Young Professionals Network 2016-2017

2016 - 2017
Area of Expertise

Program Members

Alec Albright

Center on Global Interests

Alec Albright is a Program Associate at the Center on Global Interests (CGI), where he works on political and economic issues in Russia and Eurasia. Prior to joining CGI full-time, Alec held internships at Investor AB, an asset management group based in Stockholm, and PwC.

He received his master’s degree in 2016 from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service’s Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies, where he also completed the Landegger Honors Certificate in International Business Diplomacy, and was a Wallenberg International Fellow. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2014 and double majored in Political Science and Russian. His research interests include foreign direct investment, innovation development and venture capital, and international business law.

John Anderson

FTI Consulting

John Anderson currently works at FTI Consulting as a Strategic Communications Consultant in the Energy Public Affairs practice. Prior to joining FTI, Mr. Anderson was a Senior Correspondent at Glimpse From the Globe  and he will continue his journalism work with Global Risk Insights as a weekly contributor in later 2016. His interest in Eurasia began during the summer of 2013 while living in Baku and taking part in the State Department Critical Language Scholarship for Azerbaijani. He returned to Azerbaijan in 2014 to continue with CLS before attending the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy as an exchange student.  Mr. Anderson has also previously worked on select projects with the US Army War College, the US Embassy in Baku and Vision Ridge Partners, a venture capital firm focused on clean energy and natural resource asset management.

Mr. Anderson is a graduate of Washington & Lee University, where he designed and completed his bachelor’s degree in Geopolitics of Central Asia. He is proficient in Azerbaijani, Turkish and Spanish. In addition to living in Azerbaijan, he has visited Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Turkey, and Belize for academic and professional purposes.

Hidetoshi Azuma

APCO Worldwide

Hidetoshi Azuma is a professional geopolitical consultant bridging Japan with Eurasia. He is currently an APCO Institute fellow at APCO Worldwide where he provides Japanese clients with consulting services on Eurasia’s transnational energy projects. He also leads the firm’s thought leadership and has had his articles and commentaries on Japan-Eurasia relations published on major media outlets, such as Foreign Affairs. Hidetoshi is also an adjunct fellow at American Security Project’s Energy Security Program and has published a white paper examining the growing geopolitical competition between Eurasian gas pipelines and emerging LNG projects fueled by the global shale gas revolution. Prior to joining APCO and ASP, he worked on Japan’s geopolitical and security issues at various Washington think tanks, including the Foreign Policy Initiative and the American Enterprise Institute. His foreign policy interests include U.S.-Russia-Japan relations in Asia, geopolitics of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and Turkmenistan’s eternal energy potentiality.

Hidetoshi holds a master’s degree in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in Japanese History from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

Tom Babington

Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, State Department

nTom Babington is a State Department Speechwriter in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Prior to joining the State Department as a Political Appointee for the Obama Administration, he worked at the National Security Council, the US Embassy in Georgia, and on US congressional campaigns. Babington is a proud returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Georgia, 2012-14).

Mr. Babington earned his Master of Public Policy and bachelor’s degree and from the University of Maryland, where he studied on a Robertson Foundation for Government Fellowship. While at UMD, Babington earned a Presidential Management Fellowship. His interests include the Caucasus, Eurasia, trade, development, and energy.

Jeff Bell

National Endowment for Democracy

Jeff Bell is a Program Assistant at the National Endowment for Democracy where he works on the Caucasus and Central Asia programs. In this capacity, he assists with proposal review, communicates with grantees and applicants, and monitors political and economic developments in the region. Previously, Mr. Bell worked in the Philadelphia Department of Commerce as a Business Services Manager through AmeriCorps VISTA. While a Business Services Manager, he worked with Russian speaking entrepreneurs in Northeast Philadelphia, helping them to register their businesses, connect with resources, and establish a business association within the Russian speaking community.

Mr. Bell is a graduate of the University of Delaware where he majored in International Relations and Russian Language and Literature. He has studied in Russia on two occasions, in Moscow in 2010 and in Vladivostok in 2012 through 2013. He also spent a summer working with the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in 2011. Mr. Bell’s interests include the relationship between democratization and access to technology, as well as freedom to information in Eurasia.

