BDA Conference: Securing Our Economic Prosperity

The Brussels Diplomatic Academy is hosting a conference on Securing Our Economic Prosperity; an event which will identify the challenges faced, consider our existing economic resilience, address the potential threats of digitalisation and robotization, and start to map out a way forward.

23rd of November 2017, De Warande, Brussels

Morning Session 9.00-12.15

Plenary with MS. ANICK VAN CALSTER, Director General for Bilateral Affairs at Belgian Foreign Affairs, PROF. DR. EMMANUEL DHYNE, National Bank of Belgium.

Keynote Speaker: PROFESSOR STEVE GLICKMAN, Georgetown University, former Economic Advisor to US President Barack Obama.


Panel 1: International Challenges for the Belgian Economy: Brexit, Trump and China

Chair: Prof. Dr. Luc Hens, VUB

Gilles Suply, Policy Officer EU & International Affairs, Voka

Klaas de Vries, Associate Economist, The Conference Board

Mathieu Maes, Secretary General, ICC Belgium



Panel 2: Are Digitalisation and Robotisation Threatening Belgium’s Welfare?

Chair: Prof. Dr. ir. Bram Vanderborght, VUB

Bruno Segers, Chairman of the Board of Flanders Investment and Trade

Koen De Leus, Chief Economist, BNP Paribas Fortis

Luis Colunga, Deputy General Secretary, IndustriAll


Afternoon Session 13.00-16.00

Plenaries with PROF. DR. CAROLINE PAUWELS, Rector of the VUB, and OLIVIER JORIS, Executive Manager VBO


Panel 3: Belgium: An Attractive and Futureproof Country?

Chair: Prof. Dr. Kim Van der Borght, VUB

Stijn Decock, Chief Economist Knowledge Center, Voka

Tristan Dhondt, Partner, EY (Ernst & Young)

Marcel Claes, CEO Amcham

Peter Demuynck, Director General, Agoria Vlaanderen

Panel 4: The Way Forward: Strategies to Secure Our Prosperity

Chair: Prof. Dr. Peter Claeys, VUB

Hans Maertens, CEO Voka

Claire Tillekaerts, CEO Flanders Investment and Trade

Ivan Van de Cloot, Chief Economist, Itinera


With these speakers from the public and private sectors, as well as the trades unions and academia, this conference provides an ideal cross-section of expertise to ensure informed and lively discussion on this essential issue for our future. There will be ample opportunity to contribute to the discussion and exchange.

The conference will take place at De Warande, Zinnerstraat 1, 1000 Brussels.

Availability of places is limited.

For more information, please email