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ACONA Fellows 2021-2022*

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Veronika Bedenko

Analyst, Open Nuclear Network

Veronika is an Analyst for Open Nuclear Network (ONN), where she focuses on developments on the Korean Peninsula, North East Asia and Russia. Veronika is an expert in the use of open source information to understand military capabilities and support nuclear risk reduction. Veronika holds a bachelor’s degree from National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow) and a dual Master’s degree from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), majoring in global security, nuclear policy and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

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Laura Brisbane

International Lawyer and Foreign Policy Adviser, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Laura is an international lawyer and foreign policy adviser at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, specializing in global peace and security issues. She served overseas at Australia’s Permanent Mission to the African Union in Addis Ababa, with accreditation to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti. More recently, she was a civilian policy advisor at NATO’s Resolute Support military mission in Afghanistan, supporting NATO’s engagement on the Afghan peace process. She also has extensive experience working on regional and maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific including the South China Sea. Ms Brisbane currently works on human rights and gender issues as First Secretary at Australia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York.

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Elena Gai

Expert and Attaché for Disarmament Affairs, Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations (Geneva)

Elena is Expert and Attaché for Disarmament Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in Geneva. Prior to this role, she was a Senior Researcher in the Verification and Monitoring Programme at VERTIC. Elena served in the Office of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation of the Italian MFA during the Italian G7 Presidency and was also a delegation member during the sessions of the Group of Governmental Experts on Fissile Material for Nuclear Weapons and Other Nuclear Explosive Devices and the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations. In the past, she sharpened her knowledge of nuclear non-proliferation related topics at NATO, the CTBTO and the UN First Committee on Disarmament. Elena graduated cum laude both in International Relations and European Studies (MA) and in International Studies (BA) at the University of Florence.

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Snaefridur Grimsdottir

Research Assistant, University of Iceland

Snaefridur is currently working on research on the relationship between Iceland and China while lecturing at the University of Iceland and preparing to start her PhD on China's defence policies.  Previously she worked at the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs as a temporary officer in 2018 and then worked at the Arms Control, Disarmament and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre at NATO HQ in Brussels.

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Jordan Hibbs

Senior Advisor, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of Nuclear Matters

Jordan serves as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Office of Nuclear Matters. Jordan previously served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs (ASD(NCB)), the Strategic Weapons Action Officer for the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, and a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy. Jordan holds a Master’s in Science and Technology Policy and a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University. Jordan is currently a member of the New America Nuclear Futures Working Group (NFWG) and serves on the Board for the Women in International Security DC Chapter (WIIS-DC).

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Dominik P. Jankowski

Political Adviser and Head of the Political Section, Permanent Delegation of Poland to NATO

Dominik currently serves as Political Adviser and Head of the Political Section at the Permanent Delegation of Poland to NATO. He previously served as Head of the OSCE and Eastern Security Division at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He specializes in NATO-Russia relations, arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation, energy security as well as Eastern European affairs. In 2021, he co-edited "NATO in the Era of Unpeace: Defending Against Known Unknowns", published by the Institute of Central Europe.

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Tianjiao Jiang

Assistant Professor, Fudan Development Institute

Tianjiao is an assistant professor at Fudan Development Institute. He earned his doctorate in 2018 from Fudan University, where he specialized in arms control and regional security. His research focuses on cybersecurity, non-proliferation and strategic stability. Dr. Jiang has delivered presentations at various institutions including the Young Pugwash, CTBTO, Wilson Center’s Asia-Pacific Nuclear History Institute, Paul Tsai China Center, RSIS, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, and Cyberspace Administration of China. He has also published several papers in the Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies, Chinese Journal of International Review, and edited volumes by SIPRI and USIP.

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Roman Kalinin

Postgraduate Student, Faculty of World Politics, Moscow State Lomonosov University

Roman is a postgraduate student at the Faculty of World Politics, Moscow State Lomonosov University. His research interests focus on the US nuclear strategy incl.: North Korea nuclear issue in the focus of the US-Politics, US-Russia-China relations in the sphere of arms control, the place of the US nuclear strategy in its Grand Strategy. His Political Science PhD thesis research concerns President Biden and Trump's policies towards the nuclear programme of North Korea. 

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Jessica Lee

Senior Research Fellow, Quincy Institute

Jessica is a Senior Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute. Her research focuses on North Korea and East Asian alliances. Previously, Jessica led the Council of Korean Americans, a nonprofit organization that supports Korean American leadership development. Prior to CKA, Jessica was a Resident Fellow at the Pacific Forum and a senior manager at The Asia Group, LLC. She began her career in Washington 13 years ago as a foreign policy advisor on the House of Representatives. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wellesley College and an A.M. in East Asian Studies from Harvard University. 

