"Consulting Without Borders 2022: DEGROWTH"
February 1, 2022
13:00-16:00 GMT
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What is Degrowth?

There exists a widely growing concern that human civilization is facing a multi-dimensional crisis of ecological breakdown and inequality. It is becoming increasingly obvious that human presence on Earth is no longer sustainable, and many scholars argue a shift to “sustainable development” is not enough in itself to resolve the challenges facing the future of the planet. In fact, “sustainable development” can be seen as an oxymoron as any development based on growth in a finite and environmentally strained world is inherently unsustainable.

Scientists argue that this crisis is caused by a particular economic system predicated on perpetual expansion. Such continuous growth is impossible in the long term as Earth’s resources are limited. Moreover, in many cases growth deepens inequality as it disproportionately benefits a small percentage of the population -- the ultra-rich.

As a response to this issue, the degrowth movement has gained traction over the past several decades. Degrowth is a planned reduction in energy and resource use, resulting in a scaling-down of global consumption and production. Moreover, degrowth advocates for a socially just and ecologically sustainable society, in which indicators of social and environmental well-being replace GDP in measuring prosperity. Such a transition would require fundamental systemic change across the world.

Critics of degrowth claim that a slowing or elimination of economic growth would result in higher rates of unemployment, increased poverty, and lower income per capita. However, degrowth researchers argue that societal transformation is inevitable, "by design or by disaster," and only by implementing degrowth (and similar ideas) we can secure a prosperous and just future for all.

Speakers and Panelists


Martin Calisto Esquetini-Friant
(The Netherlands)

PhD Researcher, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University

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Anya Al-Salem (USA)

MSc Student of Sustainable Development, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University

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Ron Finch (Canada)

Environmental Engineer, Principal at EnviroFinch Services Limited

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Viktoria Olskaia (USA)

President, Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation

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Dr. Roman Vakulchuk (Kazakhstan)

Senior Researcher at Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)

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Dr. Stephen Tupper, FRSA (UK)

International Development Consultant;
Board of Directors, Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation

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Dr. Stephen Tupper (United Kingdom)

Stephen Tupper has been working in both commercial and international development projects since 1986. The projects are those funded by the European Union, USAID, UKAID (formerly DFID), Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, and others.

He has led teams working on issues of poverty reduction, regional development and governance involving a broad mix of stakeholders from government, the private sector, NGOs/civil society and working groups of the local population, as well as serving as senior expert in other projects. To produce a positive result, Stephen has always placed inclusion as a key factor, together with the need for creative and innovative partnerships. He also considers that great sensitivity is needed in approaching each problem; it is essential to respect different cultures, varied understandings of what at first sight seem similar terms and ideas and not to push standard solutions. He prefers working bottom up, rather than top down, to ensure that projects deliver results for wider stakeholders and the general population.

During this long time, he worked in most countries in Europe, Asia, North Africa/Middle East and in parts of the Pacific. He has lived long-term in eight countries and has enjoyed, through immersion, the languages, and cultures of each of them.

At present, Stephen is engaged as a consultant in the results-oriented monitoring of EU-funded projects, concentrating on the Asia-Pacific region. He has been a member of the Board of the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation since 2018.

Contact: tupper.stevetupper.stephen@gmail.com

Viktoria Olskaia (USA)

Viktoria is a cross-cultural entrepreneur passionate about sustainability and innovation. She is an expert in communications and private sector development with the focus on post-Soviet states, Europe, and Asia. Viktoria has extensive experience working on international development projects funded by multilateral donor organizations. She also started and is currently involved in several business ventures across the globe.

In 2010, while living and working in Kazakhstan, she lost her husband, Gabriel Al-Salem, in a tragic accident. She started the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation as a USA public benefit corporation to continue Gabriel’s work in the fields of economic development in emerging market countries. Viktoria holds Master’s degrees from St. Petersburg State University (Russia) and Ohio State University (USA) and a Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School at Perdue University Global.

