Given the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of the Project, the success depends heavily on the quality of the Key Expert team in particular. The expert team offers an ideal mixture of skills and experience in empirical studies and applied research, capacity building and eLearning, IT development and promotion, and communication. It has been carefully balanced to meet the demands of the 5 Project components.

Dr. Stephen Lewarne Webber, Team Leader

Dr Stephen Lewarne Webber has 30 years’ experience of studying the dynamics of societal development in the former Soviet Union region, with a focus on the interaction between citizens and the policy sphere in the areas of education and youth policy, and foreign, defence and security policy. For 14 years he was a tenured academic at leading UK universities, where he led research projects, taught at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD levels, and forged partnerships with key institutions. His roles included extensive mentoring of PhD students and junior researchers from across Europe and the FSU. His publications include the book School, Society and Reform in the New Russia (Palgrave) and the volumes (as co-editor with I Liikanen) Education and Civic Culture in Post-Communist Countries (Palgrave) and (as co-editor with J Mathers) Military and Society in Post-Soviet Russia, MUP.

Since 2007 he has worked as a consultant on projects for the European Commission, World Bank, USAID, OSCE, British Council, Sida and other organisations (on themes relating to civil society, good governance, human rights, conflict resolution, transnational cooperation in higher education, and development cooperation).

Mr. Volodymyr Ivanov, Expert for E-Learning process and platforms

Mr. Volodymyr Ivanov is a Director of BTDC non-government organisation in Ukraine and experienced elearning expert (with Master’s Degree in Computer Science from National Aviation University, Kiev, Ukraine). He has over 20 years’ hands-on experience on assignments in the CIS countries in developing of e-learning tools and ICT applications, almost 20 years of proven experience in the field of civil society, CSO, SME development, social work, education, policy development and evaluation (including 15 years of proven experience with international development programs).

Mr. Ivanov was involved in development, launching, supporting and promoting of innovative e-learning courses for different target audiences in the Eastern Partnership countries – students, teachers, entrepreneurs, state officials, key experts and policy makers.

A fluent Russian and English speaker, Mr. Ivanov is aware of key developments in modern e-learning tools and technologies, as well as in overall economic and social policy in the region, which are very important for the implementation of the current project. He has worked in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

Mr. Ivanov has unique and proven experience in the development and management of various international ICT and e-learning initiatives in over 10 long-term projects. Mr. Ivanov is fully conversant with the theory and practice of software design and development, all stages of the e-learning platforms set up, including content development, instructional design, multimedia development, testing and quality assurance, communications with teachers and users.

Ms. Iryna Velska, Expert for Developing New Digital Content and Organising Hackathons

Ms. Velska holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism and Media Management. She has proven experience working as visibility expert for EU-funded projects: she has designed communication strategies, selected communication channels and developed online and offline tools for a number of projects.

Ms. Velska is proficient in developing and administrating websites built on open source and commercial platforms. Being a professional graphic artist, she supervised and directly participated in the development of more than 10 websites: blogging platforms, companies’ and projects’ web-pages, news portals, internal staff portals, online media, and online catalogues. Her special area of expertise is usability and user-friendliness of resources.

Ms. Velska has worked as a reporter for Kazakh, Georgian and international mainstream and new media, and in media development organisations. Being a member of Panama Papers Project, Ms. Velska is an advanced user of online tools for structuring, sharing and visualizing information. As a coordinator of development projects, she took part in the implementation of projects focused on media and civil society in Central Asia, legislation analysis and protection of civil and political rights.

Ms. Velska is well-experienced in organizing and implementing large national and international events, including the first meet-up of bloggers in Central Asia in 2006. Together with young IT developers and bloggers, Ms. Velska initiated and organized BarCamp Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in 2007 and BarCamp Caucasus in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2008.

She is a native Russian and Ukrainian speaker, fluent in English and German.

Ms. Olga Kennelly, Project Director

Ms. Olga Kennelly has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in Syracuse University, USА, the leading graduate school in public administration. As Director of GDSI, she has been responsible for the design and implementation of GDSI projects internationally for more than 15 years. As well as providing overall direction to teams of multi-disciplinary experts, she has many years of hands-on experience in carrying out long-term assignments in transition countries.

Ms. Kennelly is well-experienced in the management of EU funded projects, having successfully served as project director on over 20 long-term projects. She is fully conversant with the theory and practice of quality assurance, logical framework planning, HRM, team building and creative problem solving. One of her areas of expertise is outcomes measurement of development programmes.

Ms. Kennelly has worked in the area of regional development, public administration reform, economic development programming, training and capacity building, organisational development, managerial leadership enhancement, quality assurance, project results dissemination, etc. A fluent Russian speaker and native of Kazakhstan, she is fully aware of all the key developments in economic and social policy in the Eastern Partnership member states that are likely to have an impact on the implementation of the current project. She has worked in Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and this wide experience in the region will be important in finding practical solutions to key project problems as they arise.

In addition to her work in the CIS, Ms. Kennelly has worked on numerous assignments to enhance the management practices in national, regional and local level administrations in pre-/post-accession and transition counties. For example, she successfully directed a multi-disciplinary team of experts responsible for improving the delivery of municipal services in Serbia and oversaw the preparation of industrial zone development strategies in the Czech Republic. More recently, she has provided technical direction to the preparation of Regional Operational Programmes in Turkey and worked on the National Strategic Reference Framework (National Development Plan) in Croatia. Ms. Kennelly has complemented that experience with various short-term consultancy assignments for public bodies and NGOs in the USA.

Ms. Kennelly is an experienced trainer having delivered over 50 specialised training programmes, both in organisational development areas and other fields, e.g. MIS for development projects, peer mentoring of young public officials, methodologies for recruitment of public servants and project planning.