ENC is a young and dynamic independent think tank, consisting of three full time researchers and project managers, one research assistant and two rotating internships, fundraising and external advisors. If you are interested in joining our team, please send us an email
Samuel Doveri Vesterbye is Managing Director and specialises in Turkey and the Middle East. He oversees ENC research projects across the neighbourhood and Central Asia, including Academic Council Members and regional strategy. His research is focused on EU-MENA and EU-Turkey relations in trade, accession, energy, migration, and regional neighbourhood policy. He has worked with EU projects related to foreign affairs, strategic communication and research on Turkey since 2012 through partnerships and cooperation with think-tanks, the European External Action Service, business associations, European Ministries of Foreign Affairs, production companies and international universities. Prior to that he was a journalist in Turkey and Belgium covering foreign affairs, energy and the Middle East. He graduated in Middle Eastern and Central Asian Security Studies with a focus on inter-regional trade and security from the University of St Andrews. He is fluent in English, Italian, Danish, and French.
is Project Manager and Researcher specializing in the Eastern Partnership countries and in Central Asia. His research is concerned with the post-Soviet space, particularly socio-political developments in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. Andreas Marazis is also affiliated researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel
(VUB) and associate researcher for EUCAM
. Before joining ENC, Andreas worked as a Junior Researcher and EUCAM Programme Officer for FRIDE, and as Project Manager for Eurasian Dialogue. Andreas holds a MLitt in Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland, UK) and an MA in Black Sea Cultural Studies from the International Hellenic University (Thessaloniki, Greece). He is fluent in English and Greek.
Ecem Kocakanat is an Intern in charge of Communication and Social Media at European Neighbourhood Council. She is a student at TOBB University of Economics and Technology in the department of International Relations in Turkey. She studies in Political Ideologies and Free Trade Benefits. She speaks Turkish and English and she has a basic proficiency in Spanish.
Yara Atrouni is Project and Research Assistant at the European Neighbourhood Council. Her areas of interest are the European Union’s external action and relations, particularly in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Prior to joining the ENC, she graduated with a Master in European Studies from Université Catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). Her Master thesis was about the ENP applied to Lebanon with a focus on fields of cooperation related to economic integration & governance and rule of law. Yara also holds a Bachelor degree in Economics from Université Saint-Joseph (Beirut, Lebanon). She is fluent in French, English and Arabic.
Astrid Vervoort is a Research Assistant at the European Neighbourhood Council. At the same time she is enrolled as a Master student in European Studies at KU Leuven. Astrid is interested in the post-Soviet space and EU enlargement. In her master thesis she researched the political cooperation between the European Union and Ukraine in the European Neighbourhood Policy. She speaks Dutch, English and French.
Minna Genser is an intern in charge of External Relations of the European Neighbourhood Council. She carried out her first two years of her Bachelor in Politics and Government at Sciences Po Paris with a focus on transatlantic relations and will complete her third year on exchange at the University of Calgary. Her areas of interests include energy security, conflict resolution and the Middle Eastern Region. She is fluent in German, French and English and has different levels of proficiency in Danish, Spanish and Arabic.
External Advisory Council
The external advisory council consist of an unlimited number of members from the private sector, public sector, civil society, think-tank and media. Members include ex-diplomats, editors-in-chief, advisors, ex-officials, businessmen/women, think-tank and researchers.
The external advisory council serves as an advisory body that helps foster support for projects, research and events, while providing guidance, experience and network.
ENC is required to listen to recommendations from external advisory council members if their concerns are considered relevant to a given field of research or project.
ENC reserves the right to select and amend any advisory council members’ status, with the exception of the ones bound by partnership agreements. Advice provided by the external advisors is not legally binding in terms of implementation, but ENC staff members are required to interact with external advisors annually.
External advisors are expected to:
– Present ENC with potential grant and tender proposals (minimum 1 per year), which are deemed relevant to ENC (e.g. ENP, EU Accession, Security/Defence, Turkey, Iraq, Ukraine);
– Provide advice and sharing of contacts with regards to funding, networks, and donors (through meeting with Managing Director minimum 1 per year);
– Provide advice with regards to ENC’s research orientation/priorities and projects.
ENC External Advisor and Chairman of the Board of the Yerevan-based Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC).
Areas of Expertise: International Relations, Regional Development, Globalisation, Human Rights, Civil Society.
