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We are proud to host these prominent speakers from the CEE region.

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Dr. Anton Marcinčin

Dr. Anton Marcinčin is a co-founder of an initiative Regional development now! He graduated from the Czech Technical University in Prague and CERGE-EI Prague and defended a Ph.D. in economics at Charles University in Prague. He received scholarships and fellowships at the Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam and the LSE London. He specializes in regional development.

Marcinčin served as the Government Plenipotentiary for underdeveloped regions, as an Advisor to a Minister or as a Director General at Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Interior, as a Member of the Parliament and the Country Economist of the World Bank in Bratislava. His responsibility areas included regional development, integrated planning, public finance management, living standards, labor market, primary and secondary education and marginalized communities.

He published tens of research articles, lectured at several universities and participated in many international research activities. Since 2007 he publishes regular columns in the Slovak Economic Daily and since 2015 also in Pravda.

Adrianna Wrona


Energy & Climate Analyst Energy economist focusing on the issues related to climate change. She gained her experience working for both private and public institutions in the UK, advising both large companies and the UK government on the topic related to energy economics. Her main interests oscillate around renewable resources technologies and equitable energy policy. She holds a BSc and MSc degree in Economics from the University of Amsterdam and currently studies Global Governance and Ethics (MSc) at UCL in London.


David Šimek

David studied political science at the Free University of Berlin, Germany, and public policy at the Hertie School of Governance (also located in Germany’s capital). Since 2016, David was managing OECD technical assistance and capacity development projects in the area of public environmental expenditure with a regional focus on Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA). Prior to joining the OECD, David worked at the German Development Cooperation, GIZ, in Moldova and Kosovo in improving local public services (waste management, water supply and sanitation) and energy efficiency.
David co-authored several studies (e.g. waste management), manuals (e.g. results-based monitoring and evaluation) or investment analyses (e.g. public transport, water supply or bio-waste for energy). Despite living abroad for almost 20 years, David has followed the development of his home country (Czech Republic) and its V4 neighbours very closely ever since.


Balázs Orbán


Balázs Orbán is a Hungarian lawyer, political scientist, university lecturer, who has served as deputy minister, and parliamentary and strategic state secretary since 2018. Orbán is also the chairman of the Mathias Corvinus Collegium's board of trustees.


Prof. Agnieszka Olechnicka


Prof. Agnieszka Olechnicka is a director and an associate professor at the Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw. Her professional experience revolves around research in regional and local development, with particular attention given to knowledge economy issues and innovation-driven development problems. She is highly experienced in analysing the linkages between science and business, using both quantitative (bibliometric data) and qualitative data. She took an active part in numerous European projects (EU Horizon, EU Framework Programmes, ESPON and Interreg) and many national research and consultancy projects in these areas, also as the principal coordinator. Recently she published a book on “The Geography of Scientific Collaboration” (2019, Routledge). Since 2016 a secretary of the Regional Studies Association – Polish division, since 2020 – Editor in Chief in Studia Regionalne i Lokalne (quarterly). She is a core team member (faculty) of the Science Studies Lab at the University of Warsaw.


István Kollai 

István Kollai is an assistant professor at Corvinus University of Budapest, Institute of International, Political and Regional Studies. He graduated as an economist at Corvinus University of Budapest and as a historian at Eötvös Loránd University. Academic experiences engaged him in writing and editing publications in Slovak, Hungarian and English language primarily about patterns of intercultural conflicts and coexistence in Central and Eastern Europe.  As a researcher, he was granted the National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, the Eötvös Scholarship of Hungarian State, and the International Visegrad Scholarship. 

Besides his academic career, István Kollai initiated the establishment of Terra Recognita Foundation, aiming at bolstering dialogue and cooperation among Central and Eastern European countries. After civic engagements, he got acquainted with professional experiences in cultural diplomacy at the Hungarian Institute in Bratislava, where he was appointed as the director of the Institute for five years (2010-2015).

As an assistant professor at Corvinus University, István delivers lectures on the cultural economy and human geography of Central and Eastern Europe.


Petr Drulák

Petr Drulák is Czech scholar and diplomat, Professor at the Department of political science at Faculty of Philosophy of the West Bohemian University in Pilsen, senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, and guest professor at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA).


He was the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to France and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Before his diplomatic service he was the Director of the Institute of International Relations. He published extensively on Central Europe and on theory of international relations (e.g., European Journal of International Relations, Journal of European Public Policy, Geopolitics, Journal of International Relations and Development, Osteuropa). 

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Ondrej Lunter

Ondrej Lunter (*1987) - Vice-Governor of Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region. Ondrej has a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics from Masaryk’s University in Brno, Czech Republic. He co-founded an NGO project Demagog.SK and Demagog.CZ, a platform for transparency and accountability of the public sector. In 2017 he was elected as a Member of Banská Bystrica Regional Parliament for the district of Banská Bystrica town.


As of 2019 he has been holding a position of the Vice-Governor for Transportation and Regional Development. The key areas of his politics are issues of the regional differences and development gaps, employment policies, focus on innovations and the development of local tourism.


József Nagy

József Nagy is an economist and entrepreneur turned politician from Slovakia, Dunajská Streda/Dunaszerdahely, graduated from the University of Economics in Bratislava.He was Member of Parliament and served as the State Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture. Shortly after he was named the Minister of Environment, which was newly formed after its controversial dissolution by the previous government. At the ministry most of his work focused on re-establishing the ministry and cleaning it of corruption from previous governments. 

From 2014 to 2019 he was Member of the European Parliament for the EPP party. There, he was member of the LIBE Committee (Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs), as well as the ENVI (Environmental) and PETI (Petition) committees. He was also an active member of the DKOR (EP’s Delegation to the Korean Peninsula) as well as the D-TR (EP’s Delegation to Turkey). Between 2013 and 2017 he was also member of the Trnava region’s regional parliament, where he fought for fairer distribution of funds across the region. He also founded the civil and environmental NGO Pro-Regio Danubia.

He currently serves as a member of the presidency of the Szövetség–Aliancia political party, and the vice-president of the Összefogás platform within the party.

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Joanna Erbel

Joanna Erbel is a sociologist, urban activist, housing expert. Founder of the Blisko Foundation, which supports local activities and creates knowledge on housing innovations. She coordinated work on the preparation of the housing policy and the Housing2030 program for the City of Warsaw. In 2017-2020 she dealt with the topic of housing innovation at PFR Real Estate (PFR Nieruchomości), implementing the government program Mieszkanie Plus. Member of the expert group of the Rental Market Laboratory (Laboratorium Rynku Najmu). Leader of the local government club in CoopTech Hub, the first cooperative technology center in Poland, which aims to create a community based on trust by digitally rebooting cooperatives and building a local cooperative ecosystem. Co-author of the CTH reports Cooperative Recovery Plan (2021) and Cooperative Transformation (2022). Author of the books Beyond Ownership. Towards a successful housing policy –  Poza własnością. W stronę udanej polityki mieszkaniowej (2020) and Leaning into the future. How to change the world for the better – Wychylone w przyszłość. Jak zmienić świat na lepsze (2022). 


Neil Gough 

Neil is a Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Deputy Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and Vice-Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership. He was first elected in May 2018, to represent the Cottenham ward. As a District Council Cabinet member he has been a lead member for Waste & Environment and currently holds the portfolio that including Strategic and Transport projects. Prior to his political career, Neil worked in the telecommunications and energy industry and worked for a large part of his career overseas, being based in the US, Hong Kong, Delhi, and Johannesburg. His last role was as Chief Strategy Officer for Vodacom S.A., a subsidiary of Vodafone plc that is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

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