On September 4-5, the Council will host more than forty delegates to the Future Leaders Summit to discuss global security issues alongside the 2014 Wales NATO Summit conference. Read their bios below.

Delegates by Country


Ms. Aarya Nijat

Founding Partner, Duran Consulting
Aarya is a Founding Partner of Duran Consulting, a research, political risk analyses and program assessment firm. With more than ten years of experience in the development sector in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Aarya previously served as the Director of Capacity and Institutional Development at the Government of Afghanistan’s Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), where she worked to develop Afghanistan’s first ever anti-harassment policy. She also spent time working as a Political Analyst at the Embassy of Canada in Kabul and as a Sub-National Governance Policy Specialist for the United Nations Development Program and Acting Director of Policy for the IDLG, where she extensively contributed to the development of Afghanistan’s first ever Sub National Governance Policy.

A Fulbright Scholar and a Mary Boies Fellow, Aarya received her MA in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, her MSc in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University, and both an LLB and a BA in Political Science from Punjab University. Her most recent publication offers an extensive overview of Afghan Governance and can be accessed at: http://www.areu.org.af/EditionDetails.aspx?EditionId=730&ContentId=7&ParentId=7&Lang=en-US.

Mr. Abdul Basir Yosufi
Senior Advisor to the Minister, Afghan Ministry of Interior
Basir Yosufi is a Senior Advisor to Minister at the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, where he previously served as a Policy Advisor and Ministerial Policy Analyst. He also works as a lecturer at Mashal University in Kabul. Prior to joining the Ministry of Interior, Basir Yosufi worked in non-profit and private sectors. He worked at International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) in Washington, DC, and as the Founder and Manager of the Ariana Educational Center in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. Basir Yosufi received his MS in Foreign Service, focusing on International Security and Development, from Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science from Delhi University. His research interests are security and development, counterinsurgency, nation building and ethnic conflict. Basir Yosufi speaks Persian, English, Pashtu, Urdu, and some Arabic.

Mr. Sami Jabarkhail
International Recruiter, Texas A&M University-Commerce
In his current position, Sami is an International Recruiter for Texas A&M University – Commerce. He previously worked as a consultant for Afghans for Afghanistan’s Development, Recruiting Manager for American University in Central Asia, and as a Program Manager and HR Representative at the American Councils for International Education’s Kabul and DC offices, respectively. He has implemented multiple international exchange and women’s empowerment initiatives in Afghanistan. Sami received a BS in Human Resources and Administration from Texas A&M University with a Minor in Business Administration and a BA in Education and English Literature from Kabul University.

While working for American Councils in Afghanistan, Sami has convinced numerous conservative government officials including ministers and governors to support women’s education. Sami has been awarded American Council’s World of a Difference award for promoting international exchange and advancing gender diversity in international education programs.



Mr. Bledar Feta
Research Associate for South East Europe Programme, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy; Political Analyst, Oxford Analytica

Bledar is a Research Associate and Policy Expert for the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), where he works in their South East Europe Programme. He also cooperates with Oxford Analytica, providing analysis of current political affairs and developments in Albania. He previously worked as a Junior Project Evaluator for the UK’s Department for International Development, as a Junior Researcher at the Joint Policy Programme between the Hellenic Centre for European Studies in Athens and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Bledar received his MA in South East European Studies from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and his BA in International and European Studies from the University of Piraeus.



Mr. Rabah Ghezali
Managing Director,Government Affairs & Public Advocacy, NYSE Euronext
Rabah is Managing Director at NYSE Euronext in Paris, France. In this role, he is the Director of Government Affairs and Public Advocacy, and previously worked for NYSE Euronext in Brussels, Belgium. He is also currently an Associate Professor in Economics at Sciences-Po Paris and was previously an attorney at law specializing in International Dispute Settlement and Corporate Law.

Rabah received his MPhil in International Relations and Economics from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, his LLM in European and Comparative Law from the University of Oxford. From Ecole Normale Supérieure, he has received an LL.B, a Masters of Law, and a Masters in Economics and Business Administration, and from has qualified as an Attorney at law to the Paris Bar.

