spekers-Alexandra-KozbunarovaAlexandra Kozbunarova

Editorial Lead

Trending Topics Bulgaria Read more

Alexandra Kozbunarova is a business and tech journalist with a passion for startup companies and innovation. She is currently the Editorial Lead of Trending Topics Bulgaria and makes sure that the voice of the local innovators is heard. Alexandra started her career in Vienna as a contributor to the magazine das biber and then moved back to Bulgaria to join the largest business media Capital and to later research the local digital and startup ecosystem as part of the non-governmental initiative edit.bg.

spekers-AndrasStrenAndras Stren

SR Product Marketing Manager

Microsoft CEE Hungary based Read more

Andras Stren joined Microsoft in 2006. He has a diverse experience in the field of business applications and built and led the BizApps partner community in Hungary for several years.  Since 2017 he has a regional role responsible for Business Applications as a Senior Product Marketing Manager in Central and Eastern Europe Area including 34 countries.

spekers-BPenevBoyan Penev

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Boyan Penev has studied Integrated Social Sciences at the Jacobs University Bremen and European Public Affairs at Maastricht University. After graduating, he has worked in multiple areas in the private sector, including as project expert, online payment and behavior specialist in the video game industry and as an online journalist. In addition, he has organized multiple youth-, hobby- and tech-related events.

spekers-Christophe-BergeronChristophe Bergeron

General Manager

Novotel Sofia Read more

Christophe Bergeron is the General Manager of Novotel Sofia, since April 2016. He has a career of over 25 years in hospitality. Before joining AccorHotels in 2001, he has worked as Assistant Food & Beverage manager for a Palace Hotel in Cannes, Le Martinez and before as Food and Beverage manager for the French upscale resort chain Club Med, in French Polynesia, Senegal, Bahamas, Spain, Italy and France. His professional path in AccorHotels starts from Food and Beverage Director positions for Sofitel hotels, the luxury brand of the Group, in Martinique, French Polynesia and the Dominican republic, followed by Operations Director in Poland. His first position as General Manager was in 2011 for Novotel in Poland, and after for the Hotel Century Old Town Prague MGallery By Sofitel hotels in Czech Republic. After these 5 stars and 4 stars properties, Mr. Bergeron is taking the lead of Novotel Sofia, one of the best performing hotels on the Sofia market.

Denitsa-Sacheva-spekersDenitsa Sacheva

Deputy Minister of Education and Science

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Denitsa Sacheva – Deputy Minister of Education and Science, (International Cooperation, Inclusive Education Policy and Presidency of the EU Council Portfolio)

Denitsa Sacheva holds MA degree in Public Relations from the Faculty on Journalism and Mass Communication at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and MA degree in health management from the Prof. Dr. Assen Zlatarov Univerity of Bourgas. She is a holder of a Bachelor’s degee in Social Pedagogics awarded by Neophit Rilski South West University of Blagoevgrad.
She starts her carrier in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy occupying different positions – from specialist to head of sector in the National Centre for Social Assistance.
In 1999 she is one of the first employees of the newly founded National Health Insurance Fund and became head of directorate for international cooperation, European integration and projects.
In 1999 – 2001 Denitsa Sacheva is head of the cabinet of the Minister of Health responsible for the liaisons with international institutions, IMF, World Bank and European Commission.
In 2016 – 2017 she has been Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
Denitsa Sacheva is fluent in English, works with German and Russian.

spekers-EvaMaydellEva Maydell

Member of the European Parliament

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Eva Maydell (née Paunova) is a Member of the European Parliament. She is the President of the largest organisation of associations and civil societies in Europe – European Movement International as well as the initiator and a co-founder of Education Bulgaria 2030. She is member of the European Parliament Committees for Internal Market and Consumer protections as well as for Economic and Monetary policies.

Maydell´s priorities focus on enhancing skills-creation and quality education, implementation of innovation and technologies, supporting entrepreneurs and investment in Europe. She believes quality education is fundamental for societal progress and economic development, which is why she works at European and national level to create education policies, which enable youth to develop their talents.

