International Conference on Big Data for Official Statistics
Organized by the CSO Ireland and the United Nations Statistics Division

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Speaker Bios

Opening Session - Day 1

Pádraig Dalton
Director General, CSO Ireland

Pádraig Dalton was appointed to the role of Director General of the Central Statistics Office in May 2012.

Pádraig is a career statistician having joined the CSO in November 1991. He has worked in Structural Business Statistics, Statistical Methodology, Balance of Payments and in the Labour Market and Social Inclusion Division. Between 2007 and 2010 Pádraig was Director of Statistical Support & Innovation and Assistant Director General, Social & Demographic Statistics from September 2010 to May 2012.

Pádraig is a member of the European Statistical System Committee (ESSC) which provides professional guidance to the European Statistical System (ESS) for developing, producing and disseminating European Statistics. Pádraig is also Chair of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) High Level Group for the Modernisation of Statistical Production and Services and is an ex-officio member of the National Statistics Board (NSB).

Pádraig is a graduate of University College Dublin where he completed his primary degree, a B.A. in Pure Economics in 1989 and he was awarded a Masters in Economics in 1990.

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Eoghan Murphy TD
Minister of State for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement

Eoghan Murphy TD is the Minister of State at the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, with special responsibility for Financial Services, eGovernment and Public Procurement. He is a member of the Cabinet Committees on ‘Economy, Trade & Jobs’ and ‘Social Policy & Public Service Reform’.

He was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011, and was subsequently re-elected in 2016. He is a member of Fine Gael and represents the constituency of Dublin Bay South. Between 2009 and 2011 he served as a Councillor on Dublin City Council for the Pembroke-Rathmines ward.

Before his appointment as Minister of State, Eoghan served on the Banking Inquiry, the Public Accounts Committee, the Dáil Reform Committee, as Head of the Oireachtas delegation to the OSCE, and as Chairperson of the Fine Gael Transport, Tourism and Sport Committee. He is currently a member of the Fine Gael National Executive.

Prior to entering politics, Eoghan worked in the area of international arms control, and was based in London, Geneva and Vienna, working at various times for NGOs and the UN. He spent two years as speechwriter and advisor to the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation in Vienna. The political and economic crisis that began in 2008 provoked Eoghan to return home and get involved in politics.

Eoghan went to school at Star of the Sea and St. Michael's College, Dublin; he studied English and Philosophy in UCD, and then completed his MA in International Relations in King’s College, London.

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Christian Friis Bach
United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

On 9 July 2014, the Secretary-General appointed Mr Christian Friis Bach of Denmark as the next Executive Secretary of UNECE.

Mr Bach brings to the position a combination of deep knowledge in international economy and development affairs coupled with innovative and results-oriented leadership.

Mr Bach came from a position as Member of the Danish Parliament and Head of the Parliamentarian Group for the Danish Social/Liberal Party. He previously served as Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation (2011-2013) and Special Advisor to the European Union Commission for the United Nations Global Sustainability Panel (2010-2011). He is Honorary Professor of International Economics and Development at the University of Copenhagen (2009-2014) and has been Associate Professor in International Economics and Development Economics, the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (1999-2005).

Mr Bach has a long history with civil society, notably as the International Director for the DanChurchAid (2005-2010) and as Chairman of the Danish Association for International Cooperation (1997-2001). He also has private sector experience from running a start-up company and has worked as a journalist at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr Bach holds a Ph.D. in International Economics (1996), a MSc in Agronomy (1992) from the Royal Danish Agricultural University in Copenhagen and a supplementary degree in Journalism from the Danish School of Media and Journalism.

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Lisa Grace Bersales
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General of the Philippines

Lisa Grace Bersales is currently the National Statistician and Civil Registrar General of the Philippines, heading its national statistics office, the Philippine Statistics Authority. Before assuming this position in 2014, she was Vice President for Planning and Finance of the University of the Philippines System for three years. She remains a professor of statistics of the university’s School of Statistics which she also headed as its Dean for eight years. She earned her PhD degree from the same university while spending time at the University of Pennsylvania to write her dissertation entitled “ Optimal Combination of Forecasts”. She is a member of the professional society of statisticians in the Philippines, the Philippine Statistics Association, Inc.;the International Statistical Institute; and the International Association for Statistics Education.

Even while she was with the university, she was actively involved with the Philippine Statistical System. She helped develop the system of seasonal adjustment of official statistics and chaired the technical committee for this. She was also a member of the Technical Committee on Poverty Statistics and served as a member of committee in 2007 that reviewed the Philippine Statistical System. This committee’s report catalyzed the enactment of the Philippine Statistical Act of 2013 that created the Philippine Statistics Authority.

She served as resource person in various training programs for statisticians in both government, private , and international agencies; specifically with the training arm of the Philippine Statistical System (now the Philippine Statistical Research and Training Institute), the institute of the Philippines’ Central Bank, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture ,and the UN Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific.

