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Global Soft Power Summit 2023

02 March 2023, 09:00–17:00 UK Time

The Global Soft Power Summit 2023, hosted at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre and in Westminster, London, and streamed live online, brought practitioners and researchers of soft power together to inaugurate the fourth iteration of the Global Soft Power Index and explored the role of soft power in international politics and business.

Hosted in partnership with BBC News, the Summit focussed on the roles of sustainability, media, and sports in developing soft power. We also explored how soft power can impact the decisions of business leaders regarding investment and trade.

The Summit featured a presentation of the results of the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance - the world’s most comprehensive research study on perceptions of nation brands, surveying opinions of 100,000+ respondents in 100+ markets on 121 nation brands.

For more information, email [email protected].

Click the links below to watch the video highlights of the Global Soft Power Summit 2023 and to view the previous iterations of the Global Soft Power Index.

02 March 2023, 09:00–17:00 UK Time
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In association with
BBC News

BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs in the UK and around the world.

The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online news coverage.

The service maintains 50 foreign news bureaus with more than 250 correspondents around the world.

BBC News Website


David Haigh
Chairman and CEO
Brand Finance

David is the Chairman and CEO of Brand Finance Plc – the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. He has worked in the area of branded business, brand, and intangible asset valuation since 1991. He specialised entirely in the field after becoming the Director of Brand Valuation for Interbrand in 1995. He subsequently left Interbrand in 1996 to launch Brand Finance which is celebrating 25 years in business this year.

David represented the British Standards Institution in the working parties responsible for crafting international industry standards: ISO 10668 on Brand Valuation in 2010 and ISO 20671 on Brand Evaluation in 2019.

David is a passionate writer and has authored many articles on brand valuation, published in numerous marketing and finance newspapers and magazines, such as: Financial Times, Accountancy Age, and Marketing Week. He has also lectured on the topic of brand valuation for Harvard, Chicago, and London Business Schools.

David graduated from Bristol University with an English degree, qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London, and obtained a postgraduate diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is a Fellow of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has a practising certificate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

Mishal Husain
BBC News

Mishal was a former presenter on BBC World News, spending time in Singapore and Washington as well as presenting live on location from around the world in places as far and wide as Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Egypt and Norway. She has covered international summits, royal weddings, assassinations and reported from refugee camps as well as live stories documenting the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Benazir Bhutto. 

She is now part of the Radio 4 Today presenting team, reads the Sunday evening bulletin on BBC1 and appears across BBC News. Her first book, The Skills: From First Job to Dream Job – What Every Woman Needs to Know was published in 2018. 

Andrew Neil
Publisher, Editor, Company Chairman and Broadcaster

Andrew Neil is a publisher, editor, broadcaster and company chairman. He was named Journalist of the Year 2013 by Britain’s prestigious Political Studies Association and one of the 500 most influential people in the UK by Debrett’s in 2015. In 2019 he was named  Broadcaster of the Year” by the same association.The Times said “the ultimate test for assessing whether a party leader was fit to be Prime Minister is to put them in front of Andrew Neil for 40 minutes, the most forensic interviewer in broadcasting.”

Andrew is currently Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of The Spectator, Spectator USA, Spectator Australia and Apollo, the world-renowned art magazine. He writes essays and a weekly column for the Daily Mail and writes on US politics for the Mail Online’s American edition.

He has been a well-known anchorman on BBC TV. He presented Daily Politics on BBC2 and the award-winning This Week on BBC1 for 16 years. Until recently he presented the prime-time Andrew Neil Show on BBC2 and Politics Live. He has been chief interviewer on two BBC Election Night Specials (2015 and 2019) and anchored BBC1’s US election results special in 2016 and 2020. In recent years he’s been presenting the Andrew Neil show on Channel 4.

During his career, Neil has been House of Commons lobby correspondent in London, White House correspondent in Washington DC and Wall Street correspondent in New York – all for The Economist. He was made British Editor of The Economist in 1982.

He became Editor of The Sunday Times of London, one of the world’s most prestigious and influential newspapers, in 1983. Over the next 11 years he turned it into the undisputed multi-section market leader, renowned for its investigative journalism and scoops. While still editing The Sunday Times he also served as Executive Chairman of Sky Television, which he launched as Britain’s first multichannel satellite TV platform. He created Sky News and brought The Simpsons to British screens!

He was Chairman of ITP, the biggest magazine publisher in the Gulf for a decade and he’s been a member of the International Advisory Board of Al Jazeera, the news channel based in Doha, Qatar. He was also Publisher of The Scotsman Group of newspapers in  Edinburgh for 10 years.

