< Back to the programme

2nd Special Session of ITU Focus Group on metaverse

Time: 18 October 2023

Venue: Radisson Blu Latvia Conference & Spa Hotel conference center


Leonidas Anthopoulos

Professor, University of Thessaly, Greece

Dr. Leonidas Anthopoulos is a Professor in e-business and strategy at the University of Thessaly, Greece. During his current mission and at his previous job positions (as an Expert Counselor at the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a Special Advisor of the Mayor of Trikala, Greece and as an ICT project manager at the Information Society S.A. (Greece)) he planned and supervised several critical projects, worth mentioning the smart city of Trikala. He is the Director of the “Intelligent Production Systems and Smart Cities” Research Institute and the Director of the Postgraduate Program in Agile Management at the University of Thessaly, Greece.
He is a member of numerous committees, worth mentioning working for the ITU (Rapporteur of Q13 of the SG5), he is the head of the Smart and Sustainable cities’ working group for the Greek Standards, the Associate Editor of the IET Smart Cities journal etc.
In the above missions he has focused among others on the role of ICT in city resilience in terms of systemic efficiency and social coherence, and corresponding works have been developed for the smart city of Trikala and the International Telecommunications Union.
He is the author and editor of several book collections, which can be found in Cities, Sustainable Cities and Society, Technological Forecasting and Social Change and Government Information Quarterly (ElSevier), ACM Computing Surveys monograph for Springer etc. His research interests concern, among others, smart city, e-Government, Enterprise Architecture, Strategic Management, etc.

Cristina Bueti

U4SSC Focal Point and Counsellor, ITU

Cristina Bueti is the ITU Focal Point on Smart Sustainable Cities. She is also the Counsellor of ITU-T Study Group 20 “Internet of things (IoT) and smart cities and communities (SC&C)” and the Counsellor of the Focus Group on metaverse at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). She also serves as TSB/ITU focal point for Latin America. Cristina Bueti graduated from the Faculty of Political Science, Law and International Cooperation and Development of the University of Florence, where she completed postgraduate studies in International Cooperation and Telecommunications Law in Europe. She ​also holds a specialization in Environmental Law with a special focus on Telecommunications. In 2003, Ms. Bueti built on her academic credentials by completing a specialized course in peace keeping and international cooperation with special focus on telecommunications at the Faculty of Laws, University of Malta, before joining the International Telecommunication Union in Geneva in January 2004. As part of the International Women’s Day 2016, she was named as one of the twenty Geneva-based inspirational women working to protect the environment. She has authored over 40 reports on telecommunication issues. A native Italian speaker, Cristina is also fluent in English, French and Spanish.​​​

Per Fröjdh

​​​Vice President International Standards, Ericsson

Per Fröjdh has more than three decades of experience in research and innovation. He received his MSc and PhD degrees after studies at Chalmers University in Gothenburg and at Imperial College in London. Subsequent to postdoctoral appointments in Seattle and Copenhagen he was professor of theoretical physics at Stockholm University before joining Ericsson as manager of video research and standardization. Per has contributed to the AVC/H.264 and HEVC/H.265 standards for video compression, the DASH streaming format and the ISO base media file format in MPEG, for which he was recognized with an Emmy Award. He served on the advisory committee for W3C and has been editor of 15 standards in MPEG, ITU-T, 3GPP and IETF. He is currently the Multimedia Chair at the Swedish Institute for Standards, Vice Chair of ITU-T Study Group 16 on multimedia, Vice Chair of ITU-T Focus Group on metaverse, Treasurer and Board Director of the DASH Industry Forum and Steering Board Member of DVB. He also serves as Vice President and Board Director of the Media Coding Industry Forum.​

Walter Greenleaf

​​​Stanford University

Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D., is a neuroscientist and a medical technology developer at Stanford University. With over 35 years of work developing clinical applications of medical virtual reality technology, Walter is considered a leading authority.
Dr. Greenleaf is currently a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. He also works to develop next-generation wearable sensors as part of the eWear Program at the Stanford School of Engineering. He previously served as the Director of the Mind Division at the Stanford Center on Longevity, focusing on age-related changes in cognition.
Walter was the founding Chief Science Officer for Pear Therapeutics and is the Chief Science Officer for Interaxon. In addition to his academic work, he is the technology and neuroscience advisor to several early-stage medical product companies and accelerator/incubator programs.

