Young Professionals Network

2012-2013

Mark Adomanis

Forbes.com Contributor

Originally hailing from Philadelphia, Mark Adomanis received his undergraduate degree in government at Harvard. In between rowing practices, he managed to study Russian history, foreign policy, and language, though his one big regret is that he never had time to take a Russian literature course. After Harvard, he immediately started a master’s program in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford from which he graduated in 2009. He wrote his master’s thesis on Putin-era healthcare reform and demographic trends and has stayed keyed into Russian health and demographics ever since. Mr. Adomanis works as a management consultant at a small firm in Washington, DC, but he regularly contributes Russia-related writings to a range of outlets such as True/Slant, Salon,Forbes and The National Interest. He's interested in the bi-lateral US-Russian relationship and has written extensively on the “reset.”

Anna Borshchevskaya

American Islamic Congress

Anna Borshchevskaya is director of communications at the American Islamic Congress. Anna previously worked as an assistant director of the Atlantic Council’s Patriciu Eurasia Center from 2011 to 2013. She served as a qualitative research analyst for Glevum Associates, a U.S. military contractor, conducting public opinion research in Afghanistan. She also has worked as a research analyst for the Peterson Institute for International Economics, focusing on the economies and politics of Russia and Eastern Europe, and as the program coordinator of the American foreign policy program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Ms. Borshchevskaya has interned at the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva and was an elections observer for the International Republican Institute in Bangladesh in 2009. Her work has been featured in publications such as Washington Post.com, Forbes.com, Nationalreview.com and, FoxNew.com, CNN, and the Middle East Quarterly.

Originally from Moscow, Ms. Borshchevskaya holds a B.A. in international relations and political science from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and an M.A. from SAIS with concentrations in Middle East Studies, international law, and international economics.

Kelsey L. Campbell

Office of the Secretary of Defense

Kelsey L. Campbell is a foreign affairs specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. She currently is serving her second year as part of the Presidential Management Fellows program. She has worked on nuclear arms control treaties, meetings under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, and humanitarian assistance operations in Latin America. Previously, she served as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Air Force for six years, including one combat tour in Iraq with the Army. After the military, she earned a Master of International Affairs at Columbia University, where she focused on economic and political development in Eastern Europe. Her policy interests include security cooperation, human rights, democratization, and economic development.

Matthew Eldridge

World Bank

A native of Washington DC, Matthew Eldridge currently works on management of the World Bank's Central Asian portfolio with a particular focus on water and energy issues. He originally joined the Bank in 2010 working on corporate reform and strategy and on aid effectiveness. He is also co-chair of the Bank’s Youth Innovation Fund, which provides young Bank staff with the opportunity to design and implement small grant projects globally. His interest in Euraisa is both professional, personal, and academic. Professionally he is also interested in trade policy (e.g. non-tariff barriers) and economic policy (e.g. industrial policy and government facilitation of FDI) as well as urban affairs and planning. He is inspired by the potential of economic innovation and global interconnectivity and is interested in helping Eurasia better leverage both. Mr. Eldridge is a graduate of Virginia Tech and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Julia Fabens

U.S.-Russia Business Council

Julia Fabens is manager of membership affairs and programs at the US-Russia Business Council. There she is responsible for engaging with member companies to ensure that the U.S.-Russia Business Council continues to deliver high-quality services and programming to members. Mrs. Fabens also assists in organizing, marketing and executing successful Council conferences, briefings and roundtables.

Mrs. Fabens is a graduate of the School of International Service at American University, Colby College and Phillips Academy Andover. 

Robert Fojtik

The Cohen Group

Robert Fojtik is an associate at the The Cohen Group, where he works with clients on a number of security issues as they relate to business in the US, Eastern Europe, and around the world. He has spent much of his academic and professional career focusing on issues that affect Central and Eastern Europe, including work at the U.S.-Russia Business Council and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He has spent a significant amount of time researching and writing on security issues in Eurasia and the enforcement of international human rights law in post-Communist countries.

