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Board of Directors

Seven EPD members sit on the Board of Directors, elected at the Annual General Meeting. The European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) currently holds the Presidency, with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in the Vice-President position and Club de Madrid holding the Treasurer role.

President: Antonella Valmorbida (ALDA)

Antonella Valmorbida is the Secretary General of ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, President of EPD (European Partnership for Democracy), coordinator of the Subgroup on Local Government and Public Administration Reform of the Civil Society Forum for the Eastern Partnership. She is also involved in CONCORD, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development. She is a senior expert on local governance and participative democracy at the local level. Antonella developed and has led ALDA, the European Association for Local Democracy, since its creation in 1999. She is among the key experts in Europe promoting and implementing programmes of participative democracy, local democracy and development. She has been engaged in South Eastern Europe and Eastern Europe since 1996 and manages a team of over 30 people and more consultants and a network of 14 Local Democracy Agencies.
She is involved in local governance analysis, project implementation, management and advocacy work in the EU, the Balkans, the Eastern Partnership and the Maghreb area. She has extensive knowledge and contributes to policy-making at the Council of Europe and at the European Union level. Thanks to her work and her engagement in networks, she accompanied and supported the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the principle of their “localisation”. She has published books and articles on the topics of decentralised cooperation, local governance and participative and inclusive democracy and has worked as a consultant and trainer for major programmes of UNPD and the European Commission on local governance, democracy, local authorities and civil society empowerment. She is fluent in Italian, French, English, and Russian. She understands Spanish, German, and Serbian.

Vice-President: Simone Filippini (NIMD)

Simone Filippini (MA Slavic Languages and Literature, Utrecht, The Netherlands) has been the Executive Director of NIMD since October 2017. Ms. Filippini has over 30 years of experience in the international public sector and has worked on a wide range of issues in different continents, both on a bilateral and multilateral level. She started her career as a Conference Manager in the private sector. She continued her career as a diplomat at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she has had various roles, including Dutch Ambassador to Skopje (Macedonia) and Consul-General in Miami for the South Eastern US and the Dutch Caribbean. As the Head of the Women’s Rights department at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she pushed for the prioritization of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (UNSC Res. 1325) and Domestic Violence on the Dutch Foreign Policy Agenda. Before she started at NIMD, Ms Filippini served as the CEO of Cordaid, one of the largest development and humanitarian NGOs in the Netherlands. She has also been candidate for the Dutch Parliament and an elected member of the National Board of the Dutch political party D66.  At present, Ms. Filippini is the Vice-President of EPD; President of the Netherlands Association for the United Nations – UNANL/NVVN; Board Member of Nansen Dialogue Center Skopje; and Committee of Recommendation member of the Holland Dance Festival and the Via Egnatia Foundation.

Treasurer: Ricardo Hidalgo (Club de Madrid)

Ricardo Hidalgo is Chief Financial Officer of the Club of Madrid. Mr. Hidalgo has worked in the private sector and international NGOs, starting his professional career in 1988 in the financial departments of small and medium size industrial firms in the Basque Country. In 1996, he moved to the non-profit sector and joined Action Contre la Faim (Action Against Hunger), a French international humanitarian NGO based in Paris, assuming responsibility for financial relations with institutional donors.  In 1998 he changed to the sister organisation in Spain Accion contra el Hambre, first as its administrator for projects in Angola, and then as Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. Hidalgo returned to the private sector in 2001, when he joined TRACK, S.A., a consultant firm based in Bilbao (Spain), as head of the strategy and management department.  In 2003 he became an associate of TRACK, a position he held until becoming Chief Financial Officer of the Club de Madrid in July 2005.  Mr. Hidalgo has a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Deusto (Bilbao-Spain), and has also completed postgraduate studies at the Universities of Cornell and Colorado.  He has been a professor of Business Mathematics at the University of Deusto, and of “Financial aspects of Project cycle management” at the Universities of Deusto and Comillas (Madrid-Spain).

Anu Juvonen (Demo Finland)

Ms Anu Juvonen (MA Development Studies, BA (Hons) Social Anthropology – both from the University of Sussex, UK, as well as studies at University of Helsinki) has worked over 15 years in the field of development policy and international affairs. She has lived and worked long term in Nepal, where she worked in the field of education; in Ethiopia, as an expert in community participation and gender; and recently in Sri Lanka, where she worked as a Head of Good Governance for an international NGO, as well as having made numerous short-term missions to different countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Tunisia) and Asia (Vietnam, Myanmar, India and Sri Lanka, Nepal). She has worked as a consultant, a civil servant and worked in CSOs, taking varying roles, from CSO coordination related to the EU presidency and the ASEM summit to advocacy and campaigning. She has a very strong background in project management. She has been with Demo Finland for two years, first as a Director of Programmes and (since early 2016) as acting Executive Director. She has held various board positions, from being the vice-chair of an umbrella NGO with 300 members to being a board member of the EPD. She has also written numerous articles and manuals and is very experienced as a facilitator.

Fabio Bargiacchi (ECES)

Fabio Bargiacchi has been the Executive Director of the European Centre for Electoral Support since 2011 and has worked in the field of electoral support at the international level since 1997. In the period 1997-2004, he held a variety of posts in the field of electoral assistance and observation with the EU, the UN and the OSCE, operating in long-term assignments all over the world. From 2004 to 2006, Fabio worked as Election Specialist at the Directorate for Operations Quality Support of EuropeAid. From January 2007 to December 2010, he served as Coordinator of the Joint EC UNDP Task Force on Electoral Assistance, and, from January 2011 to February 2012, he worked as Chief Technical Advisor for the “Project in Support of the Electoral Cycles for the six Portuguese Speaking Countries in Africa”, implemented by UNDP. Fabio is also a training facilitator and, in the last ten years, he has worked on several election-related publications. He graduated in Political Science at the University of Florence and the Free University of Brussels and holds a Master of Arts in Society, Science and Technology from the University of Rosklide and the University of Oslo. Fabio speaks Italian, French, English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Anthony Smith (WFD)

Anthony Smith has been Chief Executive of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy since August 2014.  He was previously International Relations Director in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Europe Director in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  Anthony’s career began in 1986 as a diplomat in the FCO, where his roles focused on EU and wider European issues including trade policy, the Balkans, Common Foreign and Security Policy, Eastern Europe and Cyprus.  In 1996, Anthony moved to DFID where he worked on Environment Policy, EU development policy, Southern Africa, and multilateral affairs including the UN, OECD, G7/8 and the G20.  He was also Private Secretary to the Development Minister.  Anthony was born in Jamaica, studied law at Warwick University and speaks French and Spanish in addition to English.  Anthony is a member of the British Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights.

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