Eva Maydell´s work has been recognised by the Financial Times, which included her in the “New Europe 100” ranking of CEE´s brightest people that are changing the status quo through their ideas and innovative solutions. She is also part of the European Forbes 30 under 30 list. Politico defined her as one of “the most eye-catching 28 people from 28 countries who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”. Eva Maydell has been awarded the MEP of the Year Award twice.

spekers-Evarist-BartoloEvarist Bartolo

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Evarist Bartolo was born on 14 October 1952 in Mellieha and has three brothers and three sisters. His father worked as a primary school teacher. He is married to Gillian and they have two children, Katrin and Louisa.

In 1975 Bartolo graduated from the University of Malta with a B.A. (Hons) degree in English Literature and continued his studies in journalism at Stanford University. He also read for a Master’s in Education at the University of Cardiff.

He spent three years teaching at De La Salle College as well as working with the national broadcasting station and editor of numerous media organisations.

A member of parliament since 1992, he worked mostly in Education, European affairs and Tourism as well as serving as Minister of Education and National Culture under a Labour government between 1996 and 1998. Evarist Bartolo took office as the Minister for Education and Employment on 13 March 2013.

Minister Bartolo is known for being a proponent of civil rights in Malta, co-sponsoring a Parliamentary Bill for the introduction of divorce legislation in Malta. The bill was approved in Parliament in October 2011 following a successful referendum campaign.

spekers-Fabrizia-BeniniFabrizia Benini

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A lawyer by training, I joined the European Commission in 1995 where I have worked at the Internal Market, Competition and Maritime Affairs Directorate Generals as well at Industry and Enterprise cabinet. Throughout my career I have focused on the intersection between regulatory frameworks and technological developments taking into account the users’ perspective. At present, my work focuses on the digital economy, its measurement and the impact digital development may have on the labour market and on skills. Currently one of my main tasks is to devise policy responses to the current digital skills gap.

spekers-George-GhineaGeorge Ghinea

Professor in mulsemedia computing

Brunel University, Department of Computer Science Read more

Postgraduate Certificate (Teaching and Learning in Higher Education)
(2001-2002, Brunel University, United Kingdom)
Ph.D. (Computer Science)

(1996 – 1999 , University of Reading, United Kingdom)
Dissertation Title – “Quality of Perception – an Essential Facet of
Multimedia Communications”
Recipient (1996-1999) of prestigious Overseas Research Scholarship in addition to 2 other scholarships
M.Sc. (Computer Science) with Distinction

(1995 – 1996 : University of the Witwatersrand, S. Africa)
B.Sc. (Hons) (Computer Science) with Distinction

(1994 University of the Witwatersrand, S. Africa)
Recipient (1994) of the Chancellor’s Medal awarded to The Most

Distinguished Graduand in the Natural Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand
Recipient of 5 other University awards and scholarships for my Honours study
B.Sc. (Computer Science, Mathematics) with Distinction

(1991 – 1993 , University of the Witwatersrand, S. Africa)
Recipient (1993) of the William Cullen Medal to The Most

Distinguished B.Sc. Graduand of the University of the Witwatersrand

Recipient of 15 other University awards and scholarships

My research activities lie at the confluence of Computer Science, Media and Psychology. In particular, my work focuses on the area of perceptual multimedia quality and how one builds end- to-end communication systems incorporating user perceptual requirements. I have applied my expertise in areas such as eye-tracking, telemedicine, multi-modal interaction, and ubiquitous and mobile computing. I am particularly interested in building human-centred e-systems, particularly integrating human perceptual requirements.

  • Perceptual aspects of Digital Media
  • Multimodal Interaction and Eye Tracking
  • Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing
  • Distributed and Interactive systems

The impact of my research has attracted media interest from, among others, the BBC, Radio5, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, and Forbes magazine.
h-index = 33; i10-index=84; citations=3621 (Google Scholar)

My teaching has been characterised by a continuous, informed, adaptation of content and delivery mode to the contexts and the profiles of the audience.

  • I have given courses to an undergraduate and postgraduate audience, as well as to industry.
  • Apart from term-based delivery, I have adapted my courses for distance-learning, block-based delivery, as well as primer courses.

Three principles have been central to my teaching career in higher education: transparency, emotion, and a focus on the student.