Contact: v.olskaia@ga-foundation.org

Gib Bulloch (United Kingdom)

Gib Bulloch is an award winning social intrapreneur who consults, writes and speaks on a range of topics relating to the role of business in society. He believes passionately in the power of business to change the world and in the power of the individual to change the world of business.

In 2019, Gib founded the Craigberoch Business Decelerator on the Isle of Bute in Scotland where he grew up. It is positioned at the nexus of business, the arts, wellbeing and the natural environment – a space “where people and ideas can flourish.”

After a 20 year career in Accenture, Gib left the company in 2016 to write his first book: “The Intrapreneur: Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent” (2018), a personal story of Gib’s 15 year journey to create and scale Accenture’s global "not-for-loss" consulting business, Accenture Development Partnerships. This innovative venture attracted significant media attention, won Accenture international awards for Corporate Social Responsibility and Gib himself was voted the UK’s Management Consultant of the year in 2008.

Gib’s career 'epiphany' came from a year as a business volunteer with the charity Voluntary Service Overseas in the Balkans in 2000. He has a degree in engineering and an MBA from the University of Strathclyde and spent his early career in BP and Mars. He is a Visiting Fellow on Intrapreneurship at Cranfield University and serves on the Board of The League of Intrapreneurs.

Contact: www.gibbulloch.com

Francesco D’Aprille (Italy)

As business consultant and partner at P&D Consulting, Francesco D’Aprille has been supporting companies interested in expanding into China and in other regions in Asia as well as Asian companies interested in expanding into Europe. Together with a team of consultants in Asia and Europe Francesco designs and manages business strategies and M&A, helps finding local business partners and supports the startups of new business projects.

The focus of Francesco’s consulting relationships is on navigating cross-cultural issues, understanding what drives each distinct business market and on being alert to new opportunities. He has taken the challenge to manage a new business in China, which involves importing selected Italian wine and extra virgin olive oil, packaging knowledge and culture related to these products and making them available for Chinese customers.

Francesco considers professional associations as the best environment for his development. He is Past Chairman of ICMCI – the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes, which has members representing 48 countries around the world. For 6 years Francesco also served as President of APCO, the Italian Association of Management Consultants.

Francesco has been an Affiliate Professor of Creative Management at Grenoble Graduate School of Business (GGSB), and Guest Lecturer at the School of Economy and Management of Tsinghua University of Beijing. He has also taught at the University of Greenwich – London and the International Management Institute in Kiev. Francesco is a speaker at international forums on business exchanges between Europe and Asia. He has represented the Italian Ministry of Economic Development on the issues related to small and medium enterprises at various working committees managed by the European Commission in Brussels

Specialties: Strategy and Business Internationalization, Creative Management

Contact: fdaprile@pedconsulting.it

Robinder Nath Sachdev (India)

Robinder is a global strategist, social entrepreneur and author with over 30 years of experience in business and social innovations between nations and across cultures. He is a prominent media personality and expert with over 4,000 appearances in print media and TV, including in Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, Fortune, Forbes, NPR, CNN, BBC, Sunday Guardian, Financial News, Le Monde, Sputnik International, Russia Today, Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Economic Times, Times of India, and many more. Robinder is an expert in international affairs, communications and image, leadership, social innovation, campaign management, industry research and intelligence.

The Imagindia Institute is a new age think tank and incubator. It has played a key role in US-India and Japan-India nuclear deals, initiated the Friends of India Caucus in the US Senate; facilitated and enabled bilateral agreements on aviation and postal departments between Kazakhstan, Korea, and India. Imaginidia also had legislative impact on immigration, trade matters and clean energy as well as supported numerous government delegations, investor and business events in the US, Europe, Korea, Japan, the UAE, and India.

Contact: robinder@imagindia.org

Nurzat Abdyrasulova (Kyrgyz Republic)

Ms. Nurzat Abdyrasulova is a Founder and President of UNISON Group with over 18 years of professional experience in the areas of energy efficiency, climate change, sustainable development and good governance with a proven track of more than 40 transregional projects realized featuring her participation or patronage.

