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2019 RSA CEE Conference Plenary Speakers

Metropolises and Peripheries of CEE Countries: New Challenges for EU, National and Regional Policies

Plenary Session: Polarisation and peripheralisation in CEE


Dr Thilo Lang, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Department for Regional Geography of Europe, Germany: “Responding to increasing socio-economic Polarisation in CEE”

Thilo Lang is Head of Department at the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig, and lecturer at the Global and European Studies Institute of the University of Leipzig. He completed his doctorate in Human Geography at University of Potsdam, Germany and at Durham University, UK. His research interests include polarisation processes at multiple levels, innovation outside agglomerations, regional change, transnational comparative urban and regional studies, and shrinking cities and urban regeneration.



Professor Ilona Pálné Kovács, Institute for Regional Studies, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary: “Governance turn and territorial polarisation in CEE countries”

Ilona Pálné Kovács is a research professor at the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Science, and a full-time professor at the Department for Political Science and International Studies at the University of Pécs.

She graduated as a lawyer (1978), obtained a PhD (1988), had been appointed a doctor by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2000), followed by her habilitation (University of Pécs, 2003). She deals with the management of regional policy, regional governance and local governments and is a leader of a doctoral programme for political studies at the University of Pécs. Ilona conducted many domestic and international projects and has participated in several FP, ESF, INTERREG, TEMPUS, ESPON, UNESCO, CoR, DG Regio programmes. Several times she has been a member of think tanks of the national government and Council of Europe, Soros Foundation, World Bank, AER, preparing legislation and other documents, reports on local government, and regional development.

She was elected as a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2013. Having published hundreds of publications, one of her recent ones is: “Cohesion Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: the challenge of learning”, In: Piattoni, S. and Polverari, L. (Eds.) (2016) Handbook on Cohesion Policy and the EU, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp. 302-325.

Plenary Session: EU Cohesion Policy and CEE

Dr Aleksandra Kisielewska, European Commission, DG Regional and Urban Policy, Belgium

Aleksandra Kisielewska (PhD) is a policy analyst in the European Commission, DG Regional and Urban Policy, Unit B1 – Policy Development and Economic Analysis. She is a member of the team responsible for the negotiations of the Cohesion policy regulatory package 2021-2027.

Previously she worked in the Polish administration where she was responsible for preparing the Polish position on Cohesion policy post 2013 and finally for the European Structural and Investment Funds regulations 2014-2020. In 2015-2019, she worked for the Permanent Representation of Poland to the EU, as a head of Regional and Cohesion Policy Unit.

She completed her doctorate at Warsaw School of Economics in 2011. Her research interests at that time was European integration, international negotiations, EU budget.

Dr Samira Barzin, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

(picture and bio will follow)

Dr Piotr Żuber, Warsaw University, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies and Ministry for Investment and Economic Development, Poland

Education: Master’s Degree in Geography (Warsaw University) and PhD in Economics. Academic (Warsaw University, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies) and practitioner in the EU cohesion policy, regional policy and territorial development issues. 25 years of professional experience in design, programming, monitoring, evaluation and implementation of national, structural, regional and EU cohesion policies. Former Director of the Department of Structural Policy Coordination in the Ministry of Regional Development, responsible for preparation of various programming documents regarding EU cohesion policy, national regional and spatial policy and national socio-economic strategies (recently Strategy for Responsible Development of Poland until 2020) as well as monitoring and evaluation of those documents and policy fields.

During Polish Presidency in the EU Council (2011) Chairman of the Structural Action Working Group working on legislative package on the cohesion policy. Member of various European and national bodies dealing with cohesion and territorial issues, including Committee for Spatial Development of Poland. Currently employee of Warsaw University, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies and on unpaid leave from the Ministry for Investment and Economic Development in Poland. Author of many publications concerning the EU cohesion policy, regional development and territorial matters.

Statistics Poland Plenary Session: New Statistics – New Opening

Dr Gabriella Vukovich, President Hungarian Central Statistical Office (since 2010), Hungary

She graduated from the faculty of Law at the Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary) and École Nationale d’Administration, Paris, in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary and completed training in demography at the Demographic Research Institute. From 2004–2010 she was a Manager in DEMO-STAT Consultants – Social Studies, Demography, Statistics. In 2015 she obtained a Honorary doctorate ’Doctor honoris causa’  from the University of Miskolc, Hungary.

