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Katerina Hadzi-Miceva Evans, Executive Director

Katerina is a legal expert who for over 16 years works with civil society organizations, public authorities, philanthropists to create policy and legal conditions in which independent, and sustainable civil society can flourish. She has helped design innovative tools for civil society law monitoring, researched extensively to share good practices and guide reforms, has spoken at different forums to address civic space issues e.g., at TEDx event, EU Parliament hearing; launch of Community of Democracies’ Democracy and Security Dialogue initiative with former U.S. Secretary of State M. Albright. Katerina has been with ECNL through the phase of transition from a branch office to an independent organization; she become ECNL director in 2012. Under her leadership ECNL broadened its expertise to address new challenges the non-profit sector is facing (e.g., counter-terrorism, transparency and accountability, financial sustainability).  Katerina engages with the European Union, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the UN Human Rights Council. She is member of the OSCE/OIDHR Panel on Freedom of Assembly and of Association and the Council of Europe Expert Council on NGO Law. She also volunteers her time in the board of several organizations, including the European Social Enterprise Law Association (ESELA), the International Center for Policy Advocacy, the Association Konekt Macedonia.

Judit Varga, Director of Operation and Finance

Judit joined the staff in 2000. She is responsible for managing all aspects of the organization’s finance department, including monitoring and reviewing a range of internal financial processes, such as payables, receivables, payroll and budget reconciliation, as well as project accounting, financial and budget reporting.  She also assists the executive director in budgetary tracking, income projections and provides crucial administrative, financial, and project management support to the various programs of ECNL. Her background in business administration includes financial, administrative, and management reporting systems. She received her MSc. at City University in London, UK with a degree in Business Administration.

Vanja Škorić, Senior Legal Advisor

Vanja is working as a consultant in a Senior Legal Advisor position at ECNL. She is a civil society activist and was a Legal Advisor at Croatian organization GONG from 2001 – 2015 and a member of the Croatian Council on Open Government Partnership Initiative. She is also one of the founders and board members of the Solidarna Community Foundation in Croatia. Vanja has 16 years experience in legal review and analysis, research, consultancy, training, producing legal opinions, drafting legislative recommendations, advocacy campaigns, fundraising, developing civic education programs and toolkits.  Her fields of proficiency include enabling legal environment issues for civil society globally, regionally and nationally, expertise in linkage between counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering (CT/AML) policies and civic space impact, policy dialogue, civil participation in decision-making, freedom of information and proactive disclosure, public funding, strategies and action plans for civil society development and mechanisms of CSO-Government cooperation and its practical implementation. She mostly works on the UN (Human Rights Council and UN OHCHR in Geneva) and EU level, and country level in the EU, Balkan region, MENA, East Africa and Eurasia countries. Vanja holds a LLM degree in Public International Law from the University of Amsterdam and a Law Degree from the University of Zagreb.

Eszter Hartay, Legal Advisor

Eszter is a Hungarian lawyer working as a Legal Advisor of ECNL. She is specializing in issues related to CSO legal framework, public benefit status, social enterprises and all aspects of the cooperation between the state and CSOs. She has participated in several research assignments and conducting capacity building working on topics such as public funding, public benefit status, social economy and transparency, and accountability. More recently, Eszter has been actively involved in the ongoing legislative initiatives affecting CSOs in Europe and the Middle East region.

Andrea Judit Tóth, Program and Communication Manager

Andrea serves as Program and Communication Manager at ECNL. She has over 12 years of experience supporting and managing multi-country projects on enabling legal environment for CSOs in Central and Eastern European and Balkan countries, and on the European-level. She has managed the research project that explored the volume and depth of government and CSO initiatives aiming to improve accountability and transparency in the European Union as well as the project monitoring the right to free assembly in the Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership. She has planned, organized and implemented several successful regional and international conferences, study tours, workshops and trainings that contributed to the exchange of experience and increased competences of partners. Most recently, she organized a regional training to enhance CSOs’ practical knowledge on the facilitation of assemblies by law enforcement officials. As part of ECNL’s Communications and Operations team, she raises ECNL’s online profile and social media presence through developing ECNL’s Twitter outreach with the number of ECNL’s followers having tripled in the last three years. She also contributes to the development of online thematic research portals providing in-depth coverage of issues affecting the legal framework for civil society.

