President of the board
Strongly interested in public affairs from early on, Sami Kanaan has a very rich political experience. He was elected to the Parliament of the City of Geneva (Municipal Council) in 1997, then to the Parliament of the Canton of Geneva (Grand Council) in 2001, before his election to the Executive Council of the City of Geneva (Administrative Council) in spring 2011. Reelected twice in 2015 and 2020, he is currently in charge of the Department of Culture and Digital Transition, after having been in charge of the Department of Culture and Sport.
Mayor of Geneva on three occasions, he put at the center of his years as Mayor, the dynamic of borders which can operate as ditches or on the contrary as bridges, the cultural and creative economy, support for the media, the digital transition and the resilience of cities in times of crisis.
He is vice-president of the Union of Swiss Cities and he also chairs since 2016 the Federal Commission for Children and Youth (CFEJ) on a mandate from the Swiss Federal Council.
Vice president of the board
Beatrice Ferrari is the Director of International Affairs for the Canton of Geneva. She holds a doctorate in science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, where she specialized in urban development issues related to innovation and globalization. She has developed extensive experience in international relations, acquired in particular at the State Secretariat for Training, Research and Innovation (SEFRI) where she was head of bilateral relations.
Dorina Xhixho is currently a member of the Executive Management at the Department of Culture and Digital Transition of the City of Geneva in her capacity of political advisor to the magistrate Mr. Sami Kanaan.
Political scientist and lawyer by profession, she is an expert in advocacy processes and political analysis and strategy. She has more than ten years of experience in multilateral diplomacy, negotiations and lobbying. Albanian diplomat to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations based in Geneva in her early career, she then worked at the International Telecommunication Union, operating as a project manager on digital innovation initiatives. More recently, she coordinated the development of the Legislative Program of the Administrative Council of the City of Geneva 2020-2025. She has also acquired extensive practical experience in the field of advocacy initiatives for International Non-Governmental Organizations and political campaigns.
Ms. Xhixho is particularly committed to human rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, and she has campaigned for many years at different levels for the rights of women and minorities. Swiss and Albanian, she speaks French, Albanian, English and Italian.
Olivier Coutau has been the Delegate to International Geneva since 2008. He worked previously as an ICRC delegate for 15 years in the field (Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East), and at headquarters (operations in Latin America and diplomatic adviser) before coming to work for the government of Geneva in 2005.
Olivier Coutau holds a Diploma of Advanced European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges as well as a Diploma in Art Market Studies from the University of Zurich.
Partner Invited to the Board
Andrea Aeby is currently Counselor for Peace & Security at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN Office at Geneva. She is also in charge of issues related to cities and other local and regional governments.
As a human rights, peace and global governance expert, she has worked for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Universities of Geneva and Bern, the OSCE and the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police. She has an extensive experience in political analysis and strategy, the development of diplomatic initiatives and the building of partnerships with State and civil society actors. She has first-hand experience in developing the Swiss Government strategy as Host State of International Geneva. In the first part of her carrier, she covered the Middle East and North Africa, and then Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Andrea holds a Law degree from the University of Fribourg and a Master degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International Studies.