Peggy Liu
Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCCE)

Peggy Liu, Chairperson of JUCCCE, is a leading environmentalist at the heart of the greening of China since 2007. Named the "Green Goddess of China" by Chinese press, she travels the world to consult companies and governments on how to catalyze societal-scale change, scale sustainable innovation, and collaborate with China.

Peggy keynotes around the world on lessons she learnt in tackling China's toughest environmental challenges: pollution, urbanization, epidemics, drought, obesity and diabetes.

Introduced Smart Grid to China and catalysed the revolution of electricity distribution to allow for renewable energies and energy efficiency at scale. Now China is the world leader in implementing Smart Grid innovations.

Catalysed China’s change from incandescent lighting to energy efficient lighting, the largest leverage point in saving energy. Now China is the world leader in LEDs.

Launched Food Heroes in 2013, teaching young kids and parents to eat in a way that is good for themselves and the planet. Now China's diets are incorporating more planetary friendly foods and food waste policies are strictly implemented.

Peggy is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She was awarded the "Nobel" of climate change, the "Hillary Step". The Economist called her "one of the most innovative thinkers in Asia." Previously, she was a venture capitalist and founded one of the earliest ecommerce companies in Silicon Valley. A "Red Herring" cover story dubbed her an "Internet Pioneer". She started her career as an MIT-trained engineer and McKinsey consultant.

His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi
Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Minister in Charge of Talent Attraction and Retention
United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy

H.E Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi is UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, a position he has held since July 2020. His primary responsibility is to oversee the development of non-oil foreign trade, the expansion of global trade partnerships and the increase of UAE exports.

His Excellency is currently presiding over the nation’s efforts to secure Comprehensive Economic Partnerships Agreements with strategic allies around the world, a key part of the UAE’s efforts to boost exports by at least 50 percent by 2030. In May 2022, the first of these CEPAs, and the first ever bilateral deal signed by the UAE, was concluded with long-standing trade and investment partner India.

His Excellency also leads the efforts to enhance the UAE’s investment climate and strengthen its position as a prime destination for business and investments at both regional and global levels. This includes his portfolio as Minister in Charge of Talent Attraction and Retention, in which he ensures the best global talents have the pathways, incentives and opportunities to contribute to the UAE’s long-term economic objectives.
Dr Thani serves as Vice Chairman of the Industry Development Council and Chairman of the Council’s Executive Committee, as well as Deputy Chairman of Etihad Credit Insurance’s Board of Directors. His Excellency is also a member of the Supreme Committee for the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), the decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Prior to his appointment as the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, H.E. held the position of Minister of Climate Change and Environment and supervised the implementation of the country’s strategies on climate action, agricultural development, animal husbandry and fisheries, in addition to combating desertification and preserving biodiversity. He led efforts to enhance the sustainability of natural systems, food diversity and the transition to a green economy.

His Excellency led the UAE’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change, and protect the country's natural ecosystem by developing and implementing a set of effective policies and initiatives to achieve sustainable development at both regional and international levels. This was achieved by forging and strengthening partnerships with government and private sector entities, ensuring food security and biosafety in the country as well as increasing the quality of national agricultural production.
H.E. has also served as the Director of the Department of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and was appointed as the UAE’s Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as extraordinary Ambassador.

Minister Al Zeyoudi started his career as an oil engineer at the Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO), and then moved to Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), where he worked on the development of renewable and clean energy technologies and solutions. He also played a key role in the success of the UAE’s 2009 campaign to host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi.

In 2020, H.E. was chosen by the Davos World Economic Forum to become a member of the Young Global Leadership Council, recognizing his outstanding international efforts in the field of environment and climate. In 2015, Dr. Al Zeyoudi received the first award for Excellence from the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf in recognition of his pioneering efforts in the field of renewable energy.

Fredrik Reinfeldt
Former Prime Minister of Sweden

Fredrik Reinfeldt has been active in Swedish and international politics for over 25 years. As Party leader and Swedish Prime Minister, Mr Reinfeldt reinvented the Moderate Party (centre-right) and formed a four-party alliance that won two successive elections.

Today Mr Reinfeldt is active giving lectures on geopolitical situation, leadership, economy and European and Nordic politics.

In August 2019 he was appointed chair of the newly formed Centrum for AMP. Centrum for AMP is a centre of excellence in the field of activating public spaces. It´s a Swedish model of the BID-concept (Business improvement district) that successfully has been used in for example New York and London.
During the years 2016-2019 Mr Reinfeldt held the post as chair to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI is an international coalition of stakeholders working together to promote open and accountable management of natural resources.

In May 2022 Mr Reinfeldt was appointed chair of Visita. Visita represents approximately 8.000 hotels, restaurants and other enterprises in the Swedish hospitality sector.
Since May 2021 Mr Reinfeldt is chair of Drivkraft Sverige. The Swedish Industry Organisation for Sustainable and Innovative Mobility (Drivkraft Sverige) is a national industry organisation for fuel and biofuel producers and marketing companies its members. Drivkraft Sverige works actively with the change to a carbon neutral society by 2045.