Anna Zsófia Simon-Páger, Office Manager

Anna works as Office Manager at ECNL. She is responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the office and supporting the work of ECNL’s team by developing informational and promotional materials and assisting in the organization of events. Anna has recently received her M.A. from Central European University, Nationalism Studies; she also has an M.A. in International Studies, with specialization in Human Rights from Eötvös Loránd University. Anna is committed to the not-for-profit sector; she was an assistant to the Human Rights Education coordinator at Amnesty International Hungary and was an intern at Tom Lantos Institute helping the organization of the Global Minority Rights Summer School.

Luben Panov, Program Consultant

Luben is Program Consultant with ECNL serving as a legal expert providing technical assistance and expert support to local partners since 2007 in the areas of registration and operation of NGOs, taxation, and funding for civil society, tax incentives for donations, social contracting, state funding, CSO-government cooperation, etc. He has taken part in a number of comparative researchers and is co-managing different country projects. Luben has worked in a number of countries, especially in the CEE region and the former Soviet Union. He has participated in the drafting of rules for distribution of state grants in Albania, has analyzed the legal framework for CSOs in Armenia and the mechanisms for social contracting in Kazakhstan and has been involved in projects in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Turkey and Mongolia, among others. He is also involved in developing a monitoring framework for the CSO environment in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In the period 2015 – 2017 he was elected Chairperson of the Public Council of the Committee on Interaction with Civil Society and Citizen Complaints with the Bulgarian Parliament.

Francesca Fanucci, Senior Legal Advisor

Francesca is a researcher specialised in freedom of assembly, expression and comparative media law. Francesca has participated as panelist and rapporteur at international conferences, seminars and workshops on media pluralism and freedom of expression in Europe, Latin America and North Africa, presenting comparative legislation on freedom of expression and civil society’s best practices in campaigning for the adoption and implementation of relevant legislation. She has consulted, inter alia, for the American Bar Association, ARTICLE 19, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the Open Society Foundations Justice Initiative and Media Program, the International Press Institute, Access Info Europe, and International Media Support. She is a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, Central European University and a member of Internews’ Internet Freedom Expert Register.

Anna Avlichou, Project and Communications Assistant

Anna is the newest member of the ECNL team. As a project and communications assistant working in The Hague, she supports ECNL program teams in the implementation of their projects, fundraising efforts and communication activities. She holds a B.A degree in International and European Studies from Panteion University in Athens, Greece and an M.A degree in International Studies from Leiden University, the Netherlands. Her interests include European Integration and promotion of human rights. Anna speaks Greek, English, French, Dutch and has a basic knowledge of German.

Hanna Asipovich, Eastern Partnership Regional Project Director/Policy Officer (currently on maternity leave)

Since 2007 Hanna has extended ECNL’s program portfolio by setting up and managing seven country projects and three regional programs. Before her maternity leave, Hanna developed and led a monitoring project on CSO enabling environment in the Eastern Neighbourhood, implemented by a joint team of international and domestic experts. Hanna has been working extensively in all countries the Eastern Neighbourhood (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) to promote better law and policy for CSOs. In addition, she assists public authorities in planning, implementing and evaluating CSO reforms. She also supports mapping of local needs for civil society reforms by international donors, i.e. USAID, EC, EUDs, CoE, UNDP. As policy officer, she worked on ECNL’s individual and joint advocacy motions towards EU regarding sustainable financing for civil society in EU and beyond. She serves as an invited expert to the Council of Europe and OSCE/ODIHR on topics of civil participation and freedom of assembly. Hanna holds a masters degree in Political Science from Central European University. She is a founder of the first CEU Alumni Chapter scholarship named after Vitali Silitski.

Dr. Petra Burai, Legal Advisor (currently on maternity leave)

Petra works as a Legal Advisor focusing on issues affecting transparency and accountability. She holds a PhD in law from the Faculty of Law at Eötvös Loránd University, received an LLM in Human Rights from the Central European University, and earned an MSc in Public Policy from the University of Bristol (UK). For almost 15 years she has been contributing to international and government policies, legal regulations and research projects concerning corruption, lobbying and whistleblowing. She is the author of several publications about integrity measures, human rights and legal anthropology, being also an experienced lecturer in the field. She is an associate of the Law & Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.