Vasilios Ioakimidis is the Founding Professor of Social Work and Director of the Centre for Social Work at the University of Essex. Prior to the University of Essex he was Programme Director for the MA International Social Work and Community Development at Durham University. He is also the co-chair IFSW’s Global Education Commission.
Professor Ioakimidis’ research and publications revolve around the broad theme of Social Work in Extremis, an exploration of social work practice in the context of unpredictable and extraordinary political, social, economic and environmental change. More specifically his work has been focusing on two main areas: a) social work practice in times of political conflict (historical and current) and b) grassroots welfare movements in the context of extraordinary financial and political crisis.
Professor Vasilios Ioakimidis is a founding member of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN), a radical social work organization which brings together social work practitioners, service users, academics and students united in their commitment to promote social justice and defend welfare rights.
He is the current editor of  International Social Work journal (Sage) and a member of the editorial board of the Critical and Radical Social Work Journal.
His latest co-author book (with Iain Ferguson and Michael Lavalette) “Global Social Work in a Political Context; Radical Perspectives” examines the origins of modern social work, addresses the care/control dichotomy and emphasises on what we can learn from politically engaged social work projects across the globe.

Elena I. Nikolaeva, PHD, Dr Sci, psychotherapist. 2002- Professor, Department of Developmental psychology and family pedagogics, Herzen’s State Pedagogical University, St-Petersburg, Russia. The supervisor of 14 PhD researchers. Member of European Health Psychology Society (2003); Member of Interregional Association of Cognitive researches (2007)

AREAS OF RESEARCH INTEREST: psychophysiology of myocardial infarction, family psychology, psychological and social support of disabled children and children without parents support; developmental psychology, health psychology, psychology of  influence.

Gunta Lazdane is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, Ph.D and Professor of Reproductive Health in Riga Stradins University, Latvia. From 2003 to 2017 she was working in the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe as the Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme Manager in the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course and assisting 53 WHO Member States in the European Region to improve sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health through promoting good health at key stages of life, improving quality of health care, taking into account the need to address social determinants of health, equity and human rights. Since 2017 Prof Lazdane is a Director of Institute of Public Health and Professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Riga Stradins University.

She has participated in many European and global conferences including International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 as well as organized several ministerial conferences and scientific congresses. She was the Chief Editor of the European Magazine for Sexual and Reproductive Health Entre Nous for the last 15 years


Dr. Matt Muijen MD PhD is a consultant in international mental health, board member of GAMIAN Europe and policy adviser to the Mental Health Foundation Denmark. Until January 2017, he was the Programme Manager/Regional Adviser for Mental Health at the WHO Regional Office for Europe, responsible for planning and coordinating mental health policies and strategies, research, dissemination and implementation in the Region, and supporting the development of integrated and community based mental health services in many countries. He was responsible for the drafting of the WHO European Mental Health Action Plan for Europe, approved in September 2013 by the 53 European Member States in Izmir, and the Bucharest Declaration: ‘Better health, better lives: children and young people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

He also worked intensively with many NGOs and professional organizations, aiming to reach consensus and stimulate the agreement on shared positions.

Until April 2004 he was Chief Executive of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health in London for 12 years, an organisation strongly involved with mental health care reforms in the UK.

His background is a community psychiatrist and epidemiologist, and he trained in Cambridge and the Institute of Psychiatry in London. He is Dutch, and studied Medicine in Amsterdam.


Olga Strizhitskaya, PH.D. in Psychology, associate professor, Saint-Petersburg State University

Major interests - psychology of aging, with particular focus on personality resources of and aging person and subjective factors of active ageing.

Most recent research was focused on “Cognitive reserve as a factor of quality of life in aging” (Russian Science Foundation for Basic Research, PI O. Strizhitskaya), “Intergenerational relationships as a psychological resource of adults’ positive functioning”(Grant from President Initiative, PI O. Strizhitskaya), “Positive development during the life-span - Psycho-social implications in Finland and Russia” (Joint Russian-Finish grant from Russian Humanitarian Foundation and Academy of Finland, PI O.Strizhitskaya, Katariina Salmela-Aro).


Professor Gail Whiteford (BAppSc; MHSc: PhD) has been a clinician, researcher, academic and manager for over two decades. She has received national and international recognition for her contribution through several awards including from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists for her international contribution. She is widely published, and is a sought after speaker/ facilitator including having worked on two EU projects focussed on inclusion and participation. Gail was Australia’s first Pro Vice Chancellor of Social Inclusion and served in this role at Macquarie University where she was also successful in obtaining a $22 million dollar Widening Participation grant for work involving a consortium of universities and disadvantaged communities.

