Speakers and Participants



The BREXIT has created one of the most complex challenges for the EU and its future. In addition, the negations on BREXIT are taking place during a time, when the EU is still facing several security challenges. How will BREXIT change both the EU `s and Europe’s security architecture? How will the EU improve border security and become more resilient to hybrid threats and international terrorism?

Ms Sarah Harper, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the United Kingdom in Latvia

Sarah Harper has been Deputy Head of Mission Her Majesty’s Consul at the British Embassy in Riga since July 2016.  She covers bilateral relations, consular issues and management of the Embassy.  She joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2008. Sarah has previously been posted to South Korea and has worked on a wide range of issues in the FCO and Cabinet Office in London. She studied History and International Relations at Lancaster University.



Mr Brooks Newmark, Researcher in Oxford University, United Kingdom

Brooks is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Politics & International Relations at Oxford University, writing a book on Bashar Assad, and recently Chaired a Report on Homelessness in the UK with Crisis and the Centre for Social Justice (published in 2017). Brooks has lectured and written on a range of subjects including the Conflict in Syria, Brexit, Homelessness and Private Equity. 

Brooks was the Member of Parliament for Braintree (2005-15). Brooks served in the Coalition Government as Minister for Civil Society, with responsibility for charities, the voluntary sector and youth (2014) having previously served on the Treasury Select Committee (2012 -14 and 2006-7) and as a Government Whip and Lord Commissioner HM Treasury (2010 - 12). In Opposition Brooks also served as a Whip (2007-10)

Brooks was Co-Chairman and Founder of Women2Win; Founder of the Million Jobs Campaign. 

Brooks has served on the  Board of the Harvard Alumni Association (Harvard University) and has served on the Advisory Board of London  Business School's Private Equity Institute. 

Prior to entering politics Brooks was a Senior Partner at Apollo Management LP, a leading International Private Equity firm. 

Brooks was educated at Harvard College (AB History) and Harvard Business School (MBA Finance). He was also a Politics Research Graduate at Worcester College Oxford.

Brooks founded the charity A Partner In Education in 2010 and has built a Primary School for 300 children in Rwanda and is currently building a secondary school and teacher training centre there"




Mr Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, USA


Benjamin Haddad is a research fellow at Hudson Institute specializing in European and transatlantic affairs.

A lecturer in international affairs at Sciences Po Paris, Haddad has briefed and advised senior French leaders on foreign policy issues. Haddad's articles have appeared in publications that include Politique Etrangère, The American Interest, L'Opinion, Global Policy, and Atlantico. He is a weekly speaker on a French Canadian TV show, 24/60 on CBC Radio Canada, in which he discusses U.S. politics.

He holds an MA in international security from Sciences Po Paris and an MA in economics from HEC.




Mr Simon Nixon, Chief European Commentator, The Wall Street Journal, United Kingdom

Simon Nixon is Chief European Commentator of the Wall Street Journal and writes extensively on pan-European politics, economics and finance. He also writes a weekly column for The Times (of London). He joined the WSJ in 2008 as European editor of the financial analysis and commentary column Heard on the Street. Prior to this he was executive editor of financial commentary website Breakingviews and City editor of The Week. He has a first class degree in History from Trinity College, Cambridge

NATO IN THE NORTH – Further Possible Cooperation

For more than 25 years since the collapse of the USSR, Northern Europe has been a space of peace and prosperity. The countries in this region have achieved a high degree of development and freedom, but in some cases, they have relaxed their attention to security. The events in Ukraine and an aggressive Russian policy in the Arctic, have posed new challenges to these countries as well as to NATO. What direction will Sweden and Finland take for their security policy, and how can both NATO and non-NATO members of northern Europe cooperate return their region to its previous stability?

Dr Gerlinde Niehus, Head of the Engagements Section at the Public Diplomacy Division, NATO


Dr. Gerlinde Niehus leads the Engagements Section within NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division. As such, she oversees NATO’s Public Diplomacy engagements with audiences in all NATO nations and NATO partners countries across the globe, be it people-to-people, via partners and networks, or by digital means.

Gerlinde Niehus started her professional life as a TV and radio editor for public broadcasters in Germany (WDR and Deutschlandfunk). She then moved to a German think tank, focusing on international relations and a growing range of education and training programmes with partners in Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States (NIS). This work brought her to the European Commission in Brussels, where she built up the information and communications programme EU – NIS, and subsequently developed a communications strategy for the European Commission’s Directorate General Information Society.

With a background in development cooperation, she also led in 1996/97 the European Liaison Office of the then Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), the official German development cooperation institution.

In 1999 she joined NATO, and in 2012 assumed her present position.

Gerlinde Niehus holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from Muenster University, Germany.  In addition to her doctoral thesis on Spanish Foreign Policy, she has published numerous academic articles on international and security matters, as well as on NATO’s evolving policies.

Gerlinde is a member of Women in International Security (WIIS) and alumni of the London Business School and the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation.



Cdr Kurt Engelen, Staff Officer at the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the Military Committee of NATO, Belgium


Commander Kurt Engelen holds an M.A. in International Politics and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. ​

He started his Navy career as a mine countermeasures officer and has later specialized in political-military affairs. After a civilian career in the industry he has been back into active service since 2015 and currently serves as staff officer at the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the NATO Military Committee. He represents the Belgian Defence in the Military Committee Working Groups on Cooperative Security, Air and Missile Defense, Exercises and Training, Balkan Operations and Baltic and Black Sea Security. He also advises the Belgian Military Representative to NATO on political-military issues.

On the academic side, he is a non-resident research fellow at the Centre for Security and Strategic Research of the National Defence Academy of Latvia and teaches International Politics at the Riga Graduate School of Law and at the Royal Military Academy in Brussels. His fields of research include Russian Foreign Policy , the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and complex conflict situations. He is regularly invited as guest lecturer and as panelist for conferences on international security and geopolitics.

He is the Vice-President of the Euro-Atlantic Association of Belgium and a board member of Euro-Defense Belgium.


