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Global Soft Power Summit 2024

28 February 2024, 09:0029 February 2024, 17:15 UK Time

Join us at Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Summit 2024, inaugurating the next iteration of the Global Soft Power Index, to explore the role of Soft Power in international relations and business. We are delighted to announce The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as our keynote speaker.

This year, we will focus specifically on the future of the global economy and the role of Soft Power in attracting tomorrow’s investment, trade, talent, and tourism. How can nation brand leaders leverage Soft Power to answer to the demands of tomorrow in each of these fields?

Following the publication of four iterations of the Global Soft Power Index – the world’s most comprehensive study on perceptions of nation brands, Brand Finance is now working on the fifth year of research. Based on a global survey of 150,000+ respondents in 100+ markets, the Index will rank all 193 member states of the United Nations for the first time.

The Summit will take place over the course of two days at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London:

  • Wednesday, 28th February - Workshops led by nation brand leaders, available in-person only
  • Thursday, 29th February - all-day Conference hosted as a hybrid event, with delegates able to join in-person or watch a livestream online

The Summit will also unveil the findings of additional new research identifying the best nations in investment, trade, talent, and tourism attraction. An Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, 28th February will celebrate the winners. Panel Discussions dedicated to each of these fields on Thursday, 29th February will explore the research findings in more detail and showcase best practice from nation brand leaders across the globe.

Register now to secure your place and receive updates on the agenda and speakers. Admission for the event is free. All delegates can choose between registering to join in-person on either one or both days of the Summit, or online for the all-day conference on Thursday, 29th February.

WORKSHOPS - Wednesday, 28th February

08:30 - 09:00

Breakfast & Registration

09:00 - 09:10

Welcome & Introduction

- David Haigh - Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance
- Puneet Chhatwal - Managing Director & CEO, IHCL

09:10 - 09:55

Are we the Machiavellis of Today? Power Struggles and Playing Politics: The Unique Challenges Facing Place Branding Professionals - hosted by Middlesex University

Place branding and diplomacy professionals work in highly complex, politically charged stakeholder environments. This presentation will unpack some of the hidden, non-systemic and unofficial ways that practitioners can wield ‘persuasion without power’ in invisible, but highly influential roles within a national or urban policy value chain. This session will also introduce the MA in Place Branding at Middlesex University as a higher-education option for professionals looking to unlock their potential and increase their knowledge, skills and understanding in this rapidly expanding international industry.

- Presented by Giannina Warren - Senior Lecturer in Place Branding and Promotional Culture at Middlesex University, London UK

09:55 - 10:40

The Making of Brand Bhutan: How Bhutan built a future-forward brand that honours the past and present by carrying them into the future - hosted Royal Government of Bhutan

In September 2022, on the eve of welcoming its first international guests in over two years, the Kingdom of Bhutan unveiled its new Nation Brand - Bhutan Believe. Bhutan's new national identity was crafted as a robust toolkit—accounting for multiple domestic and international stakeholders and purpose-built to accompany Bhutan as it moves through a visionary and bold transformation with confidence grounded in Gross National Happiness principles. This session will introduce the new nation brand and explain its first practical and strategic application as a comprehensive tourism campaign.

- Dorji Dhradhul - Director General, Department of Tourism, Royal Government of Bhutan
Julien Beaupre Ste-Marie - Founding Partner, Private Partners & Co
Lisa Botos - Founding Partner, Private Partners & Co
- David Haigh - Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance

10:40 - 11:00

Refreshment Break

11:00 - 12:00

Sustainability and Reputation: Aligning Perceptions and Performance - hosted by Brand Finance

Delivering on sustainability commitments matters more than ever in a world increasingly affected by climate change and environmental degradation. Yet, perceptions of how sustainable a city, region, or a nation is do not always reflect true performance. We will hear from place brand representatives on how they manage sustainability perceptions within a crowded field of climate action pledges and international goals, while also striving to achieve them.

- Asbjørn Overgaard, CEO, Copenhagen Capacity
- Lisa Barrett, Director of Strategic Planning, Destination Canada
- Zöe Fitzgerald, Head of City-Business Engagement, C40 
- Moderated by Robert Haigh - Sustainability & Strategy Director, Brand Finance

12:00 - 12:45

Seize Your Cinderella Moment: The Soft Power Opportunity of Smaller Place Brands – hosted by Brand Tasmania

Tasmania runs on 100% renewable electricity and plans to reach 200% by 2040. The state is already net-zero. More than half its land is protected from development, so we have met biodiversity goals as well. We are where the world wants to be.

The question is, what do we do about it? How does a sub-national jurisdiction at the bottom of the world tell its story and position this opportunity for locals, tourists, talented migrants, investors, and students? Especially when Australia is not considered a leader in emissions reduction and climate action?

We are among the only democratic, industrialised jurisdictions in the world with this climate position, and we have plenty of problems to solve – like everywhere. Given our head start we could be a workshop for “1,000 small things” for the planet.

Join this session to learn from Tasmania’s case study of a small, relatively unknown place doing something special. Every jurisdiction has some version of this “Cinderella moment”, yet we so rarely grasp it.

- Presented by Todd Babiak - CEO of Brand Tasmania

12:45 - 13:00

The Soft Power of Italian Food - hosted by The Italian Trade Agency 

Join us for a culinary journey with Valentina Harris – esteemed food writer and celebrity chef – with an exclusive presentation showcasing a range of Italian PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products. Discover the rich heritage and unique flavors of PDO-certified ingredients as Chef Harris shares her expertise and passion for Italian cuisine.

In this presentation, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the significance of PDO certifications, the traditional production methods behind these exceptional products, and how they contribute to the authenticity and quality of Italian cuisine as well as ultimately Italy’s Soft Power. Chef Harris will showcase a range of PDO ingredients, from artisanal cheeses and cured meats to olive oils and balsamic vinegars, offering insights into their characteristics, uses, and regional variations.

- Presented by Valentina Harris - Food Writer & Celebrity Chef

13:00 - 14:00

Lunch Break

14:00 - 15:00

A GREAT Story to Tell: Learnings from 12 Years Promoting the UK – hosted by the GREAT Campaign

Twelve years on from its launch, the UK's GREAT Campaign is going from strength to strength, successfully promoting the UK across an ever-increasing number of sectors and international markets. In this workshop we will hear from the leaders of the campaign about what the last twelve years have taught them, the drivers of success to date, and what the future holds for the campaign as the UK approaches a general election.

- Presented by Kate Taylor Tett - Director, GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland Campaign

15:00 - 16:00

From Research Insights to Country Outcomes: Closing the Virtuous Circle - hosted by New Zealand Story

Research insights such as soft power data can feed into a wider process to define, refine, and hone your brand story, and help deliver real outcomes in terms of strategy and results. As a country best known for its natural beauty, building soft power for New Zealand requires a strategic approach. In this workshop, the New Zealand Story group will share their model for how they take research to results, and the core theory behind their best practice.

