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Young Leaders 2011

Oliver Karius - Switzerland

Throughout his career, Oliver Karius has focused on sustainable development, science, business and finance. He has strong connections to the for-profit and non-profit impact investment market in the US, EU, India and Africa. He is a partner at LGT Venture Philanthropy ( LGT Venture Philanthropy is an impact investor supporting organizations with outstanding social and environmental impact. The team in five continents strives to increase the sustainable quality of life of less advantaged people by inspiring clients for active philanthropy, providing individualized philanthropic advice and investment implementation. Its clients benefit from the experience, systems, processes and networks built by implementing the philanthropic engagement of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein/LGT.
Oliver was the co-founder of WEF-aligned African Social Entrepreneurship Network (ASEN) as well as VantagePoint Global ( dedicated to building capacity for sustainable investment in emerging markets. He was Head of Research for Forma Futura, an independent asset management company focusing on contributing to a sustainable quality of life ( Before setting-up VPG, Oliver served as Manager Research Services and Senior Sustainability Analyst at SAM Research for the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

Miguel Alves Martins - Portugal

Miguel Alves Martins is currently Executive Director at IES – Social Entrepreneurship Institute and he is invited teaching assistant at Nova School of Business and Economics. He holds a master degree in social economy at ISCTE and a Professional Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Kellogg School of Management. From INSEAD, he holds a certificate from the management acceleration program (MAP) and attended “Executive Education in Social Entrepreneurship”.

He also has a degree from ISSSL (Instituto Superior de Serviço Social de Lisboa) in social administration and studied environmental engineering at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Before setting up IES, Miguel Alves Martins was a partner and founder of Beyond Sustainable Ideas, a sustainability and social responsibility consultancy and a consultant in several start-up projects at Portugal Telecom. He has participated actively in the launching of various social projects such as TESE (, GASNOVA (, and Pais Protectores (

Programs: 2008, 2009 European Young Leaders Forum

Züli Aladag - Germany

The author, director and producer Züli Aladag was born in Turkey in 1968. His family moved to Germany in 1973, and he grew up in Stuttgart. Although he began a course in theatre studies in Munich, Aladag returned to Stuttgart to carry out a six-month internship on the set of Roland Emmerich’s film “Moon 44”. After a spell as a freelance filmmaker, he went on to study film directing at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. In 1999 he founded the filmmakers’ initiative “j e K – junges europäisches kino” (Young European Cinema), produced five short films with young European directors and graduated from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne with distinction. Aladag’s 2002 feature film debut “Elephant Heart”, a coming-of-age story about a young boxer, won him a number of awards including a scholarship from the Villa Aurora Foundation in Los Angeles. In 2005, Züli Aladag and his wife Feo Aladag founded the film production company Independent Artists Filmproduktion, based in Berlin. The company’s first feature film “When we Leave” was premiered in 2010 and was selected by Germany as the nation’s entry in the Academy Awards’ Foreign Language Film category. Züli Aladag is currently working on a cine film in Africa.

Irakli Absandze - Georgia

Irakli Absandze studied Journalism, focusing on Television and Radio at the Shota Rustaveli State Institute of Theatre and Film as well as Foreign Languages and International Relations at the Ekvtime Takaishvili Human-Science and Economic Institute in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Simultaneously he started his professional activity as a Senior Specialist in the Press Office of the Georgian Parliament. Later he worked in the independent Georgia TV company TV-7 as a Newscaster and parliament correspondent. Since he wanted get to know better European values and mentality he decided to continue his studies in Germany. Besides studying Political Science and History at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i.Br, Irakli Absandze actively participated in the multicultural student life notably as a member of the Student Club K.St.V. Rheno-Palatia zu Freiburg i.Br. where he provided many honorary services including the organization of a German-Georgian Cultural Evening. At the beginning of 2008 he returned to Georgia, to his native town Poti at the Black Sea coast where he is working on the activation of the Georgian civil society. In 2008 Irakli Absandze became Director of the NGO NINA (Nabada Improvement Neighborhood Association) where he had been carrying out charitable and educational projects since its establishment.

Today he is working as an author and coordinator of the program “Citizens and Journalists Together for Responsible Media” which is supported by the Government of the Netherlands. He is chairman of NGO ArgoMedia.

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