Cristina Martinez

​​​Deputy Head for Smart Technologies for Communities, European Commission

Cristina Martinez graduated in Science Philosophy, and has a master in Communication (Major) and another MSc in Telematics (Cum Laude).
She started her career in the United Nations working for an IT track and trace software project for railways in Africa, Asia and Latin-America. She then joined the Andersen Consulting company in 1998 to work for the Technology department as a solutions engineer.
She became a member of the staff of the European Commission in 2002. She worked as a senior administrator for research in the Information Society Directorate-General where she led the ‘Enterprise Interoperability’ cluster for many years.
From 2013 onwards, Cristina took managerial responsibilities as a Head of Sector, first, then as a Deputy Head of Unit in various departments: the ‘Knowledge-Management’ unit, the ‘eInfrastructure and Open Science Cloud’ unit and the ‘Smart Mobility and Living’ unit. Since January 2019, she is in charge of Smart Cities. Her area of expertise spans from digital policy and IT solutions to environmental sustainability, UN SDGs and societal transformation.
Cristina Martinez is married and has three children.

Marios Nicolaou

​​​Business Development Director, P-NET

Marios is an expert on 5G and Metaverse technologies with over 20 years of experience in various positions. He worked at Nokia Bell Labs for 18 years on wireless networks. He is part of p-NET in Greece, a leading company in 5G, 6G, and various emerging technologies such as Digital Twins, XR, and the Metaverse.
Marios holds a BSc in EE from the University of California and an MSc in Engineering Management from the University of Southern California.

Pilar Orero

​​​Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Co-chairman of FG-MV Working Group 8 on Sustainability, Accessibility & Inclusion

Professor Pilar Orero, PhD (UMIST, UK), works at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in the TransMedia Catalonia Lab. She has written and edited many books, nearly 100 academic papers, and almost the same number of book chapters – all on media accessibility. She’s a leader and participant in numerous EU-funded research projects on media accessibility.
Professor Orero works in standardization and participates in the UN ITU IRG-AVA – Intersector Rapporteur Group Audiovisual Media Accessibility, ISO, SAGA, and ANEC. She has been working on immersive accessibility for the past four years, first in an ImAc project, whose results are further developed in TRACTION, MEDIAVERSE, and MILE. Orero has just started to work on green accessibility in GREENSCENT.
Until December 2022, she led the EU network LEADME on Media Accessibility. Additionally, she co-chairs a study group on accessibility and inclusion in the ITU Metaverse Focus Group.

Gatis Ozols

​​​Undersecretary for Digital Transformation, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Latvia

Gatis is an Undersecretary for Digital Transformation of Latvia’s government. As a Government CIO, he is responsible for national and government digital transformation policy & strategy, focusing on service digital transformation, government ICT governance, and advancing the digital economy.
Gatis has more than fifteen years of professional work experience in Digital government in different positions. His professional motto is: “As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.” /Antoine de Saint-Exupéry/

Rolf Werner

​​​Head of Europe, NOKIA

Dr. Rolf Werner is the Head of Europe at Nokia. In this role, he leads sales, marketing, business management, and other operations for Nokia in Europe. Rolf joined Nokia from Cognizant Technology Solutions, where he was the CEO of Germany, responsible for the DACH region, a top three region for Cognizant. Under his leadership, the company delivered double-digit growth for the region, including acquiring ESG Mobility.
Overall, Dr. Werner brings more than 25 years of experience in the ICT industry to Nokia, having held various senior positions at T-Systems, Fujitsu, and GlobalLogic. Heading Nokia’s Europe region, Rolf helps drive Nokia’s already significant growth and market share. In addition, he aims to deepen Nokia’s relationships with key European customers and support the company’s growth ambitions into new market segments.
Rolf holds a degree in Business Administration from Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (Diplom-Kaufmann) and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of East London. He is married and has three children.

Christina Yan Zhang

​​​CEO and Founder, The Metaverse Institute

Christina is a metaverse pioneer. She started her master research on the topic in 2006 to develop universities’ international strategies. In 2012, with full scholarship, she completed a PhD in using digital twin in the metaverse to augment the AEC industry.
Christina is an award-winning business leader with 17 years of experience turning forward-thinking ideas into high growth businesses. She has extensive experience working with governments, universities, and business on innovation strategies.
She has sat on 20+ advisory committees for UNESCO, World Bank, Commonwealth, EU, and UK Governments. She is Vice Chair of the UN International Telecommunication Union Metaverse Working Group on Sustainability, Accessibility & Inclusion. She sits on TechUK’s digital twins board and advisory council of International Science Council on the future of science.
She chairs a weekly twitter space discussion with experts on pragmatic use of metaverse across industries, which is promoted to a global community of 100,000+ leaders.
She advises governments and UN agencies to use metaverse, AI, Smart cities technologies to improve the real world. For example, she recently chaired the opening panel for The World Intellectual Property Organization’s summit on IP and Metaverse and addressed UNESCO on the future of education using metaverse.