Board Members
Meet the Team!
Carlo Giacomo Angrisano Girauta

Chairman

Country: Spain

E-Mail: angrisano@edsnet.eu

Carlo Giacomo (22) graduated in Law at ESADE Law School in 2019. Since 2017 he is the Vice Secretary General responsible for International Relations of NNGG Spain. He entered this organization in 2012 when he was appointed the Chairman of the NNGG Pupils in Catalonia. In 2016 he was the youngest MP candidate in Barcelona’s constituency. In that campaign, he also assumed a position in the campaigning team of the Interior Minister. He started his activity in EDS in 2016, during the Summer University of Larnaca. During the Malta Council Meeting 2017, he represented NNGG and obtained an almost unanimous vote on NNGG’s full membership. That same year he was elected as Vice-Chairman during the Varna Summer University and re-elected for a second term in 2018 at the Genoa Summer University. As EDS Vice Chairman his was responsible for Latin American relations which he enhanced creating the Caja Política initiative, he was also responsible for the Sino-European relations and established the first Study Mission to China.

Beppe Galea

Secretary General

Country: Malta

E-Mail: beppe@edsnet.eu

Beppe Galea (23) lives in Gozo, Malta and is currently reading for a Master of Science in Strategic Management and Digital Marketing at the University of Malta. He is the Deputy News Manager of Newsbook.com.mt and his first degree is in European Studies. During the past years, he was active in various youth organisations, both in Malta and Gozo. He is the Deputy Secretary General of the National Youth Council of Malta (KNZ) where he was elected on behalf of the National Scout Youth Council representing Scouts from Malta and Gozo. He has been active in Studenti Demokristjani Maltin since 2012 and served as International Officer of the organisation for two years between 2015-2017. His first EDS event was the Winter University of 2016 where he represented SDM at the Council Meeting in Berlin. In 2017 he was elected as Vice Chairman of the European Democrat Students were his main responsibilities where social media and communications. Between 2015 and 2018 he worked as an MEP assistant for two Maltese MEPs both in Brussels and in Malta. In 2017, he was also involved in the organisation of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union as Liaison Officer.

Ivan Botoucharov

Vice-Chairman

Country: United Kingdom

E-Mail: botoucharov@edsnet.eu

Ivan is an Executive in Media, Digital Marketing and Public Relations based in London. He has studied in universities in the UK (UEA and LMU) and the USA (UCLA), and holds a full Chartered status from the Institute of Marketing, granted by authority of The Queen’s Privy Council. During and after his studies Ivan co-founded and managed OneEurope, which became Europe’s largest citizens media under his tenure. In the course of his EDS career Ivan has been the Co-Chair of the Policies for Europe working group, a contributor to Bullseye, and the head of the UK delegation at Council Meetings since 2017. Ivan is the Chair of the UK organisation in EDS - the Young Conservative Group for Europe. He also serves as an Executive in YCGE’s parent organisation, which enjoys the support of 70 Conservative Members of Parliament and the House of Lords.

Thomas Belligh

Vice-Chairman

Country: Belgium

E-Mail: belligh@edsnet.eu

Thomas Belligh (26) is from Oostende, Belgium and currently lives in Ghent, Belgium. He obtained a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Linguistics and Literature, as well as a Bachelor of Law at Ghent University. Currently he is finalizing his PhD in General Linguistics, which is based on several of his research articles that were published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals. During the working year 2020-2021 he will continue to pursue an additional Bachelor’s degree in Theoretical and Experimental Psychology, also at Ghent University. In addition to his academic interest in the human mind, consciousness, language and cognition, Thomas has a strong interest in national, European and international politics. For the past five years Thomas has been involved with the Christian Democrat Students of Belgium, serving one year as local vice-president, one year as local president, two years as Chairman of the organization, and currently serving as Honorary Chairman of the organization. Additionally, Thomas is the international secretary and an Executive Board member of the youth party of the Flemish Christian Democrats (JONGCD&V). Thomas has been attending EDS Council Meetings since the EDS Summer University in Varna in 2017. During the EDS Summer University of 2019 in Bucharest he was elected as Vice-Chairman of the EDS board. During the EDS Summer University of 2020 he was re-elected as Second Vice-Chairman of the organization. As a Vice-Chair Thomas is responsible for the drafting of the conference resolutions, the management of the EDS working groups and for bringing the EDS resolutions, motions and position papers to the EPP.rect=true

