Meet the Team

Stefanie Schiffer

Founder and director of the European Exchange gGmbH in Berlin. Stefanie Schiffer studied Slavonic languages and Eastern European History in Tübingen and Munich. She has a broad experience in cooperation with civil society organisations in Eastern Europe. She has been a founding member and initiator of several civil society cooperation programs and international platforms as the EU Russia Civil Society Forum, the EPDE, the Kyiv Dialogue and the Initiative Quorum. She has been an advisor to the board of the Marion Dönhoff foundation and to the filia Frauenstiftung, a member of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and a board member to the organization Human Rights in Belarus e.V.

Thomas Vogel

Thomas Vogel became Co-Director at the European Exchange in April 2024. He had been working for six years at the German Federal Foreign Office on OSCE, Security Policy, Eastern Europe and Russia. Before that, he worked as a Foreign Policy Adviser at the European Parliament focusing on democracy support, the rule of law and the civil society in EU Neighbourhood countries. Before joining the European Exchange, Thomas worked as a director for an organisation implementing security sector reforms globally on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office, the UN and the GIZ. He studied communications and linguistics at the Leipzig University and the University of Bergamo (IT).   

Adam Busuleanu

Adam Busuleanu joined the European Exchange team in 2008 and is the Senior Programme Officer of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE). He studied politics and journalism in Opole/Poland and Eastern European Studies in Berlin. During his studies he focused on alternative movements in socialist Poland and on election monitoring in post-soviet countries. He recently worked on several civil society projects in Eastern and Central Europe. Since 2004, he participated in several election observation missions to countries of the former Soviet Union. Currently he is working in projects supporting domestic election observation in the partner countries of the European Exchange.

Karolina Plaetke

Since 2008, Karolina Plaetke works as the Financial Officer at the European Exchange.  Born in 1977 in Zielona Gora, Poland, and studied business management at the University of Applied Sciences in Wildau.

Johann Zajaczkowski

Johann Zajaczkowski is the Financial Coordinator of the Kyiv Dialogue program since autumn 2019. He was born in Krakow, Poland, and raised in Germany. He studied Political Science and Public Law in Trier and Warsaw. During his studies, he worked as a freelance journalist for a local online newspaper and completed several internships, inter alia for a political advocacy company in Berlin and for the foreign office of a political foundation in Warsaw. From 2014-2016, he worked as a lecturer for the Robert-Bosch-Foundation at the National University of “Kyiv Mohyla Academy” in Kyiv. At that time, he started translation work in Russian and Ukrainian. In 2016, he began his Ph.D. as a fellow of the Zeit-Foundation.

Hanna Zhytyniec

Hanna Zhytyniec works as the Project and Events Manager in three projects: European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), Kyiv Dialogue, and Initiative Quorum. She started working at the European Exchange in 2015 as a financial manager. Hanna is originally from Chernivtsi, a city in western Ukraine. She studied International Relations at the Chernivtsi National University in Ukraine and European Studies at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). During her studies in Germany she completed an internship at the organization Brücke-Osteuropa in Berlin, where she assisted in the organization of several German-Ukrainian business forums. After graduating, she started to work in a company in Dresden concentrating on international business consultancy for eastern European countries. She is also actively engaged in numerous NGOs in Germany, Ukraine, and Poland, and participates in different international academic cooperative projects.

Lukasz Kondraciuk

Lukasz joined the European Exchange in 2024 as a Program Manager for EPDE. Before that, he worked at the International Republican Institute since 2013 and served in a number of role, most recently as Countering Foreign Authoritarian Influence Advisor. Under that new global portfolio, he provided IRI with technical expertise and assistance in developing program ideas and activities for emerging projects on topics related explicitly to authoritarian and other malign foreign influence and interference and its impact on democracy and governance. Lukasz was also IRI’s representative in Germany, developing and cultivating strong relationships with key stakeholders in the country and the region. Until mid-2021, he served as a Program Officer and then Country Director on one of IRI’s closed society country programs. Moreover, in 2018, Lukasz served as IRI’s acting Director for the Institute’s office in Warsaw, Poland, for eight months. Before joining IRI, Lukasz worked for the Foundation for Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation in Warsaw. He holds a master’s degree in Linguistics and a postgraduate diploma in Diplomacy and Foreign Service from the Warsaw School of Economics. In addition to his native Polish, he is proficient in Russian and English and has a foundational proficiency in German and Ukrainian.

Matthias Meier

Matthias Meier joined the European Exchange team in 2022 as Communication Manager for Kyiv Dialogue and the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE). He completed a degree in Philology from Leipzig University (2012-2016) looking into communication strategies of Russian state media in Germany. He holds a master’s degree in East European studies from Freie Universität Berlin (2017-2020) focusing on institutional change and reforms in Ukraine. Previously he worked in German-Ukrainian think tank projects at the Berlin based Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) and as project manager of several campaigns in the run-up to the German federal elections 2021.

Natalia Sobczuk

Natalia Sobczuk joined the European Exchange team in 2023 as Project Coordinator for the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE). She graduated from the Free University of Berlin with a master's degree in East European Studies where she focused on culture and literature. In addition to her work at EPDE, she is the co-founder of the feminist initiative In Feminis Veritas and spokesperson of the Berlin/Brandenburg regional youth chapter of the German Association for Eastern European Studies (Junge DGO). This involvement has led her to participate in numerous creative projects within the Berlin scene and to actively contribute to strengthening civil society dialogue.

Daryna Sterina

Daryna Sterina is the Project Manager for the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE).

She is a native Ukrainian from Dnipro and grew up in Germany, Berlin. Daryna holds a a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Dresden and a Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent (UK). During her academic education, she spent time studying in Turkey and participated in a research school in Azerbaijan. Before joining the European Exchange, Daryna worked as a project coordinator of an international European project focussing on strengthening democracy and fostering participation of migrants. She had various internships with human rights organisations, including the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Amnesty International, where she continues to be active as a volunteer.

Valeriia Moiseieva

Valeriia grew up, studied, and amassed over 10 years of work experience in Kyiv, Ukraine. Through her work with the Heinrich Böll Foundation and leading Ukrainian NGOs and initiatives such as Centre UA, #MediaHub, Chesno, Stop Censorship she gained experience in coordinating and administering all project-related processes.

Before the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, she worked as an SMM Manager for a German start-up. Since April 2023, Valeriia has joined the team of the Kyiv Dialogue in Berlin as event coordinator.