Ian M. Cook

Directs the OLIve Weekend Program at Open Education

Ian is Director of Studies at Open Learning Initiative (OLIve), Budapest, and a researcher at Central European University (CEU). An anthropologist and multimodal scholar his research and praxis focus on urban India, environmental justice, higher education, and podcasting. He is part of the Allegra Lab editorial collective.

Personal website: The City as a River


Phone: + 36.1.327.2857

Judit Ignácz

Coordinates the OLIve Weekend Program at Open Education

Judit gained professional experience in project management, coordination and grant writing. She mostly worked at NGOs in Roma related projects, organizing and facilitating trainings, seminars concerning the topic of racism, human rights and non-formal education. She finished her studies of Master of Public Administration of School of Public Policy at Central European University and became a French and Romani language teacher at University of Pecs. She also has experience in media and communication. She is passionate about human rights and non-formal education. 


Phone: + 36.1.327.2763  

Prem Kumar Rajaram

is the Program Head at OLIve

Prem is also a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology. His research focuses on questions of marginality and depoliticisations.  the government of asylum-seekers, particularly those in detention in Europe and Australia, and on colonial histories of state making.  He is the co-editor of the collection Borderscapes: Hidden Geographies and Politics at Territory’s Edge (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) and author of Ruling the Margins: Administrative Rule and Colonial Power in the Past and Present (Routledge 2015)He was named as one of Central Europe’s ‘Top 100 Changemakers’ of 2017 by the Financial Times. 

Carmel Prem Rajaram

Intern at the OLIve Weekend Program

Carmel currently works as an intern at the OLIve weekend program. She graduated high school in 2021 and in order to gain experience decided to join the OLIve team. She is responsible for childcare and other administrative tasks. She volunteers in various other organizations and tries her best to help where she can.  

Core Team

The core team functions as the advisory board for Open Education and the activities of OLIve Weekend Program.

Members: Lilla Jakobs, Franklin Maduko, Prem Kumar Rajaram, David Ridout, Logan Strenchock, and Violetta Zentai.

Current Teachers

Ágnes Szeghy 

teaches English 

Ági has been teaching English for seven years. She has gained experience in various teaching contexts ranging from teaching very young children to students in their senior years. She has taught English in many countries: in Hungary, in Cambodia, in England and in Italy. What she really loves about her job is its variety as every student and every class has different needs and aspirations, and she enjoys meeting people from diverse cultural background just as much as helping them in reaching their goals. 

Analucia Da Silva 

teaches communication skills 

Poet and writer, Analucia (Ana), has a BA in Comparative Literature from Bard College and an 
MFA in Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California. She has over 20 years’ experience as a 
writer and editor in the fields of art and visual culture, science and intellectual property. She is 
also a punk rock singer. 
Ana loves co-teaching English Communication in the OLIve weekend program with Tom 
Popper, appreciating the sense of community and open learning culture. She thinks she learns 
as much from students as they learn from her. 

Anass Karzazi

teaches Business Management

Anass has been teaching Business and Management topics at OLIve-WP since 2019. He holds an MBA from CEU in 2016 and is currently pursuing his PhD in Business Administration at CEU. His research interests include Trust and reputation systems in the Sharing Economy, Digital Marketing and Consumer Behavior, Sustainability in Business, and ICT for Development. Before joining CEU, he has worked for over 16 years as Agronomy engineer in different management positions, mainly in the Marketing field, for governmental institutions in his home country – Morocco. He enjoys teaching diverse and vibrant groups at OLIve-WP and particularly likes to help students adopt a yes-we-can attitude to grow and move forward through learning.Anass is fluent in Arabic, French, and Spanish.

Damian Aleksiev

teaches Critical Thinking

Damian Aleksiev holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from CEU. Before that, he completed an MA in philosophy at CEU. Damian’s research interests include questions about consciousness and the fundamental nature of reality. He has taught philosophy at CEU (as a teaching assistant) and the University of Debrecen (as a lecturer). As a teacher, Damian aspires to make the complex understandable.

