Who we are

Formed in 2002 under the patronage of Javier Solana, Chris Patten and George Robertson, the Security & Defence Agenda (SDA) was launched as a neutral meeting point for defence and security specialists from NATO and the EU. The SDA has since developed into an important forum for the discussion of defence and security policies. With the rapidly evolving nature of our security environment, the SDA champions dynamic new ways of consulting global opinion on security issues, including the world’s first mass-participation online security policy event, the Security Jam, involving 4,000 participants from 126 countries.

The SDA's Co-Presidents are Jaap De Hoop Scheffer and Javier Solana.

The SDA receives guidance from its Advisory Board, which advises the think-tank on its strategic direction, and relevant topics in the fields of defence and security.

The running of our events, formulation of discussion papers and publication of reports is run by our professional and international team.



Jaap De Hoop Scheffer, Former NATO Secretary General


Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has had a long and distinguished diplomatic career. He managed the private offices of four successive Ministers of Foreign Affairs until 1986. In June of that year, he was elected to the House of Representatives of the States General for the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA), becoming the party’s spokesperson on foreign policy. In July 2002, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs, until he was appointed Secretary general of NATO in 2004, serving until 2009. He is now Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Justice and Security at Leiden University in the Netherlands.



Javier Solana, Former EU High Representative for Common Security and Foreign Policy and former NATO Secretary General


As Europe's top foreign representative, Dr. Solana has unparalled experience in the European diplomatic affairs. Beginning in Spanish politics, he served as a Spanish Cabinet Minister from 1982 to 1995, culminating in his appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs from July 1992 to December 1995. He became Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in 1995, leaving the post in 1999 to be the EU High Representative for Common Security and Foreign Policy, acting in this role until 2009. He is now President of the Madariaga - College of Europe Foundation.

SDA team


Giles Merritt, Chairman                        


Giles Merritt is among Brussels’ most influential commentators on EU issues. He has been a pioneer of the public policy debate on Europe’s future, both as a journalist and think-tanker. Merritt is also the head of the SDA’s sister think-tank Friends of Europe, whose debates and reports cover the whole spectrum of non-defence topics of interest to EU-level policymakers, researchers and stakeholders. In addition, he is the Editor of the policy journal Europe’s World launched in 2005 as an EU-wide platform for debate. Merritt’s background as a journalist and commentator has contributed to the success of the organisations he leads. From 1968-83, Giles Merritt was a correspondent of the Financial Times and reported successively from London, Paris, Belfast/Dublin and Brussels.


Geert Cami, Co-founder & Director


Geert Cami co-founded the SDA in 2002, after being Managing Director of Forum Europe since 1996. Before that, Cami worked for the European Commission’s Humanitarian Office as Deputy to the Information Counsellor. Cami was also a freelancer for two informational music programmes with Belgian Radio & Television (now VRT). During his military service, he worked as a journalist at Televox where he contributed to bi-monthly television news reports, broadcast in Germany, with regular co-productions with the national television stations BRTN and RTBF. He also produced a 26-minute report for the WEU, CSCE and NATO. In 2002, Cami and Merritt launched the New Defence Agenda (now the Security & Defence Agenda). Cami is also the co-founder and Director of Friends of Europe, the Brussels-based think tank for EU policy analysis and debate.

Daniela Michielotto, Management Assistant

Contact: daniela.michielotto(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 893 98 19

Paul Flaherty, Strategic Advisor


Paul Flaherty is an experienced professional in International Security issues. He has held a range of senior posts in the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (in Brussels and Vienna) and at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence, including the position of Deputy Permanent Representative at the UK Joint Delegation to NATO.


Shada Islam, Strategic Advisor

Shada Islam is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian issues at the European Policy Centre. She’s currently Head of Policy at Friends of Europe and is closely involved with initiatives to promote Asia-Europe exchanges including within the context of ASEM (Asia Europe Meetings). Shada also worked extensively on development questions including relations between the EU and African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and on world trade. She continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications.
Pauline Massart, Deputy Director 


Pauline serves as the main contact for SDA members and participants, manages all aspects of SDA operations, including the organisation and production of SDA international conferences, roundtables, dinner debates and publications, as well as dealing with SDA members and its Advisory Board. Before joining the SDA, Massart worked for Thales in Italy, and before that for a conference organiser in Germany. She studied at King's College London, the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, and at Leiden University. She speaks English, French, German and Italian.

Contact: pauline.massart(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 29 91
Andrea Ghianda, Outreach & Events Manager

Andrea coordinates the communication of SDA events and activities. He studied Political Science at the Università degli Studi di Pavia in Italy, where he was also a member of a political communication research team. He worked for two years as Project Coordinator for an Italian company in the field of marketing and event organisation. Additionally, he also worked for two years as Project Coordinator at the European Security Round Table in Brussels. He speaks English, French and Italian.

Contact: andrea.ghianda(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 893 98 17
Simon Molitor, Project Assistant

Simon recently graduated in Security Studies from Université Libre de Bruxelles. During his time studying, he had the opportunity to spend some times at University of Bradford Department of Peace Studies as an Erasmus Student. After a first experience in humanitarian project development, he decided to come back to his favorite field: international security. He speaks French and English.

Contact: simon.molitor(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 29 94
Patrick Janssens, Financial Director

Contact: patrick.janssens(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 89 52
Sophie Laurent, Accountant
Contact: sophie.laurent(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 89 51

Sébastien Watteyne, Communications Assistant

Sébastien studied Social Communications in Brussels at IHECS (Institut des Hautes Etudes de Communication Sociale). He has a bachelor degree in Social Communications and a master degree in Commercial Communications & Advertising. He made a trainee in Montreal in 2013 and finished his studies with honor. He also made two theses: one about an advertising campaign for a Belgian company (Sphair) and one about the Brand Management International. He loves to make some graphic, photo, video and sound projects for himself or for his company. He speaks fluent French and English and also have skills in German and Dutch.

Contact: sebastien.watteyne(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 29 95


Maria Cristina Mattei, Project Assistant

Cristina studied Political Science in Italy  at the University of  Viterbo. She then  took her master’s degree in European Studies at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome and she is currently finishing her studies taking her second master in International Relations at the School of International Studies of Trento. She worked at the Boeing International Company in Brussels  for a brief period in the field of EU/NATO Relations and Communications. Her fields of interest mostly relate to International Security and Defence. She speaks English, Italian and basic French.
Contact: maria_cristina.mattei(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 29 96

Beatriçe Hasani, Project Manager

Beatriçe has an extensive background in local government in Sweden where she has worked with project and change management as well as Lean Production Systems. Prior to that, Beatriçe worked at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs with issues concerning piracy and UNSCR 1325. She studied at Leiden University and London Metropolitian and is fluent in Albanian, Swedish and English.

Contact: beatrice.hasani(at)securitydefenceagenda.org
Tel: +32 2 300 29 93