Deborah Bonetti
Director of the Foreign Press Association in London and the UK Correspondent
Il Giorno

Deborah Bonetti is the Director of the Foreign Press Association in London and the UK Correspondent for Il Giorno, an Italian na­tional daily newspaper.

She is a member of the UK Lobby and Chair of the Foreign Lobby (the group of International Journalists who have regular briefings with departments of State and Number 10 Downing Street).

She is also an Observer on the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists (DCMS) and a Royal Commentator on various outlets, including RAI (the Italian public broadcaster).

She has co-written a book on “Boris Johnson, the Media and the Pandemic” and one on Brexit, titled: “Do They Mean us? The Foreign Correspondents’ View on Brexit”, both published by Bi­te-Sized Books.

Nuseir Yassin
Founder and CEO
Nas Company and Nas Studios

Nuseir Yassin is the Founder and CEO of - Nas Company and Nas Studios, with over 60 Million followers across the world. and Nas Academy are housed under Nas Company with the mission to Bring People Together by building innovative education and community tools for creators.

Nuseir started out by creating of a Facebook page known as Nas Daily, where he would create and release a one-minute-long video daily for 1,000 days. After meeting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in early 2018, Nas Daily was upgraded to "show" status, and by September 2018, his page had amassed over 8 million followers.

In 2020, Yassin created Nas Academy, a school for video creators and Nas Studios, a video-production studio. He also released a series of podcasts.

Alessio Nesi
Creative Director

Alessio Nesi is a Creative Director who specialises in content marketing campaigns and ad funded editorial content.

In previous roles, he ran ground-breaking content campaigns for world class brands at Vice Media, and NBCUniversal. There, he specialised in the production of advertising and editorial content (video, written and graphic) both for brands and for publishers.

Eight years ago, Alessio started at the BBC, where he has helped set-up the award-winning branded content arm, BBC StoryWorks. He is passionate about cinema, technology, and digital products, and has a deep interest in advertising and the world of content. His role focuses on translating brand sentiment into online films and TV commercials, where the creative vision meets the commercial need.

The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Leader of the Conservative Party, Foreign Secretary, Mayor of London and is the Member of Parliament for Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

In 2019 he led the Conservative Party to an extraordinary election victory, winning their biggest majority in the House of Commons since 1987 and the highest share of the vote of any party since 1979. The result was a major realignment in British politics, with Boris Johnson’s Conservatives winning unprecedented support in areas they had never before represented.

Delivering Brexit - the UK’s exit from the European Union - was Mr Johnson’s first major achievement in Downing Street. His government shattered the political and parliamentary deadlock that crippled the process since the 2016 referendum result. Under Mr Johnson’s leadership, the UK restored sovereign control over its borders, economy and lawmaking, finally enacting the will of the British people.

At home, he unleashed a visionary agenda of domestic policy reform, with a focus on infrastructure, education and technology. He worked to ‘unite and level up’ the country, a major cross-government project to address regional economic and social disparities with his ‘levelling up’ agenda. He worked to protect the union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and tackled unresolved challenges avoided by other administrations, such as adult social care.

When Covid-19 struck, he led the UK through the darkest days of the pandemic, at one point becoming seriously ill from the disease. He commissioned the world’s foremost scientists and industrialists to work on a UK vaccine, resulting in the discovery of the Oxford AstraZeneca jab. His government delivered the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe and the fastest booster rollout, allowing the UK economy to reopen and lifting restrictions more quickly than comparable countries. Under Mr Johnson’s leadership, the UK emerged from the global crisis as the fastest growing economy in the G7.

More recently, Mr Johnson emerged as the preeminent global leader in the effort to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian invasion. Under his leadership the UK committed more than £2.4 billion in military assistance, huge humanitarian support and became Ukraine’s foremost European political partner. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a close friend. The Kremlin said it considers Mr Johnson ‘enemy number one’.

Mr Johnson first entered Parliament in 2001 as MP for Henley. He was twice elected Mayor of London (with the biggest personal mandate ever won in British politics). As Mayor he oversaw the London 2012 Olympic Games, commissioned the new Routemaster bus, and introduced the now-ubiquitous “Boris Bike” cycle hire scheme.

After being returned to the House of Commons in 2015, Mr Johnson served as Foreign Secretary, prioritising global development work on girls’ education and female empowerment. He also led the Foreign Office response to Russia’s use of a nerve agent on the streets of the English city of Salisbury.