Professional Background: Dr. Grigoryan served for two years (1998-2000) as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia as well as Permanent Representative of the Republic of Armenia in the Collective Security Agreement of CIS between1996-1999. He also served as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Minister of Armenia in the Russia Federation (1995-1998) and he was Member of the Armenian Parliament from 1990 till 1995.
ENC External Advisor and Director of EU Studies at the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS).
Areas of Expertise: European Integration, International relations, Economics, Conflicts Resolution.
Professional Background: Mr. Gogolashvili served for eleven years in the Georgian Foreign Service as the acting Head of Mission to the EU, as well as the Director of Department for Relations with the EU. Since the early 2000s, he has actively been advising the Georgian Government on European Integration, while serving as the Chairman of EaP Civil Society Forum Georgia National Platform.
ENC External Advisor and Director of the Black Sea Region Geopolitical Research Center International Black Sea University and President of George C. Marshall Alumni Union, Georgia International and Security Research Center.
Areas of Expertise: International Relations, Black Sea region, Democracy, Security.
Professional Background: Mr. Chitadze served inter alia as advisor to the Deputy Minister of Defence (1998-1999) and as senior specialist for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997-1998) in Georgia. He is the author of more than one hundred twenty policy and scholarly researches and articles including five books.
ENC External Advisor and Director of the Geneva Centre for Training and Analysis of Terrorism (GCSP).
Areas of Expertise: Counter-terrorism, terrorism, radical Islam.
Professional Background: Mr. Rouiller prior to his post at GCSP he worked for the Swiss Federal Office of Police (Fedpol) from December 2003 to January 2010, creating the first Counter-terrorism Unit within the Swiss Federal Criminal Police (SFCP). He then developed the structures and concepts of the first counter-terrorism analysis unit of the SFCP (in charge of intelligence collection and risk analysis in the field of counter terrorism and terrorism). For three years (2000-2003) he worked at the Office of the Coordinator of Intelligence Services of Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud, as Adviser on Homeland Security. He also served in the Swiss Intelligence Service from 1994 till 2000 where he took responsibility for all terrorism files; which include inter alia, Radical Islamic organizations, the ‘ethno-nationalists’ groups (e.g. IRA, PKK, LTTE or ETA) and the remnants of the far-left (e.g. 17N phantom group in Greece).
ENC External Advisor and Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics (Kazakhstan)
Areas of Expertise: Political and social developments in Eurasia, security, regional politics and economics
Professional Background: Dr. Akimbekov received his BA degree in history from the Kazakhstan State University and conducted his post-graduate studies in the Institute of Sociology in Moscow. He received his Ph.D. in history from al-Farabi Kazakh State University in 1999. He has authored several books on political and social developments in Eurasia and advises the Kazakh President as the head of the Institute of World Economics and Politics.
ENC External Advisor and the Executive Director of the regional office of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in the Eastern European Neighborhood.
Areas of Expertise: Foreign and security affairs, political institution building and democratic development.
Professional Background: Dr. Tsutskiridze holds a master’s degree in international relations from the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University. Tsutskiridze is the Executive Director of the regional office of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in the Eastern European Neighborhood. In his earlier career, Levan Tsutskiridze worked as the Rector of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs where in 2007 he founded the School of Law and Politics. Levan Tsutskiridze also contributed to the onset of internationally recognized public administration reforms in 2003-2006 when he worked as the manager of the reform of the civil registration system in Georgia; Earlier, he also served at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the Head of Project Coordination Unit and worked with Open Society Foundation on developing and piloting early concepts for the introduction of decentralized education management systems in Georgia.
ENC External Advisor and the strategy and external relations adviser of the Hellenic Entrepreneurs Association (EENE) in Greece.
Areas of Expertise: European security and defence, EU – Mediterranean security policy, EU conflict prevention and peace promotion, EU foreign policy and external action, EU border management and security, EU counter-terrorism, and Chinese global influence.
Country: United Kingdom
Professional Background: Mr. Efthymiou has his doctorate on European Security at the University of Cambridge. He holds an MPhil in International Relations from the same University and a first-class honours BSc in Politics with Economics from the University of Bath in the UK. Dr. Efthymiou has worked with a number of think tanks in Athens, London and Brussels, and has been working with the China-UK Development Council (CUDC) since 2012 where he has done extensive project organization and management. He has taught in numerous academic programs in the UK and Europe, including competitive programs of leading Cambridge and Oxford University Colleges. He has work experience in diplomacy, business and policy consulting, and systematically writes op-eds on current events. His side-passion is innovative, startup entrepreneurship which he tries to support and encourage in Greece and Europe.