- Presented by David Downs - CEO, New Zealand Story 

16:00 - 16:30 Refreshment Break
16:30 - 17:30

Türkiye: Your Resilient Partner

Invest in Türkiye is committed to following current and future trends by employing innovative strategies to harness the power of nation branding, soft power, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Invest in Türkiye promotes the country's value proposition as a resilient partner and creates a favorable investment climate through enticing incentives and reforms to potential investors through investment diplomacy and a variety of communication tools for FDI promotion and facilitation. From tax breaks to streamlined regulations, and support for technology and innovation, the Turkish government is leaving no stone unturned to attract FDI.

Join Turkish Presidency’s Investment Office President A. Burak Dağlıoğlu as he takes us on an exciting brand journey, uncovering Türkiye’s ambition to create a vibrant 360-degree investment ecosystem focused on digitalization, sustainability, talent, knowledge economy, and global value chains.

- Presented by Mr. Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu - President of the Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye

17:30 - 18:00

Switzerland: A Trusted Brand in a Complex World - hosted by Presence Switzerland

Join this session to uncover the secrets of Switzerland—a small country with a big brand that defies the odds. Despite its size, Switzerland stands tall among the giants of the Global Soft Power Index, showcasing influence and integrity in a world dominated by 'hard power' players. As we explore Swiss identity, discover its remarkable reputation for trustworthiness woven into every aspect of life.

During the session, David Haigh in conversation with Alexandre Edelmann - Head a.i., Presence Switzerland will explore the significance of the "Swissness" legislation in establishing credibility for the "Made in Switzerland" label, and discuss how Switzerland's neutrality and robust financial center serve as pillars of trust. An opportunity to address today’s common challenges in the field of nation branding.

-  Alexandre Edelmann - Head a.i., Presence Switzerland
David Haigh - Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance

18:00 - 18:30

Awards Ceremony & Reception

Introducing the first Global Soft Power Awards ceremony hosted by Brand Finance, recognising the strongest nations for Soft Power across key categories.

- Awards presented by David Haigh, Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance

18:30 - 20:00

Moldova Wines Hard to Win Soft

How did one of the smallest countries in Europe emerge among the land of wine giants?

- Presentation by Cristian Gafin, Sommelier & Export Manager  Castel Mimi

Followed by Drinks Reception sponsored by Wine of Moldova, Castel Mimi

CONFERENCE - Thursday, 29th February
08:00- 09:00 Breakfast & Registration
09:00 - 09:30 Welcome & Introduction
Presentation of the Global Soft Power Index 2024 Results
- David Haigh - Chairman & CEO, Brand Finance 
09.30 – 10.30

The Impact of Media & Communications on Soft Power

Joined by global experts in the field, we will debate the role that media and communications have in shaping Soft Power of nations around the world.
- Alastair Campbell - Writer, Communicator & Strategist, Former Head of Communications for Tony Blair
- Fareed Zakaria - CNN Worldwide Host, Washington Post Columnist, and Bestselling Author
- David Lammy MP - Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs
Moderated by Jamie Hyman - Communications Director, Brand Finance

10.30 – 11.00 Refreshment Break
11.00 – 12.00

The Future of Investment & Trade: Attracting Innovations to Transform the Economy

Attracting Foreign Direct Investment and boosting trade is no longer just about the amount of money spent and the number of jobs created. What matters more and more, is what the investment and trade revenues can offer to push the local economy in a new direction and increase its competitiveness in an ever-evolving marketplace. Attracting and trading in innovations from renewable energy to robotics is now imperative. We will learn from nation brand leaders from across the globe how they are leveraging Soft Power to bring in innovative businesses and boost trade. 

- Kate Taylor Tett - Director, GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland Campaign
Jennifer Mackinlay - General Manager Europe and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner, Austrade
Giovanni Sacchi - Director, Italian Trade Agency
Moderated by Courtney Fingar - Leading Expert on Foreign Direct Investment & Business Editor
12.00 – 13.00 Keynote Speech and Discussion

- The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH - Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- Moderated by Andrew Neil - Publisher, Editor, Company Chairman and Broadcaster
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break
14.00 – 15.00 The Future of Talent: Competing for Science and Tech Leaders of Tomorrow

The science and technology sector is the cornerstone of any vibrant economy of the Information Age. While the talent pool of educated individuals that powers progress is limited, they are often prepared to travel abroad to make a home in an open society, gain experience in a friendly startup ecosystem, or work remotely from a stunning location. We will learn from nation brand leaders from across the globe how they are leveraging Soft Power to lure the world’s top talent.

- Alexandre Edelmann - Head a.i., Presence Switzerland
- David Downs - CEO, New Zealand Story
- Johanna Jäkälä - Executive Director, Finland Promotion Services, Business Finland
- Moderated by Clare Dewhirst - CEO, City Nation Place
15.00 – 16.00 The Future of Tourism: Travelling Beyond Sustainability to Regeneration

Sustainability is satisfied with simply striking a balance, while regenerative tourism is from definition net positive. Regeneration goes beyond sustainability by repairing what has been damaged through key challenges for the industry like COVID-19, climate change, and overtourism, by making a difference to local economic development, and by offering a transformational experience to the visitors. We will learn from nation brand leaders from across the globe how they are leveraging Soft Power to transform their tourism sector.

- Dorji Dhradhul - Director General, Department of Tourism, Royal Government of Bhutan
- Nur Özkan Erbay - The Coordinator of Türkiye Nation Branding Office, Directorate of Communications, Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye
- Thebe Ikalafeng - Chairman, Brand Africa
- Moderated by Florian Kaefer - Founder, The Place Brand Observer
16.00 – 16.15 Refreshment Break
16:15 - 17:15

The Role of First Ladies and Gentlemen in Building Soft Power

This session - organised in partnership with the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen global platform - offers a deep dive into the pivotal roles that spouses of world leaders play in enhancing their nations' global standing and impact. We are privileged to welcome the initiator of the Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, who will be joining us for a live interview. The panel discussion will also include Eliza Jean Reid, the First Lady of Iceland, celebrated for her active engagement in cultural and humanitarian initiatives, and Dr. Aleš Musar, the spouse of the President of Slovenia, offering a unique male perspective in a predominantly female sphere.

The session will unveil new analysis prepared by Brand Finance, exploring the significant influence that first ladies and gentlemen hold in shaping their nations' international image and Soft Power.