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Ronald Jansen
Assistant Director, United Nations Statistics Division

Dr. Ronald Jansen is part of the senior management team of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) in New York. He is leading the thematic area of measurement of international trade and economic globalization, including tourism statistics, and coordinates the Division’s work on the use of Big Data for official statistics, which is an emerging field to modernize official statistics and to support the data demands for the monitoring on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

His educational background is in Statistics and Psychology, which he studied at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, where he graduated in 1984. Thereafter, he taught Statistics and did his own research at the University of Nijmegen obtaining a PhD in mathematical modelling of human information processing in 1990.

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Ronan Harris
VP, Google Ireland

Ronan Harris is VP of Google Ireland, and heads up Google’s Large Customer Sales division for Google EMEA.

Ronan joined Google in 2005 and based in Google’s EMEA headquarters, he has focused on growing the online sales channel for new and existing markets and also launched online operations for Google Checkout. A graduate in electronic engineering at University College Dublin, Ronan began his career with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation at their Information Storage Products division in Japan. He went on to spend nine years in Japan working in consulting and technology before returning to Ireland in 2001 to work in private equity before joining Google.

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Cathal Ryan
Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Ireland

Cathal Ryan is an Assistant Commissioner with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Ireland. A qualified lawyer with significant commercial and regulatory experience in the public sector, Cathal leads the Office’s Public Sector and Health Consultation Section. This Section is responsible for overseeing the Office's function of proactively providing data protection awareness and best practice guidance to all public sector and health bodies to ensure their activities, which include a personal data element, are carried out in compliance with data protection law. Cathal is also a member of the European eGov Article 29 Working Party Group which regularly contributes to published opinions in respect of data privacy and processing of personal data.

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Jan Sonck
Proximus, Belgium

Jan Sonck is driving the Proximus’s innovation activities by starting with customer requirements and research together with universities and technology partners, and delivering cross-industry solutions to internal and external clients in areas like Big Data and the Internet of Things.

Throughout a career of 25 years in Information and Communication Technology, Jan Sonck fulfilled a number of missions in sales, marketing, business development and general management. This feeds both experience and skills to identify market opportunities and customer requirements and respond to them with the right innovations.

Today the Proximus teams are discovering many new applications for Big Data technology, aiming to improve internal operations and drive external data monetization. Successful projects have been delivered for tourism, smart cities, crowd management and mobility services.

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Niels Ploug
Director, Statistics Denmark

Niels Ploug is an economist and the Director of Social Statistics at Statistics Denmark since 2008. Before that, he worked for many years as the Research Director at The Danish National Institute of Social Research. He is also an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics. He’s been engaged in the work of the GWG on Big Data since its start – and is also involved in the development of the use of Big Data at the European level – as well as in the development of quality standards for multisource statistics as the leader of a Eurostat ESSnet on this issue.

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Cosmas Zavazava
Chief of Department, Projects and Knowledge Management, ITU

Dr. Cosmas Zavazava works in the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU. Since 2001, Cosmas Zavazava has been passionately designing and implementing global ICT projects for both sustainable development and disaster management. He has a track record as a high-level multilateral negotiator, resource mobilization, and publishing. He has written on the role of ICT in addressing the unique needs of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, Small Island Developing States, and matters concerning developing countries in general. He has also written on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and disaster response. He recently launched a groundbreaking project on the use of big data to mitigate the impact of the Ebola disease, and epidemics in general.

He taught MBA classes with a focus on strategic business management, management information systems and other related topics. He has spoken at many international conferences to include the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries that was held in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2011, the Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States held in Apia, Samoa in August 2014, the Third United Nations Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan from 14 to 18 March 2015.

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Christian Zahorski-Philippe
Head of Pan-EU Sales, Amazon Web Service (AWS) Public Sector European

Christian Zahorski-Philippe is the Head of Pan-EU Sales for Amazon Web Service (AWS) Public Sector European business unit. He manages a team of Sales Executives responsible for Amazon's cloud computing business for governments, educational institutions and nonprofits across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Christian has more than 10 years’ leadership experience in the IT industry across a variety of commercial IT disciplines to include Security and Compliance, Product Development Software, Business Intelligence/Analytics Software, Operations / Support, and Cloud Computing. Prior to joining Amazon Web Services 4 years ago, Christian worked for Microsoft and previously for Dell. Born in Montreal, Canada, he has lived in Europe and Africa for over 15 years, and is currently based in Dublin, Ireland.

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Afternoon Session - Day 1

Peter Struijs
Statistics Netherlands

Peter Struijs is coordinator of the big data programme of Statistics Netherlands (SN) and is a member of the UN Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics. Before being engaged in big data, Peter was responsible for open data at SN. For many years, he held the position of Head of Unit for process development and quality management. Earlier, he worked at Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the EU. He started work at SN as a methodologist, and he is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute.

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Frances Krsinich
Statistical Methodology, Statistics New Zealand

Frances Krsinich has worked at the Wellington branch of Statistics New Zealand for the last 20 years, and is currently a senior researcher in the Statistical Methodology unit.

She initially worked in the areas of sample design of economic surveys and statistical disclosure control methods, before moving to the Prices unit in 2008 to specialise in developing methods and processes for price measurement from scanner and online data. Her recent research has focussed on methods for producing unrevisable price indexes from big data by leveraging off the longitudinal nature of the data to implicitly quality-adjust.

