Members of our Board

Erhard Busek

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

Notably, Dr. Busek 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. 

Dr. Busek 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, a position that he held from 1964 to 1968. In 1972, Dr. Busek was appointed General Secretary of the Austrian Federation for Trade and Commerce, and from 1975 to 1976 also served as General Secretary of the Austrian People's Party, at which point he was elected Chairman of the party, where he remained until 1989. Dr. Busek was appointed Minister of Science and Research in 1989, and Minister of Education in 1994. 

Early in his career, Dr. Busek focused on engagement with democratic and dissident movements in Poland, and the former Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and East Germany. He entered municipal politics in 1976 and served as Deputy Mayor and City Councilor of Vienna for nine years.

Alongside his political posts, Dr. Busek is active in several other capacities, including Coordinator of the South-Eastern Cooperative Initiative (SECI); He is a Visiting Professor at Duke University in the United States; Co-Chair of the Commission on Radio and Television Policy of Central and Eastern Europe; Vice President of the Vienna Economic Forum; President of the International Center for Advanced and Comparative EU-Russia Research; Member of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation; Chairman of the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe. He was President of the European Forum Alpbach (2000-2012) and Rector of Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (2004-2011);

Dr. Busek has been honoured for his work with a multitude of awards from the governments of Italy, Liechtenstein, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia, among others. He has written extensively on Southeast and Central Europe, democratic reform, and economic and environmental co-operation. Dr. Busek speaks German, English, French, and Italian.


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 Center. 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. In addition to his own business concerns, Mr. Efthymiadis 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. Mr. Efthymiadis is a board member of several organisations including the Hellenic Bank of Industrial Investments; the Chamber of Industry and Commerce; the Businessmen's Cultural Society of Northern Greece and the Foundation of Thracian Art and Tradition.

A life-long resident of Thessaloniki, he brings many critical insights to the Center of the hurdles, pitfalls and opportunities involved in doing business across the peninsula and beyond.


Rigas D. Tzelepoglou

Has an Economic Bachelors Degree from University of Thessaloniki, two Graduate Master's Degrees in Economics, one from Lancaster University (M.A. Econ.) and one from the University of Thessaloniki, and a Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of Thessaloniki.

At present he is President at the International Center for Business Studies (ICBS), a Thessaloniki Business School since 1979 and an Athens Business School since 1997 and  a Treasurer of the Association for Democracy in the Balkans. He is also Honorary Consul of Chile in Thessaloniki.

He has been a Vice-chairman of the Committee for Northern Greece of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, a founding member of the committee for Northern Greece of the British-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Industries for Northern Greece.

He has worked as a lecturer and an associate professor at the Graduate Industrial School of Thessaloniki, a manager at the Authority for Regional Development of Northern Greece - Ministry of Co-ordination and Executive Director of ICAP SA - Management Consultants (20 years).

He has been President/Managing Director and Director General of HELEXPO DETH. S.A., President of the Greek Management Association - Macedonian Chapter, Vice President and Secretary General of the State Theatre of Northern Greece, President of the Propeller Club of the USA - International Port of Thessaloniki, President of the Centre for the Development of Macedonia and Thrace, Vice-president of the Rotary Club of Thessaloniki and founding President of the Rotary Club of Thessaloniki West.


Costa Carras

Costa Carras, a co-founder both of the Center 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.

His political activity dates from the years of the opposition to the Greek dictatorship and continued with the founding of ''Friends of Cyprus'' in London in 1974. He has attended Wilton Park and Ditchley Park conferences of Turkey, Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, and was for 18 years a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Meetings. An initiator of contacts between the Greek and Turkish business communities in 1985, he is currently the Greek Coordinator of the Greek-Turkish Forum.

Since 1997, Co-Chairman of the Business Advisory Council of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), he had earlier been a Board member of the Union of Greek Shipowners (1975-1984) and Vice-Chairman of the Greek Shipping Cooperation committee in London, where he lived until 1995, and where he also served a s first Chairman of the Hellenic Foundation.