Ms. Abdyrasulova is not only a renowned professional and executive leader in Energy industry and Energy Sector Governance of the Kyrgyz Republic with institutional support, but also a devoted opinion leader and lawmaker in renewable energy systems, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

Besides the projects related to Energy Efficiency Financing instruments, since 2002 Nurzat has also been actively involved in boosting policy dialogue and guiding government leaders to adopt good governance practices into the core of their government plans, agendas and policies that help restore public trust and increase transparency and accountability in the energy sector.

Along the same lines, Nurzat has outstanding international networking and large-scale project management skills and an excellent knowledge of innovative energy saving technologies and their application in the Central Asia region. Her profound experience also includes green financing, support in the development of targeted EE/RE lending products.

Nurzat is a winner of the Gabriel Al-Salem International Award for Excellence in Consulting 2019 in the category "Green Economy."

Oliver Matar (USA)

Oliver Matar is an international speaker, global management consultant and multiple books author, who specializes in Sustainable Success. His experience includes successful implementation of more than 100 large international consulting projects in the public and private sectors in 12 countries in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Oliver has developed a worldwide pioneering solution for Sustainable Success that integrates value creation/innovation and occupational happiness.

Oliver’s solution has been successfully implemented by the Federal Governments of a number of countries. Oliver is a frequent speaker at international forums in the USA, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, South Korea, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He is the author of “How to Achieve Sustainable Success?”- a book that contains his worldwide pioneering copyrighted methodology about how to achieve happy and durable success.

Oliver is the author of Aubible.com’s best-selling book “Counselors Beyond Knowledge.” He is also the author of “Eudemonia Redemption,” a novel that reshapes people’s approach towards eternal quest for happiness, and “Fuel of Life,” a novel that contains “DAARR,” which is a unique yet simple model that helps people improve their personal happiness. Oliver’s books have received 90% satisfaction ratings in surveys run by Google.

Oliver has served as an International Business Fellow of Strathclyde Business School, Glasgow, UK where he supervises the final MBA thesis and teaches the flagship MBA course “Strategic Consulting in Practice.”

From 2013 to 2015 Oliver represented the Institute of Management Consulting USA (IMC USA) at the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), and from 2015 to 2017 he served as Vice Chair of ICMCI. Oliver also serves on the Board of Directors of IMC USA. He is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

To view Oliver’s audiovisual profile, follow the link https://youtu.be/Qw8sCvRbZtw

Judith Ogedegbe (Nigeria)

Judith Ogedegbe has 20 years of experience as a management and international development consultant. She is specialised in Business Strategy and Operations and Organisational Development and Culture helping clients achieve greater profitability and growth.

She has significant experience in leading organizations through holistic organization effectiveness for business growth and transformation, through employee-led approaches and effectiveness in Africa, Middle East and USA. She has experience in working with development partners, bilateral governments and the public sector across Africa, Middle East and USA to achieve sustainable development outcomes.

Judith Ogedegbe holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Development, with executive training from Harvard Business School, London Business School of Finance, and other prestigious business schools.

She has led multi-dimensional leadership teams across diverse industries with particular focus on strategy implementation and organisational transformation, operating models, value creation, and post-acquisition support. She has also held executive and leadership positions in transformation and integration, including one of the largest telecommunication businesses in Africa.

Judith is passionate about driving change that leads to sustainable growth and profitability. She enjoys delivering results through an employee-ownership culture, operational performance and growth impact. She is a certified professional coach and provides life and business coaching to individuals, executives and business owners.

Judith currently serves as Executive Director of DAI in Nigeria, a global development company, operating in over 100 countries across the world.

Contact: Judith_Ogedegbe@dai.com

Dr. Mohammad Kamil Almuaini (UAE)

Dr. Mohammad Kamil Almuaini founded the International Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in 2010. This organization helps create awareness and teach people in the Gulf Region about foreign cultures.

