Hayley is a Professor of Disability Sport at Leeds Beckett University, England. She is an internationally recognised expert in the area of disability, PE and youth sport. Hayley is committed to including all young people with disabilities within research and has been at the forefront of developments associated with creating accessible and participatory research approaches. Her research activities have culminated in multiple award-winning publications which have helped to shape the field. Hayley is actively involved in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students and believes their education is key to ensuring the next generation of sports leaders promote inclusive opportunities for all. Prior to becoming an academic, Hayley worked and volunteered for a range of disability sport organisations. Currently, she is the Director of Unorthobox, a community interest group supporting people from all backgrounds to participate in ‘non-contact’ boxing.
Ignazio Cocchiere is a Policy officer in the Sport Unit of the European Commission’s department for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (DG EAC). He joined the Commission in 2018 and his main areas of responsibilities are the development of dual career in sport, the organisation and implementation of the European Week of Sport and #BeActive Awards.
Prior to joining the Sport Unit, Ignazio has worked as Accredited Assistant in the European Parliament gathering experience in different fields with a specific focus on proposals discussed in Education and Culture (CULT) committee.
He played fifteen years as professional football player in Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, combining his career with his studies and work in the EU institutions.
A graduate of Political Science from the Universities of Sofia (BG) and York (UK), Irena Guidikova has been working at the Council of Europe since 1994. Her carrier has taken her from youth policy and research, though the future of democracy in Europe, to cultural policy and inclusion and anti-discrimination. Her work involved producing standards on e-governance and e-voting, party financing and internet literacy, safeguarding diversity via film funding, and multi-level policies for intercultural integration of migrants and refugees. She has also been policy advisor in the Private Office of the Secretary General, the coordinator of the World Forum for Democracy (www.world-forum-democracy.org) and has lead the Inclusion and Anti-discrimination programmes of the Council of Europe, dealing with countering hate speech, LGBTI equality, migrant inclusion and minority rights. She is currently Head of the Children’s rights and Sport Values Department.