Mr. Fojtik holds a master's degree from the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service and a BA in Slavic languages and literature from Northwestern University. At Northwestern, Mr. Fojtik received honors for his thesis on linguistics and identity in post-Soviet Russia, served as editor-in-chief of the Undergraduate Journal of Central and East European Studies, and received a university grant to conduct research on Soviet social policy.

Mr. Fojtik has spent several years studying and working abroad in St. Peterburg, Moscow, and Prague. He has an advanced professional proficiency in Russian and is conversant in Czech and French.

Joshua Foust

Freelance Writer

Joshua Foust is a freelance writer and consultant. A former fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net, Mr. Foust is currently researching the development of metrics in understanding national security policy, the strategic effects of the global lethal drones policy, and on non-military implementations of foreign policy doctrine. He has written on strategic design for humanitarian interventions, decision-making in counterinsurgency, the intelligence community’s place in the national security discussion, and the changing role of privacy and secrecy post-Wikileaks. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia.

Mr. Foust previously worked for the U.S. intelligence community, where he focused on studying the non-militant socio-cultural environment in Afghanistan at the U.S. Army Human Terrain System, then the socio-cultural dynamics of irregular warfare movements at the National Ground Intelligence Center, and later on political violence in Yemen for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

A frequent commentator for American and global media, Mr. Foust appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. He is also a regular contributor to Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Diana Galperin

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Diana Galperin is a research assistant for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where she is leading the program’s solar tech project in Kazakhstan from Washington, DC. Having joined Carnegie through its Junior Fellows program, Diana has worked on a range of projects including participating in a U.S.-Russia Ambassadors Conference, a conference on the Arctic, and conducting significant research on Central Asia and energy. Prior to the Carnegie Endowment, Ms. Galperin completed an internship in the Russia/Eurasia Division of Human Rights Watch and graduated from Lafayette College where she majored in international affairs and French. Diana is currently pursuing a Masters in international economics and international relations at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Whitney Grespin

Atlantean Worldwide

Whitney Grespin, YPN 2012-13, is now Senior Peacekeeping Operations Analyst at the U.S. Army War College's Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), a position she will hold concurrently with her Graduate Teaching Assistantship at the United Kingdom's Joint Services Command and Staff College. She earned her BA in art history from Duquesne University before returning for her Master's in public and international affairs with a specialization in human security from the University of Pittsburgh. While in graduate school, Ms. Grespin received a scholarship to study at Moscow State University before completing her coursework with independent field research overseas. She then worked as an Analyst for the National Cyber Forensics and Training Alliance before managing international educational programs and community development seminars in Argentina, China, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

After moving to DC, Ms. Grespin became involved in contingency contracting through her work with the International Stability Operations Association. Since her departure from ISOA she has managed security sector reform contracts with the Afghan National Army and earned a project management certification from Georgetown. She works as a programs coordinator for Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, contributes to the development of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers, volunteers with the Junior League of Washington, DC, and is a Masthead Contributor to the Diplomatic Courier.

Thomas Hernandez

National Democratic Institute

Thomas Hernandez covers Armenia and Azerbaijan as a program assistant at the National Democratic Institute. Mr. Hernandez previously interned at the Eurasia Foundation. In 2010, he researched resource revenue transparency initiatives under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Baku, Azerbaijan and served as a junior researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies under the president of Azerbaijan. Mr. Hernandez also worked in Kazakhstan as a research assistant on civilian perceptions of civil society initiatives in Central Asia. He is most interested in good governance initiatives with a focus on the Caucasus and Central Asia. Mr. Hernandez is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.

Brianna Hiser

National Democratic Institute

Brianna Hiser is the Georgia desk officer at the National Democratic Institute in Washington. Ms. Hiser previously worked on the Iraq program at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and has done short-term field assignments in the Balkans and Iraq.

Ms. Hiser specializes in post-Soviet political transition and political decision-making. She earned a master's degree in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies in addition to a master’s of public administration from the University of Washington. She has lived and traveled in Russia, studying and volunteering in Izhevsk and Nizhnii Novgorod. In addition to speaking fluent Russian, Ms. Hiser speaks Persian and is an avid reader about all things Iranian.