  • By striving to be transparent as a teacher, I have facilitated the formation of trust between students and myself.
  • However, one cannot be perceived by students as being transparent if one does not put a considerable amount of emotional effort into one’s teaching.
  • Moreover, by being transparent as to what our expectations from students are, I enable deep learning to take place, one of the desired and probably most important consequence of a student-centred approach to teaching


  • I have supervised (as main supervisor) 21 students to PhD Graduation
  • I am currently supervising a team of five PhD students.
  • I have supervised over 100 MSc/MRes/MTech dissertations

I am a regular reviewer for the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia,
ACM Transactions on Multimedia, and IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (parts A and B), the IEEE
Transactions on Broadcasting, Multimedia Tools and Applications, Computers and Security, and Computer Communications.
Last but not least I am an evaluator of grant proposals for EU H2020 programme, the EPSRC and ESRC in the UK, as well as for the national research councils of Greece, Portugal and Kazakhstan.

I have published over 250 high-quality research articles. I have co-edited two books: Digital Multimedia Perception and Design and Multiple Sensorial Media Advances and Applications: New Developments in Mulsemedia .

  • Yuan, T. Bi, G.M. Muntean and G. Ghinea, “Perceived Synchronization of Mulsemedia Services”, accepted for publication, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia.
  • M. Woldmariam, G. Ghinea, S. Atnafu, and T-M. Grønli, “Monetary Practices of Traditional Rural Communities in Ethiopia: Implications for New Financial Technology Design”, accepted for publication, HCI Journal.
  • A. Fagerstrom, G. Ghinea, and L. Sydnes, “Understanding the Impact of Online Reviews on Customer Choice: A Probability Discounting Approach”, accepted for publication, Psychology and Marketing.
  • C. Niephaus, O. Glenn Aliu, M. Kretschmer, S. Hadzic, and G. Ghinea, “WiBACK: A SDN enabled wireless Back-haul network architecture for future 5G networks”, accepted for publication, IET Networks.
  • A. Fagerstrom, G. Ghinea, and L. Sydnes, “How Does Probability Impact Consumers’ Choice? The Case of Online Reviews”, accepted for publication, Managerial and Decision Economics.
  • R. Kannan, G. Ghinea, and S. Swaminathan, “Discovering Salient Object Videos using Spatiotemporal Salient Region Detection”, Signal Processing: Image Communication, 36, 154-178, 2015.
  • G. Mesfin, T-M. Grønli, D. Midekso and G. Ghinea, “Towards end-user development of REST client applications on smartphones”, Computer Standards & Interfaces, 44, 205-219, 2016.
  • M.J. Scott, F. Spyridonis, and G. Ghinea, “Designing for Designers: Towards the Development of Accessible ICT Products and Services using the VERITAS Framework”, Computer Standards & Interfaces, 42, 113-124, 2015.
  • M.J. Scott, S. Counsell, S. Lauria, S. Swift, Allan Tucker, M. Shepperd and G.
    Ghinea, “Enhancing Practice and Achievement in Introductory Programming with a Robot Olympics”, IEEE Transactions on Education, 58(4), 249-254, 2015.
  • E. Perakakis and G. Ghinea, “HTML5 technologies for effective cross-platform Interactive/Smart TV Advertising”, IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems, 45(4), 534-539, 2015.
  • R. Kannan, G. Ghinea, and S. Swaminathan, “What do you wish to see? A summarization system for movies based on user preferences”. Information Processing and Management, 51 (3). 286 – 305, 2015.
  • A.O. Frank, F. Spyridonis, and G. Ghinea, “Assessing pain intensity following spinal cord injury: should rating scales measure ‘overall’ or ‘maximal’ values?”, International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 38(1), 92-94, 2015.
  • G. Ghinea, C. Timmerer, W. Li, and S.R. Gulliver, “Mulsemedia: State-of-the-Art, Perspectives and Challenges”, ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing Communications and Applications, 11(1), Article 17, 2014 – chosen as a NOTABLE ARTICLE IN COMPUTING in 2014 according to ACM Computing Reviews’ 19th Annual Best of Computing Awards


    • Principal Investigator of H2020 Innovation Action project Networked Labs for Training in Sciences and Technologies for Information and Communication – NEWTON (2016-19; Brunel Grant total Euros 635,000)
    • Principal Investigator of Royal Academy of Engineering Newton Research Collaboration Programme Project Multimodal Emergency Guide System for Elderly (2015: Grant total £12,840) – Evaluated as ‘outstanding’’
    • Co-investigator of EU H2020 CSA project Energising Scientific
    • Endeavour through Science Gateways and e-Infrastructures in Africa