Rabah is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Analysis and Proposals for Middle East and North Africa where his research focused on the economics, politics and security of the MENA region as well. His research led him to study the relationship between NATO and the MENA region. He has been made United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellow.



Mr. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev
Director, Human Capital Consulting; Co-Founder, Positive Change Youth Movement
Bakhtiyar is currently a Director at Human Capital Consulting in Azerbaijan. A pro-democracy activist, Bakhtiyar co-founded the Positive Change Youth Movement in Azerbaijan and was a candidate for Parliament in the fall of 2010. He previously worked as a Short Term Consultant at the World Bank, as a Regional Coordinator for the Education Development Center’s Europe and Eurasia Social Legacy Project, and as the Founder and Member Committee President of AIESEC in Azerbaijan. He was also United Nations Youth Delegate of Azerbaijan at the UN’s 60th General Assembly. In 2012, Bakhtiyar met privately with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Baku on youth movements and democracy in Azerbaijan. He received his MA in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and his BA in Applied Mathematics and Economic Cybernetics from Baku State University.



Mr. David-Jan Bosschaert
Vice-President, Flemish Youth Parliament
David-Jan currently works as an EU Trainee at the European Economic and Social Committee. Among his broad range of extra-curricular activities he’s the Vice President of the Flemish Youth Parliament. He also served as Political Secretary to the Leuven chapter of Belgium’s Christen Democratische Studenten (CDS) and also as President of the CDS National Congress in 2011-12, leading to his appointment as CDS’ current international secretary.

During the current Swiss presidency David-Jan served as Youth ambassador of Belgium to the Model OSCE conference charged with writing the new OSCE Youth Action Plan. He also was the head delegate of the EU delegation to the Y8 summit in London in 2014 and was the head delegate at the Y8 Summit in 2013.

David-Jan obtained his MA in Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven) majoring in International, European and Public Law. He also holds a BA in Law from KULeuven and a BA in History from the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP).



Mr. Georgi Michev
Chief Expert, Transformation Branch, Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence, Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Bulgaria
Georgi serves as a Chief Expert in the Transformation Branch at the Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence (CMDR COE) in the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria. Currently he is a Member of the Community Advisory Board to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Republic of Bulgaria. He was a Junior Expert in the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence in the Joint Facilities Department. Georgi previously worked as a Project Assistant at Open Society Institute in Sofia. He is currently pursuing an MA on Diplomacy and International Relations from New Bulgarian University, from which, he also received with honors his MA on Security and Defence and BA in Political Science. In 2011 he was awarded with the Bulgarian national prize “Student of the Year” at professional field “Security and Defence”.



Ms. Marta Rzechowka
Captain, Canadian Armed Forces
Marta currently serves as a regional analyst in the Canadian Armed Forces. She was selected to deploy to Afghanistan as the senior national representative to the NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan in Kabul. She previously served as a research analyst for the Canadian Army Historian, creating a first-of-its-kind narrative of the military effort in Afghanistan; as a Policy Developer at the Canadian Defense Academy; and as a member of the Princess Patricia Light Infantry Battle Group in Kandahar, Afghanistan. She received her MA in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada and her BA in Political Science from the University of Alberta.



Mr. Hrvoje Ćuriċ Hrvatiniċ

Diplomat, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
In his current role, Hrvoje is a Diplomat for the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs working in its NATO Division. Between 2011 and 2013, he served as the youngest Croatian diplomat ever sent to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, where he was the sole Croatian representative. Hrvoje graduated from the Croatian Diplomatic Academy in 2008. He received his MA and BA in History and Philosophy from the University of Zagreb and also received an MA and BA in Political Science from the University of Zagreb.


Czech Republic

Ms. Michaela Bendikova Dodge
Policy Analyst for Defense and Strategic Studies, The Heritage Foundation
Michaela is a Policy Analyst for Defense and Strategic Issues at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. Prior to becoming a Policy Analyst, Michaela worked as a Research Associate for Strategic issues and a Research Assistant for Missile Defense and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation. She also spent time working at the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science at George Mason University and received her MS in Defense and Strategic Studies from Missouri State University and her BA in International Relations and Defense and Strategic Studies from Masaryk University.