Edward Branagan 

teaches Digital Literacy 

As a former OLive weekend instructor, Edward taught courses on current events in the news and media with the objective to prepare students for further academic studies. He has worked as the Associate Dean for administrative, financial, and student affairs at CEU’s School of Public Policy. He has also, in the past, worked at JPMorgan Chase as project manager and as Regional Director of Operations for Northern Europe at the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE). He currently teaches at McDaniel College in Budapest. In addition to teaching digital literacy, I also teach “international development.”

Júlia Angyalka Füredi 

teaches English 

Julia has been teaching English at OLIve-WP since 2016 February. She a CEU alumna, and graduated in History in 2013. Before that, she studied History and Aesthetics at ELTE university in Budapest. Since having transitioned into teaching English from 2013 onward, Julia has also completed a CELTA (2013) and a TESOL Master’s degree (2017). 
Despite having taught English in a wide variety of contexts, Julia particularly enjoys teaching at OLIve due to  its unique, vibrant and loving community. She believes that students at OLIve are motivated and open, which allows both her and them to learn from each other far beyond than the course material. 

Mahdi Jafari 

teaches Digital Literacy 

Mahdi is an IT student and has a career in Interpreting and social work, he joined olive as an instructor in 2020-21 and taught digital literacy and introduction to web development classes.
he is looking forward to teaching the web technology course to explain how technology is combined with our life. 

Levente Borsos 

teaches Hungarian 

Levente graduated from ELTE and has an MA in Hungarian, Spanish and Hungarian as a Foreign Language. He has been teaching Hungarian for foreigners since 2007 at Balassi Institute and ELTE. Between 2012 and 2017 he taught Hungarian language and culture at Osaka University, Japan. Currently, he is a part-time teacher at Balassi Institute and a founding member of the Pont HU group for the teaching of Hungarian. He is particularly interested in (inter)cultural aspects of language teaching and learning. 

Márton, Eszter

teaches Theatre in everyday life

I was born in Budapest and studied here until I started to work as an actress in Csiky Gergely Theatre in Kaposvár. I spent twenty years there. Then I worked in Tatabánya at Jászai Mari Theatre for a year and I have been a freelancer since then. I also worked as a script editor at Jóban Rosszban, a popular daily series in Hungary

Julia Nemes 

teaches English 

Julia has been teaching English as a second language in Budapest for the past twelve years. She has taught at different language schools, companies and to private students of ages 7-65. She loves the diverse experiences her job brings – where she gets to teach groups of varying sizes with different interests and learning purposes. She is excited to take part in the OLIve program, where she can experience the pleasure of meeting students from around the world, who have very unique skills and learning backgrounds. 

Tom Popper 

teaches communication skills 

A journalist and the son of a refugee, Tom teaches the English Communication class. His career has mostly involved work in editing and journalism, but he has found teaching to be rewarding and educational.

Amin Saed 

teaches English 

Amin is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE). His research talks about the importance of EAP education/knowledge and its connection with Hungarian EFL teacher trainee’s success as both university students in Higher education and as future EFL teachers. Since 2011, he has been a full-time faculty member in the English department at CMU in his home country  – Iran. Currently, Amin teaches EAP, Business and General English courses at ELTE, some international companies, and at a secondary school in Budapest.   
Amin believes that the OLIve program brings together many talented people from various parts of the world and provides them with great learning opportunities. He is, therefore, looking forward to teaching at OLIve and hoping that he can make a substantial contribution to this effective program. Amin’s research can be accessed here and here

Adrian Matus

teaches Introduction to Global History

Adrian Matus is currently a PhD. Researcher at the European University Institute, a Module Leader at the Milestone Institute and an Assistant Archivist at the Open Society Archives. He is interested in 20th-century history, with a strong focus on various forms of counterculture in Eastern and Central Europe. In the OLIve Weekend Programme, he teaches Introduction to Global History. In his free time, Adrian likes to work in his garden and to go to theaters.

