Team

Milena Lazarević, Project Manager

 As the Programme Director, Milena is in charge of the overall programmatic strategy of CEP as well as developing and managing the quality assurance  system and processes within the organisation. In terms of thematic focus, she  is  primarily responsible for the Good Governance and Europe&us programme  areas. Milena is a proven expert in the fields of public administration reform,  regional development and local economic development, with consultancy engagements including SIGMA/OECD, ReSPA and the World Bank. In 2014-2015, in addition to her work at CEP, she acted as the special adviser to the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of public administration reform. Prior to co-founding CEP, Milena served for six years in the Serbian civil service, as adviser for public administration reform and administrative capacities for EU accession in the EU Integration Office of the Serbian Government (SEIO) and in the Serbian Ministry of Public Administration. As a Soros scholar, she obtained her BA degree in European Studies and International Relations at the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), after which she obtained an advanced MA degree in European studies at the College of Europe, on a King Baudouin Foundation scholarship. She later also graduated from the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and obtained an MA in European Administrative Law at the Law Faculty of the Belgrade University. She speaks fluently English, French, Italian and Bulgarian and has basic knowledge of German. She is married and mother of two children.

 Miloš Đinđić, Lead Researcher

Miloš graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade,  where he continued his Master studies in political institutions and institutionalist  theory. He studied European Union institutions and procedures as well as  project cycle management as participant in the Leadership Development  Programme, jointly organised by the College of Europe and the European  Fund for the Balkans, as well as in the FutureLab Europe programme of the civil society organisations gathered around European Alliance for Democratic Citizenship. He completed several internships in domestic and foreign organisations, including the Belgrade Center for Security Policy, Political Academy of the Austrian People's Party and National Democratic Institute and worked as an associate on the project administered by the European Fund for the Balkans. He is alumni member of the Belgrade Open School, XVI generation of students at the Department of Advanced Undergraduate Studies. He joined the CEP team in March 2012 as project assistant, then continung at the position of researcher. Speaks English and German.


 Staša Lukić, Senior PAR Expert

Staša is an engineer of organizational sciences, primarily engaged in Good Governance programme area. Prior to her engagement with CEP, she was working 8 years in public administration in Serbia on projects in public administration reform and local development. Staša has developed and participated in many projects funded by EU, international institutions and bilateral donors operating in Serbia. She also acted as a Serbian liaison officer for the Regional School of Public Administration in 2009-2012. Staša completed a Fulbright program on public policy analysis and public administration at the University of Minnesota in 2015/2016 and the intensive summer school on the European Union at the College of Europe in Bruges in 2011. She completed numerous courses in project cycle management, strategic and operational planning, international public procurement procedures and leadership skills. Moreover, she completed an American Management Association’s course on Management Skills for New Managers, Situational Leadership in the US in January 2016. Staša affiliated with the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice Department in Washington, D.C. and the Hennepin County Office of Multicultural Service in Minnesota, USA. She is particularly interested in quantitative data analysis.


Jovana Knežević, Project Assistant

Jovana is currently attending master studies of management at the Department of Project Management at the Faculty of Organisational Sciences in Belgrade. She acquired her BA degree at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade - European Integration module. Within the project assistant position, Jovana conducts work of coordination, planning and monitoring of project activities, as well as organisation of events and administrative assisting . Previously, she obtained work experience within Catalyst Balkans organisation in tracking philanthropy, social changes and corporate social responsibility in the Western Balkans. Jovana is an alumna of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) program through which she received scholarship of the US State Department and finished a year of high school education in California, USA. Jovana is also alumna of the III generation of the Public Policy Academy within the Libertarian club Libek, as well as a participant of the Youth School of Activism within the Social Responsibility Initiative. Jovana particularly focuses her interests in the area of  multi-project management and implementation of software tools in project management, but also strives to advance her skills and  knowledge of financial management. She fluently speaks English and is learning German. She joined the European Policy Centre (CEP) team in July 2015, after having completed 2 months of internship.

Simonida Kačarska, Researcher

Dr. Simonida Kačarska is a Director of the European Policy Institute in Skopje, Macedonia. She holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Leeds in the UK and a MA in European Politics from the Sussex European Institute. She was a research fellow at the Central European University, University of Oxford, the College of Europe and the European Research Council project The Europeanisation of Citizenship in the Successor States of the Former Yugoslavia based at the University of Edinburgh School of Law. Simonida has both practitioner and research experience related to the political transformation and European integration of the Balkans with a focus on national minority policies.

Ardita Abazi Imeri, Grant Manager

Ardita Abazi Imeri is EPI’s Programme Coordinator for EU Acquis and Sectoral Policies. Currently she is a PhD candidate at the University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” – Institute for sociological, political and juridical research. She holds a Master of Law in International, Comparative and European law from Maastricht University (Maastricht, The Netherlands), with specialization in Comparative law and Ius Commune. Between 2008 and 2010 she worked in the Secretariat for European affairs of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, specifically on issues related to internal market, consumer and health protection, agriculture and rural development, food safety, veterinary and phytosanitary protection and fisheries. Ardita has headed several projects of the Institute, including EU funded project Eurozoom, with objective to improve the understanding of the impact, benefits and challenges of the EU accession negotiations; to encourage public debate on specific issues of EU accession negotiations and to contribute to promotion of the freedom of expression and independent media through un-biased and independent reporting on accession-related issues. Currently she is Grant manager of the regional EU funded WEBER project . She is managing re-grating scheme entitled the Local Civil Society PAR Enabling Grant Facility for the Western Balkan countries (6 countries) through which 30 organisations will be re-granted to enable local CSOs, grassroots and media to contribute to PAR Monitor, advocate and establish local PAR WGs for dialogue with local authorities. She is also responsible for EPI’s IPA monitoring program.