Ms. Sofie Dalgaard
Assistant, Economic Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Sofie is currently an assistant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, working with Economic Diplomacy. Prior to this she worked at the Danish Embassy in Washington, DC and the Consulate General of Denmark in Chicago. In Copenhagen, she has worked as a Journalist on the Foreign Desk at Radio24syv and as a Columnist at RÆSON News magazine where she covered the Middle East. She has also worked at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, and the Seattle Weekly. Sofie is pursuing her MSc in Political Science at the University of Copenhagen and received her MSc in Theory and History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she won the Medlicott Prize for dissertation of the year.



Mr. Patrik Maldre
Specialist, Cyber Security Policy, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Patrik is a Specialist in Cyber Security Policy for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he is the Estonian MFA’s point of contact for NATO, the EU, and other international organizations. He previously served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a Public Diplomacy Specialist. Before arriving at the Ministry, Patrik achieved the rank of Sergeant in the Estonian Defense Forces, and interned at the Embassy of Estonia in Madrid. Patrik is pursuing his MA in International Relations with a specialization in International Security from the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals and received his BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Illinois.



Ms. Pauliina Törmä
Analyst, Prime Minister’s Office, Government of Finland
Pauliina works in the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office as an Analyst on international and national security matters. Before joining the Prime Minister’s Office, she was a Political and Development Advisor to the NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Kabul, Afghanistan. She also served as a Policy Officer at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and worked at the Mission of Finland to NATO. Pauliina received her MSSc in World Politics and Peace and Conflict Research, as well as her BSSc in World Politics, from the University of Helsinki.



Mr. Martin Michelot
Non-Resident Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States
In his current role, Martin manages the Transatlantic Security Task Force at the German Marshall Fund (GMF) and helps develop GMF’s foreign and security policy programs. He is a regular contributor on France 24, TV5 Monde, Radio France Internationale, BFMTV, and Europe 1 on American domestic and foreign policy. Martin previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Brookings Institution; as a Program Coordinator at Humanity in Action; and as a Parliamentary Assistant at the France National Assembly. He received his MA in International Relations from Science Po Lyon and his BA from Université Lumière in Lyon.



Mr. Tobias Bunde
Head of Policy and Analysis, Munich Security Conference
Tobias is head of the policy and analysis team at the Munich Security Conference (MSC). He previously worked as a policy advisor and speechwriter for Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, the Chairman of the MSC, and at stiftung neue verantwortung, a Berlin-based think tank. He is currently a PhD candidate in political science at the Berlin Graduate School for Transnational Studies at Freie Universität in Berlin, writing his dissertation on “NATO’s Contested Globalization: Constructivism, Collective Identity, and Collective Action.”

Tobias received his MA in International Relations from Freie Universität Berlin and BA from Technische Universität Dresden, and also studied at Universität Konstanz, George Washington University, and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Strasbourg, France.



Mr. Nikolas Katsimpras
Lecturer, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Columbia University
Currently, Nikolas is a Lecturer on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Lab Instructor at the School of International and Public Affairs in New York. A ten year veteran and former officer of the Hellenic Navy with multiple high profile deployments, Nikolas has been awarded by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo. He was a Fellow at Columbia University’s Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity, and has also worked at the Teachers College International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution. Nikolas Received his MS in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University and his BS in Naval Military Science from the Hellenic Naval Academy. He is a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and a frequent contributor on Huffington Post.



Ms. Nino Gogoladze
National Programme Manager, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
In her current position, Nino Gogoladze is a National Programme Manager for the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (OSCE/HCNM) in Tbilisi. She previously worked as a Project Coordinator at the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), a Programme Coordinator at the Heinrich Boell Foundation, and as a National Anti-Trafficking Officer for the OSCE Mission to Georgia. Nino received her MA in International Relations and European Studies from the Central European University and her BA in International Relations from Tbilisi State University.

Nino oversees the activities of the OSCE HCNM in Georgia, seeking to prevent ethnic conflict in the country and integration of national minorities. She follows closely political situation in Georgia and evaluates its possible impact on inter-ethnic relations. As a program manager Nino is responsible for project implementation, monitoring, and analysis of the impact of ongoing course of the OSCE HCNM activities in the country. She is also a liaison for Governmental bodies, international organizations and NGOS, and represents OSCE HCNM in Georgia.



