Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of OD International Relations Mentoring Program 2020 – Meet the Fellows

Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of OD International Relations Mentoring Program 2020 – Meet the Fellows

May 9, 2020

We are pleased to announce the inaugural cohort of Opportunity Desk International Relations Mentoring Program 2020!

We had the toughest selection process. After carefully reviewing hundreds of applications, we selected 16 Young Leaders from around the world. They come from 14 different countries across 4 continents. 56% of them are female and 44% are male. They are working in (or are interested in) fields related to international relations.

The 16 Fellows represent motivated young leaders and problem solvers from across the globe. The Fellows will embark on a 1-2 months remote mentoring program around the topic of international relations and European Union Integration.

Opportunity Desk Mentor, Mr. Libor Chlad, who has worked with the European union for over two decades will be conducting the mentoring in his own personal capacity. Mr. Chlad has been working for the institutions of the European Union for almost two decades in various positions, currently as the head of the section implementing the 6 billion EUR facility for the Syrian refugees in Turkey. Through this exclusive mentoring program, he will share some of his experiences with this select group of young leaders determined to succeed in the area of international affairs and European integration in particular.

Meet the Fellows

Outlined below is the list of selected Fellows for the OD IR Program:

  1. Sergio Rejado Albaina (Spain)
    A graduate of Environmental Biology, Sergio has developed his career in the field of international cooperation for the protection of the environment and biodiversity. This has led him to work in countries as diverse as Belize and Mozambique, working for very diverse organizations including NGOs as WWF and international organizations as UNESCO.

    He currently works as an Independent Consultant in the field of environmental protection and policy. 

  2. Julius Karl D. Fieve (Ghana)
    Julius Karl D. Fieve has over 7 years’ experience in non-profit, private and public sectors specifically focusing on project management, training, research, design, monitoring and evaluation, policy engagement, stakeholders’ relations and resource mobilization in the energy, agriculture, and education sectors. He is currently a MasterCard Foundation Scholar studying MSc. Africa and International Development at the University Of Edinburgh, UK and will complete in August 2020. 

    He has coordinated donor projects and donor funds from institutional donors such as the Commonwealth, European Union, the French Embassy, Ghana, the African Development Bank, the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Restless Development as well as global organizations providing funds as their corporate social responsibilities. He currently serves as the Seminar Coordinator Intern of UN House Scotland. By this, he coordinates the team organizing the Scottish Centre for International Strategic Affairs (SCISA) Seminar on Eritrea. He also produces policy briefs and Parliamentary One Pager on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report for Members of the Scottish Parliament. Julius is also the Co-Founder of the Global Advocacy and Development Initiative, (GADI) Ghana ( ) , an NGO which serves as a Hub for mentoring, training, skills development, funding and empowering young people and women in rural communities of Ghana.

  3. Mark John Dayto (Philippines)
    Mark John Dayto is a high school teacher handling humanities and social sciences core subjects in a private institution. He is also an op-ed writer for digital news platforms and advocacy blogs since 2017 on climate change policies and diplomatic laws and transborder relations. He graduated with honors in Bicol University, Philippines with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in 2018. In his last year of university study, he became a fellow of GRDS International based in Italy for his study on the analysis of climate change adaptation strategies in a high-risk area in the country. Today, he devotes himself to learning the territorial context and political sphere of EU and its member-states. 

  4. Sandra Ajaja (Nigeria)
    Sandra Ajaja is a Women’s Empowerment Advocate and a stern believer in equal gender representation and inclusion of women in every sphere of society. Having experienced first-hand the tremendous difficulties women face to rise above patriarchy, in 2017, Sandra founded the Fempower Africa Initiative, a social enterprise that is empowering women with technology, leadership and entrepreneurship education to enable them to build prosperous businesses using technology, hence equipped to live better lives.

    She is a European Development Days Young Leader for Development, where she sat on several high-level panel discussions around tackling global inequalities with policymakers from the European Union Commission, United Nations, Unicef. She also served as a Global Youth Ambassador for UNESCO-MGIEP, where she contributed to drafting the Youth Declaration on Kindness. She has recently been selected as Mandela Washington Fellow 2020 and also as a member of the Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network.