Vaska Ristovska, Project Officer

Vaska Ristovska has joined EPI in October 2014 as an administrative officer.Since then she has handled the financial and administrative management of several projects including: Institutional and core functioning grant for organisational operation of EPI, as well as development of the programme activities of the Institute; Financial and administrative support to the - (In)equality in social protection:multi-level analysis of intersectionality in social assistance provision – comparative study, Performance Audit and Policy Evaluation: On the Same or Parallel Tracks?, Equitable Ethnic Representation in the State Administration – USAID Civil Society Project, Urgent Reform Priorities Monitor, Combating barriers for exit: Macedonian Roma at the borders, Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform and Fostering Sustainable Reintegration of Roma Returnees in Macedonia. Apart from the daily activities that ensure the smooth implementation of the projects, she also ensures the smooth management and the communication with project team and project partners. Vaska Ristovska has a University degree - Faculty of Ethnology, University "St. Cyril and Methodius" Macedonia.
 

Ana Đurnić, Project Officer

Ana Đurnić is working at Institute alternative since January 2015. She is a co-author of the policy paper «Monitoring and Evaluation of the Rule of Law in Montenegro», chapter that deals with fight against corruption, as well as the policy paper «Assessment of police integrity in Montenegro» in part of external control of the Anti-corruption Agency and Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information over Police. She was an associate during research and preparation of the study «Happy New Agency! – Establishment of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption in Montenegro». Ana is an author of short analysis in the form of press releases concerning the work of this institution, such as First five months of work of Agency for Prevention of Corruption. Within the research program Accountable Public Finances, she is engaged in projects dealing with strengthening of transparency and accountability in public procurement, such as “Public procurement in Montenegro: Corruption within the law”.

Ana finished the Government’s Program of professional training of university graduates at Institute Alternative. She graduated International Relations at Faculty of Political Science in Podgorica. During her studies, she was an active member of the student organization Montenegrin Association of Political Sciences Students – MAPSS, Center for Social Research at the Faculty of Political Science and the Debate Club “Agora“.
 

Gjergji Vurmo, Project Officer 

Gjergji Vurmo is currently a Programme Director at the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) in Albania. He holds a BA Law degree from “St. Cyril and Methodius” University in Macedonia and a Master’s degree in European Integration from the University of Bologna in Italy. Mr. Vurmo has over fifteen years of experience working with third sector organizations and think tanks in Albania and Macedonia. His fields of expertise include EU integration, regional security, civil society development, programme development, think tanks. He is also the author of numerous research papers, studies, and books related to these fields.

 

 

 

 

 

Aleka Papa, Researcher

Aleka Papa works as a Researcher at the Institute for Democracy and Mediation in Albania since 2014. Previously she was awarded the Think Tank Young Professional Development Program Fellowship by Open Society Foundations (OSF) Think Tank Fund. Ms. Papa holds a M.Sc. in Economics of Public Policy from Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.  She has obtained a B.S. in Economics from the University of New York in Tirana and State University of New York. Ms. Papa’s areas of expertise include civil society strengthening and development and public policy design and evaluation.

 

 

 

 

Arbëresha Loxha, Researcher

Arbëresha Loxha is a Senior Research Fellow at Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS), a policy think-tank based in Prishtina. Over the last five years, Arbëresha has designed and successfully lead research focusing on economic development and welfare policy. Her research includes amongst others, topics such as public administration reform, the business environment and investments, labour market, the pension system, migration, remittances and poverty. She has strong capacities to develop (quantitative) empirical analysis which she has incorporated in many of her publications. In addition to GLPS, she is a university lecturer of Management and Economics in AAB College and as a consultant in projects including those with EBRD and National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Arbëresha holds a PhD in Economics and an Msc in Economics for Business Analysis from Staffordshire University (SU) in the United Kingdom; both funded by a joint-scholarship from Open Society Foundation and SU. Currently she is the country researcher of WeBER regional project for Kosovo.

Bardha Maxhuni, Project Officer

Bardha Maxhuni is a research fellow at Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS), an independent, non-partisan and non-profit public policy think tank based in Prishtina, Kosovo. Her area of focus among others includes analysis of Kosovo’s legislation, Public Administration reform, Judiciary Reform, Anti-Corruption.

Bardha holds a BA in Law from University of Prishtina, Faculty of Law and Masters in International Law from American University Washington College of Law, United States funded by USAID Transformational Leadership Scholarship.

After college she has worked as a paralegal at a private law firm where she has expanded her experience and knowledge in the legal field. She has also worked at the Embassy of the Republic of Albania in Kosovo and as a researcher at the Kosovar Center for Security Studies where she has conducted research in the field of international legal cooperation in criminal matters.

Amela Hrasnica​, Project Officer

Amela holds an MA degree in English language and literature from Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo. She worked as teacher and interpreter of English language. She completed her year-long internship in the Press Office of the Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH and has worked in the EU Delegation to BiH. She has been working in FPI BH since February 2016 as Communication and Project Officer.

 

 

 

 

Anida Šabanović, Researcher

Graduated from Faculty of Economics in Zenica. Anida is currently writing her MA thesis. She has experience in drafting policies related to gender equality, and has cooperated with non-governmental organization involved in promotion and protection of women’s rights. From May 2016, Anida is working in Foreign Policy Initiative as researcher on the project “Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform” (WeBER).