Cory Bender

Institute for Global Engagement

Cory Bender is an Editorial Fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement where he was also Program Officer for Eurasia. At IGE, Cory designed and implemented a series of track 1.5 dialogues on religion, security, and citizenship which were held in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. He helped to develop a peacebuilding program in Ukraine which involved clergy from evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox churches, and has also focused on religion, security, and human rights issues in Burma, China, and Iraq. His writing has been published in The Diplomat, Christianity Today, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, and other outlets.

He received a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He studied abroad in Bishkek and Kazan and spent a summer working at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. He is a two-time alum of Middlebury College’s Russian School.

Andrew Bogrand

Democracy International

Andrew Bogrand is a Communications and Outreach Officer at Democracy International, an international organization that works to advance human rights, good governance, and peacebuilding in conflict, post-conflict, and transitioning environments. He supports the organization’s government and congressional relations, technical leadership, and field-based communications, including in Afghanistan. Prior to DI, Andrew was an Alfa Fellow with the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch where he monitored human rights developments in Russia, Ukraine, and the Caucuses, and provided assistance on regional advocacy projects. Before his work in Moscow, he was a Public Relations Coordinator at Refugee Transitions, the largest community-based refugee agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has additionally worked on a California political campaign.

Andrew earned his master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University and his bachelor’s degree in History and Government from Claremont McKenna College. Andrew’s foreign policy interests in the Eurasian region include human rights and civil society, media freedom, and conflict resolution. He is proficient in Russian.

Jeffrey Brown

Bertelsmann Foundation

Jeffrey Brown is project manager for international relations at the Bertelsmann Foundation where he focuses on the Transatlantic Policy Lab project and emerging foreign-policy challenges facing the transatlantic partnership. Prior to joining the Bertelsmann Foundation, he interned in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi and the Commercial Section of the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon. He has also held positions in elections, international legal compliance, and as a university instructor in Besançon, France.

Jeffrey received his master’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he wrote his thesis on implementation of EU Association Agreements in Georgia and Moldova. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Olaf College.

His foreign policy interests include the European Neighborhood Policy, frozen conflicts, media freedom, and the design and implementation of free trade agreements. Mr. Brown speaks French and some Portuguese. In his free time, he enjoys trekking the Caucasus, printmaking, and following developments in the wine industry.

Jaime Cordes

Vital Voices Global Partnership

Jaime Cordes joined Vital Voices Global Partnership in May 2016 as the Program Coordinator for Europe and Eurasia on the Human Rights team. In this role, she coordinates the Hilton Global Freedom Exchange for Anti-Trafficking Leaders and provides linguistic and regional expertise on Europe and Eurasia to the Voices Against Violence GBV Global Initiative. Prior to joining Vital Voices, Jaime recruited high school exchange students for the FLEX and YES high school scholarship exchange programs in Southeast Europe with American Councils for International Education.

She received her Master of Arts in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where she earned a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Crises and held internship positions at the U.S. Department of State, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the U.S.-Russia Business Council, and the Center for Applied Nonviolent Actions and Strategies. She spent several years living in Eastern Europe while serving as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Russia, a David L. Boren Fellow to Serbia, and a volunteer English teacher in Ukraine. Jaime received her Bachelor of Arts in Russian and Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame and is proficient in Russian and Serbo-Croatian.

Lydia Hamilton

Institute of International Education

Lydia Hamilton is a Program Officer at the Institute of International Education (IIE). She works directly with the Project Global Officer and the Language Training Centers programs, two Department of Defense-sponsored initiatives in support of critical language training at U.S. universities. Before joining IIE, Ms. Hamilton completed an Alfa Fellowship in Moscow, Russia, where she supported international partnership development and recruitment at the Higher School of Economics. She has also previously managed academic programs at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute.

Lydia holds an master’s degree in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Regional Studies from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in Slavic Studies from Brown University.

