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Top 30 Europeans Christian Louboutin Footwear designer, France


French footwear designer Christian Louboutin’s signature red- lacquer-soled shoes are one of the most sought-after items in the world of women’s fashion. Desired by a diverse clientele, his footwear is worn by everyone from high-street fashionistas to the Princess of Monaco. Christian started designing aged 16 for the showgirls of the famous Folies Bergère in Paris before participating in apprenticeships with top fashion houses Charles Jourdan, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. Christian launched his own label in 1991 and opened his first Parisian boutique store the following year. In 1994 he opened another in New York and began contributing to couture and catwalk collections in 1995, for well-known designer brands Chloé, Jean Paul Gaultier and Yves Saint Laurent. The 48-year-old has received two celebrated Fashion Footwear Association of New York awards in 1996 and 2008 and is the only designer to have his shoes associated with the Yves Saint Laurent label. Louboutin opened his first men’s boutique store in London in November 2012. His shoes can be found in 50 boutiques, in over 46 different countries at some of the world’s best department stores.


Saít Sökmen Co-founder of Gaye Sökmen Agency/ dance choreographer, Turkey


Saít Sökmen is one of the most noted dance choreographers, ballet instructors and directors in Turkey, and is known for incorporating authentic Turkish dance into classical ballet. Originally from Guinea, he became one of the first students to graduate from Hacettepe University of Ankara State Conservatory, for music and arts. In 1968 he became the first in the country to choreograph ballet dance. Aſter training at the Royal Ballet of London and Contemporary Dance School, Sökmen became leading dancer and Head Choreographer of Turkey’s national arts company Te State Opera and Ballet, from 1962 to1970. He has helped assist and direct well known productions such as My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate and George Gershwin’s renowned opera Porgy and Bess. Sökmen now teaches at the Gaye Sökmen Agency, which he co-founded in 1989 - the first and leading company in the Turkish entertainment industry seeking undiscovered talent in modeling, acting and dance.


Kofi Yamgnane Advisor in Government, ex-Secretary of State, France


French-Togolese Kofi Yamgnane has served 12 years in elected public office. As secretary of state from 1991 to 1993, he was responsible for Integration with the Ministry of Social Affairs. He was a representative of Finistere from 1997 to 2002. Before attaining a senior position in government, Kofi worked as regional councillor of Brittany and was mayor of Saint Coulitz in 1989 – at the time there was only one other black mayor in France. Teyear of his mayoral election, he signified France’s successful integration for the country’s 200th anniversary celebration of the French Revolution. Kofi has spent most of his political career in France, but now resides in Africa to pursue a career as a politician in Togo. Passionate about improving relations between France and Africa, Kofi ran for the Togolese presidency in 2010 but his candidacy was rejected aſter confusion as to what was his real date of birth.


Jean-Léonard Touadi MP, Chamber of Deputies Foreign Affairs Com- mittee, Italy


Jean-Léonard Touadi’s election into the Italian parliament represents a symbolic breakthrough in Italian politics. Born in the Republic of Congo, he emigrated to Italy in 1979 from France. He first rose to prominence as a television journalist on Italy’s main talk show on immigrant issues, Un Mondo a Colori (A World In Colours). He began his political career as Rome’s Deputy Mayor and Integration Commissioner for security. In 2008 he became Italy’s third black MP, where he legislates on issues of legality and security for Italians and immigrants, relating to illegal trade, prostitution and integration. Also a lecturer of a high school in Rome and the author of several books on North- South relations and globalisation, Jean- Léonard has earned two degrees: one in philosophy from the Pontifical Gregorian University and another in journalism and political science from the private university of LUISS.


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