Previously Whiteford was a Research Centre Director (Research Into Professional Practice, Learning and Education) and held the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor Research (Acting) at a regional Australian university. She has facilitated a number of women’s leadership programs and was University Australia’s Executive Women’s Leadership Forum convenor for two terms.

Professor Whiteford is currently an Adjunct Professor at University of Canberra, a Ministerial appointee to the Board of Mid North Coast Health, and Principal of Whiteford Consulting. Her current projects include facilitating a practice based enquiry project with occupational therapists in the justice mental health network (NSW); acting as the senior evaluator of the National Indigenous Science Education Program and monitoring a Dept. Foreign Affairs funded program in South East Asia.

Pernilla Stenbäck - Degree program director for midwifery program at Arcada University of applied sciences. She has a 20 year background in the clinical care and is still working in the delivery room beside midwifery teaching. Simulation pedagogy and development of midwifery competence using simulation is of great value for her and become her expertise. She is involved in researches regarding simulation.

Dr Patapia Tzotzoli is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist specializing in adult mental health; she works privately with clients at My Psychology Clinic. She studied at the universities of East London, Oxford and Cambridge and trained at King’s College London in the UK’s oldest Clinical Psychology programme. After working at the NHS, she embarked into private practice and founded iConcipio to develop an online support system for students called MePlusMe that can improve their personal effectiveness by addressing their mental health and study skill needs. Patapia imagines a world where we understand and openly embrace mental health in our lives, because she strongly believes that the relationship with our mental health determines the quality of our lives and those of others. Her mission is to serve this cause. For her services to date, she won the Mental Health Psychologist of the Year 2016 award by Medical LiveWire and the Mental Health Psychologist of the Year UK & Best CBT Practice UK by the Global Health and Pharma Magazine Awards, the Lion’s Den award in entrepreneurship from King’s College London in 2011 and was shortlisted as a Young innovator of the Year 2016 from over 2400 other applicants for the Falling Walls Lab competition in Berlin.


Tatjana Koķe Dr.habil.paed., Vice-rector for Education, Riga Stradins University, professor of adult education. Former Minister of Education and Science, Republic of Latvia (2007-2010), Corresponding member of Latvian Academy of Sciences. She has been the Board member of European Adult Education Association (2006  – 2008) and Vice president and member of the Council of International Bureau of Education, UNESCO ( 2004-2008).  Since 2008 she is the UNESCO International Bureau of Education editorial board member of journal “Prospects”, quarterly review of comparative education, Springer. Under her supervision, nineteen doctoral students have earned Ph.D. degree in Education. She has been a guest lecturer at Vytautas Magnus Kaunas University, Lithuania; Arhus University, Denmark; Stockholm University; Freibourg University, Switzerland within  SWISS-BALT NET cooperation; Columbia University, New York and Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, USA;  University of Sussex, UK; The University of British Columbia,  Canada; University of Iceland. She has written over   100 scholarly publications, incl. 3 monographies, 68 articles, 37 essays. Research fields: Lifelong Learning, Faculty Professional Development, Quality Assurance, Education Management, Internationalization of Higher Education


Albert van der Kooij – Programme Manager at Northern Knowledge. Northern Knowledge is a platform for Knowledge, Valorization & Entrepreneurship for the North of the Netherlands. He develops a program for more cooperation in the Quadruple Helix. Make connections, show and tell what the social economic impact is from all the collaborations, projects, research on the region and citizens. Northern Knowledge support and stimulate the process of cooperation. What Albert loves is design and to develop new environments, new concepts in which people and organizations learn and develop themselves to create a new valuable future. Albert developed several new bachelors: Communication Multimedia Design and the Academy of Pop Culture.  Both situated in Leeuwarden, both belonging to the avant-garde regarding their educational concepts. His specialties: innovation, sustainability, education, networking, strategic development

Fleming Valerie Elizabeth Mary - professor of Women’s Health, Liverpool John Moores University. Published many articles in the field of women’s health,worked also as consultant, policy adviser, secretary General WHO Global Network of Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery, senior lecturer, midwife and nurse.