Mr. Daniel Lederer
Director, Milestone Institute Budapest
Daniel is Director and Co-Founder of the Milestone Institute in Budapest and the CEO of Milestone Consulting. Prior to founding the Milestone Institute, Daniel has worked in the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office as a Foreign Policy Advisor, where he was also the head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Advisor’s Office.

Daniel has worked with the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence in the UK, the Center for European Integration Studies in Germany and the German Bundestag. Daniel studied Sociology and Political Science in Budapest, Bonn, and Berlin, and received his MA in Economics and International Relations from the University of St. Andrews, writing his thesis on Russia’s Energy Policy.



Ms. Elena Cesca

Parliamentary Assistant, Italy’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly
Elena currently works as a Parliamentary Assistant at the Office of the Head of Italy’s delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is the Foreign Affairs Editor in Chief for the online magazine Europinione.it. She previously worked at the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome where she focused on European and NATO security, defense, and public diplomacy issues. Elena received her MA in International Relations from The LUISS Guido Carli and her BA in Political Science from the Università del Salento.

Allied Command Transformation Future Leader
Mr. Federico Casprini
Independent Consultant, Federico Casprini Analysis & Consultancy
In his role as an independent consultant, Federico has served as an editor and researcher for the Bruno Kessler Foundation, as an academic expert analyst at the 2014 NATO Strategic Military Partners Conference, and as a rapporteur at the “Flexible Frameworks, Beyond Borders” international conference for the Asia-Pacific Region Working Group. Previously, he worked as Academic Coordinator with the Strategic Plans & Policy Division at NATO Allied Commander Transformation. Federico received his MA in Diplomacy and International Studies from the University of Bologna and his BA in Language and Political and Economic Institutions of Eastern Asia from Cà Foscari University of Venice.



Ms. Anda Bergmane
Senior Desk Officer, Defence Planning Section, Ministry of Defence
As Senior Desk Officer of the Defence Planning Section at the Ministry of Defence of Latvia, Anda is responsible for developing Latvia’s position on issues related to NATO defence planning and capability development, defence spending and new NATO initiatives, among several key areas. She is also responsible for coordinating Latvia’s involvement in multinational NATO projects.

Anda has a Master’s of Political Science from the University of Latvia and has studied new military and non-military threats to security as a part of the Erasmus Exchange Programme in Uppsala University, Sweden.



Ms. Algirde Pipikaite
Head of International Practice, Fabiani & Company
Algirde lives and works in Washington, DC. Her main specialization is international relations and business development. She currently heads the international practice of Fabiani & Company, a government relations company. Before moving to DC, Algirde worked in Brussels, Belgium, where she ran the European Affairs office of Fabiani & Company. Before joining private business, Algirde served as a staff assistant to Prof. Leonidas Donskis, a Member of the European Parliament in Brussels, and she has also worked in the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.

Algirde holds a Master’s in International and European Business and Economic Law from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and a Bachelor of Law and Management from Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius, Lithuania. She has attended two Executive Education programs on Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, focusing on International Politics, Economics, and Leadership Skills. Algirde has studied and worked in Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the United States. She speaks and writes Lithuanian, French, German, Italian, and English, is conversant in Russian, and is studying Arabic.

Algirde is a member of the Board of Editors of the European Energy Journal. She frequently publishes on issues of foreign affairs and energy. Algirde is a former Lithuanian junior champion in chess and figure skating.



Mr. Vasile Rotaru
Postdoctoral Researcher, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest)
Vasile is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA) in Bucharest, Romania. Before pursuing his Doctorate, he was a Counselor at the Romanian Government and an Editor-Presenter at Realitatea TV in Bucharest. Vasile received his PhD in International Relations from SNSPA, with a thesis of “The Eastern Partnership – a turning point in EU-Russia relations?” He also received his MA in South East European Studies from the University of Bucharest and his BA in Journalism and Communication from the West University of Timisoara. Vasile was also PhD research fellow at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and the University of Tartu (Estonia).


