Dr. Oxana Karnaukhova (Distinguished Fellow)

Dr. Oxana Karnaukhova, Oxana is an associate professor at the Institute of History and International Relations of Southern Federal University (Russia) and the deputy director of the European Union Centre in South West Russia. Her academic background includes BA History, MA Social Psychology and PhD Cultural Studies with a specific interest in Economic Anthropology and Intercultural Communications. In addition, she has also been pursuing action-research and teaching students topics related to contemporary geo-economics and politics in Eurasia and global system. Her list of publication includes books (five as of now), refereed papers, book chapters and monographs highlighting the role of extra-economic factors such as culture and social norms and patterns in the economic behavior at the macro- and mezzo-level. Her academic excellence and achievements are proven through her participation and leadership in a number of recognized projects, such as Communicative strategies in multicultural regions, Multiculturalism as the paradigm of the postcolonial development, Super-Diversity and Citizenship in the European Union.

Yelena Kalivach (Distinguished Fellow)

Ms. Kalivach is the Director of Marathon Corporation (U.K.), a private limited company working in energy and infrastructure sectors. She hails from Kazakhstan anhas been a globe trotter in her illustrious professional career. She has more than two decades of professional work experience  in few blue chips major companies in energy, IT and aviation sectors. In the past, she worked in senior management positions at few prominent companies, like ArcelorMittal, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (in Brazil and ENRC), ImageSat International and MER Security Systems and National Grid. Ms. Yelena has also consulted several mid and large companies on matters related to global business development, procurement, and strategic management. She is a motivational leader and public speaker, and enjoys working on frontier markets business matters. Yelena has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Swinburne University of Technology and Master of Science (MSc) in Physics Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

Julia Mgeladze (Senior Fellow)

Ms. Mgeladze is an expert in the hospitality management sector. She has18 years of working experience out of which 14 years have centered around the hospitality and tourism sectors.. She has worked on different positions and roles in this industry, starting from being a receptionist at the start of her career to becoming the head of major luxury hotels in Georgia. She has held the General Manager position of Meta Business Hotel in the luxury complex King David, Tbilisi and King Gorgasali Hotel, Tbilisi. She is the co-founder of STEP, a sustainable tourism development center, and the founder of Temida Hospitality and Wellness Land, both of which are are consulting and destination management companies. Julia has a bachelor’s degree in Tourism from Grigol Robakidze University. and completed professional certificate courses on different aspects connected to the hospitality sector from reputed institutions. Some other reputed brands she has worked with include Marriott, Radisson, Holiday Inn and Continental. At present, Julia is working to give a reboot to the tourism industry in different frontier countries, and especially in the former Soviet countries, under changing global realities.

Courtney Weigal (Fellow)

Courtney has compleyed a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration with a specialization in Global Policy from the Northwestern University (USA). She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, German, and Russian from the University of Michigan. Specializing in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Germany, and the Caucasus, she is currently a Russian Language Specialist at the Wilson Center. She was a part of the Michigan Foreign Policy Council, and worked under Congressman Peter Roskam, a prominent figure in US-Georgia relations. She has several published papers, including “Promoting Belarus’s Political and Economic Independence from Russia”. In recent times, Courtney is networking with the diaspora organizations of the three South Caucasus countries in the US.

Courtney Weigal (Fellow)

Courtney has compleyed a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration with a specialization in Global Policy from the Northwestern University (USA). She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, German, and Russian from the University of Michigan. Specializing in Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, Germany, and the Caucasus, she is currently a Russian Language Specialist at the Wilson Center. She was a part of the Michigan Foreign Policy Council, and worked under Congressman Peter Roskam, a prominent figure in US-Georgia relations. She has several published papers, including “Promoting Belarus’s Political and Economic Independence from Russia”. In recent times, Courtney is networking with the diaspora organizations of the three South Caucasus countries in the US.

