Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Thomas Kruessmann LL.M. (King’s College) is the President and a co-ordinator of the Jean Monnet Network “Developing European Studies in the Caucasus” with the University of Tartu / Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies and Senior Expert in the EU Technical Assistance Project “Strengthening Teaching and Research Capacity at ADA University” in Baku (Azerbaijan). As President of the Association of European Studies for the Caucasus, he devotes himself to European Studies in the wider region, including by acting as series editor of the book series “European Studies in the Caucasus”. Prof. Kruessmann is a German-qualified lawyer with extensive legal practice in one of Vienna’s leading law firms. He was founding director of the Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies Centre at the University of Graz (2010-2015) and Visiting Professor at Kazan Federal University (2015-16). Beyond the Caucasus, his research interests extend to issues of comparative, European and international criminal law, gender and the law as well as corruption and compliance. He is chair of the Supervisory Board of Higher School of Jurisprudence / Higher School of Economics in Moscow and maintains close relations with a number of leading universities in Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia.
* * *
Ms. Berfin Ezgi Ekinci - Student representative.
Berfin is a bachelor student of political science and international relations at Yeditepe University in Istanbul (Turkey). She had already been a member of the organizing committee of the First Annual Convention at Yeditepe University in 2017.
Her background and networks, also as an Erasmus exchange student to Maastricht University this upcoming autumn, will greatly contribute to our work.
* * *
Prof. Gaga Gabrichidze holds a law degree from the Tbilisi State University, Georgia (1996); he earned a Ph.D. from the Tbilisi State University (2005) and also holds a Master in European Law from the Europa-Institut of the Saarland University, Germany (2000). He has been teaching courses in the EU law and public international law since 1999; he held the Jean Monnet Chair in European Law at the Tbilisi State University from 2008 to 2011 and was awarded more than ten international fellowships including fellowships from the Humboldt Foundation, the European Commission and the Government of Austria; has been a visiting researcher at the Saarland University, Germany (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010), the University of Frankfurt, Germany (2007, 2008) and the University of Vienna, Austria (2001). His research is mainly focused on issues of constitutional nature in the field of the EU law, as well as law approximation and migration law; he is the author of a textbook on the EU law and more than forty scientific publications. Prof. Gabrichidze is also a member of the editorial board of “Georgian Law Review” (Georgia), a member of the scientific committee of „Moldovan European Studies Journal“ (Moldova) and a member of the scientific committee of „The Review of European Affairs“ (Poland). He is one of the founders and the President of the European Union Studies Association (ECSA Georgia) and also one of the founders and a member of the managing board of the Association of European Studies for the Caucasus.
* * *
Dr. Mukhtar Hajizada is a scholar and political analyst specializing in European and international affairs. From 2013 to 2017 he chaired the Political Science and International Relations Department at Khazar University in Baku, Azerbaijan, and in 2014 was awarded the Jean Monnet Chair by the European Commission. Dr. Hajizada’s research and teaching focus on European integration, comparative regionalism, Black Sea regional cooperation, the European Union’s foreign and neighborhood policies, research methods, and international relations theory. He has also worked with the Azerbaijani Education Ministry, evaluating university accreditations.
In 2012, Dr. Hajizada was a TÜBİTAK Fellow at the Center for International and European Studies at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, where his research focused on the institutionalization of Black Sea cooperation. In 2010, he was a visiting fellow at the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). During Azerbaijan’s Chairmanship of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) in 2009, he served as a member of the committee charged by the Foreign Ministry with organizing the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting; he also liaised between the BSEC Business Council and the Azerbaijani National Confederation of Entrepreneurs. His professional experience at the headquarters of the BSEC in Istanbul coincided with the BSEC-EU consultations following the 2007 enlargement of the EU. Dr. Hajizada believes research findings can bridge the divide between academia and policy-making, thereby channeling the transformation of academic knowledge to practical application. Research is vital for informed decision-making, and best serves society when it has practical applications.
* * *
Dr. Anna Khvorostiankina is Associate Professor at Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences, where she holds the UNESCO Chair on Human Rights, Democracy and Political Science. In addition, she is associate professor at the Law School of National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” (Kyiv, Ukraine). She holds a PhD in Legal Theory (Legislation Institute of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, 2012), did a Master in “Advanced Studies in European and Transnational Law” (University of Trento, Italy, 2006) and an LL.M. degree (NaUKMA, Ukraine 2005).
Anna teaches Constitutional Law, EU Law, Legal Theory and Research Methodology. She is a co-author and a co-lecturer of the Jean Monnet Module “European Integration and EU Values: Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law” taught at Yerevan University of Languages and Social Sciences (2016-2019). In 2017, she was a Visiting Associate Professor at Stanford University, USA, teaching the course “Constitutional Cultures in Transition: Constitutional Values and Identities in Post-Soviet Space”. From 2007 to 2013, she had been actively involved in the curriculum development processes at Kyiv-Mohyla Law School and served as a teaching assistant to Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law at KMA (2010-2013).
She is founder of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Legal Studies and the Law-Making Clinic with the Laboratory of Legal Approximation (established in 2018 at Brusov University). Her research interests include: Europeanization of post-Soviet legal systems, recent developments in theory and practice of judicial argumentation in the post-Soviet countries, and particularities of the Rule of Law in the societies in transition.
* * *
Dr. Oliver Reisner - a Jean Monnet Professor in European & Caucasian Studies at Ilia State University since 2016, teaches courses for BA, MA and PhD students with majors in “European Studies” and “Caucasian Studies.” In 2000 he graduated with a Dr. phil. in Eastern European History, Slavic Studies and Medieval and Modern History from Georg August University Goettingen (Germany). 2000 – 2003 he prepared and coordinated a MA program “Central Asia/Caucasus” at the Department for Central Asian Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin. 2003 – 2005 as a human rights program manager for World Vision Georgia he implemented a civic integration project in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions of Georgia. 2005 – 2015 as project manager at the EU Delegation to Georgia he dealt with democratisation, minority, education, youth, labour and social affairs. In 25 years of research on Russian, Georgian, Caucasian history and contemporary affairs in theory and practice he covered topics of 1) Nation-building and identity in the Caucasus during the 19th and 20th centuries; 2) Memory studies on dealing with the Soviet past in Georgia and the Caucasus; 3) History of Caucasian Studies as area studies and 4) the role of religion in Georgia.
* * *
Dr. Selin Türkeş-Kiliç is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Yeditepe University, İstanbul where she teaches courses in the fields of European Studies and International Relations. Her research focuses on the argumentative processes in the policy-making of the European Union and Turkey.
Selin received her Ph.D. from Sabancı University in Political Science in July 2012 with a dissertation entitled “Accounting for Variation in Political Party Closures: The EU's Framing in Batasuna and DTP decisions.” During her doctoral studies, she has been involved in several EU-funded projects. Between 2008 and 2012, she participated as an active researcher in the RECON project which was funded by the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme. She spent 3 months at the project’s coordinator institution ARENA, University of Oslo, Norway as a visiting researcher. Further, within the SPBuild Network funded under the Marie Curie Actions of the European Union 7th Framework Programme, she worked at the University of Deusto, Bilbao (Spain) as a Marie Curie fellow between May 2011 and May 2012.