The Netherlands

Ms. Rowinda Appelman

President, Youth Atlantic Treaty Association
As President of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association (YATA), Rowin oversees a transatlantic network with chapters in 36 NATO member and partner countries that seeks to educate and inform the public on international security affairs. She also serves as the President of the Dutch Atlantic Youth Association, as a guest lecturer at Weekend Academies, and as a Community Manager for the expat organizations Meetup and Internations.

Rowin previously worked as a Staff Member Research at VU University Amsterdam’s Faculty of Psychology and Education, as the coordinator of the Weekend Academie Westerpark, and as a Staff Member in the international office at VU University Amsterdam. She received an MSc summa cum laude in Political Science from Universiteit van Amsterdam and a BA and MA summa cum laude in Communication and Information Sciences from VU University Amsterdam.



Mr. Lars Ragnar Aalerud Hansen
Advisor, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lars recently rejoined the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he is currently working as an adviser in the Section for Russia, Eurasia and regional cooperation. He previously served as a Personal Advisor to the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe; as the Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan; as a Staff Officer in the Defense Attaché’s Office at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Moscow; and as an officer in the Norwegian Army. Lars received his BA in Russian and Eastern European Studies fro the University of Oslo and later earned an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where he studied as a Fulbright fellow. He previously completed the Norwegian Defense Intelligence and Security School’s officer training program.

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Future Leader
Ms. Marte Ziolkowski
Information Adviser, Norwegian Atlantic Committee
Marte is an information adviser at the Norwegian Atlantic Committee, where she has worked since 2013. Her main areas of expertise include NATO, the European Union (particularly the Common Security and Defence Policy), and transatlantic relations. She received her MSc in Politics and Government in the EU from the London School of Economics and Political Science, specializing in European Security and Defence and strategic culture, and her BSc in Political Science from the University of Bergen. She is a former member of the board of YATA Norway and Project Manager for the Nordic Security Conference.


Ms. Joanna Kaminska
Advisor/Parliamentary Administrator, Foreign Affairs Committee, European Parliament
Joanna advises members of the European Parliament on Common Foreign and Security Policy, European Neighborhood Policy, the Eastern Partnership, and relations with EU Eastern neighbors. She also is a Senior Research Associate and visiting lecturer at the Institute for European Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (IES-VUB). She previously worked as a Policy Officer at the European Commission’s Secretariat General.

Joanna holds a PhD from University of London, Royal Holloway College, where she was a British Chevening Scholar. She received her MA and undergraduate degrees from the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Political Science, and a Certificate of Political Studies from Ínstitut d’Études Politiques d’Aix-en-Provence, France. She is publishing a book, Poland and the EU Enlargement: Foreign Policy in Transformation, this year with Palgrave MacMillan.



Mr. Alexandre Marques Pinho
Subject Matter Expert, NATO Centre of Excellence and Vice-President, DECIDE
Alexandre is a Subject Matter Expert at NATO’s HCOE for transformation and capability development in the field of intelligence. Previously, he has worked at headquarters of Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, the Joint Analysis Lessons Learned Centre and Heineken International. Additionally, he is also Vice-President of DECIDE (Portuguese Association of Young auditors for Defence, Security and Citizenship). DECIDE is an independent NGO that works to promote awareness and informed public debate on security and national defence issues.

Alexandre is a civilian graduate of the Military Academy (Portugal) and received his BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Kent (UK).



Mr. Radu Magdin
CEO, Smartlink Communications
Radu leads Smartlink, a strategic communications and public affairs consultancy whose clients include the World Economic Forum, World Bank, Allegro Group, SCL Elections, and Yahoo. Radu worked previously as a Policy Manager at Google in Brussels; as a Communications Manager at EURACTIV Media; as a Press Officer for the Romanian Social-Democrat Delegation at the European Parliament; as an Editor on EU Affairs at AGERPRES, the Romanian National News Agency; and as a Diplomat at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He received an MA in European Union Law and an MA in Security Studies from the University of Bucharest and a Law Degree with a focus in European Studies from the Sorbonne in Paris. He is a regular contributor in the Romanian media, commenting, among others, in Forbes Romania, Money Channel, and Radio France International.