Natia Jikia

George Mason University

Natia Jikia is currently an Edmund Muskie Fellow and Master of public policy candidate at the George Mason School of Public Policy. Previously, Ms. Jikia worked in democracy promotion at the National Democratic Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia for seven years. Ms. Jikia designed, implemented, and monitored NDI’s Parliamentary Strengthening Project in Georgia, which has been assessed as one of the most successful and dynamic programs in the region. She has worked on a variety of research projects connected with Eurasia region, ranging from corruption in Ukraine to energy security issues in South Caucasus. She holds a Bachelors degree in international affairs from Tbilisi State University.

Danielle Johnson

Center on Global Interests

Dr. Danielle Granville Johnson is the Program Director at the Center on Global Interests. She also serves as a country specialist for Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus for Amnesty International USA. She previously worked for Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) as a fellow at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. Johnson's experience also includes a stint at the National Democratic Institute. Prior to that, she was the chair of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research group in the United Kingdom and taught English in Bosnia.

She was a Clarendon Scholar at the University of Oxford, where she received a D.Phil in Politics in 2011. Her doctoral research focused on the politics of memory in Ukraine and among the Ukrainian diaspora, and involved fieldwork in Ukraine, Canada, the US, and the UK. While completing her doctoral dissertation, she was a Title VIII Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University. She also holds an M.Phil in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford and a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College. Dr. Johnson’s foreign policy interests include democratization, human rights, and transitional justice.

Laura Linderman

Atlantic Council

Laura Linderman is an assistant director for the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. Prior to joining the Council in 2012, she served as education services coordinator for Splunk, a software company. She taught English at the Pedagogical Industrial College of Ozurgeti, Georgia as a Peace Corps volunteer. In addition, she served as president of the Student Women Alliance Network and oversaw the creation, editing and publication of a women’s health manual that was widely disseminated across rural Georgia. In cooperation with the International Republican Institute, she planned and oversaw two conferences for women leaders in western Georgia. She has also interned at Liberty Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2003, where she examined corruption in higher education at Tbilisi State University and supported the Institute's program to draw attention to discrimination against religious minorities.

Originally from Minnesota, she holds a B.A. in anthropology and German language and literature from Wellesley College and an MA from Indiana University in anthropology. She is fluent in Georgian and also speaks Russian and German.

Benjamin Morano

National Endowment for Democracy

Benjamin Morano is a program assistant on the Europe team at the National Endowment for Democracy, which supports local non-governmental organizations to promote independent media, accountability of elected officials, rule of law, and human rights monitoring in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and the Balkans. Mr. Morano spent the summer of 2009 in Russia, where he interned with Human Rights Watch while studying at Moscow University. He graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in Russian and international studies. Mr. Morano is a member of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and his interests include relations between Russia and the West, specifically regarding Belarus and Ukraine, political and economic transitions of post-communist countries, and energy politics in Eurasia.

Mark Mozur

US Department of Defense

Mark Mozur works on the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations at the US Department of Defense. He previously served as an analyst at PFC Energy. Mr. Mozur has been active in the Eurasian oil and gas sector for over four years, working in Russia and Turkey. He is a specialist in the natural gas sector and has published studies on Turkish-Russian energy relations as well as Russian domestic gas sector reform. His primary interest in Eurasia is understanding the long-term historical legacy of the Soviet period and what impact communism has had on the development of Eurasian societies.

Malika Mukhamedkhanova

UN Foundation

Malika Mukhamedkhanova is a grants staff accountant with the United Nations Foundation. She processes and manages international grants to UN agencies, which include projects in the Eurasian region. In the past, as a program officer at American Councils for International Education, she worked extensively with professors from the Eurasia region to establish and develop critical language assessment programs. Ms. Mukhamedkhanova organized and facilitated business education workshops for university professors from Central Asia for the US-Central Asian Enterprise Scholarship Program. In addition to her experience in the public sector, she conducted economic and political research for investment projects in Eurasia. She is fluent in English, Russian, and Uzbek languages and graduated from The College William & Mary in Virginia, where she received a BA in finance and economics. Her interests include Central Asia’s domestic and foreign economic policies and their impact on the region’s business environment.