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Ahmed Almufarji
National Centre for Statistics and Information, Oman

Ahmed Almufarji works for National Centre for Statistics and Information as Application Manager. He has worked in different types of statistical surveys and participated in Census 2003 and Census 2010 projects as business analyst and information officer. He is also heading the digital transformation team at NCSI. All the way in his career, he has an active role in utilizing IT in performing statistical business processes. Recently, he has appointed as the head of local team to execute big data (mobile phone data) project.

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Marc Debusschere
Coordinator administrative and big data, Statistics Belgium

Since end 2014 Marc Debusschere coordinates all aspects of Statistics Belgium's access to administrative and big data. Even in this short period, the function’s focus shifted drastically towards big data: while administrative data are now fully integrated in statistical production, big data confront official statistics with completely new legal, technical and strategic challenges. As these are best tackled in collaboration with other national statistical institutes and international bodies, the international dimension has also grown in importance. Marc Debusschere represents Statistics Belgium in the ESS Steering Group Administrative data, the ESS Task Force Big Data, the 22-partner ESSnet Big Data (managing its website) and towards other international big data actors such as UNSD, UNECE and OECD.

After 4 years of scientific research in social psychology at the Leuven university, Marc Debusschere moved to Statistics Belgium where he consecutively held the positions of statistician in industrial statistics, head of the Short-term Indicators unit, director Information & Communication and quality manager. In 2008 he was seconded for 6 years to Eurostat where he built and managed, as its first editor in chief, Eurostat’s huge online publication platform and website ‘Statistics Explained’.

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Albrecht Wirthmann

As geographer specialised in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, Albrecht has long standing experience in big data processing. In the 80s 5 GB, which is the size of a Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite scene, was considered as big data.

At the German national statistical office and later at Eurostat, he worked in the domains of environmental and economic accounting, regional statistics and Geographic Information Systems, information society statistics before he joined the newly created Big Data group at Eurostat. His main task there is implementing the Big Data action plan and roadmap at the level of the European Statistical System. Albrecht is active in several task teams of the Global Working Group on Big Data of the UN.

In his leisure time he loves contributing to the data deluge with devices, such as activity trackers, smart phones or smart home devices, creating structured records of health and other measurement data or unstructured audio and video files.

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Helene Berard
Director, Administrative Data Division (ADD), Statistics Canada

Helene Berard is the director of the Administrative Data Division (ADD) of Statistics Canada. As director of the ADD her responsibilities include coordinating activities related to 1) the acquisition of administrative data, 2) the development of methods and processes related to administrative data, and 3) the maintenance and development of specific statistical administrative databases. As well, her responsibilities include the coordination of Statistics Canada’s involvement in interdepartmental, intergovernmental and international administrative data initiatives. Helene Berard started her career at Statistics Canada as a methodologist. She occupied various positions providing methodological support for major business and social surveys. She has a M. SC in Statistics, a M. SC. in Marine Biology, and a B.SC. in Biology.

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Joe Drumgoole
Director, Administrative Data Division (ADD), Statistics Canada

Joe Drumgoole is Director of Developer Advocacy EMEA at MongoDB. At MongoDB he helps developers to understand and utilise MongoDB in order to unleash the power of software and data for innovators everywhere.

He is a software entrepreneur with over 25 years experience of successful product delivery at Digital Equipment Corporation, Nomura, Oracle Corporation, CR2 and Cape Clear Software.

Joe is a regular speaker at technical conferences and has provided mentoring and advice to many Startups over the past ten years.

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Mark Rowlands
Senior Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services

Mark Rowlands is a Senior Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services. He leads a team of Solution Architects responsible for technical engagements with governments, educational institutions and nonprofits across Europe.

Mark has over 12 years’ experience in the ICT industry working across a variety of areas including government, retail groups, and Identity management. Mark has managed the deployment of a number national enterprise biometric solutions in South Africa, India, Japan where he has worked and lived.

He has a Bachelor's Engineering Degree in Software and is passionate about Cloud Computing.

When he isn’t working you might find Mark in the North Atlantic Ocean Surfing and Spearfishing or spending time cooking for family and friends.

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Morning Session - Day 2

Ivo Havinga
Assistant Director of Economic Statistics, United Nations Statistics Division

Ivo C. Havinga is Assistant Director of Economic Statistics at the United Nations Statistics Division/Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNSD/DESA) since 2003 and is overall responsible for the domains of national accounts (System of National Accounts) and environmental-economic accounts (System of Environmental–Economic Accounts) and related economic and environment statistics.

As part of the senior management team of the United Nations Statistics Division, he is closely involved in the work of the Friends of the Chair on the Broader Measures of Progress and maintains an active dialogue with national statistical systems, United Nations bodies and the policy sphere to ensure that a robust statistical measurement approach is incorporated from the outset in preparations of the post-2015 development agenda.

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Heather Savory
Director General for Data Capability, UK

Heather Savory joined the Office for National Statistics as Director General for Data Capability in May 2015.

Heather has a strong commercial track-record and extensive board and senior management experience in entrepreneurial and high technology businesses, consulting and central government.