In addition to his work in politics, Mr Johnson is an award-winning journalist, writer and editor. He is the author of almost a dozen books, from the globally bestselling historical biography of Winston Churchill, The Churchill Factor, to the self-illustrated children’s book The Perils Of Pushy Parents. He edited the Spectator magazine for six years and has written for dozens of major publications including, most notably, London’s Daily Telegraph.

Mr Johnson, who was born in New York City, has a special affection for the United States. He was educated at Eton College and the University of Oxford, and married his wife, Carrie, in May 2021.

Chrystal Dare
Special Counsel
Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is Australia’s leading independent law firm with a full-service offering, a team of over 1000 people and a 175-year history of legal excellence in Australia.

Chrystal Dare is one of Corrs’ leading IP practitioners with over 15 years’ experience advising Australian and international clients on intellectual property issues.

Chrystal is a copyright specialist and expert in trade marks and brand protection.

Chrystal led Corrs’ team acting in one of Australia’s most significant copyright matters, negotiating the ultimate assignment of copyright in the Australian Aboriginal Flag by Harold Thomas to the Commonwealth of Australia – a ~$20m deal announced by the Australian Prime Minister in 2022, and one of the largest art transactions in Australia’s history.

Aside from her strong IP advisory and litigation practice, Chrystal is passionate about shaping the future of Australia’s IP system to properly recognise and protect Australian Indigenous cultural knowledge and Indigenous art.

Chrystal also sits on the board of the peak body for art galleries, the Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) – representing over 60 art galleries in Australia who together reach 5.3 million visitors annually – and in that role advocates for greater inclusion and profiling of Australian Indigenous art and artists.

Claire de Braekeleer
Regional Arts Director
British Council

Claire de Braekeleer is Regional Arts Director, Wider Europe for the British Council.  She leads the strategic direction and delivery of a portfolio across 15 countries, including Ukraine, and actively led the development of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture 2022/23. Claire has held other senior roles for the British Council covering arts, education, partnerships and communications, and has been based in Istanbul, Cairo and Moscow.  She has an MA in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College London.

David Magliano
Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer
Informa Tech

David Magliano played a lead role in two of the highest-profile campaigns of recent times as Director of Marketing of the London 2012 Olympic bid, and as Director of Commercial and Marketing for the England 2018 FIFA World Cup bid.

David was one of the first employees at London 2012, the organisation which bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. David worked with Sebastian Coe to promote London's candidature to the International Olympic Committee, and to build support for the bid at home and around the world. He was responsible for the bid's marketing strategy, and technical proposals relating to the marketing of the Games themselves. David devised and directed the crucial final presentation in Singapore, described as the fiercest competitive pitch of all time.

David performed the same role at the FA for England's bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, although with markedly less success.

David has been UK Marketer of the Year twice, and Advertising Age's Global CMO of the Year. He was awarded an MBE in 2006.

David Mitchell
Personal, Sports and CEO Brand Consultant

David is a Brand Consultant specialising in personal, corporate and sports brands.

For nine seasons, he was the external brand consultant to the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 team. He worked behind the scenes advising the team, drivers and the team principle on brand and reputation management. This has given him a unique insight into how sport is used by nation states and major corporations to influence their audiences.

He’s has also worked with INEOS to support them as they developed a brand that could work across a global business and a diverse portfolio of high-profile sports teams.

He has had a twenty-year career in marketing in the technology industry with companies such as Dell, Compaq, Intel and Xerox, encompassing senior roles in a variety of marketing disciplines.

Dmytro Kuleba
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Dmytro Kuleba was born in 1981 in Sumy, Ukraine.

In 2003, Dmytro Kuleba graduated with honour from Institute of International Relations, Taras Shevchenko University (Kyiv,Ukraine), where he studied international law. In 2006 Mr.Kuleba obtained Ph.D. in Law.

From 2003 to 2010 he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the OSCE.

He also worked at the office of Ukraine’s Foreign Minister from 2010 to 2013 in charge of the issues related to the image of Ukraine abroad, international organizations, relations with the United States.

During January-June 2013, Mr.Kuleba served as advisor to Deputy Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs.

After quitting civil service in 2013, Dmytro Kuleba chaired the Board of the UART Foundation for Cultural Diplomacy.

In 2014 Dmytro Kuleba returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Ambassador-at-Large to launch strategic communications. He introduced the concepts of digital diplomacy, strategic communications, cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy into the Ministry’s work.

In 2016 Mr. Kuleba was appointed as Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe.

From August 2019 to March 2020 – Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine since March 04, 2020.

Dmytro Kuleba is author of a book "The War for Reality. How to Win in the World of Fakes, Truths and Communities".