Prof. Aurel Braun, Professor at the University of Toronto/Harvard, Canada


Aurel Braun is currently a Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the University of Toronto. He is also a Center Associate of the Davis Center at Harvard University. Additionally he is a senior member of the Centre for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies and of the Centre for International Studies, and a Fellow of Trinity College at the University of Toronto. Between July 2012 and June 2015 he was a Visiting Professor teaching in the Department of Government, Harvard University. Professor Braun has twice been appointed a Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. In March 2009, the Federal Cabinet via a Governor-in-Council appointment made Professor Braun the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy) for a three-year term. In December 2012, Professor Braun was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for services to Canada and for academic distinction by the Governor-General of Canada. Professor Braun has published extensively on communist affairs and strategic studies with a special focus on the problems of the transformation of the socialist systems in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. He is also a specialist in international law. He is the author and/or editor of several books. His latest book is NATO-Russia Relations in the 21st Century. His forthcoming book is on Russia, the West and Arctic Security.



Dr  Žaneta Ozoliņa, Vice Chairman of the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation, Professor of the Department of Political Science, University of Latvia


Žaneta Ozoliņa is a Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science, University of Latvia. Her research interests focus on European integration, Transatlantic security, regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, as well as foreign and security policy of the Baltic States. Žaneta Ozoliņa is the author of more than 90 scholarly articles and editor of several books, including such as “Latvia-Russia-X” (2007),  “Rethinking Security” (2010), “Gender and Human Security: a View from the Baltic Sea Region” (2015), “Societal Security: Inclusion-Exclusion Dilemma. A portrait of Russian-speaking community in Latvia” (2016). She is a member of the editorial boards of several journals, such as Journal of Baltic Studies, Defence Strategic Communications, Lithuanian Annual Strategic Review, and is Editor in chief of the journal Latvijas intereses Eiropas Savienībā (Latvian Interests in the European Union). She was a chairwoman of the Strategic Analysis Commission under the Auspices of the President of Latvia (2004-2008) and a member of the European Research Area Board (European Commission) (2008-2012). She was engaged in different international projects commissioned by the European Parliament, the European Commission, NATO and other international bodies. She chairs the Foreign Affairs Council of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is a member of the ECFR (European Council of Foreign Affairs) Council and the Baltic Development Forum.


The effort to deepen the defence co-ordination for Europe’s southern neighbourhood seeks to reinforce the EU’s security activities in the south. Currently, the EU is assisting in providing training opportunities, experience and information exchange. However, is the current cooperation with southern-countries enough to promote safety and security in the South, should the EU seek further cooperation with Northern African countries?


H.E. Mr Hayri Hayret Yalav, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Latvia

Ambassador Hayri Hayret Yalav started working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey in 1978, taking up the post of Second Secretary at the Department of Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges. Taking a break to complete his military service, Mr Yalav resumed in 1980 as Second Secretary at the Department of Bilateral Economic Affairs (Middle East). During his diplomatic career, Mr Hayri Hayret Yalav has worked as Second Secretary at the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad, Consul in the Turkish Consulate General in Salzburg and Deputy Consul General in the Turkish Consulate General in Hamburg, Counselor at the Turkish Embassy in Bonn and First Counselor at the Turkish Embassy in London, Consul General in the Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles. In Ankara he worked as Head of Department for Planning and Policy at the General Secretariat of the National Security Council and Head of EU Affairs Department, Head of Department of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Head of Department of Protocol, Head of Department for Bilateral Economic Affairs (Caucasus and Central Asia), Head of Department for Bilateral Economic Affairs (North America), Deputy Director General at the Directorate General for Protocol (Immunities and Privileges), Director General of Eurasia, East Asia and the Pacific at the MFA.  Mr Yalav was Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Argentina 2006-2010 and as of October 2014, is Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Latvia. Ambassador Yalav earned his BA at Boğaziçi University and MA at Royal College for Defence Studies, London.

Ms Carmen Romero, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, NATO

Carmen Romero was appointed NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy in October 2016.  She joined NATO in May 2004 as Deputy Spokesperson and Head of Press and Media, a position she held for 12 years. She has also been Acting NATO Spokesperson, including during the Russia-Georgia conflict in August 2008.   

Prior to this, Carmen had a long career as the Foreign Affairs Correspondent for EFE News Agency based at the United Nations in Geneva, Moscow and Paris, covering events such as the revolution in Romania, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the war in Chechnya, the crisis in Kosovo, and the NATO campaign in the former Yugoslavia. From 2001 to 2004 she was the Defence and Foreign Affairs Correspondent for EFE News Agency to the European Union and NATO. During that period she was also special envoy to Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Carmen has a master’s degree in Journalism and Information Science from the Universidad Complutense de Ciencias de la Informacion de Madrid. In 1996, she received an award for Young Journalists by the International Press Association in Madrid for her coverage of the war in Chechenia.

Mr Toms Rātfelders, MENA Analyst, Contributor to the LSM

Toms Rātfelders is a political analyst specialising in the Middle East and North Africa security affairs. He holds degrees from Riga Stradiņš University (Latvia) and the University of St Andrews (UK).
He is the contributor to one of the largest media outlets in Latvia - Latvian Public media (LSM), where he also holds the position of editor of the foreign affairs analysis section “Status Quo”. His work has been published by well-known Think-Tanks in Latvia and abroad – Centre of Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN), Strategic policy institute (STRATPOL) and the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA).
He is also the commentator on topics connected to the Syrian Civil war and the fight against international terrorism for the largest radio outlet in Latvia - "Latvian Radio 1". 


Mr Pawel Fleischer, President & CEO of the Institute for Forecasting and International Studies, Poland

Pawel Fleischer is President and CEO of the Institute for Forecasting and International Studies. Previously, Mr Fleischer worked at the Bumar Group, the state-controlled arms holding firm. Afterwards, he joined Polityka Insight – Centre for Policy Analysis as a defence and security analyst. Currently, he works in one of the leading IT companies in Poland, where he is dealing with the project for defence and space sector. In his early career,  he was a member of the Defense Planning Staff Team in the last NATO Defense Planning Cycle, on behalf of the Supreme Headquarter of Allied Powers in Europe. Mr Fleischer in 2016 was awarded the NATO Future Fellow by the Atlantic Council (US). He is also a member at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (UK). Mr Fleischer is preparing his Ph.D. dissertation at the Warsaw University on the NATO defence policy.



Terrorism has been an ever-present threat in both European and other countries and it is still a preferred tool for radical individuals and groups. Now European and other countries are starting to face new waves of terrorist attacks that are being carried out not with explosives and guns, but with cars and knifes, as well as other unusual ways. How can European and NATO countries respond to these “low-cost” acts of terrorism and are we ready for new types of terrorism in the future?

