Second Nature Symposium- Speakers

Keynote Speaker - Maria Damanaki


Maria Damanaki was born on the Greek island of Crete (31, May, 1952). Maria graduated with honors from the National Technical University of Athens with a Master of Science in chemical engineering. She has also a one-year Degree from Lancaster University on Gender issues. Maria Damanaki has authored four books on European issues, human rights, education and women’s rights.

Political Career

  • Active in the underground student opposition to the dictatorship in Greece (1970-1974).

  • Member of Parliament, elected continuously for the years 1977 – 1993, 2000 –2009. Also, first woman ever to be elected Vice-president of the Greek Parliament

  • President of the Coalition of Left and Progress (1991-1993). First woman ever to lead a Greek political party.

Professional Career

  • Working as engineer at Pechiney Aluminum Industries (1974).

  • Administrator at Ministry of Finance of Greece. Department of import-export planning. (1975-1976).

  • Section manager at Helector S.A. Department of energy and waste management (2003-2004).

European Commission

  • 2010–2014: With over 30 years of public service in Europe, Damanaki recently served as European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

  • Under her leadership, the Commission was able to bring fish populations back to healthier levels—from as few as five sustainable stocks in 2010 to up to 27 today.

  • The continuation of her fisheries policy efforts could lead to 15 million more tons of fish in the sea, 30 percent more jobs and the equivalent of over $2 billion in additional revenue.

  • She introduced and implemented the Blue Growth agenda for Seas and Oceans in Europe, which aimed to create 1.6 million new jobs and the equivalent of $750 billion in revenue by 2020 in sectors such as coastal tourism, ocean energy, and marine biotechnology. The Blue Growth was approved in unanimity by the European Council.

  • She established legislation to create a common framework for Marine Spatial Planning to map and better manage maritime activities across EU countries.

The Nature Conservancy

  • Maria Damanaki is the Global Managing Director for Oceans at The Nature Conservancy. She leads a global team focused on transforming how the world manages its oceans, including sustainable fisheries management, large-scale protection and restoration of coral reefs and other ecosystems.

Maria Damanaki chairs the UN Sustainability Committee for Blue Growth. She is a member of the Friends of Ocean Commission of the World Economic Forum.

She seats in the Board of Directors in Oxford Martin School Ocean Programme at the University of Oxford, in Center of Ocean Solutions (Stanford University) and Monaco Ocean Foundation.

Christina Zeri, Chemist Oceanographer, Senior Researcher, Institute of Oceanography, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR). Member of the Advisory Board of Institute of Oceanography/HCMR (2015-today). During the period 2008- 2011 she lectured at the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Actively involved in research regarding marine pollution by plastics and litter. Current participation in the CLAIM project (H2020- EU) “Cleaning marine Litter by developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European Seas”, which focuses on the development of innovative cleaning technologies and approaches, targeting the prevention and in situ management of visible and invisible marine litter in the Mediterranean and Baltic Sea. Other related projects: IPA-Adriatic ‘Derelict Fishing Gear Management in the Adriatic Sea-DeFishGear’ ( (project coordinator for HCMR), FP7- CLEANSEA (, SeasERA-MERMAID (, FP7-  PERSEUS (  Main research interests: marine pollution by heavy metals; marine litter – microplastics; dissolved organic matter cycling and its optical properties; interactions between trace metals and organic matter. She has coordinated 4 scientific projects. She participates in the National Monitoring for the implementation of Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy (MSFD) and she is the scientist responsible for ‘marine litter’ and ‘hazardous materials – trace metals’. Author of 45 scientific papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals – books –special editions, more than 100 conference proceedings.

Dr. Christos Ioakeimidis is a Marine Scientist with a multidisciplinary scientific background in the fields of Oceanology, Oceanography, Environmental Sciences, with a specialty on Marine Litter. He holds a Ph.D. on Marine Litter, including peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, posters/symposium papers, reports and book chapters. He has participated in several research and monitoring cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea (benthic litter, floating microplastics and on sediment) and he is member of working and expert groups on marine litter.

