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Keynote speaker Heleen Mees is a Dutch columnist, economist, and lawyer. Involved with politics and public policy in the Netherlands and the United States, she gives fascinating keynotes on topics such as the global economy, public policy, immigration and China.
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Heleen Mees is a former Adjunct Associate Professor at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Policy, and before that Assistant Professor. Mees is a columnist for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant and she writes opinion articles for international publications including Foreign Policy, The Financial Times, and Project Syndicate.
Having worked in Europe, the United States, and China, Mees has a unique perspective on world affairs. Her fields of expertise include China, the global economy, Wall Street, immigration in Europe, women’s issues, and the United States.
She is in high demand as a guest on talk shows and news programs and is the author of four books. In her latest book, The Chinese Birdcage – How China’s Rise Almost Toppled the West (2016), Mees explores China’s significant influence on western economies by focusing on the link between the labor market, corporate profits, and interest rates, using Arthur Lewis’ framework for economic growth with unlimited supplies of labor to argue that by 2010 the world economy – and political situation – had been set back almost one hundred years. In Between Greed and Desire – The World Between Wall Street and Main Street (2009), Mees discusses the different models for integration in Europe and the United States. While the global financial crisis showed that greed has had a destructive impact on the economy, the desire to build a better life is still the main source of social progress.
In 2006 Mees co-founded Women on Top, an organization that advocates more women in top jobs. As an opponent of glass ceiling and the old boys’ network, Mees campaigned for 30 percent representation of women on all company boards.
Mees graduated in both economics and law. She is fluent in English and Dutch and speaks Chinese, French, and Italian. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.