(2015-2017: Brunel grant total Euros 205,500)

  • Co-investigator of EU H2020 CSA project Trans African Network Development -TANDEM (2015-2017: Brunel grant total Euros 88,325)
  • Principal Investigator, EU TEMPUS project, OSSCOM -Open Source Software Communities (2014-2017, Brunel grant amount £65,716)
  • Co-investigator of Ministry of Defence project Serious Gaming for
  • Predictive Situational Awareness and Deconflicting Decision in Cyber Network Defence (2013: Brunel grant amount £75,985)
  • Principal Investigator of EU FP7-funded VERITAS – Virtual and
  • Augmented Environments and Realistic User Interactions To achieve Embedded Accessibility DesignS (2010-2014: Brunel grant total Euros 143000)
  • Royal Academy Travel Grant, The 2006 IEEE International Conference on e-Business Engineering (£1095)
  • Co-investigator of EU FP6-funded BASE2 Broadband Access Satellite Enabled Education (2004-2007: Brunel Grant total Euros 156000)
  • Principal Investigator of the EPSRC-funded Context-sensitive Information Architectures (2005, Grant total £7953)
  • Co-investigator of TCS project Toolset Development for Performance Evaluation in the NHS (2003-2006: Brunel grant total £112,392 plus £52,608 of cash funding from the NHS Trust)
  • Co-Investigator of an ESRC-funded TCS project Computer based toolkit to teach linguistics (2003-2004, Grant total £103.500).


spekers-george_sharkovGeorge Sharkov

Cyber Expert

European DIGITAL SME Alliance Read more

Dr George Sharkov is an Adviser to the Minister of Defense and served as a National Cyber Security Coordinator for the Bulgarian Government 2014-2017, also Adviser to the Prime Minister in 2017. He was leading the development of the National Cyber Security Strategy of Bulgaria, adopted in 2016. He has PhD in Artificial Intelligence (AI), with specialization in applied informatics, thermography and genetics, intelligent systems. Since 1994 he was managing international software teams for financial systems, e-business and innovative e-markets. Since 2003 he is the Executive Director of the European Software Institute – Center Eastern Europe, with the Lab on Cyber Resiliency. Since 2016 he is also Head of the Cybersecurity Lab at Sofia Tech Park. He is trainer and appraiser for software engineering quality management, cybersecurity and resilience (SEI/CERT RMM), lecturing software quality, cybersecurity and business resilience at 3 leading universities. Pioneer in digital ecosystems development, cyber and AI research, startups support, digital SMEs competitiveness.

spekers-markovGeorgi Markov

Euroins Insurance Group Read more

Experienced executive with a demonstrated history of working in the finance and audit industry. Skilled in Strategic Management, Financial Analysis, Corporate Governance, Enterprise Risk Management, Taxation, Transfer Pricing, Due Diligence, Business Planning. Strong business development professional, graduated with an MBA from Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien/Vienna University of Business and Economics.

spekers-Ilkka_TuomiIlkka Tuomi

Founder and Chief Scientist

Meaning Processing Read more

Mr. Tuomi is the Founder and Chief Scientist at Meaning Processing, an independent public research organization located in Helsinki, Finland. He is an internationally known expert in organizational learning, organizational cognition, technology-enabled learning, innovation research, and anticipatory systems theory. He has written five books, chapters in 25 books, over 60 scientific articles, and numerous scientific reports.

His recent work has focused on the intersection between new models for foresight,
innovation, and the social, economic, and cultural impact of artificial intelligence.

His recent publications include Vygotsky meets backpropagation: Artificial neural models and the development of higher forms of thought (AIED 2018); Dialogical ethics in AI: Towards an adequate theory of agency in the age of machine learning (FTA 2018); The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Learning, Teaching and Education: Policies for the Future (European Commission, 2018); Artificial Intelligence—A European Perspective (European Commission, 2018); and Chronotopes of foresight: Models of time-space in probabilistic, possibilistic, and constructivist futures (Futures and Foresight Science, 2019).