Lord Ed Vaizey
Recent UK Minister
of Technology

Recent UK Minister for Technology
Ed Vaizey (Lord Vaizey of Didcot) is a senior British politician who is the
UK’s longest-serving Minister for Technology and the creative industries.
During his time in office, Ed transformed the technology scene in the UK,
leading huge investment in tech, film, TV and video games, and
supporting the UK’s start-up scene. He even received a credit in a Star
Wars movie for his hard work!
Now an adviser to multiple technology companies and funds, Ed can
speak knowledgeably and entertainingly about the UK and global tech and
creative ecosystem and emerging trends in many different areas.
As well as being a member of the House of Lords, Ed is a successful
writer and broadcaster, presenting Times Radio’s flagship Friday evening
show every week.

Harold Thomas
Artist and creator
of the Australian Aboriginal Flag

Harold Joseph Thomas (Bundoo) – Artist and creator of the Australian Aboriginal Flag in 1971.

Harold Thomas was born in 1947 in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory, Australia.  His mother was a Luritja woman and his father a Wombai man. A member of the stolen generation he was taken from his family at the age of seven and sent to South Australia’s St Frances House, an Anglican institution for Aboriginal boys.  When he was eleven he was fostered by an Anglican priest and his family, who lived in Willunga, south of Adelaide, South Australia.

Harold started out on the long journey as an artist after winning a scholarship to the South Australian School of Art at the age of seventeen.  He went on to become the first Aboriginal to graduate from an Australian art school.  Later, he was awarded an honorary degree in social anthropology from Adelaide University.

In 1970 Harold Thomas started working as a survey artist at the South Australian Museum. He took advantage of the rich cultural collection, immersing himself in Aboriginal art and artefacts.

While studying, Harold became involved in the Civil Rights Movement.  In 1971 Harold created a bold graphic artwork which was adopted for the Australian Aboriginal flag, first flown in Victoria Square, Adelaide, at the NADOC march. To this day the Aboriginal Flag remains a strong and unifying symbol for Aboriginal rights and justice.  “In my university days there was a question of identity amongst Aboriginal people”, Harold says. “People stood up during marches for civil rights to express their Aboriginal identity. The flag stood for all of that. The colours reflect an awakening of their emerging political consciousness.”

Over fifty years have passed since the Aboriginal Flag’s creation. It is a national flag of Australia and copyright now belongs to the Commonwealth of Australia, as custodian for the people of Australia.

Harold says: “When I created the Flag, I created it as a symbol of unity and pride. That pride we have for our identity that harks back to the birthing of our dreaming, to the present existence and beyond. And we humble ourselves and give homage to all that has been created and left for us.  The Aboriginal Flag was never intended to be a political platform.  In the future, the Flag will remain, not as a symbol of struggle, but as a symbol of pride and unity.”

“My people’s capacity to rise above such depressing circumstances to express themselves in art is one of the greatest phenomenal art movements in the world. And what it has given to Australia as a nation is the finest gift and contribution to its identity as a whole.”

Helen Brocklebank
Chief Executive

Helen Brocklebank is the Chief Executive of Walpole, the industry association for the British Luxury sector. Walpole's mission is to promote, protect and develop luxury in the UK in fashion, automotive, retail, e-commerce, wines and spirits, hospitality, jewellery and watches, small leather goods, ceramics. It represents 270 British luxury brands and develops a pipeline of economic growth for the sector through its flagship programme, Brands of Tomorrow, which invests the time and talents of established luxury players into 12 fledgling brands each year. In 2020, Walpole launched the British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto, developed with McKinsey.

In addition to her role at Walpole, Helen is an Executive Member of ECCIA, the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance, working with sister luxury associations across Europe to ensure the legislative and regulatory framework supports and protects the business of luxury. She is also a Member of the DIT Trade Advisory Group for British Manufactured and Consumer Goods, Chair of Consumer Goods Advisory Group and is a Member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra Advisory Council and on the Duke of Edinburgh's Women in Business Committee.

Jack Sim
World Toilet Organization

Jack Sim, Founded the World Toilet Organization in 2001 and broke the taboo on the unspeakable agenda of toilets and sanitation. With his unique blend of humour and serious facts, he is the Voice of Sanitation, triggering governments all over the world to prioritise sanitation for their people.

WTO's founding day 19 Nov was unanimously approved by all 193 countries of the UN General Assembly as the Official UN World Toilet Day.

He was named Time Magazine's Hero of the Environment, Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum, Queen Elizabeth's Commonwealth Points of Light Awardee, and he received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Strathclyde last year.

Latika Bourke
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Latika Bourke is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in London.

She has been based in the UK for seven years and previously covered federal politics in the Canberra press gallery. In London, she covers and writes opinion pieces on a range of topics including her specialty Australian politics, British politics, foreign affairs as well as the arts, travel and business.