Dylan Myles-Primakoff

National Endowment for Democracy

Dylan Myles-Primakoff is a program officer at the National Endowment for Democracy. Dylan previously worked as a research designer at Georgetown University’s ISIS Center to develop an early warning system for global political instability and conflict. He previously worked at the World Bank on projects to improve local governance in Russia and at the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch. He holds a B.A. in Russian studies from Swarthmore College and an M.A. in regional studies of Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia from Harvard University.

Joshua Noonan

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Joshua Noonan is a MA candidate in Russian and Eurasian Studies and international economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He holds a BA in international studies with a focus on East Asia and political science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and at Middlebury College.

Mr. Noonan has lived in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan. He served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development Advisor in Sheki and Zaqatala, Azerbaijan and then taught English in Almaty, Kazakhstan for an Exxon-Mobile sponsored English program at the National Physics and Mathematics Boarding School. He also received a Fulbright fellowship to Azerbaijan and Georgia, which allowed him to compare Azeris in Azerbaijan and Azeris in Georgia and the differences in their attitudes toward political participation. Mr. Noonan has also been involved in international education; he recruited for the U.S. State Department Youth Exchanges, the Young Leadership Program and the Future Leadership Exchange Program in Ukraine and Azerbaijan. He currently works as a program officer at the Karabakh Foundation, an Azerbaijani Cultural Institution, with the mission to educate Americans about the culture of Azerbaijan. Joshua loves speaking Russian, Azerbaijani, and Japanese and is an avid devotee of Korean food.

Lala Rahimova

Salzberg Global Seminar

Lala Rahimova is a DC-based Azerbaijani national with over four years of experience working in civil society and international development. Ms. Rahimova works for the Eurasia Partnership Foundation in Baku, Azerbaijan as a business development manager and consultant. In her role at EPF, she has been responsible for conceptualizing and designing programs aimed at developing civil society in Azerbaijan, establishing cross-border cooperation and contributing to peace-building and track II diplomacy efforts. Prior to joining EPF, Ms. Rahimova worked as a project coordinator of Investigative Journalists Network, a project funded by the Open Society Institute - Assistance Foundation. She holds B.A. in international relations from Western University, Baku, Azerbaijan and College of Wooster. She speaks English, Russia, Azerbaijani and Turkish. Her specific foreign policy interests include conflicts in South Caucasus as well as political, security and development challenges in the region.

Alakbar (Alex) Raufoglu

TURAN News Agency

Alakbar (Alex) Raufoglu is a Washington-based journalist specializing in the Caucasus and wider Black Sea region. A native of Azerbaijan, Mr. Raufoglu has a deep interest in Eurasia and has traveled extensively in the region.

Since 2008, Mr. Raufoglu has lived in Washington, DC, where he works as a journalist for several media outlets. He covers the South Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Turkey. His areas of interest also include Central Asia politics, Turkish foreign policy, the Kurdish issue, and the Middle East. His articles have appeared in Foreign Policy Journal, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, World Policy Institute, and the Southeastern European Times.

From 1999 to 2008, Mr. Raufoglu covered Eurasian politics and security from Ankara, Baku, and Tbilisi. He has interviewed many regional leaders and covered the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Georgian-Russian war, and Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.

Mr. Raufoglu is fluent in English, Russian and Turkish in addition to his native Azeri. He holds a BA in journalism and mass communications from Turkey University and in chemical technologies from Azerbaijani Oil Academy.

Richard Solash

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

Richard Solash is originally from New York City. He studied English literature and Russian as an undergraduate at Harvard University before pursuing a master's degree in journalism at Columbia University. After previously working for a travel magazine, he became a Washington-based correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which broadcasts to the non-Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union. Mr. Solash has reported on U.S.-Russian relations and U.S. engagement in Central Asia. He covers protests, attends a wide range of think tank events, interviews politicians and human rights leaders, and derives particular pleasure from writing on language and culture. Mr. Solash's foreign policy interests include democratization and human rights in the post-Soviet world and frozen conflicts. He has traveled to 15 countries and is proficient in Russian and Spanish. He is currently director of communications for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen.

