Currently Browsing Alumni of: Europe, East

Natalia Popova

Name: Natalia Popova

Country: Russian Federation

Organization: St. Petersburg State University

Title: Head, Environmental Office



Natalia Popova earned her Ph.D. in Biology from St. Petersburg State University, where she currently works as head of the environmental office. As head of the environmental office, Natalia is responsible for promoting environmental safety, risk management, the implementation of green initiatives, and environmental education. Natalia is the project lead for the “Separate Waste Collection” program, which promotes the separation of municipal solid waste and advocates for increased recycling on the University’s teaching grounds.Through her work, Natalia aims to introduce separate waste collective to the whole University, making it equal to mandatory and voluntary action. Ultimately, she aspires to influence the city system, showing the possibility of introducing separate waste collection at the city level.

Harutyun Gevorgyan

Name: Harutyun Gevorgyan

Country: Armenia

Organization: UNDP Armenia and Armenian National Agrarian University

Title: Agricultural Specialist/Planner, and Lecturer

Specialty: Leadership in Economics and Extension Education



Harutyun’s professional expertise is within the Agriculture Extension Education, leadership and sustainable agriculture. His main area of interest broadly covers general agriculture, leadership in Agriculture, communication and extension education. More specifically, he is interested in the development of adult and extension education, as well as women’s leadership in agriculture.

Harutyun has worked as a Lecturer at the Department of Agrarian Policy and Consultation at the Armenian National Agrarian University. He teaches a course called Organization of Extension Activities for the undergraduate and graduate students. He is a lead specialist of the department of Agro-extension. Besides teaching, he has implemented several grant projects for rural population of Armenia, financed by more than 20 international organizations, associated with rural development and organic agriculture such as the USDA, World Bank, NATO SfP, Counterpart International, World Vision etc. At the same time, he is an Agricultural Specialist/Planner at UNDP Armenia and working in development planning of participatory integrated community development plans for 45 bordering communities with consideration of socio-economic and environmental issues, including disaster risk reduction, and after planning developing agriculture and agro processing: sector specific capacity building units in rural communities, e.g. construction of small greenhouses, establishment/improvement of orchards/vineyards, and establishment of collection centers, etc.

During his professional development he took qualifications in different countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, Georgia, The Netherlands, and USA. His main focus was Agriculture Extension, Sustainable Agriculture, Water Resources Management, ecological problems, leadership and crises negotiation, empowering women in Agriculture, etc. In 2013, he became a Hubert Humphrey fellow at Cornell University, USA, to develop his professional background of leadership in extension and economics. His scientific articles are used at Cornell University as official references to graduate students. In 2014, he found an affiliation in the US Department of Agriculture in Washington DC, working within the US Tribal Colleges Extension Education program.

Irina Shmeleva

Name: Irina Shmeleva

Country: Russia

Organization: Institute for Sustainable Development

Title: Director

Specialty: Psychology of Sustainable Development



I was trained as psychologist in the field of engineering psychology and work environment, and have my PhD in psychology from Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) State University, and Associate Professor (Docent) Diploma. My two university supervisors, outstanding professors, introduced me to the system theory, complex systems, holism, network analysis and multidisciplinary. For a long time I had professional experience working as a researcher and university associate professor.

In 1998 the field of my professional interests changed dramatically as I got a grant and was invited to participate in the summer course “ Reclaiming our culture: redesign of the universities” conducted by two outstanding professors from the US – David Orr and David Ehrenfeld, that was held in fantastic environment of the college named after Fritz Schumacher in UK. That was the point at which I started to do research and teach Environmental Psychology and then broaden my interests to sustainable development, psychological and philosophical issues of global environmental crisis, sustainable cities research methodology, environmental consciousness and environmental values. Since that time I wrote and published a book “Psychology of Ecological Consciousness”(2006), was the author of some chapters and papers, and was the editor of such volumes as “ Sustainable Cities: Interdisciplinary Approach” (2007), International Journal of Sustainable Development: Special Issue for sustainable Cities (2009)  and “ Sustainability Analysis; Interdisciplinary Approach” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).

During the last 15 years I was one of the principal organizers of the international conferences and workshops, among them: in cooperation with the Russian Chapter of the International Society for Ecological Economics and SPbSU (2005) international conference titled “Globalization, New Economy and Environment. Business and Society Challenges for Sustainable Development”; international interdisciplinary workshops on Sustainable Cities (2006) in Saint Petersburg and (2007) in Oxford. Between 2004-2008 I participated in the Collaboration Program between ELP Berkeley and Saint Petersburg State University, Russia. Till the end of 2012 I was Associate Professor of the School of International Relations at SPbSU.

In 2010 I started cooperation with the Sustainable Development Institute of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation in Moscow, organized to promote the ideas of sustainable development on the regional level and to support consolidation of the expert society of Russian in the above field. My new non-profit project – the Institute for Sustainable Development in Saint Petersburg was launched with the main goals of organizing the network of professional and experts in the interdisciplinary field of SD in Saint Petersburg, producing help to students interested in self organization and activity in this field, promoting ideas of the education for SD and international cooperation, and to stimulate media for discussions and to share best practices from all over the world.