Timi Sófalvi

teaches Career Development

Timi has both a social worker background and completed her MBA at CEU Business School in 2016. She has been working with job-seekers for more than twenty years now. She supports students to identify their goals in their life and to find a way to their dream jobs. During the sessions she creates with the OLIve students an efficient CV and helps them prepare for their job interviews. 

Eszter Szabó

teaches drawing and animation basics

Eszter Szabó lives and works in Budapest. She has an MA of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts, painting department. In 2016 she finished her postgraduate studies at Le Fresnoy École des Arts Contemporains.
Her works are mostly non-narrative, conceptual videos that are animated versions of her paintings. She is creating drawings, oil paintings as well as aquarells and she works equally with 2D and 3D animation. She researches manifestations of social processes, during her practice she often
confronts the aesthetics of status quo with vulnerability and weariness of everyday life. She has participated in various solo and group exhibitions as well as art residencies around the world. Recently she has won the Leopold Bloom Art Award.


Mangeni Akileo 

I have been part of the OLIve community since in 2016, In 2019 I finished my MA in Public Administration of School of Public Policy at Central European University. Currently, I work as a Finance Consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation. I am passionate about human rights and inclusion programs of minority groups. 

Ramein Obura 

Ramein has been involved with OLIve in different capacities over the past four years. He believes that OLIve is the best example of a place where success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in, and day-out. The amazing classes, great discussions, and engaging topics are his best take-aways from his time as former student of OLIve. He is currently employed as a quality assurance specialist at AMI-Italia (AMI-International), however, his academic interest lies in financial risk management. Ramein will be joining OLIve this semester as a Mentor for current students, offering advice, support and other forms of help. 

Mary Mozaffary

I am Mary Mozafary living in Hungary as a Hungarian citizen but I was born in Kabul the capital city of Afghanistan. While I get involved in working as a program coordinator and management for migrants in Oltalom charity, I started working at CEU olive mentoring program as well. I am also the founder of the migrant women Hungary Association (she4she).
I received my BA degree in law and political science from Kabul University, and in addition to having multiple certifications in my professional fields, I got a Certificate in Management and Leadership for Women Officials of Administrative Staff College of India.
As a refugee activist based in Hungary, I have diverse experience volunteer working with nonprofit organizations and causes, namely dealing with peace-building, refugee integration, and education specially focused on women’s rights. I also get involved in working with national and international organizations aiming to advocate for refugee resettlement and engagement of refugees in Europe, the women’s movement in particular.

Former Teachers

Nóra Balkányi 

taught Media Literacy 

Cecília Kovai  

taught individual possibilities and social traps  

Logan Strenchock 

taught Academic Skills 

Virág Lődi 

taught Introduction to Social and Visual Studies 

Márton Szarvas 

taught Culture as a Common Good 

Mariia (Masha) Semashyna 

taught Critical Creative Thinking 

Mariia (Masha) Semashyna 

taught Critical Creative Thinking 

Dumitrița Holdiș  

taught online radio and podcast  

Márton Rövid

taught Introduction to Social and Visual Studies 

Noemi Bulecza  

taught urban photography  

Perica Jovchevski 

taught Human Rights and Social Justice 

Tamara Kolarić 

teaches Politics 

Zoltan Somogyvári 

taught Human Rights Advocacy and Litigation 

Sára Szilágyi 

taught Movement-Meditation 

András Simongáti-Farquhar  

taught online radio and podcast  

Zóra Molnár 

taught Public Life and Participation Action Research 


OLIve Weekend Program accepts students based in Hungary with refugee status, asylum seekers, those in refugee-like situations and those who have experienced displacement. Since January 2016, we have worked with up to 45 students each semester. Around 350 students have participated in the Weekend Program.

Our students come from a variety of countries including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, and Yemen.