Christos has been employed in both private and public sectors, including research and academia, in positions of responsibility. He currently works for the UN Environment/Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), Barcelona Convention Secretariat and its MED POL Programme as a Marine Litter expert being involved in all the marine litter-related activities of the UN Environment/MAP. As part of the UN Environment/MAP he has been involved in the implementation of the Regional Plan on Marine Litter Management in the Mediterranean and managing the EU-funded Marine Litter MED project. He is the main author of the marine litter-related chapters of the UN Environment Mediterranean 2017 Quality Status Report (QSR) and has been actively involved in its development. Additionally, he is supporting Eastern Mediterranean countries in the development of their national monitoring programmes on marine litter, involved in the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and representing MEDPOL at the EC Technical Group on Marine Litter.

Through his involvement in the study of marine litter, Christos has developed collaborations in both the Mediterranean and Black Seas regions and has generated new knowledge in the field.

Paul Kidner is currently the General Manager of The People's Trust, an NGO whose mission is to relieve unemployment in Greece through entrepreneurship. In it's first year TPT has supported over 120 small businesses creating more than 220 new places of employment.

  Paul has over 20 years of experience in business development including in the IT, mobile, online media and social sectors. Directly prior to TPT, Paul launched and managed the PRAKSIS Business Coaching Center - which won the Prize for “Youth Entrepreneurship” at the Greek Education Business Awards - as well as creating a pioneering crowd-funding platform for micro-entrepreneurs seeking alternative sources of financing in Greece.

  Paul has worked as a consultant and development manager for NGO’s in Greece and abroad. He co-founded a start-up which developed a mobile and digital marketing technology that was shortlisted for investment by Piraeus Capital, and was subsequently used as the basis for one of Greece's largest banks in creating its very own digital loyalty platform. He is also a member of the board of the EUobserver, one of the key online news services on the European Union.

  He is a certified coach and OD consultant, with a focus on executive coaching, organizational and personal development, innovation and social impact.

Prof. Konstantin Aravossis is a Mechanical Engineer (Technical University of Aachen Germany) with an M.Sc. in Management Science from Imperial College - University of London. He has further been awarded a PhD by the National Technical University of Athens, focusing on Operations Research. He is an Assoc. Professor of “Planning, Management and Assessment of Technological and Environmental Investments at the NTUA (National Technical University of Athens) , Professor at the ATHENS MBA (NTUA - Athens University of Economics) since 1997 and a visiting Professor at Imperial College. He is the Coordinator of the “Environmental Economics and Sustainable Development Research Group” of the Sector of Industrial Management and Operations Research of the Mechanical Engineering School. He has been an adjunct Professor at the University of Thessaly (1997-2004) .

  He is President of the Coordinating Committee of the Institute of Production and Operations Management / Hellenic Management Association. He is President of the greek Branch of the Waste to Energy Research and Technology Council ( coordinated by Columbia University and associate researcher of the Earth Engineering Center -Columbia University. He has been an advisor of the deputy Minister of Culture in issues concerning the Olympic Games Constructions and their Post-Olympic utilization, President (2002-2006) of the Greek Association of Environmental Protection Companies, President (2008 – 2013) of the Hellenic Solid Waste Management Association (HSWMA) (now Hon. President) , President of the Ordinary Environmental Committee of the Technical Chamber of Greece (member since 2005) and member of Evaluation Committees for Investment and Energy Projects of the Ministry of Development. Furthermore, he hasbeen member of the Board of the Organisation of Labour Residencies (OEK).and General Manager of Environmental Companies.

Arjan van Timmeren   (The Netherlands, 1969) is full professor at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Urbanism, chair ‘Environmental Technology & Design’. Besides of this he is also Scientific Director of the joint initiative by TUD (Delft), MIT (Boston) and WUR (Wageningen) ‘AMS Institute’ (Institute for ‘Advanced Metropolitan Solutions’), in Amsterdam.

Over the years his work has focused on the integration of the concept of sustainable development in the field of architecture, urbanism and building technology in both practice and academia, with lately emphasis on Resilience, Urban Metabolism, Circular Economy and Smart cities, and -citizens.

