Alexandra (Sasha) Belenkaya, Director, Europe and Eurasia Division, joined ABA ROLI in March 2012. Ms. Belenkaya comes with 12 years of experience managing multi-million dollar international projects and leading business development efforts. She served as a management consultant and financial analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton and as a business development director for Chemonics International. Ms. Belenkaya specializes in international public health, democracy and governance, private sector development and economic growth. She holds an M.A. degree in Slavic studies from Florida State University and a change management practitioner certificate from Georgetown University. Ms. Belenkaya is a native Russian speaker.
Andrea (Andi) Grote, Program Manager, joined ABA ROLI in August 2011 and supports technical assistance programming in the Central Asian republics. Ms. Grote has six years of project management and development experience in democracy and governance, institution building and rule of law from her work at ABA ROLI and experiences at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the German Marshall Fund and the Woodrow Wilson Center. She holds an M.A. degree in European and Eurasian studies from the Elliott School for International Affairs at The George Washington University, where she concentrated on post-conflict state-building and helped found a regionally-focused student organization, and a B.A. degree in international studies from the University of California, San Diego, where she also studied in Lancaster, England, and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ryder Cobean, Senior Program Officer, joined ABA ROLI in July 2013 and supports programming in Azerbaijan and Moldova. He previously worked at IREX, where he managed virtual educational exchanges between United States high school students and their peers in Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and the Philippines, and supported media sector development in Georgia. Prior to IREX, Mr. Cobean served in the United States Peace Corps in Georgia, where he advised school administrators on grading reform, designed and facilitated open source software trainings and extended a leadership program for girls into the country’s ethnic minority regions. Mr. Cobean graduated from the University of Arizona in 2007 with a B.A. degree in Russian & Slavic studies and political science, and speaks Russian, Georgian and Armenian.
April Hewko, Program Officer, joined ABA ROLI in June 2012 and supports programming in Armenia, Georgia and Russia. She previously worked as the Program Associate for her current portfolio and as the administrative assistant for the Europe and Eurasia division. Ms. Hewko interned at Amnesty International U.S.A. in the Advocacy Policy and Research Department, working with the Science for Human Rights Project. She also worked as an intern in the Florida House of Representatives and spent time in South Africa supporting marine and great white shark research projects. Ms. Hewko is a graduate of Florida State University, where she majored in international affairs, with concentrated studies in political science, anthropology and human rights.
Kristi Kontak, Program Manager, joined ABA ROLI’s Europe and Eurasia Division in June 2010 and supports programming in Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. She previously worked as an intern for the Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan portfolio. Ms. Kontak holds a J.D. degree from the University of Houston Law Center, where she was a student attorney in the school’s Immigration Clinic and president of the Human Rights Alliance. During her third year of law school, she attended American University Washington College of Law to focus her studies on international law and human rights with an emphasis on women’s rights. She also interned with Aequitas: The Prosecutors’ Resource for Violence Against Women and with Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse. She holds a B.A. degree in psychology and German from Agnes Scott College.
Ashley Martin, Senior Program Manager, joined ABA ROLI in November 2010 and manages the Europe and Eurasia Division’s Balkans and Roma Rights programs. After earning her B.A. in international/Russian studies from the College of William and Mary, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Far Eastern Russia and then worked for Chemonics International, managing projects in Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Balkans. She earned her J.D. from Vermont Law School and is licensed to practice law in Virginia. Ms. Martin came to ABA ROLI from a clerkship with Judge Kathryn A. Oberly at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
Irina Parshikova, Senior Advisor, joined ABA ROLI in October 2005 and oversees the Europe and Eurasia Division’s programs in the Caucasus, Ukraine and Moldova. Most recently, she has worked in our Georgia field office as the regional operations director. Ms. Parshikova has also worked on ABA ROLI’s Central Asia portfolio and the Balkans. Prior to joining ABA ROLI, she worked with a United Nations Development Program governance project in Sierra Leone, was a lawyer with a human rights organization in Russia and was the director of a legal education program in Russia. She holds an M.P.A. from Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, a B.A. degree in political science from the University of Oregon and a degree in jurisprudence from Syktyvkar State University in Russia.
Zlata Unerkova, Program Associate, joined ABA ROLI in June 2014 and supports programming in the Balkans portfolio. Prior to joining ABA ROLI full time, she served as a temporary program associate, supporting programs in the Balkans. Before joining ABA ROLI, Ms. Unerkova worked at the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United Macedonian Diaspora in Washington, D.C., advocating on human rights, democratic capacity building and transitional justice issues in the Balkans. She has also worked at the USAID/Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. Business Environment Activity Office in Macedonia, at the cabinet of the president of the Republic of Macedonia and the cabinet of the deputy prime minister for European Affairs. Ms. Unerkova received her bachelor of arts in government from St. Lawrence. She speaks Macedonian, English, Spanish, Bosnian and Serbo-Croatian.
Brian Afeltra, Program Associate, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in June 2014 and supports programming in the Central Asian republics. After beginning his tenure at ABA ROLI as an International Support Associate, he transferred to the Europe & Eurasia team in June 2015. Mr. Afeltra previously worked at the American Wind Energy Association and interned with the United Nations Foundation and Sister Cities International. He graduated with a B.A. in international studies from American University’s School of International Service in May 2013.