Alexandr Iscenco

Name: Alexandr Iscenco

Country: Moldova

Organization: Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA)

Title: MEGA Co-founder; Research and Cooperation Coordinator

Specialty: Environmental and Natural Resources Economics, Global Environmental Governance, Waste Management, Climate Change



Passionate researcher, innovator, entrepreneur, writer, poet, environmentalist and nature lover – this is who I have chosen to be. Quite diverse options, aren’t they? But this is exactly what drives me in life: acquiring new knowledge, creating new things, telling inspiring stories and generating positive impact in society and environment. I was born in 1985 in a small, but very nice and cozy country of Moldova. Here I attended a number of universities with the focus on International Economic Relations, as well as worked for 4 years (2006 – 2010) as researcher at the Institute of Economy, Finance and Statistics ( Here I contributed to enriching the knowledge about the process of economic integration and improving the National Development Plan of Moldova. In 2007 I published my first book “The Thoughts” with early poems and two short stories – “Black Hole” and “Road to Happiness”. Some of the poems from the book, as well as the new ones are available for reading on my blog “Alexandr Iscenco – The Thoughts” (

At the same time with my studies, work, and writing, I had been actively engaged in volunteering within the organization AIESEC in Moldova ( During that period I had been leading the global internship program of AIESEC at the national level, as well as educating new generation of young leaders as trainer within the Moldova Trainers Team. After the mandate there I benefited from its internship program myself. The first time in 2009 I went to Romania to contribute to the environmental project “Learn to Change the Future” of AIESEC in Craiova ( as a trainer in Ecology and Environmental Science. The second time in 2012 I visited Indonesia and BINTARI Foundation ( for research work on assessing the climate change impacts of agriculture in local villages and elaborating strategy for their mitigation. In 2010 I was lucky to go to Denmark and study for MSc in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics and Global Environmental Governance at the University of Copenhagen ( There I also did a research project on non-state cooperation and waste management in Moldova funded by the Explorers Club ( I graduated in June 2012 and went back to Moldova.

Currently I am a co-founder and strategy and research coordinator at the Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA; Here we bring together psychology, technology, and ecology to motivate and stimulate the contribution of individuals and organizations/businesses to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and creating a sustainable world. We accomplish this via our key innovation called MEGA Game: The Game with Impact. It is a gamified web platform and smartphone application that allows one to feel him/herself as a Green Agent protecting the environment by receiving knowledge from e-learning courses and then applying it to solving real-world challenges in any part of the world. Last but not least, I still continue writing poetry and novels including the anthology of autobiographic essays “The Indigo Stories” and my science-fiction trilogy “The Monster” ( The first part of the trilogy entitled “The Monster: Blade of Darkness” has already been released and is available in on-line bookstores worldwide. Starting from 2018 I occasionally serve as independent expert for project evaluation at the Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) ( of the European Commission ( and teach social robotics, hardware programming, and Internet-of-Things via the FACE ROBOTS ( courses.

Angelina Davydova

Name: Angelina Davydova

Country: Russia (in USA)

Organization: German-Russian Office of Environmental Information Russia/University of California, Davis

Title: Director/Humphrey Fellow



I was born and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. I got my first degree in Economics, but started working in business journalism – first, in 1999, with Russia’s daily business newspaper, Kommersant, and later on with other print and online media (Expert Magazine, The St. Petersburg Times, etc), specializing mostly in business and economics journalism.

In 2006 I did a course in international journalism with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Green College, Oxford University. After that I also started working in the area of international relations – first with the British Council in Russia and later on with the German Russian Exchange in the area of journalistic exchange and training programs and also conferences on EU-Russia relations.

In 2008 I also initiated an environmental/climate project within the German-Russian Exchange, which by 2011 had developed into the German-Russian Bureau of Environmental Information. We’re currently working in the areas of: 1) media training on environmental/climate issues; 2) information sharing, specialists exchange programs, expertise exchange between Russia and the EU; 3) organizing conferences, seminars, and workshops on environmental issues, and support of local and regional environmental initiatives; and 4) carrying out research projects, writing papers, articles, etc on environmental/climate policy, green economy, and sustainable development.

At the same time I keep working as a freelance environmental/climate journalist for a number of print/online Russian and German media. From mid-2010 I also started working at St. Petersburg State University as a senior lecturer for environmental and business journalism, while also helping to organize conferences on environmental journalism/new media/academic exchange programs.

Since late 2008 I am also taking part in the UNFCCC negotiation process with the observer/media status. In the summer of 2009, I did a 3-month internship at the Hamburg Ministry for Environment and Urban Development, working out possible suggestions for future cooperation between my native city of St. Petersburg and the city of Hamburg in the area of environmental and climate protection.

From August 2018 till June 2019 I am a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow at UC Davis, with special interest in environmental regulation and governance, sustainable and participative territorial development, organic agriculture and certification. In my fellowship year, I aim to learn more about environmental challenges in California and policies to tackle them.

Available for:

  • Speaking on a technical topic (Russia’s environmental/climate policy, civil society developments in Russia, Russian media landscape, international climate policy, UN FCCC process, global climate negotiations)
  • Speaking on a cultural topic
  • Formal classroom visit
  • Informal classroom visit
  • Meeting with student groups
  • Meeting with individual professors/ researchers

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