Cristina Buzaşu is a policymaker and strategy advisor with over ten years of experience in international organizations and public administration. She is currently a state advisor in the Romanian government, where she advises the prime minister on European affairs. She also served as European affairs counsellor in the Romanian presidential administration, where she facilitated the coordination and smooth running of Romania’s Presidency of the EU Council. Previously, she worked as principal manager for civil society engagement at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, where she managed a portfolio of technical cooperation projects in the area of good governance in Central and Eastern Europe. Buzaşu also worked as policy advisor in the European Parliament and in a strategic management consultancy. She graduated from the London School of Economics with a master’s degree in the political economy of Europe.
Youssef Cherif is the director of Columbia Global Centers | Tunis. He was previously the Al-Maidan project manager for Libya at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and an expert affiliated to the Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies. He was also a consultant on foreign policy for the Arab Institute for Business Managers, on the implementation of the post-2015 Agenda in Tunisia for the United Nations, and on political affairs for the Carter Center in Tunisia. Cherif holds a Chevening M.A. in international relations from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London and a Fulbright M.A. in classical studies from Columbia University. He is a regular political analyst of North Africa for several international media outlets and think tanks.
Hafsa Halawa is an independent consultant working on political, social, and economic affairs and development goals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Horn of Africa regions. She has previously held positions in government, the United Nations, international non-government organizations, corporate multinationals, private firms, and think tanks. Halawa’s expertise spans the geographical regions of MENA and the Horn, covering conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict analysis, development proposals, analysis and programming, democratization, domestic politics, economy, trade and investment, gender equality, policy planning, political risk, regional and geopolitical dynamics, reconciliation, security, social cohesion, transitional politics including constitutional affairs, electoral programming, and judicial independence, as well as water security and youth empowerment.
Ming-sho Ho is a professor of sociology at the National Taiwan University. He researches social movements, labor, and environmental issues. He has written extensively on Taiwan’s civil society and related issues in Taiwan’s media. Ho is also a nonresident fellow in the China Policy School of the University of Nottingham since 2016, and a Harvard-Yenching Institute scholar from 2018 to 2019. Previously, Ho was a Fulbright scholar at New York University from 2004 to 2005.
Maureen Kademaunga is a doctoral researcher at the Human Economy Research Program at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She leads For-Zim-Women/TsimbaKadzi, a political empowerment platform for women in Zimbabwe, and is a member of the board of directors for Global Witness. Previously she was a resident expert on international affairs at the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe (IDAZIM), where she managed research on international advocacy. Kademaunga is an alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP); the International Republican Institute (IRI) Generation Democracy Leadership Program; and the Program for Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA). She holds a BS in sociology from the University of Zimbabwe and an MS in political science from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Arthur Larok is the federation development director of ActionAid International, a global federation operating in 47 countries around the world, and co-chair of ActionAid’s global Working Group on Shrinking Civic and Political Space. Until December 2017, he was the chair of the National NGO Forum, the largest NGO platform in Uganda. He was also a Reagan-Fascell democracy fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC until July 2017.
Larok is a civil society activist with a passion for good governance and justice. In 2010, he initiated a citizens’ manifesto process that has since become a reference for work on political accountability in Uganda. In 2012, with other activists, he formed the Black Monday Movement, a citizen campaign against corruption in Uganda. He has written on space for civil society, corruption, and democratization. Larok holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Makerere University in Uganda, and a master’s degree in governance and development from the Institute of Development Studies in the UK.
Paweł Marczewski is head of the research unit Citizens at the ideaForum, think tank of the Batory Foundation, Poland. He holds a PhD in sociology from University of Warsaw. His main areas of interest are social movements, civil society organizations, and social justice. He is a contributing writer at the weekly Tygodnik Powszechny and member of the editorial board of Przegląd Polityczny quarterly, his comments and articles appeared also in the Nation, Public Seminar, Eurozine, as well as major Polish dailies Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita. In years 2011-2017 he was assistant professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Warsaw, in 2015-2017 also head of publications at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.
Vijayan MJ is an independent researcher and writer associated with the Research Collective in New Delhi, India. He also serves as the secretary general of the India Chapter of the Pakistan India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy. Over the past two decades, he has been part of shaping the engagement and commitment of several civic initiatives for peace, justice, environmental protection, and community rights in India.
Natalia Shapovalova is an independent researcher based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her research focuses on Eastern Europe, with particular focus on Ukraine and EU policy toward the Eastern neighborhood. She has a PhD in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick.
Janjira Sombatpoonsiri is an associate fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and researcher at the Institute of Asian Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Her research focuses on civil society in democratization and authoritarianism, the politics of nonviolent struggle, and conflict transformation. Sombatpoonsiri was a co-secretary general of the Asia Pacific Peace Research Association and is currently an academic advisor of the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict. She has published op-eds in openDemocracy, Project Syndicate, and the Diplomat.
Marisa von Bülow is a professor at the Political Science Institute of the University of Brasília, Brazil, and is a visiting scholar at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and at the University of Lisbon. She is the author of several books and articles on social movements, protests, digital activism, and transnational networks of civil society. She is the winner of the Luciano Tomassini Book Award of the Latin American Studies Association for the book Building Transnational Networks: Civil society and trade in the Americas (Cambridge University Press, 2010). She has also been a consultant for the World Bank and the UN Development Program on issues related to democracy, protests, and social movements in Latin America.
Özge Zihnioğlu is a lecturer in politics at the University of Liverpool. Her main research interests include Turkish civil society, EU-Turkey relations, and EU civil society support. She holds a Ph.D. from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and was a fellow at Yale University. Zihnioğlu received the Young Scientist Award from Turkey’s Science Academy in 2015 and from the International Relations Council in 2018. She is an executive committee member of Turkey’s Young Science Academy Working Group.
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