- Olena Zelenska - First Lady of Ukraine 
- Eliza Jean Reid - First Lady of Iceland
- Dr Aleš Musar - Spouse of the President of Slovenia
- Moderated by Konrad Jagodzinski - Place Branding Director, Brand Finance

28 February 2024, 09:0029 February 2024, 17:15 UK Time
to be notified of future events


The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH
Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Former Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and a leading authority on the changing global landscape, Sir John Major offers a unique perspective. As one of the most distinguished and respected figures in the international arena, he gives audiences a fresh look at their own nation and its place within the global community. An astute economist who held positions as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer before becoming Prime Minister, Sir John speaks from a position of hands-on, practical knowledge.

He is the author of three books: My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall (September, 2012), in which he takes a remarkable journey into hisown unconventional family past to tell the richly colorful story of the British music hall; More Than a Game: The Story of Cricket's Early Years (2007 which examines the early history of one of the great loves of Sir John’s life shedding new light on the summer game's social origins; and his bestselling memoir, John Major - The Autobiography (1999).

Sir John was elected to the British Parliament in 1979 and joined the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 1987. He went on to serve as Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer before being appointed Prime Minister in 1990. During his years at Downing Street he instituted public sector reforms that became international models, and left behind the strongest economy that any incoming British Government had ever inherited. Sir John initiated an unprecedented effort to secure lasting peace in Northern Ireland  and continued to lend his support on that issue to his successor as Prime Minister, Tony Blair. On New Year's Day 1999, Sir John was awarded The Companion of Honour, bestowed on him by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, in recognition of his initiation of the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Since leaving the British Parliament in 2001, Sir John has taken up various business and other interests. His current appointments include Senior Advisor to Credit Suisse and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Global Infrastructure Partners.

On the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, Sir John was appointed legal guardian to Their Royal Highnesses Princes William and Harry. He serves as Patron or President of a number of charitable organizations, both in the UK and overseas, including Asthma UK, Prostate Cancer UK, Sightsavers, British Gymnastics and Chatham House. In October 2011, Sir John was appointed Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, a Commonwealth-wide initiative which was established to create a lasting legacy to Her Majesty’s 60  years as Sovereign.

In April 2005, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth appointed Sir John as a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, England's highest award for chivalry. In May 2012, Sir John was awarded the Grand Cordon of The Order of The Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan.

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.

Aleš Musar
Spouse of
the President of Slovenia

Aleš Musar was born on 16 July 1965 in Ljubljana. In 1991 he graduated in chemistry from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology of the University of Ljubljana, where he also worked as a young researcher and assistant to Professor Dr Aleksandra Kornhauser Frazer. Under her mentorship, he earned his master’s degree in Scientific and Technical Informatics in 1994. In 1999 he defended his PhD thesis at Lancaster University Management School (UK). Also in the UK, he earned a PhD degree in 2000, which was officially recognised at the University of Ljubljana in 2001. In 2003, he was tenured as an assistant professor at the University of Ljubljana.

During his time at the university, Musar worked on various projects for UNESCO, EBRD, UNDP, US EPA and the World Bank, where he was also employed in 1993. In 2000, he joined Aktiva Group, where he managed various projects and was involved in setting up and managing venture capital funds. In 2003, he and his partners founded the S.T. Hammer Group, within which he had a number of responsibilities in the management and control of the group’s companies. He was a member of supervisory boards and boards of directors of investment and production companies in Slovenia, Belgium, the USA, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

In 2016, after ending his work in the S.T. Hammer Group, Musar bought at auction the cultural monument Russian Dacha in Zgornje Gameljne near Ljubljana, which was in need of major renovation. After being left abandoned and decaying for more than a decade, this beautiful building has regained its glowing appearance of 1908. Today, the villa again appears in the colours it proudly displayed before the First World War. The renovation was carried out in accordance with the conservation plan in cooperation with and under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. The complete renovation of the Russian Dacha, which Musar carried out together with the conservator in charge, Damjana Pediček Terseglav, and the chief conservator, Jože Drešar, brought him the 2020 Stele Prize awarded by the Slovenian Conservation Society.

Aleš Musar is now focusing on the development of the Russian Dacha, redeveloping the villa’s wider surroundings to create a cultural hub on the outskirts of Ljubljana. As the spouse of the President of Slovenia, he will also be involved in projects to protect and promote Slovenia’s cultural heritage both at home and abroad.

Ms. Eliza Reid
First Lady

Eliza Reid was born in 1976 in Ottawa and moved to Iceland in 2003. She is co-founder of the acclaimed Iceland Writers Retreat and a published author. Her first book, Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland's Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World, was published to critical acclaim in 2022 and became an instant best-seller in Canada.


Eliza has degrees from the University of Toronto and Oxford University. In her capacity as First Lady of Iceland, she has been outspoken in promoting gender equality, entrepreneurship and innovation, tourism & sustainability, and the country’s writers and rich literary heritage. In 2017 she was named a United Nations Special Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2021 Eliza he has been a Keychange Ambassador for gender parity in the music industry.


Eliza works actively with Business Iceland on projects to promote Icelandic exports and the country as a destination.

Alastair Campbell
Writer, Communicator & Strategist
Former Head of Communications for Tony Blair

Alastair Campbell is a writer, communicator and strategist best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Still active in politics in Britain and overseas, he now splits his time between writing, speaking, charitable fundraising, consultancy and campaigns.

He has written eleven books in the past eight years, including six volumes of diaries, three novels and a personal memoir on depression and the pursuit of happiness. His latest book, Winners, is about winners in sport, business and politics and what lessons mere mortals can learn from them. It is due to be published in 2015.

A former “Mind Champion of the Year,” he is an ambassador for the Time to Change campaign to raise awareness about mental illness, and chairman of fundraising for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. He continues to advise the Labour Party, and other left-of-center parties, most recently acting as strategic director for the Albanian Socialist Party, who won a landslide victory in June 2013. He is a Humanitas Visiting Professor on media at Cambridge University, and was also recently honored by University College Dublin for his contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process. He is on the advisory board of Portland PR, and independently acts as an advisor to governments, businesses, charities, sports organizations and high-profile individuals.

He was born in Yorkshire in 1957, the son of a vet. His family moved to Leicester in 1968, and he attended school there until going to Cambridge University in 1975. He graduated four years later with a degree in modern languages. His university education included a year in France when he had his first “journalism” published, articles on sex in Forum magazine. He also busked around the world with his bagpipes. Finally, he decided to become a journalist and trained with the Mirror Group on local papers in the West Country before joining the Mirror itself in 1982.