Mr Mark Andrew Pritchard MP, UK delegation to Council of Europe, Former Member UK National Security Strategy Committee, founding Chairman UK's Cyber Security Parliamentary Group, United Kingdom


Mark Andrew Pritchard MP has represented The Wrekin (Shropshire) since 2005 (11 plus years in UK Parliament).  Has been appointed by the Prime Minister to the Council of Europe (2015-current). Member of Migration, Refugees & Displaced Persons Committee; appointed by the Prime Minister to the UK Parliament’s Joint Human Rights Committee (2015-current).

Appointed by the Prime Minister as a member of the UK Joint National Security Strategy Committee (2011-2015); appointed by the Foreign Secretary as a UK delegate to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (2010-2015).

Mr Pritchard is a member of the Speaker’s Panel of Chairs - and recently chaired The Modern Slavery Bill. Chairs Delegated Legislation in the UK Parliament. He is a former Deputy Chairman of Conservative Party’s International Office. Has served on a number of Select Committees, most recently as a member of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

He is Chairman of the ASEAN Parliamentary Group, a member of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly (BIPA), a vice-Chairman of the Conservative Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, a founding Chairman of the Parliamentary Group on Cyber-Security.

He is an elected member of the British-American Parliamentary Group (BAPG) Executive Committee, a post-graduate of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS-Army). He has visited both Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is a Global Board Member of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), Co-Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty.

He holds two Masters degrees: International Diplomacy (Buckingham) and Marketing Management (London Guildhall).



Mr Patrik Maldre, Senior Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, FireEye iSIGHT Intelligence, USA


Patrik is a Senior Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst on the Strategic Analysis Team at FireEye iSIGHT Intelligence. In this role, Patrik  produces strategic cyber intelligence analyses for FireEye’s global customers, and regularly briefs government and industry leaders on cyber threats. Patrik has previously focused on the political and strategic aspects of cyber security as both a diplomat in Estonia and a think-tank analyst in the United States. Patrik holds a double-B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Illinois, and an M.A. in International Relations from the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals. He completed the Evolve Security technical, hands-on cyber security bootcamp in 2017, holds the CompTIA Security+ certification, and will attain a Graduate Certificate in Cyber Intelligence from the University of South Florida in 2018. He completed military service in the Estonian Defence Forces as a sergeant and squad leader, and serves on a voluntary basis in the Estonian Defence League.



Dr Aigars Reinis, Assistant Professor at the Riga Stradiņš University, Latvia


Aigars Reinis is Assistant Professor of Medical Microbiology in the Department of Biology and Microbiology, Riga Stradiņš University.

His scientific interests focus on Bacterial adhesion and colonisation research on different biomaterials.

He is a member of Society of Latvian medical Microbiologists. He is technical expert and assessor in Microbiology of Latvian Nation Accreditation Bureau. Also he has given lectures ''Biological agents used in bioterrorism'' for Military police investigation department and National Guard Battalion of Students.



Dr Māris Andžāns, Researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Latvia


Dr Māris Andžāns is a research fellow at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs and an assistant professor at Rīga Stradiņš University, where he earned his PhD in 2014. He has ten years of experience in the public administration of Latvia, having served in different positions related to coordination of EU and NATO issues, security of transport and communications, civil-military cooperation, aviation, electronic communications and postal issues. Andžāns has also chaired the National Cyber Security Council of Latvia and the Dangerous Goods Movement Consultative Council of Latvia. He has represented Latvia in different NATO and EU working parties as well as in national supervisory mechanisms of EU agencies.


ONE on ONE Debate


Amb Alexander Vershbow, Distinguished Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council


Ambassador Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. Ambassador Vershbow was the Deputy Secretary General of NATO from February 2012 to October 2016.  Prior to his post at NATO, he served as US Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (2009-2012).

From 1977 to 2008, Vershbow was a career member of the United States Foreign Service. He served as US ambassador to NATO (1998-2001); to the Russian Federation (2001-05); and to the Republic of Korea (2005-08). He held numerous senior positions in Washington, including Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council (1994-97) and State Department Director for Soviet Union Affairs (1988-91). During his career, he was centrally involved in strengthening US defense relations with allies in Europe and Asia and in transforming NATO and other European security organizations to meet post-Cold War challenges. He also was involved in efforts to support democracy and human rights in the former Soviet Union.


Mr Paolo Alli, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Foreign Affairs Committee, EU Politics Committee, Italy


Paolo Alli has been a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies for the Popular Alternative Party (AP) since March 2013. He serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee, the European Union Policies Committee and the Joint Committee on the Implementation of Fiscal Federalism.

Mr Alli joined the NATO Parliamentary Assembly immediately following his election to the Italian parliament in 2013. He is Vice-Chair of the Italian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Within the Assembly, Mr Alli is a member of both the Political Committee (PC) and the Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group (GSM), and has served as Rapporteur of the Sub-Committee on NATO Partnerships and Vice-Chairman of the GSM. He was elected President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly at the Assembly’s Annual Session in Istanbul in November 2016, after having served for two years as one of the Assembly’s five Vice-Presidents.

Mr Alli has a background in business and engineering. He graduated in Electronic Engineering at the Politecnico of Milano, and from 1976 to 1999 worked as a manager in several Italian multi-national companies operating in the energy and environment sectors.

He started his political experience at local level in 1993, when he was elected member of the Municipal Council of the town of Legnano, and re-elected in 1997, serving as Deputy Mayor of the town until 2000.

From 2000 to 2013, Mr Alli held several positions within the Regional Government of Lombardy, serving successively as: Director General for Public Utilities and Environment; Director General for Research, Innovation and New Economy; Central Director for External and International Relations and Communication of the Presidency; Head of Staff of the Governor; and Undersecretary to the Governor.

He was also a member of the Advisory Council for Hydrogen established by the European Commission, and member of the Board of APAT, the National Agency for Environmental Protection from 2007 to 2008.

Mr Alli was involved in the organization of the World Exhibition EXPO Milano 2015 as member of the Board of EXPO 2015 SpA, a public company established for the organization and management of the event, and later as Deputy Commissioner General.


Mr Steven Keil, Fellow and Senior Program Officer of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.


Steven Keil is a fellow and senior program officer in GMF’s Washington office. His work focuses on transatlantic security issues, with an emphasis on the U.S., Germany, Russia, and the post-Soviet space. Prior to joining GMF, Keil was a Robert Bosch Fellow at the CDU/CSU Foreign Policy Working Group in the German Bundestag, as well as in the Eastern European and Eurasian research division at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. Keil also previously worked in the United States Senate for U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD). Keil received his bachelor’s from the University of South Dakota in political science, German, and history and holds a master’s degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service BMW Center of German and European Studies. He speaks German and basic Russian.