At present he leads an EC-JRC “Artificial Intelligence for and with Teachers” -project that co-designs future AI practices and policies with teachers and digital education experts.

spekers-Karina-AngelievaKarina Angelieva

Deputy Minister of Education and Science

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Karina Angelieva Deputy Minister of Education and Science
Karina Angelieva is a former Counsellor, Head of Sector Education and Research at the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Bulgaria to the EU. She holds Master degrees in European integration and in Contemporary History from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. Previous positions held include Director-General of Structural Funds and International Educational Programs at the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science and Director of the Joint Innovation Centre at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (JIC – BAS). Ms. Angelieva is a founder of the Club of Young Scientists in Bulgaria and has been in charge of the coordination of National contact points’ network for the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation for 10 years. On 1 of September she was appointed a Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Bulgaria.
Karina Angelieva is a longtime expert in the field of research and innovation, including the coordination, preparation and management of projects related to the development and deployment of new applications and services in the field of technology transfer, inter-sectoral partnership “industry-academy” and others. As a former director of the JIC at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, she led the innovation policy of the Academy and contributed to the establishment of an effective cooperation between BAS and the industrial sector. She also guided the participation of JIC in the Bulgarian consortium of Enterprise Europe Network.
Karina Angelieva has been a representative at the European network EURAXESS for career development and mobility of researchers, including inter-sectoral mobility, as project expert at the Research Department of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “. Furthermore, she participated in two European networks – E * CARE and ISEE-Mob, where she developed two methodologies for assessing the potential of the research and industrial sector for the development of human resources, evaluation of existing instruments on a national level for career development and mobility of researchers between the two sectors, as well as the development of database of innovative firms.
As a longtime employee of the Ministry of Education and Science in the period 2002-2009, Ms. Angelieva was involved in the coordination of the 6th EU Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, overseeing the national contact network, organizing information days and training for representatives of academic and business sector to boost their participation in the program. Karina Angelieva was the head of projects under the PHARE program on the topic of overall modernization of the research system in Bulgaria. She provided analysis and recommendations for the introduction of modern European practices in program financing on a national level. Ms. Angelieva participated in various working groups, including the group tasked with the preparation of the National Charter for SMEs and of the methodology for the Technology Transfer centers and evaluation of innovations in Bulgaria as a preparation for the participation in the OP “Competitiveness”.

spekers-Kati-ClementsDr. Kati Clements

Post-doctoral researcher

Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Jyväskylä Read more

Dr. Kati Clements (PhD in Information Systems Science) is a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Jyväskylä. She has worked in various European and global projects in the field of Technology enhanced Learning and Open Education for the last ten years. Clements has done her PhD dissertation on quality assurance of Open Educational Resources Repositories. Currently, her main research interests lie in emerging innovative technologies for learning such as AI, Blockchain and VR from value co-creation perspective. She is the coordinator of EU Horizion2020 funded Learning Technology Accelerator project https://www.learntechaccelerator.eu/ and She was the former the technical manager of first Pre-commercial procurement project in education technologies IMAILE: http://www.imaile.eu/.

spekers-Kati-TianenKati Tiainen

Director, Global Digital Learning Strategy Team at Microsoft WW Education

Microsoft Finland based Read more

As Director, Learning Strategy team for Microsoft’s Worldwide Education organization, Kati works in EMEA with Ministries of Education, education leaders, policy makers, schools and education partners to help them realize the teaching and learning potential and help with digital transformations strategies.

Kati is a Finnish K-12 educator. She has master’s degree in Education and has background working for the Teachers Union of Finland, leading eLearning Service Opit (LMS) at the biggest Education Publisher in Scandinavia and has political experience as a Member of the Board of Education in the capital of Finland, Helsinki.

Kati has worked in Education for over 20 years, teaching, leading Schools and directing large 1:1 Information and Learning Technology Programs. During 2003 – 2008 Kati began working with Microsoft focused on eLearning in Finland and transitioned to the US as the WW Program manager for Microdot’s Innovative Schools Program. 2012- 2015 Kati returned to Europe as Director of Microsoft Education business in Central- and Eastern Europe, covering 36 countries and all up business from K12 to HE.

Kati now leads Microsoft’s Digital learning strategy work in EMEA. Mastering big transformation markets, partner engagement and leader relationships. The Microsoft in Education Transformation Framework is a guide for educators and leaders engaged in holistic education transformation and the critical conversations needed for effective transformation of education systems.