Umida Hashimova

Center for Naval Analysis

Umida Hashimova currently works as an Analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis. She also collaborates with George Washington University’s Central Asia Program by working with scholars and researchers from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Previously Umida worked for a trade association in Washington, D.C., where she managed USAID-funded projects on energy regulation in the Eurasia region. Umida is also a frequent contributor to the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily on current developments in Central Asia. Umida was of one 2015 recipients of Eurasia Foundation’s US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange fellowship and travelled to Moscow, Russia, to study migration issues.

Prior to moving to the United States, Umida worked for the Center for Economic Research/United Nations Development Program in Tashkent where she focused on economic issues in Eurasia. While with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Tashkent, she focused on the issues of drugs and crime that affected the countries along the trafficking routes of Central Asia, Caucasus, Russia, and Europe. Umida received her master’s degree in Public Policy, with a concentration in International Economics, from the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree from the University of Essex, and a bachelor’s degree from the Uzbek State Foreign Languages University.

Bee Jenkins

FHI 360

Bee Jenkins is a specialist in education development and teacher training. She currently works at FHI 360 as a technical expert on the American English E-Teacher Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, by providing professional support to Non-Native English Speaking Teachers around the world.

After receiving her Master’s in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University, Ms. Jenkins was awarded a Fulbright grant to teach at the Russian Armenian University in Yerevan. There, she designed and taught courses for pre-service teachers, consulted on linguistics and Integrated Learning curricula, and lectured on American dialectology, phonology, and political science. She then served as a Fellow with the U.S. Department of State, spending one year in the Kyrgyz Republic and another in Kazakhstan. During her time in Central Asia, Ms. Jenkins worked with various universities, teacher organizations, and U.S. embassies to develop training programs and Professional Learning Communities for local English teachers, engaging the education sector in collaborative, sustainable professional development.

A firm believer that education affects every aspect of growth, Ms. Jenkins is interested in tying education projects to gender equality, economic development, and peacebuilding.

Ingrid Korsgard

School of International Service, American University

Ingrid Korsgard is master’s degree candidate in Development Management at American University’s School of International Service. Her interest in the Eurasian region began in high school when she took her first Russian course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating with honors from Macalester College with a major in Russian Studies and a concentration in Community and Global Health, Ms. Korsgard interned with the Health and Development Foundation and served as a fellow with the Eurasia Foundation. For the past two years she has used cultural exchange as a tool to teach youth social emotional and leadership skills.

Her current interests include cultural exchange as a tool for international development, the role of language education in youth leadership, and youth empowerment through global political engagement.

Olga Kuzmina

Center on Global Interests

Olga Kuzmina is a Program Associate at the Center on Global Interests, where she develops thematic content for CGI’s research programs, works on event organization and outreach, and oversees the editorial process for the Center’s publications. Prior to joining CGI, Olga served as a Project Assistant for Central and Eastern Europe at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Washington, DC and was a reporting intern with The Moscow Times.

Olga holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Contemporary European Studies with a minor in Slavic studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has studied abroad at the Collegium Hieronymi Pragensis in Prague and at the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs (MGIMO) in her native Moscow. Her interests include Russia-Western diplomatic history, the NATO-Russia relationship, and the role of literature in politics.

Behzod Mamadiev

Voice of America

Behzod Mamadiev is a freelance journalist, blogger, and an Editor-in-Chief of Vatandosh, an Uzbek community newspaper in the U.S. He also works for Voice of America Uzbek Service as a broadcaster and reporter Tashabbus, a non-profit organization founded by a group of young Uzbek lawyers in the U.S., as Website and Communications Manager. As a journalist and blogger, he is interested in covering the US-Central Asia relations and religion in the region.

In 2011, he earned a master’s degree in Mass Communications at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Uzbek State World Languages University, and a honors bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi, India.

Alexandra Memmott

APCO Worldwide

Alexandra Memmott interns at APCO Worldwide, working in their Global Solutions department with Russian/Eurasian clients.  She is also a virtual student intern for the U.S. State Department, helping the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  Alexandra Memmott is a graduate student at the Center for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University. She began learning Russian at American University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations. Alexandra capped her area studies by spending six months at St. Petersburg State University in Russia where she attended daily language and foreign policy courses with Russian peers. She also taught English to Russians of all age groups and backgrounds several times a week. In addition to her studies, Alexandra has extensive experience in the public sector, working at the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She spent her senior year working at the National Defense University, researching Russian counter-terrorism and irregular warfare.

