Benoit (Benny) Cullen is Director of Research and Innovation at Sport Ireland where he leads a multi-disciplinary team which carries out strategic research, evaluation and innovation to inform Irish sports policy and national investment strategies. In previous roles Benoit worked in the NGB sector and also managed the Sport Ireland LSP Unit.
Benoit and his team do large amounts of formative research and evaluation which underpins the development of innovative solutions to the challenges sports policy seeks to address. His team work in close collaboration with the other Sport Ireland Units, the National Governing Bodies of Sport, the Local Sports Partnerships and the third level institutions of Ireland.
When not doing research, Benoit loves being active in the outdoors with family and friends. At weekends you’ll most likely find him on a mountain either kayaking with friends, hiking with family or mountain biking with his wife and young son.
Mr Bjørn Berge serves as the Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary General since 1 March 2021.
As the Deputy Secretary General he is involved in a number of key areas of the work of the Organisation, including advising and overseeing the implementation of the Secretary General’s reform agenda, in line with the decisions and priorities of the Committee of Ministers.
His priorities include shaping the Programme and Budget, while ensuring that the Organisation’s activities have maximum impact in advancing democracy, human rights and the rule of law. He also oversees the Council of Europe’s staff policy, as well as other key areas of the work of the Organisation.
Before taking up his post, Mr Berge was for a period of four years Director General and Secretary to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Between 2009-2017, he served as Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General, helping to prepare, co-ordinate and implement a number of comprehensive reforms of the Organisation.
Mr Berge has over thirty years of international professional experience.
As a former Norwegian diplomat, he served as International Adviser to the Prime Minister and as Deputy Director of the Foreign Minister’s Cabinet responsible for all matters related to Parliament. He also served as speechwriter to three Norwegian Foreign Ministers.
Mr Berge has published several books on a range of issues relating to speech writing and speeches, as well as articles on the Council of Europe’s mandate and work.
He was a Fulbright Scholar and holds a M.A. in International Relations from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington D.C., USA.
Carmen Pérez González is an associate professor of Public International Law at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain). She has written extensively in the area of International and EU sports law, anti-doping and the protection of athletes’ fundamental rights. Between 2005 and 2014 Carmen served as a Member of the Spanish Committee on Sport Discipline (Spanish Sports Council). Since August 2018, she is the President of the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Association. Between September 2015 and July 2016, she served as Member of the High-Level Group on Sport Diplomacy established by the European Commission.
She has been the project leader of a research project funded by the Spanish Sports Council on the role of sport in EU Law a project partner of two Erasmus+ funded projects focused on EU Sport diplomacy. She is the Chair Holder of the UNESCO Chair ELIS (Education Linkage through International Sports) in Sport diplomacy and development of a human rights culture through sport established in 2021 at UC3M.