He left in the mid-80s to work for Eddy Shah’s Today newspaper as news editor, but had a nervous breakdown and left to return to the Mirror after convalescence. He rose to become political editor and the paper’s chief political columnist. He then worked briefly for Today under new ownership in 1994 before being asked by Tony Blair to be his press secretary when Blair became leader of the Labour Party. He did this for three years. Blair, in his own autobiography, credited Campbell with coining the phrase ‘New Labour’ as the label for the party’s strategy, and described him as a ‘genius’ for the role he played in helping to create New Labour, return the party to power, and win three general elections. After the 1997 election, he became the Prime Minister’s chief press secretary and official spokesman, which entailed the coordination of government communications and twice daily briefings of the press. He was seconded to NATO in 1999 to oversee communications during the Kosovo conflict. After helping Blair win a second landslide election victory, he became director of communications and strategy. He did this until he resigned in September 2003, saying it had been an enormous privilege but he wanted more of a life with his partner Fiona and their three children.

Campbell’s main hobbies are running, cycling, bagpipes and following Burnley FC. He took up running in 2003 at the instigation of his sons and has since run the London Marathon, the Great North Run and the Great Ethiopian Run, and completed several full triathlons, all for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, (Campbell lost his best friend to leukaemia). He returned to the Labour Party for six months prior to the 2005 general election and continued to advise the party informally under Gordon Brown, including during the 2010 campaign, in which he “played” David Cameron in rehearsals for the historic first TV debates between leaders. He is one of the party’s most in-demand speakers at fundraising and motivational events. Together with former sports minister Richard Caborn, he pulled together two of the most successful fundraising dinners in Labour’s history, both on the theme of sport at Wembley Stadium.

Passionate about sport, he was written about different sports for The Times, The Irish Times and Esquire magazine. He was communications adviser to the British and Irish Lions rugby tour of New Zealand in 2005. He has raised funds for Burnley FC, a team he has supported since the age of four. His charity projects have involved playing football with both Diego Maradona and Pele, and appearing in a one-off version of the popular TV program, The Apprentice.

In July 2007, he published his first book on his time with Tony Blair, The Blair Years, extracts from his diaries from 1994 to 2003, which was an instant Sunday Times #1 best seller. He has since published four volumes of the full diaries, and a special edition of the diaries focused on the Northern Ireland peace process, The Irish Diaries. He has continued to keep a diary and is expected to publish his post Downing Street diaries in the future. Campbell’s first novel, All In the Mind, appeared in November 2008, to enthusiastic reviews for its frank examination of mental illness. His second novel, Maya, a gripping analysis of fame and the obsession it attracts, was published in February 2010. His third novel, published in September 2013, is called My Name Is… and tells the story of a young girl’s descent into alcoholism. He has since become an ambassador for Alcohol Concern.

In October 2008, Campbell broadcast an award-winning one-hour documentary on BBC2 about his own breakdown in 1986. Both the films, Cracking Up and All In the Mind, won considerable praise from mental health charities and campaign groups for helping to break down the taboo surrounding mental health. He received the Mind Champion of the Year award in May 2009 in recognition of his work to break down the stigma around mental illness, and continues to campaign on the issue both in Britain and overseas. He has also made a BBC documentary about alcoholism.

In his time in Downing Street, he was involved in all the major policy issues and international crises. Campbell has said that in ten years in the media, and a decade in politics, he saw his respect for the media fall and his respect for politics rise. He was called to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards twice, first for his insights into modern journalism, and second to give his views on the changed relationship between politics and media. He is a sought-after speaker at events around the world,specializing in strategic communications, leadership, team building and crisis management.

Fareed Zakaria
CNN Worldwide Host, Washington Post Columnist,
and Bestselling Author

Fareed Zakaria hosts Fareed Zakaria GPS for CNN Worldwide. He is a columnist for The Washington Post and a bestselling author.  

Fareed Zakaria GPS is a weekly international and domestic affairs program that airs around the world on CNN. Since its debut in 2008, it has featured interviews with Barack Obama, Emmanuel Macron, Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Greta Thunberg, and the Dalai Lama, among others. 

Zakaria has regularly hosted primetime specials for CNN. They include documentaries on U.S. history and foreign leaders, as well as profiles of extraordinary creators such as Billy Joel and Francis Ford Coppola.  

He has been nominated for several Emmys for his television work and has won one. His weekly show has won the prestigious Peabody Award.  

Fareed’s Global Briefing, a daily digital newsletter, is one of the most widely read of CNN’s newsletters around the world. His column for The Washington Post remains one of the longest-running for that newspaper.  

Zakaria is the author of four highly-regarded New York Times bestselling books: Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World (2020), on how the pandemic reshaped society; The Post- American World (1st ed. 2008, 2nd ed. 2011), a discussion of the rise of non-Western powers; The Future of Freedom (2003), a study of “illiberal democracy” in various countries; and In Defense of a Liberal Education (2015), a commentary on the importance of a well-rounded education. Three of these were international bestsellers, translated into more than 20 languages.  

Zakaria was named a “Top 10 Global Thinker of the Last 10 Years” by Foreign Policy magazine in 2019, and Esquire called him “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation.” He has received a National Magazine Award, the Arthur Ross Media Award from the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Deadline Club Award. In 2010, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Bhushan, one of its highest civilian honors, and in 2022, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded him the Order of Merit.  

Prior to his tenure at CNN, Zakaria was editor of Newsweek International, managing editor of Foreign Affairs, a columnist for Time, an analyst for ABC News, and the host of Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria on PBS.  

Zakaria earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, a doctorate in political science from Harvard University, and has received numerous honorary degrees. 

David Lammy
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign
Commonwealth and Development Affairs

David Lammy is the Labour Member of Parliament for Tottenham. In November 2021, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs. David previously served as Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and as the Shadow Lord Chancellor. From 2002-2010, in the Blair and Brown governments, he was a Minister in several departments, including the Department of Constitutional Affairs, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills.


David Lammy studied law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Law School and went on to be the first Black Briton to attend Harvard Law School. He is an Associate Tenant at Doughty Street chambers. David is the author of two books: ‘Out of the Ashes’ (2011), which examines the causes of the 2011 London riots, as well as ‘Tribes: How Our Need to Belong Can Make or Break Society’ (2020). He won both GQ’s and the Political Studies Association’s Politician of the Year 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.

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).

Kate Taylor Tett
GREAT Campaign

Kate is Director of the GREAT Programme, the UK government's flagship marketing campaign, designed to encourage an international audience to visit, study, trade, invest, live and work in the UK. In FY21/22, the GREAT programme returned over £15 to the UK economy for every £1 spent.

In 2021 Kate led a refresh of the GREAT brand, which has been rolled out to over 150 markets, promoting everything from UK science and technology to the arts and values.

Prior to joining Government Kate held a variety of advertising and marketing roles in the private sector. Here she developed and executed award-winning marketing strategy for international brands including PepsiCo, Heinz and Mars as well as domestic organisations including Sainsbury’s, House of Fraser and The Metropolitan Police Service.

