Ian M. Cook

Directs the OLIve Weekend Program at Open Education

Phone: + 36.1.327.2857

An anthropologist with a regional focus on south India, Ian works primarily on cities, new media and doing academia differently. He has published work on topics including small cities, housing, vigilantism, podcasting and land. He is keen to open up universities, which he does (hopefully) by both making academic podcasts and teaching others how to make them, and as part of an access programme for refugees and asylum seekers. He likes to work with sounds, images and texts. His current research projects include – urban change in Mangaluru (India), academic podcasting, access to higher education, corruption and environmental damage in Hungary, digital media, and urban justice in Europe. He is also a Research Fellow at the Central European University, currently working between the Centre for Media Data & Society and the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy. 

Personal website: The City as a River // Podcast (co)host @ Online Gods & New Books Network  // Co-founder @ CEU Podcast Library // Editor @ Allegra // Project sites: UrbanA & Black Waters // Social: LinkedIn // Twitter // Research:  // GoogleScholar // Research Gate

Judit Ignácz

Coordinates the OLIve Weekend Program at Open Education

Phone: + 36.1.327.2763  

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. 

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. 

Kanchi Ganatra

is a visiting intern at OLIve Weekend Program


Kanchi first became interested in researching conflicts, borderlands and migration during her visits to Israel and Palestine in 2016. A year later, she migrated to Estonia from her home city of Mumbai (India) to pursue an MA in Social Anthropology. While living in Estonia, Kanchi participated in a range of refugee/asylum-related volunteer activities, including teaching English at an asylum accommodation center and arranging social events. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu, Kutchhi, Marathi and Gujarati.

Her MA research brought her to Greece, where she conducted ethnographic fieldwork among male migrants. She also volunteered with multiple migration NGOs in Thessaloniki (Alkyone, Steki, and ARSIS) as a means of understanding refugee policy and management in the country. From her experience in studying migration, Kanchi finds that OLIve and its attached community is one of the best ways for migrants to share their experiences and learn together. As a member of the OLIve team, she hopes to add value to the lives of her colleagues and students of the program. At present, Kanchi also works as an editor and the social media+events admin for AllegraLab.

Core Team

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

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


Natalya Antonova

teaches Critical Creativity: Art/Literature in Society

Natalya is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Gender Studies at the Central European University. Her general research interests lie in methodology and epistemology of teaching and research, more specifically, critical pedagogies and feminist epistemologies. She is interested in how the production and distribution of knowledge may become socially transformative. Her PhD project deals with the cultural political economy of textile crafts and feminist art labour in ‘postsocialisms,’

Nora Balkanyi

teaches Media Literacy

Nora is a freelance journalist, communication specialist and copywriter with a deep interest in social issues and contemporary culture. She has been teaching media literacy in various projects for years. Huge fan of jazz improvisation.

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

Matthew Daintrey-Hall

teaches Visual Story Telling

Matthew has lived in Hungary for nearly four years, working as a film education consultant. Before that, he taught filmmaking in UK high schools for 19 years. At OLIve, Matthew aims to introduce students to the techniques used by filmmakers to convey complex information and create emotional involvement using different camera shots, composition and sequences. Matthew believes that  OLIve has provided him with an opportunity to use his knowledge of film and other forms of visual storytelling to offer displaced people an insight into how people communicate non-verbally – and, to perhaps inspire the students to make their own films.

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.

Sergi Moles Gruesco

teaches Energy and Sustainability in Times of Crisis

Sergi is a recent CEU graduate. His current work deals with the limitations of engineering and managerial approaches to technology adoption, innovation, energy efficiency, and sustainable consumption. He is convinced about the need and potential of further engaging citizen knowledge in socio-environmental research and decision-making. As a result, in his research, consultancy and teaching activities Sergi pursues to grant a voice to everyday experts. This is the first time that Sergi will instruct at OLIve. With Ana (Stojilovska) he is looking forward to discussing the most current matters of sustainable energy consumption with OLIve students.

Mahdi Jafari

teaches Digital Literacy

Mahdi is joining OLIve this semester as a teaching assistant for the Digital Literacy and Web Development courses. This is especially exciting as he has also experienced another side of OLIve in the past – as a student of the OLIve Weekend from 2016-2018. Outside of OLIve, Mahdi has a career in social work. He is thankful for this job because it allows him to help other refugees. Mahdi speaks fluent Farsi and English and basic Hungarian.