Nicolás Font (Fellow)

Nicolás comes from Argentina but has strong academic, professional and family ties with Russia/ Eurasia. He has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations oriented to journalism and currently working towards finishing his Master’s degree in Social Sciences with focus on conceptual research from the Universidad de Palermo, Buenos Aires. Argentina. He is a former member of the Working Group in India and South Asia from the Argentine Council for International Relations and former collaborator in the Young Researchers Group in International Relations of University of La Plata. He has delivered lectures on topics related to contemporary geopolitics in Russia and the Greater Caucasus at different prominent institutions, such as University of Saint Petersburg, Congress of the Latin American Association on Asian and African Studies. Nicolás has expertise in Russian Foreign Affairs, the former Soviet Space and the Caucasus region. He is currently residing in Moscow, Russia.

Dylan van de Ven (Fellow)

Dylan holds degrees in economics, finance, and management, and his areas of interest are political and economic development, peacebuilding, and the fostering of democracy – especially in the Caucasus and the larger post-Soviet space. He contributes to these fields through analysis and stakeholder engagement as part of various organizations, NGOs, and as a freelance journalist. He writes his own opinion and analysis pieces and edits others’ work as part of Eastern Circles’ editorial team, a geopolitics club focusing on the post-Soviet region, in addition to organizing conferences and helping the club expand its operations. For Oxus Society, a DC-based think tank focusing on the Central Asian region, he works both as a researcher and business development consultant.  He has previously worked in different roles at few prominent institutes/ companies, such as IBM, OECD, Performance Management Partner, St. Petersburg Int Business Association and Zeb Consulting. Dylan plans to work as an independent consultant driving up flow of investments and businesses between the EU and frontier markets in the coming time. 

Irakli Dolidze (Fellow)

Irakli has more than a decade of work experience on business consulting matters for global clients and partners. At present, he works as a Business Development Executive with with IBCCS Georgia, an international business and tax advisory company for corporate services. He has completed his Bachelors degree in Development Economics from the Georgian Technical University and MBA degree from the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO. Post-studies, he has worked in a myriad of companies including Iberia Business Group, Greennet and Redinet. In the past couple of years he has mainly worked as a Director of Business Relations. His expertise and interest lies on building multi-stakeholder partnerships and bringing in global investments in major infrastructure and associated projects in Georgia.  

Justin Gagnon (Fellow)

Justin is a graduate of Wheaton College with a BA in Russian & Political Science and a graduate student of International Relations at the University of Warsaw. He has worked with a diverse range of institutions in various cultural and linguistic backgrounds. His interests within Post-Soviet and Caucasus studies include linguistics, misinformation, conflict management, regional integration, and economic development. As a linguist and language enthusiast he spends much of his free time learning rare and endangered languages. He believes that learning new languages can open minds to new cultures and unique perspectives. His passions for human security, environmentalism, and global economic justice shape both his professional and personal life. 

Leonardo Zanatta (Fellow)

Leonardo is a PhD candidate in International and Security Studies at the Corvinus University, Hungary. He has received a MA in Interdisciplinary Research and Studies on Eastern Europe (MIREES), jointly awarded by the University of Bologna (Italy), the Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), the University of Zagreb (Croatia) and the Saint Petersburg State University (Russia), His master’s thesis is about the Game Theory and its application to energy diplomacy in the Caspian Sea area. He is currently a visitor fellow at KADIR HAS Centre for Energy and Sustainable Development in Istanbul (Turkey), and previously he collaborated with the Caspian Centre for Energy Environment in Baku (Azerbaijan). Previously he earned his bachelors’ degree in International and Diplomatic Affairs at Bologna University, Leonardo often writes articles for the Italian magazine East Journal and occasionally contributes with policy analysis for some Italian think-tanks (IARI, Geopolitica.info). He travelled on several counts places in the Greater Caucasus region whilst pursuing study exchanges at Higher School of Economics, MGIMO University and Saint Petersburg State University) as well as ADA University (Azerbaijan). 

Abhishek Mohanty (Fellow)

Abhishek is currently studying M.A Political Governance and Public Policy at the Russian Presidential Academy, Moscow. He has completed his M.A in International and Area Studies from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi (India) and B.A in International Relations from Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi (India). Previously, Abhishek was associated with the Centre for Vietnam Studies under the Embassy of Vietnam, New Delhi as a Junior Researcher. He had received a scholarship from the Shanghai Government to attend BRICS Summer Program at Fudan University, Shanghai held in July-August 2019. His research interests include Russian foreign and security policy, Geopolitics and geo-economics of the Post-Soviet space, and Asian regional organisations.