High-Level Speakers

The women selected by the Jury to be the recipients of one of the 15 full scholarships available to participate in the programme are part of a unique learning experience. Experts in rural development, entrepreneurship and public policy will offer them a first-class educational experience, addressing everything from new technologies to business growth. They learn about gender equality, sustainability and rural economics, and explore how they can be agents for change in their region.

The sessions take many different formats to ensure that the programme is stimulating and lively. Participants listen to expert speakers, join panel discussions, exchange views with mentors and work on projects with their peers.

The speakers for the first Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation are listed below.

To view the speakers that took part in The Schools for Female Leadership during 2021 and 2022 please see here 2022 Winter School and 2021 Summer School pages.

Iratxe García Pérez

MEP, Chair of the S&D Group in the European Parliament; Honorary President, The Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation 2022

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero

Former Prime Minister of Spain

Margaret Bateson-Missen

Deputy Director-General, DG AGRI, EU Commission

Pilar Alegría

Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Government of Spain

Tony Jin Yong

Chief Representative to the European Institutions, Huawei EU

Mary Coughlan

Former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland

‪Aleksandra Przegalińska

Vice-Rector and Associate Professor, Kozminski University Poland

Berta Herrero

Director, Schools for Female Leadership in the Digital Age & The Women’s Academy for Rural Innovation; Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Huawei EU

Pilar del Castillo

Member of the European Parliament

Luc Hindryckx

Director General, ecta

Begoña Pérez Villarreal

Director, EIT Food South

Atidzhe Alieva-Veli

Member of the European Parliament

Sandrine Kergroach

Head of SME and Entrepreneurship Performance, Policies and Mainstreaming, OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities

Bridget Cosgrave

Managing Director, Every European Digital (t/a ADIMO srl), SINCH ab Non-Executive Director,  SOPRA STERIA GROUP, EU Public Affairs Advisor

María Eugenia Rodríguez Palop

MEP, First Vice-Chair; FEMM Committee; Member, AGRI Committee

Małgorzata Jarosińska-Jedynak

Secretary of State for Development Funds and Regional Policy, Government of Poland

Miriam Burgués Flórez

Director, EuroEFE

Vicky Yuan Zhang

Vice President of Corporate Communications, Huawei

Karina Angelieva

Former Deputy Minister for Innovation and Growth, Government of Bulgaria

Luisa Baldini

Co-Founder, Composure Media; former Royal Correspondent, BBC

Hosuk Lee-Makiyama

Director, ECIPE (European Centre for International Political Economy)

Núria Salán

President, Catalan Society of Technology; Professor, UPC-Terrassa

Therese Jamaa

Vice President, Huawei Spain

David Luquin

Director-General for Digital Advancement, Government of La Rioja (Spain)

Andreana Atanasova

Chairperson of the Managing Board, Alliance of the Technology Industry

Hui Cao

Head of Strategy & Policy, Huawei EU

Gesine Tuitjer

Scientist, Institute of Rural Studies, Thünen Institute

Cristina Almeida

Co-Founder & President, Women4Cyber Portugal

Beth Dooley

Agri-Environmental Policy Analyst, EU CAP Network CAP Implementation Contact Point

Chiyo Robertson

Senior Journalist, Media Advisor and Trainer

Teresa López

President, Federation of Rural Women's Associations (Fademur)

Michele Pastore

Director, Public Affairs, Huawei EU

Nuno Machado Lopes

Leadership Coach, SingularityU Faculty

Patricia Álvarez

Global Talent and People Development Manager, Desigual

Inga Henriksen

Co-founder, Lilja app

Árdís R. Einarsdóttir

Co-founder, Lilja app

Ann Kristin Baum

Head of Research and Development, Immotech Austria

Giorgia Epicoco

Senior EU Public Affairs Manager, Huawei EU

Nuria Borrás

International Volunteers Manager, Life Terra

Luis Suárez

Reforestation Technical Manager, Life Terra

Isabel Silva

EUClimate Pact Ambassador, Lecturer Hygiene - Food Safety

Piero Maieli

Regional Counselor, Sardinia (Italy)

Aikaterini Liakopoulou

Business Coach for Deep-tech Startups backed by the EU Commission

David Rodríguez Guillén

Policy advisor at the European Parliament

Carlos Montesino Garro

Mayor, Candeleda Municipality

Aashna Puri

Senior Manager, Strategy & Sustainability, CyrusOne

Velichka Atanasova

Project Coordinator, Startup Village Chengene Skele, Burgas Municipality

Ling Fu

Public Affairs, Huawei EU

Emina Abrahamsdotter

CEO, GoGender

Sofía Gabasa

Technical Officer, Federation of Rural Women's Associations (Fademur)

Lisa Varga

Founder, The Digital Collective; Director, Strategic Operations at UpSkill Digital

Marco Arca

CEO & Co-Founder, Siendas Academy

Beatriz Magro

Co-Founder & CEO, Komvida

Chen Chen

 CEO & Founder, Xpolore

Silvia Sanchez


Marta Bulik

Founder Wellbelicious, Certified wellness coach and Yoga teacher