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2012-2013 U.S. Embassy Policy Specialist Program Fellows


IREX is pleased to announce the 2012-2013 U.S. Embassy Policy Specialist Program (EPS) recipients. These scholars and professionals will serve as policy specialists at U.S. Embassies and USAID Missions throughout Eurasia. After they complete their fellowship, their research findings will be posted on the IREX online resource library.


Albrecht photoJames Albrecht

University of New Haven

Research Topic: Law Enforcement/Community Policing

Research Country: Ukraine

Abstract: This project will comprehensively analyze criminal justice and police practices and make recommendations to improve community-police relations and to enhance justice sector effectiveness, leadership, and legitimacy.  




Beben pictureZohra Ismail Beben

Indiana University

Research Topic: Youth

Research Country: Tajikistan

Abstract: This research project proposes to look at the intergenerational dynamics in district centers of Southern and Eastern Tajikistan, particularly the question of how youth understand their place within the field of local political and economic institutions in rural Tajikistan. 



Borshchevksaya pictureAnna Borshchevskaya

Atlantic Council

Research Topic: Think Tanks

Research Country: Armenia

Abstract: The researcher will conduct qualitative and quantitative research related to the impact of think-tanks in Armenia, aiming to understand and predict trends and make recommendations based on research findings.




Carroll pictureJennifer Carroll

University of Washington

Research Topic: Health Reform

Research Country: Ukraine

Abstract: The aim of this project is to develop a deeper understanding of the individual and community-wide factors that affect patient adherence to tuberculosis medications in Ukraine. Through the use of both anthropological and epidemiological methods of research, this project will identify both individual and systematic obstacles to adherence, which are the key for scaffolding and supporting treatment efforts for tuberculosis-positive Ukrainians.


Hahn pictureGordon Hahn

Monterey Institute for International Studies

Research Topic: North Caucasus Conflict Mitigation – Islam

Research Country: Russia

Abstract: This project will examine the complex causality and motivations leading some of Russia's young Muslims to join religious extremist and violent organizations, in particular the North Caucasus jihadist network, the Caucasus Emirate.




Hanks pictureReuel Hanks

Oklahoma State University

Research Topic: Religion

Research Country: Kazakhstan

Abstract: This research examines the depth of Islamic belief or religiosity in Kazakh society. The topics addressed include differences in Islamic religiosity across geographic, gender and ethnic differences, the effect of this variation on the character of the Kazakh state, and the views of the post-Soviet generation on the role of Islam in the country’s development and politics.


Hiser pictureBrianna Hiser

National Democratic Institute

Research Topic: Media

Research Country: Georgia

Abstract: The amendment on the Georgian Law for Broadcasting attempts to achieve increased transparency through regulations on media ownership and revenue as well as and public availability and awareness of information. This research examines whether this legislation effectively changes the legal framework for media ownership, lowers the perception of bias in the media, genuinely increases transparency of the media, and contributes to a more free and fair media environment in Georgia.


Olha Holoyda

Research Topic: Anti-Corruption

Research Country: Ukraine

Abstract: This project will provide technical legal and business guidance at the Commercial Law Center in Ukraine, including assistance on national legislation/regulations, transparency, governance, public-private partnerships and other related issues to improve the overall business enabling environment and to enhance economic development.


Huskey pictureEugene Huskey

Stetson University

Research Topic: Governance

Research Country: Kyrgyz Republic

Abstract: The project will examine the development of the recently-established public monitoring councils attached to Kyrgyzstan's ministries and local governments.  Operating at the intersection between the state and civil society, these councils offer an opportunity to explore an experiment designed to enhance transparency and accountability in post-communist governance.   



Lepisto pictureEric Lepisto

Research Topic: Youth/Civil Society

Research Country: Azerbaijan

Abstract: This project studies the influence of youth associations on civil society in Azerbaijan by exploring shared goals, professionalism, and challenges to collaboration through focus groups, interviews, and a series of experiential seminars.





Christine MartensChristine Martens

The Spence School

Research Topic: Islam

Research Country: Turkmenistan

Abstract: This project will examine the connection between women, Islam and textiles in Turkmenistan. Specifically, the researcher will examine sacred sites, ceremonies, and rituals, accompanied and amplified by textile traditions in the context of regime-controlled Islam and its impact on observance, the impact of external influences, and predominant strains of Islam in Turkmenistan.


O'Neal pictureMolly O’Neal

Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Research Topic: International Trade

Research Country: Russia

Abstract: The research will investigate the opportunities and adjustments brought by WTO accession for the investment and business development strategies of Russian companies across several key sectors and regions.  It will also consider the role of federal and regional economic policymakers and business associations in promoting adjustment to greater opening of the Russian economy to global competitive pressures.


Puette photoLoren Puette

Agriculture Specialist, International Development

Research Topic: Agriculture

Research Country: Tajikistan

Abstract: This project will develop crop diversification strategies for Tajikistan by analyzing the profitability of various horticultural crops and identifying major constraints that hinder the expansion of production.




Rodriguez pictureRoger Rodriguez Rios

United Nations Office for Project Services

Research Topic: Migration

Research Country: Kyrgyz Republic

Abstract: This study will investigate the economic and social implications of labor migration in Kyrgyzstan with the aim of informing policy-making and improving understanding of this phenomenon.




Rojansky photoMatthew Rojansky

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Research Topic: Property Rights

Research Country: Ukraine

Abstract: This project will examine rule of law, property rights and corporate raiding in Ukraine, in particular, the types and causes of corporate raids, the connections between the current property rights regime and corporate raiding, and the impacts of these problems on the Ukrainian business and investment climate more broadly.  The researcher will describe strategies available to companies and individuals to avoid corporate raiding, and propose revisions to Ukrainian regulation and better mechanisms for enforcement of existing rules, as well as policy recommendations to help enhance rule of law in Ukraine.


Rosch pictureStephanie Rosch

Purdue University

Research Topic: Agriculture

Research Country: Azerbaijan

Abstract: This research examines how supply chain participation differs for small-scale and larger-scale producers, focusing on how product standards, market structure, contract mechanisms, and legal institutions jointly influence the ability of small-scale producers to participate in export markets. 



Zanca pictureRussell Zanca

Northeastern Illinois University

Research Topic: Rural Life

Research Country: Turkmenistan

Abstract: This research focuses on rural Turkmen understandings of the state as well as people's knowledge of it and attitude toward its necessity within their daily lives. The project aims to address the salience of the idea of abstract notions of a Turkmen polity among Turkmen in various socio-cultural groups and settings.