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Speakers & Panelists

Cinzia Bianco

Gulf Research Fellow
European Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin

Cinzia Bianco is a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, based in Berlin, where she is working on political, security and economic developments in the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf region and relations with Europe. Additionally, she is a senior analyst at Gulf State Analytics. Previously, Bianco was a research fellow for the European Commission's project on EU-GCC relations 'Sharaka' between 2013 and 2014.

She holds an MA degree in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London and a PhD in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, where she worked on threat perceptions in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after the 2011 Arab uprisings.


Arne Elias Corneliussen

Founder and Director of Global Geopolitical Analysis
NRCI

Arne Elias Corneliussen is the founder and director of global geopolitical analysis in NRCI. He formed NRCI in 2010. He received his bachelor of arts in political science from Wittenberg University in Ohio in 1998. He studied at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt in 1996. He then returned to the US where he mapped Islamic movements from Morocco to the Philippines at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C in 1998. He lived in Santiago, Chile in 1999 where he examined South America´s political situation, economic development, drug cartels in Colombia and strategic relations between South America, North America and Europe. During the late 1990s he attended a range of conferences in Washington, D.C., New York City, London and Cairo. He completed a Master of Arts in International Relations and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York in 2000. He worked as an officer for the Norwegian Armed Forces during NATO’s operation in Kosovo from 2001 until 2002. Since 2002 he held different roles in the corporate sector in Norway including sales, international business development and recruitment services. Arne Elias Corneliussen is a Fellow in the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Mr. Corneliussen regularly conducts long fact-finding expeditions where he maps political, security and business risks, infrastructure, local conditions and expands NRCI’s global network with local contacts. He travelled on 10 fact-finding expeditions to 42 countries in Africa and he crossed 27 countries on the African continent by bus. His recent field trips include Central Asia, Central Africa and East Africa. In the fall of 2017 he travelled on an expedition by train, bus and shared taxis from Shanghai across China, Central Asia and the Caucasus to Istanbul to map infrastructure developments, logistical clusters and the geopolitical landscape along the One Belt One Road – the New Silk Road developed by China.

Arne Elias Corneliussen also serves as the conference director for Norwegian Risk Forum – NRCI’s annual international conference in Oslo focusing on geopolitical risks and international business opportunities. His strategic and systematic approach to define topics for each Norwegian Risk Forum involves field insights from his fact-finding expeditions; conversations with NRCI’s global advisory board members and leading analysts worldwide; and observing national policymaking and regional growth trends in emerging markets. During his fact-finding expeditions he developed relations with world-leading scholars and analysts whom he also invited to Norwegian Risk Forum usually the following year as speakers. He also developed a wide range of partnerships with organizations, think tanks and other institutions.


Faisal Devji

Professor of Indian History and Director of the Asian Studies Centre
St Antony´s College, University of Oxford

Dr Faisal Devji is Professor of Indian History and Director of the Asian Studies Centre at St Antony´s College at the University of Oxford.

Dr Faisal Devji held faculty positions at the New School in New York, Yale University and the University of Chicago, from where he also received his PhD in Intellectual History. Devji was Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, and Head of Graduate Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, from where he directed post-graduate courses in the Near East and Central Asia.

He is a Fellow at New York University’s Institute of Public Knowledge and Yves Otramane Chair at the Graduate Institute in Geneva. He authored several books among them, The Impossible India: Gandhi and the Temptation of Violence.

Dr. Devji travelled widely in East Africa and South Asia and he is interested in Indian political thought and followed Indian politics closely for many years, and while he teaches at the University of Oxford, he travels regularly to India.


Scott Foster

Senior Financial Analyst
LightStream Research, Tokyo

Scott Foster is a senior financial analyst and writer who worked for American and European investment banks in Japan and Korea for more than 35 years. He is currently partner and senior financial analyst at LightStream Research, an independent equity research company based in Tokyo and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Scott also writes for Asia Times, contributes a quarterly Asia Letter to Strategic News Service (SNS), and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Future in Review (FiRe) technology conference, where he is an occasional speaker. He is the author of Stealth Japan: The Surprise Success of the World's First InfoMerc Economy (FiReBooks, 2016).

Scott received a BA from Stanford University (1976) and an MA from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (1982). He also holds a teacher's certificate (Shihan) from the Tozan-ryu school of Shakuhachi (Japanese vertical bamboo flute) music and a black belt from the Karate-no-Michi World Federation (KWF). A permanent resident of Japan, he lives and works in Tokyo and a village in the countryside two hours away.


Sergio Guzmán

Director
Colombia Risk Analysis, Bogotá

Sergio Guzmán is the Director of Colombia Risk Analysis, a political risk consultancy. He provides business intelligence, security and political risk analysis for the Andean region. His expertise is in the Colombian conflict, the resolution of international conflicts and international development. He is a columnist for the Bogotá Post and Latin America Reports where he provides analysis to understand the evolution of the political and security context of Colombia and the region. Sergio also contributes articles and analysis in America’s Quarterly and Business Insider.

