Confirmed plenary speakers include


Philip Alston, USA, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University

Philip Alston is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University.  He previously taught at the Australian National University, the European University Institute in Florence, Harvard Law School, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  He has been UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights since 2014. From 1987 to 1990 he was the first Rapporteur of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and he subsequently chaired the Committee for eight years (1991-98).  Other appointments include: member of the Security Council established commission of inquiry on the Central African Republic (2014-15); Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions (2004-10); Special Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Millennium Development Goals (2004-07); and UNICEF’s Legal Adviser during the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Rutger Bregman, the Netherlands

Rutger Bregman is a Dutch historian and journalist who writes for the innovative crowd-funded Dutch online platform for journalism De Correspondent. His book Utopia for Realists — on universal basic income and other radical ideas — has been translated in 30 languages. Rutger Bregman has twice been nominated for the prestigious European Press Prize for his journalism work at De Correspondent. His work has been featured in The Washington Post, the Guardian and on the BBC.


Jamie Cooke, Scotland, Head of RSA Scotland

Jamie Cooke is a basic income advocate based in Scotland, who has been working closely on the development of pilot projects across the country. Key aspects of his work have included convening the critical stakeholders (Scottish Government, Local Authorities, UK bodies), public speaking (including TEDx Glasgow and international conferences) and leading projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh. He also sits on the board of CBINS (Citizens’ Basic Income Network Scotland), Scotland’s representative within BIEN.


Evelyn Forget, Canada, Professor in Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba

Evelyn L. Forget is Professor in Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba and Adjunct Professor of Economics at McMaster University and the University of Manitoba. She is Director of the Manitoba Research Data Centre and Adjunct Scientist at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. Her most recent work examines the relationships between poverty, inequality, health and social outcomes. She evaluated the health and social impact of the Mincome Basic Income Experiment conducted in Canada in the mid-1970s, and has consulted with federal, provincial and First Nations governments, as well as national and international NGOs.


Loek Groot, Netherlands, Associate Professor Economics of the Public Sector at the Utrecht University School of Economics (USE)

Loek Groot is economist (University of Amsterdam) and philosopher (University of Leuven) and currently Associate professor Economics of the public sector at Utrecht University School of Economics (USE). His research focuses on the economics of the welfare state and the interaction with the labour market, with special attention to the proposal of a basic income. His PhD Basic Income and Unemployment (1999) was awarded cum laude. Other research interests are environmental economics and sport economics. Currently he is involved in launching a social assistance field experiment in Utrecht, the Netherlands.


Louise Haagh, United Kingdom, Reader in Politics at the University of York

Louise Haagh researches and writes about problems relating to the democratisation of human development, economic justice, modalities of institutional change, and social transformation in developing and OECD states. Her recent work focuses on the role of basic income in welfare state transformation, with a particular focus on the Nordic and Anglo-liberal welfare states. Louise has acted as expert on economic security for a range of international bodies, in Asia, the Americas, and Europe. Recently she has been involved in policy debates about basic income in Denmark.


Renana Jhabvala, India, President of SEWA Bharat

Renana Jhabvala has been associated for over 40 years with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) a trade union of 1.9 million members of women in the informal economy. She is also known for her writings of issues of women in the informal economy. She was awarded a Padma Shri Award in the year 1990. She worked as elected Secretary of SEWA in Gujarat under Smt. Ela Bhatt for many years during which time she initiated SEWA across India. She was Chair of SEWA Bank from 2003 to 2009, and is presently on the board of SEWA Bank. She was instrumental in forming SEWA Bharat a National Federation of SEWAs now in eleven States of India and is presently President, SEWA Bharat. She has been active at the international level and represented SEWA at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other international forums.


Olli Kangas, Finland, Director of Governmental relations, Kela

Olli Kangas is Director of Governmental relations at Kela – the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Previously he has worked as Research director at Kela, Olof Palme Professor at the Uppsala University, H.C. Andersen Professor at the University of Southern Denmark, Professor at the Danish Social Research Institute and at the department in Social Policy, University of Turku. His research interests include comparative welfare studies, income distribution and poverty, legitimacy and collective action.


Lena Lavinas, Brazil, Professor of Welfare Economics at the Institute of Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro

Lena Lavinas is Professor of Welfare Economics at the Institute of Economics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Senior Researcher (Level 1) at the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPQ). She holds a PhD from the University of Paris. Most of her research focuses on Brazil economic development; redistribution issues, social policies and institutional arrangements; basic income; and comparative analysis of welfare regimes in Latin America. Among her recent publications: The Takeover of Social Policy by Financialization: The Brazilian paradox (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and A Moment of Equality for Latin America? Challenges for Redistribution, along with Barbara Fritz (Ashgate 2015).