ECES is very proud to welcome new members to its newly established Strategic and Advisory Committee, that were appointed by ECES Management Board in this new year 2021.

In line with our commitment to equality and fairness in all endeavours, the members’ selection took into consideration gender representation, nationality, geographical coverage and professional background, and who are fellow senior international professionals in the fields of democratic governance, elections, project-financial management and international cooperation.

In their new role within the Strategic and Advisory Committee of ECES, the new members will work alongside the Committee’s President Joelle Milquet, former Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, and Vice President Filiberto Sebregondi, a former senior EU official who also served as EU Ambassador in Ghana, Togo and Tanzania.

The Committee will provide advice and guidance on the strategy and new initiatives to be developed by ECES in accordance with its 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, and addressing the new challenges and opportunities for the consolidation of democracy and the prevention of election-related violence around the globe

The new members are Piero Scarpellini, Samar Haj Hassan, Didier de Jaeger, Erastus J.O. Mwencha and Maria Elena Valenciano Martinez-Orozco, appointed by ECES Management Board. Piero Scarpellini was appointed as Secretary of the Committee.

Piero Scarpellini (Secretary): An Italian national, Piero Scarpellini is currently Special Attorney for International Affairs at the Pragmata Institute for International Development in the Republic of San Marino. He is specialised in relations with institutions of African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, with long-term experience in public relations, economic and business development and relations with various international organiations (African Union, European Union, United Nations, World Bank, European Investment Bank) and in the development of strategic international projects.


Erastus J.O. Mwencha (Member): Currently the Chair of the ACBF Executive Board, the Kenyan national was previously Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission where he was actively involved in the development of Africa’s long-term vision of Agenda 2063. Erastus Mwencha developed institutional cooperation between the World Bank and the African Union Before joining the African Union Commission, he served as the Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), in the Kenyan Ministry of Industry as Head of Industrial Promotion Department and Secretary to Industrial Sciences Advisory Research Committee.


Samar Al Haj Hasan (Member): a former Jordanian politician, Samar Al Haj Hassan is currently a member of the national advisory team to combat political violence against women and member of the regional advisory team for women equality mechanisms and women empowerment.

A former member of the 25th Jordanian Senate, she also served in and advised several national committees and programmes in the field of family affairs.

Samar Haj Hassan has served as commissioner for the Independent Elections Commission of Jordan for six years.


Didier de Jaeger (Member): A Belgian entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in strategic and digital communication, Didier De Jaeger is currently CEO and Director of Altavia Europe, a communications agency specialising in retail with a presence in all European countries, Asia, Africa and North America.

He previously worked as Managing Director of the advertising and digital communication agency Kadratura; President of the communication agency Troy; Executive Partner of Emakina Group; Managing Partner of the Censydiam Europe market research firm; and Managing Partner of the consulting firm De Jaeger & Stoops.


Maria Elena Valenciano Martinez-Orozco (Member): A Spanish politician of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Elena Valenciano is part of the Party of European Socialists. She is a Member of the European Parliament, where she served as Deputy Secretary-General and spokesperson of the Spanish Socialist Delegation. In addition, she was the Socialist Group coordinator in the Subcommittee on Human Rights.

She has extensive experience on issues related to human rights, electoral processes, the Maghreb and the Mediterranean as well as the Western Sahara.