Alexandra hopes to become fluent in Russian and use her expertise in international security and Russian area studies to work towards improving U.S.-Russian relations. 

K. Bailey Morton

Blue Compass

K. Bailey Morton is a gender integration and mainstreaming consultant at Blue Compass, LLC.  She currently advises on incorporating gender considerations into foreign policy strategic and budget planning. Previously, she served as an independent consultant to US Department of State officials on issues affecting refugees and people displaced by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. She has also worked as the Resident Director of the Critical Language Scholarship program in Baku, Azerbaijan, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Balaken, Azerbaijan.

Bailey earned her Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. While earning her degree, she served as a course assistant for the “Introduction to International Development Policy” undergraduate course and researched conditional cash transfer programs in Turkey. She is interested in international development and foreign policy issues in Eurasia, with a particular focus on gender, poverty reduction, and conflict.

She speaks Spanish and Azerbaijani, with moderat knowledge of Turkish and Russian. Her hobbies include overanalyzing pop culture and playing sports of all kinds.

Raffi Nersessian

Department of Energy

Raffi Nersessian is a Eurasian energy analyst at the Department of Energy (DOE) where he works within the Office of International Affairs assisting in policy making, preparing analytical briefings for high ranking officials, and engaging with U.S. and foreign embassies. He is passionate about Eurasian energy affairs, particularly EU-Russia energy relations.

Raffi earned a master’s degree in European and Eurasian studies with a specialization in Eurasian Energy Markets from George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. During the fall 2013 semester, he attended the European University of Saint Petersburg (EUSPB) Energy Politics of Eurasia Program where he specialized in Eurasian energy policy and strengthened his Russian language abilities. Prior, he earned a dual degree in Political Science and Russian Cum Laude from Wayne State University. For two summers, he studied Russian at St. Petersburg State University. In 2012 he was awarded a Title VIII Critical Language Fellowship to pursue intensive Russian language courses at Indiana University’s Summer Workshop in Eastern European and Slavic Languages.

Raffi speaks Russian, Armenian, and Dutch. His interest in Eurasia was sparked by 18 years in the sport of fencing during which he trained under coaches from across Eurasia.

Dr. Mariya Pak

Eurasian Research and Analysis Institute

Dr. Mariya Pak is an international water resources policy and management specialist working on the intersections of hegemony and negotiation theories, natural resources management, and institutional resilience to change. She is currently a research fellow at the Eurasian Research and Analysis (ERA) Institute. She previously worked at the International Water Management Institute in Tashkent where she was a Research Associate and Database Manager.

She is a former Fulbright Scholar who completed both her master’s degree in Water Resources Policy and Management and doctorate in Geography at Oregon State University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies of Uzbekistan. Her current interests include international policy, geopolitics, security, Eurasian studies, natural resources management, transboundary water resources, and water policy in Central Asia.

Jacob Parsley

Office of International and Interagency Relations, NASA

Jacob Parsley is an International Program Specialist at NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations, Science Division, where he supports the international activities of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. In this role he works on a diverse regional portfolio and serves as the primary International Affairs Officer for NASA’s Heliophysics Division.

He has experience in multiple Eurasian countries and across a wide range of sectors. Jacob has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan and is a graduate of the National Security Education Program Russian Overseas Flagship. He has studied at two Russian universities and interned with the St. Petersburg civil rights NGO Citizens’ Watch. Prior to joining NASA, Jacob worked at the Washington, D.C. office of an international law firm as the lead paralegal on multiple Eurasia-based international arbitrations.

Jacob holds an M.A. in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University and bachelor’s degrees in Russian and Political Science from Portland State University. He is the recipient of a 2012-2013 Boren Scholarship and 2013-2014 FLAS Fellowship, both for Russian.

Charles Powell

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Charles Powell is a Presidential Management Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. His current position is in NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, where he works in the Office of the Chief of Staff’s Program and Policy Team. Prior to entering government, Charles was a Herbert Scoville, Jr., Peace Fellow at the Nuclear Threat Initiative where he worked on nuclear security and nonproliferation matters in Russia and Central Asia. He also previously served as a Program Assistant supporting Eurasia Foundation’s US-Russia Social Expertise Exchange (SEE).