Mr. Boris Ecker

Political Officer, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic
Boris coordinates Slovak-US political relations for the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, including supporting the 2013 bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Fico and President Obama and the 2014 EU-US Summit. Boris previously spent five years working as a Country Officer for NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division in Brussels, where he worked in the Media Operations Center during Operation Unified Protector and coordinated public outreach efforts in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland. He received his BA and MA in International Relations and Diplomacy from Matej Bel University.



Ms. Katja Gersak
Co-Founder, Regional Dialogue; Advisor, Centre for European Perspective (CEP)
Katja is currently an advisor to the Center for European Perspective (CEP) in Slovenia. In this role, Katja is responsible for conceptualizing, implementing, and fundraising for activities that stimulate policy discussions and improve policy making in the fields of foreign and security policy. Katja also serves as the Co-Founder of Regional Dialogue, Uzbekistan, a rule of law and capacity building NGO in the area of human rights and justice sector reform and consults independently in the foreign policy space in Slovenia. Previously, she worked at the Institute for Strategic Studies (ISS), Control Risks, CSIS, and the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Katja has a Masters of Philosophy in International Relations from Cambridge University and a Bachelor’s in International Affairs from George Washington University.



Mr. Sergio Ortiz Martín
Director and Project Manager, Youth Mediterranean Dialogue
Sergio was the director and lead organizer of the first Youth Mediterranean Dialogue in April 2014, serving as a driving force in launching the dialogue in collaboration with NATO, the Spanish Ministry of Defense, and the US Embassy in Spain. The dialogue, held on the 20th anniversary of NATO’s first high-level Mediterranean Dialogue, convened 90 students from across NATO member and partner countries to discuss security cooperation and critical issues facing the region.

In his work at Rey Juan Carlos University, Sergio serves as a research assistant and teaching fellow for faculty at the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence. He received his undergraduate degree in Law and Public Administration and in Management from Rey Juan Carlos University and is currently pursuing his MA in Terrorism Studies.


Ms. Mona Samadi
Academic Dean and Associate Professor of International Law, Stockholm School of Theology
Mona is the Dean of the Stockholm School of Theology’s Human Rights and Democracy Program, where she also functions as an Associate Professor of International Law. Her research is focused on the relations between Islamic law and international law and its impact on the Middle East. In addition to numerous other lecturing positions, Mona also worked as a Political Secretary in the Swedish Parliament and as a Law Clerk at Business Law Inc.

She received her PhD from Örebro University, writing her Dissertation on “Defamation of Religion – The Right to Freedom of Expression in International and Islamic Law”. She has also been a visiting scholar at the George Washington University and Toronto University and received a Masters of Legal Science and a Bachelors of Legal Science from Örebro University.


Mr. Emre Tunçalp
Managing Partner, Sidar Global Advisors
Emre oversees daily operations for Sidar Global Advisors’ (SGA) research, risk advisory, and business intelligence practices and advises clients on political risk, political economy, and energy security in emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Middle East and North Africa.

He previously worked as the Private Sector Division Director and the Operations Director for SGA, a Research Assistant at the German Marshall Fund, a project consultant on energy and environment at the Inter-American Development Bank, and a Research Assistant at the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels. Emre received his MA in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University and his BA from Sabanci University in Istanbul.

Allied Command Transformation Future Leader
Ms. Beyza Unal
PhD Candidate,Adjunct Instructor, and William J. Fulbright Fellow, Old Dominion University
Beyza is a PhD candidate, adjunct instructor, and Fulbright Fellow at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where she specializes in conflict and cooperation, interdependence, energy, and transnationalism. She is currently writing her dissertation on nuclear nonproliferation. Beyza previously worked at Allied Command Transformation’s Strategic Analysis Branch as a civilian intern, with a focus on Strategic Foresight Analysis and Framework for Future Alliance Operations; as an international elections observer in Iraq; and as a graduate assistant at Bilkent University. She received her MA in Eurasian-Atlantic Security Studies from Bilkent University and her BS in Political Science and International Relations from Cankaya University. She has attended special nuclear security and safety programs funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.



