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Team

Our contributors bring many years of economic and education expertise to this unique project. All of us are excited to combine our professional learning and our creativity to bring economic understanding to everyone.

Subject Matter Experts

Zohid Askarov

Zohid received his Ph.D. in Economics from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia and is an associate dean at Westminster International University in Tashkent. He has published in such journals as World Development, European Journal of Political Economy, Public Choice, and Journal of Housing Economics. His publications focus on the economic and institutional development of transition nations and their spillover effects. He has been involved in a range of educational and research projects with UNESCO, UNDP, JICA, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Deakin University, University of Antwerp, Maastricht School of Management, DMAN, and Indonesia’s National Institute of Public Administration. Zohid is a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow.

Gurgen Aslanyan

Gurgen received his Ph.D. in Economics from CERGE-EI in the Czech Republic. He is an assistant professor at the American University of Armenia, a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow, and a Senior Researcher at the Economics Laboratory of Ural Federal University. He has consulted for both private and public sector organizations, including the Central Bank of Armenia, and as a researcher has been affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and the Czech Academy of Sciences. He has presented and published his research internationally, is a recipient of various awards, and is currently President of the Armenian Economic Association.

Olga Flys

Olga received her M.A. in Economics from CERGE-EI, Czech Republic and her M.S. in Theoretical and Applied Statistics from Ivan Franko National University in Lviv. She is currently working in the Czech Republic for KPMG Management Consulting and is involved in a startup devoted to creating an online education platform for applied computational studies.

Aram Ghazaryan

Aram received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Turin. He is a lecturer of Economics at Yerevan State University and the American University of Armenia. He is a founder of the Center for Behavioral Decisions, a research and consultancy unit.

Aida Gjika

Aida received her Ph.D. in Economics from Staffordshire University in the United Kingdom and is a lecturer at the Faculty of Economy of the University of Tirana. She has over 10 years’ experience in teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses (Microeconomics and Academic Writing) and project work and consultancy at various international projects, mostly engaged as an applied economist with expertise in data analysis. Her research focuses on questions of fiscal decentralization and economic growth, but she also explores fiscal policy, tobacco taxation, and regional growth. Aida is a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow.

Maya Grigolia

Maya received her M.A. in Economics from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET), Georgia. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Tbilisi State University. Currently, she is the instructor at the American University of the Middle-East, Kuwait. She has more than 10 years’ experience in teaching, research, project writing, and consultancy. Her research interests are Fiscal Policy, Financial Education, and Private Sector Development. Her teaching portfolio includes Macroeconomics, Economic Policy, Principles of Economics, Statistics, and Data Analysis. Her past experience contains project writing and consultancy with different international organizations such as the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Commission, and USAID.

Anahit Hovhanissyan

Anahit holds an M.A. in Economics from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET), Georgia. She is an economist at the Monetary Policy Department of the Central Bank of Armenia.

Drini Imami

Drini received his Ph.D. in Agri-Food Economics and Policy from the University of Bologna. He has conducted research for several leading European research institutions and has contributed to more than 50 scientific journal articles. His research interests include behavioral, political, and institutional economics. Drini has worked as a consultant for organizations including the FAO, the World Bank, EBRD, GIZ, and JICA. He is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Economics and Agribusiness at the Agricultural University of Tirana.

Leslie McCall

Leslie, CFA, received her MBA from the university of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and her BA from Wellesley College. She has over 25 years’ experience on Wall Street, having held senior positions in equity research, portfolio management, and investment banking. Her economic research into consumer income and behavior, and the predictability of their effects on equity trading, helped establish her as an expert in consumer stocks. She is currently a consultant in equity research.

Arben Mustafa

Arben received his Ph.D. in Economics from Staffordshire University in the United Kingdom. His research topic during his Ph.D. studies was Banking Sector Competition and its Impact on Banks’ Risk-Taking and Interest Margins in the Central and East European Countries. He has a number of publications in this field. Arben has worked in different functions, mainly related to research and economic analysis at the Central Bank of the Republic of Kosovo. He teaches a number of economics and banking subjects at the University “Kadri Zeka” in Gjilan, Kosovo. He is a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow.

Iryna Sabat

Iryna is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree in Economics as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, Portugal. She holds an M.A. in Economics from CERGE-EI in the Czech Republic and an M.A. in International Economics Relations and Finance from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv in Ukraine. Iryna has over five years’ experience teaching economic subjects to undergraduate and graduate students as a CERGE-EI Foundation Teaching Fellow. She is part of a team of economic educators funded by the CERGE-EI Foundation to provide pedagogical training to university economics lecturers.

Edvin Zhllima

Edvin received his Ph.D. in Agri-Food Economics and Policy from the University of Bologna and is an Associate Professor at the Agricultural University of Tirana (AUT). He has conducted research in several fields of study, including resource economics, behavioral economics, and gender economics, and contributed to more than 40 scientific publications. He has worked as a consultant for international organizations including FAO, UNDP, GIZ, USAID, and Swiss Cooperation, for whom he contributed to various technical reports.

Alban Zogaj

Alban received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy. He has been working with the Riinvest Institute since 2005 and has led or contributed to analyses in multiple research studies. From 2016 to 2019, Alban worked with the Government of Kosovo on growth diagnostics and economic complexity research. He is a faculty member at Riinvest College, where he teaches Economics.