Charles holds an associate’s degree from Bard College at Simon’s Rock, a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Brown University, and a master’s degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Stanford University.

Brendan Reardon

Department of Defense

Brendan Reardon is a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Defense where he currently works as a research analyst on U.S. military force structure. He completed a six-month rotation at the State Department in the Office of Security and Political Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR/RPM). During that rotation Brendan worked on a variety of political and military issues at NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Brendan will begin another rotation in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Office of Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia in October 2016.

Prior to his PMF, Brendan completed the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship at the National Nuclear Security Administration in the Department of Energy. During his fellowship, Brendan traveled to Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Greece, and Germany to attend outreach workshops, conduct formal meetings with foreign counterparts, and attend trainings on nonproliferation issues.

He has Master degrees in Public Policy as well as Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies from the University of Michigan. He wrote his Master’s thesis about the role of independent media in Russia following the popular protests against parliamentary elections in Russia in 2011.

Before graduate school, Brendan served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. He taught English at a middle school in a village in northern Kazakhstan– about 20 miles from the Russian border. Brendan earned a BA in History and Political Science from Northwestern University.

Aaron Schwartzbaum

Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies

Aaron Schwartzbaum is a master’s degree candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he studies International Political Economy and International Economics. Prior to being accepted into SAIS, he researched Eurasia and Global Macro practices at the Eurasia Group. His specific areas of focus included Russian and Ukrainian politics and political economy and defense-related and strategic issues. Before joining Eurasia Group, Aaron gained experience while working for the International Investment Partners, a boutique investment banking firm that operated in the mining and minerals sector, with special attention to their Ukrainian clients. He has previously interned with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Aaron holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Russian from Haverford College. He has lived in St. Petersburg for over a year while completing the Russian Overseas Language Flagship Program.

Sam Skove

Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service

Sam Skove is a second year master’s candidate in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Before attending Georgetown, he served as Communications Coordinator at The Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. Mr. Skove also worked at The Moscow Times as an Opinion Editor and Business Journalist and Editor. While there, he specialized in coverage of the Russian auto and housing markets, as well as covering the defense industry and monetary policy.

He graduated from Oberlin College, where he majored in History and Russian Studies.

He is interested in Russian security policy in Europe and the role of corruption within Russia’s regional political system. He also loves Russian theater and literature, and previously interned with Krug, a Moscow dance therapy center for Russians with developmental disorders. He speaks Russian and French.

April Snedeker

Center for International Private Enterprise

April Snedeker is an Assistant Program Officer for Eurasia at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) where she works on economic development programs in Russia, Ukraine, and Central Asia. Before she joined CIPE, April worked on elections and political processes at the National Democratic Institute. April holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Carleton College and is an master’s degree candidate in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is particularly interested in democratization, good governance, and economic development. She has spent time in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan studying and conducting research.

Adam Stahl

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Adam Stahl has extensive experience supporting an array of topical programs and research in eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Currently, Mr. Stahl works at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation where issues shaping U.S.-Eurasian relations, including aerospace cybersecurity, and maritime strategy, often arise. Since 2014, he has also spent significant time supporting Ukraine’s democratic trajectory, both in the form of institution building and energy sector reform. These include stints with the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and academic research in Odessa and Kyiv, in the International Centre for Policy Studies’ Energy Department.

Mr. Stahl received a Master’s in Russian and East European Studies at University of Oxford’s St. Antony’s College in 2015. While at Oxford, he wrote his thesis on the state of energy security in Eurasia, trying to better understand and examine optimal conditions that allow for target states to most effectively defend themselves against Russian energy aggression, with Lithuania and Ukraine as case studies. Mr. Stahl has also lived and worked throughout Eastern Europe, including time with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Mission in Bosnia & Herzegovina. While there, he assisted the Mission’s education reform programs designed to de-politicize and promote reconciliation within the country’s ethnically segregated primary and secondary school systems.