With the increase and need of foreign workers in the Gulf Region, cultural diplomacy has become extremely important for such industries as hospitality, health care, and the energy sector. The IICD helps people foster a mutual understanding of cultural differences and embrace socio-political aspects of foreign cultures. The organization has been recognized as a pioneer think tank of cultural diplomacy in the UAE.

Contact: almuaini1@gmail.com

Dr. Roman Vakulchuk (Kazakhstan)

Roman Vakulchuk holds a PhD degree in Economics from Jacobs University Bremen, Germany. He is a member of the Kazakhstan Chamber of Management Consultants (CMC Kazakhstan) and the Central Eurasia Leadership Academy (CELA). Roman works also as a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI). In 2012, he contributed to the establishment of the Consortium of Consulting and Research Organizations of Kazakhstan (CCRO).

Having priceless experience of working together with Gabriel Al-Salem, Roman is a consultant and researcher specializing in strategic planning in emerging markets, energy and climate change, trade, investment climate and economic development in Central Asia. He has extensive experience in project management, fundraising, stakeholder management, market research, investment consulting, and establishing business networks in Central Asia. Roman headed various projects funded by international organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, German Development Cooperation, Global Development Network and many others. He speaks Russian, English, Ukrainian, German and French.

As a Co-Founder and Country Director at Central Asian Development Institute (CADI), Roman was a winner of the Gabriel-Al Salem International Award for Excellence in Consulting in 2013.

Contact: roman.vakulchuk@googlemail.com

Lily Mackow-McGuire (United Kingdom)

Lily has 5 years working in International Development.

She has demonstrated experience designing, delivering and scaling government funded multi-million pound programmes, with expertise in youth leadership, strengthening civil society and improving the way we do international development.

Lily works for Restless Development, the youth-led development agency. Young people are most affected by the most persistent problems in the world, yet are frequently overlooked as part of the solution. The mission of Restless is to place young people at the forefront of change and development. Their strength comes from being led by young people and young professionals, from the boardroom right through to the field. Working hard since 1985, Restless programmes have reached over 7 million young people directly and indirectly.

Contact: lilymackm@googlemail.com

Sanjay Saxena (India)

Sanjay has nearly 30 years of international experience in the development sector. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, is a fellow member of Cost and Management Accountants of India and holds advanced diplomas in Information Technology and Urban Development. His work has spanned four thematic areas – Governance, e-Governance, Public Financial Management (PFM) and Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E). He has applied this subject matter expertise across a range of diverse sectors such as Urban Development, Tourism Development, Rural Development, Infrastructure Development, Water and Sanitation, Skills Development, Education, Health, etc.

He has worked extensively with multilateral international development agencies such as – The World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), African Development Bank, UNDP, UNOPS, UNICEF, etc. and leading bilateral such as DFID / UK Aid, Swiss Aid, Giza, DFAT, etc. He has worked with National, State / Provincial and Local Governments and public sector / regulatory authorities, in several countries. Over the years Sanjay has also conducted numerous training workshops for over three thousand senior and middle level executives, professionals and academicians. Sanjay has published more than 145 books which are prescribed as course material by over 700 leading universities and training institutes in over 12 countries. Sanjay provides extensive guidance and leadership to the TSCPL team and plays a direct role in all projects implemented making himself available to clients at all times.

Contact: sanjay@tscpl.com

Anya Al-Salem (USA)

Anya is a Master's of Science student of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University (the Netherlands), specializing in Energy and Materials. Her academic fields of interest include degrowth, circular economy, and deep decarbonization.

Anyaʼs hobbies include musical theater, singing, reading, and spending time in nature. She has lived all over the world, in countries including Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and currently the Netherlands.

