Members of our Board

Hannes Swoboda

Dr. Hannes Swoboda was a member of the European Parliament from 1996 to 2014, serving on 15 committees and in 11 delegations.  

Since 2014, he has been President of the International Institute for Peace, and in January 2015 he was also named President of the Architekturzentrum Wien (AzW).

He started his career in the Vienna Chamber of Labour and  has dedicated decades of his career to social democracy- active in local and national politics in Austria, prior to his service in the European Parliament.

In the European Parliament, he was Chairman of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and he served as the Vice President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the countries of Southeast Europe from 1996 to 2009.  He was active in numerous working groups, focusing much of his time on issues of the Balkans and has been instrumental in the fight against right-wing extremism in Europe.  

Nikos Efthymiadis

Nikos Efthymiadis is a significant figure in the industrial and business community of Northern Greece and an active supporter of initiatives aimed at establishing closer ties between Southeast European peoples. President of the Greek Non-Governmental Organisation, the Association for Democracy in the Balkans, he performed a major role in the setting up of the CDRSEE and has served as its Vice Chair since its inception. Mr Efthymiadis is a Board member of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), and Co-Chairman of HELLASPRO.

The President of the Efthymiadis Group of companies and Managing Director of K. + N. Efthymiadis S.A., he is also President of a cluster of smaller companies based in and around Thessaloniki.  He has been President of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (1993-1997); the Technology Park of Thessaloniki; and the Development Agency for Private Utilities of Northern Greece. He is also a board member of several financial and cultural organisations.


Rigas D. Tzelepoglou

Dr Tzelepoglou has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Thessaloniki, two Graduate Master's Degrees in Economics and a Doctorate Degree in Economics.

He is President at the International Center for Business Studies (ICBS), and a founding member of the Association for Democracy in the Balkans, where he has served as the Treasurer since their inception.  He is also Honorary Consul of Chile in Thessaloniki.

He has served on numerous chambers of commerce and industry as well as being senior directors and presidents of a wide range of civic and cultural organisations.  He has also worked as a lecturer and an associate professor at the Graduate Industrial School of Thessaloniki.


Costa Carras

Costa Carras, a co-founder both of the CDRSEE and of the Association for Democracy in the Balkans, has had long and varied experience in a variety of fields, having at various times been active in business, politics, conservation, cultural matters, and religion.

He is a founding member of ‘Friends of Cyprus’' in London in 1974 and has served on a range of boards of business organisations and foundations.  In 1972, he co-founded Greece's leading environmental organisation, ‘The Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage’ and he served as its first chairman and is today a Board Member, also representing the Society in ‘Europa Nostra’, the Federation of European Conservation Organisations, where he is a Vice-Chairman. He also serves on additional other societies on issues of Greek heritage.

He has published varied works on issues of Greek history and civil society in the Balkans. 


Selcuk Erez

Dr Selcuk Erez, is a professor at the University of Istanbul, physician and journalist, with a widely read column in the ‘Cumhuriyet’ daily newspaper.

His collected works on a wide array of political and social issues as well as some fiction, span more than 9 anthologies and he has served in numerous positions on medical, civic and cultural boards including: member of the of the jury of "The Haldun Taner Award in Literature", the most important literary award in Turkey, since its creation in 1987; cultural advisor to the Mayor of Istanbul;  member of the administrative board of the Municipal Theater of Istanbul; member of the Jury of ‘Afife Jale Theatre Awards’; member of the Organising Committee of the Taksim Conferences, an influential political discussion group; member of the Association of History of Medicine of Turkey;  member of the Representative Committee by the Founders of the Press Council of Turkey; one of the founding members of the Aybay Foundation for Legal Studies; member of the Ethics Committee of the Chamber of Medicine of Istanbul.


Matthew Nimetz

Matthew Nimetz is a partner of General Atlantic Partners, LLC, a private investment firm focused on information technology and Internet related investments. Mr. Nimetz has had a long career in government and law, including service on the White House staff under President Lyndon Johnson, counsellor and UnderSecretary of State under President Jimmy Carter, and special envoy of President Bill Clinton in connection with the dispute between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Erhard Busek

Dr. Erhard Busek is a renowned and accomplished politician from the Austrian Christian-Conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and served as Chair of the Board of the CDRSEE for more than a decade.

He was Vice-Chancellor of Austria from 1991 to 1995, and in 2000 he was appointed the Special Representative of the Austrian Government on EU Enlargement, which led to his role as Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe from 2002 to 2008. In 2008, Dr. Busek assumed the role of Advisor to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic on questions of the Western Balkans and the EU. 

