Born on: 09 August 1968
Attorney at Law (Member of Brussels Bar 1994-2000,
Member of Ghent Bar 2000-2011,
Honorary Member of Ghent Bar 2011-present)
Consultant 1996–2005 to European Union of the Deaf (www.eud.eu)
Political career (with N-VA):
Member of the European Parliament (MEP): July 2014 - present
Member of Flemish Parliament: June 2004 – May 2014
Senator: July 2007 – May 2014
Member of Ghent City Council: January 2007 – August 2014
Rotary Exchange Student 1987-88 in St Louis, Missouri, USA
Faculty of Law, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium:
1990: Candidate in Law;
1993: Licentiate in Law;
1991-92: Erasmus Exchange Student at the Faculty of Law at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley, California, USA, with scholarships awarded by: the Fulbright Program; American Women’s Club of Brussels; Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; Covington & Burling; Rotary International District nr. 1630; Gallaudet University Graduate Fellowship Fund; and Berkeley Graduate Studies Committee:
1993-94: Master of Laws (LL.M) Thesis: “Telecommunications and Access for Deaf People in the European Union and the United States”.
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), Berkeley, California, USA: providing legal aid to persons with a disability: September - December 1993;
California Center for Law and the Deaf (CALCLAD), Oakland, California, USA: providing legal aid to deaf people: July - September 1994.
Flemish Sign Language (VGT): very fluently;
Dutch Sign Language (NGT): good;
British Sign Language (BSL): good;
French Sign Language (LSF): sufficiently;
American Sign Language (ASL): fluently;
International Sign: fluently.
Dutch: mother tongue;
English: very fluent;
German, Italian & Spanish: basic.
Reading, watching movies, travelling, swimming and skiing;
President of the European Union of the Deaf May 2005 - September 2007;
Was member of the ‘EDF Legal Rights Working Group’ which advises the European Disability Forum;
Was Chair of the ‘Women with Disabilities Committee’ of the European Disability Forum;
Honorary Member of the Rotary Club of Sint-Truiden;
Legal expert for and Member of the Board of the Flemish Deaf Association “FEVLADO”.