2021 Winter School


Namig Abbasov is a PhD candidate (Political Science) in the School of Politics and Global Studies Department at Arizona State University and a research fellow at Global Human Rights Hub. He holds MA in International Relations and Dialogue Studies from Keele University, United Kingdom and BA in European Studies from Qafqaz University, Azerbaijan. His research areas include political violence, state repression against sexual minorities, and climate change with a regional focus on the post-communist area, specifically the Caucasus. He currently works on a research question of why states repress sexual minorities even though these groups do not threaten state security. 


Claudia Badulescu is a PhD Researcher in Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute (EUI) where I am analysing the Europeanization of post-communist public administrations from the CEE and the Western Balkans. While at the EUI, I have been working on a variety of international research projects, such as the Horizon 2020 InDivEU project, the ERC Synergy programme SOLID , the  POLCON project and the euandi2019 project. Previously, I have worked for several years as a Senior Project Manager at the French ENA, where I had a leading role in the management of international projects supporting administrative reform in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.


Odeta Berberi has completed her doctoral studies in Tirana University, titled “The EU Impact on National Minority Rights in the Western Balkans: The Case of Albania and FYR of Macedonia”. During her doctoral studies Mrs. Berberi has been part of a European exchange PhD program at the University of  Bologna. She received her Master in International Relations from University of  Perugia in 2010 and has completed a Master in Human Rights and Democracy at the University of Bologna in 2011. For eight years, she has worked as an external lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Tirana. Ms. Berberi is the author of several scientific articles and a book published in English. Ms. Berberi is the Political Advisor on Electoral Reform and EU Integration Issues of the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group in the Albanian Parliament. She has considerable experience in European projects by being part of the staff in three different European projects implemented in support of the Albanian public administration. She has worked with the OSCE/ ODIHR mission in the 2017 general election. Throughout the years Mrs. Berberi has been part of various projects implemented by civil society in Albania and Kosovo.


Kristína Bolemanová undertook her studies of international relations and diplomacy in Slovakia, Belgium and France. She worked as a policy advisor in the European Commission in the area of research and European Parliament in the Committee on internal market and Subcommittee on human rights. In 2016, she worked as a national expert during the Slovak Presidency in the Council of the EU. She also participates in the elections as a polling officer. In 2018, she took part in EU election observation mission to Paraguay. Currently, she is working on her PhD on transatlantic relations at Matej Bel University in Slovakia.


Alba Brojka is a political scientist, and she is currently assisting the European Endowment for Democracy, Western Balkans Programme. Ms. Brojka believes that change is possible when people are empowered, a conviction she held throughout her work in the civil society in Albania and in her current affiliation. She has been active for many years in promoting the political participation of young people and in inspiring the latter to become active citizens. Alba has done so in various formats and capacities; as a volunteer and Secretary General of UN Association Albania; as the OSCE Special Representative on Youth and Security; or simply by engaging with informal groups of youth at a local level. Moreover, Alba holds a Master of Arts in ‘International Relations and Diplomacy of the EU’ from the College of Europe in Bruges and two undergraduate degrees in Law and Political Science from the University of Tirana and University of New York Tirana respectively.


Mariana Focsa graduated from Free International University of Republic of Moldova with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, followed by Master degree in European Studies. She has 14 years of experience in different domains, served in state service, private companies and NGO. Since 2017, she has been working as an analyst for Promo-LEX Association. She was involved in elections observing missions at national and international levels. At national level, she was involved in seven national electoral campaigns as an electoral, political campaign and financial analyst. At international level, she has observed elections during four electoral campaigns in Romania, Armenia and Ukraine (as STO and LTO). 


Konstantin Gavrilov was born and spent most of his life in Saint-Petersburg (Russia). He graduated from the BA program “Political science and world politics” from the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Saint-Petersburg. He continues his MA degree program “Public policy and political analysis’” at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow.


Eva Jovanova is a Skopje native. She holds a Master’s degree from the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES) at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where she also worked as a fellow and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Russian Foreign Policy to Dr. Angela Stent. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in European Studies at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg in 2017, where she mainly focused on the integration of the Balkans into the European Union. Eva has also spent some time abroad in Russia, studying International Relations at the St. Petersburg State University, and has diverse work experience in six different languages. Currently, her main research interests are political campaigns and Green Parties in Eastern Europe.