Zurab Abramishvili

Zurab Abramishvili received his Ph.D from CERGE-EI in the Czech Republic. He also holds an M.A. in Economics from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) and B.A. & M.A. degrees in Mathematics from Tbilisi State University. He is Assistant Professor at ISET, Co-Program Director of its Bachelor’s program and regional coordinator for the CERGE-EI Foundation’s Teaching Fellows Program.

Bakari Baratashvili

Bakari Baratashvili received his M.A. in Economics from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) and his Ph.D. in Business Administration from Georgian Technical University. He was a deputy director of ISET and was previously Assistant Professor at the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait. Bakari has 15 years’ experience in teaching economics, statistics, and finance courses at university level and has also worked in Georgia’s public finance sector, including with international financial organizations including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Levan Pavlenishvili

Levan Pavlenishvili received his M.A in Economics from the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) and holds a B.A. in Economics from Tbilisi State University. He was Deputy Head of ISET’s Policy Institute and has more than 5 years’ experience of teaching economics disciplines, including International Trade and Finance, Econometrics and Natural Resource Economics. Levan earned a M.Sc in Operational Research at the University of Edinburgh.

Academic Advisory Committee

Boris Cota

Boris is a Professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Zagreb and head of the International Economics and Finance postgraduate study program. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Economics, Zagreb (1997–2000) and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Union of Science and Higher Education for the Republic of Croatia (2003–2006). He has been a member of the Council of the Croatian National Bank (2006–2013), Special Advisor for the Economy to the President of the Republic of Croatia (2010–2012), and President of the Council for the Economy of the President of the Republic of Croatia (2010–2015).

Oleh Havrylyshyn (in memoriam)

Oleh held a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T, and was a non-resident Senior Fellow at CASE Research Institute in Warsaw, and Adjunct Research Professor at Carleton University’s Institute of European, Russian and Eurasian Studies. He served as an Advisor to the Government of Ukraine, preparing the “Background Review Of Reforms Since Independence” (2014 to October 2016). His last book, Present at the Transition: An Inside Look at the History, Politics and Personalities in Post-Communist Countries was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. Between 1991 and 2007, Oleh served as Deputy Director of the Europe Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), responsible for countries of the FSU. He was been an Alternate Executive Director of the IMF Board of Directors and served for a period as Deputy Finance Minister of Ukraine.

Joseph Pelzman

Joseph is a Ph.D. from Boston College. At George Washington University he is Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Professional Lecturer of Law, and Director of the Ph.D. program in Economics. Before joining the faculty in 1980, he was a Brookings Institution Economic Policy Fellow and a faculty member at the University of South Carolina. He served as the founding Chair of the International Academic Board of the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET) in Georgia (2006–08), and as a Member of the International Advisory Board at the Kyiv School of Economics, Ukraine (2002–17). He also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Trade, Aid, and Security Coalition (TASC), and Global Works Foundation, Washington D.C. He is currently Managing Editor of Global Economy Journal and former President of the International Trade and Finance Association.

Board of Directors

Randall K. Filer
President

A Princeton Ph.D., Randall is Professor of Economics at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Visiting Professor of Economics at CERGE-EI in Prague and Board Director of the CERGE-EI Foundation. He is a member of the Governing and Academic boards of the International School of Economics in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has been a visiting scholar at the Institute of Economics, Zagreb, and a Research Fellow of IZA (Bonn) and CESifo (Munich). Randall is a co-author of the regionalized edition of "Common Sense Economics".

Michael Markovitz
Chair

With a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago, Michael is the founder of the first freestanding doctoral program in professional psychology (Psy.D.) in the United States. He has been a Lecturer In Management at Northwestern University (Chicago) and is the author of various professional articles, including the BBP (Bureau of Business Practice) Guide To Human Resource Management. He was the developer of Argosy University in the US and Yorkville University, including the Toronto Film School, in Canada. Most recently, he is Chairman of Atlanta's John Marshall Law School, an American Bar Association accredited institution, as well as founder and Chairman of Academic Licensure Preparation and Education Service (ALPESE/PrepJet), a coaching and professional test-prep company. He is a member and past Chairman of the Visiting Committee to the Division of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago and a retired member of the Board of Trustees of Eckerd College in Florida.

Renita Esayian
Treasurer

Holding an M.B.A. from Stanford, Renita is a retired financial professional. After several corporate treasury and investor relations positions in the United States and London, she became Vice President of Investor Relations at Hasbro. Before retiring, she was a senior financial writer with The Vanguard Group.

Kathleen Mone

With a Master's Degree in Public Affairs from Columbia, Kathleen is a financial professional with over 40 years’ experience in the public education sector. She served as Unit Budget Director for Manhattan and the Bronx at the New York City Department of Education, as Business Administrator at a number of charter schools, and as Finance Manager for Academic Affairs at City University of New York.

Eleanor Hammond
Adviser to the Board and Program Director

Eleanor has an M.A. degree from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. She has day-to-day oversight of the “Common Sense Economics” program. In addition to her work with EFI, she is a grant writer and fundraiser for the CERGE-EI Foundation, one of the largest supporters of economics education in Eastern Europe and the countries of the CIS. She was formerly a strategic communications consultant for public sector organizations in the UK.