ENC External Advisor and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University in USA.
Areas of Expertise: Religious extremism, Central Asia, foreign fighters, authoritarianism, security.
Country: United States
Professional Background: Dr. Lemon recently completed his PhD at the University of Exeter, where he wrote his thesis about Islamic extremism in Tajikistan. In particular, he focused on the ways in which the Tajik government pursues opponents living abroad. In October 2016, he will take up the position of Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. He has conducted extensive field research on religious freedom, migration, terrorism and political Islam in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. His research has appeared in Central Asian Affairs, Foreign Affairs, The RUSI Journal, Caucasus Survey and Review of Middle East Studies.
ENC External Advisor and Europe-Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) Coordinator (Groningen, Netherlands).
Areas of expertise: Democratisation, Rule of law, Human Rights, EaP, Central Asia, Security Sector Reform.
Professional Background: Until December 2015, Jos Boonstra was Head of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia programme at FRIDE in Madrid and Brussels and prior to that he managed a program at the Centre for European Security Studies (CESS) in Groningen.
ENC External Advisor and Chairman of the Board of the OSI (Soros Foundation) inTajikistan and senior adviser of the International Alert office in Tajikistan.
Areas of Expertise: Human rights, Islamic studies.
Professional Background: Dr. Mullajanov received his PhD in Islamic studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland. Dr. Mullojanov is a former member of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue, a peaceful international civil initiative during the civil war in Tajikistan and former member of the EUCAM (EU and Central Asia Monitoring) research group. He worked for various international agencies and organizations such as Human Rights Watch in Helsinki, UNCHR, UNDP and ADB.
ENC External Advisor and Director of the Center for Silk Road Studies (Kyrgyz Republic)
Areas of expertise: Economic development, international relations, international finance, Eurasian affairs, Central Asia, digital societies, innovations and ICT
Country: Kyrgyz Republic
Professional Background: Talant Sultanov is a Chair of the Internet Society Kyrgyz Chapter, a Board member at the Bank of Asia in Kyrgyzstan and a Trustee at the Microcredit Foundation “Humo” in Tajikistan. Prior to his current positions, Mr. Sultanov has served as the Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies of the Kyrgyz Republic. He has also worked as the CFO of the American University of Central Asia. Previously, Mr. Sultanov worked at the World Bank (Washington, D.C. and Almaty), and in Project Finance at Kazkommertsbank in Almaty. Mr. Sultanov is an alumnus of Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education (2016). He holds a MA in Finance from Columbia University (2006) and a BA Summa Cum Laude from San Francisco State University (1999), where he graduated as the Top Student in the International Relations Program.
ENC External Advisor
Areas of expertise: International relations, International economics, Eurasian affairs, Central Asia, good governance
Professional Background: Ravshan Abdullaev is Researcher specialising in the post-Soviet space. Before joining ENC as external advisor, he was the Director of Tajikistan largest civil society organisation – Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia – for five years with a focus on access to justice, promoting good governance and local youth development. He also held a position as an editor of the monthly magazine Tajikistan – Economic Review and has worked as a reporter for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. He worked, as an evaluator for the media sustainability index and civil society sustainability index in Tajikistan, while providing consultation services for The World Bank, OSCE and USAID between 2012 and 2015. Ravsan holds a diploma in International Economics from the Technological University of Tajikistan and a degree in World Economy from the Tajik-Russian Modern University in Dushanbe.
ENC External Advisor
Areas of Expertise: MENA Region and Africa
Professional Background: Michael Ryan is a retired European Union diplomat with 37 years experience in EU institutions and foreign policy. He served as EU Ambassador to Rwanda (2013-2018), Chargéd’Affaires of the EU Delegation to Syria (2012-2013), and as head of the political section in the EU Delegations to Syria (2011-2012) and to Egypt (2006-2011) during the Arab Spring and Syrian war. He has also served as an EU diplomat in Turkey, Israel and Jordan, and as desk officer/policy analyst for Lebanon. Michael Ryan – an Irish national – has expertise in security, democracy and economic issues prevalent in the Middle East and Africa, in development processes, human rights and governance, and public diplomacy. He is an alumnus of the Universities of Reading (MSc economics), St Andrews (development economics) and Zimbabwe (economics).