Contact: a.o.al-salem@students.uu.nl

Azamat Temirkulov (Kyrgyz Republic)

Azamat Temirkulov is a political scientist, expert on security and peace building. He currently works as a consultant for the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and international organizations. In the past Azamat worked as an analytical expert at the Security Council of the Kyrgyz Republic and as an Associate professor at the AUCA. In 2013 he earned his PhD in Political Science from the Institute for Peace and Security Research (IFSH) at Hamburg University. He received his BA and MA degrees with honor from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium).

Azamat is a winner of the Gabriel Al-Salem International Award for Excellence in Consulting 2019 in the category "Green Economy."

Chingiz Kanapyanov (Kazakhstan)

Chingiz Kanapyanov graduated from MGIMO University (Moscow) and started his career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kazakhstan), then held various senior positions at the National Bank of Kazakhstan. He is now implementing his experience of international development and acts as a Board member at Kazakh British Technical University, International Green Technologies and Investment Projects Centre, Halyk Global Markets. Chingiz is also engaged in NGO activities as Chair of the Board of Central Eurasian Leadership Alliance (CELA). Kanapyanov is a frequent speaker on the issues of sustainable development, regional cooperation and education in Central Eurasia.

Contact: chingizkan@googlemail.com

Chris Home (Australia)

Chris Horne has been working in international development projects since 1990. Prior to this he worked as practising social worker and then social work manager in the UK followed by a period working with the Social Services Inspectorate and as a consultant with King’s Fund College. He has worked in many countries around the world and for funding agencies including the European Union, USAID, UKAID (formerly DFID), Asian Development Bank, and the World Health Organisation.

He has led teams working on a wide range of projects within the social policy/social development perspective. Specific areas of project focus have included development of public social policy services including social benefits, social service provision, acute and community based health delivery as well as a number of very specifically focussed projects, for example social inclusion of Roma people, addressing issues of school refusal, working with agencies dealing with extreme poverty and homelessness.

He also has extensive experience in a number of countries in designing and shaping new social development projects as well as assessing effectiveness and impact of such development work.

He has a strongly held conviction that both social service provider organisations and development consultancy projects should be based upon a process of listening. In providing an effective social service, attention must be paid to the view of the people who use those services. Similarly, in provision of social development consultancy projects, he regards the most effective approach to be based upon attention to the hopes and aspirations of key actors within recipient agencies. His approach, therefore, both to consultancy projects and the design and operation of social policy services is based upon a cooperative and inclusive approach which brings together stakeholders both to design and implement work, and to assess impact and quality of projects or services.

Contact: me@chrishorne.co.uk

Matt Trevithick (USA)

Matt has founded multiple companies in the U.S. and abroad. A graduate of Yale University, he co-founded an international development evaluation firm in Istanbul that scaled to five country offices and 70 staff. He has extensive regional expertise through a decade of field experience, including work at the American University of Iraq - Sulaymaniyah and the American University of Afghanistan, and speaks Persian, Arabic and basic Russian.

Contact: matt.trevithick@yale.edu

Ron Finch (Canada)

Ron has worked as an environment consultant for over 18 years on industrial, commercial, residential and local authority projects, contaminated sites, marine and foreshore construction and restoration projects, habitat compensation projects, down-stream oil and gas projects, and many others. Since 2018, Ron has been working in Kazakhstan supporting a major capital project with the Environment, Labour and Community management and Compliance Assurance in alignment with the IFC lender obligations. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, he has been supporting the Emergency Management Response Team as the COVID-19 Response Advisor.

Ron has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary (2004), Bachelor of Technology in Environmental Engineering (Honors) from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Environmental Engineering (2014), and a Certificate in Emergency Management from the Justice Institute of British Columbia (2018).

Ron has an interest in mentoring and capacity building and since 2014 has been a guest lecturer at the British Columbia Institute of Technology Environmental Engineering program. In January 2022, Ron joined the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation's Board of Directors.

