Watch the short and thought-provoking documentary: “Don’t say where you come from” and  join our panellists in an important  discussion: how can we further value the experience of people in poverty and ensure true equality of opportunities to all?

People in extreme poverty are still subject to various forms of discrimination, which affect their access to housing, to employment, to healthcare or to schooling. Such discrimination goes beyond exclusion based on ability to pay: they are often depicted negatively by the media and society in general.

Although legislation in our countries prohibits discrimination on the grounds of socio-economic disadvantage, such attitudes remain prevalent, and they are a major reason why poverty is perpetuated from one generation to the next.

At the beginning of this gathering, we will be showing a short documentary film (25 minutes, in French with English subtitles) by Gsara Asbl with the help of Professor Olivier De Schutter, The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and the organisation, ATD Fourth World. The film (trailer) explores the various forms of discrimination people living in poverty are encountering.

The film will be followed by a conversation led by Olivier De Schutter with key players from the field, from ATD Fourth World, the King Baudouin Foundation and corporate world to share both the challenges and solutions. The discussion will seek to better understand the social discrimination attitude that people in poverty are facing; how such negative attitudes can be challenged and ultimately avoided; and the role of corporate actors in setting up an inclusive HR policy.

Timing :
7.00 PM Welcome participants

7.30 PM Introduction followed by Documentary screening : « Ne dis pas d’où tu viens »

8.10 PM Panel conversation and Q&A

9.00PM END – conversation continues at TheMerode bar



Prof. Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Olivier is the co-author of the film presented.
He is a professor at UCLouvain and at Sciences Po. He was the UN Special Rapporteur on Food Security between 2008 and 2014 and a member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights between 2015 and 2020. Since 2020, he has been the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty.

He has been actively involved in the ecological transition and promoted the cause of agroecology as the UN Special Rapporteur on Food Security. He is currently working to reconcile ecological transformation and social justice. His most recent book deals with the role of social innovations in the ecological and socially fair transition.

Quentin Martens- King Baudouin Foundation

Quentin manages programmes tackling poverty at the King Baudouin Foundation; he oversees projects and funds providing solutions to issues such as the digital divide, food aid, early childhood and education. He has over 20 years experience in development & humanitarian aid, having worked previously at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission among others.

Virginie Samyn

Passionate leader & board member with successful track record for developing and delivering innovative & growth strategy in profit & non-profit social and sustainable businesses
, internationally & locally.

Virginie Samyn holds a master degree in Business Administration and Communication and has over 15 years of experience in the world of social entrepreneurship, in a wide range of roles.
She began her career working in one of the largest Belgian social enterprises, Les Petits Riens asbl, as operations manager and director’s associate for the textile division, and ended as communication director and member of the executive committee. After five exciting years she was called to restructure and become director of a medium-sized company employing 35 people and active in the fair-trade sector in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Virginie developed the Belgian office of Ashoka, the largest international network supporting Social Entrepreneurship.

She then launched the 4Wings Foundation in Belgium, a family based structure set up to combat precarity with a strong focus on social entrepreneurship as a part of the solution.

She is now working as Special advisor to the executive body of the Regional body for the waste management where she is in charge of establishing a new strategic and operational plan UP. She is part of various board of directors as ESG specialist.

Bert Luyts,  ATD Fourth World

Bert has worked for over 30 years in several different teams within this international anti-poverty organisation in Belgium, France, Germany and Quebec/Canada. He has experience in field actions such as street libraries and popular universities, as well as in advocacy. From 2013 to 2015, he was involved in the fight for the recognition of social precarity as a ground for discrimination in French legislation. Since 2015, he has been in charge of advocacy at European level.

Saskia Jacobs

Saskia is an active member of the ATD Fourth World organisation in Belgium. As a mother of two children, both adults now, she has lived experience of poverty. Saskia participated in the film “Ne dis pas d’où tu viens”.



TheMerode, is a private social members club, where comfort, glamour and intimacy coexist through and for our members. They are at the heart of everything we do and we strive to make them feel home. That’s why all our events are exclusively organized for our members and their guests.


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