Board of Directors
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio
President of Missing Children Europe
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio studied French language and literature and later law at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She specialised in the law of international organisations, obtaining her degree in 1969 with a thesis on the equality of treatment between women and men under European Community law.
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio
She joined the Council of Europe in 1969 as a staff member of the legal Secretariat of the European Commission of Human Rights. She later worked in a variety of positions in the Council of Europe, including in the Private Office of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. In 1998 she was elected as Deputy Registrar to the European Court of Human Rights and in 2002 she was elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, a mandate which she served for 2 successive terms until September 2012. In that capacity she obtained a firm commitment to children’s rights by all Council of Europe Member States through the programme “Building a Europe for and with children” and through the elaboration of a number of relevant treaties. The elimination of all forms of violence against children being one of her priorities, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio has championed the Council of Europe campaigns against corporal punishment and against sexual violence against children. She is also the inspiration behind the current Council of Europe work on child-friendly justice. She was elected President of Missing Children Europe, a position which she took over from Sir Francis Jacobs on 15 October 2013.
"Children are not mini human beings with mini human rights" - Maud de Boer-Buquichhio
Heidi De Pauw
Vice President of Missing Children Europe
Heidi De Pauw
A criminologist, Heidi begun her professional career as case manager at the Belgian NGO Child Focus, of which she is now CEO. Prior to that, she was Director at PAG-ASA, specialised centre on trafficking in human beings. Heidi is the Board Member responsible for the European Financial Coalition (EFC), and for finance & administration. She was elected Vice President of Missing Children Europe in March 2013.
Coşkun Çörüz was a Dutch politician and was an MP between 2001-2012. He focused on matters of security policy, judiciary, police, international law and human rights.
He studied law at the University of Amsterdam and was a member of the municipal council of Haarlem from 1998 to 2001. From May 2001 to September 2012 he was a member of the Dutch House of Representatives. He is currently the General Director of the International Centre for Child Abduction, a child right's NGO and member of Missing Children Europe in the Netherlands.
Ernesto Caffo is the Chair Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy) and current President and founder of SOS Il Telefono Azzurro Onlus. He is the Director of the School of Specialisation in Childhood Neuropsychiatric and the Master’s degree course “Estimation and Intervention in situations of childhood abuse and pedophilia” at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Professor Caffo is a member of several scientific and international organisations. He served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions. He was the President of the European Society for Child and Adolescents Psychiatry. He is also President of the foundation "Study of Children and Research into Childhood and Adolescence" and of the "Children First Foundation".
Prof. Caffo is the author of several books and articles on child psychiatry, child abuse and children’s rights, published both at a national and international level.
He is currently a board member of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and of Missing Children Europe.
"We need to turn scientific knowledge into concrete action in favour of missing children and child victims of abuse and violence all over the world." - Ernesto Caffo
Sheila's involvement with children’s rights and issues began in 2007, when she joined Fundación ANAR of Spain in a pro bono capacity to lead its international relationships. She served on the Supervisory Board of Child Helpline International for four years (2010-2014), and is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Missing Children Europe (since 2013).
Most recently she was appointed Executive Director a.i., of Child Helpline International, the global network of child helplines in May 2015.
Her background before embarking on the journey of advocating for children’s rights was in banking and international relations. Sheila spent nearly 20 years in international banking in Madrid and New York, and four years at the Inter-American Agency of Cooperation for Development at the Organisation of American States in Washington, DC.
Sheila is a magna cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and did post-graduate work at the University of Massachusetts in her specialisation of inter-American relations and politics.
“Life doesn't count for much unless you're willing to do your small part to leave our children -- all of our children -- a better world. Even if it's difficult. Even if the work seems great. Even if we don't get very far in our lifetime.” - Barack Obama
Alexandra Simões is a trained clinical psychologist since 1996 with a Master’s degree on Child Development and Learning from Oxford Brookes University. Between 2004-2010, she coordinated the Portuguese Missing Children Hotline at the Instituto de Apoio à Criança (IAC) and was IAC’s representative in a number of European NGO’s umbrella groups in the fields of child protection as well as internet safety.
She has an interest on data collection as a mean to achieve adequate child protection policies, particularly regarding missing children and the trends and challenges that Europe is facing.
"'Men have forgotten this truth,' said the fox. 'But you must not forget it. You have become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Piji Protopsaltis is the Coordinator of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at the Greek NGO “The Smile of the Child”, which she joined in February 2015. As Coordinator the National Center, she is responsible among others for the organisation’s actions in direct social intervention, notably, the Helplines, the informative sessions in schools, programs and international cooperation.
Ms. Protopsaltis has 17 years of experience as senior manager in international non-profit organisations, which has included among others the identification, negotiation, securing and implementation of numerous international and domestic partnerships and projects in several key areas including human rights, as well as administration, public affairs, project and financial management, human resources, outreach, conflict resolution and operations. Ms. Protopsaltis holds a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and a Master’s in political science (international relations and comparative politics) from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Protopsaltis was elected Member of Missing Children Europe’s Board of Directors in May 2015.