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Marion Messmer

Co-Director, BASIC

Marion is the Co-Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) in London where she leads on the organisation's nuclear disarmament, risk reduction work and gender, youth and diversity work. In addition, Marion is completing a PhD at King's College London on cooperation between Russia and NATO after the end of the Cold War. Marion is an N2 Fellow. Before joining BASIC, Marion worked in a range of policy roles across NGOs and local government. Marion holds an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge and an BA in International Relations and French from Mount Holyoke College.

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Ali Rached

Policy and Strategy Advisor to the Executive Director for Partnerships and Planning, INTERPOL

Ali currently serves at the Front Office of INTERPOL’s Executive Director for Partnerships and Planning in a policy and strategic advisory capacity and has been an international civil servant at INTERPOL since 2011. From 2015 to 2018, Ali served as the main Policy Analyst of INTERPOL’s Counter-Terrorism Directorate, where he provided strategic analytical and advisory support to INTERPOL’s executive management on relevant matters; contributed to the drafting and implementation of the INTERPOL Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy; chaired the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task-force’s Working Group on Critical Infrastructure Protection; negotiated cooperation agreements with key partner organizations; and represented INTERPOL at various international forums such as the Biological Weapons Convention, the UN Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1540 (2004), the G7’s Global partnership against the spread of WMD, and many others.  Prior to this position, Ali was a founding member of INTERPOL’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Terrorism Prevention Sub-Directorate, in the capacity of Intelligence Analyst Associate.  Prior to joining INTERPOL, Ali held several research positions in France and Egypt-based think tanks, such as the Fondation pour la Recherche Strategic in Paris and the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs in Cairo, where his research and publications focused on WMD proliferation networks and disarmament.

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Matthew Schleupner

Policy Advisor, Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Matthew is a US Army Major with 14 years of Active Duty Army Service.  His service has included operational and combat deployments throughout Asia and Europe. He is currently serving at Defense Threat Reduction Agency as a policy advisor with a focus on Conventional Arms Control in Europe. Additionally, he has conducted CFE, Vienna Document, and Open Skies missions. Previously, he served at 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), where his work focused on missions in Korea and the Philippines. He holds a masters in political science and a law degree, as well as a masters in international policy and economics from Johns Hopkins, with a focus on Black Sea issues. He continually publishes articles on Black Sea and arms control-related issues, specifically in regards to NATO, and he speaks Romanian, Italian, and limited French.

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Sayaka Shingu

Assistant Director, Second Africa Division, African Affairs Bureau, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Sayaka is an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Her dedication to arms control arises from her background as a granddaughter of Hiroshima’s atomic-bomb survivors, M.A. in Non-proliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, the internship at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and her commitments in the ministry’s Arms Control and Disarmament Division. As a doctoral candidate at Hitotsubashi University, her research focuses on China’s and Japan’s influences on the US’ decisions during the INF negotiations to gain lessons learnt that contribute to ongoing arms control discussions.

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Gleb Toropchin

Associate Professor, Novosibirsk State Technical University and Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management

Gleb is a specialist in International Relations with a degree in Translation & Interpretation in English and German (Kemerovo State University, 2012) and a PhD (Cand. Sc.) in Modern and Contemporary History (Tomsk State University, 2015). Currently, he is employed as Associate Professor at Novosibirsk State Technical University (Faculty of Humanities) and Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management (Department of World Economy, International Relations and Law). He has been an expert at Russian International Affairs Council since 2019 and has published more than 90 scholarly papers (including a monograph and several book chapters) in 6 languages. He has also participated in numerous international conferences in Russia, the UAE, Germany, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, France, Austria, Kazakhstan and Iran.

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Anna Wagner

Senior Project Lead, Nuclear Security Team, CRDF Global

Anna is a Senior Project Lead on the nuclear security team at CRDF Global, where she manages a diverse portfolio of nonproliferation projects. She develops and implements nuclear security grants and workshops in different regions of the world. Previously, she was a 2020 CSIS Nuclear Scholar, conducted research projects on arms control at the Nonproliferation and National Security Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and interned at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs in New York. She has an M.A. in International Affairs from The City University of New York and a B.A. from Moscow City Pedagogical University.

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Yue Yuan

PhD Candidate, China Foreign Affairs University and Moscow Institute of International Relations

Yue is a PhD candidate of China Foreign Affairs University and  Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). She is pursuing research on space security policy, China-US-Russia relations and nuclear arms control and disarmament. She worked with United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research’s space security department and the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC) at Middlebury Institute. She holds a dual master’s degree in international affairs from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Russia, and nonproliferation and terrorism studies from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in the U.S.

*The bios are respective for the 2021-2022 Fellowship year. They will not be updated after June, 2022. 
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