It's not surprising that governments and businesses around the world are searching for better cyber defence strategies. Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace. Information sharing is essential for the protection of society. We must all be well informed and aware of what we can do to increase the overall security awareness in our country. There is clearly still a lot of work left to be done; cyber security along with information security has become a matter of urgency.



Mr Otto Tabuns, Senior Expert of the National Cybersecurity Policy Coordination Section, Ministry of Defence, Latvia

Security expert, having studied diplomacy and international law. Experienced in defence policy and public diplomacy. Member of the Latvian Political Scientists Association, Senior expert at Latvian Ministry of Defence, Member of the Japan Alumni Association of Latvia.


The EU and its Member States face several new and complex security threats, highlighting the need for further synergies and closer cooperation at all levels. Many of today's security concerns originate from instability in the EU's immediate neighbourhood. Increasing cross-border migration is one of the most discussed topics in the EU. What are the real challenges we face and what are the answers for the migration problems within the union?


Mr Vlad Vernygora, NATO SPS Programme’s Project Director, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

Vlad Vernygora is a DSocSc candidate at the University of Lapland (Finland) and lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Law, Tallinn University of Technology (Estonia). His research interests include contemporary political empires, Europe’s interactions with the Asia-Pacific, the EU and its neighborhood, the Belt and Road Initiative, and neo-regionalism. From October 2014, Vlad Vernygora has been managing the operational side of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme Project “NATO Global Perceptions – Views from the Asia-Pacific Region.” In addition, Vlad Vernygora is a co-founder of E-MAP Foundation MTÜ (Estonia).


Rising support for populist parties has disrupted the politics of many Western societies. Populist leaders like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Norbert Hoffer, Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders are prominent today in many countries. The impact of populist parties has been exaggerated, but these parties have gained votes and seats in many countries. Is populism the new key to success for gaining trust and love in the eyes of the public?



Mr Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, USA

Benjamin Haddad is a research fellow at Hudson Institute specializing in European and transatlantic affairs.

A lecturer in international affairs at Sciences Po Paris, Haddad has briefed and advised senior French leaders on foreign policy issues. Haddad's articles have appeared in publications that include Politique Etrangère, The American Interest, L'Opinion, Global Policy, and Atlantico. He is a weekly speaker on a French Canadian TV show, 24/60 on CBC Radio Canada, in which he discusses U.S. politics.

He holds an MA in international security from Sciences Po Paris and an MA in economics from HEC.





Alina Toporas

Alina Toporas is a recent Master of Science graduate in Global Crime, Justice and Security at the University of Edinburgh Law School. She has previously worked for the European Commission Representation in Scotland, the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), the Romanian Embassy in Croatia and Hagar International (the Vietnamese branch), an international NGO that deals with the reintegration of victims of human trafficking. Alina Toporas is the winner of various international essay and article competitions on security themes, such as the one organised annually by the University of Houston in partnership with the Brookings Institute on the ‘use of military means as solution to today’s international and national political issues’. She is currently an active EuroPeer in the United Kingdom, working on spreading information on youth opportunities in the EU and creating an alternative for the Erasmus+ programme post-Brexit.


Ana Marija Tomljenovic

Ana-Marija Tomljenovic has а bachelor's degree in Management in Crisis Situations, University of Applied Sciences Velika Gorica, Croatia. Currently is the second year of specialist graduate professional study programme Crisis Management, University of Applied Sciences Velika Gorica, Croatia. She participated in the Erasmus+ Program three times in three different countries. Firstly, at the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor, Ljubljana, Slovenia, secondly at the Institute of Education and Sciences – Civil protection, Lisbon, Portugal and last one was at the Main School of Fire Service, Warsaw, Poland. She was at course Risk Analysis for Critical Infrastructures and Internal auditor - ISO 9001. Furthermore, she takes а part at field exercise „IPA FLOODS CRO – 2016“as a SIM PRESS member. She finished а tourist guide course. She is а member of the Croatian Crisis Management Association.



Anastasia Sorocatii

Anastasia Sorocatii is a student at the Faculty of International Relations, Political and Administrative Sciences, The State University of Moldova. Her research interests focus on Diplomatic studies, peace studies, conflict management, security policy and international organization’s activity. She is an active volunteer for youth development within a NGO, being an intern at United Nations Development Program in Moldova. Anastasia Sorocatii is the author of an article of her research of diplomatic practice domain, based on protocol norms.



Anders Bjørn Larsen

Anders Bjørn Larsen is a recent graduate from Aarhus University in Denmark, where he studied Eastern European Studies (Russian language). He is currently working at Roskilde University at the international admissions office. He is a YATA-Denmark member and as part of the research team, he is publishing articles on matters deemed relevant for the local YATA chapter. His interests revolve around all-things-Russia, international relations and hybrid-warfare/challenges, including StratCom, cyber-warfare and new threats from new technologies.



Arpi Grigorian

Arpi Grigorian is a graduate student in the International Relations and Regional Studies Program at the University of Tartu. Her interests include peace and conflict studies, involvement of international organizations and third parties in disputes, and the establishment of power-sharing mechanisms in post-conflict societies. To this end, Ms. Grigorian has conducted field research in countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Cyprus and Iraq. Ms. Grigorian has experience working with the UN Refugee Agency in Armenia, and the Regional Studies Center, a think tank in Yerevan for regional political analysis. 



Artúr Hőnich

Artúr Hőnich is studying International Relations at Corvinus University Budapest and he is also a student at The College for Advanced Studies of Diplomacy in Practice and at Mathias Corvinus Collegium specializing in International Relations. He is currently working as a research intern at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences RECENS research group. In April 2017 he achieved the 1st place with his research paper at the XXXIII. National Scientific Students' Associations Conference (most prestigious and renowned academic competition in Hungary) in the Department of Economic History. In September 2017 he was awarded with the Distinguished Scholarship of the Republic of Hungary for his academic excellence.



Beāte Zātiņa

Beāte Zātiņa is a Masters student of Democracy and Global Transformations at the University of Helsinki. Zātiņa’s research focus is based on the promotion and development within Democratic political systems and the rise of Populism (with particular interest in integration and disintegration of groups within Europe). Zātiņa is a board member of the student organisation of International Students of Social Sciences, CISSI, an organisation promoting integration and rights of foreign students within Helsinki.