Kati is a recognized public speaker and well known for her work in helping universities, Ministries of Education, schools and education leaders to effectively plan, implement, integrate and evaluate learning with Information and mobile learning technologies. Her strategic planning has assisted in the development of education policy directions for governments and Ministries of Education & agencies throughout the world in diverse markets like Finland, Georgia and Kenya.

krasimir-valchev-spekersKrasimir Valchev

Minister of Education and Science

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The Minister of Education and Science, Mr. Krasimir Valchev has a master’s degree in public finance. He has graduated from the University of Economics, City of Varna. He has received ‘Budget and Financial Management’ training at Duke University, USA.

Mr. Krasimir Valchev has an extensive experience in the field of financing of education, as well as in evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the European pre-accession programs.

In 2002, he started his career at the Ministry of Finance, where, from 2003 to 2009, he served as an expert in the State Expenditures Directorate, which is engaged in planning, implementing, analyzing, and evaluating budget expenditures. Mr. Krassimir Valchev participated in the development and implementation of sectoral and budgetary policies.

From September 2009 until February 2017, he was Secretary General at the Ministry of Education and Science, where he was in charge of managing the administration and the budget of the institution, of coordinating the functioning of the individual administrative structures and basic units of the Ministry of Education and Science. As a Secretary General he has a chief responsibility for the process of forming and implementing policies in this sector.

In the period from November 2013 to August 2014, he was Director of the Budget and Finance Directorate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From April to May 2017, he served as Head of Department at the Local Government Financing Directorate at the Ministry of Finance.
He was appointed as Minister of Education and Science on May 4, 2017.

Laurence Brooksspekers-Laurence-Brooks

Professor of Technology and Social Responsibility and Deputy Director

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR) at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK Read more

Laurence Brooks, Professor of Technology and Social Responsibility and Deputy Director of the Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR) at De Montfort University in Leicester, UK (https://laurencebrookssite.wordpress.com/). Laurence began his academic career with a BSc in Psychology (from the University of Bristol, UK) and a PhD in Engineering Management (from the University of Liverpool, UK). Laurence began his academic career as a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York, followed by a long stay as an academic in the Department of Information Systems and Computing (now Department of Computer Science) at Brunel University London. Since 2016 he has been working at De Montfort University, first as Subject Group Leader for the Business Computing area and more recently as Director of the Doctoral College, leading the PhD programmes across the whole University. His research interests lie very much in how people interact and use technology, within a variety of contexts and most recently with the ethical aspects of emerging technologies. Laurence has veeb associated with a number of EU funded projects, and is currently Co-Investigator on the SHERPA project (https://www.project-sherpa.eu/) which focuses on the understanding the ways in which Smart Information Systems (such as AI) might impact ethics and human rights issues.

spekers-MariaIlievaMaria Ilieva

Emerging Markets Digital Transformation Strategic Deals Lead

Microsoft Austria based Read more

Maria Ilieva is part of a Microsoft Corporate team, supporting the most advanced customers worldwide in their Digital Transformation journey. She is as well acting as an AI Ambassador for Ms. AI, driving AI enablement for women in Europe.

Mariya-Gabriel-spekersMariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society

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Mariya Gabriel is a European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society since 2017. The overall goal of her portfolio is to build and implement the digital single market. Commissioner Gabriel’s strategic vision puts European citizens at the heart of the digital policy to acquire digital skills in order to have the capability to take advantage of the digital transformation process of the economy and society. The Commissioner is working towards creating an ambitions Digital Europe programme within the EU’s next Multiannual Financial Framework for the 2021-2027 period, with a budget of EUR 9.2 billion, which would be invested in supercomputers, artificial intelligence development, cyber security, digital skills, but also in the creative and audiovisual industry. The deepening of the digital partnership with third countries, in particular the Western Balkans and the Mediterranean region, is also among her priorities. She’s the co-chair of the EU-Africa Digital Economy Working Group. From 2009 to 2017 Mariya Gabriel is a Member of the European Parliament. As a vice-chair of the EPP Group, she works on issues such as the EU enlargement, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Africa, and focuses on priorities like security, migration and women issues. Mariya Gabriel has significant achievements in the field of EU visa policy – she is the European Parliament rapporteur on 1/3 of all EU visa liberalization agreements.
The is rewarded with several awards as a Commissioner in 2018: the “Women with impact on politics 2018” in the “Talent in Politics” category, the “Technovisionaire” award for excellent achievements in research, technology, innovations and business, the most prestigious Italian award “The Golden Apple” of the “Marisa Belisario” Foundation for women’s excellence, the ENTREPS award of the International Council of the Entrepreneurs and Businessmen for her work against online disinformation and the “Women with influence” award in the “Talent in politics 2018” of an authoritative French association.
Mariya Gabriel is also the winner of several merit orders: in 2018 she is awarded the highest Order of Peru for her work in visa liberalization between the EU and Peru and the Royal Order of Spain for her contributions for the country’s external relations. In 2016 she’s awarded the Order of Colombia for the contributions to the country’s international relations and diplomacy.

