The Team

We take pride in our international staff from Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Bianca Anechitei, Programme Assistant, has a Bachelor degree in history and French from the University of Oxford and a Master’s in European interdisciplinary studies from the College of Europe. Before joining EFD, Bianca interned at the European External Action Service (EEAS), where she worked on European policy towards North Africa and the Middle East. In addition to her native Romanian, Bianca is fluent in English and French and speaks German and Italian.

Roberta Bonazzi, Executive Director, has long-standing experience as an EU public affairs practitioner. After having worked for some of the major public affairs agencies in Brussels, she founded the European Foundation for Democracy. She works on a broad range of issues relating to foreign relations, democratic reforms, violent radicalisation and terrorism. Fluent in English, Italian, French and German, Roberta holds a degree in Political Sciences and International Relations from the University of Milan and a post graduate degree from the Institute for International Studies.

Anna Borshchevskaya, Fellow, specialises in the politics of the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe.  Until June 2013, she was assistant director of the Atlantic Council’s Patriciu Eurasia Center. In 2011, she served as a qualitative research analyst for Glevum Associates, a U.S. military contractor, conducting public opinion research in Afghanistan. She also has worked as a research analyst for the Peterson Institute for International Economics and at the Swiss Foundation for World Affairs and the International Organisation for Migration. She has published articles on Russia and the Middle East in publications such as Washington,, and,, CNN, and the Middle East Quarterly. She also provides regular analysis for the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth’s Operational Environment Watch. She is fluent in Russian and speaks Arabic and Spanish.

Valentina Colombo, Senior Fellow, teaches Geopolitics of the Islamic World at the European University, Rome. After graduating in Arabic Language and Literature from Cattolica University, Milan, she earned a Phd in Islamic Studies from Orientale University, Naples. She taught Islamic Studies and Arabic language and literature at Bologna University (Faculty of Political Sciences). Her research focuses on democratization processes in the Middle East, with particular regard to Arab liberal intellectuals and the role of women in politics in the Middle East. Her latest works are: Islam. Istruzioni per l'uso (Islam. Instructions for use, Milan 2009); Vietato in nome di Allah. Libri e intellettuali messi al bando nel mondo islamico (Forbidden in the name of Allah. Books and Intellectuals banned in the Islamic World, Turin 2010).

John Duhig, Senior Counsellor, has extensive experience in EU governmental affairs and commercial consulting, having worked for many years at both the European and national levels. He began his career at the European Commission, working on human rights, good governance and democratic institution building, where he spent three years. He subsequently spent over a decade at two of Brussels' leading government relations commercial consulting firms where he has focused on advising businesses on working with the European Parliament in particular. In this context he has advised on a broad range of EU policy areas including foreign affairs and enlargement, energy and environment, trade, consumer protection and animal welfare issues. John holds a BA in History from NUI Galway in Ireland, as well as an MPhil in International Politics from the Free University of Brussels.

Giovanni Giacalone, Researcher, specialises in Islamic studies in Italy and Europe. Giovanni has a master’s degree in Islamic studies from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He also has master’s in human resources management from the Alma Graduate School of the University of Bologna. He is also a Middle East analyst for a number of online publications. He is fluent in Italian and English and speaks Spanish and French.

Ahmad Mansour, Programme Director, is an Palestinian Israeli based in Berlin since 2004. He studied Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University and Psychology at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Ahmad works as a group leader with young people in the “Heroes” project, which promotes equality and action against oppression in the name of honour. In addition, he is a research associate at the Centre for Democratic Culture, part of the Astiu Project (Conflict with Islamic extremism and Ultra-nationalism), and a member of the Prevention Work with Youths working group at the German Islam Conference. Ahmad also organises educational workshops for Muslim families and is active in working against violence and anti-Semitism in Berlin. He has previously worked in Israel as group leader for the project “Du Kiom – Living together of Arabs and Israelis in Israel”.

Magnus Norell, Senior Policy Advisor, specialises in matters relating to terrorism, political violence, democracy and security in the Middle East and Central Asia. Magnus has worked as a researcher and analyst at the Swedish Defence Research Agency, the Swedish Defence College, the Swedish Secret Service and the Swedish Military Intelligence Service. As well as being a Senior Policy Advisor with EFD, he is currently also an independent security consultant. In addition to a PhD in Political Science from Stockholm University, Magnus studied Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, International Relations at the University of Geneva and has been a visiting scholar in Israel. He is also an Adjunct Scholar at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington D.C.

Jennifer O'Hagan, Programme Assistant, has a Bachelor in English and German from the University of Oxford. Jennifer's activity focuses primarily on Germany. Before joining EFD, she has worked in educational publishing and has also supported education projects in the UK and Germany. She is speaks, English, German and French.

Richard Rossin, Senior Fellow, focuses on issues relating to democratic reforms and human rights. Former Secretary-General of Médecins Sans Frontières and co-founder of Médecins du Monde, Richard has extensive experience working with democracy and human rights activists in critical regions such as Darfur and Sudan, Mali, Syria and others. Richard has authored a number of books and publishes regularly in the French and international media.

Bakary Sambe, Senior Fellow, specialises in and conducts research on movements and ideologies within Islam, as well as on their compatibility with democratic values and principles. He is a member of ASMEA (The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa) and is currently working on strengthening the European network of Muslim reformers, especially in France. Bakary is author of the book “Islam and Diplomacy” (Washington, 2011) and is an Assistant Professor and Researcher at the Department of Civilisations, Religions, Arts and Communication at the Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis, Senegal. He is particularly active in the Centre for the Study of Religions at the university. In recent years Bakary has been consulted by international organisations and embassies on the issue of Islamic radicalisation in the Sahel. He is fluent in French, English and Arabic. 

Meghan Stringer, Communications and Development Officer, has worked for a range of non-profits, including prominent American groups like Management Sciences for Health, FHI360, and Partners for Democratic Change. Meghan also worked as a Principal Consultant for Hodos, a Brussels-based communications firm where she advised businesses on how to communicate effectively. Meghan has a Master’s from Georgetown University in democracy and governance and a Bachelor in sociology and Asian studies from Hamilton College. She speaks English has basic French and Japanese skills.

Lorenzo Vidino, EFD Senior Policy Advisor, is also a fellow at the Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich. He previously held positions at the RAND Corporation, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. His work focuses on Islamism and political violence in Europe and North America and he has published several books and articles on the subjects. He holds a law degree from the University of Milan and a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

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