Mr. Vasyl Myroshnychenko
Partner, CFC Consulting
Vasyl is a Partner at CFC Consulting. He advises international and local clients on strategic communications, including public affairs and crisis communications. Vasyl is a co-founder of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, launched in March 2014 to provide the international community with objective information about events in Ukraine and threats to national security, particularly in the military, political, economic, energy, and humanitarian areas. Before joining CFC Consulting, he was a Parliamentary Assistant in the Canadian House of Commons and also spent time doing an internship in the United States Embassy to the Ukraine. Vasyl received his MSc in Politics of The World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as an MA and BA in International Relations from Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University.


United Kingdom

Ms. Claire Yorke
Doctoral Researcher, King’s College London
Claire is an PhD candidate at King’s College, where she is studying the role of narratives in foreign policy with a focus on negotiations. Before starting at King’s College, Claire was the Programme Manager at Chatham House’s International Security Research Department, where she managed a wide-range of research projects on international security, including defense policy, cyber-security, terrorism, nuclear weapons, human security, and strategy.

She previously worked as Parliamentary Researcher to Sir Nick Harvey, a frontbench Liberal Democrat MP (North Devon) who later became Minister of State for the Armed Forces. Claire is the co-organiser of Women in International Security UK, which she helped re-establish, and an Advisory Board Member at Future Foreign Policy, a think tank that offers youth opportunities to inform and analyze foreign affairs. Claire received her MA in Middle East Politics from Exeter University and her BA in Politics and International Relations from Lancaster University.

Ms. Eimear O’Casey
Risk Analyst, Control Risks
Since 2013, Eimear has been a researcher in the Eurasia team for a political risk and corporate investigations consultancy in London and in Moscow. Previously, Eimear was a Fellow of the Alfa Fellowship Program in Moscow. She has also worked at the Constitution Unit at University College London; as an election observer in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Armenia, and Ukraine for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); for the democratization department’s office of democratic institutions and human rights at the OSCE; the Institute for Government, London; the Justice Department of the Scottish Government in Edinburgh; and elsewhere. Eimear has a MA in Legal and Political Theory from University College London, and a Bachelor’s in History from the University of Edinburgh.

Mr. Henry Collis
Senior Policy Advisor,Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, Cabinet Office
Henry is currently a Senior Policy Advisor on cyber security and information assurance in the Cabinet Office, a central government body supporting the work of the cabinet and providing governmental oversight in the United Kingdom. At the Cabinet Office he has been instrumental in the reformation of the relationship between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury to streamline, reduce risks, and cut costs in the MoD procurement process. Henry previously worked as part of ISAF in Afghanistan leading the development of analytical methodology for NATO strategists and analysis of insurgent leadership influence. He has also worked for GRMC Advisory Services in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and Oxford Business Group in Bahrain, Qatar, and Malaysia.

Henry has a Master’s of Science in Political Economy and Development from SOAS in London and a Bachelor’s in Economics with Management from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He is also a Trooper in the Honourable Artillery Company of the British Army Reserve and has been a volunteer consultant for the Aga Khan Foundation.

Ms. Hannah Iqbal
Forced Migration Researcher and PhD Candidate, Cardiff University
Hannah is a policy researcher and human rights advocate, working towards the protection of human rights for young refugees within the United Kingdom and globally. She is currently a visiting lecturer at Cardiff University and the University of South Wales where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level classes on human rights issues revolving around refugees and youth. She is also in the final year of a PhD scholarship funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council, conducting research on the experiences of young people who have fled conflict and now reside in the UK. Previously, Hannah has conducted impact assessments for the Welsh Government and several NGOs.

Hannah serves as a Board Member for a number of local charities and is currently enrolled on several Leadership Development Programmes. She is being mentored as part of the Fabian Society Political Leadership Program and is taking part in the Welsh Government Women in Public Life Development Program. Hannah has a Master’s of Science in Social Research, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Forced Migration from Cardiff University.