spekers-Milen_YankulovMilen Yankulov

Marketing Director

Ontotext (a Sirma AI brand) Read more

Milen holds MA in Marketing and Commerce and gained vast experience in both traditional and digital marketing operations, working for companies in various industries. Milen is now leading all marketing and PR operations at Ontotext, ensuring the smooth alignment between marketing, sales and production teams. He is an expert in the field of Digital Marketing.

With more than 13 years of marketing and sales experience for both Bulgarian and International companies. He believes that nowadays the B2B companies are the new media and education channels of practical professionals around the world.

As part of an AI technology company, Milen recognizes the technologies, that enable AI, as a possibility to augment the human effort and automate processes.

spekers-martin-vechevMartin Vechev

Associate Professor

Computer Science at ETH Zurich Read more

I am an Associate Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich where I lead the Secure, Reliable, and Intelligent Systems Lab.
Prior to ETH, I was a Research Staff Member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York, USA (2007 – 2011).
I obtained my PhD from the University of Cambridge, England (2003-2008).
I obtained my B.Sc. from Simon Fraser University (SFU) , Canada (1996-2001).
Before that I studied at the Sofia High School of Mathematics (SMG) .

My work spans the intersection of artificial intelligence and programming languages, including both theoretical and system aspects. I have given a number of invited and keynote talks on these topics at various conferences and workshops (e.g., Youtube). With my group we have also built a number of AI systems, now widely used in academia and industry. I have also co-founded two start-ups: DeepCode which aims to revolutionize programming using AI, and ChainSecurity, which brings security to blockchain using automated reasoning.

My research has received a number of awards and recognitions including Distinguished Paper Awards (RV, OOPSLA), SIGPLAN Research Highlight, CACM Research Highlight, ERC Starting Grant, Google and Facebook Faculty Research Awards, Outstanding Artifact Award (OOPSLA), IBM Research Division Award, IBM Extraordinary Accomplishment Award (awarded by John Kelly, IBM Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research), IBM Research Outstanding Project Award, John Atanasoff Award, awarded by the President of Bulgaria (Photo, National TV  in Youtube, IBM Invention and Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, University Scholarships (SFU, Cambridge), and others.

I was the Program Chair for ACM PLDI’17, a top conference in programming languages and systems. I currently serve on the SIGPLAN steering committee, SIGPLAN research highlights committee and the SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertaion Award committee.

I have also spoken on topics related to artificial intelligence and security as well as ERC grants and science at the European Parliament.

You can contact me at: firstname.lastname@inf.ethz.ch

spekers-Mohamed-FakihiMohamed Fakihi

Entrepreneur, Business Angel and Social Activist

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Mohamed Fakihi is a serial entrepreneur, business angel and social activist.
He is the founder and CEO at KratosTechnology. He founded eMunicipality, the first SaaS e-government software platform in Europe. He also co-founded and was the COO at Secure Group, a cybersecurity company disrupting the high barrier to entry secure communication space and has more than 15 years experience in technology. During this period, he held several technical and management positions in IT and telecommunications companies such as France Telecom, HP and Paysafe. An active community member engaged in the promotion and development of the African and European business cooperation, technology education, innovation and inspiration of young migrants. Mohamed Fakihi is member of a number of industry
organisations and NGO boards including the Open Government Partnership, the Bulgarian eGovForum and the Association for Moroccans in CEE.
He holds a Bsc. in IT, an MBA from Nantes School of Businessandanexecutive leadership program from Stanford. A modern citizen of the world, he speaks fluently 4 languages and can converse in 3 other languages.