A Lancaster University graduate in History and Politics, ranked amongst one of the best in the UK. The bachelor’s degree obtained has been the catalyst and basis for Zātiņa’s ongoing determination to contribute to the inclusion of minority rights within democratic systems as well as promotion of plurality and diversity within the global discourse on democratic practices.

A Former Director of Support and Housing Organisation working with local governments in the United Kingdom, housing vulnerable people and providing care. Zātiņa has experience in impact policy and ground work with vulnerable and marginalised demographics.

Beāte Zātiņa has participated in various conferences and forums including the International Development conference on the Progress, Regress or Stasis of Development strategies hosted by the European Association of Development and Training Institute. Zātiņa has also participated in the project run by the EU Centre in the Barents Region of Russia on the ‘Prospects of European integration: comparison with the regional integration processes in the Northern Europe’.



Caterina Bianco

Caterina Bianco, 21 was born and raised in Florence, moved to Rome at the age of eighteen in order to follow her studies in International Relations at LUISS University, where she graduated last July with a final dissertation on Transnational terrorism and future warfare. She is currently attending a Double Degree program with LUISS (Rome) and CFAU (Beijing), majoring in Global Studies, that will provide her with both an Italian and a Chinese degree. During these three years Caterina got the chance to push forward her interest in her favorite topics, meaning International Security and Intelligence, by attending for instance a Master in Economic Security, Geopolitics and Intelligence at SIOI, where she collaborated as a Tutor and followed a period of internship. She also interned for the Embassy of Luxembourg in Rome and collaborated in the organization of ONE ARCTIC, the Italian ministerial simulation of the Arctic Council. She spent a semester abroad as an exchange student at Sciences Po Paris, which allowed her to exchange points of view with international students from all over the world who shared the same passion for International Security. Caterina fluently speaks Italian, English, French and some Chinese.



Cory C. Alpert

Cory C. Alpert currently serves as the Executive Director of World for Refugees and as the Political Director for Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC, USA).  A veteran of numerous political campaigns, he has served Secretary Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden before taking his current positions. In his current role with Mayor Benjamin, he oversees the mayor's political activity, including his responses to national political events and his position as President-elect of the US Conference of Mayors. In his role with World for Refugees, he directs an organization dedicated to including young people in the solution-making process surrounding the global refugee crisis. His previous efforts have included managing the regional response to Hurricane Joaquin, which devastated the Columbia area in 2015 and researching institutional legitimacy with the Queensland (Australia) Police Service and the Institute for Social Science Research. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina's South Carolina Honors College, where he received a BA (Honors) in Sociology and Russian Language. 



Dinand Drankier

Dinand Drankier (1993, the Netherlands) is a MA candidate in International Political Economy at the University of Groningen. He holds a BA in International Relations and a LLM in Energy and Climate Law. Since 2015 he is associated with the Groningen Centre of Energy Law as a junior researcher. His main fields of interest involve energy politics, policy and law, international economic governance and Eastern European Studies. Dinand can be contacted in English, German, Russian or Dutch.  



Elina Libek

Elina Libek is a first-year MA student in International Relations and Regional Studies at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu. Elina graduated cum laude from the same institute in 2017 with a BA degree in Government and Politics, with a major specialization field in International Relations and a minor in Comparative Politics. Her primary interests within the field are the issues of identity in IR, national narrative construction, critical security studies, and transitions from war to peace. In her current research, her main empirical focus is on Russia and Eurasia. Besides her academic commitments, Elina has also worked as a project assistant for several EU funded international projects on topics, such as gender and domestic violence, migration, and human rights. She is also a member of the European Solidarity Corps and actively involved in volunteering at the community level.



Elizabete Vizgunova

Elizabete Vizgunova is currently working for the National Cybersecurity Policy Coordination Section at the Ministry of Defence. She's a holder of an MA European Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Europe, where she specialized in Eastern Neighbourhood; and a MA International Security from Sciences Po-Paris School of International Relations. Elizabete has worked and published with the EUISS, LIIA and NATO CCDCOE. Her research interests include gender studies, EU-Russia relations Russia's relations with the post-Soviet space.



Filip Bryjka

Filip Bryjka works as a research assistant at Faculty of Security Affairs Military Academy of Land Forces (MALF) in Poland. He is graduated (MSc) for Political Science (University of Wroclaw) and National Security (MALF). Currently he is also a PhD candidate at War Studies University in Warsaw where prepares a dissertation concerning proxy wars. His research interests focus on international security, armed conflicts, geopolitics and asymmetric threats. He is an author of dozens papers which you can find at academia.edu and reaserchgate.com.



Gilberto Morishaw

Gilberto Morishaw is a Public Administration student at Leiden University and is  currently in the final year of his Bachelor program. He was born on the beautiful island of Curacao and currently lives in the city of The Hague.Next to his studies he is currently a student-fellow at Leiden University's Centre for Innovation where he has currently started working on memetics and peace. Gilberto is also the Community Manager of the Centre's Changemakers Community. He takes seat in the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs Faculty Council and is a member of the Dutch Atlantic Council, an ATA member that focuses on international security, the World Class of the Hague, an initiative to bring students and the international sphere in contact with each other, and is currently working on his own start up to help refugees.



Henning Wieck 

Henning Wieck is from Germany and studies at the University College of Sciences Po Paris in France in a trilingual (English, German, French) social sciences program. His passion for international security policy is rooted in his childhood, which he spent in Moscow, Brussels and Berlin. Studying now in an international program at one of Europe’s leading universities in political sciences, is a great opportunity to turn this passion into a potential profession. Believing that expertise in security policy issues can even more be gained through experience outside the class room, Henning made an internship in the office of the former German Minister of Defense, Dr. Franz-Josef Jung, in the German Parliament (2016) and in Moscow’s office of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (2017). Henning speaks German, English, French and Russian and likes traveling as well as playing tennis and handball.



G.L. John Jacobs

John is a Dutch Army NCO (res.) with a background in the Royal Dutch Navy and an academic training as a social geographer. He is working as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM) at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands focussing on rebels and warlords, and as a Researcher at the Netherlands Defence Academy in Breda, The Netherlands focussing on hybrid warfare. Currently, he is the President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), and the incoming president of the Dutch Chapter. In October he will be part of the third EFP rotation in Lithuania as a Public Affairs Officer (LT2 - OF1).