Valentina Podestà

Vice-Chairman

Country: Italy

E-Mail: podesta@edsnet.eu

Valentina (24) is a graduating M.Sc. in Environmental and Development Economics, with a major in Global Economic Governance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences and International Relations, with a dissertation in History of International Relations, the denuclearization of Ukraine. She did an internship at the Centre of Socio-Economic Studies in Rome, during which she carried out OSINT activities for the areas of Russia and Ukraine and wrote for the European Affairs magazine. She is currently working in the ICT sector in Italy, specifically dealing with Big Data and IoT technologies. Valentina has been active in student and youth politics since 2012 and was elected Deputy International Secretary of GDS Italy in 2018. She has been strongly committed in EDS, raising the awareness on gender and equality issues. During 2018/2019 working year, she wrote and presented the motion “Europe fighting violence against women”, approved during the 2018 Summer University Council Meeting in Genova. She also actively collaborated with “BullsEye”, the official EDS magazine, resulting in the publication of an article about sexual harassment in politics and a co-written reportage on Revenge Porn. Valentina has been elected as Vice-Chairwoman during Bucharest Summer University, and now within the bureau is responsible for communication and campaigns.

Karlo Kolesar

Vice-Chairman

Country: Karlo Kolesar

E-Mail: kolesar@edsnet.eu

Karlo Kolesar was the President of the Student Council of University Colleges and Universities of Applied Sciences and President of the Association of Students of VERN'. In the Croatian Academic Union he is the acting Deputy President. He has a master specialist degree of Sustainable Tourism Management and is currently a lecturer at Edward Bernays University College. Karlo has been active in a number of students' representative and co-ordination bodies, especially regarding implementing projects aimed at linking and aligning the labour market and higher education. He has gained entrepreneurial experience by organising and leading numerous international projects in tourism. Through his participation in professional conferences in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Romania and Slovenia closely related to education Karlo has been directly involved in creating educational policies. One of the aims of this involvement is to create partnerships between relevant domestic and foreign institutions competent for the development of higher education in order to enhance the representation of students' interests. EURASHE has elected him into the Committee for strategic advice as the only student representative from Europe. He has also been active within the Youth of Hrvatska Demokratska Zajednica (HDZ) which is the strongest centre-right oriented party in Croatia, and also a member of the EPP group. As an active member in the International Board of the HDZ Youth, he will continue to contribute to the development and growth of the EDS Family. Since the last year he has been a Co-chair of the permanent working group “Higher Education and Research” where he promoted the importance of cocreating higher education policies in Europe.

Iakovos Iakovou

Vice-Chairwoman

Country: Cyprus

E-Mail: iakovou@edsnet.eu

Iacovos Iacovou is a qualified Lawyer in Cyprus and he is currently studying Master of Laws in Energy and Natural Resources Law at the Queen Mary University of London. He is also specialised in maritime law area since he holds a Master of Laws in Maritime law. He has acquired both his bachelor and postgraduate diplomas in the United Kingdom. During his studies he was elected as a President of the Cypriots’ Society of his University and spokesman of FPK Protoporia United Kingdom. Iacovos has been attending EDS for several years and he has served for two terms as a Co-Chair of Policies for Europe permanent working group. He has submitted dozens of motions and background papers and led the Cypriot delegation at the EDS Council and Head of the FPK Protoporia.

Vasileios S. Kesidis

Vice-Chairwoman

Country: Greece

E-Mail: kesidis@edsnet.eu

Vasileios S. Kesidis (21) was born on October 22, 1997 and grew up in Ancona, Italy. Holds a degree in Maritime Management & Finance and gained work experience by a worldwide shipping company. Currently is BSc student of Italian Language & Literature at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Associate Researcher of the Hellenic Optical Character Recognition Team, a scientific crowdsourcing initiative for the processing and analysis of parliamentary data. Active in politics since 2015 as member of the Social Media Team of the nowadays Hellenic Prime Minister & President of “Nea Dimokratia” mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis.Kesidis has political experience in Universitarian, Municipal and Prefectural level. Nationally is Member at the Executive Office and elected Member of the Central Committee of the Youth Organisation of “Nea Dimokratia”, ONNED. Moreover, holds key responsibilities in the sector of the International Relations as he currently is the Dep. International Secretary of ONNED. In European Democrat Students he served as Co-Chair for the Working Group of European Elections 2019 during the Working Year 2018-19 having introduced the role of the ‘European Elections Ambassadors’ and representing DAP-NDFK, the Student Organisation of “Nea Dimokratia”, as the Head of Delegation.He has now been elected as Vice Chairman of the Official Student Organisation (EDS) of the European People’s Party in charge of statutes, fundraising, membership applications & communications / social media and is also contributing to “BullsEye”, the only political centre-right magazine in Europe.

