Ann Vaessen has been working in the field of communications, media and conflict transformation since 2002, times working with EU institutions, times with leading international communications agencies.
Ann has designed and managed several international campaigns, such as a campaign aiming at challenging public perception towards countries of the Western Balkans, winner of a Cannes Corporate Media & TV Award, and the campaign on Croatia’s accession to the European Union, which was nominated for an EMEA Sabre Award. She has also helped organize a conference on media freedom in the Western Balkans and Turkey which was attended by approximately 500 stakeholders.
Upon her arrival in New York City, where she studied journalism, Ann witnessed the 11th September attacks. This experience brought her to the realization of the importance of conflict-sensitive reporting and inter-cultural dialogue to prevent and overcome conflict. Having later worked for two post-conflict assistance missions, respectively as a web editor and producer in Bosnia & Herzegovina and as a spokesperson in Georgia, she has acquired solid experience in the field of confidence building and conflict transformation.
In her role as the spokesperson of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia she founded the Special Prize for Peace Journalism in partnership with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and organized workshops gathering young journalists from across the Southern Caucasus in partnership with Go Group Media.
Thanks to her experience in the Western Balkans, the Southern Caucasus and the European Commission in Brussels, Ann has got a solid understanding of the EU’s foreign policy and an extensive professional network.
She holds an M.A. in Journalism from New York University, an M.Phil. in European Literature from Cambridge University and degrees in European studies, Germanic Philology and Pedagogy from the Free University of Brussels. She is fluent in English, French, German and Dutch and has basic knowledge of Russian.
Ann loves the arts and believes that it is one of the best ways to contribute to empowerment and confidence building.
She has offered editorial and networking support to several artists. In March 2013 she curated a photo exhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which aimed to inspire women across the world.
She is an accomplished violinist and has always been passionate about traveling and connecting people in order to make positive change happen.