spekers-Stefania-BocconiStefania Bocconi


National Research Council of Italy Read more

Stefania Bocconi is researcher at the National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Educational Technology (CNR-ITD). She holds a PhD in Cognitive Sciences and Education from Cà Foscari University of Venice. Her research interests centre on the field of Technology Enhanced Learning, and include the innovative use of digital technologies for learning and teaching at all levels of education. Much of her work focuses on blended and online learning in higher education settings, including access to and reuse of Open Educational Resources, inclusive education, and the integration of formal and informal learning. In 2012, she worked at the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC, Unit B.4), examining the essential characteristics of innovative learning environments in formal education settings. More recently, she has been investigating the implications of computational thinking and AI for education, and the competences demanded of both learners and teachers in the digital age. She served as member of the Core Experts Mathematics Expert Group (MEG) for the development of the PISA 2021 Mathematics Framework.

spekers-Todor-YalamovTodor Yalamov

Vice Dean

Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University “St Kliment Ohridski” Read more

Todor Yalamov is Vice Dean of Research and Innovation of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University “St Kliment Ohridski”, where he teaches e-business and innovation management. Todor publishes in areas like innovation, ICT, corporate governance, informal economy and corruption; believes in the power of gamification and fast prototyping in learning. Todor has been a Fulbright scholar at the Center for International Private Enterprise, Faculty Champion for the Stanford’s Universitty Innovation Fellows program at Sofia Univeristy, has track-record in managing the Eastern European and Cental Asian Business Incubators and Technology Parks Network, part of the team, which built Sofia’s TechnoMaginLand.

spekers-violeta-ivanovaVioleta Ivanova-Rohling

Assistant Professor

Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Read more

Violeta Ivanova-Rohling is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Department of Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science. Her research interests are mathematical foundations of machine learning, parallel algorithms for machine learning, applications of machine learning methods in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Her PhD studies were at Konstanz University, Germany, in the area of machine learning and data mining. During her PhD she participated as a statistician and data scientist in a big European project in the area of toxicology, with the goal of using human stem cells for testing (“Embryonic Stem cell-based Novel Alternative Testing Strategies”). She was also accepted as a member of the “Elite Graduate School of Chemical Biology” at the University of Konstanz. During her Master’s studies, she was at the MPI Research School at the Max Planck Institute of Informatics, Saarland, Germany. Her Master’s thesis is in the area of bioinformatics and machine learning. She was also a part of a computer vision project at the German Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Max Planck Institute of Informatics (MPII). Her bachelor’s degree is from Sofia University. Violeta Ivanova-Rohling attended the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, USA.

spekers-Vladislav-Slavov-Vladislav Slavov

Associated professor

Technical University – Sofia Read more

Vladislav Slavov is a master of “Automatics, Information and Control Systems”. In 2004, pursuing his Ph.D. on “Virtual laboratory for measurement of physical quantities” The dissertation thesis was defended 2011 and Vladislav Slavov received a degree “Doctor “.
Currently Vladislav Slavov is an associated professor at the Technical University – Sofia, Faculty of Automatics with competences in the Information Measurement Systems. He organizes a competition for young scientists «Young and Energetic Scientists” (YES) as a member of the NGO “Club Young Scientists”.
For a few years Vladislav has been working on the implementation of the virtual laboratory technology in the higher education. He has reported some of his research work at the 2017 “Mobile Learning Week”, organized by UNESCO.
Since 1.12.2015 assoc. prof. Vladislav Slavov is a Vice Dean of Science, Research and International Integration of the Faculty of Automatics, Technical University of Sofia.
In 2018 assoc. prof. Slavov was invited as a rapporteur at the University Business Forum held in Sofia under the Bulgarian presidency of the European Council.
Vladislav Slavov has been a reviewer of the Bulgarian Research Fund for 2 years with the task to evaluate scientific projects of young researchers and experienced ones. And currently he is a jury member of the EU Women Innovators Prize 2019 https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/women-innovators-prize-2019-opens-applications-2018-nov-06_en
In 2018 he was invited to visit JRC, Ispra where he presented his work with the young scientists of Bulgaria.