Latika began her career as a radio presenter in her home town of Bathurst in country New South Wales in Australia before joining the Sydney Radio 2UE newsroom. She was posted to Canberra in 2008 and quickly rose to become one of the press gallery's most prominent news breaking journalists and also widely regarded for her innovative use of social media for both newsgathering and news-telling. Between 2010 and 2014, she worked in television and online as a Political reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 2015, Allen & Unwin published her first book, From India with Love, a memoir about being adopted into an Australian family as a baby from India.

She is an experienced moderator and MC and regularly appears as a guest and panelist on Australian and British television programs.

Martin Green
Managing Director
Eurovision Song Contest

Martin Green is currently BBC’s Managing Director of Eurovision Song Contest 2023 where he is responsible for leading and overseeing all aspects of this milestone event in UK broadcasting history. An accomplished leader with over twenty years’ experience in major global events he has earned an international reputation for delivering world-class, large-scale productions. Before joining the BBC he was the Chief Creative Officer of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games where he delivered the opening and closing ceremonies alongside a major cultural programme, and Chief Creative Officer of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK. Prior to that he was CEO of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, a ground-breaking world class arts festival that reinvigorated the city and as Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, he oversaw the delivery of the Torch Relays and Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Games – showcasing the best of British culture on a global stage.

Professor Megan Davis
Expert in Indigenous rights

Professor Dr Megan Davis grew up in Eagleby and Hervey Bay and is a Cobble Cobble woman of the Barunggam Nation. Prof. Davis is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Society (PVCS) at UNSW Sydney. Professor Davis is also the Balnaves Chair of Constitutional Law, a Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law Centre UNSW Law.

She is a renowned constitutional lawyer and public law expert, focusing on the human rights of First Nations peoples. She has been a leading lawyer on constitutional reform for the recognition of First Nations rights for two decades and has led the Uluru Statement from the Heart work for the past five years. She was a Commissioner on the QLD Commission of Inquiry into Youth Detention Centres in 2016 and was the Chair and author of ‘Family is Culture’, an inquiry into NSW Aboriginal Out of Home care (2017-2019).

She is a globally recognised expert in Indigenous rights and was elected by the UN Human Rights Council to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples based in Geneva in 2017 and again in 2019 (2019-2022) and was previously elected by the Economic and Social Council in New York serving for six years as an expert member and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN Headquarters in New York (2011-2016).

Prof Davis is an Acting Commissioner of the NSW Land and Environment Court, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. She is a Commissioner on the Australian Rugby League Commission, a director on the Cowboys Community Foundation Board, a Commissioner for Western Australia Rugby League Commission and director on the International Rugby League board.

Olena Zelenska
First Lady

Personal life

Mrs Olena Zelenska was born on 6 February 1978 in Kryvyi Rih. In 2003, she and Volodymyr Zelenskyy got married. After the marriage, the family moved to Kyiv.

Olena and Volodymyr Zelenskyy are raising two children: daughter Oleksandra (born in 2004) and son Kyrylo (born in 2013). The family loves animals, they have two dogs, a cat, a parrot and a guinea pig. The First Lady of Ukraine actively goes in for sports, likes to read and is a fan of cinematography.

Activities of the First Lady of Ukraine

  • 1 Health of future generations

1 The reform of the school nutrition system of Ukraine. The reform strategy encompasses four strategic goals:

  1. Strengthening the financial and institutional capacity of communities;
  2. Modernizing the infrastructure of educational institutions;
  3. Ensuring the development of human resources;
  4. Cultivating a healthy food culture.

(2) All-Ukrainian mental health program "How are you?". The program is designed to help Ukrainians overcome the consequences of the traumatic events of the war. The development and implementation of the program is coordinated by the Ministry of Health in close cooperation with Ukrainian and international specialists. The initiative is implemented with the support of the World Health Organization.

2 • Cultural diplomacy

Projects to popularize the Ukrainian language – audio guides.

As part of the initiative of the First Lady of Ukraine, more than 79 audio guides in the Ukrainian language have already been launched in the best cultural institutions in more than 44 countries. The project started in 2020.

Bookshelves ("Ukrainian bookshelf"). It provides for the distribution of Ukrainian literature and its translations in the world's leading libraries. More than 46 countries have already joined the initiative. 190 bookshelves have 47,000 publications. To reinforce the connection with the Homeland for forcibly displaced people, the First Lady initiated the project "Books without borders". 280,000 books in Ukrainian were printed for children who left their homes due to Russian aggression and found shelter in 20 countries.

Better Time Stories - the project was initiated by the foundation of the Dutch princess Laurentien. First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Germany Elke Büdenbender and First Lady of Austria Doris Schmidauer became patrons of the project. The initiative is implemented in four countries: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Patronage of cultural and artistic events.