Professor Martin Charter MBA FRSA is the Founding Director of The Centre for Sustainable Design ® at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) that was established in 1995. He is a former Visiting Professor in Sustainable Product Design at UCA and presently Professor of Innovation & Sustainability at UCA. Martin has 30 years’ experience in business sustainability with particular expertise in sustainable innovation, product sustainability and circular economy. Martin has sat on many international expert committees and advisory boards including World Resources Forum and Eco-innovation Observatory. He led and participated in UK government funded missions and expert groups focused on eco-design and ‘circular economy’ to Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He is the organiser of the Sustainable Innovation series of international conferences that has been organised for 21 years. Martin has authored research on new ‘green’ business models, sustainable innovation, product design and remanufacturing and marketing & sustainability; and was the convenor of ISO14006:2011, member of ISO and was UK expert to ISO TR 14062 and is presently convenor of ISO14006: 2018 an expert to BS8001:2017 (‘circular economy’) and IEC/ISO JWG ECD 62959:2018 (eco-design). Martin founded the charity Farnham Repair Café and has a growing interest in grassroots innovation related to ‘making, modifying and fixing’). Martin is an author and editor of many publications including Sustainable Solutions, Greener Marketing I & II, Eco-innovate (that has over 60,000 downloads) and ‘Designing for the Circular Economy (to be published in 2018), and is a regular speaker in conferences worldwide.

The  New Raw  is  a creative  practice that  seeks for better ways of applying circular economy concepts that push the boundaries  of technological  and social innovation;  by seeing plastic waste as resource.

  The studio's  method of in-situ recycling plastic waste with 3d printing has already been tested: (1)  for marine  plastic pollution;  (2) hyperlocal fabrication on refugee camps; (3) decentralized recycling/production on islands; (4) awareness projects on plastic pollution; (5) urban plastic waste; on different cases and locations over the past two years.
The  New Raw  was founded  in Rotterdam in  2015 by the architects Foteini Setaki and Panos Sakkas.
  Foteini and Panos are graduates of the Architectural School of Athens and hold a Master in Science in Building Technology from the Technical University of Delft (TUD).

Maria Giovanna Sandrini is the Brand and Corporate Communication Manager for the Aquafil Group, global producer of polyamide 6 and leader in the research of new production models for sustainable development. She is responsible for the development of brand awareness around the company’s ECONYL® nylon, a 100% regenerated yarn made from pre- and post-consumer waste. 

  Maria Giovanna also serves as Aquafil’s representative on the board for the Healthy Seas Initiative, Aquafil’s joint venture with the ECNC Group and Star Sock. The inititaive aims to reduce waste in oceans, such as fishing nets, by recycling collected nets into high-quality raw material for new products such as socks, swimwear, carpets and other textiles.

  Aquafil Group has a presence in seven countries, employing more than 2,000 staff throughout Europe, Asia and North America.

Symposium Moderator - Dr. Katerina Adam

Dr. Katerina Adam, Associate Professor at the School of Mining and Metallurgical  Engineering (SMME), NTUA is a Mining and Metallurgical Engineer with more than 35 years of experience on the Sustainable Development of Mineral Resources and Project Management in Greece and abroad.  She acquired her Diploma at NTUA, and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. as an NSF grant scholar from the University of Minnesota, USA.  

Her Research interests lies on Project Management, Policy making for the Sustainable Development of Natural Resources, SDI, Environmental Management and monitoring, Reclamation of old mine and industrial sites, Acid Mine Drainage, Health and Safety.  She is presently teaching a number of undergraduate and graduate courses related to her reaserch interests. She presently supervises three Ph.D Theses.

In the period 1983-2002 she acted as a Technical Advisor, Senior Researcher and Manager in Research Institutes, IGME & NTUA, and in the Mining Industry, METBA & TVX Hellas, and as Partner and Managing Director of the Environmental Consultancy Firm ECHMES Ltd (1994-1996, and 2002-2007).

She was Project Manager, Senior Research Associate, and/or External Expert in thirty eight (38) National and European Funded Projects, and she completed on behalf of UNDP a number of mine reclamation studies in the SW Balkans, 2011-2014.  

She participated as the Greek National Expert in drafting EU and Greek legislation on Mine Waste Management, (DIR 2006/21/EC, JMD 39624/2209/E103/2009) and relevant BREF (IPPC Bureau, Seville 2004, and its update in 2014).  She coordinated a multidisciplinary team for drafting a P.D. and one J.M.D following the Environmental Permitting Law 4014/2011, in 2014.  

She served as an evaluator in National and EU Funded projects. She authored or co-authored eighty four (84) articles in scientific journals and conference proceedings, cited in 700 international papers, more than hundred (100) Technical, Feasibility and Environmental Impact Studies.  She was a reviewer in International Journals, and member of the selection committee for an Assistant Professor post at the UCP, Spain within the Serra Hunter Program.