Before founding Colombia Risk Analysis, Sergio was the analyst for Colombia, Bolivia, and Suriname at Control Risks where he was an international consultant in political and security risks. Prior to that, Sergio worked in the microfinance industry for Accion International, where he was part of a team of global specialists promoting fair lending practices and standards in a project called The Smart Campaign. Sergio also has experience working for the US Congress and regional think tanks, such as the Inter-American Dialogue and the Institute for Policy Studies, both located in Washington DC.

Sergio holds a Master's degree in International Economics and International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor in International Relations and History from the George Washington University. His native language is Spanish, he is fluent in English and is proficient in Portuguese. Sergio has spoken at numerous regional and international conferences on issues of political economy, finance, consumer protection, anti-corruption, and international relations.


Barrie Harrop

Executive Chairman
Thrive Construct, Adelaide

Barrie Harrop, based in Adelaide, South Australia, worked as an entrepreneur since the 1970s mainly in major scale property development. He was a guest lecturer on several occasions at the University of Adelaide in the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design during thine 1970’s and 1980’s. His early career began at Australia’s prestigious department store David Jones where he was taught the old way of merchandising, meeting customers’ demands by creating merchandising methods and systems used worldwide today. This grounding set the principles for initial involvement in some successful Australian brands such as Wendy’s Supa Sundaes and R M Williams, an iconic Australian boots and saddle maker, into mainstream retail. From here he entered the world of property and property development, with a number of medium density residential projects, with Australia’s largest marina development and recycling of the Central Business District (CBD) in Melbourne and transformed its heritage buildings into shopping malls and the first Food Court concept which was replicated many times nationally in Australia and throughout the World.

Barrie Harrop is a visionary with an understanding of market needs, putting professional teams together, successful marketing strategies, researching markets and finding the right partners for major urban and regional projects. His relationships are built on trust, sound skills in communication, sensitivity of place to create lasting sustainable communities where people feel a ‘sense of place’.

Currently Barrie is about to embark on a large Infrastructure and Urban projects plan across Australia with international partners, whom are the world’s largest engineering group with an initial budget at AUD 150bn (approx. 100bn USD), the single largest investment in Australia’s history.

Over the years Barrie provided high level advice to Federal/State Governments throughout Australia. Barrie travelled widely and established a wide network of contacts throughout Australia, USA, Europe, China and Japan.


John L. Holden

Senior Director and Head of the China Practice
McLarty Associates

John L. Holden is a senior director and head of the China practice of MacLarty Associates. He is also senior associate (non-resident) with the Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Wahington, D.C. He has over four decades of experience in the private sector and the nonprofit community building bridges between the United States and China.

He managed the China business for leading U.S. firms, including Cargill and Hill & Knowlton. He has served with distinction as chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, founding associate dean of the Yenching Academy of Peking University, and president and CEO of the US-China Strong Foundation.

He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and serves as adviser to a number of nonprofit organizations. He received a B.A. magna cum laude in Chinese language and literature from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. in the same field from Stanford University. In May 2017, Holden received an award for “Outstanding Service and Contribution to Education in China” from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs.


Eugene Rogan

Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History and Director of the Middle East Centre
St. Antony´s College, University of Oxford

Eugene Rogan is Director of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He has a B.A. in economics from Columbia, and an M.A. and PhD in Middle Eastern history from Harvard. He taught at Boston College and Sarah Lawrence College before taking up his post in Oxford in 1991, where he teaches the modern history of the Middle East to both undergraduates and graduates as well as providing DPhil supervision. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017.

He is author of The Arabs: A History (Penguin, 2009, 3rd edition 2018), which has been translated in 18 languages and was named one of the best books of 2009 by The Economist, The Financial Times, and The Atlantic Monthly.

His earlier works include Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 1999), for which he received the Albert Hourani Book Award of the Middle East Studies Association of North America and the Fuad Köprülü Prize of the Turkish Studies Association; The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948 (Cambridge University Press, 2001, second edition 2007, with Avi Shlaim), which has been published in Arabic, French, Turkish and Italian editions; and Outside In: On the Margins of the Modern Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2002). His last book, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920, was published in February 2015.


Abakhon Sultonazarov

Regional Director, Central Asia at Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Central Asian Bureau for Analytical Reporting, Bishkek

Abakhon Sultonazarov is in charge of overall management, strategic planning, financial reporting, project delivery and human resources across the broad Central Asian region. He came to IWPR with 15 years’ management experience with the UN and other international organisations in Central Asia, Afghanistan and USA.

He has extensive experience of working with international donors such as USAID, EU and others. During his ten years at IWPR in Central Asia, he was able to form a strong organization in the region with a solid reputation. Abakhon is an expert in the field of regional politics in Central Asia.