Benjamin Welling

Vice-Chairman

Country: Germany

E-Mail: welling@edsnet.eu

Benjamin Welling (29) was born in the northern German city of Hamburg. After growing up in Germany and the USA, he finished school in his hometown of Hamburg before signing up for service in the German military. After his service, he began studying history, American literature and European studies at the University of Hamburg and Trinity College Dublin. He has been active in EDS since 2017, working as the International Secretary of the German Member-Organisation RCDS. While organising and leading the German delegation at council meetings in Skopje, Krakow, Riga, Genoa and Budapest, he participated in multiple topics in all working groups of EDS. Furthermore, he is staying active in CDU politics in Hamburg, supporting his MPs as an elected citizen in committees on city planning and public safety. He is Vice-Chairman of Junge Union in his home state. Working as an Investment Consultant while continuing his studies, he enjoys films and reading classical literature and historical novels in his free time.

Benita Czirkl

Vice-Chairman

Country: Hungary

E-Mail: czirkl@edsnet.eu

Benita Czirkl (25) lives in Budapest, Hungary and is studying law at Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Before she started law school, she studied Business Informatics at Széchenyi István University in Győr. When she moved to Budapest she was an intern at the Centre for Fundamental Rights where she was researching international topics. She also worked as a personal assistant for a member of parliament at the House of the National Assembly. She worked for a Foundation for children with serious diseases. She is currently working at the legal department of the Public Procurement Authority of Hungary. She got interested in politics during high school years, therefore she became a member of Fidelitas in February 2017. She participated in the campaigning work in 2018 during the national election in Hungary, and then in 2019 throughout European elections. Also in 2017, she attended her first EDS Council Meeting in Skopje, Macedonia. Since then, she is an active member of the organization. During the European Democrat Students Summer University 2020, she was elected as Vice-Chairwoman for the second time, and now she is responsible for the changes in the official Book of Statutes of EDS.

Francesco Sismondini

Executive Officer

Country: Italy

E-Mail: sismondini@edsnet.eu

Francesco Sismondini obtained a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the Catholic University of Milan. Currently he is pursuing a Master's degree in International Cooperation at the University of Milan. For the past two years Francesco has been actively involved with the EDS European Elections 2019 WG as Co-chairman. He is the International Secretary of his national organization StudiCentro where he was responsible for organising several meetings both in Italy and Brussels between students and politicians from all over the world. He is passionate about public and institutional relations. He is currently Tutor of the Christian Political "Lab.Ora 1000" established to foster Christian leadership all over the country. He is working in the consultancy field responsible for European Affairs for SYNEDRIA Paris. At EDS, Francesco is responsible to work from the Brussels Office for the entire EDS Team.

Robert Kiss

Deputy Secretary General

Country: Lebanon

E-Mail: maike@edsnet.eu

Virgilio Falco

Honorary Chairman

Country: Italy

E-Mail: falco@edsnet.eu

Virgilio Falco (30), is a Law graduate from the LUMSA University of Rome. He is President of an EDS member organisation, IYDU Vice-President and Board Member of the National Youth Council of Italy. He served as Deputy Secretary-General and, for two terms, as Vice-Chairman of EDS. Falco also worked at the Chamber of Deputies, the Italian Parliament. He served as President of the Education Committee of the National Youth Council of Italy, and he writes for several Italian newspapers (Il Foglio, Il Giornale, Formiche) on educational and political matters. He has been audited several times by Parliament and the Ministry of Education on the reforms of school and university. Since the 2011 congress in Marseille, he has been on the staff of the organization of the congresses of the European People's Party. He carries out volunteering activities at the Basilica of St. John in Lateran, in the Vatican City. He works at the Institutional Affair office in Brussels of the Italian energy utility Enel.