Key speakers

Ambassador David A. Balton is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries in the Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science. He is responsible for coordinating the development of US foreign policy concerning oceans and fisheries and for overseeing US participation in international organisations dealing with these issues. His portfolio includes managing US foreign policy issues relating to the Arctic and Antarctica.

Ambassador Balton has functioned as the lead US negotiator on a wide range of agreements relating to oceans and fisheries and has chaired numerous international meetings. His Arctic Council experience includes co-chairing the Arctic Council Task Forces that produced the 2011 Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic and the 2013 Agreement on Cooperation on Marine Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic. He is presently serving as Chair of the Senior Arctic Officials.
Ambassador Balton previously served for six years as Director of the Office of Marine Conservation in the Department of State and for 12 years in the Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

Ambassador Balton received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1981 and his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1985. He has also appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. (juggling oranges).

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Mr. Tan began his career at the People’s Association in 1983 and held various leadership positions. From 1992, he was Deputy Executive Director of the Chinese Development Assistance Council and became its Executive Director in 1997. He also served as Chief Executive Officer of Business China from 2007 to 2009. He received the Public Service Medal (PBM) in 2002.
In 2006, Mr. Tan was elected Member of Parliament and subsequently appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry, and Information, Communications and the Arts in July 2009. In November 2010, he was promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary for both portfolios. He served as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports (May 2011 − October 2012), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (May 2011−April 2014) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (November 2012−April 2014). He served as Mayor of Central Singapore District from 2012 to 2014.
In May 2014, Mr. Tan served as Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office, and Culture, Community and Youth (May 2014−September 2015). Mr. Tan is currently Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Manpower. He has also chaired the Government Feedback Unit REACH since October 2015.
Mr. Tan graduated with a BA (Hons) from the National University of Singapore in 1983.

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Guzel Ulumbekova, President of the Board, Association of Medical Societies for Quality of Medical Care and Medical Education; Head, Higher School of Healthcare Organisation and Management, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Medical Communities for the Quality of Medical Care and Medical Education, Chairman of the Commission on Continuing Education of the National Medical Chamber, member of the Coordinating Council of the Ministry of Healthcare of Russia for Development of Continuing Medical and Pharmaceutical Education, member of the Board and Executive Secretary of the Russian Society for Healthcare Organisation and Public Health.
Since 2003, she has been heavily involved in expert activities on healthcare organisation at the Civic Chamber and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, the State Duma Committee on Healthcare, the Strategic Research Centre of the Ministry for Economic Development of the Russian Federation, the WHO Council for Evidence-Based Medicine, etc. Guzel Ulumbekova is the author of the books Russia’s Healthcare. What Needs to Be Done (2010) and Russia’s Healthcare. What Needs to Be Done-2 (2015) and a textbook for medical schools entitled Public Health and Healthcare (2011); she is a contributor to and a member of the editorial board of the national guide Public Health and Healthcare (2013).

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Anne Husebekk was elected Rector (Chancellor) of UiT The Arctic University of Norway in 2013, and took up office on 1st August 2013. As Rector, she is also Chair of the Board of Governors of the University.

Professor Husebekk is a physician by training (MD, specialist in immunology and transfusion medicine), and has a leave of absence from her position as professor in immunology at the Faculty of Health Sciences while serving as Rector. Her field of research is platelet immunology - specifically fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT), a potentially life threatening condition affecting fetuses and newborns – and she has been head of a research group studying the alloimmune response from basic biology all the way to a prophylactic treatment for pregnant women aiming at preventing the immune response and FNAIT. She served as vice president of the International Society for Transfusion Medicine from 2008 to 2012.

Having served as a member of the board of the Division for Society and Health at the Research Council of Norway from 2012 to 2015, professor Husebekk has recently been appointed as a member of the board of the Research Council’s Division for Science.

In January 2014, professor Husebekk was appointed by Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg as the Norwegian member of a Norwegian-Swedish-Finnish group of experts tasked with identifying potential areas of business development in the Scandinavian Arctic. The group’s report - Growth from the North - was presented at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø in January 2015.

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Educated at the University of Helsinki, Ph.D., Mauri Ylä-Kotola is President of the University of Lapland located in Rovaniemi, Finland. Prior to taking up his current position, Ylä-Kotola worked as Rector of the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki. From 2007 to 2011, he was also Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Electronic Library Fin-E-Lib.

Mauri Ylä-Kotola's areas of academic expertise include, e.g., the thematics and problematics of the information society, media technologies, content production, computer-mediated communications and electronic aesthetics. He has undertaken research in the new forms and methods of interactive media, especially synthetic multi-user environments, and has recently been working on a project on philosophical questions of virtual reality technologies and spatial interfaces. Ylä-Kotola regularly lectures at various European universities. He has been a member of several scientific committees, including the Committee of Media Culture Programme of the Finnish Academy, the Board of the C.I.T.I. Institute (New University of Lisbon), the Committee of EMMABA, and the Board of the European Institute for a Sustainable Information Society.

Mauri Ylä-Kotola has received two honorary titles: Doctor of Humane Letters (Litterarum humanarum doctor) in 2008 from the Board of the University of Urbana (Ohio, United States of America) and Honorary Professor of The Pedagogical University of Murmansk (Russian Federation) in 2009.

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