Jennifer Mackinlay
General Manager Europe
Australian Trade and Investment Commission

Jennifer is General Manager of UK, Europe and Israel based in Paris. She leads a team of 70 staff across 12 posts delivering trade and investment services to Australian and European clients. Having lived in France for over 20 years, Jennifer has a deep knowledge of European markets and doing business in Europe. Prior to joining Austrade, Jennifer worked as a lawyer for international law firm Clifford Chance in Paris for 15 years. She specialised in Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity. She was also the head of the Paris firm's client development, marketing and communications team. Jennifer holds an Arts Law degree from the University of Sydney. She was admitted as a lawyer to the Supreme Court of NSW in 1994 and admitted as a French 'avocat' to the Paris bar in 2003. She speaks French, Italian and Spanish.

Giovanni Sacchi
Italian Trade Agency

Giovanni graduated in Political Sciences and international  relations   at Cesare Alfieri College ,  Florence University, with a diploma as conference interpreter and translator for the English and French languages and a Master in International Commerce and Finance, he started his  career at the  Italian Trade Agency  (ICE) 31 years ago in 1992. After a four-year activity in Rome where his main task was the promotion of Italian machine tools export , he carried out his first assignment abroad in Hong Kong from 1996 to 2000 as deputy director, where he was able to witness the historic Handover of Hong Kong to China in July 1997.

Having returned to Italy, he was appointed director of the Italian Trade Agency  Office in Florence and from 2002 manager of the Consumer Goods Office and the Special Projects Area of the Rome Head Quarter of the Italian Trade Agency.

In 2004 he was appointed director of ICE Sofia in Bulgaria and subsequently from 2007 to 2013 he was director of the ICE office in Sao Paulo, responsible for Brazil, in the period of the full economic boom of the South American country.

After returning to the HQ,  from 2013 to 2017, he was director of the Promotion of Made in Italy Coordination Office, responsible for the planning and organization of over 1000 promotional initiatives per year organized by ICE in over 65 offices around the world.

From September 2017 for a four-year period he was director of ICE Office in Paris , a role which  he continued to hold on an interim basis until may 2022, while on september 2021 he assumed the present  function of director of the ICE Office in London for the  period 2021-2025.

Courtney Fingar
Leading Expert on Foreign Direct Investment
& Business Editor

Courtney Fingar is a leading expert on foreign direct investment (FDI) and a business editor with more than 20 years of media experience.

She has covered business stories in all major regions of the world and has been on assignment to more than 80 countries, interviewing heads of state and government ministers as well as business leaders. She has appeared on television and radio in dozens of countries as a commentator and has twice been called to give evidence to the UK Parliament about inward investment.

An in-demand moderator, master of ceremonies and keynote speaker, Ms Fingar has participated in hundreds of business events globally and advises event organisers on content and strategy.

In early 2023, she set up Fingar Direct Investment, a boutique consultancy advising governments on investment promotion, location marketing and content creation and private-sector clients on strategic communications and media relations. She also serves as senior advisor for the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies, and is a member of the advisory board of the Global Chamber. She previously served as the editor-in-chief of Investment Monitor, a digital publication focused on cross-border investment, and before that spent 15 years with the Financial Times where she ran the group’s specialist FDI publication.

Ms Fingar has a BA in journalism from the University of Alabama in the United States and an MSc in International and European Politics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


Alexandre Edelmann
Head a.i.
Presence Switzerland

Alexandre Edelmann was appointed as Head a.i. at Presence Switzerland in November 2022. He previously held various positions in the Federal Department of foreign Affairs (FDFA) public diplomacy unit, which is responsible for promoting Switzerland's image abroad. As a member of the management board since 2016, he was in charge of the Marketing & Campaigns team.  

Based on the objectives defined by the Federal Act and the Federal Council's international communication strategy, Alexandre Edelmann and his team developed a public diplomacy and marketing approach for the physical and digital platforms of Presence Switzerland, for the external network and for external partnerships. In collaboration with various actors, he has produced thematic campaigns, such as swisstech or, which are among the key tools that strengthen the perception of Switzerland in strategic areas.  

Before joining the FDFA, Alexandre Edelmann operated at the Montreux Jazz Festival, where he was Head of Creative Content, Brand & Development until 2012. In this role, he contributed to the redefinition of the brand strategy of this world famous music event, as well as to a new content and distribution strategy.  

His skills lie in the areas of soft power, marketing, complex project management and creative direction, with a cross-functional results-oriented approach. 

David Downs
New Zealand Story

David has had a successful career in the private and public sector, with senior roles at organisations such as Microsoft, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged.

He’s an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in his book A Mild Touch of the Cancer.

David co-founded a not-for-profit initiative to help cafes and other small businesses during covid-19. It quickly became a huge hit and to date has sold over $2 million in vouchers for over 2500 small businesses.

David released a new book, Silver Linings in March 2021, and continues to act as a consultant for government and industry, as well as a director on a number of boards, including as chairman of The Icehouse, the Hi-Tech Trust and the Well Foundation.

David is now CEO of The New Zealand Story, an ambitious organisation marketing New Zealand to the world.

Johanna Jäkälä
Executive Director, Finland Promotion Services
Business Finland

Johanna Jäkälä has long experience in the tourism industry and landscape work. As VR Group's commercial director, Jäkälä was responsible for, among others, VR brand matters, sales, marketing and development of product concepts. In addition, she has previously worked as the brand and marketing director of Finnair Group, the chain manager of GLO hotels in Kämp-group and in several positions at the SAS airline. By education, Jäkälä is a YAMK, service business management and development education program from Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.

Clare Dewhirst
Founder & Director
City Nation Place

Clare is the founder and director of City Nation Place, the global forum for the people and stories behind places.  City Nation Place creates connections and shares best practice between the leaders and teams working for nation, region, and city brands around the world through articles, interviews, research, online workshops, awards, and conferences.

Clare’s interest in the complex area of place branding was sparked whilst working on a series of Nation Branding Masterclass events led by Simon Anholt, one of the first thought-leaders on the concept of place branding.  Having listened to sessions in Accra, Delhi, Dubai, London and Singapore explore how policy, governance, symbolic actions, and marketing can together build a competitive identity and drive economies forwards, she has continued to track and contribute to the growth in understanding of the power of soft power and place brand reputation management.

Dorji Dhradhul
Director General of the Department of Tourism
Royal Government of Bhutan

Dorji Dhradhul is the Director General of the Department of Tourism for the Royal Government of Bhutan. Passionate about his country's distinctive tourism policy, guided by the principle of "High-Value Low-Volume" and the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, he actively shaped the new national brand "Bhutan Believe", unveiled in September 2023 as the nation warmly welcomed visitors back the Kingdom. As Director General since 2019, Dorji has provided leadership through important periods of government reforms and transformation and guiding through the challenges of the recent global health crisis.