  • The country of equal opportunities (accessibility, Biarritz partnership, combating gender - based and domestic violence, development of family forms of upbringing)
  • Public diplomacy (the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, representational function abroad and in Ukraine)
  • Charitable activities (projects of the Olena Zelenska Foundation)

Olena Zelenska Foundation

On September 22, Olena Zelenska presented her Foundation during a charity evening in New York during the 77th UN General Assembly. The Foundation's primary goal is to restore Ukraine's human capital so that every Ukrainian feels physically and mentally healthy, protected, and able to exercise their right to education, work, and build a future in Ukraine.

The Foundation has three key directions: healthcare, education and humanitarian aid. Within these areas, it will provide targeted assistance, invest in reconstructing preschool and school education institutions, polyclinics and outpatient clinics, and provide grants for training and scientific developments.

The Foundation sees foreign business and other international foundations as its key partners and donors.

Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen

On August 23, 2021, the First Kyiv Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen took place in Kyiv at the initiative of Olena Zelenska. Eleven first ladies from different countries joined the event.

The First "Soft Power in the New Reality" Summit was held at St. Sophia Cathedral, one of the most important Christian holy places in Eastern Europe. The cross - cutting themes of the event were the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time: equal access to quality healthcare, the challenges of post-pandemic reality, and equal opportunities for development and self-expression for all people. At the end of the event, the participants approved a joint declaration.

The Second First Ladies and Gentlemen's Summit 2022, entitled "Ukraine and the World: The Future We (Re)Build Together", was held in Kyiv last year, on the fifth month of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The event aimed to draw the world's attention to Russia's aggression in Ukraine and focus on the humanitarian challenges facing Ukraine and the world as a result of the war. The Summit was held in the format of a teleconference between five countries, with the main studio in Kyiv on the territory of the National Conservation Area St. Sophia of Kyiv and four others in Warsaw, Brussels, Washington, and London. The event was broadcast in more than 20 countries. In 2022, the number of participants and international speakers doubled. In-person and online, 23 wives of different countries leaders. Within the Summit, fundraising for C-type ambulance vehicles was announced. USD 6.4 million was raised in total, allowing to purchase 92 ambulance vehicles for the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. These ambulance vehicles are equipped with everything necessary to quickly and safely transport the seriously injured to the hospitals.

The Third First Ladies and Gentlemen Summit 2023 took place on September 6, 2023, in Kyiv. The theme- "Mental Health: Fragility and Resilience of the Future". It was held at St. Sophia of Kyiv National Reserve, was attended by 29 participants in person or via video conference. The first panel featured a presentation of the results of an international sociological survey on mental health and attitude to it around the world. According to its results, mental health is among the five biggest global challenges of the future. As part of the 3rd Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, 25 memoranda of medical partnership were signed. At a special additional location of the Summit, Mental Stage, the influence of culture on the mental state was discussed.

The purpose of the summits is to unite the first ladies and gentlemen for the purpose of creating an international platform to share experience and implement joint projects for the well-being of people in the world; to discuss the current problems and activities of the first ladies and gentlemen to solve them; to make the voice of every first lady and gentleman more influential.

Pumela Salela
Country Head for the United Kingdom
Brand South Africa

Pumela Salela is the Country Head for the United Kingdom (UK) under Brand South Africa, the custodian of the South Africa Country Brand.

Her role is to market South Africa in the UK, attract foreign direct investment (fdi) into South Africa, mobilize Global South Africans (GSA) abroad and to manage the brand reputation of South Africa.

In 2018, Pumela was featured as a POWERHOUSE in DESTINY magazine. She is the 2018 recipient of the African Achiever Award. In 2019 she received the BRITISH Award for African Development. Prior to serving in this role Pumela was the Chief Director for Economic Policy Development and Planning at the Department of Economic Development in South Africa.

The Rockefeller Foundation acknowledged her contribution and innovation in formulating systems which address poverty by selecting Salela to be one the 18 global recipients of the foundation’s inaugural Global Fellowship on Social Innovation–an only South African to receive the honour. Pumela has also worked as a Consultant for the World Bank, based at the organisation’s headquarters in United States, Washington D.C. and a Director: BPO at the dti, South Africa, The Director role was preceded by her position as Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at Trade and Investment South Africa. She has also been a lecturer in Strategic Brand Management at VEGA, The School of Branding.

Salela studied to complete her MBA with distinction (cum laude) in England through a Nelson Mandela Scholarship where she received the Council Award for being the Best MBA student. Pumela is the Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Scholarship Alumni Association and a Mentor to Graca Machel Scholars. She is featured in the 2013 issue of the book: South Africa’s Most Inspirational Women. She has also been featured in the 2012 issue of DESTINY magazine as one of South Africa’s Young and Powerful Achievers. In 2013 the DESTINY magazine showcased her as one of the Top 40 young leaders, innovators and job creators in South Africa. Ms Salela has served as an On-air Advisor to investors on an Entrepreneurship Television Show called Rize Mzansi (Rise South Africa).