Heather was appointed as Chair of the Open Data User Group (ODUG), an independent advisory group to the Government’s Public Sector Transparency Board, for three years from May 2012; she is also a member of the Regulatory Board of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Heather has previously worked at 3Dlabs as Vice President of Engineering and Operations and eComData as Managing Director. More recently, Heather worked at the centre of UK Government, spending two years in HM Treasury and three in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills at the Better Regulation Executive (BRE).

Heather graduated from Loughborough University of Technology with a 1st class B.Sc. (Hons) in Electronic and Electrical Engineering and a diploma in Industrial Studies; she also has an Executive MBA from the London Business School.

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Bert Kroese
Deputy Director General, Central Bureau of Statistics, Netherlands

Bert Kroese joined Central Bureau of Statistics The Netherlands in 1996. He was appointed Deputy Director General in April 2013.

He graduated in mathematical statistics from the University of Groningen, going on to receive his PhD in the same discipline. Before joining CBS The Netherlands he worked at DLO, an agricultural research institute in Wageningen.

Throughout his career at CBS The Netherlands, Bert Kroese has managed methodological, IT-related and organisational change. In 2008 he was appointed Director of Macro-economic Statistics and Dissemination, in 2010 Director of Economic Statistics, and in 2012 Director of Process development, IT and methodology.

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Elham Saleh
Technical Advisor, GCC-Stat

Mrs. Saleh has held various senior positions for the Government of Bahrain. She supervised many data related projects of national importance in Bahrain. Smart card ID systems, e-borders, e-government, government Reform, administrative Census and National Health system are just some examples of what Mrs. Saleh’s work. During the 2002 and 2006 Bahrain elections, Mrs. Saleh was appointed as the Technical Resources Director and the General coordinator of Bahrain Parliament and Municipality elections. Her last government position in Bahrain was the Economic Statistics Director, CIO Bahrain.

She was appointed as a Technical Advisor at the GCC-Stat. Her current responsibilities at GCC-Stat include helping GCC member states improve use of administrative records and implement Business Registry (full digitization of all businesses in each GCC country.

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Aurel Schubert
Director General Statistics, European Central Bank

Aurel Schubert has been Director of the Statistics Department at the Oesterreichische Nationalbank since 1997. Before that, he held several expert and management functions within the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, which he joined in 1985 after finishing his university studies. Mr Schubert holds a Ph. D. in Economics from the University of South Carolina and a MA in Business Administration from the University of Economics and Business of Vienna.

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Georgy Oksenoyt
Deputy Director General, Federal State Statistics Service, Russia

In 1981 graduated from Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics (MESI) with a degree in “Statistics”;
- In the period 1981-1991 worked in the system of State Statistics;
- In the period 1991-1992 took the position of the Deputy Director General of Joint Soviet-Dutch company “EVIC”;
- In the period 1992-1993 worked as Director General of joint-stock company “Zemvest”;
- In the period 1993-1995 Director of legal affairs of joint-stock company “Volonte”;
- In the period 1995-1996 Vice-President of closed joint-stock company “General insurance agency”;
- In the period 1996-2012 worked in the Group of Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange MICEX and at MICEX Stock Exchange; for the period 2011-2012 was in charge of Analysis and Development Center of CJSC Moscow stock exchange;
- On April 3rd, 2013 was appointed Deputy Director General of the Federal State Statistics Service by the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation №473-р;
- Married with a son.

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Innocent Ngalinda
Rector, Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre (EASTC)

Prof. Innocent Ngalinda is the Rector of the Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre (EASTC). He joined EASTC in 2012 and it was upgraded from intermediate level (offering Certificate and Diploma only) to Higher learning Institution (HLI). As an HLI, EASTC currently offers courses from undergraduate to PhD in Official Statistics. A two years Masters in Agricultural Statistics is also offered at EASTC as well as Masters in Statistical Computing.

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Grant Cameron
World Bank

Grant Cameron is a Manager at the World Bank in Washington DC. He leads a team supporting developing countries improve their capacity to produce data and statistics to make them more accessible and useful. This support includes: i) targeted technical assistance that improve specific data products associated with the System of National Accounts and Prices, ii) technical assistance and financing to develop and implement improvements to the National Statistical System, and iii) developing innovative approaches to finance innovations in data production, access, and use. Grant also manages the International Comparison program that estimates GDP based purchasing power parities for over 190 countries and economies and oversees the production of the economic and debt statistics in the World Development Indicators. Before joining the Bank, Grant worked for the Government of Canada in policy work (Manager, Personal Income Tax Policy, Finance Canada) and held managerial and statistician posts at Statistics Canada in the System of National Accounts and Advisory Services Branch.

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Fessou Emessan Lawson
Officer-In-Charge, Statistical Capacity Building Division. African Development Bank

Fessou Emessan Lawson is an economist and financial statistician and currently Officer-In-Charge of the Statistical Capacity Building Division at the African Development Bank (AfDB) which he joined 17 years ago. He first worked as Program Coordinator and recorded a 7-year experience in the assessment, design, implementation of and technical assistance on National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) for more than 21 countries. His expertise covers also technical assistance on statistical leadership, as well as the design of Country Statistical Profiles (CStP), Country Policy and Institutional Assessments (CPIA), Resource Mobilization, Results-Based Monitoring and Assessment Processes, and Performance-Based Allocation of Resources to AfDB’s Regional Member Countries.