She represents Hungarian official statistics at high-level meetings within the statistical systems of various international organisations, such as UN High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building and UN Statistical Commission.

Ms. Gabriella Vukovich was also a member of the editorial board of the periodical “Hungarian Statistical Review”, the Advisory Board of the European Population Forum, the board of the Siena Group on Social Statistics, the “Future of European social statistics” Task Force of Eurostat, and the board of the “Generations and Gender” research programme of the UN.

Dr Dominik Rozkrut, President Statistics Poland, Warsaw, Poland

Having graduated from School of Economics and Management at the University of Szczecin (Poland), Dominik Rozkrut holds a PhD in economics, statistics, econometrics and time series analysis since 2003. Researcher at the University of Szczecin. He completed scientific internship as research assistant at School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts USA (2003) as well as internship at Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland (2008, 2015) and UNU-MERIT (The United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology).

From 2008 to 2016 he worked as Director of Statistical Office in Szczecin where he conducted surveys on science, technology and innovations, information society as well as transport and communication. As a member of several intergovernmental working groups, he successfully manages statistical cooperation with international organizations in Europe and world-wide, leading works on various fields. He represents Polish official statistics in the high-level meetings within the statistical systems of various international organizations. In his capacity of Statistics Poland’s President, he presents Poland’s national position at European Statistical System Committee (ESSC), Conference of European Statisticians of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (CES UNECE), United Nations Statistical Commission (UNSC) as well as in the Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (CSSP OECD).

Dominik Rozkrut has also been elected as a member of executive or advisory bodies setting strategic work directions of the mentioned  international organizations. These are: European Statistical System Partnership Group (ESS PG), Vision Implementation Group (VIG), High Level Group on Quality (HLG-Q) and Friends of the Chair Group on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics (FOC-FPOS). Moreover, Mr. Dominik Rozkrut is a member of the Editorial Committee of the ESS Report – a yearly publication on the achievements of the European Statistical System.

Joint Plenary session: National Bank of Poland and Lublin City Council

Dr Piotr Boguszewski, National Bank of Poland, Poland



Piotr Boguszewski is Head of Enterprise Research Division at National Bank of Poland and lecturer at the Faculty of Economic Sciences (University of Warsaw). His professional activities are focused on economic condition of non-financial enterprises analysed form the perspective of central bank, esp. on the problems of business climate assessment and on the role of these firms in transmission mechanisms. He coordinates business surveys conducted in this area within the National Bank of Poland and he is responsible for the cooperation with the World Economic Forum on the Global Competitiveness Report.



Dr Mariusz Sagan, Lublin City Council, Poland

Mariusz Sagan is the Head of Strategy and Entrepreneurship Department in Municipal Administration of the City of Lublin, Mayor’s plenipotentiary responsible for special economic zone. Co-developer of Lublin 2020 Development Strategy where development plan for the leading city in eastern Poland is presented. Sagan initiated such programmes as Study in Lublin, Lublin IT Upland, Lublin Medicine – medical cluster, and Life Science Cluster (all the projects are implemented in Lublin).

Expert and practitioner in stimulating strategic development, promoting entrepreneurship, devising development strategies of cities and attracting international investors. Since 2009 – associate professor in the Collegium of Business Administration in Warsaw School of Economics. Author and co-author of over 100 publications on regional and urban development, international business, and company management; this includes a considerable number of articles in American and British magazines, e.g. Cross Cultural Management, Managing Service Quality, Marketing Education Review, Chinese Management Studies. He presented his research outcomes at conferences in several countries, e.g. China, the USA, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Portugal, etc. In the years 2014-2016 a member of Global Advisory Board in Center for Leadership and Management at Rutgers University in the USA.

RSA Polish Section Plenary Session: Social and Economic Development in Central and Eastern Europe: Stability and Change after 1990

Panellists (please click here for bios):

  • Grzegorz Gorzelak, Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Maciej Smetkowski, Centre for European Regional and Local Studies (EUROREG), University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Agnieszka Fihel, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Tomasz Komornicki, Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  • Martin Ferry, European Policies Research Centre, United Kingdom

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