Colin Sollitt

Strategic Social

Colin Sollitt is a research analyst who covers Afghanistan at Strategic Social. Based in Arlington, Virginia, he provides monitoring, evaluation and research services to a variety of clients, including NATO, USAID, the US Department of Defense, and the US Department of State.

Mr. Sollitt graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in 2012 with a master’s degree in international relations and international economics with a concentration in Russian and Eurasian studies. He earned his B.A. in economics and Russian studies from Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in 2008.

During his time at CMC, Mr. Sollitt studied abroad in Moscow. While in Russia, he formed an academic interest in Georgia, where he spent much of 2007 and the summer of 2008. His interest in Georgia led to a wider interest in economic and political development in Eurasian conflict and post-conflict zones during his graduate studies.

Mr. Sollitt's other professional experience includes stints at the RAND Corporation, the International Labor Organization, and United States Department of State.

Justin Sosne

U.S. Department of State

Justin Sosne serves as special assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. In this capacity, he develops and manages policies, programs, and partnerships designed to advance women’s role in combating climate change and ensuring sustainable development, and to promote women’s political, social, and economic rights in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia. Mr. Sosne has received two Superior Honor Awards and a Franklin Award for his contributions to advancing global women’s issues.

Prior to his current position, he worked on environmental issues in the Office of the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, also at the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Sosne previously served as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and conducted research at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin, Germany.

Mr. Sosne holds an M.S. in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. in political science and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Diana Sweet

George Mason University

Diana Sweet is a PhD student in comparative politics at George Mason University. She is interested in institutional development, energy politics, and international organizations operating within Eurasia, specifically the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Ms. Sweet's professional career has included positions at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation as well as in higher education and government contracting. She has lived in Russia and China and speaks Russian and Chinese. She holds an M.A. from the European University in St. Petersburg and a B.A. in Chinese and Russian Studies from SUNY Albany.

Hannah Thoburn

Brookings Institution

Hannah Thoburn is the research assistant at the Center on the United States and Europe and the Brookings Institution where she focuses on Russia, Ukraine and the former Soviet Union. Her current research interests include language politics, the use of energy as a political weapon, the growth of Russian and Ukrainian civil societies and the increased Russian focus on East Asia.

In addition, Hannah has worked at the U.S-Russia Business Council, American Councils for International Education and was a Teaching Fellow at Yale University. She also served two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in southern Ukraine where she taught high school English and civics, directed an HIV-AIDS prevention project and led leadership and grant-writing classes at local universities.

Hannah holds a B.A. in International Affairs from Florida State University and both an M.A. in International Relations and a Certificate in International Security Studies from Yale University where she was a Peace Corps Fellow. A native of Louisiana, she speaks Russian, Ukrainian and Spanish and has studied Polish and Turkish.

Alina Tourkova

World Bank

Alina Tourkova is a consultant in the Private and Financial Sector Development of the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region of the World Bank. Her current project portfolio includes a financial sector modernization project in Azerbaijan and the private sector competitiveness project in Tajikistan. At the Bank, she has served as a key team member of task teams, contributed to World Bank’s analytical work, conducted country-specific research, and has been extensively involved in efforts to leverage additional funding for the ECA region, and securing and implementing operations with the Russian federal government.

In addition to her Bank experience, Ms. Tourkova has four years of experience in international development and has worked at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Eurasia Foundation. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where she studied emerging markets and international affairs with a concentration in the Eurasia region, and SUNY-Binghamton.

Bobbie Jo Traut

Center for International Private Enterprise

Bobbie Jo Traut is a program officer on the Eurasia team at the Center for International Private Enterprise. For the past five years, she has worked in the DC area, primarily in the field of democracy development. Ms. Traut has also worked at the National Endowment for Democracy. Her countries and regions of expertise include Central Europe, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Central Asia. She has lived in the Baltic States, Russia, Ukraine and Poland, and she speaks Russian, Polish and has a working knowledge of Belarusian and Ukrainian. Ms. Traut studied linguistics, TESOL and anthropology as an undergraduate and received her M.A. in Central and East European Studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. In her free time, she enjoys running and practicing yoga.

