High Level Session III: DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY - Tuesday 29 November, 13:50-15:50 UTC+3

Mr. Henri Verdier

Henri Verdier was born in 1968. Currently, he is Ambassador for Digital Affairs for the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Previously, he was the interministerial director for digital information and communications systems (DG Dinsic) of France; and director of Etalab, the French agency for public open data.

Mr. Chris Sharrock

Mr. Chris Sharrock is the is the Vice President of United Nations and International Organizations at Microsoft, based in Paris. Launched in 2020, the team has continued to demonstrate not only the value of multistakeholderism, but how it can be harnessed to advance solutions to global challenges. Mr. Sharrock is committed to strengthening partnerships across key organizations and advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals as we work to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Ms. Bella Cherkesova

Ms. Bella Cherkesova was born on September 4, 1985 in the city of Vereya, Naro-Fominsk District, Moscow Region.

In 2008 she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

From 2008 to 2012, she worked in various positions in the press service of the Russian government.

Ms. Emma Theofelus

Honourable Emma Inamutila Theofelus is a young, 26-year-old Namibian born in Windhoek, Namibia and is currently a Member of Parliament and the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in the Republic of Namibia.

H.E. Mr. Hiroshi Yoshida


1987. Joined Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT)

2007. Director, Terrestrial Broadcasting Division, Information and Communications Policy Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC)

2012. Director, Telecommunications Policy Division, Telecommunications Business Department, MIC

2015. Counselor, Minister’s Secretariat, MIC

2016. Counselor, Global ICT Strategy Bureau, MIC

2017. Deputy Director-General for IT Strategy, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)

Ms. Nathalie Jaarsma

Nathalie Jaarsma is the Dutch Ambassador at-Large for Security Policy and Cyber since September 2020. Prior to this position, she was the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Cyprus (2016-2020) where she took various initiatives for reconciliation and peacebuilding. Ms. Jaarsma headed the Security and Defence Policy Division at the Dutch Ministry of foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016. In this role, she was responsible for the Dutch engagement in NATO, OSCE and on EU security and defence policy.

Moderator: Mr. Solomon Kassa

Solomon is technology strategist and consultant at a Fortune  500 Global Firm leading a multimillion-dollar large  technology implementation. He worked as a software engineer before joining management consulting. Solomon has been producing and hosting “TechTalk With  Solomon” weekly show for eight years. He also published of the first-of-its-kind science and tech book in Amharic.

Dr. Tawfik Jelassi

Dr. Tawfik Jelassi was appointed UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and
Information on 1st July 2021. In this position, he is responsible for the Organization’s
programmes on building inclusive knowledge societies, leading digital transformation,
strategizing the role of ICT in education, and fostering freedom of expression.

Dr. Jelassi holds a Ph.D. doctorate in information systems from New York University (USA)
and postgraduate diplomas from the University of Paris Dauphine (France).

H.E. Mr. Alkesh Kumar Sharma

Mr. Alkesh Kumar Sharma is presently posted as Secretary in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. He has earlier served as Additional Secretary and Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. In addition to other responsibilities given to him, Sharma was looking after the cabinet proposals of all infrastructure, economic, finance, industry, Agriculture and allied ministries of the Central Government.  He was Member of the Project Monitoring Group set up in the Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India.

Mr. Chris Painter

Christopher Painter is a globally recognized leader on cyber policy, cyber diplomacy, cybersecurity and combatting cybercrime. He has been at the vanguard of cyber issues for over 27 years, first as a federal prosecutor handling some of the most high-profile cyber cases in the U.S., then as a senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, the White House National Security Council and, finally, as the world’s first cyber diplomat at the U.S.

Mr. Thabo Mashegoane

Thabo started his career in the FMCG as a Chemical Engineer trainee. He switched to IT where he resumed numerous roles of Programmer, Systems Analyst, Process Engineer – Six Sigma, and lately Enterprise Architect (specialization Business Architecture and Customer Services Technologies). 

He’s an immediate past president of the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) where he promoted professionalism of IT and currently serve as the chairman for Africa ICT Alliance (AfICTA) with a vision to bring the digital promise to all.