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Mar 29, 2023

Sixth EUVP Alumni Webinar - “Building Partnerships in Defending Parliamentary Democracy”

Online event

27 April 2023 - 16.00-18.00 Brussels time


The European Union Visitors Programme (EUVP) is pleased to announce its sixth EUVP Alumni webinar! The event will be dedicated to building partnerships in defending democracy. It will feature EUVP Alumni guest speakers from Canada, Brazil and Madagascar as well as representatives from the European Institutions.

Join us to get the most up-to-date insights into the policies of the European Union and to hear from international partners.

Link to livestream.



16.00 – 16.10 - Welcome and opening remarks by Mr Alessandro CHIOCCHETTI, Secretary General of the European Parliament

16.10 - 16.20 Speech by Ambassador Christina KOKKINAKIS, Deputy Managing Director for Values and Multilateral Relations, European External Action Service

16.20 - 16.30 Speech by Ms Sanna LEPOLA, Director General, Directorate General for Parliamentary Democracy Partnerships, European Parliament

16.30 – 16.40 Speech by  Dr Ketakandriana RAFITOSON, PhD - Executive Director at Transparency International - Initiative Madagascar (TI-MG) - Madagascar

16.40 – 16.50 Speech by Dr Mônica SODRÉ PIRES, Chief Executive Officer, Rede de Ação Política pela Sustentabilidade (Political Action Network for Sustainability, São Paulo, Brazil

16.50 – 17.00 Speech by Mr Anthony CARRICATO, Director of Outreach and Events, Office of the Speaker of the House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada

17.00 – 17.30 Discussion between the panellists moderated by Ms Sarah SHEIL, Head of the Communication and Outreach Unit, Directorate General for External Policies of the Union European Parliament

17.30 – 18.00 Q&A Session

Introduction to Speakers and Panellists

Mr Alessandro CHIOCCHETTI is the Secretary General of the European Parliament. Before taking up this post he was Head of the Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola. Previously he was Director for Legislative and Committees’ Coordination in the Directorate General for Internal Policies of the Union. He has also served as Deputy Head of the Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani and Cabinet member for two Secretaries General, Mr Klaus Welle and Mr Harald Römer.

Photo of Christina KOKKINAKIS EUAmbassador Ms Christina KOKKINAKIS  was appointed Deputy Managing Director Global and Director for Values and Multilateral relations at the European External Action Service (EEAS) on 1 January 2022.  Ambassador Christina Kokkinakis has held various diplomatic positions in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, including Deputy Head of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in Prague, Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, and Senior Foreign Policy Advisor. She has also worked for the European External Action Service, where she was responsible for the European Union's policy on human rights at the United Nations in Geneva. Ambassador Kokkinakis is fluent in five languages and holds a degree in International Relations and a Master's of Arts degree in History and French literature.

Ms Sanna LEPOLA is the Director-General for Parliamentary Democracy Partnerships. Sanna Lepola has worked in different functions in the European Parliament for 24 years.

Prior to her appointment, Ms Lepola was Secretary General of The Left group in the European Parliament, a position she held since May 2017, following a seven-year tenure as the group’s Deputy Secretary General. She began her career at the EP as a parliamentary assistant in 1999, before joining a political group, as a policy officer working on budgetary and constitutional affairs.

Sanna Lepola holds Master degrees in European and International politics and studied at the University of Leicester (UK) and Tampere University (Finland).


Dr Mônica SODRÉ PIRES. Mônica Sodré is the executive director of the Political Action Network for Sustainability - RAPS, a non-partisan and independent third-sector organization focused on supporting and developing political leaders, and whose mission is to improve the quality of democracy and introduce a commitment to sustainability in politics. Political scientist and Master from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar), with a PhD in International Relations from the University of São Paulo (USP) and specialization from the Columbia Global Centers of Columbia University (New York - USA). She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Ruth Cardoso Institute, was a postgraduate professor in Political Science and worked as a project consultant for private and civil society organizations on topics such as the Brazilian political, electoral and party system and relations between the Executive and the Legislative.

dr rafitoson Dr Ketakandriana RAFITOSON is a Malagasy Political Scientist, Researcher, Activist, and Human Rights Defender. She is currently the Executive Director of Transparency International in Madagascar, and also the National Coordinator of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Coalition in the country. She holds a PhD in Political Science and a PhD in Sociology of Development and is lecturing on Grassroots Democracy & Citizenship at the Catholic University of Madagascar. Her research focuses on Citizens’ participation, People Power and Democracy. Ketakandriana is currently facing criminal charges for blowing the whistle against suspicions of corruption in the Malagasy lychee trade in November 2022.

mr carricatoMr Anthony CARRICATO is the director of outreach and events for the Speaker of the House of Commons, Canada. Throughout his professional career, Anthony has relied on his diplomatic and outgoing personality to manage relationships, develop trust and create partnerships. As a result, Anthony has developed an extensive network within the private sector, within political parties and among bureaucratic officials at all levels of government. Highly motivated and organized, Anthony is a resourceful and initiative-driven leader with experience providing consistent, reliable support to clients with an open mind and through collaboration.
Anthony obtained his political and government relations experience working for the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. These opportunities provided Anthony with an in-depth knowledge of parliamentary procedure, a solid understanding of the policy-making process, and an extensive network among Members of Parliament, Senators and staff across political parties as well as with key stakeholders and the media.
In addition to his political and public affairs experience, Anthony has a master’s degree in public policy from the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. The research and analytical skills that he acquired in graduate school have solidified his ability to provide excellent research, analysis and recommendations to support business objectives for clients in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.