/OCHA/Green Cross International for her efforts in preventing and responding to environmental emergencies and natural disasters. She was also selected among the “40Under40” of the EU. In 2010, she also received a Special Congressional Recognition for her “outstanding efforts and invaluable contributions on behalf of Hellenic Students and the environment” and the Global Citizenship Award for Leadership in Assisting Humanity by Orphans International Worldwide in 2010. In 2009, she received the international Goddess Artemis Award by the Euro-American Women’s Council for her contribution to transatlantic cooperation between the U.S. and the EU on environmental and climate change issues.

She speaks Greek, English, French, German and Spanish. She is the mother of one young boy.

Ms. Stella Ronner-Grubačić

Professional career Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

1990 – 1991            Diplomatic training MFA

1991 – 1993            Policy officer, Multilateral Development Cooperation/ UN aid (The Hague, New York)

1993 – 1996            First secretary Political and Press Affairs, Embassy in Belgrade

1996 – 2001            ENA (1996-1997) followed by posting at Embassy in Paris (1997-2001)

2001 – 2003            Spokesperson for OSCE Mission to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia

2003 – 2004            Spokesperson to former Minister Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, OSCE Chairman-in-Office

2004 – 2005            Spokesperson Dutch EU Presidency

2005 – 2008            Head, Western Europe Department

2008 – 2010            Ambassador for Millennium Development Goals

2010 – 2014            Ambassador to Croatia

2014 – 2015            Director of Communication to the MFA

2015 – 2019            Ambassador to Romania and the Republic of Moldova

Sep 2019                Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic

 

Education:

– 1982   Graduated High School, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt Gymnasium, Amersfoort

– 1989   Masters degree, European Studies, University of Amsterdam

 

Internships:

– Department for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations Secretariat, New York, September – December 1987
– European Commission, DG XI (Environment & Nuclear Security), September 1988 – March 1989

 

Post-academic:

– ‘International Relations’, Clingendael Institute, The Hague

– Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA), Paris

 

Languages: fluent in Dutch, English, French, Serbian/Croatian and moderate in Spanish and German

 

Married to Bratislav Grubačić, one son (Luka Grubačić)

Mr. Harry Theocharis

Harry Theocharis is the Greek minsiter of Tourism. He was first elected as a member of the Hellenic Parliament in January 2015.

Mr. Theocharis has served as a secretary general for information systems and as a secretary general for public revenues, when he reorganized the agency and succeeded in meeting budget revenues and producing a fiscal surplus.

He earned his Master’s with honors in software engineering from Imperial College.