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.

Ambassador of France in Belgium since september 2009

A career diplomat, Michèle Boccoz has an atypical career path. After holding several diplomatic posts (primarily multilateral: the European Union, the United Nations and the OSCE in posts in Paris, Vienna and Geneva), Michele entered the private sector when she became Director of International Affairs at Institut Pasteur, where she headed the Institut Pasteur International Network (more than 8,000 people in 30 institutes), and then Director of International Communications at the Paris-based headquarters of Veolia Environnement. She returned to France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Minister.

Michèle Boccoz, who continues to take an interest in international health, is Vice-President of the Agency for Preventive Medicine (AMP) and has a seat on the governance board of the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI).

Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

Former Chief scientific Advisor at Bill Gates Catalyst 3 (bgC3) Boris Nikolic received his MD from Zagreb Medical School and his clinical training from the University’s Medical Center, University of Zagreb, Croatia. In 1994, Dr. Nikolic joined the Harvard Graduate Program in Immunology. Subsequently, Boris continued to serve in roles of increasing authority including postdoctoral fellowship in transplantation immunology, and Instructor in Surgery, Instructor in Medicine to Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Between 2002 and 2010, he led an advanced immunology laboratory for tolerance induction/stem cell transplantation in the Renal Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Boris is the author of over 60 articles and patent applications and co-founder of three biotechnology companies. He is the inventor of the symptom based diagnostic methodology based on comprehensive nucleic acid and protein testing for major medical conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis, septicemia and diarrhea.

His research focused on the area of immunogenetics and translational immunology, investigating immunological tolerance induction for transplantation and a therapy of autoimmunity. Dr. Nikolic received numerous international and national awards, managed international teams of scientists and supervised over forty Ph.D. and medical students as well as research and clinical fellows in immunology, hematology, infectious diseases and transplantation surgery. He has been selected as a field expert scientist for peer review committees, study sections, and professional associations. In addition, he served as an advisor for private equity and venture capital firms evaluating numerous medical diagnostics, medical devices and biotechnology companies worldwide.

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.

Executive Director of the World Faiths
Development Dialogue
Berkeley University

Katherine Marshall has worked for over three decades in the field of international development, with a focus on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. She is a senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the Governmental Department. She is also a senior advisor for the World Bank. Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments, many focused on Africa. From 2000-2006 her mandate covered ethics, values, and faith in development work, as counsellor to the World Bank’s President. She served earlier as Country Director in the World Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa. She led the Bank’s work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. She also worked extensively on Eastern Africa and Latin America. As a long time manager she was involved in many task forces and issues, among them exercises addressing leadership issues, conflict resolution, the role of women, and issues for values and ethics.

Ms. Marshall has been closely involved in the creation and development of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and is its Executive Director. She serves on the Boards of several NGOs and advisory groups, including AVINA Americas, the Niwano Peace Prize International Selection Committee, and the Opus Prize Foundation. She is a board member of IDEA (International Development Ethics Association) and the International Anti-Corruption Advisory Conference (IACC) advisory council. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as a core group member of the Council of 100, an initiative of the World Economic Forum to advance understanding between the Islamic World and the West, and was a Trustee of Princeton University (2003-9). She was joint moderator of the Fes Forum which is part of the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music since its inception. She speaks and publishes widely on issues for international development.

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).

Director for STI, HIV/Aids and Viral Hepatitis Department of the Ministry of Health of Brazil

Adele S. Benzaken is the Director for STI, HIV/Aids and Viral Hepatitis Department of the Ministry of Health of Brazil, she works primarily in the field of STI prevention, control and treatment, being a permanent consultant of PAHO as well. Adele S. Benzaken graduated in Medicine from the Federal University of Amazonas (1978). Made her residency (1980) and expertise (1985) in Gynecology. PhD in Public Health at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (CPqL & MD / Manaus). She was also a director of Tropical Dermatology and Venereology Foundation Alfredo da Matta in Manaus, Amazonas, in the period from 2007 to 2010. Member of the Expert Panel on STIs including HIV, World Health Organization (WHO) from December 2008 to July 2013. Official Program office of the UNAIDS / Brazil in Brasilia from April 2012 to November 2013 and currently Director of the Department of STI / AIDS and Viral Hepatitis of the Ministry of Health of Brazil. She is also an Advisor of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and is a Vice-Chairman of the Committee for Validation of Elimination of Vertical Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in Latin America and the Caribbean, hosted by PAHO. Dr. Adele Benzaken works primarily with STI and Aids assistance, prevention and control.

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.

CEO at Humanitarian Leadership Academy

Saba joined the Humanitarian Leadership Academy as the first CEO in September 2015 after 22 years of frontline response to humanitarian crises.

Saba was previously responsible for the overall direction, leadership and coordination of Save the Children programmes in Jordan for both development and humanitarian response. Saba is fluent in Arabic and English, and was educated at Jordan University and the University of Framingham in Boston, USA. Throughout her 20-year career in the fields of engineering, development and humanitarian response, Saba has worked in some of the most challenging countries and territories in the world, including Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Yemen, Tunisia, Libya and Azerbaijan.

One of her key priorities since joining the Academy is to ensure that we remember the human that we are working for.