Prior, Dorji played pivotal roles as the founding Director of the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Cooperatives and as the founding Registrar of Cooperatives in Bhutan. He has made varying and significant contributions to his nation within the fields of agriculture research, extension, policy, and development. Dorji served as the Dzongda (Governor) of Gasa district, the highest and one of the most culturally significant regions in Bhutan. He thoughtfully administered this special mountainous constituency for nearly four years.

Beyond his professional roles, Dorji is a committed Desuup - a Guardian of Peace - volunteer. Additionally, he has showcased his literary talents by publishing two books. The first, a novel titled "Escapades – Awakenings", was published in 2013. Followed, in 2023, by a non-fiction publication titled "Hercules of Tongchudrak – Learnings to unlearn and relearn to build a great nation” which explores the journey in shaping the Kingdom's unique vision.

Nur Özkan Erbay
The Coordinator of Türkiye Nation Branding Office, Directorate of Communications
Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye

Nur Özkan Erbay started her career as a journalist in İstanbul, Türkiye. During her six years of work with the nationwide daily newspaper Dünya, she covered special reports, conducted research, and carried out exclusive interviews on the domestic and international economy, foreign trade, and politics of Türkiye.

After her years of work in İstanbul, Erbay served as a research and executive assistant within the various departments of the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. During her career in the US, she also worked as the Media and Communications Associate at SETA-DC, the first Turkish think-tank based in the United States. During her years in Washington D.C., Erbay also served as the Washington Bureau Chief of USASABAH, SABAH newspapers, and A News channel. During her tenure, she has conducted a wide range of exclusive news, analyses as well as one-on-one interviews with distinguished foreign policy experts, academics, bureaucrats, media personalities, and diplomats in the U.S. State Department, the White House, media, think tanks, and academia circles.

After working in Washington, Erbay also served as the New York and United Nations (UN) Bureau Chief for Türkiye Radio Television Corporation (TRT).  Returning to Türkiye, first, she was appointed as the Head of News in TRT-TÜRK, in TRT’s Headquarters in Ankara. Following years, she founded the Ankara Bureau of TRT WORLD, which is the first English-speaking public broadcaster of Türkiye.

Serving as the first Ankara Bureau Chief of TRT-WORLD, Erbay was appointed as the Ankara Representative of Türkiye’s leading English-speaking newspaper Daily Sabah.

Nur Özkan Erbay received her B.A. in Communications from İstanbul University and M.A. in Political and International Journalism from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. She received her second graduate degree in International Security at the Police Academy of Türkiye, Institute of Security Sciences in Ankara.  In addition to her master's degree in the US, Erbay has continued taking foreign policy, media, and political communication courses at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, ABC Television, and the White House. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in International Relations at Hacı Bayram Veli University in Ankara. ­ Previously she served as a visiting professor of Journalism at the School of Communication at Hasan Kalyoncu University in Gaziantep, Türkiye.

During her career in Journalism, Erbay also produced and hosted weekly TV programs on national TV channels of Türkiye; “Küresel Oyun” (Global Game), on 24 TV and  “Bakış Açısı” (Point of View) and “Siyasetin Seyri” (Course of Politics) in TRT, focusing on current and foreign affairs and world politics.

Her exclusive one-on-one interviews for print and visual media include; Nobel Economy Award Winner Joseph Stiglitz, Former US National Security Advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft (2012), Former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine Richard Falk, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Valerie Amos (2013), Nobel Peace Literature Prize Winner Tawakkol Karman, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Türkiye Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Foreign Minister of Hungary Peter Szijjarto (2015), Foreign Minister of Palestine Raid Malki (2016), Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, H.E. Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan, H.E. Emine Erdoğan, the First Lady of Türkiye.

As a published author Erbay penned “Threat of Messianic Movements to State and Regime Security: A Case Study of the Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organization” and edited “Private Military Companies: War Engineering and International Security.” She also wrote many articles for academic journals about international security, media, and politics.

She wrote weekly analyses at Daily Sabah and occasionally appeared on Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Arabic, BBC World, and A News with her commentaries on topics including US Politics, Global and Current Issues, US and Turkish Foreign Policy, US-Türkiye Relations, Political Communication, International Security, Media.

As of May 2022, she has been serving as the Founder-Coordinator of the Türkiye Nation Brand Office, Directorate of Communications of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye. As the head of Türkiye Brand Office, she coordinates nation-branding efforts with stakeholders from defense, tourism, academia, media, and public sectors nationwide.

During her first year of tenure, Erbay organized the Türkiye Nation Brand Forum in İstanbul, the country’s very first nation branding event that hosted prominent experts and scholars in the field of nation branding from all around the world. Many projects have been carried out since then under her leadership such as the “Türkiye-Qatar Nation Branding Panel” and “Türkiye Pavilion” at the margin of FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar;  “Century of Türkiye” panel series and events held in several cities in Germany; nation branding event in Kuwait and projects that aim to promote the usage of “Türkiye” as the country name around the world.

Türkiye Brand Office leads initiatives that can reflect the country’s global scale potential with a strategic, encompassing, and 360-degree approach to strengthen the Türkiye brand in the world. Under the ever-changing global conditions, Türkiye Brand Office continues its efforts with a vision of ensuring that the power of Türkiye’s National Brand is sustainable and resilient. While defining and improving the main pillars of the country’s brand identity the Türkiye Brand Office also effectively, tells Türkiye’s story. With inspiration from the country’s powerful national identity, leadership, and tangible and intangible capacities the office strives for a “Strong Türkiye Brand” in the “Century of Türkiye” manifest.

Thebe Ikalafeng
Brand Africa

Thebe Ikalafeng is a Hall of Fame global African branding authority and THE leading advocate for  a brand-led African agenda recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans.

A trailblazing marketer, since being awarded a Marquette University American Marketing Association for marketing excellence upon graduation in 1992 in the United States, he has made a sustained, distinguished and consequential contribution to branding and in reframing the African narrative for over 30 years. He is the founder BLG, a multi-disciplinary advisory group at the intersection of strategy, creativity and intellectual property law; the founder of the seminal non-profit Brand Africa movement for a brand-led African agenda and the ‘Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands’ initiative which is widely referenced as the definitive barometer of branding in Africa.

He has received Lifetime Achievement awards by Financial Mail AdFocus and the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa.

A champion of African travel and tourism, he has been to every country in Africa and every continent in the world from Cape to Cairo and the Arctic in Greenland to Antarctica; trekked the rare silverback gorillas on the Virunga mountains in Rwanda and Uganda; summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Sinai, trekked the 116km long King Moshoeshoe II Walk in Lesotho, rode the historic 52 hour TAZARA train that links Tanzania and Zambia, skydived in Swakopmund, Namibia; and jumped the 216m high Bloukrans Bridge bunjee in South Africa, among his many breath-taking travels and adventures globally.