Paul A. Keire – born in San Jose, CA to WWII refugees. Father went on to be a lead Boeing engineer and mother an obstetrics nurse. Performed first surgery at age 16 (on my cat who thankfully survived). Attended the University of Washington, graduated with honors in Chemistry, Immunology and Microbiology.

Medical studies where in Dayton, Ohio (MD/PhD), and then the Department of Pathology, with specialization in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2006, was part of the team of doctors who developed and successfully transplanted the first fully ex-vivo engineered blood vessel into a human patient; the goal was to provide an alternative to the roughly 500,000 cardiovascular patients requiring invasive bypass surgery per year.

Have a number of academic and clinical research publications in biochemistry, bioengineering, cell and matrix biology, oncology, pathology, and anatomy; served as editor for numerous textbooks and have worked as Anatomy Next’s Chief Medical Officer since January of 2017. Mission is to produce better trained doctors, nurses, medics, and healthcare professionals, and do so through the creation of AR/VR/MR simulators.

Applications under development include a total 3D digitized human body that you can study on your smartphone, a "google maps of anatomy" database engine with 2D and 3D interactive content, real-time body 3D visualization tools, multi-player, multi-linked virtual reality dissection and medical procedure simulators. The focus is on the development of modern textbooks, procedural learning tools, and applications that help educate, allow for practice, simulate challenges, and gain experience in procedures performed every day throughout the world, whenever and wherever.

Mindaugas Stankunas MPH, PhD – is full-time professor at Department of Health Management, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (Lithuania) and adjunct professor at Health Service Management Department, School of Medicine, Griffith University (Australia). In addition, he is contributing to teaching public health leadership at Maastricht University (The Netherlands). He was involved and coordinated a number of research projects financed by Open Society Institute, European Commission, World Health Organization, and Norway Grants. Professor Stankunas has published a large number of publications on leadership in health services, health care accessibility and health inequalities. He is a co-author of textbook “Leading and Managing Health Services: an Australian perspective” (published by Cambridge University Press, 2015) and other books in the field of healthcare management. Prof. Mindaugas Stankunas is recognized by numerous national and international academic awards.

Nataliуа Gutorova – is a Professor of Law, Doctor of Law, Academician of the National Academy of Law Sciences of Ukraine, Professor of the Poltava Law Institute of the Yaroslav Mudry National Law University (Ukraine). The sphere of her scientific interests is the theory and philosophy of law, the protection of human rights and freedoms, criminal law, medical law, legal education. Natalia Gutorova is the author of more than 150 scientific works, including the monograph "Criminal Legal Protection of Public Finances" (2001), scientific articles "Penalization of economic crimes" (2016), "The Social Function of Criminal Law" (2017), “Legal Approaches to Preventing Some Kinds of Cancer in the Patients Rights Protection Context” (2017). She is a member of the editorial boards of several journals, such as “Law of Ukraine”, “Wiadomości Lekarskie» (Poland), «Socrates» (Latvia). She is the Vice President of the Ukrainian national group of The International Association of Penal Law (AIDP).


Rimvydas Augutavicius – Programmes development director at SOS children Villages Lithuania, lecturer and final year PhD student in social sciences at Mykolas Romeris University Institute of Educational Sciences and Social Work.


In 2004 I have started working as a social worker in residential house for children with learning difficulties. Since that time I am involved in direct social work practice and development of various social programmes. During my professional career in Lithuania and UK, I have had a possibility to work in a field of care of children, social work with young people with learning difficulties, families and children at risk, leaving care, community based social work practice. Since 2012 I started sharing my knowledge with students involved in higher education at Mykolas Romeris university as a lecturer and bachelor degree thesis supervisor. My personal credo: “I Believe that the social work is a powerful profession which helps people changing their lives and makes difference within communities. If you find the answer to the question why people behave in one or another way, or why they become trapped in difficult situations – adding some honest personal engagement in their lives and passion about helping people, everything becomes possible”.


Areas of interest and research: at risk families and children, non-formal education of adults, social work with family, social work theory and practice, community social work, methodology of case management, leaving care.


Vylius Leonavičius  PhD – is full-time professor at Department of Sociology, Vytautas Magnus University. He was involved and coordinated a number of research projects financed by Lithuanian Open Society Fund, Lithuanian Research Council, European Commission. Prof Vylius Leonavičius has published a large number of  articles and books on primary health care, health care accessibility and health inequalities, energy security, high education. He is an editor and a co-author of textbooks “Sociology”, „Sociological theory“