His involvement in conservation and the ecology movement began in 1972 when he co-founded Greece's leading environmental organization, Elliniki Etairia, yia tin Prostasia tou Perivallontos kai tis Politistikis Klironomias (Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage). He served as its first chairman and is today again a Board Member, also representing the Society in Europa Nostra, the Federation of European Conservation Organizations, where he is a Vice-Chairman. Mr. Carras also founded and remains Vice-Chairman of the Society for the Preservation of the Greek Heritage, USA.

The organizer of the ground-breaking 1998 meeting on Religion and the Environment in Patmos, Mr. Carras served as the Co-Chairman of the British Council of Churches' Commission on Trinitarian Doctrine. His paper on The Doctrine of the Trinity in Relation to Political Action and Thought is published in the volume of papers presented to the Commission. He co-edited Living Orthodoxy in the Modern World (SPGU, 1996), which includes his article, ''The Holy Trinity, the Church and Politics in a Secular World.'' He is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He served since its inception in 1978 on the Assembly of the Diocese of Sourozh, Britain, whose Chairmanship he left in 1999.

His published works include 3,000 Years of Greek Identity - Myth or Reality (1984) and contributions to Democracy and Civil Society in the Balkans (1996). Mr. Carras holds a Double First in Ancient Greek and Latin Literature; and in Philosophy and Ancient History from Trinity College, Oxford. He also studied economics for a year at the Littauer School of Public Administration, Harvard. He is married with two children.


Selcuk Erez

Selcuk Erez, born in 1936, living in Istanbul has been educated as a gynaecologist at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical School at New York. He is now a university professor at the University of Istanbul but is better known for his widely read column in Cumhuriyet daily newspaper .

Present and past memberships and positions include:

  • 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.
  • He has acted as the cultural advisor to the Mayor of Istanbul.
  • Has served as a member of the administrative board of the Municipal Theater of Istanbul.
  • Member of the Jury of "Afife Jale Theater Awards".
  • Member of the Organizing Committee of the Taksim Conferences, an influential political discussion group.
  • Member of the Association of History of Medicineof Turkey.
  • Has been a 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.
  • Has been a member of the Ethics Committee of the Chamber of Medicine of Istanbul.

His collected works have been published in nine volumes:

  1. Aklimizin ambargolari (Embargoes of our mind) (essays) 1988 Aybay Publishers, 1993 Sel Yayincilik.
  2. Milli fizik, milli kimya (National physics and national chemistry) (essays) 1992 Sel Yayincilik.
  3. Agirmesrep kadinlar (Women of heavy conduct) (stories) 1993, 1994 Bilgi Publishers.
  4. Istanbul nerededir, orada kimler yasar ? (Where is Istanbul and who lives there?) (essays on Istanbul) 1995 Sel Yayincilik.
  5. Trendelenburg pozisyonu (The Trendelenburg position) (stories) 1996 Sel Yayincilik.
  6. Istankoyalti Bodrum (Bodrum, close to Istankoy) (an essay on the past of an Aegean village) 1996, 1997 Bilgi Publishers.
  7. Koktendinsizler (The radical irreligious) (essays) 1997 Sel Yayincilik.
  8. Tekbacaklilar, cok ayaklilar (The single legged and the multilegged) (a contemporary bestiary) 2000 Bilgi Publishers.
  9. Mesa nichta stin Ayiasophia: A night in Haghia Sophia (selected stories translated into Greek) printed by Paratiritis Publishing House (Thessaloniki, Greece).
  10. Makrikoye donus (Back to Makrikeuy) (A novel) in print, Dogan Yayincilik, Istanbul, 2002

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, counselor 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. He currently serves as personal representative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in connection with the Interim Agreement between those two states.


Dr. Hannes Swoboda

Dr. Hannes Swoboda was a member of the European Parliament from 1996 to 2014, serving on 15 committees and in 11 delegations. Notably, he was rapporteur for the Accession of Croatia to the European Union, and in December 2011, he recommended Croatia's accession to the European Parliament, which passed overwhelmingly.

Dr. Swoboda is particularly interested in initiatives that offer education and training for young leaders in Europe. Since 2014, he has been President of the Vienna-based International Institute for Peace and a member of the Board of Directors of the CDRSEE, and in January 2015 he was also named President of the Architekturzentrum Wien (AzW).