Prior to joining AfDB, he consulted for the World Bank, the UNDP and the UNIDO in National Accounts, Population forecasting and Industrial Statistics. He was also a lecturer in Stochastic Processes.

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Sebastian Mhatre
Data for Development, Department for International Development’s (DFID), UK

Sebastian Mhatre is the data innovation lead within the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) Data for Development team. He works on how to improve the use of data science in DFID’s portfolio of programmes and on how DFID can better support data innovation. He also manages DFID’s support to the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition programme.

His educational background is a mixture of economics, artificial intelligence and neuroscience, which he studied at the University of Edinburgh.

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Johannes Jütting
Manager, Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21)

Johannes Jütting is Manager of the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21), a global data partnership that promotes the improved use and production of statistics throughout the developing world. He leads the partnership’s work in supporting developing countries as they strengthen capacity to better produce and use statistical data for policy-making and monitoring of development outcomes.

Mr. Jütting is a trained development economist with a PhD from Humboldt-University in Berlin with specific expertise in employment, social protection, health insurance and gender. Prior to joining PARIS21, Mr. Jütting headed up Poverty Reduction Teams at the OECD Development Centre and at the Centre for Global Development Research (ZEF).

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Afternoon Session - Day 2

Niall Wilson
Infrastructure Manager, Irish Centre for High End Computing

As the primary point of contact for all matters relating to IT services and infrastructure, Niall is a key decision maker in the design, planning, procurement and deployment of new projects which rely on computational and storage resources. He has lead the successful procurement and installation of every one of ICHEC's HPC systems and acted as an expert advisor on a number of others. The role also involves representing Ireland's HPC infrastructure presence in the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) project and contributing to the operation of the PRACE Tier-0 and Tier-1 service in collaboration with the major HPC centres of Europe.

Niall is a graduate of Experimental Physics and has an MSc in Computational Image Analysis. During the course of his research work, Niall spent some time as a TRACS (Training and Research on Advanced Computing Systems) visitor at theEdinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.

Niall has worked as a HPC Experimental Officer at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at NUI, Galway. As well as acting as system administrator for the HPC facility, he worked in a support role for the scientific user community assisting in porting and parallelising codes and designing efficient workflows. Niall has also worked as a system administrator for CosmoGrid, maintaining three separate HPC systems and continuing his support role within the research community.

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Antonino Virgillito
Senior IT Engineer, Istat

Dr. Virgillito holds a PhD in computer engineering, with a specialization in large-scale distributed systems, from the University of Rome "La Sapienza”. An expert in big data technologies, data engineering, business intelligence, web technologies, mobile platforms, during his 16 years career he was project leader of a number of complex and mission-critical projects.

Significant experiences in recent years include the "Big Data" project promoted by UNECE (2014-2015) and the project for the use of Scanner Data in the Consumer Price Survey at Istat (2015-2016). Both projects were included in the top-ten case studies analysed in the European Commission report "Big Data Analytics for Policy Making", a study that investigated big data and data analytics initiatives launched by public authorities in Europe gathering more than 100 cases.

His working experience also includes participation to international cooperation and research projects and training in IT courses at national and international level. From 2004 to 2008 he was adjunct professor at University of Rome "La Sapienza", where he also worked as post-doc researcher. In 2005 he was post-doc researcher at INRIA-IRISA (France).

Dr. Virgillito is author of more than 40 refereed research papers published in international journals, books and conference proceedings.

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Amjad Zaim
Founder, Cognitro Analytics

Amjad is the founder of Cognitro Analytics, an international consultancy firm dedicated to advancing the field of analytics, and is a well-seasoned data scientist with 20+ years of international experience in levering analytics in health, banking, telecom, security, government as well different public sector areas. Throughout his career, he led two US-based IT startups and assumed multiple leadership positions, more recently as chief scientist with Booz Allen Hamilton as well as chief of party of the E-health USAID-funded Flagship project. Amjad is also a former professor of Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas where he established the VIB (Vision, Intelligence and Bioinformatics) research center bridging research in artificial intelligence with business, health and industrial applications.

Amjad is frequently listed amongst the top Big Data experts world-wide. In the recent Huffington Post piece on June 2017, Amjad was featured amongst the Big Data experts in the “38 Top Experts on the Biggest Trends”. Amjad is a regularly invited speaker to international Big Data conferences and workshops, has been numerously interviewed on the subject of Analytics and is often quoted in several technology magazines and media outlets including, Executive Banking, Computer World and Arab Health Magazine. He has contributed to the field of Data Science with more than 50 journal publications, business articles, and white papers. Amjad routinely advises government and public agencies on building data science capabilities and on the institutionalization of Big Data within the fabric of the organization. Amjad holds two Masters in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science, an MBA and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toledo in Ohio.

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Juan Muñoz
Director, Informatics Planning and Standardization at the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI)

Dr. Juan Muñoz has the degrees of PhD in Computer Sciences and Master on Informatics and Computational Technologies, both received with honors.