He was born and lives in Africa and educated in the USA, Italy and South Africa. He holds BSc. MBA and LLM (Intellectual Property Law) degrees. A consummate contemporary pan-African, “Thebe is Africa,” (TedxGhana) and ‘foremost branding authority in Africa,’ (African Business).

Florian Kaefer
Founder & Editor
The Place Brand Observer

Florian Kaefer, PhD is the founder and editor of The Place Brand Observer, the leading knowledge hub on place brand management and location reputation development, with a particular focus on countries. Over the last six years he has interviewed more than 240 leading place brand thinkers and practitioners, many of whom are now part of a bi-monthly expert panel hosted by TPBO, with insights published on

Dr Kaefer obtained his PhD from the Waikato University Management School in New Zealand, for which he researched the country's national image and its perceived brand credibility as a "clean, green" country-of-origin and tourist destination. He holds a masters degree in sustainable development (Exeter University, UK) and a bachelor in tourism management (Brighton University, UK). He is the author of the book An Insider's Guide to Place Branding - Shaping the Identity and Reputation of Cities, Regions and Countries (Springer, 2021). His second book, Sustainability Leadership in Tourism, will be published this summer.

Currently based near Zurich, Switzerland, Florian is also the founder of the Sustainability Leaders Project ( and proud father of his 10 month old son.

Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu
President of the Investment Office
Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye

Ahmet Burak Dağlıoğlu is President of the Investment Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye, a position he took up in February 2020. Prior to his appointment as President of the Investment Office, Mr. Dağlıoğlu held a number of posts within the Office; from 2010 to 2015, he worked as Project Director in charge of investment projects from the Gulf Countries, India, Japan, and USA. From 2015 to 2020, Mr. Dağlıoğlu served as the Vice President of the Investment Office in charge of overseas promotion and lead generation activities. In November 2020 he was appointed Member of the Board of Türkiye Wealth Funds.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Dağlıoğlu worked in the private sector in consulting industry at various positions.

Mr. Dağlıoğlu holds a BA in Economics from Boğaziçi University and MA degree in “Global Master in Finance” from IE Business School.

Puneet Chhatwal
Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director

Mr. Puneet Chhatwal joined The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in November 2017. He is a global professional with close to four decades of leadership experience at highly acclaimed hotel groups in Europe and North America.

Under his leadership, IHCL has been on a journey of re-imagination to achieve sustainable profitable growth. Mr. Chhatwal also serves as the leading voice of the industry in India in his capacity as the Chairman of the National Committee of Tourism and Hospitality, CII, President of Hotel Association of India (HAI) and Chairman of Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH).

Prior to this, Mr. Chhatwal was the Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Board of Steigenberger Hotels AG – Deutsche Hospitality. He was also the Chief Development Officer of The Rezidor Hotel Group – Carlson Hotels Worldwide. Mr. Chhatwal is a graduate of both, Delhi University and Institute of Hotel Management, Delhi. He has completed an MBA in Hospitality from ESSEC, Paris and an Advanced Management Program from INSEAD.

Across his global leadership career in hospitality, Mr. Chhatwal has received several acclaimed industry awards and he was also the First Alumnus included in the ESSEC-IMHI Hall of Honor 2014.

Valentina Harris
Food Writer & Celebrity Chef

The story of Valentina’s remarkable heritage dates back to 1369 rooted in the illustrious Sforza Dynasty, a ruling family of Milan. The legacy of her Italian lineage has only grown stronger with time, embraced by her close Anglo-Italian family of gourmets, who first taught Valentina to cook at the age of 6 years old. Classically trained in Italy, Valentina brought her culinary expertise from Rome to London in 1976 as a skilled private chef. Her reputation flourished with the publication of her 1984 award-winning debut cookery book Perfect Pasta.

She has spent four decades honing her skills, making Valentina an expert at what she does, equipped with the story telling skills to match. Delighting audiences small and large with her anecdotes and culinary adventures, Valentina has marked herself as an ambassador for authentic Italian cuisine. She is proud to be a member of the Food Values Initiative, an exclusive group of only 100 food experts, scientists, and medical experts created by His Holiness Pope Francis. She regards this association as one of the greatest honours of her career.

Valentina’s consultancy work encompasses staff training, recipe development, and the sharing of her unparalleled expertise and knowledge of Italian food and culture. Uniquely positioned as both bilingual and bicultural, Valentina’s consultancy bridges the gap between Italian and English culture, with a firm knowledge of how to bring authentic Italian cuisine to UK consumers, making her an integral asset to any food outlet or in a consultancy role for restaurants seeking to re-create authentic Italian dishes. She has worked with Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose, The Co-op, Costa, Sacla UK, Gallo Rice, Barilla, Buitoni, Spaghetti House Group, and many more including several independant restaurants.

As a regular and popular face at food and drink festivals across the UK, her roles have included producing, presenting and hosting cookery theatres and food presentations and also giving captivating cooking demonstrations and engaging talks for events such as the Eat and Drink Festival at The Ideal Home Show; Destinations Holiday and Travel Show at Olympia, Love Food, Foodies and IFE at Excel.

As one of the founders of the London Chapter of Les Dames D’Escoffier, Valentina remains committed to strengthening the position of professional women in the world of food, beverage and hospitality. As a result of her position as Emeritus Chapter President, Valentina has access to hundreds of female culinary professionals in all fields, including cookery schools, retail, PR, media, productions etc across the USA.

From time to time, you will also find Valentina on radio and television, making appearances on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, Ready Steady Cook and The Great British Bake Off. She is a regular contributor to Times Radio and also the Official Ambassador for Delicious Magazine at their prestigious Produce Awards.

Valentina has also served as a valued member of the BBC External Advisory Board on all publications and media output related to food, and regularly contributes to a number of publications, including BBC Good Food, Platinum Magazine, as well as  Delicious Magazine.

An award winning author of over 50 books on Italian food, Valentina is a well-known celebrity chef and an experienced and highly sought after enthusiastic teacher, sharing her unique food philosophy of seasonal local produce served with minimum fuss and maximum care. She teaches regularly at a number of top cookery schools in the UK to include The Bertinet Kitchen in Bath, The Limpsfield Cookery School in Surrey and The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate. More recently, she is delighted to have been invited to return to the Divertimenti Cookery School in Knightsbridge as a regular guest teacher.

Valentina maintains strong links with Italy to strengthen and maintain her own food philosophy and expertise of over more than 40 years as a self-styled ambassador for real, authentic Italian food and the extraordinary Italian producers that create the ingredients for her much loved recipes. She has a passion for the South of Italy and has enjoyed various holidays exploring the region of Calabria and all its culinary riches.