Jordan Greenwood

Jordan Greenwood is a recent Public International Law (LLM) graduate from the University of Leicester, UK. He recently graduated from the University of Leicester, where he conducted research on different ways that regional organisations undertake enforcement action and he evaluated their responses in accordance with the UN Charter. A theme evident throughout Jordan’s research has been the maintenance of international peace and security by international organisations.

Jordan's interest in the intersection of law and politics follows his undergraduate studies in Law and Criminal Justice (LLB). He has a keen interest in the criminal tribunals that were created in the wake of devastation and the loss of many lives - in particular the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. As a Public International Law graduate, Jordan's research has enabled him to explore a broad range of legal topics from legal theory and treaty law to the protection of religious freedoms. His research interests focus on enforcement action by regional organisations, the Charter of the United Nations, international human rights, as well as the response of international organisations when faced with acts of genocide.



Juan Fuente Bravo

Juan Fuente Bravo is a student at the Riga Graduate School of Law, currently pursuing an LL.M. in European Law and Policy. In addition to his studies he is project assistant at the Latvian chapter of Transparency International, an NGO focused on the fight against corruption. His main academic and professional interest is the European Union, particularly its political structures and its foreign policy. This has driven him to move from one country to another in order to experience first-hand how different countries understand the project. The Czech Republic, Iceland and now Latvia have been the destinations so far. Juan is also active in the simulations world, having participated in several Model EU and Model NATO.



Julian Pawlak

Julian Pawlak is a Research Assistant at the Center for Maritime Strategy & Security at the Institute for Security Policy (ISPK) in Kiel, Germany. His research interests focus on Baltic Sea Security, the cooperation of the riparian states and NATO's eastern flank. Additionally, he is the ISPK´s project manager of the "Baltic Sea Strategy Forum".

Beside his work at the ISPK, Julian is studying his master´s degree in the field of International politics and International public law at Kiel University and is board member of the Academic Association for Security Studies (BSH) university group in Kiel. Further, he studied Political Science at Osnabrück University and Jagiellonian University Kraków. Before his studies, Julian worked in the event management sector.



Kamil Klosek

Kamil Klosek was born in Poland, but lived almost his whole life in Germany. For Bachelor degree in Political Science he went to the University of Mannheim (including one semester at the University of Malta). Then he completed Master double-degree in International Administration and Conflict Management as well as Security Studies at the University of Konstanz and Charles University in Prague. During the time in Konstanz, he worked as research assistant at the working group for Policy Analysis and Political Theory. Then was continued his PhD in Prague on the nexus between civil wars, foreign interventions and natural resources and currently Kamil is in his third year of doctoral studies. He was stipend recipient from the Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung as well as from the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst). Currently, Kamil is co-teaching the Master-level course “Regional Security Studies” at Charles University, work on a paper on the Sustainable Development Goal 16 and also blog on his website outsidecivilwars.org about thoughts regarding civil wars.



Karolīna Bruža

Karolīna Bruža is a 2017 graduate of Liepāja University (Latvia). Her speciality is communication management, including public and external relationships and mass media management. She has previously worked as a public relations specialist at Riga International Airport, freelance journalist at Latvian military magazine “Tēvijas Sargs” and has been an intern at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia in Military Public Affairs Department.



Ketevan Korkashvili

Ketevan Korkashvili currently works as Head Specialist at the Office of Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia. Since 2016, she is also an Invited Lecturer for MA course in Theories of International Relations at Georgian American University (GAU). She holds a Master of Arts in Diplomacy (2014) from the University of Nottingham and a Bachelor of Arts (with First Class Honours) in International Relations with Politics from Nottingham Trent University. During degrees, she volunteered for charities such as Kidz United and Marriage Care in Nottingham, UK. Her work experience includes positions as an Invited Specialist for International Affairs at Parliamentary Majority Faction “Georgian Dream” (2015-2016) and Parliamentary Program Fellow at National Democratic Institute (NDI) (2014-2015), where she contributed to strengthening the parliamentary legislative processes.



Liene Rieba

Liene come from Latvia. This year she graduated from Riga Graduate School of law, where she mostly focused on gaining knowledge regarding international relations, diplomacy and security. Just recently she started her Master degree in Latvian University where she is specializing in Latvian Law. Liene have done internship in Latvian Ministry of Defense and Latvian Permanent mission to OSCE, UN and other International organizations where she gained an in-depth knowledge of how big organizations work and how political processes are affecting countries. Apart from studies and work she does sport and loves to travel.  Liene is excited to meet like-minded people and to be a participant of Future Leaders Forum 2017.



Lisa Satolli

Lisa Satolli is a trainee at the European Commission in the Cabinet of President Juncker, where her work centers on international trade and socio-economic affairs. Prior to the EC, Lisa worked for a Brussels-based PA consultancy firm, an international PR consultancy firm, and the Press Office of a Dutch political party at the Dutch House of Representatives. Lisa graduated from the Erasmus University with an honors degree in Communication and Media, and from the University of Leiden and Johns Hopkins University SAIS with two research-based Masters degrees in International Relations. During her graduate studies, her individual research focused on emerging markets, international development cooperation, and European trade liberalization. In addition, she co-founded an organization that is currently engaged in an international project addressing food security, (rural) poverty alleviation and job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa in collaboration with UNIDO, the Dutch private sector, and local private and public stakeholders. A native of the Netherlands, she has lived and worked in five different continents for extended periods of time and is comfortable working in English, Dutch, Italian and French.



Līga Gūtmane

Līga Gūtmane is a final course student of indisciplinary degree in Law and Diplomacy at Riga Graduate School of Law. She has taken part in various moot court competitions, as well as participated in the Latvian Model United Nations. Her main fields of research are law, international relations and political science.



Mariia Symonova

Mariia Symonova is International communications and GR specialist with the field of study and expertise in civic engagement policies in the Eastern Partnership and the Black Sea regions. Mariia has worked in the third sector and international CSO institutions for three years. She is a Youth Delegate of Ukraine to the Council of Europe, and a member of the Reanimation Package of Reforms expert pool since 2015.



Marte Freihow Langeland

Marte Freihow Langeland is currently a trainee at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Oslo (2012-2015). Langeland spent the second year of her bachelor’s degree as an Erasmus exchange student at Université Montaigne Bordeaux in France. Her bachelor’s thesis focused on the correspondence between Gorbachev and Reagan. Before commencing her MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the European University at St. Petersburg (2016-2017), Langeland worked as a project coordinator in Oslo. She has been involved in making Russia an ANSA (Association of Norwegian Students Abroad) country, to inspire more Norwegian students to go to Russia. Langeland is currently writing her MA thesis, which will examine NATO presence in the Baltic States and Russia’s response to this. Her interests include security policy, especially cyber security, Nordic-Baltic cooperation and Russian-European relations.