He is the Director of Informatics Planning and Standardization at the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI), in charge of the normalization, coordination and planning of the main ICT Strategies at the Institute. In the academic side, he is professor and researcher at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, covering topics about Research methodologies, ICT Management, Information Systems, Software Engineering and Software Programming. He also has working experience in the management of data centers; information security; databases modeling, design and implementation; geodesy and geo-spatial technologies; and in the development and implementation of information systems.

Since 2004, he has been an active member of several international teams coordinated by International organizations like UNECE, OECD, UNSD, and others developing new models, standards and exploring new technologies, methodologies and data sources, and is responsible of the ICT support of Big Data and other Data Science related projects at INEGI.

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Sybille McKeown
Program Manager, Methodology Transformation Branch, Methodology Division, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Sybille McKeown is Program Manager of the Methodology Transformation Branch, Methodology Division at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In this role, Sybille has responsibility for the statistical methodologies contributing to the ABS transformation program. This includes the statistical methodologies to be incorporated into the modernised statistical infrastructure, analytical methods for traditional and emerging data sources, data integration and confidentiality methods. Sybille is also a member of the UN Global Working Group on Big Data for Official Statistics, as part of the UN Satellite Imagery and Geo-spatial Task Team.

Her previous roles in the ABS include Director of Transport, Tourism and Prices and Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics.

Sybille holds a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) from Murdoch University, Western Australia.

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James McBroom
Griffith School of Environment, Queensland Australia

James McBroom is a Lecturer in Statistics at the Griffith School of Environment in Queensland Australia. Mr McBroom is currently researching a part time PhD in computational aspects of spatio-temporal modelling for large amounts of data at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) under the supervision of Professor Kerrie Mengersen and Dr Gentry White.

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Boro Nikić
Statistics Slovenia

Boro Nikić joined the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS) in 2002. He started as a sampling methodologist responsible for producing sampling plans for business surveys. Between 2008 and 2014 he was Head of the Sampling and General Methodology Section, while since 2014 he has been working in the Information Technology Division as a person in charge of big data. He is a member of several international groups preparing guidelines for methodology of big data processing, quality monitoring, the necessary IT infrastructure and guidelines for implementing the partnership with all stakeholders working with big data. Within SURS and international groups he cooperates in implementing several pilot surveys based on big data.

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Paula María Alejandra García
National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia (DANE)

Ms. Paula García works at the National Administrative Department of Statistics of Colombia (DANE). She is an economist and a specialist on government, management and public affairs. Currently, she works in the Methodology and Production Statistics Direction. She is responsible for execution and control of processes, analysis of products, and research dissemination of economics statistics, such as prices, labor market and construction. Finally, she has participated in the formulation and development of innovation projects to contribute to the statistical process and determine the feasibility and impact on statistics.

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Julie Whipple
Global Director, Corporate Responsibility, Qlik

Ms. Whipple is currently serving as Global Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Qlik. In this position, she leads the organization’s focus on empowering community-based and humanitarian non-profits to most effectively serve vulnerable populations through the program “Change Our World”. The program includes directing a successful software grant program to leverage the Qlik analytical platform; managing strategic partnerships with the United Nations, Clinton Global Initiative, and Mentor International; and helping direct employee engagement activities with partners, WeSeeHope and Medair, as well as many other global charities.

Prior to her current role, Ms. Whipple managed relationships with large enterprise organizations and agencies within the US Federal Government delivering highly valuable analytical solutions. In addition, she has extensive experience in financial and operational data management and visualization best practices. Ms. Whipple’s work focuses on delivering innovative solutions through the creation of collaborative partnerships between the public and private sector. Ms. Whipple attended the University of Iowa and resides in Boston, MA.

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Emmet Dowling
Public Sector Client Director, SAS Ireland

Mr. Dowling leads the relationship between SAS and the Government of Ireland. In this role, he directs multi-disciplinary teams to assist Public Sector organisations to deliver value to their citizens, improve performance and enable evidence-based decision making through the use of big data technologies and advanced analytics while imposing the highest levels of data governance standards and control measures. Mr. Dowling is particularly interested in how data and analytics can be used to identify and address national issues such as fraud, waste and error, and resource allocation in constrained markets.

An experienced technology professional, Mr. Dowling understands the importance of developing the wider eco-system that supports big data initiatives, and provides thought leadership on how public sector organisations can leverage both the private sector and academic institutions in order to establish centres of excellence in this area.

Prior to working for SAS, Mr. Dowling held senior roles in Microsoft and IBM working across both the public and private sectors. Living in Dublin, Mr. Dowling holds a BSc. from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

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Miguel Luengo-Oroz
Chief Data Scientist, UN Global Pulse

Dr. Miguel Luengo-Oroz is Chief Data Scientist at UN Global Pulse, an innovation initiative at the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, harnessing Big Data safely and responsibly as a public good. Miguel leads Global Pulse's data science team across a network of innovation labs in New York, Jakarta and Kampala helping United Nations system partners to innovate with new data sources. As the first data scientist at the United Nations, he has pioneered the use of big data (social, mobile, financial, postal, ...) for sustainable development and humanitarian action. He holds a PhD in biomedical engineering, MSc in cognitive sciences, MSc in telecommunications engineering and is GSP from Singularity University at NASA. Miguel is Ashoka fellow and MIT TR35. He is the founder of - a platform that leverages videogames, crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence for diagnosis of global health diseases.

