President of Institut Mérieux and the Fondation Mérieux

Born in 1938, Alain Mérieux holds a PhD in Pharmaceutics. He served as an intern in hospitals in the Lyon area and subsequently followed the PMD program at Harvard Business School (1968). In 1963, he founded bioMérieux and has been Chairman of this company ever since. bioMérieux now ranks 7th amongst the top ten in vitro diagnostics companies worldwide. The company, which is present in more than 150 countries through 39 subsidiaries and a large network of distributors, has close to 6,500 employees worldwide.

In 1968, Alain Mérieux also became Chairman and CEO of the Institut Mérieux, which was initially founded by his grandfather, Marcel Mérieux. He continued in this position until 1994, acquiring the Institut Pasteur Production in France (1985) and Connaught Laboratories in North America (1989). During his tenure, the Institut Mérieux became the world leader in the fields of human and animal vaccines.

In 1991, he became Chairman of Transgene, a biotechnology company specialising in the immunotherapy of cancers and infectious diseases, and continued in this position until October 2002. From 1986 to 1998, he served as Premier Vice-President of the Rhône-Alpes Regional Assembly, where he was in charge of International Relations, Economic Development, Research and Higher Education.

Alain Mérieux is the Chairman of the Mérieux family holding company, which took the historic name of Institut Merieux in December 2009. Institut Mérieux comprises four international companies in the healthcare field: bioMérieux, Transgene, Silliker, and ABL (Advanced Bioscience Laboratories), as well as Mérieux Développement, a new investment company focusing on healthcare. Alain Mérieux also chairs the Fondation Mérieux, an independent family foundation with public interest status. Fondation Mérieux works in developing countries to strengthen their capacities in clinical biology and fight infectious diseases. He is Honorary Chairman and administrator of the Fondation Christophe et Rodolphe Mérieux, created in 2001 at the Institut de France to help fight infectious diseases in developing countries by supporting local research, training, healthcare and social integration activities.

Commander of the National Order of Merit and Commander of the Legion of Honour in France, he also holds a number of medals of honour from Brazil, Poland and Mali.

Inserm Research Director

Marie-Paule Kieny spent most of her career at the World Health Organization (WHO). A virology specialist, she became a public health policy strategist there. Marie-Paule Kieny has rejoined Inserm where she brings her expertise to international institutional collaborations.

WHO Director-General Envoy for Multilateral Affairs

Michèle Boccoz is driving and strengthening the areas of health diplomacy, strategic engagement, and communication for WHO. An experienced diplomat from France, she served as the French Government’s Ambassador for the fight against HIV/AIDS and communicable diseases. Her time as a representative for the French Government included collaboration with a wide range of partners, including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the United Nations Office in Geneva. From 2001 to 2007, she served as Executive Director for International Affairs at the Institute Pasteur.

Her involvement in health diplomacy dates to her term of office in Geneva, during which she participated in Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland’s transition into the WHO Director-General role. She was instrumental in supporting the International Health Regulations and emergency preparedness and response efforts. She also coordinated the European Union’s positions for the negotiations on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Ms Boccoz was trained in diplomacy and is an alumnus of France’s Ecole normale supérieure and École nationale d’administration (National School of Public Administration).

Digital Health Global Initiative

Dr. Mukesh Kapila, CBE, is a Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs at the University of Manchester. He has extensive experience in the policy and practice of international development, global health, human rights and diplomacy, disaster and conflict management, human rights and humanitarian affairs.
He served the United Nations in 2015-2016 as Special Adviser for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, and then in 2018-2019 to found and direct the innovative Defeat-NCD Partnership. In 2019, he joined the new Digital Health Global Initiative to help shape its development and progress its ambitious agenda to advance Universal Health Coverage as part of the SDGs.