    As an international public speaker, she is passionately advocating and amplifying women’s role in economic and social development, female participation in leadership and politics, youth participation in decision making and governance in Africa.

  5. Charlotte Wara (Sweden)
    Charlotte Wara is a humanitarian and migration specialist with degrees in International and European Relations, and History, and more than 5 years of experience working on refugee integration and migrant empowerment with governments and international organizations such as the UN. Prior to joining WMU in 2019 as Alumni officer, she worked as a Gender Case Officer with the Swedish Migration Agency where she worked in close collaboration with the migration police, migration court, Court of Justice and foreign embassies on migrant and refugee issues. She worked for UNHCR- Identity Management and Registration Section (IMRS), Copenhagen Denmark sponsored by the ERASMUS MONDUS in 2017 where she led UNHCR projects on political reporting, UNHCR interests to meet SDG19 and the goal of legal identity for all by 2030. She also spearheaded inter-agency protection meeting and liaison with governmental authorities. 

    Her interest and passion for human rights, gender issues and international development has left her always active within the nonprofit sector with organizations like UN Malmö, The Swedish Red Cross, Save the Children, the hunger project and the International women Associations, Sweden. 

  6. Christian Neubacher (Sweden)
    Christian Neubacher is a Swedish-American passionate about global economic development, European integration, and the transatlantic partnership. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Michigan and has experience working for European Horizons and the European Banking Federation. Currently Christian is teaching Spanish.

  7. Martina Di Gaetano (Italy)
    MA Candidate at the College of Europe, EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies; Law graduate at the University of Torino and at the University of Paris (Paris Descartes). 

  8. Sonia Tesfaye Abebe (Ethiopia)
    Sonia Tesfaye Abebe is a diligent and intuitive person who is fascinated about all facets of the society. This led her to study Sociology both for her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree at Addis Ababa University. Her research interests are Migration, Freedom of Movement, Critical and Disruptive Dialogues about African and Black Masculinity and Feminism, Women and Youth Agency in Peace and Security etc. She currently works at Laterite Ethiopia and have had the opportunity to work at Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Addis Ababa, the Writing Company Ethiopia, SOS Infant Ethiopia and Life Studio for Kids, Youth and Family. Besides work she enjoys creative writing, blogging and photography.

  9. Chrysoula Politi (Greece)
    Chrysoula Politi is in her final year studying Political Science and International Relations at the University of the Peloponnese, on track to graduate with honours. Having studied an array of political, international, legal and economic modules she was genuinely intrigued by contemporary classes which discussed political communication, the EU’s external foreign policies as well as timeless challenges of humanity like global diasporas. She also works as an intern at the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Her work experience has shown her how political science can be applied in practice as she rotated through three different Divisions of the MFA. The level of her responsibility has increased with each placement, demonstrating the trust that she has built with senior colleagues in her internship to date. During her placements, she also learned to work to tight deadlines and to be detail-oriented, practical skills which are of direct relevance to this mentorship.

    She took part in a Council of the European Union simulation regarding the refugee crisis, representing the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs. This gave her an appetite to learn how international organisations work in practice, in this instance to alleviate the suffering of migrants, a topic of particular importance in Greece.

  10. Zandile Dlamini (Eswatini)
    Zandile Mary Dlamini is aged 32, has been working as an International Cooperation Officer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation since July, 19, 2017. Previously she worked for a financial institution, with the past years serving as Supervisor Frontline Services. She recently completed a Master of Business Administration degree with electives in Corporate Governance and Business Ethics from Regent Business School, Durban, South Africa. Earned a BA in Social Science, with majors in Political Science and Public Administration earned in 2010, from the University of Eswatini. In June 2019, she earned a Diploma in Regional Trade Policy, a course conducted by the University of Mauritius in partnership with the World Trade Organization over a 2 month period. Zandile lives in Mbabane, Eswatini and is looking forward to this mentorship program which should capacitate her knowledge of the EU. As a junior Diplomat, this course will contribute greatly to her career.

