Mariya Gabriel is the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport. Under her leadership, the new Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, and the cultural strand of Creative Europe programmes (2021-2027) are being implemented. Her main priorities are excellence in research, innovation and education (ERA, EEA, EIA); tackling the R&I divide in Europe; Europe as a leader in strategic innovation areas through the digital and green transition, with a particular attention for young people and regions. “No one left behind” and “Think out of the box” are her mottos.
Between 2017 and 2019, Mariya Gabriel was European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. She proposed the new Digital Europe programme, worked on EU Strategy on AI, disinformation online, cybersecurity and launched the EuroHPC strategy. She has extensively engaged with external EU partners to enhance digital cooperation, in particular with the Western Balkans and Africa. She was elected as Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009, 2014 and 2019. Mariya Gabriel is First Vice-President of the European People’s Party (EPP), and, since 2012, Vice-President of EPP Women.
Mark Cutajar was born on the 6th August, 1971. Graduated as Mathematics and Physics teacher in 1994. Later he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Sport Organization and Management. He was an established journalist for twenty years winner of three television awards and being the first commentator in Maltese history to comment live a World Cup Final in Paris 1998.Mark occupied important senior roles in sport, gaining extensive knowledge in theadministrative field. President of a local Waterpolo club and a Team Manager of a local Premier football club, both clubs managed to win prestigious honors on the Island. Appointed Director of Sport of the Malta Olympic Committee in 2009, period when Malta got the best ever results away from the island. He participated as official In London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games. He acted as chef de mission during Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and served in the technical commission of the Games of Small States of Europe He represented Malta in DG Meetings and is responsible for major sports reforms that were happening in the entity. Led the SportMalta team during the Presidency of the council where Malta got consensus on a new Work Plan for Sport. In 2015 he was appointed as European Representative on the Commonwealth Advisory Board for Sport.As from 2013, he was instrumental for the transformation and growth of the Maltese Sport Council to SportMalta. The entity, during these years managed to be recognized locally and in the international scene, winning recently the #BeActive Workplace Award.
Marta Lazaro Soler is a Senior consultant and researcher at KEA. Marta holds a Law degree from Deusto University (Spain) and a MA in European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe (Natolin Campus, Poland). She has 7 years of interdisciplinary experience working on culture and sport in Mexico, Brussels and Spain across the non-profit, public and private sectors. Since 2022, Marta has been the coordinator of the SHARE initiative (SportHub: Alliance for Regional development in Europe) supported by the European Commission DG EAC. She has been conducting capacity building activities in different European regions to raise awareness and build capacity among regional stakeholders from the sport sector and public administration on how to access EU Structural Funds for sport projects to contribute to regional economic and social development. Marta has also worked on the development of a guidance document for sport clubs to become greener and of a guide on how to unlock EU Structural funds for the sport sector, as part of the SHARE initiative. She speaks Spanish, English, French and Basque.