Forum Europe and Amazon Web Services hosted the Inclusive AI & Skills Conference at the Solvay Library this March

28 March 2024

The Inclusive AI & Skills Conference: Building a Diverse Digital Future took place on 13th March 2024 as an in-person event, powered by Amazon Web Services and organised by Forum Europe. The first edition of this conference brought together 23 AI experts to discuss lack of diversity and inclusiveness in the field of AI and possible solutions to tackle this pressing issue. The event was held at the Solvay Library in Brussels and attracted 160 delegates from many European countries.


The programme was jam-packed with sessions with experts including policymakers and European tech pioneers gathering to challenge and inspire critical thinking. We heard from experts on how artificial intelligence has already affected different domains of our lives: healthcare, education, recruitment, environment and what needs to be done to make it more inclusive, diverse and fair.



To celebrate and highlight the importance of Belgium holding the helm of the Presidency of the EU, the conference was opened by Belgian Secretary of State for Digitisation, Mathieu Michel and later followed by a fireside chat with Séverine Waterbley, President of the Ministry of Economy.


‘We strongly believe that digital skills should be fostered into learning paths from a young age onwards at school and we also highly emphasize the importance of long-life learning among the active workforce or elderly.’
Séverine Waterbley, President of the Ministry of Economy - Federal Government of Belgium



Three fantastic organisations: Girleek, Women and AI and AI4Belgium, led an invite only networking lunch which aimed to connect the right people for a casual conversation around topics like closing the skills gap and supporting an inclusive startup ecosystem in the field of AI. The interactive sessions triggered critical thinking by asking questions like:

1. Are ChatGPT programs better than our students?
2. Are teenagers able to understand AI concepts? What are the existing initiatives?
3. AI on the labour market discriminates against women. What can we do?
4. Could AI facilitate access to the digital world?
5. Do you need a PhD in math to become a DataScientist ?



In the afternoon AWS’s partners showcased three outstanding projects that were directly contributing to closing the skills gap: BeCode, a Belgian coding school and a social impact driven organisation, shared the ways they make tech training accessible to all. Refugee Talent Hub, a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands brings employers and refugees together with the goal of securing them paid work and we learnt what can be done to increase refugees' chances of finding work. Finally, we heard from ITvitae, a Dutch organisation that helps intelligent and talented people with autism, usually school dropouts, to participate in the labour market. We heard about the collaboration between ITvitae, which provides the training and Rabobank, which has hired the trainees in the past.

The session was extremely important for sharing and promoting existing solutions for inclusiveness in tech.

  • Challenge hirers to think differently
  • Break down barriers
  • Focus on employee advancement



With technology growing exponentially, we are unfortunately missing out on female tech talent due to the lack of young girls choosing technology as a career path. To address this issue, we partnered with a Brussels based secondary school, The Multilingual Atheneum Woluwe. The teachers working at the MAW brought their pupils onsite. We specifically asked them to identify 15 girls aged 13-18 to invite them to attend an hour-long training session entitled: ‘Girls and Women in Tech’. The aim of the session was to fuel girls' enthusiasm for tech to consider it as a future career path. The workshop was facilitated by GIRLEEK together with Amazon Young Engineer.



To follow up on the topic of girls and women in the tech sector, Anastasia Barner, Founder of FeMentor, one of the youngest female founders in Germany, a key voice for Gen Z, and a recognised TEDx speaker, led a training session with the aim to help female founders to overcome the hurdles they face due to gender bias and more.

  • How to pitch to investors;
  • Social media management;
  • Online talks and visibility on stage;
  • How to use LinkedIn and other business platforms;
  • Personal branding and PR.

We have received an overwhelmingly positive feedback from the speakers and the members of the audience. On behalf of everyone at Forum Europe and Amazon Web Services, we would like to sincerely thank all the speakers for taking part in the Inclusive AI & Skills Conference. We would particularly like to thank them for the time and effort they put into making their session - and therefore the overall event - the success that it was, and we hope that they enjoyed their participation.

We would also like to thank the key organisations that helped to shape the programme of the event and inevitably made the day remarkable: GIRLEEK, AI4Belgium and Women in AI as well as all the female startups that made their journey from their base countries all the way to the Solvay Library to be a part of this gathering. Special thanks to the principal and the teachers of the Multilingual Atheneum Woluwe who got onboard with the event bringing such contagious enthusiasm. We are pleased that the female experts in the field of AI that we hosted onsite had the chance to share their passion for tech with the younger generation and hopefully ignite their interest.



‘Don’t miss a chance to get all the talents on board! Digital Education “by default” is the Key.’
Séverine Waterbley, President of the Ministry of Economy - Federal Government of Belgium

‘An inspiring and well organized event which drives me to be and do better in the future.’
Onno Verdonk, Tech Lead Area Guide & Engage and Area Foundation, Tech Domain Digital Platform, Rabobank

‘It is and always will be important to support females. The AI sector is lacking a lot of diversity and the Inclusive AI & Skills Conference is one big step into the right direction!’
Anastasia Barner, Founder, FeMentor

‘It was an absolute pleasure to be part of the event. You all did such an excellent job at ensuring our experience as a speaker was seamless, and the entire event was expertly organised. The programme was at once engaging, inspiring and heartwarming – there was a palpable positive energy in the room, and your flawless organisation coupled with a beautiful venue certainly contributed to that atmosphere.’
Suzanne Wait, Managing Director, The Health Policy Partnership (HPP)

‘Thank you for organizing this Karolina. It was a great event with many interesting speakers! I enjoyed the diversity in the room!’
Thomas Jajeh, Chief Digital Officer, Randstad

‘Many thanks for everything last week; Hope you've received positive feedback and have experienced it as a successful event too. Personally I've been very glad with your support, the preparations on your side and the event itself; Everything ran extremely smoothly!’
Eva Huson, Senior Partner Manager, Refugee Talent Hub

‘It was my pleasure. The event was very well organised on a beautiful spot in the middle of Brussels. Thank you for organising and for your support!’
Saskia Meeuwessen, General Manager, ITvitae


You can view the highlights of all sessions in the post event resource pack. A selection of event photos is available on the event website. We created a highlight video which is published on our YouTube channel. Should you have any questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will happily help. If you would like to stay up to date with Forum Europe events, please subscribe to the newsletter.



‘In a realm where Inclusion AI prevails,
23 speakers weave their insightful tales.
160 hearts beat in sync today,
For an Inclusive future, they pave the way.

No one left behind, a powerful creed,
Serving the future, fulfilling every need.
AI, Ethics, data protection in the mix,
Vision digitization, equity's fix.

Privacy, transparency, values we hold dear,
Social integration drawing near.
Empowering women in digital's domain,
Leading from the heart, breaking every chain.
What’s really important to you?

Girls in STEM, our strategy defined,
Closing the gap, a mission aligned.
Businesses, governments, take your stand,
Lifting each other with a helping hand.

Sharing best practices, collaborations ignite,
A future inclusive, where all take flight.
Neurodiversity, a treasure to behold,
Refugees, professionals with stories untold.

Reskilling women, forging paths anew,
Co-creating justice, a society true.
How can AI tackle challenges, you might ask?
With unity and purpose, we'll complete this task.’

Mansi Jasuja, Conference Host
Practitioner Art of Participatory Leadership; Co-founder, Conscious Business