Contact: Ron.finch@envirofinch.ca

Zachary Kaplan (USA)

On graduating from Georgetown’s McCourt School for Public Policy, Zachary Kaplan joined the World Bank, working principally in East and West Africa on infrastructure, extractive industry issues, and private sector development, but also gaining valuable experience in Latin America and Brazil. He co-authored publications on natural resource concession management, innovative forms of public-private finance for infrastructure, and business-friendly policy regimes related to local content and supply chain development.

Zachary joined DAI in 2012 as a technical specialist supporting DAI’s work globally in small and medium-sized enterprise development, infrastructure, public-private partnerships, and extractive industries. In 2015, he launched the DAI Sustainable Business Group (SBG) to lead the firm’s engagement with commercial clients seeking to invest and expand in growth markets around the world while at the same time delivering development benefits in terms of local jobs, local value creation, and local enterprise development.

Zachary has advised governments including those of Canada, Mexico, Mozambique, and Romania, and multinational companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Walmart. He co-facilitates DAI’s Local Content Master Class and serves on the Advisory Board for Mining Shared Value and the McCourt School’s Policy in Action, which he co-founded in 2007.

  • M.P.P., international policy and development, Georgetown University
  • B.A., history and Spanish literature, Cornell University

Contact: Zachary_Kaplan@dai.com

Martin Calisto Esquetini-Friant (the Netherlands)

Martin has an interdisciplinary academic background in international development studies, political ecology and urban planning from McGill University, the University of Melbourne, and University College London. He has over seven years of experience as a sustainability researcher and practitioner working on several projects in Africa, Europe, Oceania and North and South America. His current research focuses on circular economy, environmental governance, post-development, and degrowth.


The Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation (USA) is a non-profit organization working to build connections, promote excellency, and support sustainability with a focus on transitional and emerging market countries. The Foundation commemorates the remarkable life of the late Gabriel Al-Salem (USA), who worked as Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Business Advisory Program in Central Asia and made an enormous contribution to the development of the consulting industry in the Central Asian and other regions. After his tragic death in 2010, in a paragliding accident in Kazakhstan, the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) recognized Gabriel’s pioneering work and granted him the honorary title of “Member of the Meridian Order.”


In 2012, the Foundation launched the annual International Conference “Consulting without Borders” and the Award for Excellence in Consulting to motivate business consultants to accomplish high quality and result-oriented work for their clients. We believe business consultants are change-makers who can boldly lead the way for the world we all hope for, both in their own countries and internationally.

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The Conference will take place on February 1, 2022 from 13:00 to 16:00 GMT. As our participants come from all over the globe, the time has been carefully selected to make it reasonably convenient for all. Please adjust for your time zone using the following link: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock.


Since 2018, the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation has been promoting sustainability, which we see as a balance between the environment, social justice, and the economy. This year we decided to discuss alternative concepts for sustainability, which dig deeper into ways to optimize human and planetary wellbeing by minimizing inequality, poverty, and environmental harm.

The keynote presentation will answer the following questions:

  1. What is degrowth and why it is important for sustainability?
  2. What is the history and the main principles of degrowth thinking?
  3. What are some examples of degrowth policies and actions in the global North and South alike?

After this, we will have a panel discussion and a Q&A, which will cover the following issues:

  1. How can we ensure economic stability without growth?
  2. What are the degrowth strategies?
  3. Are carbon mitigation and economic growth simultaneously achievable?
  4. How could the issue of significant inequity in the wealth distribution be addressed during degrowth?
  5. Under what plausible socio-political conditions could the systemic changes required for degrowth take place?

Following the keynote discussion, we will invite winners of the 2012-2020 International Award for Excellence in Consulting to join us live to share their stories, talk about their successes and challenges, and give advice to those who are just starting their consulting and business careers.

To join please send an email to v.olskaia@ga-foundaiton.org.


Consulting Without Borders 2022: DEGROWTH" will be streaming LIVE on the Gabriel Al-Salem Foundation's Facebook page, Twitter and YouTube. Participants will be able to ask questions in the comment section of the social media of their choice. The experts will provide answers in real time. The recordings will be publicly available.


Please use the form below to register for the event.

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