Alicja Kacprzak works at the United Nations in Geneva. She specializes in policy related topics pertaining to circular economy, sustainability, employment and gender equality. Before joining the United Nations, she worked at the World Economic Forum, and in the private sector. She holds a MSc in International Relations (Poznan University of Economic); a MSc in Business Management (ESSCA); and a CAS in Sustainable Development (University of Geneva).

Emomali Mirzoev

Emomali Mirzoev holds an MA degree in Politics & Security from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek. He has been an intern at the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs during his BA in International Relations at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, and at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) during his Master’s. Besides, he is a civil society activist affiliated with local human rights organizations and the OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe. He earned “The Best MA Thesis Award” for his research on the challenge of political Islam in Central Asia. Personally, he is a sociable and curious young person interested in moral and political philosophy.


Umidakhon Narimanova is an Associate Professor/PhD Researcher at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. She holds Bachelor of Business Management from University Kebangsaan Malaysia and Master of Science in Global Marketing from Staffordshire University, UK. Umidakhon is the Scholar of the “UMID” (“HOPE”) Foundation of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to support education of talented youth abroad. She won the privilege to pursue her Master’s degree in Great Britain. Umidakhon is an author of more than 25 articles. In 2006 she won The Best Paper Award in Marketing & corporative management and became a Winner of the IV scientific-practical conference of young specialists studied at foreign universities abroad, organised by The Ministry of Higher Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan and The “Istedod” (“Talent”) Foundation of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Enhance the Professional Skills of Perspective Young Teachers & Scientists. In 2016 Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan honored Umidakhon with certificate of appreciation “Healthy woman – Pride of the Nation” for her merits in the higher education institution for many years. She also received Appreciation Awards in 2014-2017 from “Kamolot” Civic Youth Movement of Uzbekistan for supporting ideas of young entrepreneurs and for contribution in youth development.


Miloš Pavković was born in Belgrade, Serbia. He has earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Sciences in 2017. In the same year he enrolled in the Joint’s Interdisciplinary Master’s Programme in South-East European Studies jointly organized by the University of Graz and University of Belgrade. He had a chance to spend second year of his studies at the University of Graz within Erasmus plus mobility programme. In 2020. he defended his master’s thesis: (De)Consolidation of Kosovo’s Statehood in the Context of Contemporary Negotiations of Belgrade and Pristina. Miloš is currently completing his second master’s degree at the Central European University in Vienna. His main research interests are: comparative politics, democratic theory, South-East European region, international law and international organizations.


Abdul Rahman Yasa is a civil society activist and human rights defender serving as a Research and Policy Officer with Civil Society and Human Rights Network (CSHRN) in Afghanistan. Recently, Mr. Yasa has been involved extensively in research projects supporting women and non- dominant Afghan minorities for meaningful participation in an inclusive Afghan peace process. Under consultancy with IFES, Yasa has also produced a training toolkit on hate speech in Afghanistan. His academic articles and research reports have appeared in several international academic journals and websites. His experience with Afghanistan Cultural House, Ministry of Interior, Independent Directorate of Local Governance of Afghanistan between 2012 and 2018 provided him the opportunity to look at governance practices and challenges of a broad range of institutional issues, including corruption, sub-national governance policy, citizen-centered governance, and security sector reform. Mr. Yasa holds an MA in Security and Politics from the OSCE Academy and a BA in Political Science and International Affairs from Kateb University. His area of interest is peacebuilding, conflict prevention, democratic governance, anti-corruption, peace, and security studies. 


Viktoria Sovpenchuk is a PhD candidate in Political Science and Administration at the Doctoral School of Social Sciences, University of Warsaw. She holds a Dual-Master’s degree in Political Science (National University of Ostroh Academy) and East European Studies (University of Warsaw) and a Master’s degree in Politics and Society (Graduate School for Social Research). Currently she is doing her research on party system effects on electoral reforms. Her research interests include party politics, democratisation and survey data analysis. She is also involved in a research project “Dynamics of youth employment precarity: drivers, trajectories, and outcomes in a cross-national perspective”.


Laurent Ymet is a young expert and researcher. He is part of the Institute for Political Studies in Albania as a Project Coordinator and an associate in different projects. He has assisted lectures in bachelor and master programs in the Political Science and International Relations Department. Laurent’s primary focus in the field is academic and secondarily analytic. He enjoys lecturing and writing but also analyzes, doing research, and implementing projects. He aims to lead young researchers and students to have a better understanding of democratic and governing concepts. Laurent holds a Master of Science Degree in Political Science and International Relations. He writes content, articles, and reports for different actors from the time he threw his first steps in the political field.

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