Todd Babiak
Brand Tasmania

Todd Babiak is co-founder of the strategy consultancy Story Engine, based in Vancouver. In 2019 he joined a former client, the state of Tasmania, to help implement a place-brand and economic development strategy. He is currently CEO of Brand Tasmania and lives in Hobart. See and find him on LinkedIn here.

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.

Lisa Barrett
Director of Strategic Planning
Destination Canada

Lisa Barrett is Destination Canada’s Director of Strategic Planning. Lisa plays a key role as the organization embarks on a transformative journey to deliver smart growth for Canada’s tourism sector that strengthens prosperity, while enhancing long-term resilience.

Lisa's current focus is on leading the development of a comprehensive measurement framework, the Wealth & Wellbeing Index. This strategic benchmarking tool will provide the industry with a new way to track progress in economic, social, and environmental sustainability and resilience at all levels—from national to provincial and territorial. This Index provides a yardstick to measure the ripple effects of tourism beyond traditional metrics.

In her role, Lisa contributes significantly to Destination Canada's mission, ensuring a measured and holistic approach that ultimately helps the organization realize its aspiration that tourism generates wealth and wellbeing for all of Canada while enriching the lives of its guests.

Prior to her current role, Lisa worked as part of Destination Canada’s Partnerships team, fostering alignment and connections with Provincial and Territorial Tourism Marketing Organizations from coast to coast to coast.

Zöe Fitzgerald
Head of City-Business Engagement

Zöe leads the City-Business Engagement team at C40 Cities - a global network of nearly 100 mayors from world-leading cities united in action to confront the climate crisis. Zöe\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s work focuses on facilitating collaboration between cities and businesses to achieve these climate goals and support new partnership models.

Zöe’s team manages the City-Business Climate Alliance (CBCA) programme, which provides the most ambitious city and business leaders with a platform to convene, set joint commitments, co-create, and implement projects that help cities deliver on their Climate Action Plans in line with the Paris Agreement. Before joining C40, Zöe worked in the UK Government on international climate programming and supporting the development of urban systems innovation in the private sector.

Asbjørn Overgaard
Copenhagen Capacity

Asbjørn Overgaard has held the position as CEO of Copenhagen Capacity since June 2020. He is at the forefront of promoting the Greater Copenhagen region as the centre for sustainable growth. Hereby attracting and retaining international companies, investors and talents, with the aim of creating growth and development in Greater Copenhagen and Denmark.

Heading the not-for-profit foundation of 35 employees of 11 nationalities, as well as representing the organisation in the board of the Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassadors and the board of directors of the UN Global Compact Network Denmark.

Throughout his career, Asbjørn carries experience from both private companies and public organisations, preferably close to the political decision-making process. A career that has taken him around the world, where he has lived and worked in the U.K., Kazakhstan, Dubai, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Prior to joining Copenhagen Capacity, he has held positions as Director at the industry organisation Danish Shipping, a number of positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, e.g. Deputy Director of Invest in Denmark, Lead of the Danish Innovation Centres, Deputy Head of Mission at the Danish Embassy in Bangkok and Private Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Investments.

Earlier in his career, Asbjørn held positions within sales and marketing in private Danish companies acting internationally. In addition, Asbjørn has experience in establishing two start-up companies with successful exits.

Asbjørn holds a business degree with a speciality in Innovation & Entrepreneurship and has continuously supplemented with courses and continuing education in innovation, management and leadership.
Further information on Linkedin profile:

Cristian Gafin
Sommelier & Export Manager
Castel Mimi

Cristian Gafin, Communication and Sales Specialist. Cristian holds a Bachelor's Degree in Science of Communication from the University of Modena and Reggio nell’Emilia, Italy. He is currently Sommelier and Export Manager at Castel Mimi, the first winery chateau of Moldova.

In the last 7 years, has witnessed the highs and lows of the Moldovan wine industry, while working hard to diversify the export markets in an attempt to increase Moldova’s recognition in the international arena as a quality-driven wine-producing country.

Julien Beaupré Ste-Marie
Founding Partner
Private Partners & Co.

Julien Beaupré Ste-Marie is a Founding Partner at Private Partners & Co., to which he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience at the intersection of the cultural, media, and luxury industries. Prior to advising private individuals and families on building their cultural capital, he has consulted for private, commercial, and institutional clients ranging from celebrities and artists to conglomerates, foundations and countries.

He has led award-winning teams in North America, Europe, and Asia for fashion, cultural, entertainment and hospitality businesses. Beaupré Ste-Marie served as Head of Creative Production and Art Buying at Winkreative, where he oversaw all commissioning across the agency’s European, Asian and North American offices.

As Managing Editor at The Magenta Foundation in Canada and the USA, he developed multiple exhibitions and publishing projects with established and emerging artists. At the outset of his career, he was the youngest Visual Director ever appointed by leading global aviation media specialist Spafax (WPP), for whom he travelled the world crafting culturally impactful visual narratives for commercial airlines and private aviation companies. Until recently, as well as being an occasional visiting lecturer and writer, he was Co-founder and Managing Director at MMBP & Associates, a full-service creative office that reshapes worldviews by connecting local culture with a global audience. In this role, he led the company’s largest accounts, including the Kingdom of Bhutan, Korean entertainment giant CJ ENM and British legacy retailer Fenwick.

Lisa Botos
Founding Partner
Private Partners & Co.

Lisa Botos is a Founding Partner at Private Partners & Co., where she advises individuals and families on shaping and preserving their cultural legacy. She has built a global career strategically prioritising culture.

Extending across art, media and technology, luxury and international relations, she has consulted for private foundations, multinational companies, art institutions and nations. Clients include Swire Properties, luxury proprietor RH, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Kingdom of Bhutan in addition to working in collaboration with numerous artists, collectors and galleries. Always bespoke and carefully considered, she has designed and delivered impactful and sustaining strategies, partnerships and communications that achieve client objectives and enhance resilience in a rapidly changing world.

In Hong Kong, she established and led the award-winning visual team for TIME magazine’s pan-Asia editions. She also co-founded the pioneering art gallery Ooi Botos and the consultancy BotosProject., advising private clients in realising their arts-related and cultural ambitions. Projects include Art Unchained and Beyond Fashion for Swire Properties and the WYNG Foundation’s WMA platform, guiding it through its foundational years to root and secure its future as a valued Hong Kong institution. In 2013, she served as International Curator of the Vladivostok Biennale.

Lisa is a nominator for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize. Botos has delivered lectures and participated on panels for Yale NUS University, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Art World Database and Horasis. She is a Fellow of the University of Hong Kong’s Advanced Cultural Leadership Academy and BeFantastic Together Fellowship: ArtTech for Climate. Lisa also holds a Masters in International Communications from American University’s School of International Service and is a long-term resident of Singapore, with extensive experience in Hong Kong and broad knowledge of the Asia region.


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Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1P 3EE & Streamed Live Online

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