The Institute for Education’s Emerging Technology Roundtable (ETR) hosted special guest Monica Popp, Chief of Staff, Office of the Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn. The dinner was held by IFE’s Diplomatic Steward H.E. Dirk Wouters, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium at the Belgian Residence. By invitation only.

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About our Guest Speaker: Monica Popp currently serves as the Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Whip, Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Prior to joining Senator Cornyn’s staff in January of 2014 as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Monica served as professional staff on the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce focusing on Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare Advantage. Monica began her Senate career as a health and tax policy advisor to Senator Jim DeMint. Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Monica served in the Office of HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and the Washington Office of former Governor Jeb Bush as the federal health policy coordinator for the state’s health & human services agencies. She received her Master of Public Health from John Hopkins University and her Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University.

About our Host: Dirk Wouters joined the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980. His career started in the consular and disarmament departments, and he went on to dealing with economic and technology issues at the Belgian Embassy in Rome. From 1986, Mr. Wouters was appointed to several important functions in European Affairs, including within the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the EU. He was also directly involved in several negotiations on revision of the European Treaties (Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, and Lisbon). In 1992, Mr. Wouters received a second assignment in Rome dealing with political and economic issues. In 2001, he was appointed coordinator of the Belgian Presidency and headed for some years the Department of European Coordination and Integration in the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Brussels. Dirk Wouters then assisted Jean Luc Dehaene as Vice President of the Convention on the future of the European Union. From 2003 to 2009, he was Permanent Representative of Belgium to the Political and Security Committee of the European Union, at the time when the common foreign and security policy was framed under the leadership of J. Solana. In 2009, Mr. Wouters was called to the office of Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy as his diplomatic advisor and Sherpa. After that, as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dirk Wouters was one of the main architects of the successful Belgian EU-Presidency and key foreign policy decisions on Afghanistan and Libya. He was the Permanent Representative of Belgium to the European Union from 2011 to 2016.

Mr. Wouters is no stranger to the United States, having lived in New York while Deputy Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations (1995-2000), with a special responsibility for coordination and for overseeing the work in the political, military, economic and development section. In this position, he was involved in the creation of the International Criminal Court. During his tenure, Dirk Wouters was also an active participant in the Open-ended Working Group of the General Assembly on the Reform of the Security Council. Read more…