Ms. Ashlee Godwin
Deputy Editor, RUSI Journal, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies
Ashlee Godwin is a Fulbright Scholar in national security policy-making (particularly in the United States) with an interest in a wide range of defence and IR issues, including US-UK relations. In 2013, she participated in a RUSI research trip to Sierra Leone, investigating post-conflict peace-building. Ashlee also blogs for the Huffington Post and volunteers for Centenary News, a website dedicated to events commemorating the First World War.

She holds an MA in War Studies (Distinction) from King’s College London and a degree in Modern History from Oxford University, where her research focused on British military history and the conduct of international diplomacy. Prior to joining RUSI, Ashlee worked at an international technology company, first as an editor of print and web publications and then at the head of the global communications and PR team.

Mr. Andreas Stradis
PhD Candidate and Teaching Assistant, University of Bristol
Andreas is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Bristol working on the project ‘Thucydides: Reception, Reinterpretation & Influence’ under the department of classics and ancient history where he is also a teaching assistant. Andreas is also a senior research fellow and member of the executive board of the Atlantic Council of the United Kingdom and a second lieutenant British Army. Previously, Andreas was a researcher in the land operations and capabilities program of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), London. Andreas has a Master’s of Science from London School of Economics and Political Science in International Relations, a Graduate Diploma in Law from BPP Law School, London, and a Master’s in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford.


United States

Mr. Scott Erwin
Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Company
Scott Erwin is an Engagement Manager with McKinsey & Company in London. He completed his doctorate in theology from the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and is the author of “The Theological Vision of Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History: ‘In the battle and above it'” (Oxford University Press, 2013). Scott previously worked as a Policy Advisor to the US Department of Defense in Iraq, where he supported the training and equipping of Iraqi police and founded a civics program for university students in Baghdad.

He also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as a Research Associate to the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy. Scott is originally from Kansas City, completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Richmond, and currently lives in London with his wife, Nita, where he works to strengthen the transatlantic bond by sharing American BBQ with the British.

Mr. Michael Hermann
National Security Legislative Assistant, Office of Congressman James Langevin (D-RI)
Michael manages all policy and legislative issues for Representative Langevin’s work on the Armed Services and Select Intelligence Committees, including in his role as Ranking Member of the Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, and serves as the Democratic staff lead for the Congressional Cybersecurity and Directed Energy Caucuses.

He previously worked as a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), covering defense and science, among other areas, and as an Executive Assistant to the CEO at Dutko Worldwide. Michael received his MA in Strategic Security Studies from the National Defense University and his BA in Political Science and Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ms. Gina Maria Jones
Senior Strategic Planner, Defense Intelligence Agency
In her capacity as a senior strategic planner at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Gina is engaged in numerous high-profile portfolios, including: advising an initiative to ensure the Afghanistan-Pakistan Task Force Transition meets DIA strategic objectives, participating in the DIA Director’s Tiger Team on transportation-specific intelligence resources, and contributing text for the 2014 National Intelligence Strategy. Gina previously served as an intelligence officer in the US Air Force, deploying to Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; as a Booz Allen Associate and intelligence analyst at US Army South; and as the chief of a socio-cultural analytical team at US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

She received her Master of Military Art and Science from the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies; an MA with Honors in Global and International Studies through the Interagency Studies Program at the University of Kansas; and graduated cum laude from Boston University with a BA in East Asian Studies, and a BA and MA in Economics.

Mr. Mark David Simakovsky
Russia Country Director,Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia (RUE), US Department of Defense
In his current role, Mark develops and manages US defense policy towards Russia, including assisting in the Department of Defense response to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Prior to this position, Mark worked as RUE’s Eurasia Strategy Advisor and NATO Coordinator and as the Georgia and Moldova Country Director, where his work coordinating the response to the Russian-Georgian conflict was profiled in the Washington Post.

He has also served as a National Security Fellow in the Office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) on a Brookings Legis Fellowship; as a Non-Resident Fellow at the German Marshall Fund; as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Office of Russian Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs; and as a Fulbright Scholar at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies in Tbilisi. Mark has been awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service and recognized as a “Top 99 under 33 Foreign Policy Leader” by the Diplomatic Courier. He received his MSFS magna cum laude from Georgetown University and his BA magna cum laude from Miami University.