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Nigel Smith
Head of Content, FutureLearn

Nigel Smith is Head of Content for FutureLearn, the leading social learning platform that offers over 500 free online courses from top universities around the world as well as other higher education and specialist education providers, including the British Council, European Space Agency and the National Film & Television School.

As a key member of the senior team since March 2014, Nigel and his team are responsible for working with the company’s diverse range of partners to develop and deliver high-quality courses that embrace FutureLearn's pedagogy based on telling stories, provoking conversation and celebrating progress. Under his leadership, courses that span from Propaganda and ideology in Everyday Life, a collaboration between the University of Nottingham and The British Library to An Introduction to Japanese Subcultures from Keio University in Toyko have been added to the FutureLearn portfolio.

Prior to joining FutureLearn, Nigel worked at the BBC for more than a decade and spent his last five years there leading digital teams for national radio networks including flagship stations Radio 4 and Radio 5 live. Here he oversaw the growth of successful podcasts including Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review and Grayson Perry’s Reith Lectures and introduced innovative ways for radio producers to deliver content to new audiences.

Nigel holds a BA in American Studies from Nottingham University and a Master's in Journalism from Goldsmiths College.

You can follow Nigel on Twitter @nigelcsmith where you'll mainly find him enthusing about the film club he runs in North London.

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Simon Reindl
Director, Advanced Product Delivery

An experienced coach, trainer and technologist, with over 18 years helping people adopt new technology and realising business value. He has experience in a wide range of business domains, in both the public and private sector around the world.

His professional experiences combine to enable him to deliver the full range of Professional Scrum Training courses (PSF, PSD .NET, PSM, PSPO) as a Professional Scrum Trainer, as well as coach organisations at all levels - from the technical to the managerial.

His passion is helping teams and organisations deliver better value by writing software that delights the customer. He does this by engaging with the people, facilitating their understanding and helping improve their performance.

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Morning Session - Day 3

Jørgen Elmeskov
Director General, Statistics Denmark

Education: Master, Economics (cand.polit.), University of Copenhagen 1981
Current position: National Statistician, Director General, Statistics Denmark since October 2013
Previous work
2009-13 - Director, Policy Studies Branch, OECD Economics Department and OECD Deputy Chief Economist
2009 - Acting OECD Chief Economist and Head of OECD Economics Department
2007-08 - Acting Head of OECD Economics Department
2007-09 - Director, Policy Studies Branch, OECD Economics Department
1999-2007 - Deputy Director, Policy Studies Branch, OECD Economics Department

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Mohammad Abdul Wazed
Director General, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS)

Mohammad Abdul Wazed, the Director General of Bangladesh bureau of Statistics (BBS), is an Additional Secretary to the Government of Bangladesh. Immediately earlier he was Director General at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) for more than two and half years.

He was formerly Joint Secretary and later Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief. As joint secretary he worked as Director of the Department of the Environment, and Director (Land Record) at Directorate of Land Records And Survey under Ministry of Land.

Mr. Wazed did his Honors and Masters in Law from University of Dhaka and MBA from Northern University Bangladesh. He did his Post Graduate Diploma in “Information Technology for Development” in 1990 from University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and “Project management Course” from Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand. Mr. Wazed was awarded Ph. D for his dissertation on “Mitigation of Climate Change Disasters through DRR and CCA with particular reference to the Rules, Regulations and Legal Framework of Bangladesh”.

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Arnold Dekker
Director, Earth Observation and Informatics Future Science Platform

In Europe From 1987 to 1999 Dr. Dekker developed innovative methods and applications using earth observation (EO) for inland and coastal water quality detection, monitoring and management. He joined CSIRO (Australia) in 1999 focusing on physical processes at an aquatic ecosystem scale, suited for management of the resource, or for integration into predictive and/or hind-casting models. Dr. Dekker is an international and national leader in defining methods for operationalising EO of aquatic ecosystems. He has led major national and international research projects. Dr. Dekker has 12 international positions influencing science, implementation and operationalisation of earth observation for tackling societal benefit areas. He has held an adjunct professorship at the University of Queensland from 2009 onwards. Since November 2012 he has been Director of the CSIRO Earth Observation & Informatics Future Science Platform covering all applications of Earth Observation to both renewable and non-renewable resources. Since 2013 he has been a council member of the Australian Marine Science Association, member of the Australian Government Space Coordination Committee and the Australian Earth Observation Coordinating Group. He co-represents Australia and CSIRO as part of the International Space Agencies as the CEOS 2016 Chair team and in water resources related GEO activities. Dr. Dekker is active in several UN-SDG task teams that are considering how to use earth observation for the 2030 SDG agenda.