His memoir Against a Tide of Evil, was published in 2013 and he is the curator of a popular blog series called Flesh and Blood.
Previously he was Under Secretary General at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Earlier in his career he served the United Nations in different roles as Special Adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and then Special Adviser at the UN Mission in Afghanistan. Subsequently, he led the UN’s largest country mission in 2003-4 as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sudan, and then he became a Director at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Prior to working at the UN, Professor Kapila was at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s in Overseas Development Administration (subsequently Department for International Development), initially as the senior health and population adviser and later as the first head of a new Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department that he set up.
His earliest career was in clinical medicine, primary health care, and public health in the British National Health Service in Oxford, Cambridge, and London, where he helped set up the UK’s first national HIV and AIDS programme at the Health Education Authority, becoming its deputy director.

Professor and Chair
of Diagnostics Research
London School of Hygiene
& Tropical Medicine

Dr. Peeling is currently Professor and Chair of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Trained as a medical microbiologist, Dr. Peeling had been acting Research Coordinator and head of Diagnostics Research at the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), based in the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Chief of the Canadian National Laboratory for Sexually Transmitted Diseases before assuming her current position.

She is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications, authoritative reviews and book chapters. She has a strong interest in ethical issues associated with conducting research in developing countries and was appointed the Chair of the WHO Research Ethics Review Committee 2004-6. Dr. Peeling has been listed in Who’s Who in Canada since 2003. She was the recipient of a YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award, a 5NR Award for Canadian Leaders of Sustainable Development. Her research was featured in a Discovery Channel documentary on Chlamydia infection and infertility, and in Fighting Syphilis, a documentary in the highly acclaimed BBC Kill or Cure series.

Professor at James P Grant School of Public Health (JPGSPH), BRAC University, Bangladesh

Kaosar had served BRAC in Bangladesh for over 26 years and completed her tenure as the Director, BRAC Health, Nutrition and Population Programme. Dr Afsana has started to work for BRAC JPGSPH since its inception in 2004 and became Professor in 2011. She is an MD with an MPH from Harvard University, USA and PhD from Edith Cowan University, Australia. She has been honored with many prestigious awards for her academic achievements and contribution to maternal and child health and women’s empowerment. Dr Afsana has authored books and widely published papers in journals and books. She represents BRAC JPGSPH and BRAC at national and global levels playing a critical role in policy-making and planning and providing technical guidance, particularly, in sexual, reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health and nutrition and health system strengthening.

Director, Dialogues Geneva

Jean Freymond has developed, and experienced with new approaches in capacity development, problem solving, and conflict transformation, focusing on countries under stress and countries affected by conflict, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the African Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa Regions, as well as several countries in West Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Jean Freymond served as Director, Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations (CASIN), which he founded in 1979. He heads Dialogues Geneva (D@G), which aim is to create the conditions for stakeholders to address and to solve complex and conflictual societal issues. He is the initiator of the Network for Governance, Entrepreneurship & Development (GE&D), which objective is to simultaneously foster entrepreneurship and create the conditions for enhancing the capacity of public administration through innovative capacity development. Prior to his appointment as Director of CASIN, Jean Freymond has held several academic positions at the Colegio de Mexico, the Institute of International Relations of the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago, and as co-director of the Diplomacy Training Programme of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He is also a co-founder and the Executive Director of the Business Humanitarian Forum (BHF).

Member of the Paris and Brussels Bars

Jean-Luc is the managing partner of the Firm Soulier Strategic Lawyering. He obtained an LL.M from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and worked as a foreign associate in the New York- based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell in the early 1980’s before getting back to France and developing the international practice of the Firm.


Jean-Luc has over 30 years’ experience in providing guidance and counseling to French and foreign listed and unlisted corporate clients operating in a wide range of sectors with respect to their operations and business dealings in France and Europe. His practice covers M&As and international corporate transactions, international contracts, competition & antitrust law as well as international litigation and arbitration. He also provides legal advice to associations, foundations and endowment funds.


Jean-Luc Soulier served as Director of the World Law Group and President of the World Law Group Marketing Committee from 2003 to 2005 and acts as ICC arbitrator since 2003. He is a member of several professional associations and the author, co-author or co-editor of numerous national and international publications.