Zalan Klauda

teaches European Politics

Zalan is currently a doctoral candidate at Corvinus University Budapest within the World Economy subprogram. He also works as a Research Coordinator at the Cold War History Research Center. He was the Ambassador of European Student Think Tank during 2018-2019.
In addition, he also teaches International Economics at Corvinus University, Budapest, and Politics and Society at the OLIve Weekend Program. Zalan speaks English, Russian, Hungarian and a little bit of Spanish. In the past, he has also been a part of several short-term volunteer projects organized by Service Civil International.

Kristóf Környei 

teaches Disability Rights

Kristóf is a recent CEU graduate. His academic interests include the guardianship system, inclusive education and deinstitutionalization. He currently works at the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) in Budapest. HCLU is a human rights NGO where he is a member of the Equality project. As part of the equality project, Kristóf has been involved in strategic litigation and advocacy for Roma and disabled people. 
Last year, Kristóf taught a class on disability rights at OLIve. This year, he is looking forward to discussing some more interesting and hopefully useful topics for the students. 

Rasa Navickaitė

teaches Gender, Sexuality and Diversity

Rasa has a PhD in Comparative Gender studies with a Specialization in History from CEU. In addition, she has been teaching courses at the History Department and the Department of Gender Studies at CEU. She is interested in modern European history, history of socialism and post-socialism, history of science, and gender and sexuality studies. Rasa is especially interested in uncovering and retelling the stories of those, who have been traditionally marginalized in historical narratives, either due to their gender, ethnicity, class, or other “difference”.

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 taught the Access English Communication class in 2019. In 2020, he is looking forward to teaching English Communication again, as well as a course in journalistic writing.

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.

Bernadett Sebály

teaches Organizing for Social Change

Bernadett is a community organizer, trainer and mentor. A cultural anthropologist and public policy expert by education, she currently studies at CEU’s Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations. Previously, she worked for many years in international civil rights organizations.
Between 2009-2017, she was an activist at The City is for All, an organization of homeless people and their allies. Simultaneously, she helped build the Civil College Foundation, a Hungarian community organizing program. Her goal is to link the worlds of activism, civil society organizations and academia in a way that is fruitful for all.

Zoltan Somogyvári

teaches Human Rights Advocacy and Litigation

Zoltán is a lawyer by profession. Since 2011 he has been working at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, an NGO defending human rights and the rule of law.  He has worked in refugee camps with asylum seekers, representing them in their asylum procedures, and helping refugees reuniting with their family members. He also gained experience in monitoring conditions of detention, taking testimonies from victims of police violence and litigating human rights violations before the European Court of Human Rights.
At OLIve he wants to work with the students to help them become adept at collecting evidence of human rights violations.

Ana Stojilovska

teaches Energy and Sustainability in Times of Crisis

Ana is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Central European University, Budapest. She worked as a Visiting Teaching Fellow at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest during 2018-2019. Her research interests include anthropological human-centered study of energy poverty in the context of the European energy transition, as well as questions of (in)justice and equity in regard to infrastructure, heating and fuel use. Ana is a new short course teacher at OLIve alongwith Sergi (Gruesco). She is passionate about feminism, civil society, books, teaching and her cat.

Liz Sweales

teaches Introduction to Contemporary Dance

Liz is the founder of LOVE.DANCE, a dance education company. She is also a dance and drama teacher at the International School of Budapest. In her 20+ years of work as a dance practitioner she has worked with different schools and communities, and with people of different ages from diverse backgrounds.
She believes that dance is for all of us; it is universal and innate. Liz is particularly inspired by the relationship between music and movement. She is excited to join the OLIve program and feels that every project brings new dancers – each with their own perspectives that give rise to a unique creative journey. 

Attila Szabó

teaches Activism and Rights

Attila is a lawyer specialized in civil liberties. During the last 18 months, he has managed the Election Rights Programme of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU). As a legal officer of the Political Freedoms Project at HCLU he gives advice to activists mainly in the areas of freedom of gathering, freedom of speech, freedom of public data. He is also a PhD student at the Faculty of Law of University of Szeged. 

Sára Szilágyi

teaches Movement-Meditation

Sára is a yoga teacher, and a dance and meditation practitioner. She believes that sharing these techniques in the current situation is especially valuable for everyone. She has several years of experience working in the social field and intercultural projects as she likes to contribute to more inclusive and open societies.

Zóra Molnár

teaches Public Life and Participation Action Research

Zóra lives in Budapest, and works for the School of Public Life as participatory action research coordinator. She is  interested in critical pedagogy and grassroots activism. She is a member of a disability activist group, which fights for the conditions of independent living for people with physical disabilities. Zóra thinks that teaching at OLIve is a good opportunity for her to get in touch with international students.


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.


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 270 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.

OLIve alumni section coming soon!

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