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Frederic Pivetta
Real Impact Analytics

Frederic Pivetta is part of the founding team of Real Impact Analytics which aims at developing Big Data apps for telecom operators mostly in emerging countries. It counts more than 140 people and 4 offices in Belgium, Malaysia South Africa and Brazil. He founded Data-for-Good which has the objective of leveraging access to telecom data to offer insights on social issues, such as public health, financial inclusion or national statistics. Previously, Frederic was senior manager at McKinsey & Company focusing on strategic questions in the telecom and financial sectors. Frederic is graduated from Harvard University and Brussels University.

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Sumair Sayani
Vice President, The Demand Institute, Nielsen

Sumair Sayani is a Vice President at The Demand Institute and Nielsen. Sumair leads The Demand Institute’s delivery of key research programs.

Prior to this role, Sumair led the Nielsen’s Public Development & Sustainability Vertical for Middle East North Africa & Pakistan (MENAP) region working with a diverse range of clients from the private sector and government ministries to NGOs and multilateral donors. Sumair has been part of the Nielsen regional leadership team in the MENAP region for several years; before moving to MENAP, Sumair held several roles within Nielsen in the US and Netherlands in audit, finance and business analysis functions.

Before joining Nielsen, Sumair worked in the global audit team of Kinnevik BV, and at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Sumair has travelled extensively around the World, carrying out assignments in 38 countries across 5 continents.

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Afternoon Session - Day 3

Luis Crouch
Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, International Development Group at RIT

Luis Crouch is a Vice President and chief technical officer of the International Development Group at RIT. Crouch is a recognized international leader in providing high-level advice to governments involved in complex educational systems change. His areas of expertise include the generation of the consensus and focus needed to make difficult choices, and in the implementation of new and demanding changes. At RTI, Crouch leads work in key strategic areas, addressing important challenges in global health and youth issues, and in particular, measurement and finance issues regarding these two sectors. Luis holds a doctorate and master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Brant Zwiefel
Principal Architect, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft

Brant Zwiefel has over 20 years of experience designing customer engagement and mission critical systems for global organizations in health, education, government, telecommunications, finance and retail. In his current role as the Principal Architect of Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft, Brant is responsible for driving innovation and incubation programs in Public Sector, which spans health, education, public safety & national security agencies, as well as national and state and local governments.

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Paul Dommel
Global Executive for Government Health and Human Services, IBM

Paul is the IBM global sales leader for Government Health and Social Program clients. He has led strategy and transformation engagements for both commercial and government clients. Paul has managed teams in the US, AP, Europe, and Latin America. Prior to his current role, he directed an IBM consulting and systems integration business for state, local, and education clients in the Eastern US. He has also worked with Census organizations in the US and Europe to increase public access to data that facilitates policy making and economic development.

Before joining IBM, he consulted at Booz-Allen & Hamilton, led a research team advising on Mergers & Acquisitions, and worked on the US Congressional Staff. He has been active on the Board of Advisors of several technology services and advisory firms: Horsetail Technologies and The Lyting Group.

Paul attended the College of William and Mary where he majored in Economics and Government. He has an MBA from the University of South Carolina and lives outside of Washington DC with his wife and four children.

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Patrick Dunagan
Strategic Partnerships Manager, Google

Patrick Dunagan is a Strategic Partnerships Manager at Google where he is working to connect real-world users with emerging technologies developing in the realm of satellite imaging and automated feature extraction. Prior to this role, he was at Skybox Imaging where he worked as a Product Manager before the launch of their first satellite. Google acquired Skybox in the summer of 2014.

Previously, Patrick was a Captain in the United States Marine Corps where he served as an Intelligence Officer and Scout Sniper Platoon Commander. In this role, he integrated satellite imagery into all-source analysis on a daily basis while leading operations in Afghanistan and East Asia. Before joining the Marines, he worked in Kabul with the United Nations Development Programme, attempting to improve GIS capacity in local government offices. He also worked briefly for Insitu, a pioneering UAV company later acquired by Boeing.

Patrick has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Emmanuel Letouzé
Director and co-Founder, Data-Pop Alliance

Emmanuel Letouzé is the Director and co-Founder of Data-Pop Alliance, a global coalition on Big Data and development created in 2014 by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), MIT Media Lab and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) — joined by Flowminder as 4th core member in 2016— to “promote a people-centered Big Data revolution". He is a Visiting Scholar at MIT Media Lab and a Research Affiliate at HHI and ODI. Emmanuel is the author of UN Global Pulse's White Paper "Big Data for Development: Challenges and Opportunities" (2012), where he worked as Senior Development Economist, and was the lead author of the 2013 and 2014 OECD Fragile States reports. He is a regular contributor and speaker on Big Data and development, with specific interests in Big Data’s applications and implications for poverty, inequality, and vulnerability, as well as governance, ethics and privacy. He previously worked as an Economist with UNDP in New York (2006-09) on fiscal policy, post-conflict recovery and migration, including on the research team of the 2009 Human Development Report, and in Hanoi, Vietnam (2000-04) for the French Ministry of Finance as a technical assistant on public finance and official statistics. He holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Economic Demography from Sciences Po Paris, an MA in International Affairs from Columbia University, where he was a Fulbright Fellow, and a PhD in Demography from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Practical Information



Richard Murphy