Head of the Coordination Office, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA

Simonetta Cheli is the Head of the Coordination Office, Directorate of Earth Observation Programmes at ESA Headquarters in Paris, France. Her role involves coordinating ESA relations with the European Union, the European Commission and with various other European entities, including Meteorological Organisations (Eumetsat, ECMWF and ESA Member States). She is responsible for Coordinating the Director’s Office and supporting him and the Earth Observation Directorate in the preparation of Council meetings, Ministerial meetings, high level international conferences (e.g. COP, UN) and in coordinating bilateral and multilateral relations of the Earth Observation Directorate (CEOS, GEO, Charter). She is also responsible of communication activities (launch campaigns, exhibits, VIP visits etc.).

Simonetta Cheli has been a member of the European Commission GMES Advisory Committee and ESA joint undertaking Working Groups on communication on Galileo. She is also a member of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) Earth Observations Committee. She often participates in numerous TEBS for ESA, is a technical expert for some ESA studies (e.g. space contribution to the European Defense and Security Policy study) and is a member of ESA’s Portugal / Greece Task Force and a regular professor in Master Courses on Space (e.g. Sioi Master of Space Policy). She is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Institute for International Affairs (IAI).

Her career in ESA began in 1988, working at ESA HQ, Paris in the International Relations Division and then moving into Strategy. She progressed to Head of Public and Institutional Relations Office, transferring to ESA ESRIN, Frascati in 1999 where she was responsible for institutional relations with Italy, Spain and Portugal and communication activities and has been in the Directorate of Earth Observation since 2007. Prior to this she worked in the European Commission in the Cabinet of the Commissioner responsible for Information, Culture and Communication.

She has had numerous publications in International Space, Aeronautics, International and Strategic Politics, International journals on Space issues and telecommunication. She was Chairman of EURISY Programme Committee Working Group and is currently a member of various International committees (ISPRS, IAF) and some European Commission Working Groups (Horizon 2020). She holds a degree in Political Sciences with a specialisation in International Law and obtained a Master degree at the Diplomatic and Strategic Institute in Paris (CEDS), France where she did a thesis on International Law of Telecommunication Satellites, doing research at the UN in New York. She speaks Italian, English, French, Spanish and German.