Speakers and Session Chairs

Werner Bauwens

Werner Bauwens is currently Special Envoy at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He recently retired as Deputy Director General for multilateral and global affairs and United Nations Director, having coordinated the campaign for the 2019-2020 mandate of Belgium in the Security Council. He held various positions in Belgium and abroad, focusing on multilateral affairs in the context of the EU, NATO, OSCE and UN. He has a law degree from Leuven University and a political science degree from Johns Hopkins University. He was Assistant Professor at the University of Liège, co-edited “The Art of Conflict Prevention” and “The Security of Smaller States” and published articles on European security.

Hélène Damen

Hélène Damen is a Dutch architectural historian and graduated from the University of Amsterdam, working in the field of architectural history and research since 1989. She is currently affiliated with the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) as a PhD candidate in the chair of Architectural History and Theory of the Faculty of Architecture. Her PhD research ‘Diplomatieke architectuur als betekenisdrager’ focuses on the representational role of Dutch embassy buildings from the Second World War to present and their all-important symbolism. She recently published on this topic in the KNOB Bulletin: https://journals.open.tudelft.nl/knob/article/view/4309/4209.  For more information: https://research.tue.nl/en/persons/wm-hélène-damen.

Ilse Dauwe

Ilse Dauwe (°1978) studied art sciences and obtained a teacher’s degree at Ghent University and art and antique dealer qualifications at Syntra Brussels. Since November 2002 she is the conservator of the art collection at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and (co) curated summer exhibitions at the Egmont Palace.  Some of the achieved “curated embassies” are the Belgian embassies in Tokyo, Amman and Kinshasa and the residences of the Belgian ambassador in New Delhi and the consul-general in São Paulo.  Examples of the summer exhibitions are Text-île and AfricaMuseum@EgmontPalace. 

More information on the art collection:

Bram De Maeyer

Bram De Maeyer obtained a Master’s degree in History at the University of Antwerp in 2017. During his studies he focused on the notion of political representation ranging from the Flemish Movement during the First World War to the phenomenon of World Exhibitions. He is currently working as a PhD student at the KU Leuven’s Faculty of Architecture at Ghent. His current PhD research aims to identify to what extent Belgium used the medium of architecture and interior design in its purpose-built embassies as a political instrument to express and influence bilateral ties. The project is supervised by prof. dr. Fredie Floré and prof. dr. Anne-Françoise Morel.

Lieven Lefere

Lieven Lefere (°1978, Roeselare, BE) lives and works in Ghent. He holds a mas­ter’s degree in photography and a postgraduate as a conservator of contemporary art. The starting point in his oeuvre is the problematic relationship between the pho­tographic image and reality. His work takes shape around the concepts of control and reconstruction. In the past years Lefere combined his photographs with spatial work. Scale models, engraved panels and showcases are used as visual elements. His work is a reflection on the pho­tographic image and temporality, but also on the status of the photographic image and the intertwining between photography, architecture, memory and history.

Jos Mandema

Jos Mandema is head of real estate operations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands. After a decade in real estate consultancy, he joined the Dutch Government to manage and improve the organisation of real estate and housing in The Netherlands and – since 2016 – abroad.

In his daily work, he is responsible for the construction portfolio and property management of some 300 buildings in which the Government of The Netherlands is represented abroad.

The emphasis in his approach is finding a balance between local customer satisfaction and central policy making by standardising the building and management processes while listening carefully to the end-users of the properties.

Sebastian Moreno-Vacca

As founding member of A2M, architect Sebastian Moreno-Vacca leads A2M’s vision, design aesthetic and drive to be the most sustainable and energy efficient architecture possible. Since starting the architecture firm A2M in 2000, Sebastian has led it to international recognition through his sustainable building knowledge and his numerous roles as president of the Board of the Belgian Passive House Association. Since 2006, he has also been teaching architecture at ULB. In 2009, he co-founded and edited the magazine ‘be.passive’. He has been giving lectures regularly for several professional networks (architects, engineers and builders) for more than 15 years. He has also been giving an extensive set of presentations, conferences and trainings in Europe and, for some years, in the United States.

Maarten Steenbrink

Maarten Steenbrink was born in the Netherlands but spent his childhood in France. He graduated from the Eindhoven University of Technology with a master’s degree in Architecture. Throughout his career he has designed offices and housing projects for various architectural firms before joining, 17 years ago, Royal HaskoningDHV – a globally operating engineering and consultancy firm.

Maarten’s strength lies in working on complex projects in multidisciplinary teams of stakeholders and specialized engineers. Projects he works on currently are mostly industrial in nature, like data centers, shipyards, powerplants and factories, in Europe, the Middle East, Far East and Africa.

As a student, Maarten was asked to translate the thesis of a friend from Dutch to French. The thesis analyzed the traditional architecture of Mali. Therefore, in 2015, when Maarten was asked to design the new Dutch Embassy in Mali, it felt like coming home for him.