Dr. Swoboda studied Law and Economics at the University of Vienna, and started his career in the Vienna Chamber of Labour. He has dedicated decades of his career to social democracy. Until 1996, he was active primarily in Austrian politics. In 1983, he was elected Member of the Vienna Assembly and Municipal Council, became co-coordinator of the Socialist Group to the Assembly and Municipal Council in 1986 and worked as a Municipal Councillor from 1988 to1994.

In 1997, Dr. Swoboda took over as Vice Chairman of the Group of the Party of European Socialists, and after being re-elected three times, he was elected Chairman of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament in January 2012. He served as the Vice President of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the countries of Southeast Europe from 1996 to 2009, and he was Chairman of the Parliamentary Working Group on the Western Balkans, Middle East, Turkey and the Maghreb, with much of his parliamentary work focused on the Balkans.

In addition to his involvement in foreign affairs, Dr. Swoboda also worked on economic policies and questions of inclusion, and has been instrumental in the fight against right-wing extremism in Europe.

In his spare time, he enjoys painting and photography. Dr. Swoboda is married to the former Austrian Secretary of State for Europe and previous Siemens AG board member, Brigitte Ederer.


Guus Heim

Mr. Guus 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, where he performed analysis and designed policy in the area of EC-government and development cooperation (1979-1982). He then worked for six years as an Economist at the World Bank in Washington D.C., first reviewing development projects for approval by the Board and analysing general policy issues affecting the Bank, and later analysing country economic developments and negotiating policy-based lending operations (1982-1988).

Returning to Europe, Mr. Heim spent a quarter of a century at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, where as Head of Division, he managed teams financing development projects in Africa and the Caribbean (1988-2013). For about four years he also served concurrently as a Judge at the Court of Justice in Maastricht, ruling in cases of Dutch civil and criminal law. Whilst at EIB, he served on several Boards, for example the Conseil d’Administration de la Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement.

Mr. Heim graduated Cum Laude from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in August 1978, both in Economics and in Law. He did postgraduate work as a Fulbright-Hays Fellow at Princeton University in the United States in 1978–1979, specialising in Development Economics and Project Evaluation (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs).

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, well known for its publication programme in the humanities.

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.

From 1992 to 2000, Mr. Misha was also 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, the most recent being "Arratisja nga burgjet e historise- Çdo të thotë sot të jesh shqiptar?" ("Escape from prisons of history: What does it mean today being Albanian?), 2009, Toena ed., Tirana.

His writings have been published in Britain, the United States, Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Greece.

Piro Misha has given lectures and held conferences in various European and North American universities and institutions, such as Columbia University; London University; the French School of Rome; University of Bologna; Institute for Security Studies of Western European Union - Paris; IPALMO –Rome; Center of Contemporary Culture, Barcelona; Council of Europe, Strasbourg; University of Reggio Emilia, Italy; University of Montreal, Canada; McGill University, Canada; Casa delle Letterature, Rome; University of Athens; CERI, Paris; Cheltenham Festival of Literature, UK; and various others.


Saso Ordanoski

Sašo Ordanoski's professional carrier spans over 25 years, with considerable experience in journalism, PR, and public communications both in national and international arena. An awarded 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 and coached for more than a decade the weekly Forum newsmagazine, and worked as Macedonian founder and country editor for the London based Institute for War and Peace Reporting. For a couple of years he worked with the World Bank in the area of external affairs. He is a consultant to a number of international organizations and institutions on media, democracy, security and political issues, including UNDP, EU, and NATO.

Being a founder and/or board member of a number of domestic and international organizations dealing with regional issues on media, democracy, anticorruption and security, Sašo 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 Sebek

Nenad Sebek is currently Director of the Belgrade office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation ( and

Until August 2016 he was the Spokesperson for the Regional Cooperation Council for two years having previously served as Executive Director of the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe for 12 years. 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 organizations, including the OSCE, World Bank, BSEC, and the Stability Pact, and he has served since 2003 as SECIPRO Coordinator for the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative.

In 2000, he undertook project management of a consortium led by the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) for the execution of the training component of the World Bank Trade and Transport Facilitation Program for the Southeast Europe region. 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 for the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars SEE Project.  He holds a Bachelor or 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.