Eugene Steinberg

Council on Foreign Relations

Eugene Steinberg is an Assistant Editor at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Previously, he was a Program Associate in CFR’s New York office, working closely with Senior Fellows Michael A. Levi and John Campbell. His writing has appeared in Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, the Pacific Standard, the National Interest, and elsewhere. His research interests have focused on the evolution of Russian and Ukrainian press, democracy movements, and oligarchy as well as broader Russian geopolitical strategy and ideology. He holds two bachelor’s degrees in International Relations and quantitative economics from Tufts University.

Benjamin Sweeney

Independent Consultant

Benjamin Sweeney was a research Fulbright Scholar in Georgia in 2008-2009 and worked with Transparency International Georgia monitoring international aid following the 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict. He further researched in Georgia as a Boren Fellow, supporting his master’s thesis on inclusive development in contemporary Georgia. Later, he interned in the Political/Economic section of US Embassy Tbilisi where he led the Embassy’s disabled rights portfolio. He has worked with IRG /Engility backstopping a USAID funded project focusing on energy development in Eastern Europe and Eurasia and has been an intern on EF’s Russia Program.

Mr. Sweeney graduated with a Master of Arts in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Michigan and a Master in Public Policy from the Ford School of Public Policy. He received his undergraduate degree from University College, University of Toronto.

He speaks English, Russian, and Georgian and is waiting for someone to open a good Georgian restaurant in Washington, DC. Other hobbies include hiking, biking, and fermenting things.

Daniel Toubolets

Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service

Daniel Toubolets is a Georgetown University’s Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) program candidate and is pursuing a concentration in Global Politics and Security in addition to a certificate in Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies. He is the acting President of the Professionals in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Affairs (PREEA), a Georgetown University graduate student organization. He spent his 2016 summer interning for the World Bank in Moscow and independently visited Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan before returning to Washington, D.C. to complete his graduate studies.

Prior to attending MSFS, Daniel worked for NERA Economic Consulting in New York City and Educate Texas in Dallas. Daniel received his bachelor’s from Yale University, where he was a member of the Yale Whiffenpoofs.

Daniel is a native of Belarus and is fluent in Russian, proficient in French, and currently learning Spanish. Daniel is interested in U.S.-Russian relations, sustainable economic development, and political representation throughout Eurasia.

Darya Vakulenko

National Endowment for Democracy

Darya Vakulenko is an Assistant Program Officer on the Eurasia team at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Her work mainly focuses on democracy, human rights, and the legal aspects of NGO’s in Russia. Darya received her B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. She also obtained her M.A. in Political Science from the same institution, where she based her graduate thesis on the topic of political secession.

Elena Volkava

Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service

Elena Volkava is originally from Ukraine, but she grew up in Belarus and the United States and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in European Studies with regional expertise in Eastern Europe while at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on social development and human rights. Ms. Volkava was previously at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC) as a research assistant specializing in civil resistance in Eastern Europe and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where she conducted research on regionalism in Ukraine, human trafficking, and gender-based violence. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political and Governmental Affairs with a minor in Business Administration and Management.

Ms. Volkava also studied in Northern Ireland, UK, where she investigated several forms of organized crime through political economy analyses, focusing on corruption and terrorism cases. She is passionate about women’s empowerment and is currently researching the role of the private sector in developing gender equality. Her other areas of interest are youth, community development, and social entrepreneurship.

Michael Zeller

Department of Homeland Security

Michael Zeller is a fellow with the Eurasia Research and Analysis Institute and works for the Department of Homeland Security. As an undergraduate, he conducted archival research in the Churchill Archives at the University of Cambridge on summitry in the Second World War. While on a Boren Scholarship in 2011-2012, Michael studied at Moscow State University and worked for ‘Memorial’ human rights group, which contributed to his research on civil society networks and on colour revolution movements. In 2013, he received his B.A. summa cum laude in political science from the University of Louisville. He earned master’s degrees with distinction in Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies from the University of Glasgow and in Political Science from Corvinus University of Budapest. Michael’s master’s dissertation examined right-wing political youth groups in Hungary. His published work chiefly concerns the activity of civil society, far-right politics, and the dynamics of democratisation, particularly in the post-Soviet space.