He studied Law at the University of Vienna and began his professional career the following year as Secretary of the Parliament of the Austrian National Council. In 1972, he was appointed General Secretary of the Austrian Federation for Trade and Commerce, and has also served as General Secretary of the Austrian People's Party and the Chair of the party.  Furthermore, he was Minister of Science and Research in 1989, and Minister of Education in 1994. 

Guus Heim

Mr. Heim has dedicated much of his life to development cooperation and economics. He began his career with a think tank at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, and then worked for the World Bank.

He has also worked for the European Investment Bank on projects in Africa and the Caribbean  as Head of Division and he also served as a Judge at the Court of Justice in Maastricht, ruling in cases of Dutch civil and criminal law.

Mr. Heim graduated Cum Laude from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in Economics and in Law and did postgraduate work as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow at Princeton University in the United States.    

Since retiring in 2013, Mr. Heim has been a student of philosophy, focussing on ethics. He joined the CDRSEE Board of Directors in 2015.


Piro Misha

Piro Misha currently serves as Executive Director of the Institute of Dialogue & Communication, an independent thinktank based in Tirana.

Formerly, Mr. Misha was General Director of the Albanian Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, in the first post-communist government (1992-1993). After, from 1993 to 2000, he was Programs Director of the Open Society Foundation for Albania.

He has also served as General Secretary of the Albanian PEN Center. Currently, he is Albania’s representative in the MOST National Committee of UNESCO, and a member of the Council of the National Audiovisual Broadcasting Authority.

Mr. Misha has authored several books which have been published in many countries.


Saso Ordanoski

Sašo Ordanoski's professional career  comprises a wide range of experience in journalism, PR, and public communications in both the national and international arena. A decorated  journalist, he is a regular contributor to a number of local and international printed/electronic media. He was managing director and editor-in-chief of the national public broadcaster ‘Macedonian TV ‘and managing director of the national commercial TV ‘Alsat-M’. He founded the weekly Forum newsmagazine and worked as Macedonian founder and country editor for the London based’ Institute for War and Peace Reporting’. He has also worked with the World Bank, UNDP and NATO among others.

As a founder and/or board member of a number of domestic and international organisations dealing with regional issues on media, democracy, anticorruption and security, Mr Ordanoski plays a prominent role in South-East European's civil sector. He teaches journalism and communicational skills at the University of South-East Europe based in Tetovo, Macedonia. He is a Director for Media and Public Affairs at regional investment and consultancy company VEVE Group, based in Tirana and Skopje.


Nenad Šebek

Nenad Šebek was the Executive Director of the CDRSEE for 12 years and  joined the Board on his departure as the Director, serving since then, as the Spokesperson for the Regional Cooperation Council as well Director of the Belgrade office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation.  

Before joining the CDRSEE in 2002, he worked as a journalist for 26 years.He spent his last two years as Moscow Correspondent for the BBC and before that worked for 4 years as the Balkans Correspondent, covering the region through the tumultuous 1990s. He started his journalistic career in Radio Belgrade and joined the BBC World Service in 1986. Sebek is also lecturing at a postgraduate course in Human rights at Vienna University.


Ioannis Tsormpatzoglou

Ioannis Tsormpatzoglou has been Vice President for Operation and Planning at Anatolia College since 2009.

He has consulted for several international organisations, including the OSCE, World Bank, BSEC, and the Stability Pact, and he has served as SECIPRO Coordinator for the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative since 2003.

In 1995, he became a member of the Faculty of Political Science at ACT, while working for the Federation of Northern Greek Industries, and since then has served the College in a variety of administrative positions, including Director of Global Education and Director of Institutional Advancement.

In 2009, he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars SEE Project.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Knox College (1990), a Master of Arts in International Relations from Tulane University (1993), as well as a Master of Arts in European Political and Administrative Studies from the College of Europe in Belgium (1995).

He joined the CDRSEE Board of Directors in 2015.


Elene Bruggisser

Ms Bruggisser is the Owner and Managing Director of an international consultancy firm, with offices in Asia and Europe, offering project  management, legal advisory and financial services.  She has previously held senior positions in a variety of financial institutions, working on tax structuring, legal advisory services for international institutions, corporate finance solutions and corporate structuring, among others.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Geneva and an LLM from the same institution.  She joined the CDRSEE’s Board of Directors in 2016.