Matthijs Olde

Matthijs Olde is a MA student at Leiden University in The Netherlands, specialized in European security. His professional interests relate to military affairs, intelligence and terrorist networks. He is an active member of the Dutch D66 political party, where he is member of the advisory committee on Defense and International Security (since 2010) and he was board-member of the youth wing of the same party (2012-2013). He has been an organizer of the Model European Union simulations in Strasbourg (2013 and 2014) and is active in multiple organizations which aim to bring students and young professionals in contact with the field of international relations.



Maximilian Hoell

Maximilian Hoell is a research analyst at the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom (ACUK), a co-chair of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association Germany and a PhD candidate at University College London. In addition to global power shifts and hegemonic orders, his research interests include cyber as well as nuclear policy issues. Max has represented the ACUK at strategic defence briefings at NATO HQ and SHAPE, and was a delegate to the Nuclear Security Summit process (Nuclear Knowledge Summit 2014) and the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. His professional experience further includes stints at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the European Commission, and the German Federal Foreign Office. He previously studied at Yale University as a UCL-Yale Collaborative PhD Student Exchange Scholar, and earned a University Diploma in International Nuclear Law from the University of Montpellier, a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages (French and Spanish) from the University of Oxford.



Milda Kalauskaite

Milda Kalauskaite is an analyst at Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis, based in Vilnius, Lithuania. She has recently acquired an M.A. degree in International Relations from Central European University (CEU), Hungary. Her thesis, “The ‘killer robot’ debate and human emancipation: how feminism can help Critical Security Studies to remain critical?”, seeks to demonstrate how the increasing human dependency on technology and the emerging ‘robotic’ warfare challenge human security ethics. Milda argues that the engagement with feminist security theory can provide more critical and reflective understanding of how robotic military technologies and new practices of violence affects human security and subjectivity. Her passion for security is unrelenting. As a child, she was absolutely fascinated by the history of espionage and piracy. Today, her professional interests revolve around the use autonomous military technologies and human security, as well as the evolution of European security and defence architecture. Milda also has professional experience in the field of public communication. Prior to commencing her graduate studies, Milda worked as an assistant to MP at the Parliament of Lithuania and as a project manager at the public relations agency.



Nathalie Herberger

Nathalie Herberger holds a Bachelor with honors in Business Administration and Political Science from Brewton-Parker College, Georgia, USA. She recently graduated from the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany with a Master of Public Policy with a focus on foreign and security policy. Her Master Thesis under the supervision of Ambassador, Prof. Dr. h.c. Wolfgang Ischinger and the German Federal Foreign Office takes a closer look at the “Conflict and Security in the Arctic – The Impact of Climate Change on Military Policy.” Her professional experience spans working as an assistant for the International Secretary of the International Office at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU). The International Office is a staff office directly assigned to the Party Chairwoman and Federal Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel. Additionally, she has worked in the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag), the European’s People Party (EPP) in Brussels, the State Parliament in the Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as in the private sector. Ms Herberger is a recipient of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation Scholarship and a member of the Polis180 think tank, the Young Transatlantic Initiative, she is also very active in local politics in Berlin.



Nora Szabo-Jilek

Nora Szabo-Jilek is an undergraduate student of history at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. Her interest in international relations was sparked after successfully participating in Model United Nations conferences, first as a delegate and finally as organizer and committee chair. Eager to gain professional experience in this field, she went on to intern with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and twice with the U.S. Department of State in Public Affairs and the Executive Office, respectively. Additionally, Nora has been involved with various youth-led organizations: She served as Ambassador to Germany at the European Student Think Tank, an award-winning NGO dedicated to involving young Europeans in the European policy-making process. Most recently, she has joined the European bureau of Mercoeur, a newly-established Paris-based association focused on providing analytical papers on international security issues.



Oliver Mõru

Oliver Mõru is working at International Cooperation Department at Estonian Ministry of Defense. His job is mainly related with NATO partner countries, especially Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Prior to that, he was working on a project basis at International Center for Defense Studies, where he conducted research on the region’s security issues and worked on identifying Estonia’s potential interests in the Arctic. In addition, he has worked as an intern at Estonian Washington Embassy. Oliver finished his bachelor’s studies at University of Tartu (cum laude) and master´s studies at the Sciences Po Paris (Paris School of International Affairs). He has also studied at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and University of George Maison in the US. 



Petr Pospíšil

Petr Pospíšil has been studying Law and International Area Studies, with a specialization in International Law and European Studies. Since Autumn 2015, he has been a fellow in the European Values Think-Tank, a policy research institute based in Prague which, among other issues, deals with European security challenges and strategic communication as one of the means to counter those. Apart from that, Petr has been working for the European Communication Department of the Czech government and writes articles to the monthly Bulletin of the Czech Centre for Human Rights and Democratization.



Philipp Burkhardt

Philipp Burkhardt, born in 1993, studies on the Master’s program “Politics and Constitution” at the Technical University of Dresden. Parallel to his studies in Political Science, he studies Economics at the TU Dresden as well. During his undergraduate studies he spent two months for an internship at the Representation of the Federal State of Thuringia at the EU in Brussels and another two months as an intern at the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation Regional Program South Caucasus in Tbilisi, Georgia. During the elections of the National Assembly of Armenia on 2nd April 2017, he participated as an election observer of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation. Additionally, he works as a visitor’s guide in the Saxon State Parliament and is engaged in the Christ-Democratic-Union of Germany.



Pirun Chan

Pirun Chan is a senior student at Royal University of Phnom Penh, Institute of Foreign Languages, Department of International Studies, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He is majoring in Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, International Relations. He finds himself deeply interested in the field of security and economic. Hence, during his academic years, he has written and co-written papers on many issues related to these two fields namely The impact of Nuclear Arms Race during Cold War (2014), Cambodia – Thailand Relations (2015), The Positive Impact of Foreign Direct Investment on the Economic Growth of Vietnam (2016), The Effectiveness of the United Nations in dealing with Climate Change (2016), Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for ASEAN Nations (2016), and The roles of the United States, Russia and China in the Syrian Civil War (2017). Recently, He has just finished his paper on The Economic Outlook of European Union, and is working on another paper regarding 50 Years of ASEAN and the Prospects for Multilateralism. Over the years, Pirun has also attended several academic programs oversea. He was once a member of The Food and Agriculture Organization Committee at Beijing Model United Nations 2017 and a member of Culture and Art Committee at the 28th International Youth Forum. Besides studying, Pirun is currently a member of The U.S. Ambassador’s Youth Council Cambodia and Impact Hub Phnom Penh. He is passionate in civic engagement and he is a strong advocate of education betterment, for he believes through education, social issues which hinder development can be solved.



