Regional integration session


Elena Stotts-Lee

Research Assistant at EMEA

Elena is a recent graduate from the Economics of Public Policy program, a Master’s in Specialized Economic Analysis offered by the Barcelona School of Economics. She completed her undergraduate with honours at Trinity College Dublin in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Sociology (PPES). Elena brings a diverse set of skills and experience to the EMEA team. In addition to acting as a research assistant at Trinity and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, she has worked for several NGOs providing direct service to migrant and refugee communities. Elena is interested in researching the effect of climate change on the social and economic lives of people around the globe. At EMEA, Elena is focused on contributing to the Open Knowledge Platform. She has collected data for and created several dashboards for the monitoring of the TRIS (transparent, responsible, inclusive, and sustainable) Development Model, the Brain Capital Initiative, and the Regional Integration Matrix.


Rym Ayadi

President Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA), Director, EU-Mediterranean and African Network for Economic Studies (EMANES

Professor Rym Ayadi is Founder and Director of the EU-Mediterranean and African Network for Economic Studies (EMANES, formerly EMNES), Founder and President of the Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA), Professor at the Bayes Business School, City University of London, and Member of the Centre for Banking Research (CBR). 

She is also Associated Scholar at the Centre for Relationship Banking and Economics (CERBE) at LUMSA University in Rome.

Senior Research Advisor at the Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) in Piran, Slovenia.


George Zestos

Dr. George K. Zestos is a distinguished Professor of Economics and holds the prestigious Jean Monnet Chair of European Integration at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. With an impressive academic journey and a prolific research career, he has made significant contributions to the field of economics, particularly in the realm of international economics and European integration.

Dr. Zestos has taught at DePauw University and Ball State University then he started his academic career at Christopher Newport University where he served as the director of the Center of Economic Education.

His research interests focus on economic growth and development, the convergence in the standards of living between the Northern and Southern European countries, the escalating public debt in both developing and developed nations and the effects of remittances on economic growth.

Aboubaker Benslimane

Entrepreneur in the health management business & agribusiness sector

Aboubaker is a French-Moroccan entrepreneur who is passionate about innovation and places it at the center of all his projects.

He is currently owning and managing companies in the health management services and agribusiness sector, but is also a member of the executive board of various companies in different sectors, ranging from impact entrepreneurship to development project consulting.

Following the completion of a masters’ degree in International Business with a specialization in International Management of New Technologies at the University of Paris Dauphine, Aboubaker moved into consulting where he advised corporates, public institutions, and start-ups on their development and innovation strategies in Europe and Africa. An entrepreneur at heart, Aboubaker has applied his skills to developing and advising several digitally focused start-ups in different sectors, leveraging synergies between complementary start-ups and peer-to-peer learning. Aboubaker gained extensive expertise in the African entrepreneurial sector as the Global Synergies Lead at JokkoLabs, a pan-African initiative that aims to create connectivity between local and global ecosystems to promote local ideas to a global stage.

Aboubaker grew up in Morocco in a family where agriculture and science has been anchored for centuries, live between Morocco and France and speaks English, French, and Arabic.

He is passionate about cross-cultural collaboration which he firmly believes will provide to the pathway to tomorrow’s solutions.