Evgeniya Usmanova

CareLuLu

Evgeniya Usmanova is the founder and chief marketing officer of CareLuLu, a website that collects information about child care providers and makes it available to parents in one place. Ms. Usmanova is a former program officer at the American Councils for International Education where she worked on the EURECA program. EURECA aims to build innovation ecosystems at Russian universities, while exploring new opportunities for US-Russia partnerships. Given the nature of her work, Ms. Usmanova is particularly interested in the ways to cultivate innovative and entrepreneurial societies in the former Soviet Union. She's also interested in energy policy, human security, drug trafficking, and regional collaboration.

Ms. Usmanova is a Georgetown University alumna with a master’s in international relations and security and a certificate in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies. At Georgetown, Ms. Usmanova served as president of Professionals in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Affairs. She obtained a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California Berkeley.

Her studies coupled with experience at the Hudson Institute, IREX, and the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia have provided Ms. Usmanova with deep knowledge of Eurasia. A native of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Ms. Usmanova also lived in Russia prior to immigrating to the U.S. in 1996. She speaks fluent English, French, and Russian.

Stephan Vitvitsky

U.S. Department of Treasury

Stephan Vitvitsky's work as an economist at the Treasury Department covering several countries in Eurasia builds on a longstanding professional, personal and academic interest in the region. In his current position, Mr. Vitvitsky analyzes the economies and financial sectors of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, and he has traveled to each country since joining the Treasury Department in June 2011. As a Ukrainian-American who has lived and worked in Kyiv, he also has personal ties to the region and has studied it in college and graduate school. Although his primary interest is in economic policy, Mr. Vitvitsky seek to broaden his knowledge of the key challenges facing the region and of U.S. and international policy initiatives, both present and past.

Natalia Wobst

American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Natalia Wobst serves as director of programs at American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. American Friends promotes sustained scientific, scholarly and professional exchange between the United States and Germany, consistent with the goals of its professional partner, the Humboldt Foundation in Bonn.

From 2011-2013, Natalia coordinated the Atlantic Council’s Energy and Economic Summit in Istanbul, the Council’s preeminent annual policy event in the broader Black Sea and Caspian regions. Prior to joining the Atlantic Council, she served as communications associate at Eurasia Foundation and interned at the Foundation for Russian American Economic Cooperation, administering training and exchange programs for delegates from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Russia. Natalia also worked for two years as coordinator and then head of international programs at Language Link in Moscow.

Originally from Massachusetts, Natalia holds a B.A. in Russian and German Languages from Beloit College and an M.A. from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington, with a concentration Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies. As a graduate student, Natalia spent two months in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, studying Uzbek and compiling a thesis on “Local Impact on Secondary Educational Reform in Post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan.” She speaks fluent Russian and German and is proficient in Uzbek. Natalia has written for the Seattle Times, Seattle PostGlobe, and Registan.

Nicholas Wondra

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Nicholas Wondra is currently an M.A. student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in the Russia/Eurasia Department. A 2009 graduate of Cornell College, Nicholas Wondra earned his B.A. in international relations and Russian. His academic interests include post-Soviet studies, security institutions, Russian affairs, ad hoc institutionalism (e.g. OSCE and temporary committees), protracted conflicts, hybrid and customary legal systems, arctic legal and security regimes, and NATO.

His interest in international affairs stems from working and studying in Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, and Tajikistan. In 2009-10 he was a Fulbright Fellow in the Republic of Georgia where he worked with Caucasus Research Resource Centers on public education reform issues. He has also served at the U.S. Embassy in Armenia. Most recently, he coordinated the Tajik National University Law Faculty internship program at the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia in Tajikistan. He also engaged with the clinical legal education program at the Tajik National University, participated in the monitoring of joint legal assistance centers with the Tajikistan Bureau of Human Rights, and contributed to the program's blog with research and commentary.

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