Samantha Adams
Vice President of Advertising Sales
BBC Studios

Samantha Adams is VP, Advertising Sales, Western Europe for BBC Studios, the international, commercial arm of the BBC.

Samantha joined the BBC in 2019 and leads the advertising sales team across Western Europe. She is responsible for developing the BBC’s international sales strategy, and creating innovative partnerships to enable clients to tell authentic brand stories. Across her career, she has worked on media partnerships with Rolex, Corteva, FedEx, Ministry of Tourism India, and Bosch to name but a few.

Prior to joining the BBC, Samantha worked at some of the world’s leading media brands including the New York Times and Dow Jones, gaining extensive experience across branded content, TV, digital, programmatic, and print media.

Saskia Tidey
Olympic Athlete

Saskia Tidey is a double Olympian in the sport of sailing. Tidey holds dual nationality both Irish & British. After representing Team Ireland at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 49er FX women’s skiff, Tidey switched to Team GB for Tokyo 2020 placing 6th.

Saskia has had multiple medal success at 49er FX European, World, and World Cup championship during the Tokyo Cycle.

In Tokyo, Tidey and her teammate Charlotte Dobson made the perfect start with a double win of the first to races at the Olympic Games. Narrowly missing our on the podium and overall finished in 6th.

Dobson subsequently retired from Olympic sailing. Tidey is currently pursuing her third Olympics with the goal to represent Team GB and challenge gold in Paris 2024 with her new team mate Freya Black.

Tetyana Filevska
Creative Director
Ukrainian Institute

Tetyana Filevska is a creative director of the Ukrainian Institute, Ukraine’s cultural diplomacy organisation. Art-manager, curator and writer. Her background is in philosophy with experience in contemporary art and Ukrainian art history of the 20 century. Author of the books “KAZIMIR MALEVICH. Kyiv Period 1928-1930″, “Kazimir Malevich. Kyiv Aspect” and ” Dmitro Gorbachov. Sluchayi “. Worked in various art institutions in Ukraine. Tetyana curated a public programme of the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale dedicated to decolonisation.

Veetika Deoras
Vice President – Brands and Marketing
Indian Hotels Company Limited

Veetika is an experienced professional with varied sectoral background across - Hospitality, Retail, Financial Services, Telecom and Consumer Goods. Skilled in Digital Strategy, Data and Analytics, Business Planning, Strategic Planning, Product Management, Consumer Strategy, Brand and Marketing Management and PR.

She has a strong marketing and finance professional with a Fulbright Scholarship for Leadership and Strategy from Carnegie Mellon University - Tepper School of Business.

Dr Giannina Warren
Senior Lecturer, MA Place Branding
Middlesex University London

Dr. Giannina Warren is a Senior Lecturer in Place Branding and Promotional Culture at Middlesex University, London UK. Her research examines the intersection of promotion and policy in the development of ‘Creative Cities’, identifying ways in which private sector discipline in consumer research, marketing, branding and PR can help guide cultural public policy and sustainable urban planning for competitive cities and regions in the 21st century. Her work has been published in Tourism Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Marketing Theory, Journal of Place Management and Development and International Journal of Tourism Cities.

Prior to embarking on her postgraduate studies in the UK, her career spanned 17 years in Toronto, Canada as a specialist in visual identity, branding, advertising and public relations in high impact sectors such as finance, energy, legal, tourism, festivals and economic development. She spent six years at Toronto City Hall, managing city branding strategies, international promotional campaigns for public cultural events, resident-engagement programmes and tourism initiatives.

Stephanie Hilborne OBE
Chief Executive
Women in Sport

Since joining Women in Sport in 2019 Steph has renewed the charity’s strategy based on its proud 40 year history and has developed the charity around its existing strengths in insights and research. As CEO she has been making sure the charity is tackling major policy issues, growing its influence in government and its partnerships in sport, whilst diversifying its people and its funding base.  Before Women in Sport, Steph was CEO of a major environment movement and campaigned on climate change and nature’s recovery.


She is experienced in achieving legislative change and is a strong advocate for the outdoors, active living and team sport. She is passionate about freeing up the lives of women and girls in all their diversity to experience the joy of sport.  She believes it is wrong that so many women and girls are missing out on the wellbeing, resilience and leadership skills sport can instil.

In association with

BBC News

BBC News is an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs in the UK and around the world.

The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online news coverage.

The service maintains 50 foreign news bureaus with more than 250 correspondents around the world.

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