Platon Snesar

Platon Snesar is a Bachelor of International Relations studying for the master's degree in American Studies, Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia. His research interests focus on Transatlantic relations and European immigration to North America. Platon has successfully defended a bachelor's thesis on Russian immigration to Canada in the XX-XXI centuries. Platon also participated in the Northeast Asia Youth Leaders Forum 2016 (Gyeongju, South Korea) and St. Petersburg International Student United Nations and European Union Models (2014-2016). 



Renāte Apse

Renāte Apse is a recent graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science where she studied Politics of the European Union (EU) and focused on the political economy and security of the EU. In her dissertation she wrote about the effectiveness of the conditionality politics of the EU analysing minority protection in Latvia. For her undergraduate degree she studied international law and politics at the Riga Graduate School of Law. She has work experience from AKE International in the security and political risk sector (particularly in the Eurasia region). Currently she is an ad hoc consultant at the S-RM Intelligence and Risk Consulting. For further professional experience she has participated at the Eurasia Group’s workshop in London; worked as a personal assistant to former Foreign Minister Janis Jurkans and participated at the internship programme at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. She is fluent in English, Latvian, French, and is currently learning Russian.



Rick Bleumink

Rick Bleumink (1991) is a management young professional at the City of Amsterdam and a travel guide at Eastpackers.nl. As a junior civil servant his work concentrates on citizen participation and public space. Also, he organizes study journeys with professional programs to Central and Eastern Europe. He finished a BA in History with Architectural History at VU Amsterdam (2013) and a MA in Eastern European Studies at University of Amsterdam (2016).  During his studies he was a board member in several student representation organisations and a tour guide in Amsterdam; he followed internships in Amsterdam and in Bucharest. His interests are architecture, history, culture and politics, in particular of the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the Baltic States.



Sona Apbasova

Sona Apbasova is from Abadan-Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. She is passionate about studying foreign languages, history and cultural studies. She is particularly engaged in cultural arts, such as embroidery, patchwork and icon painting. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in Masters International Relations at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Eichstätt, Germany under the DAAD and Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Leadership Award scholarships. The subjects of her particular personal research interest are within the studies of nationalism and nation-building, language reforms in post-Soviet Central Asia and Turkey, ethnic identity and ethnic conflicts in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus, environmental and energy security in Central Asia, as well as subjects on the Russian/Chinese/Turkish foreign policies in Central Asia. During the academic year of 2015-2016, she worked as a teacher for six year-old (first grade) class at the QSI Ashgabat International School (AIS). During the 2007-2008 academic year she studied in the United States as the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program exchange student in Bellingham, Washington. Then, from 2011 to 2015, she pursued undergraduate degree in three majors of History, Asian Studies and German language at Berea College, Kentucky. During college years, she was involved in various community service activities and served as the Vice-President for both Asian Students Union and the German Club. Moreover, worked as a Reference Desk Research Consultant at the Berea College Hutchins Library and as Teaching/Language Lab Assistant at the Foreign Languages Department.



Tatiana Valyaeva

Tatiana is currently a postgraduate student of Political Science and Intercultural Communications at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. After completing her undergraduate studies in International Relations at the University of St Andrews, she is now focusing on both the political and economic relations between the EU and Russia as well current international security issues in the greater European neighbourhood.



Vasyl Mykhailyshyn

Vasyl Mykhailyshyn is a research fellow at Helmut-Schmidt-University/ University of the Federal Armed Forces in Hamburg, Germany. His research interests are global security, global history, geopolitics, foreign and security policy of Ukraine, foreign and security policy of Russia, post-Soviet militaries (especially Ukraine, Russia and Belarus), NATO etc. Vasyl Mykhailyshyn is currently working on his project about the influence of the conflict in Ukraine on the development of the Russian Armed Forces. He is a graduate of the University of Hamburg (Germany), where he obtained his Master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies. His study period in Germany was financed by a Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung scholarship. Previously, Vasyl successfully completed his bachelor and master studies in International Relations at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (Ukraine). In 2015, he worked in a team of external media advisors on national defense and security issues at the Presidential Administration of Ukraine.



Veli Uygar Özner

Veli Uygar Özner is a student, currently located in Istanbul / Turkey, born in the city of Bursa, at 6th of March 1998; Uygar carried on his elementary and secondary studies in Bursa, finishing his secondary school, throughout National High School Placement Exams, he has been accepted into one of the top ranked high schools in Turkey, namely: Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi in Istanbul. Witholding a special status, Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi provided extensive English Language Education alongside common subjects given in high school, and included a year of English Preparatory Class.

Attending the Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi; Uygar moved to Istanbul to attend his higgh school studies, in which he took place in many project, including the organisation of nationally-famous KALtheFest as the Head of PR and Director of Public Operations and been an active member of KAL Model UN Club, and attended many international and national conferences, bringing home awards from every single one of them except for one.At the last year of his high school studies, he was chosen by his fellow students to lead the Student Honor Council, Electoral Council of School Presidency and represented the students in the School’s Disciplinary Council.

Graduating from Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi as the Turkish Republic Honor Student, he carries on with his studies in the University of Manchester and Boğaziçi University, Majoring Political Sciences and International Relations in Manchester and Western Literature in Boğaziçi.Uygar currently lives in Manchester.



Zuzana Kalmanová

Zuzana Kalmanová is a PhD student in International Relations, Studies of Security and Strategy at the University NOVA of Lisbon, Portugal. Currently working as a spokesperson of the 8th biggest town in Slovakia – Martin, she is a graduate from Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia in the field of International Relations and has also undergone a study stay at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Her professional career was linked with the Slovak Atlantic Commission (Slovak national chapter of ATA), National Council of the Slovak Republic, Jagello 2000 (Czech national chapter of ATA) and the municipal affairs connected with the town of Martin. Among her professional interests it is possible to point out security, deterrence, defence and regional cooperation.


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