  11. Anirudh Agarwal (India)
    Anirudh holds an M.Sc. in Economics and B.E. in Computer Science followed by the CFA/FRM program. Currently, he is working for Nomura (Japanese Investment Bank) in their Global Markets division as a Business Analyst and it’s been three years so far. He believes he can learn extensively from this mentorship program based on his previous experiences. The international background and a highly conducive learning environment would add a lot to his knowledge base.

  12. Lorena Miranda (Peru)
    Lorena Miranda works in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, where she is part of the Pacific Alliance team, an initiative of regional integration comprised by Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. She participates in national and international meetings while monitoring the work of the technical groups and coordinating with the Observer States and Cooperation Institutions within the framework of the Pacific Alliance, with the objective to achieve the 2030 Strategic Vision of the block. Lorena has a degree in Commercial Engineering from Jorge Basadre Grohmann National University (Peru), with exchange studies at Uppsala University (Sweden). During her years in university, she participated in numerous scholarships because of her academic and social merit, those were awarded by the European Commission (Erasmus Mundus), Botin Foundation, the United States Department of State, the Ministry of Education of Korea, among others.

  13. Nonjobulo Thembeka Gumede (South Africa)
    Nonjabulo Gumede an emerging researcher, social entrepreneur and an African enthusiast who is passionate about the process of combating local and global structures of inequality, injustice and misrule. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree majoring in Political Science and International Relations, and an LLB degree from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She has worked for various organizations dealing with gender-based violence, women’s rights awareness, skills development, education and diversity; including tackling topics on innovation leadership in Africa. She is a fellow at Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship, a Young African Leaders Initiative (Regional Leadership Centre) alumni and the executive director of Hutzpa, South Africa, which is a new emerging company that deals with innovation management. She is also the founder of Travel for Change Adventures, an organization that identifies itself as an enabler of change. It leads the conversation on identity politics in Africa and is committed to African development and policy issues.

  14. Savannah Wallace (USA)
    Savannah Wallace is currently a graduate student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, pursuing a master’s degree in international studies. She graduated from American University (Washington, DC) in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies. Savannah also participated in an exchange program at Peking University in Beijing, China during her undergraduate studies. Her prior professional experience in the international relations field includes an internship in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom and a program evaluation assistant position at the U.S.’s diplomatic academy, the Foreign Service Institute. Savannah is an American who hopes to become a diplomat. She is most interested in learning about cybersecurity, strategic communications, negotiation, and the role of social media in international politics.

  15. Nicolo Emanuele Passaro (Italy)
    Nicolò Passaro has ten years of experience in the social sectors at least, and he has earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Environment from the University of Catania in Italy. While working as Columnist for Accento News online local newspaper, Nicolò Specialist with Environmental Security and Peace Building and he developed writing skills with Essays, Novels, Poems and Articles about nowadays dilemmas. Previously, Nicolò worked as Public Relationship Responsible in “FRONTE GIOVANILE” cultural association (a and, in “VERDE DI SICILIA” to develop projects for the homeless and the territory, environment development and local realities Governance. Nicolò has become one of Wikipedia Italia Administrators and he fights everyday against scientific disinformation and cognitive biases.

    He attended Eating City Summer Campus in 2019 where he contributed to write 7th Declaration of Villarcuex about Food Governance and Environment Sustainability. He worked as Moderator during YouthDIG Forum about Internet Governance and Human Rights in 2020. Through these experiences, he developed strong interdisciplinary connection and organization skills. Nicolò enjoys focusing on the topics of Gender Equality and Climate Change and has a strong passion for Writing, Cinema, Youth and Peace Sustainability.

  16. Nguyen Dang Dao (Vietnam)
    Dao Nguyen is the Erasmus Mundus Scholar of the European Commission, majoring in European Politics and Society. He has completed his study across the globe, bringing a strong understanding of global affairs to his outlook. Dao has experience working with leading international relations institutions such as UNICEF, UNDP, European Union Delegations, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We wish them all the very best in their mentoring journey and we are grateful that Mr. Libor Chlad chose to conduct this.

For more opportunities, visit Opportunity Desk.