Transatlantic Fellows, September 2017

Participant Biographies

J.B.works at the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic where she specializes in new forms of threats to internal security and relations with international partners. She completed her MA in International Relations with a focus on International Security at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris.

Małgorzata Grzegrzółka is the director of the Military Programmes Division of the Warsaw Institute for Strategic Initiatives (WISI) – a new Warsaw-based think tank that she co-founded, that focuses on security and defense issues. Previously she was the executive director of the National Centre for Strategic Studies. She also previously directed the Organizing Committee of the Warsaw Security Forum which gathers hundreds of senior-level governments, media, and think tank experts annually. Małgorzata completed a year-long program at the Academy of Young Diplomats sponsored by the European Academy of Diplomacy (EAD). She has participated in various programs, including the Visegrad School of Political Studies, organized by EAD under the auspices of the Council of Europe; and, the Young Weimar Perspectives 2017—a joint project by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and Stiftung Genshagen. Małgorzata is the co-author of “Toward an Effective Minilateralism: The Polish Experience” in the Visegrad Group as part of the project that examined the achievements and challenges related to the Visegrad countries integration into the EU, organized by the German Council on Foreign Relations.

Olena Halushka is the head of international relations at the Anticorruption Action Center in Kiev. Previously, she worked as chief of international advocacy with the post-Maidan coalition of 80 CSOs on the “Reanimation Package of Reforms” (2015-2017). Olena served as a member of the Kyiv City Council, as the deputy chair of the Council’s Commission on Housing, Municipal Utility Services and Energy (2014-2015) where she focused on energy saving measures and promoted energy literacy among citizens. Prior to that, she advised a Member of Parliament. Olena studied at Lviv National University and graduated with honors in 2010, earning a MA in Economic Theory. She later earned a PhD in International Economics from Kyiv National University in 2016.  

Olena contributes to the Kyiv Post reporting primarily on the successes and challenges of Ukraine’s reform initiatives. The Robert Schuman Institute in Budapest awarded her the “Women and Political Influence” fellowship in 2013, and she participated in the Georgetown Leadership Program in 2016.

Igors Kalejs is the Senior Desk Officer of the NATO and European in the Security Policy Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. His areas of responsibility include NATO partnerships, Transatlantic and Russia relations, with a focus on the implementation of the Warsaw Summit decisions on deterrence and defense, tailoring partnership policies, including the enhanced Allied presence in Latvia. His portfolio also includes strategic communications, specifically countering different forms of hybrid warfare. His previous MFA roles have included policy development and the monitoring the tech transfer of goods—materials, equipment, chemicals, technologies and services—with a potential dual purpose in the civilian and military sectors.

From 2015-16 Igors served in the Latvian Embassy in Belarus as the Second Secretary where he advised and supported various NATO related public diplomacy, policy, and security issues. From 2013-14 Igors served as the Military Assistant to the President of Latvia where he assisted in the coordination and planning of the president’s schedule, briefings, and security. Prior to that he served in the National Armed Forces of Latvia he was the Officer-in-Charge of the president’s security team accompanying the president on domestic and foreign travel. While serving in the military, he also served with peacekeeping missions with Latvia’s National Contingent in KFOR, in Kosovo, as well as a Close Protection Team Leader in ISAF, Afghanistan. Igors is a graduate of the National Defence Academy of Latvia and Riga Teacher Training And Educational Management Academy. He is currently pursuing a MA in International Relations at Stradiš University in Riga.

Anna Korbut is the Deputy Editor-in-Chief at Ukrayinskiy Tyzhden (Ukrainian Week), a highly regarded social-political weekly in Ukraine. Before joining the publication, she worked on capital markets and finance projects that were supported by USAID. As a journalist. Anna reports on international affairs and Ukraine’s foreign policy, and she comments on domestic developments for foreign media outlets. Her commentaries have appeared at New Eastern Europe, Carnegie Europe, CIDOB, and El Confidencial. Anna graduated from Kyiv National Linguistic University with a degree in foreign languages.

Tomas Liptak is the coordinator of strategic communications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. Before taking this position, Tomas was an aide to the Czech ambassador in Moscow (2014 to 2017). Prior to his work in Moscow, he was assigned to the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic at the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe where he focused on security-related issues including protracted conflicts, OSCE missions, the Western Balkans, and southeastern Europe. In 2008-2009, Tomas was a political adviser at the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the UN in New York. Prior to joining the MFA, Tomas was the editor-in-chief of an independent Czech analytical website, RuskoDnes.cz (Today´s Russia) and a researcher at the University of Konstanz in Germany where he specialized in Russian contemporary politics and culture.

Tomas studied political science, foreign policy, and Russian studies in the Czech Republic, Germany, and the USA (American University, 2004). He holds a PhD in Russian Studies from the University of Konstanz.

Kristjan Mäe is the Deputy Director of the International Co-operation Department at the Estonian Ministry of Defense where he focuses on defense policy planning, coordinating and participating in high level visits by foreign dignitaries and diplomats. He oversees the communications and coordination with Estonia’s defense attaché network in embassies abroad. Previously, Kristjan served as the US desk officer at the MOD, focusing on arms control, defense capacity building, and related issues. Kristjan earned a BA in government and politics from Tartu University and later his MA in international relations and history from Tartu University, Collegium Civitas, and West Virginia University. He is an Artillery Battalion reservist of the Estonian Defense Forces. Kristjan was awarded the Golden Badge of the Estonian Ministry of Defense and Noble Patron of Armor (United States Armor Association of the United States Army).

Olevs Nikers serves as chief expert for the Ministry of Defense of Latvia. He has been an army and defense specialist since 2001. Since February 2016, Olevs has contributed as an analyst of the Baltic region and Eastern Europe for the Eurasia Daily Monitor which is a publication by The Jamestown Foundation. Olevs currently leads a Baltic security strategy project in collaboration with the Baltic American Freedom Foundation, The Jamestown Foundation, and the Latvian Political Scientist Association that is designed to encourage discussion among scholars and students on national, regional, and international security and strategy issues dealing with the Baltic States. Between 2009 and 2010, Olevs was the chairman of the international affairs and security policy think tank for Jaunais Laiks (New Era), a leading political party at the time. A Fulbright alumnus, Olevs earned his MA in international affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in 2016.

Arnoldas Pikžirnis is the National Security and Domestic Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Lithuania. Before the election of 2016, Arnoldas served as an adviser to the Minister of Interior on issues of migration and civil preparedness. Arnoldas received BA and MA degrees from Maastricht University in the Netherlands and King’s College London in the United Kingdom. During his studies, he was an active member of the Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democratic party and a public activist in support of democratic developments in Ukraine.

Paweł Zyzak is a Polish historian and author, a civic activist and entrepreneur. and public servant who advises high-level political figures on foreign and security issues. He is the co-founder and president of the management board of the Strzelec Welfare Association and a member of the Program Council of the Association of Creators for the Rzeczpospolita. Recently, Pawel became the Vice President of Innovation Centre FIRE in Warsaw and Chief Expert on American Markets at the Polish Investment and Trade Agency. Pawel completed his studies in history at Jagiellonian University in Krakow in 2008. He was awarded his PhD from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan in 2015.

Pawel is the author of “Lech Wałęsa: Idea and History. Biography of Solidarity's legendary political leader to 1988.” In 2010 Pawel was awarded the Józef Mickiewicz Literary Award, Poland’s highest literary honor for the book. In 2013, he published a monograph entitled “The Secret of the Wolf Ravine” on the Polish communist regime’s history of disguising catastrophic events. He is also the author of the 2016 book, “Domino Effect,” reviewing Polish-American relations after the World War II.